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[jeyp] /dʒeɪp/
verb (used without object), japed, japing.
to jest; joke; gibe.
verb (used with object), japed, japing.
to mock or make fun of.
a joke; jest; quip.
a trick or practical joke.
Origin of jape
1300-50; Middle English japen, perhaps < Old French jap(p)er to bark, of imitative orig.
Related forms
japer, noun
japery, noun
japingly, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for jape
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • And when I say this, I do jape with words, and may hap ye understond me not.

  • I'm goin' to jape a bit with our friend, a' la 'Molly' Fairburn.

    Stalky & Co. Rudyard Kipling
  • It made a new game for him, you see, amusing and rather flattering as well, the kind of a jape he was all too apt at.

  • Mr. Mackie, passing with his orange partner, had repeated his jape about the Ruthless Boaz.

    The Story of Louie Oliver Onions
  • Then for a moment we fell to jape and jesting; foolishly, for the Gods are always listening, and the Desert-Gods have long ears.

    The Leicestershires beyond Baghdad

    Edward John Thompson
  • Presently, when they heard him snoring, they began asking each other in whispers what jape they could play off on him.

    The Well of Saint Clare Anatole France
  • I am very sure he is your enemy,” Brilliana answered, sharply, “for he makes you his daily jape.

    The Lady of Loyalty House Justin Huntly McCarthy
  • And when this jape is told another day I shall be halden a daffe or a Cokenay.

British Dictionary definitions for jape


a jest or joke
to joke or jest (about)
Derived Forms
japer, noun
japery, noun
japingly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: perhaps from Old French japper to bark, yap, of imitative origin
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 jape

late 14c., "to trick, beguile, jilt," perhaps from Old French japer "to howl, bawl, scream," of echoic origin, or from Old French gaber "to mock, deride." Phonetics suits the former, but sense the latter explanation. Took on a slang sense mid-15c. of "have sex with," and disappeared from polite usage. Revived in harmless Middle English sense of "say or do something in jest" by Scott, etc. Related: Japed; japing.


early 14c., "trick, deceit," later "a joke, a jest" (late 14c.); see jape (v.). By mid-14c. it meant "frivolous pastime," by 1400, "bawdiness."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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