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Bess is a short form of the forename Elizabeth. There are two main types of such shortenings: they are convenient for writing, e.g. in lists; or they are essentially spoken pet-names, and thus informal. (See Conventional abbreviations for forenames.)

Short form Long form Informal or written Other short forms Remarks
Bess Elizabeth Informal Bessy; Betty; Eliza; Libby; Lisa; Liz; Liza; Tetty Elsie, Elspeth, Isobel and others began as alternative forms of Elizabeth, but are now often used as names in their own right.
The spelling in many European languages is Elisabeth

There is a list of similar names at Conventional abbreviations for forenames, as well as the category:short names

Note that any informal form may be spelled in different ways. Notably, any spelling listed that ends in '-ie' may be written with the ending '-y', and vice versa.Queen Elizabeth I was known, as one of her nicknames, as Good Queen Bess.

The Brown Bess was the standard musket used in the British army for over a hundred years, from 1722 until 1838. It was a smooth bore flintlock.