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 life and pandemic death of Herman Cain became a lot of things: a cautionary tale, a political punch line. Los Angeles Times, "Newsletter: Today’s Headlines: Not turning the corner," 29 Oct. 2020 To Etheridge, his accident felt like the universe botching the punch line, taking it way too far too fast. Kate Knibbs, Wired, "ClickHole Started as a Meat Joke. Can It Avoid Being Offal?," 22 Oct. 2020 Otherwise the new one will just become a forgettable footnote — if not a punch line. Bill Goodykoontz, The Arizona Republic, "Yes, Netflix's 'Rebecca' remake with Lily James is pretty. It's also pretty unnecessary," 20 Oct. 2020 Even anorexia, which nearly killed Glück as a young woman, can be a punch line. Dan Chiasson, The New Yorker, "How Louise Glück, Nobel Laureate, Became Our Poet," 8 Oct. 2020 Many women don’t, thanks to the stigma attached to aging that’s either made menopause a punch line or kept it out of the conversation entirely. Macaela Mackenzie, Glamour, "1.3 Million Women Enter Menopause Each Year. We Have to Stop Ignoring Them," 7 Oct. 2020 In recent years, the market for psychedelic medicines, once a punch line, has become serious business. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "Turn On, Tune In, Get Well," 5 Oct. 2020 Those who follow UConn football might be tempted to deliver a punch line, now that McFadden is joining the Huskies. Dom Amore, courant.com, "Dom Amore: Meet UConn kicker Joe McFadden, the five-star, All-America prospect who brings ‘Friday Night Lights’ pedigree to the Huskies," 21 Sep. 2020 Soylent—a product from a movie made real as a joke, and then made a startup-culture punch line—is consumed at a rate of about one bottle every eighteen months by one of us demonstrating to the other that buying it was the right decision. Rafil Kroll-zaidi, Harper's Magazine, "Reason Not the Need," 15 Sep. 2020

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

Time Traveler for punch line

Time Traveler

The first known use of punch line was in 1916

See more words from the same year

Statistics for punch line

Last Updated

2 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Punch line.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/punch%20line. Accessed 25 Nov. 2020.

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.

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

Test Your Vocabulary

A Thanksgiving Word Quiz

  • a traditional thanksgiving dinner
  • November comes from a word for which of the following numbers?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

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!