Definition of joke in English:


Syllabification: joke
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.
1.1A trick played on someone for fun.
More 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.
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] Back to top  
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;
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


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


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.
More 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).
More 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.



More example sentences
  • He had this habit of teasing and jokingly degrading every member of the class who caught his eye.
  • So today I ask him, jokingly, why he didn't become a world-famous rapper.
  • Even in his own home, he is jokingly referred to as the Dinosaur.

Definition of joke in:

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Pronunciation: dɪˈmɒrəlʌɪz
cause (someone) to lose confidence or hope