practical joke


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

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 Each birth anniversary, there’s a well-meaning but hurtful practical joke. Judith Martin, The Mercury News, 1 Apr. 2024 Each birth anniversary, there's a well-meaning but hurtful practical joke. Jacobina Martin, Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2024 Ancient Romans and Celts celebrated a festival of practical jokes and pranks around the time of the March equinox. Marina Johnson, The Courier-Journal, 18 Mar. 2024 Turns out, Hart was there to play a practical joke on his Celebrity Prank Wars cohost Nick Cannon. Jillian Sederholm,, 14 Mar. 2024 Most nights, Augie held court while tending bar, ready with a witty remark or practical joke, or just to loan a friend some cash or a sympathetic ear. Journal Sentinel, 17 Jan. 2024 There is some evidence that the poet, vivacious, full of practical jokes, yet able to concentrate fiercely, identified with Mozart. Simon Callow, The New York Review of Books, 22 Dec. 2022 Gabourey Sidibe is taking her love for practical jokes to the next level. Stephanie Sengwe, Peoplemag, 3 July 2023 How the Dodgers farm system factors into their deadline plans, Shohei Ohtani pursuit And finally Ross Porter chats with former Dodgers catcher Rick Dempsey about a practical joke played on Steve Sax. Houston Mitchell, Los Angeles Times, 28 July 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'practical joke.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1776, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of practical joke was in 1776

Dictionary Entries Near practical joke

Cite this Entry

“Practical joke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition

practical joke

: a joke involving something that is done rather than said
especially : a trick played on a person
practical joker noun

More from Merriam-Webster on practical joke

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