From Middle English pranken (“to adorn, arrange one's attire”), probably from Middle Dutch pronken, proncken (“to flaunt, make a show, arrange one's attire”). Cognate with Middle Low German prunken (“to flaunt”), German prunken (“to flaunt”), Danish prunke (“to make a show, prank”). Connected also with German prangen (“to make a show, be resplendent”), Dutch prangen (“to squeeze, press”), Danish pragt (“pomp, splendor”), all from Proto-Germanic *pranganą, *prangijaną, *prag- (“to press, squeeze, thring”), from Proto-Indo-European *brAngh- (“to press, squeeze”). Sense of "mischievous act" from earlier verbal sense of "to be crafty or subtle, set in order, adjust". See also prink, prance.
prank (plural pranks)
- (obsolete) An evil deed; a malicious trick, an act of cruel deception.
- A practical joke or mischievous trick.
- His pranks have been too broad to bear with.
- Sir Walter Raleigh
- The harpies […] played their accustomed pranks.
- Pranks may be funny, but remember that some people are aggressive.
- He pulled a gruesome prank on his sister.
- See also Wikisaurus:joke
- (transitive) To adorn in a showy manner; to dress or equip ostentatiously.
- In sumptuous tire she joyed herself to prank.
- 1748, James Thomson, The Castle of Indolence, B:II
- And there a Seaſon atween June and May,
- Half prankt with Spring, with Summer half imbrown'd,
- A liſtleſs Climate made, where, Sooth to ſay,
- No living Wight could work, ne cared even for Play.
- 1880 Dante Gabriel Rosetti, For Spring, by Sandro Botticelli, lines 2–3
- Flora, wanton-eyed
- For birth, and with all flowrets prankt and pied:
- (intransitive) To make ostentatious show.
- M. Arnold
- White houses prank where once were huts.
- M. Arnold
- (transitive) To perform a practical joke on; to trick.
2007 May 13, Karen Crouse, “Still Invitation Only, but Jets Widen Door for Camp”, New York Times:
- “If someone’s pranking me,” Rowlands remembered thinking, “they’re going to great lengths to make it work.”
- (transitive, slang) To call someone's phone and promptly hang up
- Hey man, prank me when you wanna get picked up.
- I don't have your number in my phone, can you prank me?
Part or all of this entry has been imported from the 1913 edition of Webster’s Dictionary, which is now free of copyright and hence in the public domain. The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.