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jape

verb \ ˈjāp \

Definition of jape

japed; japing
: to say or do something jokingly or mockingly
: to make mocking fun of

japer

play \ˈjā-pər\ noun

japery

play \ˈjā-p(ə-)rē\ noun

jape was our Word of the Day on 08/27/2013. Hear the podcast!

Examples of jape in a Sentence

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

Did You Know?

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.

Origin and Etymology of jape

Middle English

jape Synonyms

Phrases

crack wise;


2

jape

noun

Definition of jape

: 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

Examples of jape in a Sentence

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

Recent Examples of jape from the Web

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

14th century

in the meaning defined above

See Words from the same year
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