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See more synonyms for jester on Thesaurus.com
  1. a person who is given to witticisms, jokes, and pranks.
  2. a professional fool or clown, especially at a medieval court.
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Origin of jester

First recorded in 1325–75, jester is from the Middle English word gester. See gest, -er1
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

jokester, clown, fool, madcap, trickster, antic, harlequin, wag, actor, joker, wit, comedian, buffoon, comic, humorist, card, prankster, pantaloon, droll, quipster

Examples from the Web for jester

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • “I mean a man sad and grave as the monks of Beaulieu,” said the jester.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • My poor boy, he who is sitting in sackcloth and ashes needs no jester.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • I was just a jester and no more, and so, in a measure—though I blush to say it—I grew content.

    The Shame of Motley

    Raphael Sabatini

  • Yes (replied the jester), he has a striking likeness to that person and a heap of others.

  • Come on (the jester shouted), give us a tune upon the pipe, and let me show you how to dance.

British Dictionary definitions for jester


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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper