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[jes-ter] /ˈdʒɛs tər/
a person who is given to witticisms, jokes, and pranks.
a professional fool or clown, especially at a medieval court.
Origin of jester
First recorded in 1325-75, jester is from the Middle English word gester. See gest, -er1 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for jester
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • The next day at the rising of the moon, as had been agreed, the jester ordered his detachment to set out.

    The Tiger-Slayer Gustave Aimard
  • He condescended, indeed, to play the part of jester to the Athenian tyrant.

    Museum of Antiquity L. W. Yaggy
  • I don't envy the jester his part—far from it; but I thank you for the somewhat strange homage which you have done us.

  • This same skull, sir, was Yorick's skull, the king's jester.

    Hamlet William Shakespeare
  • "It is a matter of importance," said the jester, in a low voice.

    In The Palace Of The King F. Marion Crawford
  • He was called the king's jester, or, more commonly, the fool.

    Charles I Jacob Abbott
  • It was that jester yesterday when we changed our coats that threw a dust of disguise between you and us.

    Three Wonder Plays Lady I. A. Gregory
  • The king was eavesdropping, you say, and yet spared the jester?

    Under the Rose Frederic Stewart Isham
  • Determinedly the jester struggled, the perspiration standing on his brow in beads.

    Under the Rose Frederic Stewart Isham
British Dictionary definitions for jester


a professional clown employed by a king or nobleman, esp at courts during the Middle Ages
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 jester

mid-14c., jestour (Anglo-Latin), late 14c., gestour "a minstrel, professional reciter of romances," agent noun from gesten "recite a tale," which was a jester's original function (see jest). Sense of "buffoon in a prince's court" is from c.1500.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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