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

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Other Words from deadpan


deadpanner noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for deadpan

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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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.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Charlie Watts, the deadpan drummer who served as the beating heart of the Rolling Stones, has died at 80. Los Angeles Times, 28 Aug. 2021 It’s quieter, and the humor is played with a more deadpan sensibility. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, 10 Aug. 2021 In some ways, Notaro’s deadpan style might seem like an odd fit for animation. New York Times, 23 July 2021 West perfected a slow sashaying walk and a deadpan delivery of one-liners, which were often double entendres. Tim Gray, Variety, 17 Aug. 2021 The Huntress was my favorite character in Birds of Prey, largely due to Winstead's deadpan delivery, which draws out both the character's single-minded resolve and her extreme social awkwardness. Jennifer Ouellette, Wired, 7 Aug. 2021 Fielder gives a room-temperature deadpan performance as a lonely hustler who has overweening confidence but limited social skills. New York Times, 16 June 2021 Martinosky, characteristically deadpan and monotone, bellows this last part., 25 July 2021 For that reason, among others, Mr. Boutilier has moved away from deadpan reactions. New York Times, 8 July 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Still, with social media's very context-specific deadpan memes, a virtuoso sarcasm-detector is going to have to learn some extensive folkways. Virginia Heffernan Los Angeles Times, Star Tribune, 1 June 2021 And Odenkirk whittles his natural charm down to emotionless deadpan. Darren Franich,, 22 Mar. 2021 Sharrock’s comedy depends heavily on (1) ugly ’80s pullovers and (2) the refugees staring deadpan at the folly of those around and among them. Helen Shaw, Vulture, 1 May 2021 Beckwith brings on stand-up comedian Tig Notaro as a surrogacy therapist, Nora Dunn and Fred Melamed as Matt’s noodgy parents, Rosalind Chao as an OB-GYN, and Sufe Bradshaw as a deadpan and very funny medical technician., 21 Apr. 2021 Bateman's signature deadpan only makes the eccentric notion of a grown man with crab claws for hands all the more hysterical. Maureen Lee Lenker,, 9 Apr. 2021 DeWitt also wrote the screenplay, which retains his deadpan, Wes Anderson-ish wit but is more somber, less sparkling. Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune, 1 Apr. 2021 The tone is a perfect, respectful deadpan, the rhythm lilting, the facial expression the picture of faux innocence. Cathleen Schine, The New York Review of Books, 16 Mar. 2021 His deadpan, self-deprecating humor and environmental advocacy wins fans bored with conventional hunting shows. Oliver Staley, Quartz, 23 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Those comments were typically Tuukka: deadpan and dry., 11 June 2021 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,, 20 Feb. 2020 Grant deadpans of the annual invitation for a Love Actually reunion. Julie Miller, HWD, 17 Mar. 2017 Grant deadpans of the annual invitation for a Love Actually reunion., 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.

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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

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Time Traveler for deadpan

Time Traveler

The first known use of deadpan was circa 1928

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Dictionary Entries Near deadpan



dead parking

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Last Updated

1 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Deadpan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2021.

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More Definitions for deadpan



English Language Learners Definition of deadpan

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: showing no feeling or emotion



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

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



English Language Learners Definition of deadpan (Entry 4 of 3)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on deadpan

Nglish: Translation of deadpan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deadpan for Arabic Speakers


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