Jessica Name Meaning

baby girl jessica name

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What Does Jessica Mean?

The first recorded instance of the name Jessica is in William Shakespeare’s play "The Merchant of Venice," where Jessica is the daughter of the Jewish moneylender Shylock. It is believed that Shakespeare created this name by anglicizing the spelling of the biblical name Iscah, which means “vision” or “sight” in Hebrew.

  • Origin: Iscah is a minor figure in the Old Testament, mentioned only briefly as a sister of Lot and niece of Abraham. In the edition of the Bible that Shakespeare used, the name was spelled as Iesca, and for the purposes of his play Shakespeare changed it to Jessica.
  • Gender: Jessica is traditionally a feminine name. While boys have been named Jessica, it is relatively rare. The nearest masculine equivalent is Jesse.
  • Pronunciation: JESS-i-ka

Although baby names are often separated by gender, Verywell Family believes that sex need not play any role in your name selection process. It’s important to select the name that you feel best suits your new baby.

How Popular Is the Name Jessica?

Jessica was the #1 baby name for girls in America from 1985 to 1990, and again from 1993 to 1995. Jessica was consistently in the top 10 from 1976 until the year 2001, a 25-year span in which Jessica was an exceptionally popular name.

The name Jessica remained a top-100 name for girls in the U.S. until 2011. Over the last decade it has become decidedly less common, with the latest statistics ranking Jessica at #331.

Although the name Jessica is typically used as a female name, it can be used any way you see fit, as gender doesn't have to be a part of your name selection process.

Name Variations

Sometimes alternate spellings are used, including Jesica, Jesika, Jessicah, Jessika, and Jessikah. In addition, the name Jessica takes some different forms in other languages:

  • Dzsesszika (Hungarian)
  • Gessica (Italian)
  • Iekika (Hawaiian)
  • Jéssica (Portuguese)
  • Jessika (German)
  • Xhesika (Albanian)
  • Yéssica (Spanish)
  • Yiskah (Hebrew)

Similar Names

Like the name Jessica, Jennifer—another J name—was extremely popular in the 1970s and 80s. Jennifer was the number one name for girls in America from 1970 to 1984, at which point Jessica took over the top slot.

Jessica is one of several popular feminine names ending in "ica." Others include Angelica, Erica, Monica, and Veronica.

Other girl names starting with J:

  • Jade
  • Jane
  • Janet
  • Jasmine
  • Jocelyn
  • Josie
  • Joy
  • Julia
  • Juliana

Common Nicknames

Jessica is often shortened to Jess, Jessa, Jessie, or Jessy.

Suggested Sibling Names

Some possible sibling names for Jessica are:

  • Amanda
  • Ashley
  • Brittany
  • Christopher
  • David
  • Joshua
  • Matthew
  • Michael
  • Samantha

Famous People Named Jessica

  • Jessica Alba (born 1981), American actress known for her role in the TV series "Dark Angel"
  • Jessica Biel (born 1982), American actress and model who rose to prominence in the TV series "7th Heaven"
  • Jessica Capshaw (born 1976), American actress known for her role in "Grey’s Anatomy"
  • Jessica Chastain (born 1977), American actress known for her roles in "The Help" and "Zero Dark Thirty"
  • Jessica Cornish, known as Jessie J (born 1988), British singer-songwriter
  • Jess Glynne (born 1989), English singer-songwriter
  • Jessica Lange (born 1949), American actress who won Academy Awards for her roles in "Tootsie" and "Blue Sky"
  • Jessica McClure (born 1986), known in the media as “Baby Jessica,” fell into a backyard well in 1987 and was subsequently rescued
  • Jessica Meir (born 1977), American astronaut who participated in the first all-female spacewalk
  • Jessica Seinfeld (born 1973), American author and philanthropist, wife of the comedian Jerry Seinfeld
  • Jessica Simpson (born 1980), American pop singer and actress
  • Jessica Sklar (born 1973), American mathematician
  • Jessica Tandy (1909–1994), English-American actress who won an Academy Award for her role in "Driving Miss Daisy"
  • Jessica Upshaw (1959–2013), American politician and lawyer
  • Jessica Walter (1941–2021), American actress, known for her role as Lucille Bluth in "Arrested Development"
  • Jessica Zhu (born 1986), Chinese-American pianist

Fictional Jessicas

  • Lady Jessica, a character in the "Dune" science fiction novels
  • Jessica Davis, a character in the novel and Netflix series "13 Reasons Why"
  • Jessica Day, the main character in the sitcom "New Girl"
  • Jessica Fletcher, the main character in the TV mystery series "Murder, She Wrote"
  • Jessica Jones, a superhero in the Marvel Universe
  • Jessica Lovejoy, a character in the television series "The Simpsons"
  • Jessica Rabbit, the human wife of Roger Rabbit in the film "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?"

More Baby Names

Still searching for the perfect baby name? Check out these related baby name lists for even more options:

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Article Sources
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  1. Social Security Administration. Popular Baby Names.