A joke is something spoken, written, or done with humorous intention. Jokes may have many different forms, e.g., a single word or a gesture (considered in a particular context), a question-answer, or a whole short story. The word "joke" has a number of synonyms, including wisecrack, gag, prank, quip, jape and jest.
To achieve their end, jokes may employ irony, sarcasm, word play and other devices. Jokes may have a punch line, i.e. an ending to make it humorous.
A practical joke or prank differs from a spoken joke in that the major component of the humour is physical rather than verbal (for example placing salt in the sugar bowl).
Famous quotes containing the word joke:
“The old idea that the joke was not good enough for the company has been superseded by the new aristocratic idea that the company was not worthy of the joke. They have introduced an almost insane individualism into that one form of intercourse which is specially and uproariously communal. They have made even levities into secrets. They have made laughter lonelier than tears.”
—Gilbert Keith Chesterton (18741936)
“What a vast fraternity it is,that of Hearts that Ache. For the last three months it has seemed to me as though all society were coming to me, to drop its mask for a moment and initiate me into the mystery. How we do suffer! And we go on laughing; for, as a practical joke at our expense, life is a success.”
—Henry Brooks Adams (18381918)
“All I can tell you with certainty is that I, for one, have no self, and that I am unwilling or unable to perpetrate upon myself the joke of a self.... What I have instead is a variety of impersonations I can do, and not only of myselfa troupe of players that I have internalised, a permanent company of actors that I can call upon when a self is required.... I am a theater and nothing more than a theater.”
—Philip Roth (b. 1933)