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 The counter-pasta video in question seems to be a mash-up of the two genres — a three-minute-long video featuring questionable food that just has to be a practical joke, doesn’t it? Natalie Gontcharova,, 12 May 2021 DeZago said the signs were most likely taken from other locations during the night by local youths and placed on that one lawn as a practical joke., 7 May 2021 The disguise played a superbly Tuscan practical joke on his unwitting hosts. Ingrid D. Rowland, The New York Review of Books, 27 Apr. 2021 Others find humor and stress relief in a good laugh and an amusing practical joke. Washington Post, 1 Apr. 2021 This raised new problems for Heflin, who now realized the practical joke had spread beyond Mission Control. Eric Berger, Ars Technica, 23 Nov. 2020 Snipe hunting is a practical joke, a fool's errand, like being asked to find a left-handed screwdriver. Matthew Walther, TheWeek, 19 Nov. 2020 The crowd also was incensed by a practical joke that brought a fire department hose cart and a hook and ladder truck clanging up to the Lee home. Ben Welter, Star Tribune, 29 May 2020 Many inside the Yankees’ organization — from the principal owner, Hal Steinbrenner, George’s son, to the Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera — have stories about being on the receiving end of a Cashman practical joke. James Wagner, New York Times, 29 Sep. 2020

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

21 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Practical joke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Jun. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Dog Breeds

Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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