joke

noun
\ˈjōk \

Definition of joke 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something said or done to provoke laughter especially : a brief oral narrative with a climactic humorous twist

b(1) : the humorous or ridiculous element in something

(2) : an instance of jesting : kidding can't take a joke

c : practical joke

d : laughingstock

2 : something not to be taken seriously : a trifling matter consider his skiing a joke— Harold Callender often used in negative constructions it is no joke to be lost in the desert

joke

verb
joked; joking

Definition of joke (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make the object of a joke : kid

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from joke

Verb

jokingly \ ˈjō-​kiŋ-​lē \ adverb

Synonyms for joke

Synonyms: Noun

boff (or boffo), boffola, crack, drollery, funny, gag, giggle [chiefly British], jape, jest, josh, laugh, nifty, one-liner, pleasantry, quip, rib, sally, waggery, wisecrack, witticism, yuk (or yuck) [slang]

Synonyms: Verb

banter, chaff, fool, fun, gag, jape, jest, jive, jolly, josh, kid, quip, wisecrack, yuk (or yuck) [slang]

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

And yet Bourland walks the line between serious and comedy so deftly that anyone who has read a women’s magazine or caught an episode of America’s Next Top Model will understand the jokes and the lessons without conflict. Rachel King, Fortune, "Your Summer Reading List: Page-Turning Novels Set in Politics, Finance, and Tech," 6 July 2018 The Ant-Man films are even more amused by their own super-jokes. Noah Berlatsky, The Verge, "The best superhero stories admit that superheroes are ridiculous," 11 July 2018 Rhodes jokes, where the majority of drivers, mechanics and crew members live and work. Fletcher Page, The Courier-Journal, "Victory at Kentucky Speedway would be 'biggest win ever' for Ben Rhodes," 9 July 2018 Many users referenced popular culture for their jokes. Marc Daalder, Detroit Free Press, "#SecondCivilWarLetters is trending on Twitter in a pretty hilarious way," 3 July 2018 Her smile, her laugh and her jokes made every stranger a friend. Sun-Sentinel.com, "Deaths in South Florida: 6/27," 27 June 2018 Indeed, there’s a running joke on social media that the Pruitt scandals have become the Mad Libs of American politics. Will Bunch, Philly.com, "Not caring about Pruitt's EPA scandals helps us not care that the planet is on fire | Will Bunch," 19 June 2018 Fair warning, though; when using any kind of Ipsum engine, check that nobody has inserted anything inappropriate for your audience (jokes, naughty words, etc.). Rob Weinberg, Pomerado News, "Mr. Marketing: A tastier Lorem Ipsum text," 14 June 2018 The movie has smarter-than-usual critiques of corporate imperatives (the more Wall Street learns about Lift’s depraved and exploitative labor schemes, the more the stock goes up), and just enough crazy jokes to sustain it. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "'Sorry to Bother You': The funniest movie you'll ever see about labor organizing," 11 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Levin is joking, but the reticence about her physical description is real. David Ferry, San Francisco Chronicle, "Food critic Rachel Levin contemplates close encounters of the animal kind," 7 June 2018 Khloé Kardashian is joking around in the comments on Kendall Jenner‘s latest bikini selfie. Kaitlyn Frey, PEOPLE.com, "Kendall Jenner Posts Sexy Bikini Selfie, Sister Khloé Kardashian Jokes It's Actually of Herself," 25 June 2018 Jack first shared the story with his wife when they were married in the 1950s, but Jackie thought her new husband was joking. Andrew M. Davenport, Smithsonian, "Putting Enslaved Families’ Stories Back in the Monticello Narrative," 14 June 2018 Kalil was joking with the reference to quarterback Cam Newton, who has been on the receiving end of a few of Kalil’s renowned pranks over the years. Joseph Person, charlotteobserver, "Panthers graybeard is healthy, looking to leave tank on empty at end of final season," 12 June 2018 San Antonio Spurs' Kawhi Leonard jokes with head coach Gregg Popovich on the bench during first half action against the Denver Nuggets Saturday Jan. 13, 2018 at the AT&T Center. Jabari Young, San Antonio Express-News, "Spurs-Kawhi Leonard relationship could be approaching the healing stage," 11 June 2018 There are a slew of people claiming that Roseanne was just joking: So ABC gets rid of Roseanne for a joke about Valerie Jarrett. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Roseanne Barr Succeeded Because of Her Backward Views," 31 May 2018 Though Trump was clearly joking, the quip probably left GOP leaders queasy. Margaret Hartmann, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Won’t Say Midterms Are as Important as His Glorious 2016 Victory," 23 May 2018 By Monday evening, The Washington Post reported that the kids were laughing and joking. J. Weston Phippen, Outside Online, "The Daring Rescue that Saved the Thai Soccer Team," 10 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'joke.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of joke

Noun

1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1670, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for joke

Noun

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about joke

Dictionary Entries near joke

joisting

jojoba

jo-jotte

joke

jokebook

jokeless

jokelet

Statistics for joke

Last Updated

7 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for joke

The first known use of joke was in 1670

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for joke

joke

noun

English Language Learners Definition of joke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: something said or done to cause laughter

: a brief story with a surprising and funny ending

: someone or something that is not worth taking seriously

joke

verb

English Language Learners Definition of joke (Entry 2 of 2)

: to say things that are meant to cause laughter : to make jokes about someone or something

joke

noun
\ˈjōk \

Kids Definition of joke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something said or done to cause laughter or amusement They hid his shoes as a joke.

2 : a very short story with a funny ending that is a surprise The boys sat around telling jokes.

3 : something not worthy of being taken seriously Her excuse was a joke.

joke

verb
joked; joking

Kids Definition of joke (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to say or do something to cause laughter or amusement

2 : to make funny remarks The children joked about my cooking.

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on joke

What made you want to look up joke? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

full of whispering sounds

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Vocab Quiz

  • the-education-of-achilles-eugne-delacroix
  • Which is a synonym of discomfit?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!