rail·​lery | \ ˈrā-lə-rē How to pronounce raillery (audio) \
plural railleries

Definition of raillery

1 : good-natured ridicule : banter
2 : jest

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Did You Know?

Raillery is the anglicized form of the French word raillerie, which stems from the Middle French verb railler, meaning "to mock." "Railler," which probably comes from Old French reillier ("to growl" or "to mutter") and ultimately from Late Latin ragere ("to neigh"), also gave us our verb "rail." But "rail" and "raillery" are quite different in tone. Rail means "to revile or scold in harsh, insolent, or abusive language," whereas "raillery" usually suggests cutting wit that pokes fun good-naturedly.

Examples of raillery in a Sentence

Luke had to put up with a lot of raillery from his sister the first time he asked a girl for a date.
Recent Examples on the Web French’s evocation of place, a rural way of life and overall creepiness are superb, as is the dialogue, a festival of Irish raillery and repartee. Washington Post, "For your pandemic playlist: 3 new audiobooks that will whisk you away — for a few hours, anyway," 14 Oct. 2020 Some may feel, in this Trumpus Caesar summer, that such raillery, let alone the underlying idea of trying to understand why Americans have shot presidents, is an untoward or trite provocation. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: ‘Assassins’ Offers a National Anthem for Killers," 13 July 2017

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

First Known Use of raillery

1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for raillery

French raillerie, from Middle French, from railler to mock

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Time Traveler for raillery

Time Traveler

The first known use of raillery was in 1643

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Cite this Entry

“Raillery.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raillery. Accessed 6 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for raillery



English Language Learners Definition of raillery

formal : friendly joking about or with somebody


rail·​lery | \ ˈrā-lə-rē How to pronounce raillery (audio) \

Kids Definition of raillery

: an act or instance of making fun of someone in a good-natured way

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Comments on raillery

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