jackanapes

noun
jack·​a·​napes | \ ˈja-kə-ˌnāps How to pronounce jackanapes (audio) \

Definition of jackanapes

1a : an impudent or conceited fellow
b : a saucy or mischievous child
2 : monkey, ape

Did You Know?

William de la Pole, the Duke of Suffolk, was a well-regarded soldier and commander during the Hundred Years' War. It was during his dukedom (1448-1450), however, that England lost its possessions in northern France, and his popularity consequently suffered. The coat of arms for de la Pole's family sported an image of a collar and chain that, at the time, was commonly used for leashing pet monkeys, then known as "jackanapes" (a word whose precise origin is uncertain). By association, people gave the Duke the nickname "Jack Napis," and soon "jackanapes" took on a life of its own as a word for an impudent person and, later, a misbehaving child.

First Known Use of jackanapes

circa 1529, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for jackanapes

Middle English Jack Napis, nickname for William de la Pole †1450 duke of Suffolk

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The first known use of jackanapes was circa 1529

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Cite this Entry

“Jackanapes.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jackanapes. Accessed 4 Dec. 2020.

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