Apparently of Shakespearean origin. This was the name of the daughter of Shylock in The Merchant of Venice (1596). Shakespeare's source has not been established, but he presumably intended it to pass as a typically Jewish name. It may be from a biblical name that appeared, in the translations available in Shakespeare's day, as Jesca (Genesis 11:29; Iscah in the Authorized Version). This occurs in a somewhat obscure genealogical passage; Iscah appears to have been Abraham's niece. Notable bearers of the name include the British actress Jessica Tandy (1909–94), the British writer Jessica Mitford (1917–96), and the American actress Jessica Lange (b. 1949). The name has been extremely popular since the 1990s.
English and Scottish: occupational name for a tailor, from Old French tailleur (Late Latin taliator, from taliare ‘to cut’). The surname is extremely common in Britain and Ireland, and its numbers have been swelled by its adoption as an Americanized form of the numerous equivalent European names, most of which are also very common among Ashkenazic Jews, for example Schneider, Szabó, and Portnov.