• synonyms


verb (used without object), japed, jap·ing.
  1. to jest; joke; gibe.
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verb (used with object), japed, jap·ing.
  1. to mock or make fun of.
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  1. a joke; jest; quip.
  2. a trick or practical joke.
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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. 2018

Related Words for japes

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

Examples from the Web for japes

Historical Examples of japes

  • She had always her smile to the side and her japes, and she looked to the warld.


    Mary Johnston

  • The burgomaster, seeing that this day was the day for the fair of japes, would listen to them no longer.

    The Legend of Ulenspiegel

    Charles de Coster

  • Richard, offended with Bertran, gave him a flick on the ear and sent him to the devil with his japes.

  • The Pardoner was so ready to tell some 'mirth or japes' that the more decent folks in the company try to repress him.

British Dictionary definitions for japes


  1. a jest or joke
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  1. to joke or jest (about)
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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 japes



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.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper