Oxford English Dictionary: Comedy Words and Where They Come From


This week the Oxford Dictionaries Blog explored the world of comedy with From joke to farce: comedy words and where they come from. Of the seven words profiled, the oldest, farce, dates back to 1530 and comes from the Old French word farce, which the etymology describes as "occurs as the name for the extemporaneous amplification or ‘gag’, or the interludes of impromptu buffoonery, which the actors in the religious dramas were accustomed to interpolate into their text". Other comedy words include joke, which was originally a slang term that first appeared in the late 17th century, pratfall, whose origins comes from the theater world in the early 1900s, and punchline, which dates back to a 1916 newspaper article.

Explore the definitions of these words, and millions more, on the Oxford English Dictionary database, a membership database available to all Jenkins members.

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