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Please suggest a verb that depicts the following situations.

For example your friend calls you and says he had an accident but when you run to his house you find out that he has lied and it was a set-up.

What do we call my friend's act?

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+1 but a set-up is different thing than act. Prank is the term for that act and not setup. However, that setup is done to play prank! :) –  Maulik V Apr 7 at 6:35
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Just FYI Setup or set-up are equivalent (nouns), set up is a verb. So your title is fine, the question should read setup or set-up. –  Jolenealaska Apr 7 at 7:19
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The common idiom for "prank" is "to play a prank (on someone)". Your friend played a prank on you. :-) –  Damkerng T. Apr 7 at 10:36
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You ask for a verb but then you say "What do we call my friend's act?" Which do you want - a word for the act (a noun) or a verb to describe performing the act? –  starsplusplus Apr 7 at 10:43
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"Set up" already conveys this sense, also. If you say "I've been set up!" people will understand you, especially if you mean you've been tricked into something or framed. –  Tyler James Young Apr 7 at 20:20

4 Answers 4

up vote 5 down vote accepted

As Homayoon has alluded to, the word can vary with the reason behind the act.

A prank or practical joke is for amusement

A ruse is to disguise an ulterior motive.

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You could also say:

Your friend deceived you.

if there was a non-humorous motive.

Or you could say:

Your friend was pulling your leg.

if it was for fun.

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If it's for amusement purposes, it's a "prank" which is usually used as a noun but is occasionally used as a verb.

I've seen it used here and there, but a few online dictionaries I've checked do not mention prank as a verb meaning to perform a prank (a practical joke), except for Wiktionary which is less trustworthy but does provide an example from a New York Times article:

"If someone's pranking me," Rowlands remembered thinking, "they're going to great lengths to make it work."

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Can you possibly expand your answer a little to make it more of a useful resource for future readers? Like maybe adding a source text and some examples? There's a good page in the help centre called How do I write a good answer? that might be of help too. –  starsplusplus Apr 7 at 8:20
    
Sure. I updated my answer. Thanks for the advice. –  Elektito Apr 7 at 10:26

There is shenanigan, which Wiktionary defines as:

"A deceitful confidence trick, or mischief causing discomfort or annoyance"
"Mischievous play, especially by children"

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I disagree. It's an act that's more negative as compared to 'prank'. Prank is the right word. –  Maulik V Apr 7 at 16:26
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@MaulikV - If someone told me that he had been in an accident, and did so so convincingly that I rushed to his house – only to find him smiling, I'd put that under the umbrella of shenanigans (which is often pluralized). Though I do like prank, I don't think there is a single "right word" to answer this question. –  J.R. Apr 7 at 19:46

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