1. A playful or frivolous mood or manner: spoken in jest.
2. A playful remark; a witticism or joke.
3. A playful or amusing act; a prank.
4. An object of ridicule; a laughingstock: "There are people ... so cruel as to make a jest of me" (Charles Dickens).
intr.v. jest·ed, jest·ing, jests
1. To make witty or amusing remarks.
2. To act in a playful or facetious manner.
[Middle English geste, tale, from Old French, from Latin gesta, deeds, from neuter pl. past participle of gerere, to perform.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.