Definition of prank in English:



  • A practical joke or mischievous act.

    ‘the tapestry was stolen as part of a drunken student prank’
    • ‘Still these biker boys made out such things were mere pranks, a witty jape for a Sunday afternoon.’
    • ‘It would play pranks and tricks on you over and over again until you would get annoyed and irritated.’
    • ‘Being the younger child, she had always been pampered and now was always up to some pranks and tricks.’
    • ‘She used to make me laugh when she told me of the harmless jokes and pranks she played earlier that day.’
    • ‘It has been reported in certain quarters that his actions are a prank or a public-relations stunt.’
    • ‘Engineers responsible for the pranks may also be facing academic discipline from the university.’
    • ‘Since I do not spend my time with childish pranks and games, they don't see me as one of them.’
    • ‘Whether old-fashioned pranks, such as knocking on doors and running away, are still popular, it is hard to tell.’
    • ‘He loved to tease, and numerous times his friends were the victims of his practical pranks.’
    • ‘The second element, designed to keep the crowd smiling through the serious bits, is a series of pranks.’
    • ‘The game starts out innocently, with the usual childhood pranks and mayhem.’
    • ‘They were childhood enemies that pulled practical pranks on each other.’
    • ‘Presumably, they will never be allowed to broadcast this as a part of their show and it raises the issue of how far you can go with pranks on celebrities.’
    • ‘So you would think that I would have learned from being the subject of all these little pranks.’
    • ‘After these pranks, the second volume, covering the war years and their aftermath, was rather a let-down.’
    • ‘The local mischiefmakers played numerous pranks, leading to hilarious consequences.’
    • ‘Most of the dares consisted of kissing or stupid stunts and pranks.’
    • ‘The mysterious and loosely knit movement has since spiralled and the group has played a series of hoaxes and pranks on the Italian media.’
    • ‘It almost seemed like a joke, a harmless prank one of his friends had pulled on him.’
    • ‘Dad had a great sense of humor and enjoyed pranks and joking around with friends and family.’
    practical joke, trick, mischievous act, piece of mischief, joke, escapade, stunt, caper, jape, game, hoax, antic
    lark, leg-pull
    rag, cutup
    frolic, freak, gambado, gambade, rig, prat
    View synonyms


[WITH OBJECT]informal
  • Play a trick or practical joke on (someone)

    ‘the individuals who were pranked thought they were auditioning to be a TV show host’
    ‘April Fool's Day is celebrated here but the pranking continues on May 1st’
    • ‘I bet he never thought he would get such a willing participant when he pranked us.’
    • ‘I had been pranked into calling 911.’
    • ‘In addition to the bonfires and community aspect, there seems to be a tradition of pranking and general misbehavior.’
    • ‘There will be no excessive pranking.’
    • ‘We were pranked on the pretense of getting a job.’
    • ‘An officer nearby said the whole thing was a hoax, a crank caller pranking 911.’
    • ‘Daffy scares everyone with his pranking, but he gets his comeuppance when Granny and the kiddos give him a taste of his own medicine.’
    • ‘The 53-year-old silver fox has famously pranked many of his co-stars in the past, including Sandra Bullock and Ryan Gosling.’
    • ‘Personally, I think they need to be pranked.’
    • ‘The pranking hadn't started again till a few weeks ago.’


Early 16th century (denoting a wicked deed): of unknown origin.