What Does Poke Fun At Mean?

Poke Fun At Meaning

Definition: To joke about someone or something; to ridicule.

Origin of Poke Fun At

It is unclear exactly how this idiom originated. However, it first appeared in the 1800s.

The word poke originated in the 1300s and developed from a similar Dutch word. Poking someone physically and poking fun at someone are both slightly annoying, while not being overly aggressive.

It is possible that this is how the idiomatic usage developed.

Examples of Poke Fun At

to poke fun at someoneA woman uses this idiom during a card game with her friend.

Rodrigo: I’ll admit: this card game is a lot of fun, but I still don’t understand all the rules.

Alisha: Well, you do know that you need an I.Q. of over 150 in order to understand fully, right?

Rodrigo: Are you serious? I had no idea! Now it makes sense why this game is so hard.

Alisha: Of course, I’m not serious! I’m just poking fun at you. Relax. You’re doing great so far.

Rodrigo: If you say so.

pokes fun at someoneIn the below example, two friends are discussing a new job.

Luis: Is the new job any better yet? I know that you had a rough start.

Stephanie: Not yet. Not at all, actually. If anything, it is getting worse. I’m starting to feel depressed and exhausted all the time.

Luis: Yeah, I can tell. You have such dark circles under your eyes. You look like a panda.

Stephanie: Hey! You don’t have to be so mean!

Luis: Sorry, I’m just poking fun at you. I didn’t want to be mean.

Stephanie: Next time think before you say something.

More Examples

This excerpt uses the idiom to warn others that it is rude to joke about the children of a politician.

  • We can pause before we poke fun at a kid and ask ourselves what we value. Kindness and empathy toward children should be high on the list.  –Chicago Tribune

The article excerpt below involves one politician making fun of another.

  • The former mayor’s willingness to poke fun at the current mayor brought back into stark relief the animosity that lingers between the two from their bitter Democratic primary battle in 2014.  –Washington Post


The phrase poke fun at is another way to say make fun of or to mock.