1 of 2


: something said or done to provoke laughter
especially : a brief oral narrative with a climactic humorous twist
: the humorous or ridiculous element in something
: an instance of jesting : kidding
can't take a joke
: something not to be taken seriously : a trifling matter
consider his skiing a jokeHarold Callender
often used in negative constructions
it is no joke to be lost in the desert


2 of 2


joked; joking

transitive verb

: to make the object of a joke : kid
jokingly adverb

Examples of joke in a Sentence

Noun She meant it as a joke, but many people took her seriously. They played a harmless joke on him. They are always making jokes about his car. I heard a funny joke yesterday. the punch line of a joke I didn't get the joke. That exam was a joke. Their product became a joke in the industry. He's in danger of becoming a national joke. Verb My friends would joke about the uniform I had to wear at work. She joked about the possibility of losing her job. I thought he was joking when he said he might quit, but it turned out that he really meant it. Don't take it seriously: I was only joking. She spent a few minutes joking with reporters after giving her speech. She joked that she could always get work as a truck driver if she lost her job.
Recent Examples on the Web
Khanna doesn’t yell or crack many jokes, but admirers and opponents note how the congressman, who is always in a suit, sees value in engaging his critics and anyone else who wants to hear from him. Noah Bierman, Los Angeles Times, 9 June 2024 Her induction speech was filled with jokes for the crowd, including a lighthearted nod to a spelling error on her plaque. Caroline Zimmerman, Kansas City Star, 9 June 2024
The former president also joked on Sunday that was more focused on getting people's votes than caring for his supporters, referencing the many supporters who left the rally early due to the sweltering heat. Marina Watts, Peoplemag, 10 June 2024 The two podcasters joked about the flak their other two co-hosts, Jason Calacanis and David Friedberg, were getting for associating with Trump supporters. Anabel Sosa, Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for joke 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'joke.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



Latin jocus; perhaps akin to Old High German gehan to say, Sanskrit yācati he asks

First Known Use


1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1670, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of joke was in 1670

Dictionary Entries Near joke

Cite this Entry

“Joke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2024.

Kids Definition


1 of 2 noun
: something said or done to cause laughter
especially : a brief story with a humorous twist
: the humorous element in something
: good-natured kidding
can't take a joke
: something not to be taken seriously
that exam was a joke


2 of 2 verb
joked; joking
: to make jokes : jest
jokingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on joke

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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