Definition of jest in English:


Line breaks: jest
Pronunciation: /dʒɛst


1A thing said or done for amusement; a joke: he laughed uproariously at his own jest [mass noun]: it was said in jest
More example sentences
  • Quebec never made demands to the federal government in jest or with flippant jokes.
  • He often said that in jest, and Kat joked about it with him.
  • In jest or not, this is not particularly sporting if you ask me.
joke, witticism, funny remark, gag, quip, sally, pun, play on words; Frenchbon motrepartee, banterprank, joke, practical joke, piece of mischief, hoax, trick, jape
informal leg-pull, put-on, lark
North American informal dido
in fun, as a joke, tongue in cheek, playfully, jokingly, light-heartedly, facetiously, flippantly, frivolously, for a laugh; to tease, teasingly, banteringly, whimsically
1.1 archaic An object of derision: lowly virtue is the jest of fools


[no object] Back to top  
Speak in a joking way: you jest, surely?
More example sentences
  • Mocking a few for not knowing the band's hometown heroes the MC5, the Suicide Machines joked and jested throughout a powerful (but disturbingly short) set.
  • I sipped my ale, and wondered what if anything the two men had spoken of while I jested with Hildfleda.
  • ‘Tonight shows my sense of fortitude and courage,’ he jested.
joke, crack, quip, gag, sally, pun; tell jokes, crack jokes, banter
informal wisecrack
fool, fool about/around, play a prank, play a practical joke, tease, hoax
informal kid, wind up, have on, pull someone's leg, make a monkey out of
North American informal pull someone's chain, fun, shuck


late Middle English: from earlier gest, from Old French geste, from Latin gesta 'actions, exploits', from gerere 'do'. The original sense was 'heroic deed', hence 'a narrative of such deeds'; later the term denoted an idle tale, hence a joke.



adjective & noun
More example sentences
  • ‘Oh,’ his friend replied in a jesting tone, ‘Henry the bookworm is wondering?’
  • Kiyone grinned, but it wasn't a grin of jesting, it was more of the kind that goes along with malicious intent.
  • There is, however, no other trace in the book of a jesting spirit at work.


More example sentences
  • Gemma was jestingly calling me ‘Meaghan Morris’.
  • She nudged me jestingly in the arm with her elbow.
  • ‘Don't get us wrong: We love the drafty old building,’ The Onion jestingly quoted Hastert saying.

Definition of jest in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove adverts and access premium resources

Word of the day hypnopompic
Pronunciation: ˌhɪpnə(ʊ)ˈpɒmpɪk
relating to the state immediately preceding waking up