Tuesday 1 November 2011


I've never liked the word comedienne. I don't know exactly why, but it bugs me. There's something about the faux Frenchiness of it. It might be condescendingly sexist, or it might be tediously feminist, and either way it rankles. So I was immensely pleased when I happened across the word jestress, which is simply the female form of jester.

By a pleasant etymological path, a jester was originally somebody who told gestes which were medieval romances. And gestes comes from the Latin gesta which meant deeds (e.g. the Gesta Francorum was The Deeds of the Franks). Gesta comes from the verb gerere which meant carry. And that's why when you carry a child you gestate.

But jesters can't gestate, only jestresses can do that.


1 comment:

  1. Jesters may not gestate but they don't 'alf gesticulate. And I've just caught up with the last two years of the Inky Fool!

    Thank you Mark. Every one a winner.