Essie is most likely a diminutive of Estelle. Estelle is a French variant of Stella. Stella originates in Latin language and means "like a star". As a feminine given name it has been used since the 19th century even though it was popularized in the 16th century already by Sir Philip Sidney in his sonnet collection Astrophel and Stella. Until today, Stella remains a popular name in the United States. Estelle was most likely popularized by Charles Dickens in his novel Great Expectations.