1. a joke or witty remark; witticism.
  2. a bantering remark; a piece of good-natured ridicule; taunt.
  3. sport or fun: to speak half in jest, half in earnest.
  4. the object of laughter, sport, or mockery; laughing-stock.
  5. Obsolete. an exploit.Compare gest.
verb (used without object)
  1. to speak in a playful, humorous, or facetious way; joke.
  2. to speak or act in mere sport, rather than in earnest; trifle (often followed by with): Please don't jest with me.
  3. to utter derisive speeches; gibe or scoff.
verb (used with object)
  1. to deride or joke at; banter.

Origin of jest

1250–1300; Middle English; variant spelling of gest
Related formsjest·ful, adjectivejest·ing·ly, adverbout·jest, verb (used with object)un·jest·ing, adjectiveun·jest·ing·ly, adverb
Can be confusedgist jest just

Synonyms for jest

1. quip. See joke. 2. jape, gibe. 4. butt. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for jestful

Historical Examples of jestful

British Dictionary definitions for jestful


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

Word Origin and History for jestful



early 13c., geste, "narrative of exploits," from Old French geste "action, exploit," from Latin gesta "deeds," neuter plural of gestus, past participle of gerere "to carry, behave, act, perform" (see gest). Sense descended through "idle tale" (late 15c.) to "mocking speech, raillery" (1540s) to "joke" (1550s).



1520s, "to speak in a trifling manner;" 1550s, "to joke," from Middle English gesten "recite a tale" (late 14c.), from geste (see jest (n.)). Sense of "to speak in a trifling manner" is from 1520s. Related: Jested; jesting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper