noun jack·a·napes \ˈja-kə-ˌnāps\

Definition of jackanapes

  1. 1a :  an impudent or conceited fellowb :  a saucy or mischievous child

  2. 2 :  monkey, ape

jackanapes was our Word of the Day on 03/24/2015. Hear the podcast!

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.

Origin and Etymology of jackanapes

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

First Known Use: 1526

Seen and Heard

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to cast off or become cast off

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