Laughterpedia: The Laughter to English Dictionary

Expand your humor vocabulary with this collection of funny terms. Do you speak comedian?

from Reader's Digest | October 2011

Expand your humor vocabulary with this collection of funny terms. Do you speak comedian?


(an-ik-doht) n. a tale of whoa. Watching a movie recently, I couldn't hear the dialogue over the chatter of two women in front of me. Unable to bear it any longer, I tapped one of them on the shoulder. "Excuse me," I said. "I can't hear." She snapped back, "I should hope not. This is a private conversation!" Submitted by David Carver

Blonde joke

(bländ johk) n. a jest that even men can understand. A blonde and her father are walking down the street when he says, "Look, a dead bird." The blonde looks up and says, "Where?"


(bäm) n. a device a joke teller wishes would drop on him after his joke falls flat. "On a trip to China, I had to eat a 30-course dinner at a banquet. To be polite, I ate everything and was stuffed. Afterward, I got up to speak, and I thought I would start out with a funny comment. So I said something about there not being enough food to eat. The room went silent. My Chinese colleague whispered to me that I had just insulted everyone." -- Brian Mullaney, cofounder of Smile Train, in the New York Times "I saw your arrest video on YouTube. You look so thin!"

Chuck Norris

(chuk nor-es) n. the indestructible actor who inspired an Internet joke phenomenon that lists thousands of his impossible feats. Chuck Norris can strangle you with a cordless phone. Chuck Norris can hear sign language. Chuck Norris knows Victoria's secret. Superman owns a pair of Chuck Norris pajamas. Source:


(drohl-ree) n. humor so dry it makes a gag. "I used to work in a fire-hydrant factory. You couldn't park anywhere near the place." Contributor: Steven Wright, the expressionless master of the art form


(fuh-see-shus) adj. "When you say something you think is funny but nobody laughs. So then you have to say 'Oh, uh ... I was being facetious.' " Source: "When you stop drinking, you have to deal with this marvelous personality that started you drinking in the first place." -- Jimmy Breslin


"Someone who is always there for you when he needs a favor." -- Comic David Corrado For 30 years, musician Adam Chester has been receiving the sort of letters from his mother that only a mom is capable of sending. He has collected the missives into one volume called S'Mother (Abrams Image). Some examples: "Please don't go into Mexico because they are kidnapping Americans and cutting off their heads!!" "I got my flu shot today, so if you don't hear from me by tomorrow, you shouldn't take the shot! Love, Mom." "Grapes are very good for having bowel movements. I didn't see any grapes in your house!! Mom."


(färs) n.when two wrongs don't make a right and three make the evening news. A Fresno, California, homeowner found a nest of black widow spiders in his garage. So he grabbed an open flame torch and went to work. Minutes later, his garage was ablaze, and the Fresno fire department was on its way. Source:

Gallows humor

(ga-lohz hyü-mer) n. a joke that may cause one to die laughing. In 1874, Alferd Packer and his party were caught in a snowstorm in the Colorado Rockies. When he was rescued, the rest of the party was dead, and Packer was found to have dined on fillet of friend. At the murder trial — before Packer was found guilty — the judge reportedly yelled at him, "There were only seven Democrats in all of Hinsdale County, and you ate five of them!" In honor of the state's favorite cannibal, the University of Colorado Boulder named its cafeteria the Alferd Packer Restaurant & Grill. Its motto: Serving All of Mankind.


(je-lä-toh-foh-bee-uh) n. 1. fear of being laughed at; 2. fear of dribbling ice cream on one's shirt. This driver — an apparent victim of his girlfriend's ire — was said to be shielding his face from London's taunting crowds.


(in-ter-net) n. "The death of the idea that your cat was special or that your dad was the only one who said 'Tar-jay.' " -- Comic Alison Agosti


(iy-roh-nee) n. nineteenth-century cannibal Alferd Packer publishing a vegetarian cookbook. After the victim testified against the man she said robbed her a year ago, the British trial judge was very complimentary. "Denise Dawson was a particularly impressive witness because she showed courage and clarity of thought and was undoubtedly honest." And it was for those reasons that he threw out the case. His honor's reasoning: She's too believable. "The jury may lend more weight to her evidence than the facts allow," he said. Source: Daily Mail (London)


(johk) n. a story by someone who has nothing witty to say. "Once I saw this guy on a bridge about to jump. I said, 'Don't do it!' He said, 'Nobody loves me.' I said, 'God loves you. Do you believe in God?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Are you a Christian or a Jew?' He said, 'A Christian.' I said, 'Me too! Protestant or Catholic?' He said, 'Protestant.' I said, 'Me too! What franchise?' He said, 'Baptist.' I said, 'Me too! Northern Baptist or Southern Baptist?' He said, 'Northern Baptist.' I said, 'Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist or Northern Liberal Baptist?' He said, 'Northern Conservative Baptist.' I said, 'Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region or Northern Conservative Baptist Eastern Region?' He said, 'Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region.' I said, 'Me too! Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1879 or Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912?' He said, 'Northern Conservative Baptist Great Lakes Region Council of 1912.' I said, 'Die, heretic!' And I pushed him over." -- Emo Philips


(lam-pün) n. barbed ire. Source: Great Moments in Product-Placement Poetry: Edgar Allen Poe's "The Raven" Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary, Over many a quaint and curious volume of forgotten lore, While I nodded, nearly napping, suddenly there came a tapping,As of someone gently rapping, rapping at my PetSafe Dog Door. " 'Tis some visitor," I muttered, "tapping at my PetSafe Dog Door — "Only this, and nothing more. Shakespeare's "A Sonnet" Shall I compare thee to a Virtual Sun 32 Tanning Bed? -- Rebecca Coffey, in

Late-night talk show host

(layt-niyt tawk sho host) n. 1) a person who "cannot sing, dance, or act." — David Letterman; 2) the person most Americans get their news from. When Navy SEAL Team 6 took out Osama bin Laden, the late-night hosts were all over it: "Great news, the world's most wanted man, Osama bin Laden, is dead. Which means now the official No. 1 threat to America is the KFC Double Down." Contributor: Conan O'Brien

Observational humor

(äb-sir-vay-shunl hyü-mer) n. executed by someone who realizes that "life is what happens when you're not watching television."-- Jason Love "When did it become fashionable for a waiter in a restaurant to tell you the specials entirely in the first person?" 'Tonight I have a mixed salad with fresh anchovies (blah, blah, blah). For the main course, I have a seared salmon with (and so on, and so on) ... I also have a delicious poached chicken with ...' All these foods that the waiter has! Is he making them? Or is this just a lot of food he's brought from home that he's willing to share?" -- Katie Workman, editor in chief/CMO,


(wun-liy-ner) n. Also referred to as a gag, a piece of cloth one wishes to stuff down the throat of inept practitioners of the art. "I played a great horse yesterday. It took seven horses to beat him." Henny Youngman "I met the surgeon general. He offered me a cigarette." Rodney Dangerfield "I like blackjack. I'm not addicted to gambling. I'm addicted to sitting in a semicircle." Mitch Hedberg


(par-oh-dee) n. the bitterest form of flattery. Artist Viktor Hertz posed the question, What would corporate logos look like if they told the truth? Here's what he came up with:


(prank) n. a trick that often results in the prankster looking foolish. On April 1, Google released Gmail Motion, a program that supposedly lets users communicate by body motion via webcam. Of course, that's not possible, but that didn't stop some people from trying it. Above are common phrases suggested by the company.


a groaner, unless you're the one who thought of it. The news can be dull. That's where comes in. The site gives you the real story, with its own twisted take. Former Miss Russia, previously arrested for forging prescriptions, now busted for shoplifting. Cops say she still hasn't gotten her Berings Strait. Chinese hoarding soy sauce as a result of Japanese nuclear crisis. Never Kikkoman when he's down. Police arrest man for stealing stenography machines. He wants a short sentence.


(ray-le-ree) n. quiplash. After Mick Jagger insisted that his wrinkles were actually laugh lines, jazz singer George Melly replied, "Surely nothing could be that funny." Source: The Guardian (London)


(re-par-tay) n. tease for two. Two friends on Facebook held this global exchange: Amanda: luisa, I am hungary Luisa: maybe you should czech the fridge Amanda: im russian to the kitchen Luisa: maybe you will find some turkey Amanda: we have some but it is covered in greece Luisa: ew, there is norway you can eat that Amanda: I think I'll settle for a can of chile Luisa: I would love a canada chile as well Amanda: denmark your name on the can From


(ri-duhl) n. a questionable joke. What do you call a rap star who studied classical music? Yo Yo Ma Ma.


(ri-pohst) n. fillet of snark. When Lady Astor became annoyed with a soused Winston Churchill, she blurted out, "Winston, if you were my husband, I'd put poison in your coffee." Churchill replied, "If you were my wife, I'd drink it."


(teez) v. to insult with a smile. President Barack Obama on Speaker of the House John Boehner's orange skin tone: "I used to think that it was a tan. But after seeing how often he tears up, I've come to realize: That's rust."


(wiyz-n-hiy-mer) n. a person who, if he doesn't cut it out, is going to get the ^% & # kicked out of him. Here is a résumé sent to a company by an eager job seeker named Eric.

OBJECTIVE: To claw my way to the top using any means necessary … but then be a fair and just ruler.

PERSONAL ATTRIBUTES: Catlike reflexes; possible

ESP; horselike laugh (optional).

EXPERIENCE: One time I rode a horse, but it bucked me off. I was injured and ended up gaining like 30 lbs, but then I shed the weight like snakeskin, very fast metabolism.

EDUCATION: Finished high school by the skin of my teeth.

REFERENCE: Eric. Who better to tell you about me than … me. Holla!


(wit) n. "A glorious treat, like caviar; never spread it around like marmalade." Noël Coward A recent edition of Huckleberry Finn replaced "objectionable" words. The Week asked its readers to give the titles of other classics a politically correct face-lift: The Still-Productive Senior and the Sea Crime and "Time-Out" The Taming of the High-Maintenance Woman Are You There, Higher Power? It's Me, Margaret

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