One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A short leather strap that is fastened around each leg of a hawk, usually also having a ring or swivel to which a leash may be attached.
- ‘It has leather jesses on its legs, which are used by falconers and people who take the birds out to hunt.’
- ‘He needs no jesses, as he will not accept it and does not need training.’
- ‘Birds were tethered by jesses to Astroturf-covered perches.’
- ‘Ajan is away almost before I have opened my hand to free her jesses from my fingers.’
- ‘She rarely dreamed, but she did that night, fretful visions of tight-held jesses and the clipping of wings.’
Put jesses on (a hawk).
Middle English: from Old French ges, based on Latin jactus ‘a throw’, from jacere ‘to throw’.
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