Quantcast
Merriam-Webster Logo
  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
  • Medical
  • Scrabble
  • Spanish Central
  • Learner's Dictionary

jest

play
noun \ˈjest\

Simple Definition of jest

  • : something said or done to cause laughter

Full Definition of jest

  1. 1 :  an utterance (as a jeer or quip) intended to be taken as mockery or humor

  2. 2 a :  prank b :  a ludicrous circumstance or incident

  3. 3 a :  a frivolous mood or manner <spoken in jest> b :  gaiety and merriment

  4. 4 :  laughingstock

jest verb

Examples of jest

  1. It was a harmless jest.

  2. <you should know that our teasing was done entirely in jest>



Origin of jest

Middle English geste idle tale, story in verse, from Anglo-French, deed, action, narrative, from Latin gesta deeds, from neuter plural of gestus, past participle of gerere to bear, wage


First Known Use: circa 1548

Synonym Discussion of jest

fun, jest, sport, game, play mean action or speech that provides amusement or arouses laughter. fun usually implies laughter or gaiety but may imply merely a lack of serious or ulterior purpose <played cards just for fun>. jest implies lack of earnestness and may suggest a hoaxing or teasing <hurt by remarks said only in jest>. sport applies especially to the arousing of laughter against someone <teasing begun in sport led to anger>. game is close to sport, and often stresses mischievous or malicious fun <made game of their poor relations>. play stresses the opposition to earnest without implying any malice or mischief <pretended to strangle his brother in play>.



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up jest? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

February 10, 2016

to put in good humor

Get Word of the Day daily email!

WORD GAMES

Take a 3-minute break and test your skills!

image1037863653

Which of the following refers to thin, bending ice, or to the act of running over such ice?

pince-nez spindrift kittly-benders duvet
Name That Thing

10 quick questions: hear them, spell them, and see how your skills compare to the crowd.

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ