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.]
A deed; an action; a gest.
The jests or actions of princes.
Sir T. Elyot.
A mask; a pageant; an interlude.
He promised us, in honor of our guest,
To grace our banquet with some pompous jest.
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.
The Right Honorable gentleman is indebted to his memory for his jests, and to his imagination for his facts.
The object of laughter or sport; a laughingstock.
Then let me be your jest; I deserve it.
In jest, for mere sport or diversion; not in truth and reality; not in earnest.
And given in earnest what I begged in jest.
-- 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.]
To take part in a merrymaking; -- especially, to act in a mask or interlude.
To make merriment by words or actions; to joke; to make light of anything.
He jests at scars that never felt a wound.
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."
© Webster 1913.