Learn English – Origin of Jessie


What's the origin of the name Jessie referring to an effeminate, weak, or cowardly boy or man.

Since English is a gender neutral language, it strikes me as curious to see the female name

Jessie rather than the explicitly marked Jessica, for example, applying to a male.

How is this?


Best Answer

According to (www.dictionarycentral.com):

Jessie : noun a weak or effeminate man.

  • A Scottish and northern English term of ridicule which has become widespread since the mid-1970s, partly due to the influence of comics such as the Scot, Billy Connolly. It is synonymous with nellie and big girl’s blouse.

  • There are two proposed derivations for the word; the first is simply a borrowing of the female name as a term of endearment, the second is a Biblical reference to ‘a rod out of the stem of Jesse’, giving rise to jokes on the subject of masturbation, etc.