What is the point of this joke?
— "What do you call two crows on a branch?"
— "Attempted murder."
I've googled it to check if it was a word play but the closest one I've hit was "marauder". Someone care to explain?
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The joke is a play on words [Cambridge Dictionary] on various definitions of murder.
A group of crows is called a murder. [Wikipedia]
Two is not quite a group, hence an attempted murder.
To further beat the joke to death, murder also means homicide, and attempted murder is a crime in British and United States' penal codes. The unusual combination of birds and crime adds to the humor as a non-sequitur.
It’s not really a language joke—it’s a cultural joke, I think.
There is a superstition that three crows seen together bodes murder. Therefore, two crows seen together is one crow short of murder—or “attempted murder”.
It’s true that a group of crows is sometimes called a “murder”, but this seems to stem from the superstition, and not the other way around. Given the precise number two in the joke, I would guess that the superstition is being referred to, not the word.
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