joke

noun
\ ˈjōk How to pronounce joke (audio) \

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
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 How to pronounce jokingly (audio) \ 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

The dreamy space feels less like a restaurant than an exclusive house party you were invited to by mistake or as a cruel joke. Fortune, "Review: Patience Is a Virtue Well-Rewarded at this New Orleans Hotel Bar," 14 July 2019 And the places that serve the stuff are key venues for social exercises—storytelling, gossip, and joke sharing—that boost endorphins, lifting one’s mood, much like a drug. Lila Maclellan, Quartz at Work, "Why you should totally go to the pub with your mates when you’ve just been laid off," 8 July 2019 Blessed with the wondrous talents of Alex Iwobi and Henrikh Mkhitaryan last season (that's a joke), Arsenal's most potent winger turned out to be their striker and top scorer in the end. SI.com, "Arsenal Targets: Comparing the Gunners' Rumoured Forward Options This Summer," 7 July 2019 The Colorado pitching staff, however, has been a bad joke. Mark Kiszla, The Denver Post, "Kiszla: All-star David Dahl a smash hit for Rockies, but can Blake Street Bombers 2.0 slug their way to playoffs?," 30 June 2019 People need to immediately realize this is not a joke. Julia Alexander, The Verge, "YouTuber Etika’s death spurs conversation about how viewers react to creators’ mental health struggles," 27 June 2019 Without prior knowledge, the context, inside jokes, vague references, characters and brief snippets of scenes would be impossible to fully understand. Pomerado News, "REVIEW: ‘Puffs’ is magical fun for Harry Potter fans," 26 June 2019 The Verge] Washington’s first attempt at regulating Big Tech is a joke. Samantha Oltman, Vox, "Recode Daily: Soon you might know exactly how much you’re worth to Facebook," 24 June 2019 There is a joke that was especially popular in the harsh years following the collapse of the USSR. Fred Weir, The Christian Science Monitor, "Russians embrace Soviet ideals – by not paying their gas bills," 30 Jan. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Astronauts share a meal before their historic mission The night before their ascent into space, Apollo 11's three astronauts appeared calm, laughing and joking while sharing dinner with a large group. Victoria Albert, CBS News, "Apollo 11 launch: Watch the most memorable moments from CBS News' coverage," 16 July 2019 The Washington Post questioned what would happen if public intrigue were to supersede the obvious joking tone of the post. Sarah Midkiff, refinery29.com, "What Is The Raid On Area 51 & Will A Million People Really Storm It To See Aliens?," 15 July 2019 The number of candidates has drawn joking comparisons to the national presidential race, in which 25 Democrats are vying for a chance at the oval office. Kathleen Mcwilliams, courant.com, "Five mayoral hopefuls vie for endorsement from Middletown Democrats," 15 July 2019 Gutfeld read Trump's reprehensible tweets in a jovial fashion, laughing and joking throughout. Brian Stelter, CNN, "Murrow's words from 1954 apply to the Trump age: 'We must not confuse dissent with disloyalty'," 15 July 2019 This past Tuesday, as the Nuggets prepared to play the Celtics in their second Summer League game, Porter stood among his teammates laughing and joking. Mike Singer, The Denver Post, "Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. on social media: “People act like you’re not human”," 13 July 2019 Conan O’Brien joked last night on his TBS talk show Conan after Kumail Nanjiani bailed less than an hour before he was supposed to appear. Caroline Tew, EW.com, "Watch how Conan hilariously handled it when Kumail Nanjiani had to cancel his appearance last minute," 12 July 2019 Obviously, having a stalker is no joking matter, but stalker movies are just so fascinating and terrifying. Abby Gardner, Glamour, "The Trailer for Netflix’s New Thriller Secret Obsession Is Serving Major Lifetime Vibes," 8 July 2019 Hunt joked that his meds were keeping him calm Saturday. Michelle L. Quinn, Post-Tribune, "With the help of friends, Iraq war veteran gets motorcycle sidecar for service dog," 5 June 2019

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

18 Jul 2019

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
disapproving : 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 How to pronounce joke (audio) \

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

More from Merriam-Webster on joke

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with joke

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for joke

Spanish Central: Translation of joke

Nglish: Translation of joke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of joke for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about joke

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

an act or instance of editing or removing

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

What's that Smell?! Quiz

  • wide eyed dog smelling rose
  • Someone who is hircine smells like a:
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!