a fall in which one lands on the buttocks, often regarded as comical or humiliating.
a humiliating blunder or defeat.

Origin of pratfall

First recorded in 1935–40; prat + fall Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pratfall

Contemporary Examples of pratfall

  • Amateur video started turning up online showing Phoenix on his hip-hop tour, doing a pratfall off the stage at one appearance.

    The Daily Beast logo
    Joaquin Phoenix's Great Practical Joke

    Gina Piccalo

    August 22, 2010

British Dictionary definitions for pratfall



US and Canadian slang a fall upon one's buttocks

Word Origin for pratfall

C20: from C16 prat buttocks (of unknown origin) + fall
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 pratfall

1939, from prat "buttock" + fall (n.). "Chiefly N. Amer. slang" [OED]. As a verb from 1940.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper