Vocabulary: humor

This is a list of vocabulary items related to humor


Humour or humor is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement.

Sense of humor:

A sense of humor is the ability to experience humor.

"He's got a great sense of humor" (= he is very able to see things as amusing.)


A person who writes or tells amusing stories.

"Do comedians and humorists earn large salaries?


Funny, or making you laugh.

"Her latest book is a humorous look at teenage life"


Adjective. Entertaining.

"an amusing story/person/situation"


  1. Any humorous discourse generally intended to amuse, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy.
  2. The amusing part of a situation.

"I prefer Shakespeare's comedies to his tragedies."
"The candidate forgetting his lines in the middle of the speech provided some good comedy."


A person whose job is to make people laugh by telling jokes and amusing stories or by copying the behavior or speech of famous people:

"He is a stand-up comedian."

Black humor:

An amusing way of looking at or treating something that is serious or sad.

Crack a joke:

A collocation that contain a verb (crack) and a noun (a joke). To make a joke or a clever remark.

"He's always cracking jokes."


Adjective. Amusing, especially in an unusual way.

"A droll remark/expression/person."

Dry humor:

Dry humor is very amusing in a way which is clever and not loud or obvious:

"a dry sense of humor."
"a dry wit."


Not serious about a serious subject, in an attempt to be amusing or to appear clever:

"Facetious remarks."
"He's just being facetious."


Adjective. Amusing; causing laughter:

"Do you know any funny jokes?"
"It's not funny - don't laugh!"
"No matter how disastrous the situation there always seems to be a funny side to it."


Noun (INFORMAL.) A joke or funny story, especially one told by a comedian (= person whose job is to make people laugh):

"I did a few opening gags about the band that had been on before me."

Gallows humor:

Phrasal Noun. Also referred to as black humor. These are Jokes or humorous remarks or stories that are made about subjects that are generally considered taboo, particularly subjects that are normally considered unpleasant, worrying, serious, or painful to discuss such as death and illness.

His stories are distinguished by a gallows humor.


Adjective. Extremely amusing and causing a lot of laughter:

"He didn't like the film at all - I thought it was hilarious."


Noun (FORMAL). Something which is said or done in order to amuse:

"His proposal was no jest - he was completely sincere."


Something, such as an amusing story or trick, that is said or done in order to make people laugh:

"Did I tell you the joke about the chicken crossing the road?"
"She spent the evening cracking (= telling) jokes and telling funny stories."
"He tried to do a comedy routine, but all his jokes fell flat" (= no one laughed at them).
Don't you get (= understand) the joke?


To smile while making sounds with your voice that show you think something is funny or you are happy:

"They laughed at her jokes."
"I couldn't stop laughing."


A way of criticizing people or ideas in a humorous way, or a piece of writing or play which uses this style. Satire may rely more on understanding the target of the humor, and thus tends to appeal to more mature audiences:

"He wrote a political satire."
"Her play was a biting/cruel satire on life in the 80s."


The ability to perceive and express in an ingeniously humorous manner the relationship between seemingly incongruous or disparate things.

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