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: trick:
obsolete : a malicious act
: a mildly mischievous act
: a ludicrous act


2 of 3

verb (1)

pranked; pranking
transitive : to play a trick or prank on (someone)
… you feel shock, dismay, then anger as it dawns on you that you've been prankedLucius 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
intransitive obsolete : to play tricks or pranks


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verb (2)

pranked; pranking; pranks

intransitive verb

: to show oneself off

transitive verb

: to dress or adorn gaily or showily

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
But season three expanded the show’s range, making space for silly star pranks, inspiring character studies and amusing meta insights. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, 18 June 2024 The ‘problem child’ grows up Following the narrative of so many content creators in the mid-2010s, Paul phased out prank videos and turned to other means of making money. Jasmine Ball, Fortune, 15 June 2024 There are sparks of insight that do emerge, before being doused by some prank or pratfal or, regretfully, a food fight (followed almost immediately by a pillow fight). Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 31 May 2024 His Hawkeye Pierce and Elliott Gould’s Trapper John M.D. are a great double act, choosing gallows humor, pranks and the occasional happy-hour interlude as a way of celebrating life amidst a landscape of death. David Fear, Rolling Stone, 21 June 2024 See all Example Sentences for prank 

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

Word History



obsolete prank to play tricks

Verb (2)

probably from Dutch pronken to strut; akin to Middle High German gebrunkel glitter of metal

First Known Use


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

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

Dictionary Entries Near prank

Cite this Entry

“Prank.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition


: a playful or mischievous act : trick
prankishness noun

More from Merriam-Webster on prank

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