Definition of joke in English:

joke

noun

  • 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’
    • ‘She cracked funny jokes with a dry sense of humor at the perfect times.’
    • ‘First, amateur comedians notoriously overestimate how funny their jokes are.’
    • ‘There are some good jokes and the simple story is fair enough as it is.’
    • ‘We're looking for jokes, gags, funny stories, pictures, whatever, but they must be your original work.’
    • ‘Someone cracked a joke and the ensuing laughter jerked him out of his thoughts and brought him back to reality.’
    • ‘Bill Cosby may have gained his fame and fortune telling jokes and funny stories.’
    • ‘The jokes are not as funny; the stories not as entertaining; the scripts a bit stale.’
    • ‘Their long stories were often entertaining, and many of their jokes were funny.’
    • ‘If a speaker does use humor in a speech, make certain the story, anecdote or joke is surefire funny with all listeners.’
    • ‘The timing of the jokes, including the funny ones, is way off.’
    • ‘He tells the funniest jokes and stories and he ends up dominating every conversation.’
    • ‘She's this gangly Asian lady who cracks lots of jokes which are actually funny.’
    • ‘These guys are so funny and laid back on stage, making jokes, telling stories, having a good time.’
    • ‘Watch one funny movie, or read a funny story, or tell your friends three funny jokes, every single day.’
    • ‘You're always the one cracking up the group with your jokes and stories.’
    • ‘The joke may be funny, but all jokes have a shelf life.’
    • ‘He laughed at what he thought was a funny joke - his funny joke.’
    • ‘Failure to understand a joke is often funnier than the original joke.’
    • ‘He always had a great sense of humour and even during his illness he could still tell a joke or funny story.’
    • ‘One of them was also cracking a joke or telling a story.’
    funny story, jest, witticism, quip, pleasantry
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 A trick played on someone for fun.
      ‘the others were playing a joke on her’
      • ‘It is thought that the hoax may have begun as a joke, but it got out of hand.’
      • ‘And even if this is all a big hoax or joke and you don't end up playing for Houston, I still hate you.’
      • ‘I doubt he was trying to trick me or play some inside joke.’
      • ‘I knew none of those people had pulled that stunt last night as a joke.’
      • ‘She enjoys working with directors who make her laugh, and her sense of humour involves ludicrous situations rather than jokes or pranks.’
      • ‘Jay knew she wasn't invited, and this was all a big joke… a trick!’
      • ‘Not to mention, my parents are going to think it's some joke or prank or something to get back at them.’
      • ‘It's a prank by an employee or a feeble joke by the management.’
      • ‘‘Surely this was all some kind of joke, a stunt’.’
      • ‘Malicia used to make me laugh when she told me of the harmless jokes and pranks she played earlier that day.’
      • ‘Either way, the point was, it was all a trick, a joke, a scam - whatever you wanted to call it.’
      • ‘I think it was a school joke or a prank to make you think that there is someone that knows who you truly are.’
      • ‘It almost seemed like a joke, a harmless prank one of his friends had pulled on him.’
      • ‘Muldowney told police at the time it had been a joke or prank but now realised just how serious it had been.’
      • ‘What once looked like a funny stunt now could quite easily be perceived as a cruel joke on a sick senior.’
      • ‘As you probably guessed, this list was a joke / hoax.’
      • ‘He would sneak around at night and set up jokes and tricks and then laugh at the staff members who got caught in them.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘To them it was a joke, some prank and they treated it like a day off.’
      • ‘I can't accept anything without thinking that it must be some kind of joke or trick, or have some ulterior motive.’
      trick, practical joke, prank, stunt, hoax, jape
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2informal in singular A person or thing that is ridiculously inadequate.
      ‘public transport is a joke’
      • ‘This green bucket lark is a joke, and I am sure that every large family in Bolton will agree when I say that I can fill this in a couple of days, and you think that I can go a fortnight between collections?’
      • ‘Taiwan's beaches are a joke and its reef systems are already threatened by even the current low levels of tourism.’
      • ‘Crony capitalism has turned the funding of American elections into both a joke and a menace and has made the public's business a matter of private interest.’
      • ‘The mother of a teenager killed during an argument about a dog has branded the British justice system a joke after his attacker was jailed for three years.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘They are at the stage where they are beyond a joke and are becoming dangerous to drive on.’
      • ‘What a ridiculous joke - but it illustrates how far some will go to rationalize their behavior.’
      • ‘The NHS and education systems are a disgraceful shambles and the illegal asylum situation is not only a joke, it is dangerous.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘If the site becomes a harbor for the worst excesses of postmodernism of a kind that have now been proposed, the city's skyline may become little more than an eyesore and a joke.’
      • ‘Some consider the system to be a joke.’
      • ‘I guess it just further demonstrates what a joke and a farce the Australian film industry is that it has to advertise in coffee shops to get people to go to its annual awards ceremony.’
      • ‘The Richmond High School basketball team is a joke.’
      • ‘One student told Cherwell that the current mail system was ‘a joke.’’
      laughing stock, figure of fun, source of amusement, object of ridicule
      farce, travesty, waste of time
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verb

[NO OBJECT]
  • 1Make jokes; talk humorously or flippantly.

    ‘she could laugh and joke with her colleagues’
    ‘a joking manner’
    • ‘We all climbed down the steps leading to the club underground, laughing and joking the whole way.’
    • ‘I joke with strangers and they generally react well.’
    • ‘And even then, you shouldn't joke about them because you don't understand.’
    • ‘They joke about the hotly-disputed incident every time they meet.’
    • ‘Who's your favorite celebrity to joke about and why?’
    • ‘The commentators joke with each other in the easy manner that comes with long hours spent together.’
    • ‘We can joke about our differences, because they're obvious and expected.’
    • ‘He also took time out to joke with reporters and photographers.’
    • ‘We can joke about it but this is a serious problem.’
    • ‘I joke about the stalking stuff on the other blog.’
    • ‘He would be laughing and joking one moment and then totally different the next.’
    • ‘You joke a lot in interviews about how you wanted to write horror because you experienced so much of it in high school.’
    • ‘This is one thing because people joke about it all the time.’
    • ‘We'd joke a little, but mostly we were just taking care of business.’
    • ‘In my discussions with Billy, we joked a lot about the incident among other things.’
    • ‘Gracien laughed and joked a lot, Eva was smiling and quiet, and Rosie was funny in a sarcastic manner.’
    • ‘People ask me that all the time and they joke with me.’
    • ‘We all joke that none of us are either rich or famous.’
    • ‘You know, you joke about things like hoping you aren't last.’
    • ‘Her friend warns her not to joke about such things.’
    tell jokes, crack jokes
    fool, fool about, fool around, play a prank, play a trick, play a joke, play a practical joke, tease, hoax, pull someone's leg, mess someone about, mess someone around
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    1. 1.1archaic with object Poke fun at.
      ‘he was pretending to joke his daughter’

Phrases

  • be no joke

    • informal Be a serious matter or difficult undertaking.

      ‘trying to shop with three children in tow is no joke’
      • ‘But denominational discrimination was no joke in those days.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I was chased for 16 miles yesterday and it was no joke, I can tell you.’’
      • ‘Her father's life was at stake, and that was no joke.’
      • ‘The parents exchanged glances; this was no joke.’
      • ‘We were really shocked when we found out that it was no joke.’
      • ‘To me that is no joke, should be taken seriously, and, I believe, is a vile form of self-expression.’
      • ‘I was reprimanded as she told me this was no joke.’
      • ‘Having our principal industry in decline is no joke.’
      • ‘Driving round York, particularly at rush hour, is no joke.’
      • ‘No one is laughing, Bertie, because driving at 95 mph is no joke.’
  • can (or can't) take a joke

    • Be able (or unable) to deal with humorous remarks or tricks without becoming angry or offended.

      ‘if you can't take a joke, you should never have joined’
      • ‘I love a girl who can take a joke, who's ready for anything.’
      • ‘It is advisable to make sure you select a boss who can take a joke.’
      • ‘I thought he'd be a little stung by that, but the guy can take a joke.’
      • ‘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.’
  • 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’
      • ‘I think that my continuing lack of sleep is now getting beyond a joke.’
      • ‘‘We need to know what is being done, this is getting beyond a joke,’ he said.’
      • ‘It's getting beyond a joke and my wife will not leave the house.’
      • ‘A spokesman for Mr Turner said: ‘It is getting beyond a joke.’’
      • ‘This is getting beyond a joke now with my third failure in less than a year.’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘It was getting beyond a joke and we didn't like being part of the problem.’
      • ‘It would be fair enough if the company made a mistake and fixed it, but waiting five years to get this sorted out is beyond a joke.’
      • ‘However, when people start getting elected with less than 2 per cent of the primary vote, it is 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’
      • ‘All joking apart, the plaque was incredibly hard to focus on as the print was also rather worn and faded.’
      • ‘Joking apart I really appreciate this sort of help.’
      • ‘Joking apart, the RBS Group corporate report is a document of historic importance.’
      • ‘Joking apart, my husband has been moaning at me for weeks to fly to the UK where I would be safe.’
      • ‘There might even be a case for some such publicity venture; joking apart, we can always do with fresh propaganda on party questions.’
      • ‘All joking apart, it is really a question of another example of hidden taxes pushing up (excuse the pun) the cost of living here.’
      • ‘But joking apart, there is a growing tendency to get as far away as we can from their origin in the serving of meat dishes.’
      • ‘Joking apart, Faldo is still held in awe by the younger players.’
      • ‘Joking apart, Nolan knows full well that the next game - at Charlton on Saturday - is extremely important.’
      • ‘Joking apart, I was there and I can testify they were both wearing perfectly nice guy clothes from reputable shops.’
  • 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’
      • ‘Lying, or even making a joke of it, would be far more effective.’
      • ‘I made a joke of it, but it really was beginning to concern me.’
      • ‘But the woman brushed him off, making a joke of his request.’
      • ‘I told him I was kidding and made a joke of it, but he seemed a little wounded.’
      • ‘I had to make a joke of it at the time but I was so angry and hurt.’
      • ‘Jake's eyes glimmered mischievously and I knew that he was just making a joke of the situation.’
      • ‘Now, if they'd played it properly, they'd have made a joke of it.’
      • ‘Even making a joke of it initially may break the ice and make you come across somewhat less adversarial.’
      • ‘He helped her into the sleeping bag and tried to make a joke of the incident, ‘Do you want me to make a coat out of that bear?’’
      • ‘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.’
      ridicule, make fun of, poke fun at, laugh at, make a joke of, mock, sneer at, jibe at, jeer at, deride, scorn, scoff at
      View synonyms
  • you must be (or have to be) joking

    • informal Used to express incredulity about someone's actions or claims.

      ‘same day delivery service—you have to be joking’
      • ‘I tell the tourists something costs 15 million and they say I must be joking.’
      • ‘Phone the bank instead? You are joking—you get into one of those endless loop answering machines.’
      • ‘"You owe me seventy-five bucks," she said. "You have to be joking," he replied with a nervous laugh.’
      • ‘This year we've rented a cottage. Tent? You must be joking.’
      • ‘When I was told we had not been accepted, I thought they must be joking.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation

joke

/dʒəʊk/