\ 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

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 Hammer spent time in recovery in a treatment facility, a source previously told Variety, but otherwise has been laying low in the Caymans — that is, until his friends pulled a prank on him. Elizabeth Wagmeister, Variety, 6 July 2022 But Depp began talking about the feces in the bed, accusing one of her friends of a prank. CBS News, 16 May 2022 When Gregory asks for stories about their father, Anthony hugs him and talks about Edmund's love of a good prank while an emotional Violet listens at the door. Sara Netzley,, 26 Mar. 2022 The duo is notorious for prank calling celebrities. Variety, NBC News, 24 June 2022 The duo is notorious for prank calling celebrities. Zack Sharf, Variety, 23 June 2022 In the video below, first discovered online early Tuesday by The Rowling Library, Rowling was fooled by Russian comedy outfit Vovan and Lexus, who is infamous for prank-calling celebrities. James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 23 June 2022 Kilcher views the entire experiment as a harmless YouTube prank, but others don't share the same opinion. Sophie Mellor, Fortune, 10 June 2022 Jorge, a 25-year-old employee at a UPS store, has gotten used to seeing customers come in with goofy gag gifts like horse masks, prank items like fake cigarettes and nerdy toys. Lauren Debter, Forbes, 9 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of prank was in the 15th century

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Last Updated

23 Jul 2022

Cite this Entry

“Prank.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for prank


\ ˈpraŋk How to pronounce prank (audio) \

Kids Definition of prank

: a mischievous act : practical joke

More from Merriam-Webster on prank

Nglish: Translation of prank for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of prank for Arabic Speakers


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