Questions tagged [humor]

Questions about humorous expressions, jokes, puns, etc.

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1answer
43 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 ...
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2answers
69 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 ...
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2answers
43 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 "...
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4answers
124 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 ...
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2answers
47 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 ...
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1answer
118 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 ...
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1answer
59 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 ...
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1answer
76 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 ...
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1answer
67 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, but I feel ...
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0answers
37 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 ...
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1answer
445 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.
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1answer
128 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 ...
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2answers
4k 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) ...
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1answer
81 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 ...
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1answer
156 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 ...
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2answers
104 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 ...
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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2answers
199 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 ...
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2answers
323 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 ...
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3answers
558 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 ...
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1answer
521 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 ...
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16answers
11k 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 ...
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1answer
234 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 ...
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6answers
6k 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 ...
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1answer
98 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) &...
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1answer
410 views

Please explain the answer of a joke: “hors d'oeuvre”

This was part of the Uxbridge English Dictionary part of ISIHAC (I'm sorry I haven't a clue). The word was 'hors d'oeuvre' and the definition was 'ladies who hang around diesel pumps'. I don't get it.
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3answers
15k views

What is so bad about puns?

Many times I've heard of 'pun intended' or 'pun not intended', which I see as a form of excuse in the English-spoken world. However, I can not wrap my head around why are you constantly excusing/...
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3answers
7k views

What does this joke between Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra mean?

I have been listening to Dean Martin Pandora radio lately and there is a song medley between Sinatra and Martin. During each song they have little quips back and fourth, and there is one that I don't ...
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1answer
163 views

Meaning of “it isn't the initial cost, it's the humidity”

I was reading Babbitt by Sinclair Lewis and came across a quote I cannot understand: But they all felt that it was rather in bad taste for Orville Jones — and he not recognized as one of the wits ...
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1answer
2k views

What type of wordplay joins two phrases together on a single syllable?

During a South Park episode, Wendy sings a song with a specific type of wordplay in which she ends a sentence and starts a new one with a common word or syllable. This gives the lyrics a double ...
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1answer
103 views

The Guerrilla Comma

The other day, a car wielding a bumper sticker pulled past me. The sticker said I should: Love people, prepare them yummy food. We stopped at a light, the car ahead of me. Taking a closer look, I ...
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1answer
141 views

How could I reponse if my American friend joked “americans are foolish; we have no idea about geography?” [closed]

Last time my American friend and I were talking about an African country. He happened to know nothing about the country. Then he joked "Americans are foolish; we have no idea about geography?" I ...
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2answers
291 views

Is there a word to describe mocking a list by extending it?

For instance, the quote from Douglas Adams: “In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real ...
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3answers
74k views

What's a the word for people who make fun of themselves?

I don't mean people with low self esteem. But there are people who feel happy at being able to make other people laugh at their own expense. I remember someone telling me there is a word for them, I ...
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1answer
100 views

Is saying the Queen grew up in a “council house” a very dry joke?

In this CBC article from before the Brexit, they discuss what view Queen Elizabeth II might have of Brexit, stating, But that hasn't stopped some from speculating how the Queen would vote. "As an ...
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1answer
938 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 ...
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3answers
82 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 ...
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11answers
15k 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 friends....
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2answers
2k 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 ...
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0answers
152 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, ...
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1answer
1k 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, ...
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5answers
22k 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 ...
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2answers
255 views

What is a work-appropriate “small” object for a joke? [closed]

Trying to think of a way to make this joke work-appropriate. "If we store GPS coordinates to a precision of 10 decimal points, we could even measure the size of your [expletive deleted]." What is ...
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1answer
997 views

What's the meaning of “I have a soul”?

From the TV series How I Met Your Mother. In episode 9 of season 1, titled: Mary the Paralegal, the following expression I have a soul is used. What does it mean when someone says: I have a soul? ...
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2answers
1k 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 ...
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0answers
37 views

What is the scientific name to humour that is based on surprise [duplicate]

I remember browsing through Wikipedia one day, and coming across an article defining surprise-based humour. The article had a very specific scientific name, which doesn't have the actual word "...
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13answers
18k 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 ...
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2answers
376 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 ...
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3answers
1k 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 ...
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1answer
924 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 ...