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[jest] /dʒɛst/
a joke or witty remark; witticism.
a bantering remark; a piece of good-natured ridicule; taunt.
sport or fun:
to speak half in jest, half in earnest.
the object of laughter, sport, or mockery; laughing-stock.
Obsolete. an exploit.
Compare gest.
verb (used without object)
to speak in a playful, humorous, or facetious way; joke.
to speak or act in mere sport, rather than in earnest; trifle (often followed by with):
Please don't jest with me.
to utter derisive speeches; gibe or scoff.
verb (used with object)
to deride or joke at; banter.
Origin of jest
1250-1300; Middle English; variant spelling of gest
Related forms
jestful, adjective
jestingly, adverb
outjest, verb (used with object)
unjesting, adjective
unjestingly, adverb
Can be confused
gist, jest, just.
1. quip. See joke. 2. jape, gibe. 4. butt. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for jested
Historical Examples
  • Wilbur to her jested with venomous sarcasm at the expense of Lyman.

    The Wrong Twin Harry Leon Wilson
  • And all the time he laughed and jested as though he were in the highest spirits.

    The Hero William Somerset Maugham
  • They jested and laughed; and Henry Howard kissed away the tears that the happiness of the present caused his Geraldine to shed.

    Henry VIII And His Court Louise Muhlbach
  • The life could not be endured often, unless it were jested through.

    The Life of Mrs. Humphry Ward Janet Penrose Trevelyan
  • And so, as they went on their way, they jested and exchanged little tender speeches.

    The Emperor, Complete Georg Ebers
  • There is no doubt that Foote loved some of those he jested at.

  • He walked, he reasoned, he jested, in a way that argued the most perfect self-possession.

    Caleb Williams William Godwin
  • That is what people are saying nowadays: you yourself have jested to me about our privileges.

    Demos George Gissing
  • "Don't be in too big a hurry for Waterloo," jested Arkwright.

  • "Carry him off to Bagdad and chop off his head," Ryanne jested.

    The Carpet from Bagdad Harold MacGrath
British Dictionary definitions for jested


something done or said for amusement; joke
a frivolous mood or attitude; playfulness; fun: to act in jest
a jeer or taunt
an object of derision; laughing stock; butt
to act or speak in an amusing, teasing, or frivolous way; joke
to make fun of (a person or thing); scoff or mock
Derived Forms
jestful, adjective
jesting, adjective, noun
jestingly, adverb
Word Origin
C13: variant of gest
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for jested



early 13c., geste, "narrative of exploits," from Old French geste "action, exploit," from Latin gesta "deeds," neuter plural of gestus, past participle of gerere "to carry, behave, act, perform" (see gest). Sense descended through "idle tale" (late 15c.) to "mocking speech, raillery" (1540s) to "joke" (1550s).


1520s, "to speak in a trifling manner;" 1550s, "to joke," from Middle English gesten "recite a tale" (late 14c.), from geste (see jest (n.)). Sense of "to speak in a trifling manner" is from 1520s. Related: Jested; jesting.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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