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

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 This could be a big practical joke by Embiid, or the work of some crazed Sixers fan, or just another brilliant maneuver by Danny Ainge. Michael Rosenberg,, "Inside the Mind of Bryan ‘Burner’ Colangelo: What the Hell Was He Thinking?," 30 May 2018 Three times this has happened to me; once, regretfully, the charge was led by Herr Doktor, who at least was playing a practical joke. Marc Peruzzi, Outside Online, "The Unwritten Rules of Sportsmanship," 15 May 2018 The cost of the fish, packaging and international shipping amounted to about $150, all for what Meeks calls a big practical joke. Tim Hackett,, "An Angry Predators Fan Mailed the NHL Office Some Catfish," 5 Apr. 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

13 Nov 2018

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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).


noxious or harmful

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