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Jessie (f) Gaelic Seasaidh. In Scotland this is the
diminutive of Janet, though elsewhere the name would be
associated with Jessica. Compare Scottish Maisie for
Margaret. Jessie has been much celebrated in Scottish
poetry. Robert Tannahill (1774-1811), the Paisley poet,
wrote of Janet Tennant as ‘charming young Jessie, the flower o’ Dunblane,’ while Burns wrote of the ‘grace,
beauty and elegance,’ which kept Jessie’s lover by her side. In the nineteenth century this form of the name was almost as popular in Scotland as Janet itself. Jessie was the 12th most frequently used name in 1858, 14th in 1935. By 1958, however, it had dropped dramatically to 97th place. The use of Jessie to describe an effeminate man presumably contributed to its downfall.

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