Clown or Joker? What Is the Difference in Meaning?

The words ‘joker’ and ‘clown’ both have to do with making people laugh. They’re closely related words, but they actually have different definitions depending on how you use them. What’s the difference?

Joker and clown deal with laughter, but the difference is that jokers are typically people who make fun of other people. Clowns are the ones who make fun of themselves. The word joker is used to describe someone who uses a lot of jokes to make people laugh. Clowns are seen more like comedians who use both wild antics and jokes to make others laugh.

The rest of this article will cover the meaning of joker, and the meaning of clown.

The Meaning Of Joker

When you hear the word joker, you probably think of the infamous comic book character that’s always referenced in pop culture. However, the character has little to do with the actual definition of the word.

To be a joker is to be someone who likes making jokes to make people laugh. That’s one of the two definitions in the Oxford Dictionary. To break this down more, a joker is someone who you’ll see at casual places that likes to perform jokes in return for laughs.

The second definition makes ‘joker’ vastly different from ‘clown’. According to the Oxford Dictionary, joker’s second meaning is a person who you think is stupid since they irritate you. This means that you think the jokester is stupid because they do performances that annoy you.

The Meaning Of Clown

If you were to picture a place a clown would be, you’d see a circus. That’s because clowns are referred to as circus comedians. Whereas jokers are regular people who try to make people laugh, clowns are the ones you’ll see in circuses using performances to bring humor.

Being a clown is like having a profession. When people say someone is a ‘class clown’, it’s because they’re assigning a job to that student. That student has a job to make others laugh. Class clowns, like real clowns, do silly things to get their classmates to laugh.

The Oxford Dictionary defines a clown as an entertainer, particularly one that wears costumes (like the famous red nose and rainbow wigs) to add to the silliness. Clowns make fun of themselves to make people laugh, whereas jokers prefer to poke fun at others.