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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Jess \Jess\, n.; pl. Jesses. [OF. gies, giez, prop. pl. of giet, get, jet, F. jet, a throwing, jess. See Jet a shooting forth.] (falconry) A short strap of leather or silk secured round the leg of a hawk, to which the leash or line, wrapped round the falconer's hand, was attached when used. See Illust. of Falcon. [1913 Webster] Like a hawk, which feeling freed From bells and jesses which did let her flight. --Spenser. [1913 Webster]