joke

noun
\ ˈjōk How to pronounce joke (audio) \

Essential Meaning of joke

1 : something said or done to cause laughter She meant it as a joke, but many people took her seriously. Is this your idea of a joke? [=do you think that what you are saying/doing is funny?] See More ExamplesThey played a harmless joke on him. They are always making jokes about his car. He thought he could embarrass us, but now the joke is on him. [=he is the one who looks foolish] He just can't take a joke. [=he does not like it when other people make jokes about him]Hide
2 : a brief story with a surprising and funny ending I heard a funny joke yesterday. the punch line of a joke See More ExamplesShe's always cracking/telling jokes. I didn't get/understand the joke. an inside joke [=a joke that is understood only by people with special knowledge about something]Hide
3 disapproving : someone or something that is not worth taking seriously That exam was a joke. Their product became a joke in the industry. See More ExamplesHe's in danger of becoming a national joke. It's no joke to be lost in the woods. = Being lost in the woods is no joke. [=being lost in the woods is a serious situation]Hide

Full Definition of joke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : something said or done to provoke laughter especially : a brief oral narrative with a climactic humorous twist
b(1) : the humorous or ridiculous element in something
(2) : an instance of jesting : kidding can't take a joke
2 : something not to be taken seriously : a trifling matter consider his skiing a joke— Harold Callender often used in negative constructions it is no joke to be lost in the desert

joke

verb
joked; joking

Definition of joke (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to make the object of a joke : kid

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Other Words from joke

Verb

jokingly \ ˈjō-​kiŋ-​lē How to pronounce joke (audio) \ adverb

Synonyms for joke

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Examples of joke in a Sentence

Noun She meant it as a joke, but many people took her seriously. They played a harmless joke on him. They are always making jokes about his car. I heard a funny joke yesterday. the punch line of a joke I didn't get the joke. That exam was a joke. Their product became a joke in the industry. He's in danger of becoming a national joke. Verb My friends would joke about the uniform I had to wear at work. She joked about the possibility of losing her job. I thought he was joking when he said he might quit, but it turned out that he really meant it. Don't take it seriously: I was only joking. She spent a few minutes joking with reporters after giving her speech. She joked that she could always get work as a truck driver if she lost her job.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Not everyone got the joke; there was some anticipation in the audience that Jagger was being serious, till the show ended with, of course, no signs of the Beatles and Stones coming together over Robert Johnson. Chris Willman, Variety, 18 Oct. 2021 Karla Najera, Esquivel’s oldest daughter, has a running joke with her two siblings. Brandon Drenon, The Indianapolis Star, 18 Oct. 2021 Oh, there was an Arizona joke later in the show, too. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, 17 Oct. 2021 Eve 6000 from Toronto enters with a flat Earth joke (but is kidding). Rebecca Alter, Vulture, 16 Oct. 2021 Employees at a Target distribution center in Charleston Township, Michigan, are speaking out after being at the receiving end of what some felt was a cruel joke. Dan Heching, PEOPLE.com, 14 Oct. 2021 Service providers don’t deserve to have their time wasted with dad-joke mind games. New York Times, 14 Oct. 2021 By the end of the dinner, the men exchanged numbers, and Hall cracked one more joke. Washington Post, 13 Oct. 2021 With the Prince’s seal of approval, the championship proves it’s no joke. Rachel Ingram, Forbes, 13 Oct. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Samir Rao, the company’s co-founder and chief operating officer, would sometimes joke about bringing in the AARP as an advertiser, the former employee added. Ben Smith, New York Times, 3 Oct. 2021 The Dodgers could joke about it because Lux, who is less than a month into transitioning from the infield to the outfield, didn’t suffer any major injuries. Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2021 In the past, the sisters used to joke about beating fellow Japanese twins Kin Narita and Gin Kanie for the record, according to a press release from Guinness World Records. Naledi Ushe, PEOPLE.com, 21 Sep. 2021 The same can be said of New Yorkers, who used to joke about blowing up the banal 110-story towers. USA Today, 10 Sep. 2021 Photographer Ramin Samandari used to joke that his heart wouldn’t dare to attack him. Deborah Martin, San Antonio Express-News, 7 Sep. 2021 Now, with Elder on the ballot and in the headlines, Democrats joke that Newsom could quit campaigning all together. Los Angeles Times, 9 Sep. 2021 Politico's AgencyIQ executive director Alexander Gaffney tweeted to joke that the name comirnaty isn't too bad, considering other drug names look like someone was trying to make a name from a bad hand of Scrabble. Elizabeth Gamillo, Smithsonian Magazine, 30 Aug. 2021 Also, Rivers stopped at one point to joke with reporters, who were covering the game on the sideline instead of in an NFL stadium press box. Ben Thomas | Bthomas@al.com, al, 27 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'joke.' 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 joke

Noun

1670, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

1670, in the meaning defined at intransitive sense

History and Etymology for joke

Noun

Latin jocus; perhaps akin to Old High German gehan to say, Sanskrit yācati he asks

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Learn More About joke

Dictionary Entries Near joke

jo-jotte

joke

jokebook

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for joke

Last Updated

20 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Joke.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/joke. Accessed 24 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for joke

joke

noun
\ ˈjōk How to pronounce joke (audio) \

Kids Definition of joke

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : something said or done to cause laughter or amusement They hid his shoes as a joke.
2 : a very short story with a funny ending that is a surprise The boys sat around telling jokes.
3 : something not worthy of being taken seriously Her excuse was a joke.

joke

verb
joked; joking

Kids Definition of joke (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : to say or do something to cause laughter or amusement
2 : to make funny remarks The children joked about my cooking.

More from Merriam-Webster on joke

Nglish: Translation of joke for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of joke for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about joke

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