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 Others react with outrage, terror, or gallows humor, or settle in somewhere on the spectrum between anxious resignation and outright nihilism. Rachel Riederer, The New Yorker, "The Stark Inequality of Climate Change," 17 Oct. 2019 The show’s mix of gallows humor and high tragedy disrupted genre categories to the extent that the Emmys moved it from comedy to drama between Seasons 1 and 2. Time, "Orange Is the New Black Is the Decade's Most Important Show," 22 July 2019 The first part of the theory, about the majors wanting to kill physical, is absolutely untrue gallows humor. Ed Christman, Billboard, "'An Endless Fiasco': Indie Retailers Describe Worsening Breakdown in Getting CDs, Vinyl Delivered to Record Stores," 16 July 2019 Holzhauer was joking, a little gallows humor before the end of his lucrative run. Phil Rosenthal, chicagotribune.com, "Here’s when sports gambling could be legal in Illinois, and answers to other questions about casinos and betting," 4 June 2019 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

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.

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First Known Use of gallows humor

1901, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for gallows humor

Time Traveler

The first known use of gallows humor was in 1901

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Statistics for gallows humor

Last Updated

22 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Gallows humor.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/gallows%20humor. Accessed 5 December 2019.

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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

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