Word of The Day for Wednesday, January 26, 2011


jape (jeyp)

1. something designed to arouse amusement or laughter
2. a trick or practical joke

verb, intransitive
to say or do something jokingly or mockingly

verb, transitive
to make mocking fun of

japed past participle; japed past tense; japiing present participle; japes 3rd person singular present
japer, japery noun

c.1300, "to trick, beguile," perhaps from O.Fr. japer "to howl," of echoic origin, or from O.Fr. gaber "to mock, deride." Phonetics suits the former, but sense the latter explanation. Took on a slang sense mid-15c. of "have sex with," and disappeared from polite usage. Revived in harmless M.E. sense of "say or do something in jest" by Scott, etc.

Synonyms: fool, jeer, jest, mock, prank, quip, trick
Related Words: jibe

Sentence Examples:
• He scarce lost an opportunity to put them down with a rough jape; and, to say truth, it was not difficult, for they were neither of them quick. -Weir of Hermiston, Robert Louis Stevenson

• Then for a moment we fell to jape and jesting; foolishly, for the Gods are always listening, and the Desert-Gods have long ears. -The Leicestershires beyond Baghdad, Edward John Thompson

• This obscene drawing is matched by many equally odious.  Abject domesticity, ignominies of married life, of middle-age, of money-making; the old common jape against the mother-in-law; abominable weddings: in one drawing a bridegroom with shambling side-long legs asks his bride if she is nervous; she is a widow, and she answers, "No, never was."  In all these things there is very little humour. -Essays, Alice Meynell

The Storyline
Sensing the tension, Sara attempted to diffuse the situation with an inappropriate jape directed at the mess in the office and room fell into awkward silence.

Sources: Merriam-Webster, Online Etymology

Word-E: A Word-A-Day

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