What the F is a "crank" call? I've always said "prank" because, well, thats what it is! A prank phone call!
Let's check out the etymology of the word "prank". Some say the term "prank" is believed to derive from the old English pranken, to make people run away, or perhaps from old Dutch pronken (from pronk, show, display) and from old German prunken (to display).
Its definitely not "cranken"!
Prank (noun): a mischievous trick or practical joke that could be good natured or malicious.
Sounds about right, no?All these homophones and mondegreens are to blame. Someone along the way must have misheard "prank" as "crank" and off they went. I can find no other justification of such a silly mistake.
A crank is a device for transmitting rotary motion, consisting of a handle or arm attached at right angles to a shaft.
A crank is a grouchy person.
Crank is also slang for methamphetamine.
For the sake of full disclosure I did come across an elusive definition which pegs "crank" as a clever turn of speech; a verbal conceit and a peculiar or eccentric idea or action.
Using that definition the scale still sways in favour of "prank".
A prank phone call is a mischievous trick or practical joke that could be good natured or malicious.