knock-knock joke

plural knock-knock jokes

Definition of knock-knock joke

: a formulaic joke that begins with the words "Knock knock" in imitation of someone knocking on a door

Note: The standard pattern of a knock-knock joke calls for a response of "Who's there?", a cryptic reply identifying the knocker, a further response repeating the name of the knocker followed by "who?", and a final joking reply typically featuring a pun or play on words.

William Cole … is a perpetrator of, and authority on, the knock-knock joke. "Knock-knock jokes are basically puns, that's all, and you've got to have a feel for the ludicrous," he says. …. he considers the following to be his best creation: "Knock knock." Who's there? "Amaryllis." Amaryllis who? "Amaryllis state agent. Wanna buy a house?"— Glenn Collins Big Bird to audience: "You're having fun, right? Okay, let's do a knock-knock joke. Knock knock." Audience: "Who's there?" BB: "Ya." Audience: "Ya who?" BB: "See, I told you you were having fun." Groan if you like, but it's a hoot to a 4-year-old.— Steve Parks

First Known Use of knock-knock joke

1936, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of knock-knock joke was in 1936

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Cite this Entry

“Knock-knock joke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Apr. 2021.

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