deadpan

adjective
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

deadpan

adverb

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

deadpan

noun

Definition of deadpan (Entry 3 of 4)

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

deadpan

verb

Definition of deadpan (Entry 4 of 4)

transitive verb

: to express in a deadpan manner

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Other Words from deadpan

Verb

deadpanner noun

Synonyms & Antonyms for deadpan

Synonyms: Adjective

blank, catatonic, empty, expressionless, impassive, inexpressive, numb, stolid, vacant

Antonyms: Adjective

demonstrative, expressive

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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

The tension between the two – the constant shifting from Fleming’s sensuous phrases to Ehle’s deadpan humor and picturesque storytelling – drove the work forward more than any other single factor. Howard Reich, chicagotribune.com, "Ravinia review: Renee Fleming brings to life Andre Previn’s ‘Penelope’," 29 July 2019 With icy deadpan control, Stearns walks a perilously thin line between the provocative and the preposterous, courting your shock as well as your laughter. Justin Chang, Twin Cities, "‘The Art of Self-Defense’ takes violent comic aim at toxic masculinity," 19 July 2019 Tom was a great storyteller whose deadpan, self-deprecating sense of humor introduced joy to life's most mundane moments. courant.com, "Thomas D. Murphy," 12 July 2019 With icy deadpan control, Stearns walks a perilously thin line between the provocative and the preposterous, courting your shock as well as your laughter. Justin Chang, Twin Cities, "‘The Art of Self-Defense’ takes violent comic aim at toxic masculinity," 19 July 2019 With icy deadpan control, Stearns walks a perilously thin line between the provocative and the preposterous, courting your shock as well as your laughter. San Diego Union-Tribune, "Review: ‘The Art of Self-Defense’ takes violent comic aim at toxic masculinity," 18 July 2019 That’s because the joke itself wasn’t as funny as the fake-out — namely, the fact that Callahan’s songs, deadpan and profound, make the line between speaking and singing so thin. Chris Richards, Washington Post, "Bill Callahan found domestic bliss. Then he wrote the great apocalypse ballad of 2019.," 15 July 2019 Throughout Stuber, Bautista's physical presence easily plays off Nanjiani's deadpan, self-deprecating, and intellectual comedy stylings. Nathan Mattise, Ars Technica, "Stuber review: The world’s worst Uber ride becomes pure popcorn comedy," 12 July 2019 The National Weather Service in Kansas City was deadpan in its response to that notion. Jordan Culver, USA TODAY, "'No explanation': Flying objects over Kansas City leave locals suspecting aliens," 21 June 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

With a snappy indie-rock deadpan, Blum sings about the tensions between solitude and belonging, between order and chaos. John Adamian, courant.com, "Indie rock’s Mal Blum playing the State House," 12 July 2019 Mostly, Will gets to work, or rather Mr. Johnson does, as the character undergoes the hero’s crucible of suffering with throbbing muscles, an impressive deadpan and yards of duct tape. New York Times, "Review: In ‘Skyscraper,’ Dwayne Johnson Scales a Tower of Clichés," 11 July 2018 Assuming a creepy deadpan, Stewart proves even more effective as the swine Squealer, the crafty, villainous chief propagandist of the human-free farm. Tim Smith, baltimoresun.com, "Orwell's 'Animal Farm' stings at Center Stage," 13 Mar. 2018 According to a former administration official, in private conversations with aides and friends, Tillerson refers to Trump, in his Texas deadpan, as the dealmaker in chief. Jason Zengerle, New York Times, "Rex Tillerson and the Unraveling of the State Department," 17 Oct. 2017 Jim Gaffigan, one of the premiere joke tellers today, hardly ever laughs in his delivery, maintaining an amiable deadpan. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, "Why Do Comics Laugh at Their Own Jokes? It’s No Accident," 3 Mar. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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. vanityfair.com, "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.

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First Known Use of deadpan

Adjective

circa 1928, in the meaning defined above

Adverb

1933, in the meaning defined above

Noun

circa 1930, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Verb

circa 1942, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for deadpan

Last Updated

8 Aug 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for deadpan

The first known use of deadpan was circa 1928

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More Definitions for deadpan

deadpan

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of deadpan

 (Entry 1 of 3)

: showing no feeling or emotion

deadpan

noun

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

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

deadpan

verb

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

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on deadpan

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with deadpan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for deadpan

Spanish Central: Translation of deadpan

Nglish: Translation of deadpan for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of deadpan for Arabic Speakers

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