6th May 2005 at 01:00
(verb) spout forcefully; travel by jet

The sense of speed associated with this word does not arrive in English until the mid-17th century. For Shakespeare, the verb had only one meaning:

"strut, swagger" - the original meaning that arrived from Latin, perhaps via French, in the 15th century.

This is the sense required when Belarius tells his sons that "The gates of monarchs Are arched so high that giants may jet through" (Cymbeline, III.iii.5). He does not mean they are moving through the gates at speed.

Similarly, Malvolio is not moving fast when Fabian says to Sir Toby, "How he jets under his advanced plumes!" (Twelfth Night, II.v.31). And when Cleon describes the people of Tarsus as "jetted and adorned" (Pericles, I.iv.26), he means "ornamented".

Shakespeare has one other use of this verb, as a phrasal verb, jet upon.

This is when Aaron says to the lords, "think you not how dangerous It is to jet upon a prince's right?" (Titus Andronicus, II.,i.64). Here it means "encroach upon" - a development of another early sense of the verb, to "project" or "jut out".

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now