• Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it


What's so practical about a practical joke? Where did the term come from?

-- AV, Golden Hill

Welcome to another episode of As the Word Turns, the Matthew Alice College of Etymological Knowledge. A joke is practical when it involves an action of some kind-- having 15 pizzas delivered to some unsuspecting schmo, dropping water balloons, clever stuff like that. Practical, in this case, comes from the idea of a practice, an action, some insanely stupid trick that only the practician thinks is funny.

  • Story alerts
  • Letter to Editor
  • Pin it

More from SDReader

More from the web


Sign in to comment

Join our
newsletter list

Enter to win $25 at Broken Yolk Cafe

Each newsletter subscription
means another chance to win!