A diagram of the results of placing a whoopee cushion on a chair.
When you put a whoopie cushion on someone's chair, this is an example of a prank.
Origin of prankEarly Modern English from uncertain or unknown; perhaps or akin uncertain or unknown; perhaps to prank
Origin of prankEarly ModE, probably from Low German source, as in Dutch pronken, to make a show
Origin of prankOrigin unknown
transitive verbpranked, prank·ing, pranks
Origin of prankFrom Middle English pranken to show off perhaps from Middle Dutch pronken ( from pronk show, display ) and from Middle Low German prunken ( from prank display )
(third-person singular simple present pranks, present participle pranking, simple past pranked, past participle pranked or archaic prankt)
(comparative more prank, superlative most prank)
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 The imported definitions may be significantly out of date, and any more recent senses may be completely missing.
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 *pranganÄ…, *prangijanÄ…, *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.