one-lin·​er ˌwən-ˈlī-nər How to pronounce one-liner (audio)
: a very succinct joke or witticism
: a succinct or meaningful and especially accurate statement

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web There are quirky one-liners that fulfill a reader’s expectations of a Wright book, but they’re scattered. Stuart Miller, Los Angeles Times, 16 May 2023 Wright’s monotone one-liners remain a touchstone for a comedy subgenre, along with the other master of deadpan, Mitch Hedberg, who died in 2005. Jason Zinoman, New York Times, 16 May 2023 Will and Charlie each have a clutch of co-workers played by comic aces, but scenes set at the former’s craft brewery get more of an ad lib-heavy friends-on-the-couch sitcom vibe whereas those in the latter’s office have the rhythms of cinematic scene stealers trading one-liners. Erik Adams, Chron, 15 May 2023 Writer-actor Mindy Kaling, who joined the museum’s board last year, served as host, delivering lighthearted, occasionally profane commentary on the Hollywood’s writers’ strike, her love of the Smithsonian and her role as emcee, which consisted of one-liners and descriptions of the evening’s menu. Roxanne Roberts, Washington Post, 12 May 2023 The show is filled with smart one-liners, perfectly twisted situations, sly physical comedy, clever real-world allusions, and amusing celebrity cameos. Matthew Gilbert,, 9 May 2023 The cinematic vets play a quartet of septuagenarians looking for la dolce vita in a buddy comedy that promises European-vacation set pieces, girls’ trip romps and Bergen’s punchy one-liners. Nardine Saad, Los Angeles Times, 8 May 2023 The offseason speaking circuit is made for one-liners to fuel boosters and attract recruits, and, anyway, Kelly came to LSU to win championships, not to be Saban’s footstool. USA TODAY, 5 May 2023 Writers play an integral role in TV’s late-night schedule, bashing out multiple jokes, one-liners and sketches each day that play off current events and trending popular culture. Brian Steinberg, Variety, 3 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'one-liner.' 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

1962, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of one-liner was in 1962

Dictionary Entries Near one-liner

Cite this Entry

“One-liner.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 May. 2023.

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