Gesture vs jester

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Gesture and jester are two words that are often confused, since they are close in pronunciation. We will examine the definitions of gesture and jester, where these words came from and some examples of their use in sentences.

A gesture is a physical movement, usually with the hand or the head, that conveys an unspoken meaning. Gesture may also refer to something that is done in order to convey a feeling, such as sending a card as a kind gesture. Gesture may be used as a noun or a verb, related words are gestures, gestured, gesturing. The word gesture is derived from the Latin word gestus meaning posture or bearing.

A jester is a historical comedian, a person who acts the fool for a sovereign. Jester is occasionally used today to mean someone who acts the fool. Traditionally, a jester wore a cap with bells attached, and carried a faux scepter. The word jester is derived from the Middle English word gesten, meaning to perform a story.


An Alabama mayor says four members of his city’s police force have been suspended for making a hand gesture some say is a hate symbol. (The Chicago Tribune)

Liverpool’s Roberto Firmino has been praised for his generosity after a kind-hearted gesture in his hometown of Maceio in Brazil, UOL Esporte reports. (Sports Illustrated)

Bill Elder is a buffoon, a court jester in the county’s corrupt court of officials. (The Colorado Springs Independent)

The court jester famously was the only one who could get away with speaking the truth to the kings because it was packaged in comedy and entertainment (we see their lineage continued today in the likes of stand-up comedians and music’s own self-proclaimed court jester, Jimmy Buffett). (The Wilson Times)