\ ˈpraŋk How to pronounce prank (audio) \

Definition of prank

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: trick:
a obsolete : a malicious act
b : a mildly mischievous act
c : a ludicrous act


verb (1)
pranked; pranking

Definition of prank (Entry 2 of 3)

1 transitive : to play a trick or prank on (someone) … you feel shock, dismay, then anger as it dawns on you that you've been pranked— Lucius Shepard On the day of the ceremony, a stuntwoman pal, dressed to look like Swanson, kicked things off by pranking the audience and falling down a flight of stairs. (The crowd went from gasping to laughing once the ruse was revealed.)— Lorenzo Benet
2 intransitive, obsolete : to play tricks or pranks


verb (2)
pranked; pranking; pranks

Definition of prank (Entry 3 of 3)

intransitive verb

: to show oneself off

transitive verb

: to dress or adorn gaily or showily

Synonyms for prank

Synonyms: Noun

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Examples of prank in a Sentence

Noun He enjoys playing pranks on his friends. as a prank, several students managed to change all the classroom clocks to different times
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Though that was later revealed to be a prank, the jeweler eventually minted 499 physical 18k gold TiffCoins, priced at $9,999 and made available during a 24-hour window on Tiffany’s website. Christine Mui, Fortune, 1 Aug. 2022 Is Microsoft Defender a prank, a marketing stunt being played by Microsoft’s PR department? Barry Collins, Forbes, 2 July 2022 In season 8 of Vanderpump Rules, Schwartz and Maloney got in an argument about a prank costar Jax Taylor played on Tom Sandoval. Jessica Booth, Peoplemag, 31 Aug. 2022 The elaborate high school graduation prank—dubbed The Big Rick by its architects—was one of the largest rickrolls to ever take place, taking months of planning to pull off. WIRED, 24 Aug. 2022 One evening, as a drunken prank, Sheene, Jr., set off a fire alarm near the Bidens’ home, causing a commotion. Adam Entous, The New Yorker, 15 Aug. 2022 Seth McTigue writes, directs and stars as the leader of a shady group hired to kidnap a young CEO (Sam Song Li) as a birthday prank by the guy's black-sheep older brother (Roy Huang), a plan that goes sideways when the criminals get greedy. Brian Truitt, USA TODAY, 7 July 2022 People will assume that this is just another prank or prankster trying to be funny. Lance Eliot, Forbes, 26 Aug. 2022 Hart’s prank was not only in response to Cannon’s growing list of kids. Tim Chan, Rolling Stone, 24 Aug. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'prank.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of prank


circa 1529, in the meaning defined above

Verb (1)

circa 1530, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb (2)

15th century, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for prank


obsolete prank to play tricks

Verb (2)

probably from Dutch pronken to strut; akin to Middle High German gebrunkel glitter of metal

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Time Traveler for prank

Time Traveler

The first known use of prank was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prank.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for prank


\ ˈpraŋk How to pronounce prank (audio) \

Kids Definition of prank

: a mischievous act : practical joke

More from Merriam-Webster on prank

Nglish: Translation of prank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prank for Arabic Speakers


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