Definition of jest in English:

jest

noun

  • 1A thing said or done for amusement; a joke.

    ‘he laughed uproariously at his own jest’
    mass noun ‘it was said in jest’
    • ‘At the same time, however, he admits, ‘a lot of truth is said in jest.’’
    • ‘Keith, aged 33, said: ‘A year later I asked her to marry me in jest and she said yes, so I asked her properly… after a few beers.’’
    • ‘Shouldn't we all be nervous whenever we hear, even in jest, the word ‘czar’ being bandied about?’
    • ‘He often said that in jest, and Kat joked about it with him.’
    • ‘In jest, he tells Jake he shouldn't talk about his injury, making it a mystery like Henry's bicycle.’
    • ‘What made the visit unusual was that along with the rest of the audience, the President laughed freely in response to the jokes and jests.’
    • ‘‘No, I am not okay,’ replied Ferry, perhaps only half in jest, ‘I look absolutely awful in that picture.’’
    • ‘I was accused, only partly in jest, of being a Communist.’
    • ‘Mr. Tomlinson said that his comment was in jest and that he couldn't imagine how remarks at ‘a fun occasion’ were taken the wrong way.’
    • ‘In jest, my husband reminds me just how expensive each Christmas card is every year.’
    • ‘I said this in jest but should have known better.’
    • ‘‘Optimism,’ he writes, paraphrasing Marx in jest, ‘is the Opium of the people!’’
    • ‘Quebec never made demands to the federal government in jest or with flippant jokes.’
    • ‘He scowled, then, thinking back on their jests and jokes with each other.’
    • ‘‘Saving the world is now a daily chore,’ Bono joked to The New York Times - even in jest, it's a completely ridiculous thing to say.’
    • ‘These last two are severe sins within an Islamic worldview, and accusing others of having committed them - even in jest - is considered unacceptable.’
    • ‘I think it was a joke, but many a true word is said in jest.’
    • ‘Sure, one could say that the sexual shirts are an exaggeration - that they should be read in jest - but they still insinuate where your value lies.’
    • ‘In jest or not, this is not particularly sporting if you ask me.’
    • ‘They tell jokes, they make jests, they perform plays.’
    joke, witticism, funny remark, gag, quip, sally, pun, play on words
    prank, joke, practical joke, piece of mischief, hoax, trick, jape
    in fun, as a joke, tongue in cheek, playfully, jokingly, light-heartedly, facetiously, flippantly, frivolously, for a laugh
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1archaic An object of derision.
      ‘lowly virtue is the jest of fools’

verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • Speak in a joking way.

    ‘you jest, surely?’
    • ‘‘Why Ben,’ he jested, ‘it's been a while since I've seen your chin so white!’’
    • ‘‘Just wait until you see him,’ she slowly jested.’
    • ‘Once they reached the top of the stairs, Lily jested, ‘Antsy, are we?’’
    • ‘Mocking a few for not knowing the band's hometown heroes the MC5, the Suicide Machines joked and jested throughout a powerful (but disturbingly short) set.’
    • ‘‘How about Langstroth pull-through’, I jested.’
    • ‘He made mention of the loud Canadian ‘blokes’ who crudely jested and taunted him from across a busy downtown street.’
    • ‘‘Maybe he was visited by a phantom,’ someone jested.’
    • ‘‘I try to write songs that people can find something to relate to - I'm more Neil Young than Will Young,’ he jested.’
    • ‘With Shanza's hand still clasped in his hold, Zethus jested wryly, ‘Too bad I'm not a palm reader.’’
    • ‘I sipped my ale, and wondered what if anything the two men had spoken of while I jested with Hildfleda.’
    • ‘‘C'mon, my treat,’ Nocte jested, and won her over.’
    • ‘‘You youngsters wear me out,’ she jested affably.’
    • ‘‘Tell Trace there won't be any need to thank me,’ she jested.’
    • ‘He jested that there was no way she could manage both events, as it would take about three weeks to make the journey on a Virgin train.’
    • ‘‘Tonight shows my sense of fortitude and courage,’ he jested.’
    • ‘‘You haven't seen anything, yet,’ Ikeda jested back playfully.’
    • ‘Indeed, the skipper jested with his manager about being forced to travel with the squad to the Valley.’
    • ‘‘Yes,’ she jested, but she kissed him again: this time longer.’
    • ‘‘Someone,’ she jested, playing with her buckles on her leather jacket, ‘who knows you well.’’
    • ‘‘If you weren't cousins I would question your motives for taking this one away,’ he jested to Ashton about Grace.’
    joke, crack, quip, gag, sally, pun
    fool, fool about, fool around, play a prank, play a practical joke, tease, hoax
    View synonyms

Origin

Late Middle English: from earlier gest, from Old French geste, from Latin gesta ‘actions, exploits’, from gerere ‘do’. The original sense was ‘heroic deed’, hence ‘a narrative of such deeds’; later the term denoted an idle tale, hence a joke.

Pronunciation

jest

/dʒɛst/