practical joke


Definition of practical joke

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

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Other Words from practical joke

practical joker noun

Synonyms for practical joke


antic, caper, capriccio, dido, escapade, frolic, gag, jest, knavery, monkeyshine(s), prank, rag [chiefly British], roguery, shavie [Scottish], shine(s), trick, waggery

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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

So this isn't some anonymous troll or a fly-by-night company that was set up just to play a practical joke on the Internet. Kyle Orland, Ars Technica, "Are these the first pictures of the “Switch Mini”?," 19 June 2019 To an elderly serial killer, Alzheimer’s is life’s practical joke. Alana Mohamed, The Atlantic, "Inside the Head of an Aging Serial Killer," 11 June 2019 Cole played a wonderfully adorable little boy (remember that episode when Rachel teaches him practical jokes?). Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "“Riverdale”’s Cole Sprouse Has a Crazy Theory About the Disappearance of His “Friends” Character," 19 Feb. 2019 Sounds like Jack has absolutely nothing to worry about — well, besides the occasional practical joke. Kayla Keegan, Good Housekeeping, "Sarah Ferguson Just Shared a Hilarious Story About Prince Andrew and Jack Brooksbank," 7 Aug. 2018 Barry spent more time than ever hobnobbing with guests — and mounting increasingly elaborate practical jokes. Jay Cheshes, Town & Country, "Caviar and Cocaine," 6 Feb. 2013 The practical joke, modeled on Bobby Valentine’s famous in-game masquerade in 1999, was quintessential Ichiro, executed only after thorough preparation. David Waldstein, New York Times, "Ichiro Suzuki’s New Job Comes With Most of the Old Trappings," 5 July 2018 From flying tackles to fishing rods, from heavy drinking sessions to practical jokes, there was true off-pitch madness amid all the on-pitch greatness., "6 Players That Never Grew Up," 24 June 2018 Stories of generosity and ingenuity and practical jokes. Heidi Stevens,, "For Father's Day, reflecting on a dad who improves all that he touches," 15 June 2018

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.

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First Known Use of practical joke

1776, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for practical joke

Last Updated

10 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for practical joke

The first known use of practical joke was in 1776

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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

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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).


to complain fretfully

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