\ 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

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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 Every year, the network marks April Fools' with some kind of prank. Nick Romano,, "Rick and Morty turn into babies for Adult Swim's annual April Fools' Day prank," 1 Apr. 2021 Texas Tech fans wanted desperately for Thursday’s news about Chris Beard to be a cruel April Fool’s Day prank. Nick Moyle Nick Moyle, San Antonio Express-News, "Texas Tech's Chris Beard leaving to coach Texas," 1 Apr. 2021 The station said in a statement that Rickrolling has become a popular prank among children who are learning remotely due to the COVID-19 pandemic., "Drivers along the Mass. Pike in Brighton get ‘Rickrolled’ for April Fools’ Day," 1 Apr. 2021 Potato Soap Don't want to spend too much time on a prank? Carolyn Twersky, Seventeen, "The Best TikTok April Fools' Day Pranks That Will Trick Every One of Your Friends," 1 Apr. 2021 Honestly, reading about the history of April Fools’ Day feels like a prank. Jesse David Fox, Vulture, "It’s Time to Make April Fools’ Day the Halloween of Comedy," 31 Mar. 2021 The South African comedian riffs on race, identity and a school prank that went wrong. Washington Post, "Demi Lovato: Dancing With the Devil," 23 Mar. 2021 The Kardashian Jenner ladies do that phone prank that went viral. Lia Beck,, "Every Story You Can Expect To See On The Final Season Of KUWTK," 18 Mar. 2021 In 1975, in honor of a Frank Zappa concert there, two Pomona students pulled a prank that’s still talked about. Los Angeles Times, "Craftsman, Classical, Victorian and more: Claremont shows off its architecture on this driving tour," 17 Mar. 2021

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

6 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Prank.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for prank



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

Nglish: Translation of prank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prank for Arabic Speakers

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