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Practical joke   /prˈæktəkəl dʒoʊk/   Listen
Practical joke

noun
1.
A prank or trick played on a person (especially one intended to make the victim appear foolish).






WordNet 3.0 © 2010 Princeton University








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"Practical joke" Quotes from Famous Books



... done so in the prettiest, airiest manner. Pogson's punishment of her indiscretion, if highly ingenious, still struck me as not in the best taste. For was it not at once rather mean and rather cheap to make so charming a person the subject, and that before witnesses, of a practical joke? ...
— The Best British Short Stories of 1922 • Edward J. O'Brien and John Cournos, editors

... commodore was holding Mrs. Abbott at bay, in this manner, Captain Truck, who had given him a wink to that effect, was employed in playing off a practical joke at the expense of the widow. It was one of the standing amusements of these worthies, who had gotten to be sworn friends and constant associates, after they had caught as many fish as they wished, to retire ...
— Home as Found • James Fenimore Cooper

... startled deer. She uttered no cry, however, perceiving in a moment who it was, gave a troubled little smile, and passed on her way as if nothing had happened. Hugh was not sorry when maternal orders were issued against the practical joke. The boys did not respect their mother very much, but they dared not disobey her, when she spoke ...
— David Elginbrod • George MacDonald

... They are as crude and ineffective in their pictures of domestic life as they are deficient in dramatic incident; they are vapid, they are dull. Indeed, the total absence of humour, and even of the least attempt at it, is most remarkable. There is now and then a description of the playing of some practical joke, such as tying two Chinamen's tails together, the effect of the relation of which is melancholy in the extreme, but there is no approach to fun in the whole penny library. And yet it attracts, it is calculated, ...
— Some Private Views • James Payn

... relatives, resolved (according to the fashion of the time) to fill them all to the full with generous Bacchus by obligatory toasts, he himself pretending to prefer his own bottle of brown sherry,—in fact, dishonest toast and water; but that sort of practical joke was also a fashion of the day. The result, of course, was what he desired; everybody but himself had too much, whilst his mean sobriety, cruel uncle! enjoyed the calm superiority of temperance over tipsiness. However, ...
— My Life as an Author • Martin Farquhar Tupper

... going to make me look like a monkey but before I get through with them Al they will be the suckers and I will be giveing them the horse laugh but what I ought to do is bust them in the jaw and if I was running this war every bird that tried to pull off some practical joke to put a man in bad, I would give a lead shower in their honor some A. ...
— The Real Dope • Ring Lardner

... by no means so rare as his detractors would make out. He got it. The job was to clean out Billy Buck's corral. Steve found employment for the hands close to home for the day, that no one should miss the result. It is always business first on the ranch, and a practical joke takes precedence over other labours. Steve hung around the corral, where he could peek through the chinks. Hoarse whispers inquiring "Anything up yet?" were for so long answered in the negative, that it seemed the day had been in vain. At last the welcome shout rang out, "Injun and ...
— Red Saunders' Pets and Other Critters • Henry Wallace Phillips

... if we had to adjourn this disagreeable question again? (Hear, hear.) I imagine it can be very easily terminated to-night. We are all ready, I am sure, to make allowance for a gentleman who is suffering from the irritation of a practical joke. His questions were undoubtedly offensively put, and Mr Railsford, as I say, was entitled to refuse to answer them. But I ask him, in order to close this painful controversy finally, to allow me as chairman of this meeting, to repeat those questions myself, so that ...
— The Master of the Shell • Talbot Baines Reed

... had been twice repeated over the telephone; yet that the call had not emanated from Mrs. Hewett's house was now palpably evident. Days had been when I should have regarded the episode as preluding some outrage, but to-night I felt more disposed to ascribe it to a silly practical joke. ...
— The Return of Dr. Fu-Manchu • Sax Rohmer

... else, and of which she by no means understood the danger. She blushed once at finding that she had called him Bertie, and on the same day only barely remembered her position in time to check herself from playing upon him some personal practical joke to which she was instigated ...
— Barchester Towers • Anthony Trollope

... in Florence a noodle called Nigniaca, upon whom a party of young men resolved to play a practical joke. Having arranged their plans, one of them met him early one morning, and asked him if he was not ill. "No," says the wittol. "I am well enough." "By my faith," quoth the joker, "but you have a pale, sickly colour," and ...
— The Book of Noodles - Stories Of Simpletons; Or, Fools And Their Follies • W. A. Clouston

... been a practical joke of the Devil's that gave Jean that father and then threw me in her way. Old Heriot Walkingshaw is one of those men who were created as an antidote to human affection. He stands between his children's hearts and the sunshine outside like the brick wall of a prison. His virtues ...
— The Prodigal Father • J. Storer Clouston

... I've heard, a hard-headed and conceited sort of fellow, scouted the ghost, and sneered at the fears of his family. He was privately of opinion that the whole affair was a practical joke or a fraud, and waited an opportunity of catching the rogue flagrante delicto. He did not long keep this theory to himself, but let it out by degrees with no stint of oaths and threats, believing that some domestic traitor held the ...
— The House by the Church-Yard • J. Sheridan Le Fanu

... /n./ 1. A clever technique. 2. A brilliant practical joke, where neatness is correlated with cleverness, harmlessness, and surprise value. Example: the Caltech Rose Bowl card display switch (see "{The Meaning of 'Hack'}", Appendix A). See ...
— The Jargon File, Version 4.0.0

... nation had been converted into admission tickets to the political stage. The Bonapartist representatives were too thinly sowed to be able to build an independent parliamentary party. They appeared only as "mauvaise queue" [2 Practical joke] played upon the party of Order. Thus the party of Order was in possession of the Government, of the Army, and of the legislative body, in short, of the total power of the State, morally strengthened by the general elections, that caused their sovereignty to ...
— The Eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte • Karl Marx

... a practical joke?" he said at last, in a way that set about sixteen draughts cutting ...
— My Man Jeeves • P. G. Wodehouse

... manipulation of a pet monkey, which drilled to the duty, and armed with a comb, was posted on his shoulder, with an air as grave, and an eye as observant, as though he had been regularly educated in the art of the perruquier; and, every where, some coarse and practical joke proclaimed the licentious liberty which had been momentarily accorded to a set of beings who were, in common, kept in that restraint which comfort, no less than safety, requires for the well-ordering of an ...
— The Red Rover • James Fenimore Cooper

... Nixon, of Mountain Ash. Upon page 6540, Dr. Gray, of the British Museum, bristling with exclusionism, writes that some of these fishes, which had been sent to him alive, were "very young minnows." He says: "On reading the evidence, it seems to me most probably only a practical joke: that one of Mr. Nixon's employees had thrown a pailful of water upon another, who had thought fish in it had fallen from the sky"—had dipped up a pailful from ...
— The Book of the Damned • Charles Fort

... I recovered my breath, the bandage was removed from my eyes, and I found myself floating in the long boat, which had been nearly filled with water for the occasion, and surrounded by as jovial a set of fellows as ever played off a practical joke. Old Neptune proved to be Jim Sinclair, of Marblehead, but so disguised that his own mother could not have known him. His ill-favored and weather-beaten visage was covered with streaks of paint, like the face of a wild Indian on the war-path. He had a thick beard made of oakum; and a wig ...
— Jack in the Forecastle • John Sherburne Sleeper

... broadside. That's his little game. 'Tain't mine though, ye know, Mr. Caryll—'tain't mine." He rolled a blue eye on the boy; and in that eye, twinkling cunning, bubbled the delight of a child about to play a practical joke on an elder. ...
— The Gentleman - A Romance of the Sea • Alfred Ollivant

... Finally two of them returned with new pairs of boots. Showing them proudly to their amazed Captain, they said humbly, "Yes, sire! But you would be pained to learn how long we had to hunt for a fit!" There is also the story of the festive Tommy who tried to play a practical joke on his German prisoner by slipping a lighted bomb in the German's pocket. The Tommy then started to run; the German thought he must keep up with his captor and Tommy realized that the joke was on him, just as the bomb went ...
— The Martial Adventures of Henry and Me • William Allen White

... and me, anyhow. But he did not, and it is of no use to think what we should have done if he had. But rather more than a year ago Diana herself wrote to me—wrote me a pitiful, heart-breaking letter. I thought at first it must be some grim practical joke, though I could not imagine who had played so cruel a trick, or why the trick had been played at all. But it was Diana's handwriting, and she enclosed a photograph of herself, which I have now. It was impossible ...
— Daisy's Aunt • E. F. (Edward Frederic) Benson

... to go to look out of the window toward the Rhine. Suddenly he uttered a loud imprecation, and his companions, thronging to the window, were all fiercely incensed at the sight which greeted their eyes. For the famous seven sisters were perpetrating something of a practical joke; they were leaving the castle in a boat, and on perceiving the men's faces at the windows they gave vent to a loud laugh of disdain. Hardly had the angry suitors realized that they were the butt of the ladies' ridicule when they were seized ...
— Hero Tales and Legends of the Rhine • Lewis Spence

... runs, after a few adventures, over into an elaborate practical joke in which Pankraz himself is burlesqued by his contemporaries. Timme carries his poignancy and keenness of satire over into bluntness of burlesque blows in a large part of these closing scenes. Pankraz loses ...
— Laurence Sterne in Germany • Harvey Waterman Thayer

... messenger with a note reading, "General Washington sends his compliments to General Howe, and begs to return one dog that evidently belongs to him." In this instance, I am inclined to think that Washington acted in sober good faith, but was the victim of a practical joke on the part ...
— Little Journeys To the Homes of the Great, Volume 3 (of 14) • Elbert Hubbard

... switched on the light in No. 3 Dormitory Gipsy Latimer had been asleep, and she had been obliged to shake her violently to awaken her, so it was quite impossible that Gipsy could be responsible for the practical joke. The occurrence made a great excitement among the boarders. For days they talked of ...
— The Leader of the Lower School - A Tale of School Life • Angela Brazil

... convince father and daughter, at first, that in telling his story he was not attempting to play some practical joke upon them. ...
— Mischievous Maid Faynie • Laura Jean Libbey

... the dark-haired girl. "Okay, Jan. Now, to carry on where Scotty left off, if we assume the ghost is man-caused, we have to assume it isn't a practical joke, or that ...
— The Blue Ghost Mystery • Harold Leland Goodwin

... bird's tail. Before Easter he had given up the struggle. He felt a dull resentment against his uncle for taking him in. The text which spoke of the moving of mountains was just one of those that said one thing and meant another. He thought his uncle had been playing a practical joke on him. ...
— Of Human Bondage • W. Somerset Maugham

... with theirs, and by their assistance to obtain a full and free parliament for the nation. This speech was received with the loudest acclamations. The bells were tolled; the soldiers were feasted; bonfires were lighted; and among the frolics of the night was "the roasting of the rump," a practical joke which long lived in the traditions of the city. Scot and Robinson, who had been sent to lead back the general to Whitehall, slunk away in secrecy, that they might escape the indignation ...
— The History of England from the First Invasion by the Romans - to the Accession of King George the Fifth - Volume 8 • John Lingard and Hilaire Belloc

... A fresh practical joke now occurred to the duke. He had asked for crawfish for his breakfast on the following morning; he intended to pass the day in making a small gallows and hang one of the finest of these fish in the middle of his room—the ...
— Twenty Years After • Alexandre Dumas, Pere

... Public Prosecutor, the Sous-prefet, the Presiding Judge, and his deputy, Lebas, had discovered there—to say nothing of Monsieur de la Baudraye and Dinah—the ladies now gathered round the tea-table, took the matter as a practical joke, and accused the Muse of Sancerre of having a finger in it. They had all looked forward to a delightful evening, and had all strained in vain every faculty of their mind. Nothing makes provincial folks so angry as the notion of having been ...
— The Muse of the Department • Honore de Balzac

... alive with surprise and joyful excitement, and with a hearty appreciation of this very good practical joke, we were soon in motion again, wending our way, with lightened hearts, to our journey's end, which we reached without further let or hindrance. After a brief, but much needed rest, we opened our eyes on a calm fair Sabbath morning, and our new home, in the soft ...
— 'Three Score Years and Ten' - Life-Long Memories of Fort Snelling, Minnesota, and Other - Parts of the West • Charlotte Ouisconsin Van Cleve

... anything but a butt. She wondered how she had been able to sit daily in front of that stout and earnest index without poking it in the ribs and making a fool of it. The office clock, alone among clocks, had never played a practical joke. The sad fire below it, conscious of a Mission, was ...
— Living Alone • Stella Benson

... wit's end, as he told me afterwards, for the moment; but his native "nous" came to the rescue, and, combined with his love of a practical joke, suggested a loophole ...
— Tom Finch's Monkey - and How he Dined with the Admiral • John C. Hutcheson

... the young man who has long been a cowboy has but little taste for any other occupation. He lives hard, works hard, has but few comforts, and fewer necessities. He has but little, if any, taste for reading. He enjoys a coarse practical joke, or a smutty story; loves danger, but abhors labor of the common kind; never tires of riding, never wants to walk, no matter how short the distance he desires to go. He would rather fight with pistols than pray; loves tobacco, liquor and woman better than any other trinity. His ...
— My Native Land • James Cox

... sense of the incongruous seems to have pervaded him; he is at his whimsical best when he sees himself in a ridiculous light. Lord Kitchener, one of the grimmest warriors ever to serve the British Empire, warmed to the man who made him the butt of a practical joke. There is the unforgettable picture of Admiral Beatty at Jutland. The Indefatigable has disappeared beneath the waves. The Queen Mary had exploded. The Lion was in flames. Then word came that the Princess Royal was blown up. Said ...
— The Armed Forces Officer - Department of the Army Pamphlet 600-2 • U. S. Department of Defense

... upon premise and fact, I am forced, against my very will, to conclude that, forgetting the dignity due one in my position, some person or persons to me unknown made a partially successful attempt to enact a practical joke of the most unpardonable character, having for a chosen victim none other than myself. I say partially successful, because at the moment when the plot approached its climax a subtle inner sense warned ...
— Fibble, D. D. • Irvin Shrewsbury Cobb

... a practical joke!" I thought, and a bitter feeling of disappointment assailed me, as I asked myself why I had not gone in the second boat to help save the ...
— Blue Jackets - The Log of the Teaser • George Manville Fenn

... you," she replied, striving to control her voice. "It's the greatest practical joke that ever was. We called your son 'the Bishop,' just as a nickname, you see, and of course the tramp heard us, and, after we dropped him in Montreal, must have blown the whole thing to Marchmont out of spite, ...
— His Lordship's Leopard - A Truthful Narration of Some Impossible Facts • David Dwight Wells

... Sam Marlowe. Billie, now in possession of the facts, had examined them and come to the conclusion that Sam had played a practical joke on her, and she was a girl who strongly disapproved of ...
— Three Men and a Maid • P. G. Wodehouse

... now. And strangely enough, she begun to get back her strength from that very moment—seeing that exclusive and well-known young debby-tant consorting in public with the reprobates. I'm darned if she didn't have the genius after that to treat the whole thing as a practical joke, especially when she finds out that none of them exclusives had had it long enough to look down on another millionaire merely for pinching a penny now and then. Old Angus as a matter of fact had become just a little ...
— Somewhere in Red Gap • Harry Leon Wilson

... the anomalous state of affairs existing between us which turned all my attacks upon him (and they were many, either open or covert) into the channel of banter or practical joke (giving pain while assuming the aspect of mere fun) rather than into a more serious and determined hostility. But my endeavors on this head were by no means uniformly successful, even when my plans were the most wittily concocted; for my namesake had much about him, in character, ...
— Selections From Poe • J. Montgomery Gambrill

... centipedes. It had been one of the funniest incidents of the Fardale days, for both thought they were poisoned by the bites of the creatures, and that they would surely die. The whole thing had been a practical joke, in which Frank had played a prominent part. And now Barney, the mischievous, the loyal, the ...
— Frank Merriwell's Reward • Burt L. Standish

... jugglery^; slight of hand, legerdemain; prestigiation^, prestidigitation; magic &c 992; conjuring, conjuration; hocus-pocus, escamoterie^, jockeyship^; trickery, coggery^, chicanery; supercherie^, cozenage^, circumvention, ingannation^, collusion; treachery &c 940; practical joke. trick, cheat, wile, blind, feint, plant, bubble, fetch, catch, chicane, juggle, reach, hocus, bite; card sharping, stacked deck, loaded dice, quick shuffle, double dealing, dealing seconds, dealing from the bottom of the deck; artful dodge, swindle; tricks upon travelers; stratagem &c ...
— Roget's Thesaurus of English Words and Phrases: Body • Roget

... tried to take counsel with Mrs. Peyton, but the beautiful woman was still, at fifty, a spoiled child, far younger in many ways than Margaret herself; she would only laugh, and advise her to get rid of Miss Sophronia by some trick, or practical joke. ...
— Margaret Montfort • Laura E. Richards

... cupboards and chests, where many a fantastic piece of old rubbish is huddled away. The bargaining, much discussed, is laughingly carried on for several days, as if we were trying to play off some excellent little practical joke ...
— Madame Chrysantheme Complete • Pierre Loti

... the distance was heard the baying of two hounds, entertaining each other with their melancholy music. The master of ceremonies began to be impatient; he thought that, the impertinent private secretary had been indulging in some practical joke or mystification at his expense; but as he drew near to the Spree, he heard the light stroke of oars in the water. Pollnitz hastened forward, and his eyes, accustomed to the darkness, discovered a skiff drawn ...
— Berlin and Sans-Souci • Louise Muhlbach

... was recalled, Junot was ordered to enter Spain and to march on Portugal, while the terms of partition were settled at Fontainebleau with Charles's minister, Izquierdo, in a compact which Napoleon must have looked upon as the great practical joke of his life. For fear he should be too quickly found out, he positively inhibited Charles from communicating it to his ministers. The French ambassador at Madrid was also kept in ignorance of its terms. ...
— The Life of Napoleon Bonaparte - Vol. III. (of IV.) • William Milligan Sloane

... terrace, with such an appearance of being absorbed in each other's talk, and all-sufficient for each other's happiness. It seemed to Clarissa that she had never seen them so united before. Had he been laughing at her last night? she asked herself indignantly; was that balcony scene a practical joke? He had been describing it to Lady Geraldine perhaps this afternoon, and the two had been laughing together at her credulity. She was in so bitter a mood just now that she was almost ready to ...
— The Lovels of Arden • M. E. Braddon

... able to write to her, he explained to Madame Hanska. In his pride and satisfaction, he showed it to many friends, Madame Carraud being among the number; but she, with her usual rather provoking common-sense, refused to share his enthusiasm, and suggested that it might have been written as a practical joke. To this insinuation Balzac gave no credence; he naturally found it easy to believe in one more enthusiastic foreign admirer, and he was seriously troubled by the fact that the first dizain of the "Contes Drolatiques," which certainly would not satisfy his correspondent's ...
— Honore de Balzac, His Life and Writings • Mary F. Sandars

... and merely patronized the man. 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. He went to the rendezvous; but no one was ...
— Balzac • Frederick Lawton

... On the second, there were tremendous noises, sounds like someone beating a table with a stick. We had, of course, taken every precaution, and we could not explain the noises; but at the same time we could not swear that some ingenious practical joke had not been played upon us. There the matter ended for the time. Some years afterwards, however, I met a member of the family who occupied the house, and he told me that after our visit the bones of a child, evidently long buried, had been dug up in the garden. You must admit that this ...
— The New Revelation • Arthur Conan Doyle

... in business, and nobody was sorry. He enjoyed his practical joke and his glass of Madeira, which had made at least three voyages round the Cape. His temperament, like his person, was just unctuous enough to enable him to slip comfortably ...
— Trumps • George William Curtis

... wire octette"—even Timothy and Libbie—were highly delighted by the outcome of Tommy's joke. For, if there is fun in such a practical joke as Tommy had tried to carry through, they thought there was double fun in seeing ...
— Betty Gordon at Mountain Camp • Alice B. Emerson

... dollar before he could get away. When this matter was settled, he looked for Sam, but the boy was out of sight. In fact, he was just around the corner, laughing as if he would split. He had seen his pursuer's discomfiture, and regarded it as a huge practical joke. ...
— The Young Outlaw - or, Adrift in the Streets • Horatio Alger

... milder shocks. I was engaged in shaving early one morning in our little wooden house, when I felt myself pushed violently against the dressing-table, almost removing my chin with the razor at the same time. I suspected my nephew of a practical joke, and called out angrily to him. In an aggrieved voice he protested that he had not touched me, but had himself been hurled by an unseen agency against the wardrobe. Then came a perfect cannonade of nuts from an overhanging tree on to the wooden roof of our modest temporary ...
— Here, There And Everywhere • Lord Frederic Hamilton

... boots are neatly patched and well blacked every day, I dare say I can do with them a little longer. And I will sit with you this afternoon, mother, and help you to sew. I can't understand who could have stolen the money. Perhaps it is a practical joke of Tom's; you know he is fond of doing things of that ...
— The Rebel of the School • Mrs. L. T. Meade

... of nominating JAMES O'BRIEN for the office of Mayor of the City of New York. But it cannot be called a practical joke. ...
— Punchinello, Vol. 1, No. 26, September 24, 1870 • Various

... everyone laughed in an exaggerated fashion. I smelled a practical joke in the air, as a dog smells game. But what was it? I was watchful, restless. I did not let a word or a meaning or a gesture escape me. Everyone seemed to me an object of suspicion, and I even looked distrustfully at the faces ...
— The Works of Guy de Maupassant, Volume VIII. • Guy de Maupassant

... of my accidental meeting with Anita in the donjon, of the practical joke we planned, of our sudden meeting with the real ghost on the ramparts. Mr. Hobson listened, his face growing redder and redder. At the finish of my story he suddenly leaped to his feet and brought his fist down on the table ...
— Humorous Ghost Stories • Dorothy Scarborough

... again and bit his nails. He was a lean creature, unshaven and sidelong, and he had the furtive and self-conscious air of one who perpetrates a practical joke. Miss Gregory watched him with some impatience; she had yet to learn that a Portugee of the Coast will even lose money to inconvenience ...
— The Second Class Passenger • Perceval Gibbon

... hound got up with the nimbleness of expectation, and, with a prescient gratitude astir in his tail, went and sniffed at it. His aspect drooped suddenly, and he looked around in reproach at Stephen Quimbey, as if suspecting a practical joke. But there was no merriment in the young mountaineer's face. He threw himself into his chair with a heavy sigh, and desisted for a time from the unaccustomed duty of clearing ...
— His "Day In Court" - 1895 • Charles Egbert Craddock (AKA Mary Noailles Murfree)

... new turn of affairs, indeed! Marjorie had had misgivings as to the results of her practical joke, but it had seemed to her merely a harmless jest, and she had hoped that it might be taken lightly. But when Grandma expressed such consternation at her whitened hair, Marjorie had been shaking in her shoes, lest she should be punished, rather than laughed at for her trick. And ...
— Marjorie's Maytime • Carolyn Wells

... his provisions. Then it had expired, and poor Sam had to begin all over again. The Mexicans smoked yellow-paper cigarettes and watched his off-and-on movements with sullen distrust; they were firmly convinced that he was indulging in some sort of a practical joke. So they hated him fervently and wrapped themselves in their serapes. Tom sat on a wagon-tongue swinging a foot and repeating vaguely to himself in a singsong inner voice, "passing the love of woman, passing ...
— Blazed Trail Stories - and Stories of the Wild Life • Stewart Edward White

... author, whom the king made at once his historian and his butt, was the principal sufferer from these frolics, which displayed abundantly that absence of wit and presence of brutality which is the characteristic of the practical joke. As if in scorn of rank and official dignity, Frederick gave this sot and fool the title of baron and created him chancellor and chamberlain of the palace, forcing him always to wear an absurdly gorgeous ...
— Historical Tales, Vol 5 (of 15) - The Romance of Reality, German • Charles Morris

... vanished. The fastidious Lottie, whose eye had grown so nice and critical that she could refuse the suit of many who from their wealth and position thought it impossible to sue in vain, could never look upon this Western giant in a way other than she proposed,—the ridiculous subject of a practical joke. True, he had proved himself no fool in their table-talk, but mere intellectuality and moral excellence counted for little in De Forrest's estimation when not combined with wealth and external elegance. The thought that the "giant" might have a heart, ...
— From Jest to Earnest • E. P. Roe

... as your punishment, for no other punishment will I give you, except to ask you not to play that kind of practical joke again.' ...
— Hollyhock - A Spirit of Mischief • L. T. Meade

... that passed through her at the sight of this was only inferior to that which she had felt on the eventful evening itself. Hitherto in all her gloom and grief she had regarded it as a mere mockery—a brutal kind of practical joke, devised out of pure malignity, and perhaps instigated or connived at by Wiggins. She had never cared to think much about it. But now, on being thus confronted with a formal notice in a public newspaper, the whole affair suddenly ...
— The Living Link • James De Mille

... not nearly so easy to take a practical joke as to perpetrate one. Evelyn was sitting thoughtfully on the porch when her father and mother returned. Mrs. Ellsworth was sitting at the center window above, placidly looking out. Her eyes swept carelessly over the Van Kamps, and unconcernedly passed on to the rest ...
— The Best American Humorous Short Stories • Various

... there showed penitence and other signs of a good heart. His one serious offence was passing himself off as a naval officer, and under an assumed name. But he had crossed Mr. Pickwick—had ridiculed him—had contemptuously sent a message to "Tuppy." When he dared to play a practical joke on his persecutor, his infamy passed beyond bounds. Here was the key to Mr. Pickwick's nature—any lack of homage or respect was an offence against morality. So with Dodson and Fogg. He had settled ...
— Bardell v. Pickwick • Percy Fitzgerald

... suspicion, Father Dan," he said, "that this is all a practical joke. Why, that means a whole library. And if I had money, which I have not, I do not know the name of a single blessed Catholic author ...
— My New Curate • P.A. Sheehan

... inn of Mrs. Mahone. Terrence superintended everything and was, in truth, the good angel of the boys. He had a warm heart, was a genuine friend, and would have shed his last drop of blood for them; but Terrence was, after all, a young scamp, whose dearest friend was not free from a practical joke. His jokes often became serious affairs and involved himself as well as friends in trouble, though ...
— Sustained honor - The Age of Liberty Established • John R. Musick,

... with wine, and singing, as our fellows do. Frenchmen are gay in what I may call a feeble way—there is no go in it. There is no spirit in their songs, there is no real heartiness in their joviality, and the idea of one man playing a practical joke upon another, the latter taking it in good part, could never enter their heads, for they are ready to take offence at ...
— In the Irish Brigade - A Tale of War in Flanders and Spain • G. A. Henty

... hear it. I suppose there were plenty of noodles who put it down to a practical joke or something of that sort? What's become of Stanley? Why didn't he come out and rescue me, as he did Emin? Not glory enough, I suppose? It would bother him, too, to get over these mountains, unless he flew over. By the way, ...
— The Angel of the Revolution - A Tale of the Coming Terror • George Griffith

... harem, and is threatened with death by its master. It turns out that the pasha is a beautiful woman, the slave of his mysterious lady-love, and she promises him speedy fulfilment of his wishes. Finally, close to the attainment of his end, he discovers that his beauty is a myth, the whole a practical joke perpetrated by his merry companions. So Asher ben Yehuda in quest of his mistress is led from ...
— Jewish Literature and Other Essays • Gustav Karpeles

... that this was neither an amusing game nor a practical joke. Later in the day the door bell rang again. Nan, hovering near to gauge the result of her training, saw Wing Sam plant himself firmly in ...
— The Gray Dawn • Stewart Edward White

... in fact, meditating a practical joke as he hurried on his sick call this hot summer's night. His eyes were twinkling, and his lips occasionally relaxed into a smile as he considered the details of this piece of drollery. Once he remarked to ...
— Grey Town - An Australian Story • Gerald Baldwin

... higher, the mountain's top got farther and farther away. But Cody, who had scaled not only its summit, but the flagpole that tipped it, knew its habit of piling one small hill up behind the other, as though, like a grotesque Gulliver playing a practical joke, it delighted in fatiguing and disappointing the Liliputians that swarmed up from its base. Crosby and Bombey and the twins, with the Misses Blind-Staggers,—blinder than ever to-day for the glare on their blue goggles,—had yielded long since. They were camping ...
— The Madigans • Miriam Michelson

... who lived on the island—that it was yourself. The fisherman had been telling him the story about the young lady, and he had come to investigate it. I soon convinced him that there was nothing in the story, and that he was only another one added to the list that the same fisherman had played that practical joke on. He was angry enough when ...
— Kidnapped at the Altar - or, The Romance of that Saucy Jessie Bain • Laura Jean Libbey

... you fell into a stupor, and came home like—like this. Am I likely to believe all that? Am I likely to believe such a story as that? Whoever you are, whoever you may be, is it likely? I am not in the least afraid. I thought at first it was some silly practical joke. I thought that at first.' She paused, but no answer came. 'Well, I suppose in a civilised country there is a remedy even for a joke as ...
— The Return • Walter de la Mare

... told his practical joke broadcast, for the young man heard his name mentioned, and then some one behind him snickered. He paid no attention, however, for the clerk had handed him a small leather bag or purse, together with a morphine-bottle, about the size and shape ...
— Laughing Bill Hyde and Other Stories • Rex Beach

... grave man, Bladud was by no means destitute of a sense of humour, or disinclined on occasion to perpetrate a practical joke. After contemplating the sleepers for a moment he retired a few paces and concealed himself in the long grass, from which position he pitched one of the huge birds into the air, so that it fell on the captain's upturned visage. The snore changed at once into a ...
— The Hot Swamp • R.M. Ballantyne

... adding the name "Phyllis" to the end. She was vociferously greeted and escorted enthusiastically across the campus, followed by half a hundred village urchins—to the stifled laughter of hundreds of alumni and visitors, half of whom had no idea that this was a practical joke, but thought that Burne and Fred were two varsity sports showing their girl a ...
— This Side of Paradise • F. Scott Fitzgerald

... on this occasion he would only say in public that he "regretted the necessity" of such action. Evidently he thought it his duty to support a well-intentioned general against a dangerous agitator. The course which after some consideration he took was of the nature of a practical joke, perhaps justified by its success. Vallandigham was indeed released; he was taken to the front and handed over to the Confederates as if he had been an exchanged prisoner of war. In reply to demands from the Democratic organisation in Ohio that Vallandigham might be allowed to return home, Lincoln ...
— Abraham Lincoln • Lord Charnwood

... recalled his recent battle with Bolgani, the gorilla, the wounds of which were but just healed. He pondered the strange sleep adventures of his first dreams, and he smiled at the painful outcome of his last practical joke upon the tribe, when, dressed in the hide of Numa, the lion, he had come roaring upon them, only to be leaped upon and almost killed by the great bulls whom he had taught how to defend themselves from an attack of ...
— Jungle Tales of Tarzan • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... fierceness and iron force in him had emerged into life; and that he meant to have revenge on Constantine Jopp one way or another, and that soon; for she had heard the rumour flying through the hall that her cousin was the cause of the practical joke just played. From hints she had had from Constantine that very day she knew that the rumour was the truth; and she recalled now with shrinking dislike the grimace accompanying the suggestion. She had not resented it then, being herself angry with Terry ...
— The Judgment House • Gilbert Parker

... performed with the paying teller, who was quite merry over the incident, Edison was given the amount in bundles of small bills "until there certainly seemed to be one cubic foot." Unaware that he was the victim of a practical joke, Edison proceeded gravely to stow away the money in his overcoat pockets and all his other pockets. He then went to Newark and sat up all night with the money for fear it might be stolen. Once more he sought help next morning, when the General laughed heartily, ...
— Edison, His Life and Inventions • Frank Lewis Dyer and Thomas Commerford Martin

... at Dryden's poetry. We may pass over also the Battle of the Books, the Drapier's Letters and a score more of satires and lampoons. Of all these minor works the Bickerstaff Papers, which record Swift's practical joke on the astrologers, are most amusing. [Footnote: Almanacs were at that time published by pretender astrologers, who read fortunes or made predictions from the stars. Against the most famous of these quacks, Partridge by name, Swift leveled his ...
— Outlines of English and American Literature • William J. Long

... JUDGMENTS AND DECISIONS.—The prattle of children may be grateful music to our ears when we are in one mood, and excruciatingly discordant noise when we are in another. What appeals to us as a good practical joke one day, may seem a piece of unwarranted impertinence on another. A proposition which looks entirely plausible under the sanguine mood induced by a persuasive orator, may appear wholly untenable a few hours ...
— The Mind and Its Education • George Herbert Betts

... cruelly enhancing red silk and melting sequin paste, the billowy arms inundated with the thumb-deep dimples lax out along the chair-sides, as preponderous and preposterous a heroine as ever fell the lot of scribe, she was nature's huge joke—a practical joke, too, at eighteen dollars a week, bank-books from three trust companies, and a china pig about ready ...
— Humoresque - A Laugh On Life With A Tear Behind It • Fannie Hurst

... perennial joke of this book, then much in vogue in legal offices. In a clerical life where work is the rule, amusement is all the more treasured because it is rare; but, above all, a hoax or a practical joke is enjoyed with delight. This fancy or custom does, to a certain extent, explain Georges Marest's behavior in the coucou. The gravest and most gloomy clerk is possessed, at times, with a craving for ...
— A Start in Life • Honore de Balzac

... loved a practical joke, learning the aspirations of the old sot, promised to confer on him the most eminent office in the world, and accordingly appointed him Kniaz Papa that is, prince-pope, with a salary of two thousand roubles and a palace at St. ...
— Historic Tales, Vol. 8 (of 15) - The Romance of Reality • Charles Morris

... marriage morning he always caused both sides of the way to church to be planted with curious flowers; and when his bride said, 'Dear Captain Murderer, I never saw flowers like these before; what are they called?' he answered, 'They are called garnish for house-lamb,' and laughed at his ferocious practical joke in a horrid manner, disquieting the minds of the noble bridal company with a very sharp show of teeth, then displayed for the first time. He made love in a coach-and-six, and married in a coach-and-twelve, ...
— Forgotten Tales of Long Ago • E. V. Lucas

... Maud imagined this extraordinary document to be a stupid practical joke, invented by some half-fledged cousin to tease her. She had a good many cousins, among whom were several beardless undergraduates and callow subalterns in smart regiments, who would think it no end of fun to scare 'Cousin Maud.' There was no mistaking the official paper on which ...
— The Primadonna • F. Marion Crawford

... at a time. Folks considered it only another odd fad on the part of the deacon. They prophesied that he would sooner or later he sorry for having anything to do with such a good-for-nothing scapegrace as Nick Lang, who would not hesitate to play some nasty practical joke on his benefactor when the notion seized him and he had grown tired of ...
— The Chums of Scranton High at Ice Hockey • Donald Ferguson

... Myra," drawled Tony. "He's got that laugh on us, so to speak, and I think it would be best to save our faces by pretending the whole affair was a sort of practical joke on your part. I don't suppose he'll try to make love to you again, and even if he does you will know ...
— Bandit Love • Juanita Savage

... the run of his stables and many a reckless ride have we enjoyed together. I was fond of all sports which were spiced with danger, and particularly of hunting. But there was no sport I loved so well as a practical joke, no game that for me had so delicious a flavour as the teasing of my friends and especially the more serious and dignified—though such pranks have frequently cost me dear. From the multitude of which I have been guilty I recall ...
— Romance of Roman Villas - (The Renaissance) • Elizabeth W. (Elizbeth Williams) Champney

... have made an impression, which neither time nor circumstances could efface. He was not outwardly sad, but his volatile nature appeared departed. He was no longer the same wild, boisterous youth, ever on the look-out for some change, some new diversion or practical joke, which had been his characteristics while Herbert lived. A species of quiet dignity was now his own, combined with a devotedness to his parents, which before had never been so distinctly visible. He had ...
— The Mother's Recompense, Volume II. - A Sequel to Home Influence in Two Volumes • Grace Aguilar

... outset, that in this lecture I shall endeavor to lift my subject above the plane in which it is ordinarily treated. I don't believe I ever announced a lecture on Matrimony, that I did not detect the ripple of a smile on the face of my audience, as if they regarded the whole subject as a huge practical joke, something wonderfully funny, on no account to be ...
— How to Become Rich - A Treatise on Phrenology, Choice of Professions and Matrimony • William Windsor

... defend the Ch'eng-huang P'u-sa by saying that he was not at home on the day when his temple was visited by the accused boy and his relatives, and that one of the little demons employed by him in carrying off dead people's spirits out of sheer mischief perpetrated a practical joke on ...
— Myths and Legends of China • E. T. C. Werner

... subject for a few minutes, I found my blood boiling with indignation. Before I saw the snake, I was more inclined to regard the whole trick in the light of a practical joke, rather than as a serious matter. It seemed to me just then that my ancient enemy, in his bargain with Carrington, intended to resort to some such device to get ...
— Down South - or, Yacht Adventure in Florida • Oliver Optic

... suddenly aroused by a man who stood in the middle of the street, bareheaded, and in evening costume, and who offered him such an enormous sum, thought it was a practical joke attempted by a drunken man, ...
— The Clique of Gold • Emile Gaboriau

... wishing to refer to the draft, telegraphed to the Recorder of London: 'Send Homicide Bill.' The official to whom this message had to be sent at some distance from the house declined to receive it. If not a coarse practical joke, he thought it was a request to forward into that peaceful region a wretch whose nickname was too clearly ...
— The Life of Sir James Fitzjames Stephen, Bart., K.C.S.I. - A Judge of the High Court of Justice • Sir Leslie Stephen

... you tell me such lies?" exclaimed the young man in a fury; "it's some d——d practical joke in the most infernal bad taste, and, by God! I have a mind ...
— Robert Orange - Being a Continuation of the History of Robert Orange • John Oliver Hobbes

... complete in Twelve Fortnightly Parts.") The Fairy Godmother Department presents us with what the Quartermaster describes as "Boots, gum, thigh"; and there has also been an issue of so-called fur jackets, in which the Practical Joke Department has plainly taken a hand. Most of these garments appear to have been contributed by animals unknown to zoology, or more probably by a syndicate thereof. Corporal Mucklewame's costume gives him the appearance of a St. Bernard dog with Astrakhan fore legs. ...
— All In It K(1) Carries On - A Continuation of the First Hundred Thousand • John Hay Beith (AKA: Ian Hay)

... Day observed, not unamused by the account of the neighbors' boy's practical joke, "that if Olga took the box it was on the spur of the moment. She certainly had not planned to leave us, but lost her temper and went because she ...
— Janice Day, The Young Homemaker • Helen Beecher Long

... may have been the deceived, not the deceivers. {117} Wierus himself admits that he often heard a brownie in his father's house, which frightened him not a little, and Georgius Pictorius avers that a noisy spirit haunted his uncle's house for thirty years, a very protracted practical joke, if it was a practical joke. {118} This ...
— Cock Lane and Common-Sense • Andrew Lang

... had lain there, and all the rest of it cankered with rust. Whether this sciencer was some obscure Roger Bacon, and had discovered the use of a volatile anaesthetic centuries ago, or whether he was enjoying a solitary practical joke at the expense of two simpletons, is impossible to say. "It is at your choice to believe either or neither," as Westcote says of the two foregoing stories. "I have offered them to the shrine of your judgment, and what truth soever there is in them, they ...
— Lynton and Lynmouth - A Pageant of Cliff & Moorland • John Presland

... depression. The placing of the weak lover and his new love in such a place that they actually see the black flag announcing that Tess has been hanged is utterly inexcusable in art and probability; it is a cruel practical joke. But it is a practical joke at which even its author cannot brighten up ...
— The Victorian Age in Literature • G. K. Chesterton

... incarnation of gab. Handsome, vivacious, versatile, muscular, neat, clean to the marrow. A judge of the effect of clothes, frugal in food and regular only in habits. With brains enough in his head for twenty men all pulling different ways. A man not bad—a practical joke in earnest." ...
— The Story of the First Trans-Continental Railroad - Its Projectors, Construction and History • W. F. Bailey

... "There's a man there who wants to arrest me—Lord knows what for! And here's Miss Brown, whom I have seen at the theatre several times but who never condescended to speak to me before, telling me not to shoot! What's it all about, Ruff? Is it a practical joke?" ...
— Peter Ruff and the Double Four • E. Phillips Oppenheim

... to the Comstock's delight in humor of a positive sort. The practical joke was legal tender in Virginia. One might protest and swear, but he must take it. An example of Comstock humor, regarded as the finest assay, is an incident still told of Leslie Blackburn and Pat Holland, two gay men ...
— Mark Twain, A Biography, 1835-1910, Complete - The Personal And Literary Life Of Samuel Langhorne Clemens • Albert Bigelow Paine

... hearing the story, grinned. The hat had obviously been worn as a practical joke! He himself was a connoisseur of such. "Very haughty!" he said, "the ...
— Forsyte Saga • John Galsworthy

... wrestle and run, to shoot, ride or dance, and to engage in all trials of skill and strength, for which his great muscular development suited him admirably. With such tastes, it followed almost as a matter of course that he loved laughter and fun. Good, hearty, country fun, a ludicrous mishap, a practical joke, all merriment of a simple, honest kind, were highly congenial to him, especially in his youth and early manhood. Here is the way, for example, in which he described in his diary a ball he attended in 1760: "In a convenient room, detached for the purpose, abounded great plenty of bread and ...
— George Washington, Vol. II • Henry Cabot Lodge

... first made no reply. It was easy to divine the conflict that was raging in his mind, between the hope that the news was true and the fear of being made the victim of a practical joke. "Come, my friend," he said at last, "do you want to poke fun at me? That wouldn't be polite. A debtor is always sacred, and I owe you twenty-five louis. This is scarcely the time to talk of millions. My relatives have cut off my supplies; and my creditors ...
— Baron Trigault's Vengeance - Volume 2 (of 2) • Emile Gaboriau

... two thousand years since Christianity began its work, and it is still unaccomplished. Do you know, I sometimes think that all this talk of virtue, and teaching of religion, is a kind of practical joke, gravely kept up to find a church parade of respectability for States, a profession for hundreds, and a means of influencing men by making a tender point in their nervous system to be touched, as with a rod, when necessary—a rod ...
— Ideala • Sarah Grand

... expression). Now the older citizens of a new territory look down upon the rest of the world with a calm, benevolent compassion, as long as it keeps out of the way—when it gets in the way they snub it. Sometimes this latter takes the shape of a practical joke. ...
— Innocents abroad • Mark Twain

... by my employers," said Theriere, hastening to take advantage of the tacit permission to explain which her reply contained. "I was given to understand that the whole thing was to be but a hoax—that I was taking part in a great practical joke that Mr. Divine was to play upon his old friends, the Hardings and their guests. Until they wrecked and deserted the Lotus in mid-ocean I had no idea that anything else was contemplated, although I felt ...
— The Mucker • Edgar Rice Burroughs

... deep, and the sheep are caught by others, and tossed to them, where they undergo ablution (an operation by the way, that they do not seem altogether to enjoy), to wash the dirt and gum from their fleeces. On such occasions, it is regarded as a lawful thing, a standing and ancient practical joke, to pitch any outsider, who may happen to indulge his curiosity by stopping to look on, into the stream. If he is verdant, he will be very likely to be inveigled into the yard, and in an unguarded moment, be made to take an involuntary dive, ...
— Wild Northern Scenes - Sporting Adventures with the Rifle and the Rod • S. H. Hammond

... just what you mean, Noodles, blest if I do," remarked Fritz, with a puzzled look on his face, "but I agree with all you say. This practical joke business sometimes turns out different from what you expect. I'm sure ...
— Boy Scouts on a Long Hike - Or, To the Rescue in the Black Water Swamps • Archibald Lee Fletcher

... any words, this spectacle removed any lingering doubt which John might have had as to the possibility of this being some intricate practical joke. ...
— The Prince and Betty - (American edition) • P. G. Wodehouse

... he must be the victim of a practical joke, and it was time that his dignity asserted itself. He had accepted a cigar and was holding it in his fingers, still standing. His strange guide struck a match and held it, so that Dan perforce took advantage of the proffered flame; and he noticed ...
— A Hoosier Chronicle • Meredith Nicholson

... their minds. He hailed a hackney cab on its way to a neighboring stand, and jumped into it with an air of affected indifference. This departure was a balm to the hearts of the other two lads, who had been somewhat uneasy as to meeting the victim of their practical joke. ...
— At the Sign of the Cat and Racket • Honore de Balzac

... to him, and the president, who had laughed in his sleeve at the practical joke, looked very grave at the falsehood; Rustication was talked of and even Expulsion. Then Wardlaw came sorrowfully to Penfold, and said to him, "I must have been awfully cut, for I don't remember all that; I had been wining at Christchurch. I do remember slanging the fellows, ...
— Foul Play • Charles Reade

... Threatened by police convoy and transportation prison and having failed to obtain a reprieve, they had made up their mind to leave, despite a temperature of thirty degrees below zero. Fate, it would seem, wanted to play a practical joke on them. At the representations of the police commissioner-in-chief, the governor-general of Moscow had ordered to stop the expulsions until the great colds had passed, but ... the order was not published until the expulsion had been carried out. In this way some 20,000 Jews ...
— History of the Jews in Russia and Poland. Volume II • S.M. Dubnow



Words linked to "Practical joke" :   trick, put-on, rag, joke, hotfoot, snipe hunt, caper, prank, antic, April fool



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