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 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 Anyhow, here are the five funniest things that our punch line of a president said in Singapore. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump’s 5 Weirdest Remarks About His Summit With North Korea," 12 June 2018 Despite its seeming dominance of MTV in the network’s glory days, Def Leppard was quickly relegated to punch line status once Nirvana and the Smashing Pumpkins arrived. Aidin Vaziri, SFChronicle.com, "Matt Nathanson explores Def Leppard’s sensitive side on ‘Pyromattia’," 20 June 2018 The best thing here is the main guy, Harry Bouvy, who rocks his white suit and attitude, shows acting range, and delivers a mean punch line. John Timpane, Philly.com, "'Act of God' at Bucks County Playhouse: Some laughs, but few hosannas," 21 May 2018 People remember joking, but nobody remembers the punch lines, just the laughter. Gary Thompson, Philly.com, "Philly native Jon Kean talks about directing powerful, surprisingly funny 'After Auschwitz'," 26 Apr. 2018 Sharknado’ have gone too far in turning sharks into punch lines. Ellen Gamerman, WSJ, "It Wouldn’t Be Summer Without a Shark Movie," 10 May 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

Share punch line

Statistics for punch line

Last Updated

4 Sep 2018

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

See 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

evasion of direct action or statement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Great Scrabble Words—A Quiz

  • scrabble-tiles-that-read-scrabble-quiz
  • Which of the following Q-without-U words means the number five in cards or dice?
True or False

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

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

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!