Meaning of joke in English:


Pronunciation /dʒəʊk/

See synonyms for joke

Translate joke into Spanish


  • 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’
    • ‘Bill Cosby may have gained his fame and fortune telling jokes and funny stories.’
    • ‘He always had a great sense of humour and even during his illness he could still tell a joke or funny story.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If a speaker does use humor in a speech, make certain the story, anecdote or joke is surefire funny with all listeners.’
    • ‘The jokes are not as funny; the stories not as entertaining; the scripts a bit stale.’
    • ‘These guys are so funny and laid back on stage, making jokes, telling stories, having a good time.’
    • ‘We're looking for jokes, gags, funny stories, pictures, whatever, but they must be your original work.’
    • ‘She cracked funny jokes with a dry sense of humor at the perfect times.’
    • ‘One of them was also cracking a joke or telling a story.’
    • ‘He laughed at what he thought was a funny joke - his funny joke.’
    • ‘Someone cracked a joke and the ensuing laughter jerked him out of his thoughts and brought him back to reality.’
    • ‘Their long stories were often entertaining, and many of their jokes were funny.’
    • ‘Watch one funny movie, or read a funny story, or tell your friends three funny jokes, every single day.’
    • ‘The joke may be funny, but all jokes have a shelf life.’
    • ‘Failure to understand a joke is often funnier than the original joke.’
    • ‘You're always the one cracking up the group with your jokes and stories.’
    • ‘First, amateur comedians notoriously overestimate how funny their jokes are.’
    • ‘The timing of the jokes, including the funny ones, is way off.’
    • ‘There are some good jokes and the simple story is fair enough as it is.’
    funny story, jest, witticism, quip, pleasantry
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1A trick played on someone for fun.
      ‘the others were playing a joke on her’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Jay knew she wasn't invited, and this was all a big joke… a trick!’
      • ‘Either way, the point was, it was all a trick, a joke, a scam - whatever you wanted to call it.’
      • ‘He would sneak around at night and set up jokes and tricks and then laugh at the staff members who got caught in them.’
      • ‘I can't accept anything without thinking that it must be some kind of joke or trick, or have some ulterior motive.’
      • ‘She enjoys working with directors who make her laugh, and her sense of humour involves ludicrous situations rather than jokes or pranks.’
      • ‘As you probably guessed, this list was a joke / hoax.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Malicia used to make me laugh when she told me of the harmless jokes and pranks she played earlier that day.’
      • ‘I think it was a school joke or a prank to make you think that there is someone that knows who you truly are.’
      • ‘To them it was a joke, some prank and they treated it like a day off.’
      • ‘It's a prank by an employee or a feeble joke by the management.’
      • ‘What once looked like a funny stunt now could quite easily be perceived as a cruel joke on a sick senior.’
      • ‘I knew none of those people had pulled that stunt last night as a joke.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘Surely this was all some kind of joke, a stunt’.’
      • ‘Not to mention, my parents are going to think it's some joke or prank or something to get back at them.’
      trick, practical joke, prank, stunt, hoax, jape
      View synonyms
    2. 1.2 informal in singular A person or thing that is ridiculously inadequate.
      • ‘public transport is a joke’
      • ‘What a ridiculous joke - but it illustrates how far some will go to rationalize their behavior.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One student told Cherwell that the current mail system was ‘a joke.’’
      • ‘Some consider the system to be a joke.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 NHS and education systems are a disgraceful shambles and the illegal asylum situation is not only a joke, it is dangerous.’
      • ‘They are at the stage where they are beyond a joke and are becoming dangerous to drive on.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Taiwan's beaches are a joke and its reef systems are already threatened by even the current low levels of tourism.’
      • ‘The Richmond High School basketball team 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?’
      laughing stock, figure of fun, source of amusement, object of ridicule
      farce, travesty, waste of time
      View synonyms


[no object]
  • 1Make jokes; talk humorously or flippantly.

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


    be beyond a joke
    British informal
    • Be serious or worrying.

      • ‘crime rates are soaring and our public transport system is beyond a joke’
    be no joke
    • Be a serious matter or difficult undertaking.

      • ‘trying to shop with three children in tow is no joke’
      • ‘To me that is no joke, should be taken seriously, and, I believe, is a vile form of self-expression.’
      • ‘He said: ‘I was chased for 16 miles yesterday and it was no joke, I can tell you.’’
      • ‘I was reprimanded as she told me this was no joke.’
      • ‘But denominational discrimination was no joke in those days.’
      • ‘No one is laughing, Bertie, because driving at 95 mph is no joke.’
      • ‘Having our principal industry in decline is no joke.’
      • ‘Driving round York, particularly at rush hour, is no joke.’
      • ‘We were really shocked when we found out that it was no joke.’
      • ‘The parents exchanged glances; this was no joke.’
      • ‘Her father's life was at stake, and that was no joke.’
    can take a joke
    • Be able to deal with humorous remarks or tricks without becoming angry or offended.

      ‘the school's headmistress is warm and thoughtful, and, best of all, she 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.’
      • ‘I love a girl who can take a joke, who's ready for anything.’
      • ‘I thought he'd be a little stung by that, but the guy can take a joke.’
      • ‘It is advisable to make sure you select a boss who can take a joke.’
    can't take a joke
    • Be unable to receive humorous remarks or tricks in the spirit in which they are intended.

      • ‘if you can't take a joke, you should never have joined’
    get beyond a joke
    British informal
    • Become something that is serious or worrying.

      • ‘this rain's getting beyond a joke’
      • ‘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.’’
      • ‘A spokesman for Mr Turner said: ‘It is getting beyond a joke.’’
      • ‘It's getting beyond a joke and my wife will not leave the house.’
      • ‘‘We need to know what is being done, this is getting beyond a joke,’ he said.’
      • ‘I think that my continuing lack of sleep is now getting beyond a joke.’
      • ‘It was getting beyond a joke and we didn't like being part of the problem.’
      • ‘This is getting beyond a joke now with my third failure in less than a year.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘Joking apart, the RBS Group corporate report is a document of historic importance.’
      • ‘Joking apart, Faldo is still held in awe by the younger players.’
      • ‘Joking apart, my husband has been moaning at me for weeks to fly to the UK where I would be safe.’
      • ‘Joking apart I really appreciate this sort of help.’
      • ‘Joking apart, Nolan knows full well that the next game - at Charlton on Saturday - is extremely important.’
      • ‘There might even be a case for some such publicity venture; joking apart, we can always do with fresh propaganda on party questions.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘All joking apart, it is really a question of another example of hidden taxes pushing up (excuse the pun) the cost of living here.’
      • ‘All joking apart, the plaque was incredibly hard to focus on as the print was also rather worn and faded.’
      • ‘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’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘But the woman brushed him off, making a joke of his request.’
      • ‘Even making a joke of it initially may break the ice and make you come across somewhat less adversarial.’
      • ‘I had to make a joke of it at the time but I was so angry and hurt.’
      • ‘Now, if they'd played it properly, they'd have made a joke of it.’
      • ‘I made a joke of it, but it really was beginning to concern me.’
      • ‘I told him I was kidding and made a joke of it, but he seemed a little wounded.’
      • ‘Lying, or even making a joke of it, would be far more effective.’
      • ‘Jake's eyes glimmered mischievously and I knew that he was just making a joke of the situation.’
      • ‘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?’’
    you must be joking
    • Used to express incredulity about someone's actions or claims.

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


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