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[prangk] /præŋk/
a trick of an amusing, playful, or sometimes malicious nature.
Origin of prank1
1520-30; origin uncertain
caper, escapade, antic, shenanigan.


[prangk] /præŋk/
verb (used with object)
to dress or adorn in an ostentatious manner:
They were all pranked out in their fanciest clothes.
verb (used without object)
to make an ostentatious show or display.
1540-50; akin to Dutch pronken to show off, strut, pronk show, finery, Middle Low German prank pomp
Related forms
unpranked, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for prank
  • What started out as a prank soon took on a life of its own.
  • The students have a longstanding tradition of playing a prank on the dean at the annual commencement exercise.
  • If you don't know, that is a hidden camera prank show.
  • The prank video shows a lab guy opening a door to get blown back by a foam launcher.
  • The tragic result of this simple prank has made us so emotional and our irrational thinking is driven by anger.
  • No doubt they thought it a prank, and are now appalled and shocked that their prank caused such irreparable harm.
  • The authorities said they did not know whether the switch was a prank or part of an escape attempt.
  • The prank begins when the prankster senses the deep stirrings of flatulence.
  • He told fire officials at the time that the call had been a prank and that he knew who had made it.
  • In fact, there is a thread of truth that inspired the prank several years ago.
British Dictionary definitions for prank


a mischievous trick or joke, esp one in which something is done rather than said
Derived Forms
prankish, adjective
Word Origin
C16: of unknown origin


(transitive) to dress or decorate showily or gaudily
(intransitive) to make an ostentatious display
Word Origin
C16: from Middle Dutch pronken; related to German Prunk splendour, prangen to be in full splendour
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for prank

"a ludicrous trick" [Johnson], 1520s, of uncertain origin, perhaps related to obsolete verb prank "decorate, dress up" (mid-15c.), related to Middle Low German prank "display" (cf. also Dutch pronken, German prunken "to make a show, to strut"). The verb in the modern sense also is from 1520s. Related: Pranked; pranking.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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