dead·​pan | \ ˈded-ˌpan How to pronounce deadpan (audio) \

Definition of deadpan

 (Entry 1 of 4)

: marked by an impassive matter-of-fact manner, style, or expression a deadpan comedy



Definition of deadpan (Entry 2 of 4)

: in a deadpan manner : without emotion : blankly Larry David started out in the 1970s doing stand-up in comedy clubs such as Catch a Rising Star, where if he came out on stage and did not like the audience he would stare at them deadpan … and walk off.— Lee Siegel "A sex and violence weekend?" "That's two weekend ideas, actually," Derbin replies deadpan.— Judith Miller



Definition of deadpan (Entry 3 of 4)

1 : a deadpan manner of behavior or presentation
2 : a completely expressionless face


deadpanned; deadpanning; deadpans

Definition of deadpan (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

: to express in a deadpan manner

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from deadpan


deadpanner noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for deadpan

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of deadpan in a Sentence

Adjective he delivered the joke in such a deadpan voice that we thought at first that he was serious Noun He tells the joke in his best deadpan. She's a master of deadpan. Verb “I went back to doing push-ups again, and this time I almost completed one,” he deadpanned.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Today’s most acclaimed indie acts include the likes of 100 Gecs and Sophie, who create parodic, deadpan pastiches of pop clichés. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Katy Perry and the End of Pop," 1 Sep. 2020 The British hosts' deadpan commentary on this singularly unsexy smut is liable to draw actual tears of laughter. Emma Dibdin New York Times, Star Tribune, "Podcasts offer comedy fans laughs with Hollywood on hiatus," 2 Aug. 2020 Keanu Reeves does this deadpan thing with a slight wink. Geek's Guide To The Galaxy, WIRED, "The ‘Double Dragon’ Movie Should Be a Cult Classic," 28 Aug. 2020 Daniel Simonsen, a deadpan absurdist from Norway, leaned into this, emphasizing his accent and mechanical delivery, pointing out in his set that the expression on his face was no different from the mask. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, "Live Comedy Is Back in New York! But Outdoors. Is This a Good Thing?," 26 Aug. 2020 What the reader will remember will be the pleasures available to anyone: the deadpan humor, the swoons of their melodramatic thriller plots, and the beguiling weirdness of the world Coetzee has constructed. Christian Lorentzen, Harper's Magazine, "Coetzee’s Radical Masterpiece," 18 Aug. 2020 It’s probably not a coincidence that Murray shines brightest in more than a dozen films with those three very different filmmakers who nevertheless share a deadpan comic sensibility. Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune, "7 movies to celebrate Bill Murray's 70th birthday," 12 Aug. 2020 All-star outfielder Charlie Blackmon offered a deadpan reaction. Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post, "Rockies’ Bud Black, Charlie Blackmon miffed at Sports Illustrated’s 66-win prediction," 11 Mar. 2020 But the greater freedom is the ability to enlarge the cast into a fantastical animal realm, a deadpan mélange of animal and human. Adam Thirlwell, The New York Review of Books, "A Horse’s Remorse," 3 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Around the middle of the season, too many Loy’s scenes become TED talks about something or other, delivered by Rock with an I’m-being-serious-now blank deadpan. Darren Franich,, "Fargo season 4 has a lot of nothing to say about America: Review," 14 Sep. 2020 Once the beat kicks in, Jennifer starts bopping up and down to match, all while staring deadpan into the camera. Rebecca Norris, Country Living, "Jennifer Garner Survives Laundry Day with Dancing and Wine in Hilarious Instagram Clip," 24 May 2020 Since his injuries have left him literally speechless, his parting words to her are delivered in the robot deadpan of a speak'n'spell: Of course, Eve isn't about to just stop investigating the attack on her husband, soon-to-be-ex or not. Kat Rosenfield,, "Killing Eve recap: What the fork happened to Niko," 18 May 2020 Eugene Levy portrayed Johnny with an owlish deadpan, and Catherine O’Hara, his frequent collaborator on the Canadian sketch circuit, granted Moira a loopy flair, an unplaceable accent, and a gonzo lexicon. Eren Orbey, The New Yorker, "The “Schitt’s Creek” Series Finale: The Vindication of Twyla," 8 Apr. 2020 Hall tells his tale with warmth and candor and none of the frosty deadpan he was known for back in the heyday of The Specials. Kenneth Partridge, Billboard, "The Specials Talk Reunion Album & Recording With Viral Activist Saffiyah Khan," 22 Jan. 2019 The questions are often barely veiled insults, delivered in a mirthless deadpan that’s somewhere between stupidity and sociopathy — the exact opposite of the breezy sycophancy that passes for most late-night banter. Scott Tobias, Washington Post, "How ‘Between Two Ferns’ went from hilariously awkward web series to hilariously awkward Netflix movie," 20 Sep. 2019 New to the story is Chuck’s sweet if daffily literal-minded cousin, portrayed in an unbreakable deadpan by Rigby. Los Angeles Times, "Review: We liked the movie ‘Grumpy Old Men.’ Why did this musical have to change it?," 27 Sep. 2019 With a snappy indie-rock deadpan, Blum sings about the tensions between solitude and belonging, between order and chaos. John Adamian,, "Indie rock’s Mal Blum playing the State House," 12 July 2019 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb The prize, Brady deadpans, is two weeks in Dayton, Ohio, which the 51-year-old concedes sounds a little like a Vaudeville punchline. Nancy Shohet West,, "Humor writing wins Tracy McArdle Brady a hotel room of her own," 20 Feb. 2020 Grant deadpans of the annual invitation for a Love Actually reunion. Julie Miller, HWD, "Love Actually Stars Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, and More Offer Clues About the Sequel," 17 Mar. 2017 Grant deadpans of the annual invitation for a Love Actually reunion., "Love Actually Stars Liam Neeson, Hugh Grant, and More Offer Clues About the Sequel," 17 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'deadpan.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of deadpan


circa 1928, in the meaning defined above


1933, in the meaning defined above


circa 1930, in the meaning defined at sense 2


circa 1942, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about deadpan

Time Traveler for deadpan

Time Traveler

The first known use of deadpan was circa 1928

See more words from the same year

Statistics for deadpan

Last Updated

12 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Deadpan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Sep. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for deadpan


How to pronounce deadpan (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of deadpan

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: showing no feeling or emotion



English Language Learners Definition of deadpan (Entry 2 of 3)

: a way of saying funny things without showing any feeling or emotion



English Language Learners Definition of deadpan (Entry 3 of 3)

: to say (something funny) in a way that shows no feeling or emotion

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on deadpan

What made you want to look up deadpan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Syn City

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!