Prank - Word of the Week

If you read our last blog about April Fools then you’ll already know a bit about “pranks”!

What is a prank?

Noun: A mischievous trick or practical joke

Definition: A prank (which is also known as a practical joke, gag, jape or shenanigan) is a mischievous trick played on someone, which normally causes the victim to experience embarrassment

Pranks are typically light-hearted, reversible or non-permanent.

The whoopie cushon is a good old fashioned prank!
The whoopie cushon is a good old-fashioned prank!

Example: “I played a prank on Jenny last week and hid her food at lunch time.”

Origin: The word originates from the 16th century and is believed to come from the German word “prunken”, which means to display.

"Pranks" are big in America. Big companies and even celebrities have been known to play them, especially on April Fools’ Day:

Famous fast food chain Burger King once played a huge prank on April 1st and published a full page advertisement in a national paper announcing the introduction of a new "Left-Handed" burger, which was especially designed for left-handed Americans.

MTV had a famous show called Punk'd, presented by Ashton Kutcher, who carried out pranks on well-known celebrities including Kanye West and Beyoncé. She was tricked into thinking she'd knocked down a huge Christmas tree in public.

Image courtesey of
Image courtesey of

In modern day British slang, “prank” can mean to call someone’s phone and hang up straight away, usually as a way to give someone your phone number for them to save in their mobile phone. This comes from the idea of prank calling”, where in the past you might have called someone's house phone only to hang up once they picked up.


“I don't have your number in my phone, can you prank me?”

Have you ever played a prank on anyone? We’d love to hear your best stories!

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