John William Tuohy lives in Washington DC

Word stuff: Jape

To say or do something jokingly or mockingly

" Geoffrey Chaucer used the word to mean both "to trick" and "to jeer." It was also used, however, with the meanings "to seduce (someone)" or "to have sexual intercourse." This ambiguity forced writers to think twice about using "jape" in fear of misinterpretation. Ultimately, the word was avoided by respectable writers, and by the end of the 16th century it had fallen into disuse. But this four-letter word was not completely forgotten. It got its second chance when 19th-century writers began using its "jeer" meaning again—leaving its carnal meaning in oblivion.

Henry Miller 11 Commandments