Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A conceited or impudent person.
  • n. A mischievous child.
  • n. Archaic A monkey or an ape.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A monkey.
  • n. An impudent or mischievous person.
  • n. Plural form of jackanape.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A monkey; an ape.
  • n. A coxcomb; an impertinent or conceited fellow.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A monkey; an ape.
  • n. Hence A coxcomb; a ridiculous, impertinent fellow.
  • n. In mining, the small guide-pulleys of a whim.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. someone who is unimportant but cheeky and presumptuous

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

From Middle English Jack Napis, nickname of William de la Pole, Fourth Earl and First Duke of Suffolk (1396-1450).

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

1450, from “Jack of Naples”, with “of Naples” rendered “a Napes” in vernacular. Originally rendered as Jac Napes, Jac Nape, and Jack Napis in 1450s. Presumably from *Jak a Napes, and original *Jak of Naples, presumably circa 1400. Monkeys were one of many exotic goods from Naples exhibited in Britain, hence acquired the nickname Jack a Napes.

Examples

Comments

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  • One of my father's repertory of scathing insults.

    (Nickname, Jack Napes) Perhaps first applied and referring to Wm. de la Pole, Duke of Suffolk, (15th cent.), whose badge was a clog and chain like that of a tame ape.

    A conceited or impertinent fellow; a pert child.

    January 11, 2009