jape

verb
\ˈjāp \
japed; japing

Definition of jape 

(Entry 1 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to say or do something jokingly or mockingly

transitive verb

: to make mocking fun of

jape

noun

Definition of jape (Entry 2 of 2)

: something designed to arouse amusement or laughter: such as

a : gibe

b : an amusing literary or dramatic production a jape that would be okay as a sophomore class play— John Simon

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Other Words from jape

Verb

japer \ˈjā-pər \ noun
japery \ˈjā-p(ə-)rē \ noun

Did You Know?

Verb

Jape mysteriously appeared in the English language during the 14th century and was adopted by literary folks, such as Geoffrey Chaucer, as a word meaning both "to trick" and "to jeer." It was also used, however, with the meanings "to seduce (someone)" or "to have sexual intercourse." This ambiguity forced writers to think twice about using "jape" in fear of misinterpretation. Ultimately, the word was avoided by respectable writers, and by the end of the 16th century it had fallen into disuse. But this four-letter word was not completely forgotten. It got its second chance when 19th-century writers began using its "jeer" meaning again - leaving its carnal meaning in oblivion.

Examples of jape in a Sentence

Verb

the characters in Oscar Wilde's plays jape with a readiness and sophistication that is rarely, if ever, encountered in real life

Noun

by the standards of today's no-holds-barred satire, Will Rogers' homespun japes about politicians seem awfully gentle

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Bankruptcy jape Elon Musk sought to lighten the mood after one of the worst weeks for Tesla Inc. in its 15-year history with a series of April Fool’s Day tweets about bankruptcy. Bloomberg.com, "Five Things You Need to Know to Start Your Day," 2 Apr. 2018 The latter was a jape; the former was a cautionary howl. Peter Rainer, The Christian Science Monitor, "4 movies you should check out this month," 30 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'jape.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of jape

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for jape

Verb

Middle English

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Time Traveler for jape

The first known use of jape was in the 14th century

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