Definition of jest noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//dʒest//
; NAmE NAmE//dʒest//
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  • (old-fashioned or formal) something said or done to amuse people synonym joke He laughed uproariously at his own jest.
  • Word Originlate 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 cent.).Idioms as a joke The remark was made half in jest. ‘Many a true word is spoken in jest,’ thought Rosie (= people often say things as a joke that are actually true).
    See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: jest

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