a short strap fastened around the leg of a hawk and attached to the leash.

verb (used with object)

to put jesses on (a hawk).

Origin of jess

1300–50; Middle English ges < Old French ges, gez, getz (nominative) (get oblique > French jet; cf. jet1) ≪ Latin jactus a throwing, equivalent to jac(ere) to throw + -tus suffix of v. action




the father of David. I Sam. 16.
a male given name: from a Hebrew word meaning “God exists.”




a male or female given name, form of Jesse, Jessie, or Jessica. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for jesses

Historical Examples of jesses

  • Having seen the cormorants, they begin tugging excitedly at their jesses.

    Jungle Folk

    Douglas Dewar

  • The jesses were of crimson and yellow silk, its legs fancifully adorned with little bells fastened by rings of leather.

  • Dr. Hedge's clear and chiselled statements cut all the jesses of our thoughts, and they rise unhooded into his still air.

  • The one that held the falcon was covered with an embroidered leather glove, but the other was bare, holding a set of jesses.

  • The falconer of war had unhooded his new brood of hawks and they mounted up, free of bells and jesses.

    Aces Up

    Covington Clarke

British Dictionary definitions for jesses



a short leather strap, one end of which is permanently attached to the leg of a hawk or falcon while the other can be attached to a leash


(tr) to put jesses on (a hawk or falcon)
Derived Formsjessed, adjective

Word Origin for jess

C14: from Old French ges, from Latin jactus a throw, from jacere to throw



Old Testament the father of David (I Samuel 16)
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for jesses


masc. proper name, biblical father of David, from Latin, from Greek Iessai, from Hebrew Yishay, of unknown origin.



leg-strap used in hawking and falconry, mid-14c., from Old French jes "straps fastened round the legs of a falcon," plural of jet, literally "cast, throw," from Latin iactus "a throw, cast," from iacere (see jet (v.)). Related: Jesses.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper