jest

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jest about someone or something

to make jokes about someone or something. There is no need to jest about Lady Bracknell. I wish you would not jest about that.
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jest at someone or something

to make fun of someone or something. Please don't jest at my cousin. Is someone jesting at my hairdo?
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jest with someone

to joke with someone; to try to fool someone. Surely you are jesting with me. Don't jest with me!
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Many a true word is spoken in jest.

 and There's many a true word spoken in jest.
Prov. Just because something is said as a joke, it can still be true. Fred: Why did you make a joke about my being stingy? Do you really think I'm cheap? Ellen: Of course not, don't be silly. It was just a joke. Fred: But many a true word is spoken in jest.
See also: jest, many, spoken, true, word

in jest

as a joke He called me stupid, then said it was all in jest and he felt really bad about it.
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There's many a true word spoken in jest.

something that you say when you think that something someone has said as a joke may really be true or become true 'At this rate we'll be walking all night.' 'Be careful - there's many a true word spoken in jest.'
See also: jest, many, spoken, true, word
References in classic literature ?
She jested with Mary's father about the coming union between the two families, without one serious thought of the future--without even a foreboding of what might happen when my father returned.
He talked and jested with the other girls, exchanged books and puzzles with them, discussed lessons and plans, sometimes walked home with one or the other of them from prayer meeting or Debating Club.
Robert had rattled and jested, as she knew it was his way, and that I took it always, as I supposed he meant it, to be a wild airy way of discourse that had no signification in it; and again assured her, that there was not the least tittle of what she understood by it between us; and that those who had suggested it had done me a great deal of wrong, and Mr.
Add to this that he was in years just twenty, in his looks much older, and in conceit at least two hundred; that he had no objection to be jested with, touching his admiration of his master's daughter; and had even, when called upon at a certain obscure tavern to pledge the lady whom he honoured with his love, toasted, with many winks and leers, a fair creature whose Christian name, he said, began with a D--;--and as much is known of Sim Tappertit, who has by this time followed the locksmith in to breakfast, as is necessary to be known in making his acquaintance.
Gray Davis, a Democratic gubernatorial candidate, jested about the differences between Hollywood and Washington, saying that in Hollywood ``the pay is better.