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Questions tagged [humor]

Questions about humorous expressions, jokes, puns, etc.

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12 votes
4 answers
2k views

Understanding the joke, "Make an 'ell, I say" (from The Crux)

Reading chapter 1 of The Crux, there is a joke that I don't understand about the three "Foote girls," who are in their 50s and visiting Mr. and Mrs. Lane. Here is the paragraph in question: ...
Chris's user avatar
  • 123
11 votes
1 answer
603 views

Word for nonce antonyms formed by reversing idioms

Someone recently used "on-limits" to describe something that was allowed, i.e. not "off-limits." The same person subsequently described unplugging something as "plugging it ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 113
3 votes
5 answers
278 views

What terms describe humorous acceptance of a compliment?

My wife complimented a chef on his delicate fish cookery last night. Reply: "They're great, these boil-in-the-bag dishes." I complimented a violinist on his performance recently and ...
Anton's user avatar
  • 28.8k
3 votes
1 answer
305 views

What does "are nines" mean in this context?

I stumbled upon some conversation on the TV show Desperate Housewives (Season 4, Episode 10) and I do not understand what the "nines" and "a three" indicate in the following ...
Kerry's user avatar
  • 39
2 votes
1 answer
162 views

Term for (humorous) sentences that end in unexpected ways [duplicate]

I'm trying to find the term that refers to a certain type of joke. These jokes generally have the following characterstics: generally only one sentence long the first half is straightforward and ...
user477050's user avatar
4 votes
0 answers
527 views

What is the term for this sort of ambiguity? [duplicate]

"Scientists discover emperor penguin colony in Antarctica using satellite images" This is the title of an article in the Guardian newspaper today. There must be some clever penguins down ...
Anton's user avatar
  • 28.8k
0 votes
3 answers
150 views

Is there a term for sentences that are hopelessly and often humorously ambiguous? (e.g. "Squad helps dog bite victim") Are there algorithms for them?

The humorous 1980 book titled Squad Helps Dog Bite Victim and Other Flubs from teh Nation's Press (AbeBooks, Goodreads)1 recently came to mind after seeing the headline Shocking video shows Chinese ...
uhoh's user avatar
  • 877
-3 votes
1 answer
89 views

What is the meaning of "Neanderthals on a day pass"? [closed]

Said as some sort of an insult I guess.
khatara's user avatar
24 votes
7 answers
4k views

Closest equivalent to the Chinese jocular use of 职业病 (occupational disease): job creates habits that manifest inappropriately outside work

The Chinese expression 职业病 (zhi ye bing, occupational disease), when used seriously, just means occupational disease, e.g. lung problems caused by working in a chemical factory. But there is also a ...
Dan's user avatar
  • 673
0 votes
1 answer
97 views

The meaning of "I am not snapping as much"

Would you please help me and tell me why did the audience laugh when they heard the speaker saying saying the following sentences? I heard them like this: "over time I would say, actually I am ...
Princess's user avatar
11 votes
3 answers
4k views

What constitutes humor on this "i before e" coffee mug text? [closed]

I saw this writing on a coffee mug, which is supposedly popular amongst linguists: i before e Except after C and also when you heinously seize your feisty foreign neighbor's conceited beige heifer ...
Vectorizer's user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
195 views

Is there a word for when something rhymes with a profanity [duplicate]

I am specifically thinking of the Grand Tour episode entitled "A massive hunt". Is there a word that describes this wordplay? It is not a double-entendre, nor is it a homophone.
Robin Salih's user avatar
-2 votes
1 answer
101 views

I want to know why this joke is supposed to be hilarious [closed]

A couple is anxiously waiting to hear the results of a medical test for their unborn child. The doctor says: "I will start with the good news; Your child will always find a parking space." ...
nealK's user avatar
  • 113
0 votes
0 answers
71 views

What is the humor in "water's warm and deep" while relieving oneself?

The two men halted at the edge of the canal, hiked their tunics, then fumbled with their loincloths. Soon two arcs were gurgling across the filmy surface. “Hmm,” Xinemus said. “The water’s warm.” Even ...
tejasvi's user avatar
  • 103
1 vote
0 answers
56 views

Humorous mis-spelling of "spell checker"? [closed]

When I back a spelling mistake I tend to blame it on the spear chucker. Some get the attempt at humour, but it escapes others. Can anyone supply a more humorous mis-spelling of "spell checker&...
Mawg's user avatar
  • 360
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Meaning of "That's Easy for You to Say" in a Specific Context

Generally speaking, the phrase "That's easy for you to say" is used when one needs to say that things aren't as simple for him as some other person suggests. The definition clearly suggests ...
Bambara's user avatar
  • 135
0 votes
0 answers
40 views

Examples of people that have really low name recogniton?

Not exactly sure how to phrase the title, but here's the sentence I'm asking about: Our job? Somehow get XXXXX, (a candidate with less name recognition than _____ ) to the top of the polls. I was ...
om242515's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
89 views

Is there a word or phrase for using overspecific, incorrect language intentionally?

A comedian I like calls vampires "Draculas", with the specificity as well as the incorrectness (there is only one Dracula, but many vampires) being a source of humor. Is there a word for ...
Andrew's user avatar
  • 115
3 votes
5 answers
411 views

What is an example of a “clean” redivider?

Most redividers are vulgar or rude in some way, for example therapist -> the rapist pen island -> penis land an album cover -> anal bum cover I am looking for a "clean" example of ...
TechnoSam's user avatar
  • 133
2 votes
1 answer
83 views

How would a native speaker react to the proverbial phrase: "Life is lethal"?

Would it sound completely wrong? Would it be understood humoristically? Would "deadly" be better? It's an attempt to translate the humoristic German sentence: Das Leben ist tödlich. I often ...
Patrick2000's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
123 views

Couldn't understand the humour

Gandhi went in his loincloth to Buckingham Palace and met the king. Later, when somebody asked him if he felt that was proper, Gandhi replied: "The king had enough for both of us." Full article: ...
Ricky's user avatar
  • 51
1 vote
3 answers
7k views

Is there an expression that describes looking for something that probably isn't there, or looking in unlikely places for a solution [duplicate]

I am looking for an idiom or phrase that describes, in a humorous or funny way, the act of looking for something that probably isnt't there, or the act of looking for a solution in a place where it is ...
Susan's user avatar
  • 19
1 vote
1 answer
110 views

What is the 'evident pun' in Moonchild?

Recently, a friend sent me this passage from Aleister Crowley's 1917 novel Moonchild: “Dinner was served; the Poltergeist supplied the conversation. Never before had he been so light, so genial, so ...
Drubbels's user avatar
  • 183
3 votes
1 answer
1k views

Meaning of the joke about the fish and the dam [closed]

There is the joke. -What did the fish say when he ran into the wall? -Dam. Could someone explain it to me, please? As far as I can tell the joke is all about the intended pun: the dam sounds similar ...
manymanymore's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
462 views

Question for an aggressive humor : You can't unload a truckload of bowling balls with a pitchfork

I found an humor while reading an essay. But I can't understand the reason why it is funny. Does it need some background knowledge to understand it? I know only it is a kind of sick humor. Could you ...
gourmet's user avatar
  • 11
6 votes
2 answers
1k views

What do you call faking to speak a foreign language?

You can watch examples of this in the following Danny Kaye video that compiles scenes from several of his movies: Fan Tribute - Danny Kaye: Master of Many Many Tongues...Indeed Or in Chaplin's "The ...
cdlvcdlv's user avatar
  • 554
4 votes
2 answers
350 views

Is there a name for this specific category of humor?

I've attempted a few searches, but the terminology escapes me. Is there a simple term or phrase that defines this type of humor? I don't think it's redirected comedy but suspect the word "literal" may ...
fred_dot_u's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
223 views

What is a word that means contrary and funny

I am trying to describe my sense of humor to be contrary and funny, a bit silly and irreverent (not choosing between 2 choices but making my own choice), and not disrespectfully so. I thought about "...
John French's user avatar
3 votes
6 answers
5k views

Term for a joke with a missing punchline

What do you call a joke that has a punchline which as been emphatically implied through omission, as in... [Comedian peeling banana, saying...] "one skin, two skin, three skin, (pregnant pause)....
Cascabel_StandWithUkraine_'s user avatar
1 vote
2 answers
3k views

Best word for blunt, honest humor where you say something shocking to get a laugh?

What's the best word for the type of humor where you state something very honestly and bluntly with the intent to be a little shocking and a little humorous? Potentially because people don't expect a ...
Elizabeth's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
1k views

Out on a tear last night - meaning?

I've bumped into a great pun from the Marx Brothers' Night at the Opera (transcript) I didn't get the reference/joke/idiom on "out on a tear last night". Fiorello: No, that's no good, too. (they ...
SunnySideDown's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
111 views

word similar to obfuscation, used for comedy

there is a word, or perhaps a type of comedy, where simple things are described using terms that are correct but needlessly complicated or absurd for various effects. I am reminded by comics from ...
Nodus Tollens's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
510 views

What is “warm and flat water”?

I heard the expression 'warm and flat water' in the British film when someone gives another water saying There you go, warm and flat. I was told that I can use 'flat drink' to the drinks in ...
user335567's user avatar
3 votes
2 answers
5k views

Is there a specific term for humourous repetition where the repeated thing is only funny through context?

I've tried searching for terms relating to humourous repetition, but the only term I can find is "repetition". And that's absolutely fine, I don't mind referring to it as such if necessary, ...
John Clifford's user avatar
1 vote
0 answers
74 views

Term for new or inappropriate phrases that appear when you remove the spaces between words?

I'm looking for a term, if it exists at all, that describes a new word or phrase that appears when you remove the spaces from a phrase. Lots of websites have fallen into this trap, for example: Old ...
Incrementalist's user avatar
1 vote
1 answer
1k views

Should I use "the John" or "the john" when referring to the slang phrase for toilet?

Should I capitalize the "j" in John when referring to a toilet as "the john." The same goes for lazy Susan and other words that are also names.
Incrementalist's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
250 views

What comic device is based on unexpected changes in meaning? [duplicate]

To be a really good lover, then, one must be strong and yet tender. How strong? I suppose being able to lift fifty pounds should do it. Woody Allen I am not asking specifically about the ludicrous ...
sina's user avatar
  • 133
1 vote
2 answers
11k views

Toasters don't toast toast, toast toasts toast, or does toast toast toast? [closed]

I saw this funny meme from someeecards: It has me a little confused: To me it sounds like toast toasts toast, not toast toast toast. Is this meme wrong or am I missing something Either they (toast) ...
Matt's user avatar
  • 1,301
1 vote
1 answer
298 views

Word for purposeful misnomer

I've been looking for a word all day with a very specific definition, It is very similar to a misnomer, yet intentional and usually through unreality to describe something humorously, E.g. "Horse ...
Marion 's user avatar
0 votes
1 answer
247 views

What's the meaning of "you should worry"? [duplicate]

According to Cambridge Dictionary, they should worry! (humorous) ​ said about or to someone who clearly has no need to worry: She should worry! She hasn't a problem in the world. How come? Is it ...
A playgoer's user avatar
2 votes
2 answers
174 views

Is there a technical term for a humorous word or phrase?

Is there a technical term for a humorous word or phrase? There are some humorous words or phrases in English. For example: "His ample girth" for "His big stomach" "Her brood" for "Her young ...
A playgoer's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
3k views

Which literary device is used in these Thoreau quotes?

I am reading Walden by Henry David Thoreau and he likes word play. Specifically he likes to make silly analogies between things that aren’t usually put together. I am wondering what type of literary ...
xdhmoore's user avatar
  • 121
3 votes
3 answers
983 views

Is there a term for reversing phrases, usually for comedic effect?

For example, I say to a roommate, "I wish I could get caught up on my homework so I can start dating again," to which he replies, "I wish I could get caught up on my dating so I can start doing ...
Silverwing171's user avatar
0 votes
2 answers
343 views

Where is the humour in the following citation?

The sentence below comes from Word Smart II: How to Build a More Educated Vocabulary. CONFOUND v (kun FOUND) to bewilder; to amaze; to throw into confusion The newborn baby's ability to ...
morti's user avatar
  • 753
6 votes
3 answers
896 views

Word for a phrase that by ambiguity could be accidentally self-deprecating

There is a literary technique in comedies where a person says something intending for it to be reassuring and confident, but their words are humorous because when interpreted differently, the phrase ...
Brrrrrrr's user avatar
  • 453
3 votes
1 answer
810 views

Is this phrase an example of irony?

The dictionary defines irony as "the use of words to express something other than and especially the opposite of the literal meaning." I also understand that irony is a form of humor. This phrase ...
Brrrrrrr's user avatar
  • 453
38 votes
16 answers
14k views

Verb meaning "to alter someone's famous saying"

I'm looking for a single verb, or at least a succinct way of saying that you are slightly, but intentionally, modifying a famous phrase. For example, if I were to refer to Alexander the Great's ...
Valentin Aslanyan's user avatar
5 votes
1 answer
270 views

Insertion of over-specific detail to humorous effect

In Gilmore Girls, describing a debutante ball: "It's like animals being up for bid at the county fair, except sheep don't wear hoop skirts." This kind of over-the-top, facetious detail is used ...
Guest's user avatar
  • 51
20 votes
6 answers
7k views

What type of humor would racist and sexist jokes be categorized into?

I did not major in literary studies so I do not readily recognize the nuances that are used to distinguish between the various concepts. It doesn't seem to fit insult comedy since it is rarely told ...
Stormydawns 's user avatar
2 votes
1 answer
134 views

Is there a specific word for a humorous device wherein after a reaction, more information changes the meaning of the phrase

I found it hard to summarise this in the title, and I thought a few examples would illustrate what I mean best: "Well known local celebrities include Alan Bennett and Barry Cryer" (lead up) ...
thosphor's user avatar
  • 121