American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A mischievous trick played on a person, especially one that causes the victim to experience embarrassment, indignity, or discomfort.
- n. Something done for amusement to the detriment of someone else.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. See under Practical.
- adj. 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.
- n. a prank or trick played on a person (especially one intended to make the victim appear foolish)
“Either from sheer mischievousness, or to revenge herself for some real or fancied slight ” perhaps, indeed, to mock at his talk of refinement ” she perpetrated upon him the practical joke of getting her Irish governess, a Miss Patrickson, to send him notes in English, signed Lady Neville, in one of which an appointment was made to meet him at the Opera.”
“There is at least one fine melodramatic situation (iii. 228); and marvellous feats of indecency, a practical joke which would occur only to the canopic mind (iii. 300 – 305), emphasise the recovery of her husband by that remarkable”
“The idea that the extraordinary narrative which has been called the Joyce-Armstrong Fragment is an elaborate practical joke evolved by some unknown person, cursed by a perverted and sinister sense of humour, has now been abandoned by all who have examined the matter.”
“One of his friends was in the stacks, maybe, Jason Dale or Kale Kramer, preparing to pull some kind of practical joke on the respectful people there; or maybe some girl, some Alicia Worthen, trying to graduate in a hurry before it was too late.”
“At last Karl Maria's indignation burst over bounds at some unusual indignity; and he played a practical joke on the king.”
“For quite some time, I felt uncertain whether he wasn’t playing a practical joke on me, since he had retained a certain Latin Quarter streak in his character, from the days when the Latin Quarter still went in for hoaxes.”
“They had, of course, lurked in the next side-turning to let him pass, and then trailed him for miles; but he took the Rotherham fork at Barnby Moor, so they never discovered whether what they had seen was the aftermath of a practical joke or part of a real-life Buchan.”
““If it’s about that practical joke you played on Stevens and Faulwell while we were at Whiteflower, I wouldn’t worry about it.””
“The charge is, indeed, very boldly made; but, like “Ranold of the Mist's” practical joke of putting the bread and cheese into a dead man's mouth, is, as Dugald Dalgetty says, “somewhat too wild and salvage, besides wasting the good victuals.””
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