...described as putting the "less" in "hopeless"

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Senior Member
Hi, could someone help me explain what "as putting the less in hopeless" means in following sentence?

So far this year, their record is 2– 8. In one of those games, the Detroit Lions— a team so bad it would later be described as putting the “less” in “hopeless”— beat the Bucs 21 to 6, and then , three weeks later, beat them again, 27 to 0.

Duhigg, Charles;The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do, and How to Change (p. 60)

Thank you :)
  • owlman5

    Senior Member
    This is a pun that I don't find very funny, but here's an explanation. If the Lions lose a game, their score is "less" than the score of the winning team. "Hopeless" uses the suffix "less".

    The Lions, a team that some might describe as "hopeless", loses more games than it wins. Because it does so, Duhigg thought that remark about "less" might be funny.


    Senior Member
    English - US
    This joke is based on a pattern for producing jokes where the spelling or sound of one word can be found within another word.
    Typhoo (a brand of tea) puts the T in Britain.
    At Forest Lawn Cemetery, we put the fun in funeral.
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