\ 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


joked; joking

Definition of joke (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make the object of a joke : kid

Other Words from joke


jokingly \ ˈjō-​kiŋ-​lē How to pronounce joke (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for joke

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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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 During a mid-2000s phone call, Schnauz’s joke about a mobile meth lab inspired Gilligan to create Breaking Bad, which Schnauz later joined in season three. Brian Davids, The Hollywood Reporter, 1 Aug. 2022 Medlock asserts that the physical confrontation with the other cheerleader was actually a joke, but police on the scene gave the former cheerleader a criminal citation for assault and removed Medlock from campus. Michael Lee, Fox News, 31 July 2022 Unpredictable when driven hard, brakes no match for the power, the yoke is a joke. Rich Ceppos, Car and Driver, 27 July 2022 Air guitar was founded on silliness—the first competition, held in Finland, was a joke. oregonlive, 15 July 2022 Think about it: If contempt defendants could always shut down their prosecution by changing their minds months after a wrongdoing and on the eve of trial, subpoenas would be a joke, and investigations would be a shambles. Norman Eisen And Dennis Aftergut, CNN, 12 July 2022 That may have been a joke, but CZ has good reason to offer such disclosures: The S.E.C. has opened a probe into Binance’s initial coin offering, Bloomberg reported earlier this month. John Hyatt, Forbes, 24 June 2022 When the Kids played female in a sketch, the wardrobe wasn’t the joke. New York Times, 24 May 2022 Now, obviously, scientists going too far is a joke. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 18 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Honor Among Thieves cast attended Comic-Con as the first trailer for the upcoming film was released — and Grant couldn't help but joke about a different kind of dungeon along the way. Tommy Mcardle,, 22 July 2022 While the solar flare video is exciting to see and dazzling to look at, the energy out Sun throws out is nothing to joke about. Joshua Hawkins, BGR, 20 June 2022 The Ratliffs like to joke that even Arkansas got them flowers. Los Angeles Times, 17 Mar. 2022 Fans took to social media Tuesday to joke about the song, saying it’s fueling the already-present Great Resignation and the desire to quit their jobs, or to not work harder at their jobs than is required or necessary. Marisa Dellatto, Forbes, 21 June 2022 It’s refreshing when major corporations feel free to joke about their own pursuit of an honest buck. Kyle Smith, WSJ, 16 June 2022 Ly, 25, said the cost of filling the tank of her Honda HRV increased by $20 to $30 in recent months, which prompted her to joke about switching to a bike. Camille Caldera,, 12 June 2022 The comedian hosts a showcase of fellow stand-ups including Ron Funches and Lil Rel Howery to joke about their family lives and parenthood. Hau Chu, Washington Post, 11 June 2022 The two continued to joke about their abilities, their willingness to do just about anything on screen, and their love of the MCU. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 9 June 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.

First Known Use of joke


1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


1670, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for joke


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

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Last Updated

9 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Joke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for joke


\ 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.


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.

More from Merriam-Webster on joke

Nglish: Translation of joke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of joke for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about joke


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