punch line

noun

Definition of punch line

: the sentence, statement, or phrase (as in a joke) that makes the point

Examples of punch line in a Sentence

She didn't understand the punch line.

Recent Examples on the Web

The president has repeatedly praised strongmen like leaders in Russia and Turkey for their control over their people and has turned authoritarian tendencies into a punch line. Washington Post, "Trump’s stance on Hong Kong shows his focus on China trade," 15 Aug. 2019 No attempt at a punch line, no sad little observation. Bruce Handy, The Atlantic, "The Peanuts Characters Aren’t Ordinary Kids," 29 Aug. 2019 The production rides those two shifting tectonic plates, batting and swiping at every possible punch line along the way for two hours (with a 20-minute intermission). Rod Stafford Hagwood, sun-sentinel.com, "Review: 5 things to know about ‘Pray The Gay Away'," 24 Aug. 2019 The gag ends with a punch line about possibly changing a new song’s title so it won’t be misunderstood. Joseph Peschel | For The Oregonian/oregonlive, oregonlive.com, "Chuck Klosterman’s new short story collection ranges from topical tidbits to questionable gimmicks," 28 July 2019 Her wacky and extremely meme-able performance during the first round of debates last month brought her outsize attention, though much of it was as a punch line. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: The uniquely California rise of Marianne Williamson," 31 July 2019 Here’s the punch line: Only four NHL blue liners have collected more: Brent Burns, Victor Hedman, Erik Karlsson, and John Carlson. Kevin Paul Dupont, BostonGlobe.com, "What will Don Sweeney do now with this Bruins roster?," 13 June 2019 Meanwhile, the Scarlet Knights, no longer a punch line, were poised to bring back nearly their entire rotation before leading scorer and rebounder Eugene Omoruyi took his talents to Oregon. Molly Geary, SI.com, "Big Ten Offseason Report: Power Rankings and Burning Questions for 2019-20," 16 July 2019 The punch line here is apparent: Cuomo has chosen to make natural gas the enemy at the very same time New York (and New England) needs more natural gas to reduce its emissions and keep the lights on. Robert Bryce, National Review, "Cuomo’s Silly War on Natural Gas," 28 June 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'punch line.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of punch line

1916, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about punch line

Statistics for punch line

Last Updated

2 Oct 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for punch line

The first known use of punch line was in 1916

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for punch line

punch line

noun

English Language Learners Definition of punch line

: the words at the end of a joke or story that make it funny, surprising, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on punch line

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with punch line

Spanish Central: Translation of punch line

Comments on punch line

What made you want to look up punch line? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Where in the World? A Quiz

  • peter bruegel tower of babel painting
  • What language does pajama come from?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!