From Middle English japen (“to deceive, play tricks on; act foolishly, joke; have sex with”), of uncertain origin. Perhaps from Old French japer (“to bark, howl, scream; chatter, gossip”) (possibly conflated with Old French gaber (“to mock, deride”), see gab), related to Old Occitan japar, jaupar (“to bark, yelp, yap”), probably of Proto-Germanic origin, related to Old Saxon galpōn (“to cry loudly, make a noise, brag”) (Low German galpen (“to bark, howl, scream”)), Middle High German gelpfen (“to scream, bark, boast, proclaim”), Old Norse gjálpa (“to yelp”) (dialectal Swedish galpa (“to cry, screech”)). More at yelp, yawp, yap.
jape (plural japes)
- A joke or quip.
- Synonyms: see Thesaurus:joke
- 1920, Jeffery Farnol, The Geste of Duke Jocelyn, Fytte 9:
- [H]e clapped hand to thigh, and laughed and laughed until the air rang again.
- "Oho, a jape—a jape indeed!" he roared.
- A prank or trick.
- 1989, Greil Marcus, “The Art of Yesterday's Crash”, in Lipstick Traces, Faber & Faber, published 2009:
- In London or New York in the late 1970s dada meant what it meant in Paris and New York at the end of the First World War: a not-quite-naked prank, a jape clothed in the barest g-string of aesthetic authority, a Bronx cheer in three-part harmony, Tzara's affirmation of the right “to piss and shit in different colors.”
- (intransitive) To jest; play tricks.
- 1886, Andrew Lang, “To Sir John Manndeville”, in Letters to Dead Authors:
- Now the Lond of Egypt longeth to the Soudan, yet the Soudan longeth not to the Lond of Egypt. And when I say this, I do jape with words, and may hap ye understond me not.
- (transitive) To mock; deride.
- (obsolete) To have sexual intercourse with.
- 1510, Hycke Scorner; “Hickscorner”, in Robert Dodsley, William Carew Hazlitt, editors, A Select Collection of Old English Plays, 4th edition, volume 1, London: Reeves and Turner, 1874, page 171:
- Nay, brother, lay hand on him soon; / For he japed my wife, and made me cuckold.
- 1598, Florio, Worlde of Wordes:
- Fottere. To jape, to sard, to fucke, to swive, to occupye.
jape (plural japes)
- joke; comic tale
- 1387–1400, Geoffrey Chaucer, “(please specify the story)”, in The Canterbury Tales, [Westminster: William Caxton, published 1478], →OCLC; republished in [William Thynne], editor, The Workes of Geffray Chaucer Newlye Printed, […], [London]: […] [Richard Grafton for] Iohn Reynes […], 1542, →OCLC:
- Thow pardoner […] Tel vs som myrthe or iapes right anon.
- (please add an English translation of this quotation)