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[jak-uh-neyps] /ˈdʒæk əˌneɪps/
an impertinent, presumptuous person, especially a young man; whippersnapper.
an impudent, mischievous child.
Archaic. an ape or monkey.
Origin of jackanapes
late Middle English
1400-50; late Middle English Jakken-apes, literally, jack (i.e., man) of the ape, nickname of William de la Pole (1396-1450), Duke of Suffolk, whose badge was an ape's clog and chain Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for jackanapes
Historical Examples
  • That if jackanapes and Lollo were not burdened with him they would undoubtedly escape.

    Jackanapes Juliana Horatio Ewing
  • "You're too tall for Lollo, I think," said jackanapes, measuring his grandfather with his eye.

    Jackanapes Juliana Horatio Ewing
  • jackanapes had had the start of the Postman by nearly ten minutes.

    Jackanapes Juliana Horatio Ewing
  • Tony was not enterprising, and jackanapes led him by the nose.

    Jackanapes Juliana Horatio Ewing
  • At the first opportunity jackanapes stole away again to the common.

    Jackanapes Juliana Horatio Ewing
  • What mischief could be foreseen, jackanapes promised to guard against.

    Jackanapes Juliana Horatio Ewing
  • That jackanapes' life was infinitely valuable, and his—Tony's—was not.

    Jackanapes Juliana Horatio Ewing
  • The girl with the beautiful eyebrows had married that French jackanapes after all.

    The Lady Doc

    Caroline Lockhart
  • You an officer, jackanapes; why we should want a cow on board to give you milk.

    Dick Cheveley W. H. G. Kingston
  • That jackanapes's life was infinitely valuable, and his—Tony's—was not; 4.

    Children's Literature Charles Madison Curry
British Dictionary definitions for jackanapes


a conceited impertinent person
a mischievous child
(archaic) a monkey
Word Origin
C16: variant of Jakken-apes, literally: Jack of the ape, nickname of William de la Pole (1396–1450), first Duke of Suffolk, whose badge showed an ape's ball and chain
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for jackanapes

mid-15c., "a monkey," also "an impertinent, conceited fellow;" apparently from Jack of Naples, but whether this is some specific personification or folk etymology of jack (n.) + ape is unknown. See note in OED.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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