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. 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 2000, a nearly quarter-century 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 Jessica ranking #399 in 2020.

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, American actress known for her role in the TV series "Dark Angel"
  • Jessica Biel, American actress and model who rose to prominence in the TV series "7th Heaven"
  • Jessica Capshaw, American actress known for her role in "Grey’s Anatomy"
  • Jessica Chastain, American actress known for her roles in "The Help" and "Zero Dark Thirty"
  • Jessica Cornish, British singer-songwriter known as Jessie J
  • Jess Glynne, English singer-songwriter
  • Jessica Lange, American actress who won Academy Awards for her roles in "Tootsie" and "Blue Sky"
  • Jessica McClure, known in the media as “Baby Jessica,” fell into a backyard well in 1987 and was subsequently rescued
  • Jessica Meir, American astronaut who participated in the first all-female spacewalk
  • Jessica Seinfeld, American author and philanthropist, wife of the comedian Jerry Seinfeld
  • Jessica Simpson, American pop singer and actress
  • Jessica Sklar, 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, 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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2 Sources
Verywell Family uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. Social Security Administration. Get Ready for Baby: Popularity of a Name. Published 2021.

  2. Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Official Academy Awards Database