Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Joker is the term that describes people who joke. Are there any terms to describe the opposite of joker?

share|improve this question
2  
Someone who never makes jokes or laughs could be called deadpan –  FumbleFingers Dec 20 '11 at 1:16
1  
A nerd........? –  Terry Li Dec 20 '11 at 1:17
1  
@Terry LiYifeng: I doubt that. In my understanding, nerds are often quite giggly (perhaps because they're often socially awkward). –  FumbleFingers Dec 20 '11 at 1:29
1  
You could always go with "Finn". –  Mahnax Dec 20 '11 at 6:03
4  
@FumbleFingers: deadpan's not quite right, there are many, many comedians and comedy actors whose delivery of jokes is deadpan. –  Hugo Dec 20 '11 at 6:59
show 3 more comments

4 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

A formal adjective is

humorless

Some informal nouns are

stick-in-the-mud

kill-joy

buzz-kill

I can't think of any formal nouns or informal adjectives.

share|improve this answer
    
A killjoy is a person who is anti-fun, or prevents others from having fun. Yeah, 'killjoy' look quite close but then would a Joker allows others to have fun? (Some joker's jokes also make people angry too). Would 'Anti-Joker' be worth considering? –  Larry Morries Dec 20 '11 at 7:36
4  
+1 for humorless, which seems the only word coming closest. –  Kris Dec 20 '11 at 7:47
    
Yes, humourless seems perfect. The others confuse the ideas of 'not making jokes' and 'stopping others making jokes'. –  TimLymington Dec 21 '11 at 11:03
add comment

Some words that come to mind are sober, serious, and stoic.

share|improve this answer
    
stoic - A person who can endure pain or hardship without showing their feelings or complaining. I wish to use the word 'stoic' but if I use it, then 'Joker' might have a new meaning - a person who cannot endure pain or hardship by showing their feelings or complaining? –  Larry Morries Dec 20 '11 at 7:38
    
Stoic does not mean the opposite of a joker; don't use it thus. –  slim Dec 20 '11 at 13:04
    
I agree. Stoic was a reach that slipped away from humorless. –  Barbara Hayes Dec 21 '11 at 3:35
add comment

If you want to go the metaphorical route, there's "machine," "robot," and such like. Of course the meaning changes depending on context, but still, it's an option.

The mechanical metaphor sort of implies a general lack of emotion, though, in which case "Vulcan" might be more obvious for some people.

Another slangy sort of option would be "stiff." In my experience it doesn't imply anything other than being unnecessarily formal, tense, no fun at all, which to me means not joking around and having fun with everyone else. Still not a perfect match, though. In certain circles being a "stiff" also implies being dead. You might want to keep that in mind just in case.

share|improve this answer
    
stiff is good but the problem is that can I say that people who don't joke at all are called stiff? –  Larry Morries Dec 20 '11 at 7:37
    
@Larry: I think you could say that, yes. NOAD lists, among several other definitions for stiff, "a boring, conventional person." –  J.R. Oct 20 '12 at 9:34
add comment

Some synonyms of already-suggested killjoy are grouch, spoilsport, and wet blanket. However, I'd look for synonyms of strait-laced, "Having narrow views on moral matters; prudish." (Prudish: "of excessive propriety; easily offended or shocked...") Synonyms of the latter include demure, priggish, prim, prissy, puritanical, square-toed, squeamish, straightlaced, straitlaced, tight-laced. Going for synonyms of recently-suggested deadpan gives impassive, poker-faced, unexpressive.

Edit: Prompted by Larry Morries comment on non-jokers I looked up some uses of it. It isn't a common term (fewer than 3000 Google hits) but in a half-dozen pages I looked at was consistently used specifically to contrast people who joke with people who don't. Example: 1898 J. F. Muirhead book, page 139.

share|improve this answer
    
@JasperLoy - No, I think you're wrong about that, word request answers ideally are meant to be perfect matches. I agree that strait-laced is not exactly what's being asked for here, but none of the suggestions so far have meanings that specifically refer to "non-jokers" and it's worth considering. Have you ever seen any priggish, prim, prissy, or straitlaced people making jokes? –  jwpat7 Dec 20 '11 at 2:15
    
I am pretty puritanical, and I shall have you know that I love slapstick and puns. Seriously. I drive people crazy with some of the weird/dumb stuff I come up with. Also: animal noises are always funny. So, I have to say I think your intuition is not too reliable in this case. :) –  kitukwfyer Dec 20 '11 at 4:27
    
@jwpat7, seems like your "non-jokers" is worth considering. Other words are good but they are not closer to "non-jokers" but unless there is a term that is the equivalent of "non-jokers", I think I will have to settle for "non-jokers". (unless you want me to call this group of people - "batman"???) –  Larry Morries Dec 20 '11 at 7:33
    
@LarryMorries - I added a paragraph about "non-jokers". –  jwpat7 Dec 20 '11 at 7:58
    
@jwpat7 - thanks for researching on the term "non-jokers". (If there are no better answer than non-jokers. I will vote your answer as correct) –  Larry Morries Dec 21 '11 at 1:47
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.