gallows humor


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

Holzhauer was joking, a little gallows humor before the end of his lucrative run. Phil Rosenthal,, "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., "'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,, "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,, "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

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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Dictionary Entries near gallows humor


gallows bird

gallows bitt

gallows humor




Statistics for gallows humor

Last Updated

7 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for gallows humor

The first known use of gallows humor was in 1901

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More Definitions for gallows humor

gallows humor


English Language Learners Definition of gallows humor

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

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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).


to complain fretfully

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