practical joke


Definition of practical joke

: a prank intended to trick or embarrass someone or cause physical discomfort

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from practical joke

practical joker noun

Synonyms for practical joke


Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of practical joke in a Sentence

One of the children filled the sugar bowl with salt as a practical joke. friends had left the risqué message on his voice mail as a practical joke
Recent Examples on the Web That was the best practical joke ever played on me. Tom Stienstra, San Francisco Chronicle, "Ten life-and-death moments in columnist Tom Stienstra’s 40 years in the outdoors," 30 June 2020 Detroit Free Press Will Dowell loves few things more than a good practical joke. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press, "How Michigan State football's Dowell brothers hope to push each other, now into NFL," 24 Apr. 2020 The popular TikTok practical joke involves two pranksters encouraging a third person to leap into the air for a video, and when the person does so, kicking his or her legs from behind, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported Thursday. oregonlive, "Beaverton teen injured in skull-breaker challenge responds by launching website devoted to kindness," 21 Feb. 2020 Time reported that his pagoda expelled him over his penchant for practical jokes but later readmitted him. Emily Langer, Washington Post, "Thich Tri Quang, Buddhist monk who wielded political might during Vietnam War, dies at 95," 13 Nov. 2019 Guests at Franklin's home were frequently recruited for his experiments and practical jokes. Jennifer Ouellette, Ars Technica, "That time Benjamin Franklin tried (and failed) to electrocute a turkey," 28 Nov. 2019 Buss never minded being the butt of the players’ mocking or practical jokes, as long as everyone got a laugh out of it and got work in. Paul Sullivan,, "Column: Cubs’ ‘life of the party’ is gone as strength coach Tim Buss joins Joe Maddon with the Angels," 1 Nov. 2019 George loved practical jokes, going to extreme lengths for the ultimate prank., "George A. Longtin," 26 Oct. 2019 Only then did Simon realize that Onassis had played a practical joke on her. NBC News, "Carly Simon describes her deathbed farewell to Jackie Kennedy," 22 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'practical 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 practical joke

1776, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about practical joke

Time Traveler for practical joke

Time Traveler

The first known use of practical joke was in 1776

See more words from the same year

Statistics for practical joke

Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Practical joke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Jul. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for practical joke

practical joke


English Language Learners Definition of practical joke

: a joke involving something that is done rather than said : a trick played on someone

practical joke


Kids Definition of practical joke

: a joke involving an act rather than words : a trick played on someone

Other Words from practical joke

practical joker noun

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on practical joke

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


See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

A More Exception(al) Quiz

  • hot dog  hot dog  hot dog  hot dog cat
  • Which of the following words is not a synonym for ‘a young person’?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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