rail·​lery ˈrā-lə-rē How to pronounce raillery (audio)
plural railleries
: good-natured ridicule : banter
: jest

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 With time, their caustic raillery transforms into sincere attachment. Charlie Tyson, The Atlantic, 13 May 2021 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, 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, 13 July 2017

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'raillery.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


French raillerie, from Middle French, from railler to mock

First Known Use

1643, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of raillery was in 1643


Dictionary Entries Near raillery

Cite this Entry

“Raillery.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/raillery. Accessed 5 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


rail·​lery ˈrā-lə-rē How to pronounce raillery (audio)
plural railleries
: an act or an instance of making fun of somebody in a good-natured way

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