Definition of jape in US English:



  • A practical joke.

    ‘the childish jape of depositing a stink bomb in her locker’
    • ‘Ron suspected that she knew that he and Alan would be off for schoolboy japes and wizard pranks at any opportunity.’
    • ‘I particularly enjoyed the jolly japes and larks of Ping the Elastic Man, Tin-Can Tommy and Whoopee Hank the slapdash sheriff.’
    • ‘For those that got in, we drank away until the wee small hours and talked of old times, japes and larks.’
    • ‘The jury heard that the funsters had been given the keys to the house by their boss, Mr Ahern, on the assumption that he would be joining them soon for a summer of high octane japes.’
    • ‘If Elizabeth was the King's trusty squire, Margaret was his jester, winning his affection - as she learned to attract social attention - by jokes, japes and mischief.’
    • ‘There are lots of jokes and japes, as well as hard work.’
    • ‘Even Lincoln, despite typical undergraduate japes, is hardly a hotbed of gossip.’
    • ‘At school I sat in anticipation of the day that Mr Sutton would come in and tell us that everything we had learned so far had been an elaborate jape on his part, and the real stuff would now begin.’
    • ‘Well I'm sure they will be laughing if we pick him, but not because of his jolly japes.’
    • ‘Situated just up the road from the national stadium, there was fun, games and jolly japes, allowing young fans and those just young at heart to enjoy their own pre-match entertainment.’
    • ‘He meets Godfrey, Emilia's brother, and together they share a long series of wild japes and adventures.’
    • ‘If by this point you are not already delirious, fear not, even more jolly japes and lunacy are to follow.’
    • ‘There is no doubt that away from the microphone and jolly japes there was a complex and serious man.’
    • ‘Yes, there will be stunts - a previous jape involved sending three crisp-munching dwarves to disrupt a magazine industry conference - but there will also be his brand of dark, occasionally cruel humour.’
    • ‘Maria began to laugh jovially, as though this was all just a jape.’
    fun, amusement, amusing time, laugh, giggle, joke
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[no object]
  • Say or do something in jest or mockery.

    • ‘He was ruthless to his actors, muscling them about, japing them pitilessly, seeking a control over the filmic world that had eluded him offscreen.’
    • ‘What cheered me up further was the readiness of the coach drivers to jape and joke about with people who didn't understand English.’
    • ‘Tama Janowitz, the novelist, was among those who made speeches, and a tape was played showing the designer japing around with Debbie Harry, who was likewise present.’
    • ‘UPDATE I think I've been japed by this Amazon reviewer… My irony detector must be on the blink this morning.’
    • ‘I like the way they laugh and jape while queuing for baguettes, chips, burgers or whatever takes their fancy, and I like the way they stand and sit in small groups to take their lunch in good company.’
    teasing, good-humoured mockery, chaff, banter, ragging, badinage, japing
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Middle English: apparently combining the form of Old French japer ‘to yelp, yap’ with the sense of Old French gaber ‘to mock’.