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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Jackanapes \Jack"a*napes\, n. [For Jack o' (= of) apes; prop., a man who exhibits apes.] [Written also jackanape.]

  1. A monkey; an ape.

  2. A coxcomb; an impertinent or conceited fellow.

    A young upstart jackanapes.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

mid-15c., "a monkey," also "an impertinent, conceited fellow;" apparently from Jack of Naples, but whether this is some specific personification or folk etymology of jack (n.) + ape is unknown. See note in OED.


n. 1 (context obsolete English) A monkey. 2 (context dated pejorative English) An impudent or mischievous person. 3 (plural of jackanape English)Category:English plurals


n. someone who is unimportant but cheeky and presumptuous [syn: whippersnapper, lightweight]

Usage examples of "jackanapes".

English jackanapes, Allan Quatermain by name, who beat you at shooting.

He was no better than that jackanapes, Branwell Law, except that he had the money with which to live an idle life.

Every jackanapes and teaching assistant in his blindness setting himself up to be the equal of a Master of the Arts.

To be deserted the first minute he was alone with her, and for that jackanapes with the small head and the volcanic glances!

Beyond doubt they would, and meantime he would confuse this Highland jackanapes, who seemed to have stumbled on some damaging truths.

My wife sticks up for him because she was at school with his mother, but of all the decadent useless young jackanapes Wants his behind kicked.

Neither the necessities of Religion nor the jackanapes of Oldgram have advanced the study a single inch beyond.

This line of reasoning proved to be less than persuasive to my cohorts, although they did laugh a good bit on the assumption that I, as jackanapes, was trying to provide some levity.

Brian, he would have liked nothing better than for us all to get drunk, steal his body, quarter it, and deliver it to four syphilitic prostitutes at each corner of the kingdom, because that was just the kind of joke-enjoying jackanapes that Brian always was, and it would have given him a right good giggle.

Am I to wait all night, while every jackanapes who follows me into your pigsty is to be served before me?

That accomplished, I shall arrest the Dowager and her son and every jackanapes within that castle.

Eireann against whom I any longer dare hurl you and your justly vaunted forces, I first toyed with the thought of just sending you and yours back to Cousin Arthur with sincere thanks for the loan of you all, then I thought me of the Great Eireann venture, and I still may ask that you go there with enough ships and men to make it mine, but first I must know if that grim, dangerous old man on Islay considers Great Eireann, too, to be under this damned, hellish, illegal, and immoral treaty he has signed and sealed with that onetime mercenary, sometime jackanapes, scurvy bastard who now styles himself Righ of Connachta, holds the Jewel of Connachta, withholding it from me, his Ard-Righ, despite my many and most courteous requests for it that it may be safely held here for Connachta and him as I now hold the Magical Jewels of Mide, Lagan, Breifne, the Northern Ui Neills, and Airgialla.

Turkish theayter whether she liked vanilla or rawsburry in her soda wather, the droolin jackanapes.

She had the Common Field Cowslip, the Primrose Cowslip, the Single Green Cowslip, Curled Cowslips, or Galligaskins, Double Cowslips, or Hose-in-Hose, and the Franticke or Foolish Cowslip, or Jackanapes on Horsebacke.

Stephen, giving the cry, and a tag and bobtail of all them after, cockerel, jackanapes, welsher, pilldoctor, punctual Bloom at heels with a universal grabbing at headgear, ashplants, bilbos, Panama hats and scabbards, Zermatt alpenstocks and what not.