Dalqak – Persian

Dalqak – Persian

Talhak, jester to Sultan Mahmud of Ghazni (r. 998-1030), would say whatever he felt like and the Persian word for jester (dalqak) seems to have been derived from his name, which in turn may derive from the Persian word daghal, meaning `fraud, falsification,...
Aluzinnu – Babylonian

Aluzinnu – Babylonian

‘The alan.zu/ aluzinnu could sing, play instruments and dance, and in fact from the earliest times (in Mari, Babylonia and in Bogazköy) he is connected with musicians, singers and acrobats who performed at festivals and (para?)religious celebrations’. ...
Freilikh-makher – Yiddish

Freilikh-makher – Yiddish

A Yiddish term for entertainer, or more charmingly, ‘merry-maker’, echoing the German fröhlich-macher. ‘In his 1929 book on the history of Polish Jewry Emanuel Ringelblum devoted several paragraphs to a description of groups of late eighteenth...
Truhan – Spanish

Truhan – Spanish

A 17th century Spanish dictionary gave this definition of the word truhan (plural: truhanes), zooming in on the licence jesters had to speak freely.  I like the laconic ‘even the truth’.’Truhanes – admitido en los palacios de los reyes, y en...
Badkhn – Yiddish

Badkhn – Yiddish

Badkhn (or badchen or badchan) refers to Jewish jesters whose role seems to encompass the fool spectrum from village to itinerant to court, including wedding entertainers. Amos Goldberg says they shared the court jester’s licence to mock and ‘mercilessly...
Soytarı – Turkish

Soytarı – Turkish

Modern Turkish for ‘jester’, and by extension, saray soytarısı means ‘court jester’. Dikici notes that it has a broader sweep than equivalent words in English: ‘As opposed to the all-encompassing Turkish word soytarı, its English counterparts...
Fengjian 諷諫 – Chinese

Fengjian 諷諫 – Chinese

A classical Chinese term for giving indirect advice, used in the context of jesters for the humorously indirect way they get their point across. Occasionally, the jian (諫) meaning ‘remonstrance’ or ‘to admonish or remonstrate with’ is combined with the you of ‘jester’...

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