crank vs. prank call

Discussion in 'English Only' started by drei_lengua, Jan 8, 2006.

  1. drei_lengua

    drei_lengua Senior Member

    Hello forum-goers,

    I was wondering what the difference is between crank call and prank call. To me they are the same thing. What do you all think?

    Thanks in advance,
    drei
     
  2. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    A prank call is a practical joke made by a child or childish person, usually out of boredom. There's some humor involved-- though not always for the person targeted.

    A crank call is a type of prank call where the person is old enough to have better ways of entertaining himself, or is motivated by pathology of some sort. Crank calls aren't funny, and usually they're intended to be scary-- or antagonize in some way.

    A kid making a prank call will target no one in particular, usually, and ask a setup line like "is your refrigerator running?" If you're duped into saying yes, you just made his day-- and he says "well you better go catch it!"

    A stalker or malicious gossip making a crank call usually knows who he's calling, and doesn't like that person. "Do you know where your wife is right now?" is the kind of thing he'll say, and then hang up. Or single women will be called by a perv who doesn't say anything, just "breaths heavy" and delights in any annoyance or fear he causes. Iago might call Othello and hang up without saying anything, to cause suspicion-- the idea being that the call was for Desdemona, and Othello wasn't expected to answer.

    Bart Simpson call's Moe's tavern with pestering "is Mike Hunt there?" jokes, and Moe calls the name out and gets ridiculed. That kid's a little wickeder than most, so his phone calls are in that grey area where prank becomes crank. If he's still doing it later in adult life, and it's still Moe he's plaguing, then Bart has evolved into a crank caller.
    .
     
  3. drei_lengua

    drei_lengua Senior Member

    Thanks foxfirebrand. Good to hear from you again. I have always known these words to be interchangeable but I guess they aren't.

    drei
     
  4. foxfirebrand

    foxfirebrand Senior Member

    The Northern Rockies
    Southern AE greatly modified by a 1st-generation Scottish-American mother, and growing up abroad.
    Well, it's like I say-- there's a grey area between the two. Also, the difference can be one of degree, with the prank call being the more general or normative term and the crank call being a more extreme form. But people who draw a sharp distinction between harmless "humor" and the malice of telephone harrassment would see the two in terms as I just explained them. I wouldn't be surprised if someone didn't pop up and argue the idea that you can use either word to mean the same kind of annoying behavior.
    .
     
  5. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    A prank is a practical joke. A crank is an eccentric person. So a crank call is a call from a crank. (I think I'm agreeing with Fox.)
     
  6. la grive solitaire

    la grive solitaire Senior Member

    United States, English
    Although I'd differentiate between the two, I've often heard prank call/crank called used synonymously.
     
  7. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    A prank call would be "Is your refrigerator running. . ." A crank call would be heavy breathing with intent to stalk.
     
  8. cuchuflete

    cuchuflete Senior Member

    Maine, EEUU
    EEUU-inglés
    I'd always thought a crank call involved one of these:
    (delete the second "p" in httpp....then paste into a browser)

    httpp://members.fortunecity.com/drg45nzp/crank2.jpg
     
  9. river Senior Member

    U.S. English
    This is a perfect example of a prank post.
     
  10. la grive solitaire

    la grive solitaire Senior Member

    United States, English
    ...or a Prost! (for the well-"bread"). :)
     
  11. drei_lengua

    drei_lengua Senior Member

    < ... deletion ... >

    Everyone,
    Thanks. I now know the difference between a crank call and a prank call with the understanding that there could be a grey area there.

    drei_lengua
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2012
  12. harvien Junior Member

    greek
    Well,what is the verb form of prank call?Is it to prank?
    Thanks to all
     
  13. Brautryðjandinn í Úlfsham Senior Member

    English - USA
    I don't know of a separate verb for making prank phone calls. I would just say "to make a prank phone call".
    I have never heard the expression "crank phone call" before now. I would have assumed it's a made-up word meaning a phone call an old, cranky person would make to complain about something. Whenever a person calls somebody up as a joke I'd say "prank phone call". I always leave the word "phone" in too.
    (I'm a native English speaker from the USA)
     

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