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Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English
practical joke
▪ At first I thought it was an enormous practical joke.
▪ Baker said that he thought the incident was a practical joke that had backfired.
▪ Had he been brought here as some kind of practical joke?
▪ Suspecting some bizarre practical joke, Charlotte marched up to the front door and rang the bell.
▪ Two weeks ago firemen freed a woman after a practical joke ended in her unable to release herself.
The Collaborative International Dictionary
Practical joke

Joke \Joke\, n. [L. jocus. Cf Jeopardy, Jocular, Juggler.]

  1. Something said for the sake of exciting a laugh; something witty or sportive (commonly indicating more of hilarity or humor than jest); a jest; a witticism; as, to crack good-natured jokes.

    And gentle dullness ever loves a joke.

    Or witty joke our airy senses moves To pleasant laughter.

  2. Something not said seriously, or not actually meant; something done in sport.

    Inclose whole downs in walls, 't is all a joke.

    In joke, in jest; sportively; not meant seriously.

    Practical joke. See under Practical.

Practical joke

Practical \Prac"ti*cal\, a. [L. practicus active, Gr. ? fit for doing or performing, practical, active, fr. ? to do, work, effect: cf. F. pratique, formerly also practique. Cf. Pragmatic, Practice.]

  1. Of or pertaining to practice or action.

  2. Capable of being turned to use or account; useful, in distinction from ideal or theoretical; as, practical chemistry. ``Man's practical understanding.''
    --South. ``For all practical purposes.''

  3. Evincing practice or skill; capable of applying knowledge to some useful end; as, a practical man; a practical mind.

  4. Derived from practice; as, practical skill.

    Practical joke, a joke put in practice; a joke the fun of which consists in something done, in distinction from something said; esp., a trick played upon a person.

practical joke

n. Something done for amusement to the detriment of someone else.

practical joke

n. a prank or trick played on a person (especially one intended to make the victim appear foolish)

Practical joke

A practical joke is a mischievous trick played on someone, generally causing the victim to experience embarrassment, perplexity, confusion or discomfort. A person who performs a practical joke is called a "practical joker". Other terms for practical jokes include prank, gag, jape, or shenanigan.

Practical jokes differ from confidence tricks or hoaxes in that the victim finds out, or is let in on the joke, rather than being talked into handing over money or other valuables. Practical jokes are generally lighthearted and without lasting impact; their purpose is to make the victim feel humbled or foolish, but not victimized or humiliated. In this fashion, most practical jokes are affectionate gestures of humour and designed to encourage laughter. However, practical jokes performed with cruelty can constitute bullying, whose intent is to harass or exclude rather than reinforce social bonds through ritual humbling.

In Western culture, April Fools' Day is a day traditionally dedicated to conducting practical jokes.

Practical Joke (film)

Practical Joke was a feature film, shot by director Vladimir Menshov in 1976, his feature directorial debut.

Usage examples of "practical joke".

All practical jokes supported Mike's thesis, even ones as mild as a dribble glass-and when it came to an interne'S notion of a practical joke-Well, internes and medical students should be kept in cages.

He pegged it as some kind of British humor thing, some kind of practical joke/hazing ritual.

I am the victim of a practical joke which puts me into a very delicate relationship with a girl I hardly know and whom I don't think I like.

Maybe she'd change her mind, or maybe she was playing some sort of practical joke.

Unless you call letting Mr Snelgrove make a jackass of himself a calculated practical joke.

He and Gailet might make the attempt, try to prop up Uthacalthing's practical joke for just a while longer.