knock-knock joke


plural knock-knock jokes
: 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

Examples of knock-knock joke in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Funny One-Liners for Kids Whoever invented knock-knock jokes deserves a no-bell prize. Kelly O'Sullivan, Country Living, 29 Aug. 2023 Unlike knock-knock jokes and other jokes for kids, whose purpose is primarily laughter, riddles are designed to get the mental cogs moving, which can help teach your kids to become deeper thinkers. Rebecca Norris, Country Living, 28 July 2023 The beach softball tournament is most noted for its first weekend ribald atmosphere, complete with team names not fit for a family newspaper and a Miss Emerson contest named after risqué knock-knock joke. Don Norcross, San Diego Union-Tribune, 24 July 2023 Why are there not any knock-knock jokes about America? Kelly O'Sullivan, Country Living, 1 June 2023 Woodpecker riddles inspire great knock-knock jokes. San Diego Union-Tribune, 4 Mar. 2023

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'knock-knock joke.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1936, in the meaning defined above

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

Dictionary Entries Near knock-knock joke

Cite this Entry

“Knock-knock joke.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Sep. 2023.

Kids Definition

knock-knock joke

: a punning joke beginning with the lines "Knock, knock." "Who's there?"
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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