Given Name Jesse
PRONOUNCED: JES-ee (English), YES-sə (Dutch)
Meaning & History
From the Hebrew name יִשַׁי (Yishay) which possibly means “gift”. Jesse is the father of King David in the Old Testament. It began to be used as an English given name after the Protestant Reformation. A famous bearer of this name was Jesse James (1847-1882), an American outlaw who held up banks and stagecoaches. He was eventually shot by a fellow gang member for a reward. Another famous bearer was the American athlete Jesse Owens (1913-1980), whose real name was James Cleveland (or J. C.) Owens.