gallows humor

noun

Definition of gallows humor 

: humor that makes fun of a life-threatening, disastrous, or terrifying situation

Examples of gallows humor in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Despite the seriousness of the topic, some election officials met the focus on Russian interference with gallows humor. Alexa Corse, WSJ, "Mueller Indictment Adds Urgency to Securing 2018 Midterm Elections," 15 July 2018 But gallows humor can be a great way to embrace it. Loren Savini, Allure, "Breaking the Cycle: Meet the People Who Are Fighting to End Period Stigma," 27 June 2018 Not only that, but the despair and disillusionment many of us have felt since the election can, in certain cases, calcify into a sort of gallows humor. Cady Drell, Marie Claire, "Everything You Need to Know About the Summer of Scam," 19 June 2018 To their credit, the tempo of music, gallows humor and revealing of psychic scars is precisely balanced. OregonLive.com, "'Lady Day' tells Billie Holiday's story in richly layered, unforgettable show," 4 June 2018 In the story's boldest stroke of gallows humor, Joe and a fallen adversary croon softly together to a song on the radio, two souls improbably united by the strange, terrible intimacy of professional murder. Justin Chang, latimes.com, "Joaquin Phoenix descends into a hellish New York underworld in the haunting 'You Were Never Really Here'," 5 Apr. 2018 Unlike the more pugilistic Spicer, Sanders has privately displayed a gallows humor. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "As a willing warrior for Trump, Sarah Huckabee Sanders struggles to maintain credibility," 5 May 2018 There was no gallows humor at the AT&T Center on Sunday however. Jeff Mcdonald, San Antonio Express-News, "Still facing long odds, Spurs aim to bring pride with them on the road," 23 Apr. 2018 Metcalf revels in the gallows humor of an eldercare companion who has emptied one too many bedpans. Charles Mcnulty, latimes.com, "Glenda Jackson steals the show in a thrilling, emotionally affecting 'Three Tall Women' on Broadway," 30 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'gallows humor.' 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 gallows humor

1901, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about gallows humor

Share gallows humor

Dictionary Entries near gallows humor

gallows

gallows bird

gallows bitt

gallows humor

gallstone

gallumph

Gallup

Statistics for gallows humor

Last Updated

22 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for gallows humor

The first known use of gallows humor was in 1901

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for gallows humor

gallows humor

noun

English Language Learners Definition of gallows humor

: humor that relates to very serious or frightening things (such as death and illness)

More from Merriam-Webster on gallows humor

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gallows humor

Comments on gallows humor

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

WORD OF THE DAY

having a pattern of small flowers

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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