Online Encyclopedia

JESTER

Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V15, Page 337 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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JESTER, a provider of " jests " or amusements, a buffoon, especially a professional fool at a royal court or in a nobleman's household (see FooL). The word " jest," from which " jester " is formed, is used from the 16th century for the earlier " gest," Lat. gesta, or res gestae, things done, from gerere, to do, hence deeds, exploits, especially as told in history, and so used of the metrical and prose romances and chronicles of the middle ages. The word became applied to satirical writings and to any long-winded empty tale, and thence to a joke or piece of fun, the current meaning of the word.
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