Definition of joke in English:


Line breaks: joke
Pronunciation: /dʒəʊk



[no object] Back to top  


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.

get (or be or go) beyond a joke

informal Become (or be) something that is serious or worrying: this rain’s getting beyond a joke
More example sentences
  • It was beyond a joke, driving for five miles round and round the car parks, waiting for people to come out.
  • He said: ‘The problem has been going on for months and it is beyond a joke.’
  • A spokesman for Mr Turner said: ‘It is getting beyond a joke.’

joking apart

Said to indicate that one is being serious, especially after making a joke: joking apart, I really appreciate this sort of help
More example sentences
  • Joking apart, the RBS Group corporate report is a document of historic importance.
  • Joking apart, Faldo is still held in awe by the younger players.
  • Joking apart, my husband has been moaning at me for weeks to fly to the UK where I would be safe.

make a joke of

Laugh or be humorous about (something that is not funny in itself): if there is a mishap you can make a joke of it
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.


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

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Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody