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I known that "insult" (v) is the way to offend someone.

But, when I only want to make some joke or play with my friends by saying some words that seem to insult them (I don't definitely want to insult them). For example:

A: That girl is very beautiful!! B: That means all women in your family are ugly, right? You have to think about your new wife! Ha Ha

(B is trying to ..?.. A that A's wife is ugly.)

Which the word in verb is suitable to use?

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Perhaps the title would be clearer if it said something like "Is there a word that means insult in a friendly or playful manner?" – bib Aug 31 '12 at 16:04
The term 'slagging' is used in Ireland to mean exactly what you're talking about. The term 'slagging off' is used in England, but this term just means to insult, without the friendly connotation. – tinyd Sep 27 '12 at 10:02

10 Answers 10

I think tease is another word which is suitable for insult. Example:

The children teased the boy because of his stammer.

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Finding synonyms for a friendly insult is not easy. But josh, rag and maybe gibe might fit.

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B is trying to tease or synonyms thereof.

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An older term, largely from African- American culture, is doing the dozens, meaning friendly insults.

A more recent term along the same lines is signifying, also primarily used in African-American culture.

Another term used for playful insult is trash talk. This is generally less friendly and is mostly used for opponents in sporting activities.

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You may find that the word for this is a

Sarcastic Remark

or just sarcasm. It means when you say something with the intent for it to mean the opposite of the normal meaning.

Like when a friend wins a move in a game, and you exclaim "Oh you're an idiot" when the opposite is meant, given the context:

  • you're close friends
  • they were very smart (not idiotic) in their skillful move
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More of a colloquial term (as I just learned researching it, adopted from professional wrestling), is ribbing. Stemming from a rib, a practical joke, to rib [x] is to tease them in a playful manner.

B is ribbing A about A's wife

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Tease will be fine in such situations.

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Teasing. / playful provokation / annoy

tease |tēz| verb [ with obj. ] 1 make fun of or attempt to provoke (a person or animal) in a playful way: Brenda teased her father about the powerboat that he bought but seldom used | [ no obj. ] : she was just teasing | [ with direct speech ] : “Think you're clever, don't you?” she teased. • tempt (someone) sexually with no intention of satisfying the desire aroused

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A: That girl is very beautiful!! B: That means all women in your family are ugly, right? You have to think about your new wife! Ha Ha

B is putting A on about A's wife.

put on: Slang. tease or mislead (another)

Alternately, consider pull someone's leg.

pull someone's leg: if you pull someone's leg, you play a joke on them by saying something that isn't true.

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A common term I hear for this in the midwest is jab.

You could also say that you are sticking it to them.

Or goading them on.

But the most common of them all is messing or playing.

Dude, don't get all bent out of shape. Just messing with you.

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