joke

1 of 2

noun

1
a
: 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
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

2 of 2

verb

joked; joking

transitive verb

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

Example Sentences

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
Tampax posted a joke to its official Twitter Monday that drew mixed reactions. Tori Otten, The New Republic, 23 Nov. 2022 The name-dropping continues at a shamelessly furious pace, as both verbal checks and increasingly funny cameos, which accumulate into one big absurdist in-joke. Ann Hornaday, Washington Post, 22 Nov. 2022 Halloween specials may be the long-running, animated sitcom’s bread and butter, but the show also knows how to crack a Thanksgiving joke or two. Matt Juul, BostonGlobe.com, 22 Nov. 2022 With a buzzsaw tenor that dispatches punchlines as deftly as Jay-Z spits verses, every joke seemed to annihilate the eager L.A. crowd. Nate Jackson, Los Angeles Times, 18 Nov. 2022 Only a smidgen of the 150,000 Twitter Blue subscribers are fake or joke accounts, according to data compiled from Twitter’s public data feed for software developers. Faiz Siddiqui And Jeremy B. Merrill, Anchorage Daily News, 16 Nov. 2022 During the March 27 broadcast, Smith, 54, walked onto the stage and hit Rock, 57, after a joke made by the comedian about Jada Pinkett Smith's shaved head. Charmaine Patterson, Peoplemag, 14 Nov. 2022 The prediction did not garner all that much attention at the time, and it was largely dismissed as a bad joke. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 14 Nov. 2022 That Lyon could effortlessly steal your woman is a running joke that has even inspired parody videos. Miles Klee, Rolling Stone, 13 Nov. 2022
Verb
Fitzpatrick met his expectations and can joke with the best of them, Sherman said. Chris Bumbaca, USA TODAY, 17 Nov. 2022 After a brief pause, Ladd decided to joke around with his wife. Brenton Blanchet, Peoplemag, 13 Oct. 2022 As a lifelong Floridian, Podgorski spent years among those who joke about and throw hurricane parties when lower-category storms hit the state. Li Cohen, CBS News, 6 Oct. 2022 Muldrow recalled his encounters with Jackson in a 2009 interview after the star’s death, describing him as someone who laughed easily and loved to joke around. Mary Colurso | Mcolurso@al.com, al, 27 Sep. 2022 There will, of course, be as many internet users who joke and poke fun at the death of a 96-year-old woman as those who mourn her passing. Chris Stokel-walker, WIRED, 8 Sep. 2022 One TikTok reviewer included in the story even went as far as to joke that the bathing suits had been made by Kylie's young daughter Stormi Webster, as the reviewer deemed the garment poorly constructed. Abby Dupes, Seventeen, 7 Sep. 2022 Aida and Maryam finish crunches with the rest of the group, then joke with their coach and say goodbyes. Sarah Matusek, The Christian Science Monitor, 6 Sep. 2022 But while Diener can now joke about tossing a ball in frustration that accidentally hit Crean in the face, breaking his designer eye-wear and causing a gushing nose-bleed, the ex-coach cautions to take every story with a grain of salt. Ben Steele, Journal Sentinel, 9 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

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

First Known Use

Noun

1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

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.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/joke. Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

joke 1 of 2

noun

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

joke

2 of 2

verb

joked; joking
: to make jokes : jest
jokingly adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on joke

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


Challenging Words You Should Know

  • hedgehog reading a book
  • Often used to describe “the march of time,” what does inexorable mean?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ