play a joke on
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play a joke (on one)
To trick one or do something to make them appear foolish; to play a prank (on one). It took me a while to realize that my brother was playing a joke on me. The kids tried to play a joke on the babysitter by pretending to be her boyfriend on the phone.
play a joke on someone
to make a joke that tricks someone. The children played a joke on their teacher. I don't like it when you play jokes on me.