Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A mischievous trick or practical joke.
  • transitive verb To decorate or dress ostentatiously or gaudily.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • To decorate; adorn; deck; especially, to deck out in a showy manner.
  • To adjust; set in order.
  • To present a showy or gaudy appearance; make a brilliant show.
  • To be crafty or subtle.
  • noun A playful or mischievous act; a trick played sometimes in malice, but more commonly in sport; an escapade; a gambol.
  • noun Synonyms Whim, etc. (see freak), antic, vagary.
  • Frolicsome; mischievous.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • intransitive verb To make ostentatious show.
  • noun A gay or sportive action; a ludicrous, merry, or mischievous trick; a caper; a frolic.
  • adjective obsolete Full of gambols or tricks.
  • transitive verb To adorn in a showy manner; to dress or equip ostentatiously; -- often followed by up. See prink.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun obsolete An evil deed; a malicious trick, an act of cruel deception.
  • noun A practical joke or mischievous trick.
  • verb transitive To adorn in a showy manner; to dress or equip ostentatiously.
  • verb transitive To perform a practical joke on; to trick.
  • verb transitive, slang To call someone's phone and promptly hang up
  • adjective obsolete Full of gambols or tricks.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • verb dress or decorate showily or gaudily
  • noun a ludicrous or grotesque act done for fun and amusement
  • noun acting like a clown or buffoon
  • verb dress up showily

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Origin unknown.]

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Middle English pranken, to show off, perhaps from Middle Dutch pronken (from pronk, show, display) and from Middle Low German prunken (from prank, display).]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English pranken ("to adorn, arrange one's attire"), probably from Middle Dutch pronken, proncken ("to flaunt, make a show, arrange one's attire"). Cognate with Middle Low German prunken ("to flaunt"), German prunken ("to flaunt"), Danish prunke ("to make a show, prank"). Connected also with German prangen ("to make a show, be resplendent"), Dutch prangen ("to squeeze, press"), Danish pragt ("pomp, splendor"), all from Proto-Germanic *pranganan, *prangijanan, *prag- (“to press, squeeze, thring”), from Proto-Indo-European *brAngh- (“to press, squeeze”). Sense of "mischievous act" from earlier verbal sense of "to be crafty or subtle, set in order, adjust". See also prink, prance.

Examples

  • Weiner compounded his predicament by calling a cable TV producer a jackass, reeling off a string of ill-advised, double-entendre wiener jokes and essentially reducing what he calls a "prank" to

    NY Daily News

  • Weiner compounded his predicament by calling a cable TV producer a jackass, reeling off a string of ill-advised, double-entendre wiener jokes and essentially reducing what he calls a "prank" to

    NY Daily News

  • Now he's a convicted felon, having been sentenced to 30 days in the halfway house for bringing guns into the locker room in December as part of what he called a prank to settle an argument over gambling debts with teammate Javaris Crittenton.

    Brownsville Herald :

  • Now he's a convicted felon, having been sentenced to 30 days in the halfway house for bringing guns into the locker room in December as part of what he called a prank to settle an argument over gambling debts with teammate Javaris Crittenton.

    Brownsville Herald :

  • Now he's a convicted felon, having been sentenced to 30 days in the halfway house for bringing guns into the locker room in December as part of what he called a prank to settle an argument over gambling debts with teammate Javaris Crittenton.

    Brownsville Herald :

  • Arenas, 28, pleaded guilty earlier in the year to violation of the district's gun laws by bringing four guns to the Verizon Center as part of what he called a prank on teammate Javaris Crittenton.

    Black Entertainment, Money, Style and Beauty Blogs - Black Voices

  • “This kind of prank is not good for Amazon because it will scare some customers away …” said security consultant Richard Smith … “The prank makes me also wonder how much the Amazon recommendation system is being hacked by authors and publishers as a new marketing tool,” he added.

    Smart Mobs » Blog Archive » Recommendation Hacking

  • This kind of prank is not good for Amazon because it will scare some customers away.

    Smart Mobs » Blog Archive » Reputation gaming Pat Robertson on Amazon

  • Apparently, despite the availability of how-to videos on the internet, this particular prank is becoming less popular due to vast improvements in headset technology.

    Don't Hack Into The Taco Bell Drive Thru And Yell Obscenities At Customers - The Consumerist

  • (Part of the affront of Phoenix's prank is that behind his vagrant's disguise, he dares to live a private life.)

    Joaquin Phoenix offers us a reality check on celebrity

Comments

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  • For he rolls upon prank to work it in. from Christopher Smart's Jubilate Agno ... clearly used in a more antique sense ... what is it?

    and also ... Let Anna bless God with the Cat, who is worthy to be presented before the throne of grace, when he has trampled upon the idol in his prank.

    December 31, 2007

  • Your uncle, the mercer, regaled us yesterday with a fête champêtre, and paid the piper handsomely. There were ten of the best grown boys, and ten young girls, dressed out in pastoral weeds; all the frippery in his shop was brought out to prank them up.

    - Lesage, The Adventures of Gil Blas of Santillane, tr. Smollett, bk 2 ch. 9

    September 13, 2008