Definition of pratfall
1 : a fall on the buttocks
2 : a humiliating mishap or blunder
pratfall was our Word of the Day on 01/23/2014. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Examples of pratfall in a Sentence
He slipped and took a pratfall into the mud.
Recent Examples of pratfall from the Web
Aside from some comic pratfalls, all is well until the second-floor balcony — where the women are segregated during services — collapses during a bar mitzvah.
Republicans are tethered to the serial pratfalls of a president who preens as Zarathustra but emulates Buster Keaton.
Perhaps that is why this spring’s pratfall down the stairs is leaving especially florid bruises.
All those pratfall videos, cute animals and car accidents are better attention grabbers.
Mischief Theater’s metafictional farce about an amateur dramatic troupe trying to stage a murder mystery pratfalls onto Broadway.
His 71-page report, submitted on Oct. 17 and obtained by Danger Room, says there was no cover-up and no favoritism — just a series of bureaucratic pratfalls.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pratfall'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Did You Know?
The human posterior has been given a number of designations over the centuries, some not acceptable in polite company. "Prat," a slang term with only slightly indecorous overtones, has been used in reference to the backside since the 16th century. It wasn't until the 1930s, however, that falling on one's prat gave rise to the term "pratfall." The word first cropped up in the lingo of comedy theater, where a pratfall is often part of a slapstick routine. It wasn't long before we gave the word its extended sense of "blunder." Now, with "prat" rarely used as a synonym of "derriere" anymore, "pratfall" is as apt to suggest getting a pie in the face as landing bang on one's behind.
Origin and Etymology of pratfall
argot prat buttocks + fall
First Known Use: 1930See Words from the same year
PRATFALL Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of pratfall for English Language Learners
: a sudden fall in which you end up sitting on the ground
: an embarrassing mistake or accident
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up pratfall? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).