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.

Origin of prank

1540–50; akin to Dutch pronken to show off, strut, pronk show, finery, Middle Low German prank pomp
Related formsun·pranked, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pranked

Contemporary Examples of pranked

Historical Examples of pranked

  • The poles were pranked with nosegays, and a chaplet was hung round the horns of every ox.

    Harold, Complete

    Edward Bulwer-Lytton

  • The woodways were pranked with shadows and the fields with the purple of the asters.

    Anne Of The Island

    Lucy Maud Montgomery

  • Some meadows in the distance, pranked with ranunculuses, looked like stretches of green water reflecting a starry sky.

    After the Divorce

    Grazia Deledda

  • The earth is so very fair, all pranked with "smalle flowres" and green leaves, that the sun is grievously loth to leave her.

    Red as a Rose is She

    Rhoda Broughton

  • Women and children, not at synagogue, showed themselves at the doors, pranked in their best.

British Dictionary definitions for pranked




a mischievous trick or joke, esp one in which something is done rather than said
Derived Formsprankish, adjective

Word Origin for prank

C16: of unknown origin




(tr) to dress or decorate showily or gaudily
(intr) to make an ostentatious display

Word Origin for prank

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

Word Origin and History for pranked



"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