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To be a joke

Idiom: To be a joke


Context #1:


Jack: Last night I took my girlfriend to see that new action movie starring Sylvester Stallone.

Tony: How was it?

Jack:  It was a joke! The acting was so bad. And the side effects were kind of stupid too.

Tony: Yeah, I heard the reviews weren’t that good.


Context #2:


Christine: Tonight I’m going to attend that public meeting at city hall. They’re going to vote on the new law that will ban fireworks within the city limits.

Bonnie:  Really? Good luck!  I stopped attending those meetings because they’re always a joke! The city government never listens to the people and it seems like no progress is ever made at those meetings.


Meaning: “to be a joke” is a common idiom in American English that is used to express the idea that something is dumb, boring, or not worthwhile. It is always used in a negative way, with a little mix of sarcasm too.  Practical idioms like this are taught in the Listening and Speaking classes at Language Systems International.  For more information please visit

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