Meaning of “joke” in the English Dictionary

"joke" in British English

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jokenoun

uk /dʒəʊk/ us /dʒoʊk/

joke noun (FUNNY)

B1 [ C ] something, such as a funny story or trick, that is said or done in order to make people laugh:

Did I tell you the joke about the chicken crossing the road?
She tied his shoelaces together for a joke.
I hope Rob doesn't tell any of his dirty jokes (= jokes about sex) when my mother's here.
He tried to do a comedy routine, but all his jokes fell flat (= no one laughed at them).
Don't you get (= understand) the joke?

More examples

  • He tried to cheer everyone up by telling a joke.
  • That's an old joke - I've heard it about a thousand times.
  • Why does no one ever laugh at my jokes?
  • Do you know any funny jokes?
  • A Christmas cracker usually contains a paper hat, a joke and a novelty.

jokeverb [ I ]

uk /dʒəʊk/ us /dʒoʊk/

B1 to say funny things:

They joked and laughed as they looked at the photos.
It's more serious than you think, so please don't joke about it.
[ + speech ] "I didn't expect to be out so soon", he joked, after spending nine months in hospital.

B1 If you think that someone is joking, you think that they do not really mean what they say:

I thought he was joking when he said Helen was pregnant, but she really is.
She wasn't joking (= she was serious) when she said she was going to move out of the house.

More examples

  • I thought she was joking but she was deadly serious.
  • Just blow off his comments, he's only joking.
  • The normally dour Mr James was photographed smiling and joking with friends.
  • He jokes about it now, but at the time it was very serious.
  • Don't joke about it! It's not funny.

(Definition of “joke” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"joke" in American English

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jokenoun

us /dʒoʊk/

joke noun (AMUSING)

[ C ] something, such as an amusing story or trick, that is said or done in order to make people laugh:

He told a joke about a farmer and a lawyer that made Nicholas burst into laughter.

joke noun (RIDICULOUS)

[ U ] infml something considered to be so bad or worthless that it is ridiculous:

The playing conditions on the muddy field were a joke.
The midterm exam was a joke (= too easy).

jokeverb

us /dʒoʊk/

joke verb (AMUSE)

to say things in an amusing or playful manner:

[ I ] He joked about how I was always cleaning.
[ + that clause ] They’ve always joked that the place is so wet, the bullfrogs have to sit on the fences.

(Definition of “joke” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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