- something said or done to provoke laughter or cause amusement, as a witticism, a short and amusing anecdote, or a prankish act: He tells very funny jokes. She played a joke on him.
- something that is amusing or ridiculous, especially because of being ludicrously inadequate or a sham; a thing, situation, or person laughed at rather than taken seriously; farce: Their pretense of generosity is a joke. An officer with no ability to command is a joke.
- a matter that need not be taken very seriously; trifling matter: The loss was no joke.
- something that does not present the expected challenge; something very easy: The test was a joke for the whole class.
- practical joke.
- to speak or act in a playful or merry way: He was always joking with us.
- to say something in fun or teasing rather than in earnest; be facetious: He didn't really mean it, he was only joking.
- to subject to jokes; make fun of; tease.
- to obtain by joking: The comedian joked coins from the audience.
Origin of joke
SynonymsSee more synonyms for joke on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for half-joking
And, quite frankly, “the women were running out,” he said, half-joking.Revealing The Unseen Picasso
November 3, 2014
“We can blame Carrie Bradshaw for this,” says Shaunaq Arora, half-joking; his sigh tinged with the cloudy breath of his Gauloises.How Brooklyn Invaded Paris—Next Stop, the World
October 23, 2014
Detroiters, now erecting a Robocop statue as a half-joking, half-serious morale boost, may want to consider bronzing Mulally next.The CEO Hail Mary: A Scorecard on Corporate Change Agents
March 1, 2011
The half-joking quip was reported around the world as if it were a call for divine providence.Inside Holbrooke's War With the White House
The Daily Beast
January 14, 2011
"I do not try to alter yours," I remember he said once, in his half-joking way.Lover or Friend
Rosa Nouchette Carey
The old, half-joking maternal manner was all in earnest now.Sisters
"All correct, sir," said Sonny laughingly, and with a half-joking salute.Air Men o' War
"Quite so," answered the other in his careless, half-joking style.Miss Ravenel's conversion from secession to loyalty
J. W. de Forest
I rather like the half-joking way you do your kindest things.The Place Beyond the Winds
Harriet T. Comstock
- said, done, or acting in a seemingly jokey manner, but with some serious intent
- a humorous anecdote
- something that is said or done for fun; prank
- a ridiculous or humorous circumstance
- a person or thing inspiring ridicule or amusement; butt
- a matter to be joked about or ignored
- joking apart seriously: said to recall a discussion to seriousness after there has been joking
- no joke something very serious
- (intr) to tell jokes
- (intr) to speak or act facetiously or in fun
- to make fun of (someone); tease; kid
Word Origin and History for half-joking
1660s, "to make a joke," from Latin iocari "to jest, joke," from iocus (see joke (n.)). Related: Joked; joking.
1660s, joque, "a jest, something done to excite laughter," from Latin iocus "joke, sport, pastime," from PIE root *yek- "to speak" (cf. Breton iez "language," Old High German jehan "to say," German Beichte "confession").
Originally a colloquial or slang word. Meaning "something not to be taken seriously" is 1791. Practical joke "trick played on someone for the sake of a laugh at his expense" is from 1804 (earlier handicraft joke, 1741). Black joke is old slang for "smutty song" (1730s), from use of that phrase in the refrain of a then-popular song as a euphemism for "the monosyllable."
Idioms and Phrases with half-joking
see crack a joke; dirty joke; no joke; sick joke; standing joke; take a joke.