Questions about humorous expressions, jokes, puns, etc.

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59
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2answers
6k views

What is the first part of a joke called?

How does one refer to the first part of a joke? The follow up is often referred to as a punchline but I'm unsure how to refer to the first part. Is it a 'joke' or does a 'joke' include the punchline? ...
52
votes
11answers
7k views

What is this method of joking about a morbid situation called?

What word or phrase could be used to describe a joke about something serious or bad? It isn't meant as humor in the typical sense, but as sort of a brave, different flavor of humor between two ...
34
votes
5answers
6k views

What does this mean: 'Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water AND make it drink'? Why is it funny?

Chuck Norris can lead a horse to water and make it drink. I read this on http://chucknorrisfacts.com. What I think this sentence means, is: Chuck Norris can take his horse to where the water is ...
22
votes
3answers
6k views

Make like a banana

In my area, it's not unusual to hear expressions like I'm going to make like a banana and split. ...make like a tree and leave. ...make like a baby and head out. ...make like a prom ...
20
votes
11answers
2k views

Colorful term for someone with a long-overdue library book [closed]

I'm trying to find a humorous term for someone who still has an overdue library book after a number of years. I first came up with "delinquent lendee", but I'm sure there's something more apropos or ...
17
votes
4answers
6k views

“Well paint me green and call me a cucumber! I just […]”

Well, [perform some action against me (through which I will be complacent)], and call me a [something humorous which I would then resemble]. [Sincere or feigned exclamation of a recently apparent ...
11
votes
3answers
664 views

What English homophone corresponds to 'oise salon'?

This is something of a fringe question. I hope it's considered on-topic. There have been two books published which purport to be French poetry. The joke is that when read aloud, the poetry sounds, ...
10
votes
5answers
2k views

What does humor-challenged mean?

When describing a person as humor-challenged, what does it mean?
10
votes
6answers
789 views

Changing a quotation so that the original is recognised, but has been given a new meaning

I didn't know how to phrase my title to make it meaningful to anyone, and I can't really explain it now, so I shall use an example: The opening phrase on the DSGB website is "It's counting, Jim, but ...
10
votes
3answers
545 views

What is the best term to categorize a lolcat image and text?

I've seen the captions described as a dialect, patois, "kitty pidgin" and language play which is well and good but doesn't get to the key visual aspect (silly/cute/adorable cats). Wikipedia offers ...
9
votes
6answers
45k views

Please explain this joke about two nuns in a bath

I've heard this joke several times, but I'm ashamed to say I really cannot understand it. It just doesn't seem to make any sense however I look at it. I have a suspicion that it is supposed to be ...
9
votes
1answer
3k views

“After all 7 8 9” joke?

I know that it is very important to be aware of "hidden meanings" of words and phrases. (Especially if the meaning is sexual.) That is why I love Stephen Colbert's "The Word" segments and usually ...
8
votes
10answers
4k views

Phrase for criticism/insults concealed with humor

Passive aggressive people will sometimes veil insulting, critical, derogatory or generally aggressive comments with humor. The patina of humor makes the comment seem like a joke, not to be taken ...
7
votes
3answers
1k views

Better term for “intellectual jokes”

What can you call a joke, pun, or anything funny that likely needs intelligence to get? All I can come up with is intellectual jokes; is there another word for this? A one-word answer would be great. ...
7
votes
5answers
7k views

What does “Stick it up one’s jumper” mean? Why is it funny?

I saw the phrase “Stick something up one’s jumper” in Jeffery Archer’s short story titled “Member’s Only,” in which Robin Chapman, the hero was kept waiting for 5 years and has to wait for another ...
7
votes
2answers
4k views

What is funny in this paraprosdokian?

I was reading the wiki page about paraprosdokians when I come across this sentence. One morning I shot an elephant in my pajamas, how he got in my pajamas, I don't know. What is funny about it?
7
votes
3answers
272 views

Humour through repeated use of a construct, with a final variation?

I am wondering if there is any name, or well-known example, for a humoristic construct that I particularly enjoy. It is exemplified in this monolog from Pierre Desproges, directed at a woman he was ...
7
votes
3answers
248 views

“Analogy is the Delaware of Cognition”

I come across this expression in this public lecture "Analogy as the Core of Cognition" by Douglas Hofstadter. ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

First communion, then communism?

On a slightly more serious note, what do you call a kid who goes to his first communion? Surely not a communist, right?
6
votes
10answers
2k views

Starts with N ends in O… means Yes [closed]

Just wondering if there is a word (or pair of words) that starts with N and ends with O and actually means Yes (or roughly yes... some sort of synonym). I thought this might have some humorous ...
6
votes
1answer
561 views

What makes 'St-n-c-tt-r' a 'smirking pun'?

This passage comes from Walter Isaacson's “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.”: Franklin wrote about a husband who caught his wife in bed with a man named Stonecutter, tried to cut off the ...
5
votes
2answers
242 views

What does “cup and Chaucer” mean?

I've recently come across a phrase unknown to me: "cup and Chaucer". What does it mean? Obviously it is connected with the popularity and influence of Geoffrey Chaucer as the Father of English ...
4
votes
2answers
2k views

Is the phrase “Take my wife – please!” a paraprosdokian?

I was reading the wiki page about paraprosdokians and I don't understand why the phrase: Take my wife – please! is classified as one.
4
votes
2answers
107 views

“Enter the Fairies” after a sudden clatter or crash?

In my family, who originate from Scotalnd, people cry "enter the fairies!" if something has caused a sudden crash, smash or clatter. I am guessing it comes from a stage direction, such as from ...
4
votes
1answer
430 views

Intentional double negation

Is there a name for this manner of purposely speaking in double negatives, e.g. I wouldn't say no to a cup of tea! I've noticed it as a habit of some people, perhaps often going along with a ...
4
votes
2answers
752 views

Most apt word for “sexual humour”

What is the most apt word to describe sexual humour in a movie?
4
votes
1answer
211 views

Is there a term for expressions usually rendered as names but are meant to be humorous?

The expressions about which I am asking are used often on "Prairie Home Companion" when the narrator delivers a list of "fake" credits at the end of the show or at the end of a comic bit. For ...
4
votes
3answers
1k views

Word for a false definition used for comedic effect

Is there a word for a false definition given in jest? I don't know if such a word exists, but I'm interested to know it if it does. An example of what I mean would be: Politics - a latin word ...
3
votes
2answers
852 views

Is there a single word meaning “very funny book”?

Sometimes you read a book that has you convulsing with laughter from the moment you pick it up. For me, one of those books was Catch-22 by Joseph Heller. What do you call this? Perhaps there ...
3
votes
2answers
380 views

<Grammar/Style> Ambiguous “it”

I recently stumbled upon this joke employing some grammar: Q: How can you drop an egg on a concrete floor without cracking it? A: Any way you want, concrete floors are very hard to crack. ...
3
votes
3answers
221 views

Does the type of play on words in “Some people are immune to good advice” have a name?

On Breaking Bad, Saul Goodman remarks, "Some people are immune to good advice." Similarly, a friend of mine described a weekend as "a celebration of procrastination". Does word play that juxtaposes ...
3
votes
1answer
287 views

“…Batman is the personality-shelf where Bruce Wayne stores the crazy-plates…” - is this just a metaphor, or is it something else?

In this article on Cracked.com, I discovered this gem of a phrase: ...Batman is the personality-shelf where Bruce Wayne stores the crazy-plates... ...and I thought it was a fantastic phrase. ...
3
votes
1answer
257 views

What is this form of humor called? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Is there a name for this type of sentence structure: “She looks as though she's been poured into her clothes, and forgot to say 'when'”? I'm ...
2
votes
2answers
226 views

“This video was recorded with a sandwich”

It is a top comment from this youtube video. I'm sure it is a way of expressing sense of humor, but I just can't get it. My guess is that they are just saying the video is just as short as the time it ...
2
votes
1answer
163 views

Does 'droll' have a negative connotation?

I'd taken droll to mean something like drily amusing, but without any implied negativity. But I've often heard people say Very droll! in response to something that they appear to find mildly ...
2
votes
1answer
496 views

What does the phrase “never the mane shall tweet” mean?

It has long been known that birds will occasionally build nests in the manes of horses. The only known solution to this problem is to sprinkle baker's yeast in the mane, for, as we all know, ...
2
votes
0answers
40 views

Connotation of a sentence in a listening material from TPO

(Here for the original audio source (MP3 file). The part in question begins approximately at 2'18'') This conversation is an excerpt from one listening material in a TPO (TOEFL Practice Online) test, ...
1
vote
7answers
4k views

British and American slang words for immigrants?

What slang words or phrases do British/American English speakers use for (poor) immigrants?
1
vote
1answer
32 views

What is it called when you use the same first consonant in different words - Example follows [duplicate]

I'm going blank here, so forgive me for what should be simple. The search engines weren't helpful. I tried to search. Example: The finicky felines finished their food. I'm drawing a serious blank ...
1
vote
4answers
3k views

Where did the phrase “don't spend it all in one store” originate?

I've heard the phrase "don't spend it [money] all in one store" a number of times, virtually always in a joking manner. Where did it originate from and has it always been said as a joke?
1
vote
3answers
41 views

A noun to describe an intention not to use humor when not necessary [closed]

I am seeking a noun that would describe a person's attempt to refrain themselves from being "cool" in responding (perhaps to an email message), often contrary to their humorous nature - an intentional ...
1
vote
2answers
106 views

Does a pun require an explicit reference to the word being punned?

If one is referencing a prior comment in a conversation that uses a term with multiple meanings, using the alternate meaning to make wordplay, would this be considered a pun? (Note: poor software ...
1
vote
1answer
3k views

What’s so funny about “You are winner”? [closed]

I came across one slang thing: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=You%27re%20Winner! While understand that it is grammatically incorrect and you must say "You are the winner", I don't get ...
1
vote
1answer
161 views

What does this humor mean? [closed]

Why is this caption funny? "Faster! By God, you will earn that tip yet!" Source Since this is about American humor, I'd appreciate an answer from Americans.
1
vote
1answer
67 views

Where is the word play in this dialog?

I'm trying to figure out the word play behind this dialog (it is taken from A Bit of Fry and Laurie show - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WaqZpcPEZEY): Good morning. Right. Can I help you? Yes, ...
1
vote
3answers
330 views

What is it called when someone uses a slightly absurd specific example of something to be humorous?

For example, "We're competing for attention with teenagers who would rather be playing Angry Birds," or "You need to explain this in a way that your grandmother who thinks the internet works by magic ...
1
vote
2answers
118 views

How to tell someone (in a funny way) that you are aware that you are (too) emotive while talking about an issue?

How would you tell (briefly) the person you are talking with when you are flooded with emotions —in a funny way—, that: you are aware of these sign, and you find it embarrassing you don’t take your ...
1
vote
2answers
183 views

What does the phrase “I didn't bring my permits” mean?

I came across this gif. Apparently actor Chris Pratt is cracking some kind of a joke here, but I'm not sure if I get it. He said this line after he had showed off his guns. Any tips would be ...
1
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1answer
88 views

Use of “nay” - still current?

I get the sense that the interjection nay is seen as outdated and used only for humorous effect. Is this assumption true, or is it still acceptable in serious writing?
0
votes
2answers
580 views

A guy walks into a bar. His buddy laughs and says, “Don't worry, I didn't see it either.”

A guy walks into a bar. His buddy laughs and says, "Don't worry, I didn't see it either. What is the meaning of this joke? What makes it funny? (Is it supposed to be funny?) I saw this joke in ...