Definition of joke in English:

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Pronunciation: /jōk/


1A thing that someone says to cause amusement or laughter, especially a story with a funny punchline: she was in a mood to tell jokes
More example sentences
  • Bill Cosby may have gained his fame and fortune telling jokes and funny stories.
  • He always had a great sense of humour and even during his illness he could still tell a joke or funny story.
  • He tells the funniest jokes and stories and he ends up dominating every conversation.
funny story, jest, witticism, quip;
pun, play on words
informal gag, wisecrack, crack, one-liner, rib-tickler, knee-slapper, thigh-slapper, punch-line, groaner
1.1A trick played on someone for fun.
Example sentences
  • Speeches often take place on a raised stage at the front, and this area also acts as the setting for many of the jokes and tricks played on the new couple.
  • Jay knew she wasn't invited, and this was all a big joke… a trick!
  • Either way, the point was, it was all a trick, a joke, a scam - whatever you wanted to call it.
trick, practical joke, prank, lark, stunt, hoax, jape
informal spoof
1.2 [in singular] informal A person or thing that is ridiculously inadequate: the transportation system is a joke
More example sentences
  • What a ridiculous joke - but it illustrates how far some will go to rationalize their behavior.
  • Although I hear the minimum system requirements are a joke and you really need an alien computer from the future in order to play it in its full-featured adulterous glory.
  • The system is a joke and the fact that employers can still find people to work under the table proves the job hunting clubs are ineffective and symbolize a bureaucracy gone mad.
laughingstock, object of ridicule, stooge, butt
British informal Aunt Sally
farce, travesty, waste of time


[no object]
1Make jokes; talk humorously or flippantly: she could laugh and joke with her colleagues [with direct speech]: “It’s OK, we’re not related,” she joked
More example sentences
  • The commentators joke with each other in the easy manner that comes with long hours spent together.
  • I joke about the stalking stuff on the other blog.
  • People ask me that all the time and they joke with me.
tell jokes, crack jokes;
jest, banter, quip
informal wisecrack, josh
fool, fool around, play a trick, play a practical joke, tease
informal kid, fun, pull (someone's leg), pull/jerk/yank someone's chain, make a monkey out of someone, put someone on
1.1 [with object] archaic Poke fun at: he was pretending to joke his daughter



be no joke

informal Be a serious matter or difficult undertaking: trying to shop with three children in tow is no joke
More example sentences
  • To me that is no joke, should be taken seriously, and, I believe, is a vile form of self-expression.
  • He said: ‘I was chased for 16 miles yesterday and it was no joke, I can tell you.’
  • I was reprimanded as she told me this was no joke.

can (or can't) take a joke

Be able (or unable) to receive humorous remarks or tricks in the spirit in which they are intended: if you can’t take a joke, you should never have joined
More example sentences
  • I should have added that they can't take a joke either.
  • The British like to imagine that they are easy-going and can take a joke while not taking matters too seriously.
  • I love a girl who can take a joke, who's ready for anything.

the joke is on someone

informal Someone looks foolish, especially after trying to make someone else look so.
Example sentences
  • Or would you start to suspect that the joke is on you?
  • Everyone laughs, though we're unsure if the joke is on us.
  • But the joke is on you because I have backup right up stairs.

make a joke of

Laugh or be humorous about (something that is not funny in itself).
Example sentences
  • I tried to make a joke of it, but my laugh was fake, a desperate tint to it, well the whole thing seemed desperate actually.
  • But the woman brushed him off, making a joke of his request.
  • Even making a joke of it initially may break the ice and make you come across somewhat less adversarial.


Late 17th century (originally slang): perhaps from Latin jocus 'jest, wordplay'.

  • Joke seems to have been a slang word at first, but it may well come from Latin jocus ‘jest, wordplay’, found also in jocund (Late Middle English), and juggle (Late Middle English). See also jewel

Words that rhyme with joke

awoke, bespoke, bloke, broke, choke, cloak, Coke, convoke, croak, evoke, folk, invoke, Koch, moke, oak, okey-doke, poke, provoke, revoke, roque, smoke, soak, soke, spoke, stoke, stony-broke (US stone-broke), stroke, toke, toque, woke, yoke, yolk

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: joke

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