verb (used without object), japed, jap·ing.

to jest; joke; gibe.

verb (used with object), japed, jap·ing.

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 formsjap·er, nounjap·er·y, nounjap·ing·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for jape

fool, quip, jeer, trick, jest, mock, prank

Examples from the Web for jape

Contemporary Examples of jape

Historical Examples of jape

  • 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 &amp; 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.

British Dictionary definitions for jape



a jest or joke


to joke or jest (about)
Derived Formsjaper, nounjapery, nounjapingly, adverb

Word Origin for jape

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

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