Definition of jest in English:

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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;
French bon mot
informal crack, wisecrack, one-liner, funny, comeback
repartee, banter
prank, 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]
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



Pronunciation: /ˈdʒɛstɪŋ/
adjective& noun
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.


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.


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.

  • In the Middle Ages a jest was not a joke but a notable exploit. It was spelled gest, and came from the Latin word gesta ‘actions, exploits’. It has the same root as gesture (Late Middle English). Jest came to be used for a narrative of someone's deeds, and from that became a word for ‘an idle story’ and then ‘a joke’.

Words that rhyme with jest

abreast, arrest, attest, beau geste, behest, bequest, best, blessed, blest, breast, Brest, Bucharest, Budapest, celeste, chest, contest, crest, digest, divest, guest, hest, infest, ingest, lest, Midwest, molest, nest, northwest, pest, prestressed, protest, quest, rest, self-addressed, self-confessed, self-possessed, southwest, suggest, test, Trieste, unaddressed, unexpressed, unimpressed, unpressed, unstressed, vest, west, wrest, zest

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Line breaks: jest

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