punch line


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

Example Sentences

She didn't understand the punch line.
Recent Examples on the Web In Russia, people heard a man who could never finish a sentence or get to the punch line—and whose accent marked him, to the end, as a country bumpkin. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 31 Aug. 2022 This sad, breezy insight, not quite punch line or proverb, is a fitting ending for Riker’s strange little novel of cosmopolitan solipsism—the notion that withdrawing from others can still be a way of caring for them. Nathan Goldman, The New Yorker, 21 Feb. 2023 On one hand, the utterance is a punch line, unexpected and sharp, just like the book’s title. Nina Li Coomes, The Atlantic, 19 Aug. 2022 How could someone who lives in a city that doubles as a Fox News punch line — and who was a former board member of the ACLU and campaign contributor to Kamala Harris — lead the GOP? Joe Garofoli, San Francisco Chronicle, 26 Jan. 2023 As a nonbinary person, Smith has been treated as a punch line by right-wing media. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, 26 Jan. 2023 Micucci, Stevens, and co-star Martin Starr are all quite fun, but the joke loses all momentum on its way to a gruesome punch line. Keith Phipps, Vulture, 28 Oct. 2022 The Cowboys need a victory to continue to stay on Philadelphia’s tail, to catch New York and to surpass Washington in an NFC East that will no longer serve as the punch line to jokes. Dallas News, 25 Sep. 2022 Again, Forte masters the tricky balance between repetition, variation, and punctuation, with cuts to stock-footage explosions serving as the inevitable, and always perfectly timed, punch line. Jesse Hassenger, Vulture, 21 Jan. 2022 See More

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.

Word History

First Known Use

1916, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of punch line was in 1916

Dictionary Entries Near punch line

Cite this Entry

“Punch line.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punch%20line. Accessed 28 Mar. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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