[johk] /dʒoʊk/

something said or done to provoke laughter or cause amusement, as a witticism, a short and amusing anecdote, or a prankish act:
He tells very funny jokes. She played a joke on him.
something that is amusing or ridiculous, especially because of being ludicrously inadequate or a sham; a thing, situation, or person laughed at rather than taken seriously; farce:
Their pretense of generosity is a joke. An officer with no ability to command is a joke.
a matter that need not be taken very seriously; trifling matter:
The loss was no joke.
something that does not present the expected challenge; something very easy:
The test was a joke for the whole class.
verb (used without object), joked, joking.
to speak or act in a playful or merry way:
He was always joking with us.
to say something in fun or teasing rather than in earnest; be facetious:
He didn’t really mean it, he was only joking.
verb (used with object), joked, joking.
to subject to jokes; make fun of; tease.
to obtain by joking:
The comedian joked coins from the audience.
a humorous anecdote
something that is said or done for fun; prank
a ridiculous or humorous circumstance
a person or thing inspiring ridicule or amusement; butt
a matter to be joked about or ignored
joking apart, seriously: said to recall a discussion to seriousness after there has been joking
no joke, something very serious
(intransitive) to tell jokes
(intransitive) to speak or act facetiously or in fun
to make fun of (someone); tease; kid

1660s, joque, “a jest, something done to excite laughter,” from Latin iocus “joke, sport, pastime,” from PIE root *yek- “to speak” (cf. Breton iez “language,” Old High German jehan “to say,” German Beichte “confession”).

Originally a colloquial or slang word. Meaning “something not to be taken seriously” is 1791. Practical joke “trick played on someone for the sake of a laugh at his expense” is from 1804 (earlier handicraft joke, 1741). Black joke is old slang for “smutty song” (1730s), from use of that phrase in the refrain of a then-popular song as a euphemism for “the monosyllable.”

1660s, “to make a joke,” from Latin iocari “to jest, joke,” from iocus (see joke (n.)). Related: Joked; joking.

Related Terms

sick joke


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