jok·​er ˈjō-kər How to pronounce joker (audio)
: a person given to joking : wag
: fellow, guy
especially : an insignificant, obnoxious, or incompetent person
a shame to let a joker like this win Harold Robbins
: a playing card added to a pack as a wild card or as the highest-ranking card
: an ambiguous or apparently immaterial clause inserted in a legislative bill to make it inoperative or uncertain in some respect
: an unsuspected, misleading, or misunderstood clause, phrase, or word in a document that nullifies or greatly alters it
: something (such as an expedient or stratagem) held in reserve to gain an end or escape from a predicament
: an unsuspected or not readily apparent fact, factor, or condition that thwarts or nullifies a seeming advantage

Examples of joker in a Sentence

Jokers are wild in this game. I can't believe I let that joker beat me. Some joker hit our car.
Recent Examples on the Web In games of Top Trumps, the V12 might have been king, but a rotary was a joker, a wild card. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, 13 Nov. 2023 Last week, DeVante got jumped by two old 16-year-old MAGA-hat-wearing jokers from Pearl. Oliver Munday, The Atlantic, 28 Aug. 2023 LaBar's a joker, a peacemaker, a fan of Jack Nicholson and the Pittsburgh Steelers. Oliver Broudy, Men's Health, 17 Aug. 2023 Will the spinning wheel stop on big money or the joker? San Diego Union-Tribune, 12 Aug. 2023 In a booking photograph provided by Manchester police, He is covered in neck tattoos, including one of a joker. Emily Palmer, Peoplemag, 21 June 2023 The hopeful New Englander was viciously mutilated and a joker’s smile was slashed on her face. Stephanie Nolasco, Fox News, 6 June 2023 American mahjong sets have 166 tiles, which includes all the tiles included in 144-tile Chinese mahjong sets, but also has additional joker tiles and features Roman letters and Arabic numerals for those who can’t read Chinese characters. Minhae Shim Roth, Good Housekeeping, 3 Feb. 2023 Sheeran teased the remix in the tweet with a 30-second snippet of the gentle ballad featuring the pair’s vocals seamlessly intertwined over weepy strings along with an animation of a playing card on which Swift is, of course, the queen and Ed plays the jester-hat-wearing joker. Gil Kaufman, Billboard, 9 Feb. 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

circa 1726, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of joker was circa 1726

Dictionary Entries Near joker

Cite this Entry

“Joker.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


jok·​er ˈjō-kər How to pronounce joker (audio)
: a person who jokes
: an extra card used in some card games
: a hidden or misleading part of an agreement that works to one party's disadvantage : catch
: human being, fellow
especially : an obnoxious or incompetent person

More from Merriam-Webster on joker

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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