What Does Able to Take A Joke Mean?

Able to Take a Joke Meaning

Definition: Able to accept good-natured ridicule without taking offense.

Someone who can take a joke does not get offended when he is the object of ridicule. This type of person is typically thought to be a laid back and easy-going person and will sometimes make a joke at his or her own expense.

If you are unable to take a joke, you do not find it humorous when someone makes a joke out of you or a situation in which you are involved. In this case, people would think you are uptight and serious.

Origin of Able to Take A Joke

Define able to take a jokeThe origin of the phrase is unknown, though it is said to have first been recorded in 1780. We can guess that because take can mean accept, taking a joke would be accepting a joke.

If you can accept a joke, you consentingly receive it. This implies no offense is taken.

Example of Able to Take A Joke

Can take a joke meaningIn the modern day, it is often appreciated when someone is able to take a joke. Not everyone can do it, but rarely is the joke meant in seriousness.

Careful what you say about Paul. He can’t take a joke.

This is something that might be said about an easily offended person. On the other hand, if someone were good-natured about an insult, you could say,

We were worried Ann would get offended, but it was okay. She was able to take a joke.

More Examples

  • Harrison Ford can take a joke about his affair with Carrie Fisher. –Vanity Fair
  • In a letter to Laurier campus paper The Cord, Mrabure-Ajufo said that he understood a lot of people consider themselves able to ‘take a joke,’ but he himself did not see slavery as a laughing matter. –CTV News


Someone who is able to take a joke has the ability to ridicule without offense.