[ jest ]
/ dʒɛst /
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See synonyms for: jest / jesting on Thesaurus.com

verb (used without object)
verb (used with object)
to deride or joke at; banter.
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Which form is used to state an obligation or duty someone has?

Origin of jest

1250–1300; Middle English; variant spelling of gest

synonym study for jest

1. See joke.



gist, jest , just
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does jest mean?

A jest is a joke, a witty remark, or some kind of action intended to be funny.

When used as a noun, jest can also mean a taunt or jeer, as in Don’t allow his jests to upset you.  

Jest can also be used as a verb meaning to joke around or do something intended to be funny, as in I know you like to jest, but try to be serious this one time. 

The word is most commonly used in the phrase in jest, meaning as a joke, as in I said that in jest—please don’t take it seriously. 

Claiming to have said something in jest is often seen as an excuse intended to avoid responsibility for having offended someone with one’s comments. In fact, there is even an expression that relates to this: “Many a true word is spoken in jest.” This means that when people say they are “only joking” about something, they are probably saying what they really mean.

Example: My comments were offered in jest, but I can understand how they could have offended some people.

Where does jest come from?

The first records of the word jest come from the 1200s. It comes from Middle English and is a variant spelling of the word gest, which means “an exploit” comes from the Latin verb gerere, meaning “to perform.”

The most famous use of jest in all of literature is perhaps in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, in the scene in which Hamlet is holding the skull of the man who was once the king’s jester, Yorick. Hamlet says, “Alas, poor Yorick! I knew him, Horatio, a fellow of infinite jest, of most excellent fancy.” By describing Yorick as a man of “infinite jest,” Hamlet means Yorick never ran out of jokes or ways to make people laugh. (The title of David Foster Wallace’s novel Infinite Jest is a reference to this line.)

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What are some other forms related to jest?

  • jestful (adjective)
  • jestingly (adverb)
  • outjest (verb)
  • unjesting (adjective)
  • unjestingly (adverb)

What are some synonyms for jest?

What are some words that share a root or word element with jest

What are some words that often get used in discussing jest?

How is jest used in real life?

Today, jest is perhaps most commonly used in the phrase in jest.



Try using jest!

Which of the following words is NOT a synonym of jest?

A. joke
B. kid
C. compliment
D. quip

How to use jest in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for jest

/ (dʒɛst) /

something done or said for amusement; joke
a frivolous mood or attitude; playfulness; funto act in jest
a jeer or taunt
an object of derision; laughing stock; butt
to act or speak in an amusing, teasing, or frivolous way; joke
to make fun of (a person or thing); scoff or mock

Derived forms of jest

jestful, adjectivejesting, adjective, nounjestingly, adverb

Word Origin for jest

C13: variant of gest
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