punch line


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

Each punch line hinged on Bild Lilli’s hotness, her horniness, or her lack of common sense. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "Barbie's 60th Birthday Wish Was to Be More Inclusive. Now What?," 2 May 2019 Photo: Anthony Souffle/Star Tribune via AP Political names also can turn into punch lines. Ken Thomas, WSJ, "The Biggest 2020 Election Question: Whose Name Will Get Mangled Worst?," 14 Feb. 2019 But now, after years of being a punch line, the style has slowly but steadily been making a comeback. Janelle Okwodu, Vogue, "Are You Ready for the Return of Acid-Wash Jeans? Katy Perry Is," 6 Aug. 2018 Lindsay Lohan has been many things: Hollywood starlet, pop singer, punch line in a Pitbull lyric, Lawyer.com spokesperson. Bridget Read, Vogue, "Is Lindsay Lohan on Her Way to Becoming Our Next Lisa Vanderpump?," 23 July 2018 In a way that’s too bad, because there is snarky and timely punch line to the whole mess. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "Nary a scare in 'Truth or Dare' | Movie review," 11 Apr. 2018 The show tends to skim the surface of its heavy subtext, and is quick to turn drama into a punch line, regardless of where the drama comes from or at whose expense the comedy hits. Sonia Saraiya, HWD, "Marc Maron Is Great in GLOW, and Maybe That’s a Problem," 29 June 2018 In the trailer, there are stars like Nick Kroll and Tiffany Haddish ping-ponging punch lines with Lil Rel Howery. New York Times, "‘Uncle Drew’: Branding Vehicle or Feature Film? Yes," 24 May 2018 The great Trevino, 78, told stories and cracked jokes, pausing just long enough between punch lines to hit that pretty left-to-right butter fade. Gary D'amato, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "D'Amato: Celebrity hit-and-giggle scramble with Brett Favre is all about the fun at AmFam Championship," 23 June 2018

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

29 May 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


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).


to take the place or position of

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words for Summer: A Quiz

  • a closeup of a sunflower
  • Which of the following words means “of or relating to summer”?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

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

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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