Definition of jest in English:



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

    ‘there are jests about administrative gaffes’
    [mass noun] ‘it was said in jest’
    • ‘They tell jokes, they make jests, they perform plays.’
    • ‘These last two are severe sins within an Islamic worldview, and accusing others of having committed them - even in jest - is considered unacceptable.’
    • ‘In jest, he tells Jake he shouldn't talk about his injury, making it a mystery like Henry's bicycle.’
    • ‘I think it was a joke, but many a true word is said in jest.’
    • ‘‘Optimism,’ he writes, paraphrasing Marx in jest, ‘is the Opium of the people!’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘No, I am not okay,’ replied Ferry, perhaps only half in jest, ‘I look absolutely awful in that picture.’’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Quebec never made demands to the federal government in jest or with flippant jokes.’
    • ‘He often said that in jest, and Kat joked about it with him.’
    • ‘I said this in jest but should have known better.’
    • ‘‘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.’
    • ‘At the same time, however, he admits, ‘a lot of truth is said in jest.’’
    • ‘In jest or not, this is not particularly sporting if you ask me.’
    • ‘He scowled, then, thinking back on their jests and jokes with each other.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Shouldn't we all be nervous whenever we hear, even in jest, the word ‘czar’ being bandied about?’
    • ‘I was accused, only partly in jest, of being a Communist.’
    • ‘In jest, my husband reminds me just how expensive each Christmas card is every year.’
    in fun, as a joke, tongue in cheek, playfully, jokingly, light-heartedly, facetiously, flippantly, frivolously, for a laugh
    to tease, teasingly, banteringly, whimsically
    prank, joke, practical joke, piece of mischief, hoax, trick, jape
    joke, witticism, funny remark, gag, quip, sally, pun, play on words
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    1. 1.1archaic An object of derision.
      ‘lowly virtue is the jest of fools’


  • Speak or act in a joking manner.

    ‘you jest, surely?’
    [with direct speech] ‘“I don't know about maturing,” jests William’
    • ‘‘C'mon, my treat,’ Nocte jested, and won her over.’
    • ‘‘Just wait until you see him,’ she slowly jested.’
    • ‘‘Someone,’ she jested, playing with her buckles on her leather jacket, ‘who knows you well.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I sipped my ale, and wondered what if anything the two men had spoken of while I jested with Hildfleda.’
    • ‘‘How about Langstroth pull-through’, I jested.’
    • ‘‘Yes,’ she jested, but she kissed him again: this time longer.’
    • ‘‘Maybe he was visited by a phantom,’ someone jested.’
    • ‘He made mention of the loud Canadian ‘blokes’ who crudely jested and taunted him from across a busy downtown street.’
    • ‘‘Why Ben,’ he jested, ‘it's been a while since I've seen your chin so white!’’
    • ‘‘Tonight shows my sense of fortitude and courage,’ he jested.’
    • ‘‘Tell Trace there won't be any need to thank me,’ she jested.’
    • ‘Once they reached the top of the stairs, Lily jested, ‘Antsy, are we?’’
    • ‘‘You haven't seen anything, yet,’ Ikeda jested back playfully.’
    • ‘‘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.’’
    • ‘‘If you weren't cousins I would question your motives for taking this one away,’ he jested to Ashton about Grace.’
    • ‘Indeed, the skipper jested with his manager about being forced to travel with the squad to the Valley.’
    • ‘‘You youngsters wear me out,’ she jested affably.’
    • ‘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.’
    fool, fool about, fool around, play a prank, play a practical joke, tease, hoax
    joke, crack, quip, gag, sally, pun
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Late Middle English: from earlier gest, from Old French geste, from Latin gesta actions, exploits from gerere do The original sense was exploit, heroic deed hence a narrative of such deeds (originally in verse); later the term denoted an idle tale, hence a joke (mid 16th century).