I have encountered two words for "joke": 冗談{じょうだん} and ジョーク.

What is the difference in meaning or usage between the two? I have tried Googling but found nothing particularly helpful.

1 Answer 1


Technically, I don't think there is much of a semantic difference.

However, I feel that 冗談 is much more commonly used and I would generally suggest this if you aren't sure which to use. For example it's normal to say "冗談じゃないよ”, but I've never heard "ジョークじゃないよ" before (or very rarely).

As usual with loanwords, I think you'll find the younger generations are using more of them and then older generations using less, so I'd guess ジョーク would be more commonly used by younger people. (Though I don't have stats to back that up).

The only phrase I can think of off hand with ジョーク is ”アメリカンジョーク”, and that is fitting because the first part of the phrase is also a loanword (or at least written in Katakana).

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