Definition of prank in English:



  • A practical joke or mischievous act.

    ‘the tapestry was stolen as part of a drunken student prank’
    • ‘It has been reported in certain quarters that his actions are a prank or a public-relations stunt.’
    • ‘She used to make me laugh when she told me of the harmless jokes and pranks she played earlier that day.’
    • ‘Being the younger child, she had always been pampered and now was always up to some pranks and tricks.’
    • ‘He loved to tease, and numerous times his friends were the victims of his practical pranks.’
    • ‘The local mischiefmakers played numerous pranks, leading to hilarious consequences.’
    • ‘Whether old-fashioned pranks, such as knocking on doors and running away, are still popular, it is hard to tell.’
    • ‘Dad had a great sense of humor and enjoyed pranks and joking around with friends and family.’
    • ‘Engineers responsible for the pranks may also be facing academic discipline from the university.’
    • ‘After these pranks, the second volume, covering the war years and their aftermath, was rather a let-down.’
    • ‘Since I do not spend my time with childish pranks and games, they don't see me as one of them.’
    • ‘It almost seemed like a joke, a harmless prank one of his friends had pulled on him.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Still these biker boys made out such things were mere pranks, a witty jape for a Sunday afternoon.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘It would play pranks and tricks on you over and over again until you would get annoyed and irritated.’
    practical joke, trick, mischievous act, piece of mischief, joke, escapade, stunt, caper, jape, game, hoax, antic
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[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’
    • ‘We were pranked on the pretense of getting a job.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Daffy scares everyone with his pranking, but he gets his comeuppance when Granny and the kiddos give him a taste of his own medicine.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘An officer nearby said the whole thing was a hoax, a crank caller pranking 911.’
    • ‘The pranking hadn't started again till a few weeks ago.’
    • ‘There will be no excessive pranking.’


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