Jest (?), n. [OE. jeste, geste, deed, action, story, tale, OF. geste, LL. gesta, orig., exploits, neut. pl. from L. gestus, p. p. of gerere to bear, carry, accomplish, perform; perh. orig., to make to come, bring, and perh. akin to E. come. Cf. Gest a deed, Register, n.]

1.

A deed; an action; a gest.

[Obs.]

The jests or actions of princes. Sir T. Elyot.

2.

A mask; a pageant; an interlude.

[Obs.]

Nares.

He promised us, in honor of our guest, To grace our banquet with some pompous jest. Kyd.

3.

Something done or said in order to amuse; a joke; a witticism; a jocose or sportive remark or phrase. See Synonyms under Jest, v. i.

I must be sad . . . smile at no man's jests. Shak.

The Right Honorable gentleman is indebted to his memory for his jests, and to his imagination for his facts. Sheridan.

4.

The object of laughter or sport; a laughingstock.

Then let me be your jest; I deserve it. Shak.

In jest, for mere sport or diversion; not in truth and reality; not in earnest.

And given in earnest what I begged in jest. Shak.

-- Jest book, a book containing a collection of jests, jokes, and amusing anecdotes; a Joe Miller.

 

© Webster 1913.


Jest, v. i. [imp. & p. p. Jested; p. pr. & vb. n. Jesting.]

1.

To take part in a merrymaking; -- especially, to act in a mask or interlude.

[Obs.]

Shak.

2.

To make merriment by words or actions; to joke; to make light of anything.

He jests at scars that never felt a wound. Shak.

Syn. -- To joke; sport; rally. -- To Jest, Joke. One jests in order to make others laugh; one jokes to please himself. A jest is usually at the expense of another, and is often ill-natured; a joke is a sportive sally designed to promote good humor without wounding the feelings of its object. "Jests are, therefore, seldom harmless; jokes frequently allowable. The most serious subject may be degraded by being turned into a jest."

Crabb.

 

© Webster 1913.

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