My dear friend Andrew called me a southern jessie in jest the other day: I laughed as he was born further south than I was!

A jessie in English English means a softie, someone who is weak, feeble, and probably very timid, it presumable comes from the name Jessie (Jessica) originally, and quite often the full term is “you great soft jessie!”

Jessica, (Jesica, Jessicah or Jessika) was first found as a name in written form in The Merchant of Venice; Jessica is Shylock’s daughter. There is some thought that the origin of the name is Hebrew, Iskah, or Yiskah which may be why Shakespeare chose it for his Jewish heroine. However, the term jessie, might not come from Jessica but from the Scottish pet name Jessie, for Jean (I don’t mean a pet animal!) This would fit in with the mild insult ‘southern jessie’ as to many Scots, people from the south would be soft and namby-pamby (another fine word for you!)

A jess is also equipment used in falconry, it’s the strap on the bird’s leg with a ring to attach to a leash. Jesse windows or trees are associated with Jesse in the Bible, David’s father; the tree is of the genealogical variety, and a window is one depicting, Jesse or his genealogical tree.

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