I'm sure you know of this feeling. When you find something very funny, but it doesn't make you laugh out loud. Perhaps it's even "funnier" than other things that make you chuckle profusely. What is a word to refer to this phenomenon specifically? If not a word, then an expression is also acceptable.

  • Are you thinking of deadpan comedy? Jan 14, 2014 at 1:15
  • Did you look up in a thesaurus for 'funny'?
    – Mitch
    Jan 14, 2014 at 1:30
  • Dry or wry humor? Jan 14, 2014 at 1:54
  • I'm sorry that I didn't comment earlier. I'm not referring to another style of humor, this is just a general response that I occasionally have to certain amusing things I hear or read. I figured it was a common thing, but it's entirely possible that I'm just crazy.
    – Dodgie
    Jan 14, 2014 at 5:07
  • 1
    @Dodgie: There's nothing that explicitly says it can't (or doesn't) cause laughter, but droll is a word I recently came across that is associated with odd or quirky humor. A phrase (used on the TV show The Simpsons) is "It's funny, but not ha-ha funny."
    – user39720
    Jan 22, 2014 at 2:38

4 Answers 4


I would probably use amusing for this. From your description, I'm imagining a story or something else that is entertaining and has a humorous tone, but there's no one specific thing or moment that makes you laugh the way that the punchline of a joke does.

There are some more specific words that apply to certain cases. For example, this is how I usually think of the Mel Brooks film The Producers, about two men running a scam that involves producing the world's most terrible play - it's not funny because of jokes or one-liners, but just because their situation becomes increasingly absurd and ridiculous. In this case, the word farce fits well.


For me that's "witty" or "clever". There's a smart/insightful side to humor, but that's not always what makes you guffaw


Laconic humour. This is similar to dry humour (deadpan), or comic irony. It is commonly used in Australian culture.

  • Sorry, see my comment under the question.
    – Dodgie
    Jan 14, 2014 at 5:08

Personally, if I find something funny, but it doesn't necessarily make me laugh, I would call it 'humorous.' (or to a Brit, 'humourous')

Regards, David M.

  • 1
    Welcome to ELL! Please consider adding a link to a reference of the word's meaning. It might seem obvious to you, but there might be nuances in the definition that helps the OP.
    – CJ Dennis
    Oct 19, 2017 at 22:24

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