Bess: Meaning, Popularity, Origin of Baby Name Bess

Bess

Pronunciation: BEHS (key)

Origin of the name Bess:

A short form of Elizabeth (God is my oath), Bess is also commonly bestowed as an independent given name. It gained great popularity from its association with Queen Elizabeth I (1533 - 1603), who was known as Good Queen Bess.

From A World of Baby Names by Teresa Norman. Buy the book

NameVoyager

US Popularity of Bess Over Time

Sister & Brother Names

Know a Bess? What are her siblings named?

Contribute your knowledge to the name Bess

Comments and insights on the name Bess: | Edit
Share what you know!
Personal experiences with the name Bess: | Edit

While my legal first name is Elizabeth, my parents chose the nickname "Bess" at birth. While it was a tricky nickname as a kid (I still hate being called "Bessie" as in "Bessie the cow"), I love the uniqueness of the name as an adult. And really, I could have been a "Beth" and I would have still been easy to pick on - it was not the name but the shy nature of the kid!

The one real downside I have experienced with the nickname is constantly having to correct people who assume it's "Beth" on first meeting me. I don't even bother on the phone, I can't even tell if someone is saying it wrong on the phone half of the time. The common mistake is understandable, I've only met one other person with the name "Bess" who wasn't at least 50 years older than me.

Nicknames for Bess: | Edit

Bessie, Bessy

Meanings and history of the name Bess: | Edit

(short for Elizabeth) meaning "my God is an oath" or perhaps "my God is abundance".

Famous real-life people named Bess: | Edit

Bess Truman, First Lady and wife of Harry Truman
Bess Armstrong, actress
Bessie Smith, blues singer
Bess Raleigh, wife of Sir Walter Raleigh and lady-in-waiting to another "Bess" namely Queen Elizabeth 1
Bess of Hardwick, the 3rd surviving daughter of John Hardwicke in Derbyshire
Bess Foster, close friend of Georgiana Canvendish, Duchess of Deveonshire and later second wife to William Canvendish, 5th Duke of Devonshire
Bess Flowers, actress

Bess in song, story & screen: | Edit

Bess Lawrence, daughter of Amy and Laurie in Louisa May Alcott "Jo's Boys".
Bess Marvin, best friend of amateur slueth Nancy Drew in the novels about the young detective.

No Way
Definitely
No Way
Definitely
No Way
Definitely
No Way
Definitely
No Way
Definitely
No Way
Definitely
No Way
Definitely
77
No Way
Definitely

Smart?

62
No Way
Definitely

Sexy?

77
No Way
Definitely

Friendly?

71
No Way
Definitely

Creative?

71
No Way
Definitely

Strong?

62
No Way
Definitely

Young?

68
No Way
Definitely

Sophisticated?