Definition of prank in English:



  • A practical joke or mischievous act.

    ‘the tapestry was stolen as part of a drunken student prank’
    • ‘They were childhood enemies that pulled practical pranks on each other.’
    • ‘So you would think that I would have learned from being the subject of all these little pranks.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Dad had a great sense of humor and enjoyed pranks and joking around with friends and family.’
    • ‘The second element, designed to keep the crowd smiling through the serious bits, is a series of pranks.’
    • ‘Since I do not spend my time with childish pranks and games, they don't see me as one of them.’
    • ‘The local mischiefmakers played numerous pranks, leading to hilarious consequences.’
    • ‘Still these biker boys made out such things were mere pranks, a witty jape for a Sunday afternoon.’
    • ‘Being the younger child, she had always been pampered and now was always up to some pranks and tricks.’
    • ‘The game starts out innocently, with the usual childhood pranks and mayhem.’
    • ‘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 would play pranks and tricks on you over and over again until you would get annoyed and irritated.’
    • ‘It almost seemed like a joke, a harmless prank one of his friends had pulled on him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After these pranks, the second volume, covering the war years and their aftermath, was rather a let-down.’
    • ‘Most of the dares consisted of kissing or stupid stunts and pranks.’
    • ‘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.’
    practical joke, trick, mischievous act, piece of mischief, joke, escapade, stunt, caper, jape, game, hoax, antic
    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’
    • ‘We were pranked on the pretense of getting a job.’
    • ‘I bet he never thought he would get such a willing participant when he pranked us.’
    • ‘An officer nearby said the whole thing was a hoax, a crank caller pranking 911.’
    • ‘Personally, I think they need to be pranked.’
    • ‘Daffy scares everyone with his pranking, but he gets his comeuppance when Granny and the kiddos give him a taste of his own medicine.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I had been pranked into calling 911.’
    • ‘The 53-year-old silver fox has famously pranked many of his co-stars in the past, including Sandra Bullock and Ryan Gosling.’
    • ‘The pranking hadn't started again till a few weeks ago.’


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