verb (used without object)

verb (used with object)

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. 2019

Related Words for jesting

humor, joking, wit

Examples from the Web for jesting

Historical Examples of jesting

  • She knew that this jesting choice would have serious import.


    William J. Locke

  • Daisy laughed gayly at recollection of the London woman's jesting.

    In the Valley

    Harold Frederic

  • Besides, they were very long, which indicated that he was not jesting.

    The Rock of Chickamauga

    Joseph A. Altsheler

  • Some of his readers complain that they often do not know whether he is serious or jesting.

    Samuel Butler: A Sketch

    Henry Festing Jones

  • Macquart was in a jesting mood, glowing with wild exultation.

British Dictionary definitions for jesting



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 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 jesting



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