Meaning ‘gift’ in Hebrew; it is borne by the father of King David (1 Samuel 16), from whose line (according to the New Testament) Jesus was ultimately descended. It was popular among the Puritans, and is still used frequently in the United States, less so in Britain. As a girl's name it is a respelling of Jessie. Notable American bearers have included the outlaw Jesse James (1847–82), the athlete Jesse Owens (1913–80), and the politician Jesse Jackson (b. 1941).