Questions tagged [humor]

Questions about humorous expressions, jokes, puns, etc.

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67
votes
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/...
60
votes
2answers
9k 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?
54
votes
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....
38
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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 ...
34
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5answers
8k 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 and ...
25
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3answers
8k 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 ...
23
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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 ...
19
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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 ...
19
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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
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4answers
15k 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 ...
14
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3answers
109k views

Please explain this joke about two nuns in a bath [closed]

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 ...
14
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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 ...
12
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2answers
6k 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?
12
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6answers
2k 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 ...
11
votes
3answers
829 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
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5answers
2k views

What does humor-challenged mean?

When describing a person as humor-challenged, what does it mean?
10
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3answers
76k 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 ...
10
votes
3answers
620 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
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 ...
9
votes
1answer
18k 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
1answer
927 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 ...
8
votes
3answers
388 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. (http://shc.stanford.edu/events/calendar/2006-2-6-douglas-hofstadter-analogy-as-the-core-...
7
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3answers
2k 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
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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?
7
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10answers
5k 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 ...
7
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5answers
14k 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
3answers
316 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
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 ...
6
votes
1answer
723 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 ...
6
votes
3answers
585 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 ...
6
votes
2answers
298 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 ...
5
votes
1answer
1k 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, ...
5
votes
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 ...
4
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2answers
10k 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
5answers
8k 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?
4
votes
2answers
133 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
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2answers
3k views

Most apt word for “sexual humour”

What is the most apt word to describe sexual humour in a movie?
4
votes
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
244 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 example,...
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
2k 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 isn'...
3
votes
1answer
416 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.
3
votes
2answers
901 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. My ...
3
votes
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, ...
3
votes
3answers
347 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
2answers
203 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
529 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 ...
3
votes
1answer
104 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
70 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 ...
3
votes
2answers
497 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. Then ...