\ ˈpraŋk How to pronounce prank (audio) \

Definition of prank

 (Entry 1 of 3)

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

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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 On that front, a simple rule: Just don’t touch anyone else’s stuff, which is good news for rookies who no longer can get hazed by the ol’ hot-foot prank. John Shea,, "No Buster hugs or sharing doughnuts: 20 odd protocols for baseball in 2020," 24 June 2020 The prank may have helped lead the Trump campaign to boast about more than a million people seeking tickets for the rally — while only about 6,200 ended up filling seats. Jason Silverstein, CBS News, "How TikTok users trolled the Trump campaign into expecting a Tulsa rally crowd that never came," 22 June 2020 Teenagers on the social media platform TikTok and K-pop fans also took responsibility for suppressing turnout by requesting tickets as a prank. Caitlin Yilek, Washington Examiner, "'Biggest mistake you can make in politics': Corey Lewandowski takes shot at Trump campaign over Tulsa turnout," 22 June 2020 According to The Times, the prank began after the Trump campaign sent a tweet June 11 asking supporters to register for free tickets using their phones. Jeremy Hallock, Dallas News, "K-pop fans, TikTok users are taking credit for Trump’s low turnout in Tulsa," 21 June 2020 The New York Times reported Sunday that teens on TikTok and Korean pop fans are claiming to have poached hundreds of thousands of tickets to the event as a prank. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "This Is How Trump Plans to Beat Biden," 21 June 2020 The football guys are done with their prank on Clay now and go to let him out of his hole, but he's vanished. Martha Sorren,, "13 Reasons Why," 8 June 2020 In the first Zoom prank that Jack Buzali pulled on his teacher after school moved online, each student in his class danced off screen mid-lecture. Yoree Koh, WSJ, "School Goes Online. So Do Class Pranks.," 1 June 2020 Take it from Josh Duhamel: Don't ever combine work pranks and fake furniture, because that can end with a trip to the hospital. Rachel Yang,, "Josh Duhamel recalls dropping costar during All My Children sex scene," 29 May 2020

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.

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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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Statistics for prank

Last Updated

28 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Prank.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 9 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for prank


How to pronounce prank (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of prank

: a trick that is done to someone usually as a joke


\ ˈpraŋk How to pronounce prank (audio) \

Kids Definition of prank

: a mischievous act : practical joke

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More from Merriam-Webster on prank

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for prank

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with prank

Spanish Central: Translation of prank

Nglish: Translation of prank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prank for Arabic Speakers

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