dry humor


venezuela / spanish - english - italian
can anyone tell me what is dry humor? and some examples :) pls

I ask to an english man the other day, buy sTill don't get it?

many thanks, ;)
  • cuchuflete

    Senior Member
    Hi Catira,
    The English are known for their dry humor. Thus, when you asked the Englishman, he probably gave you what was, for him, a very humorous explanation.

    Dry humor/humour(BE) is characterized by restraint, and lack of emotion in its delivery. It is wry.

    I offer an example of it:

    Mahatma Ghandi was asked by an English journalist what he thought of Western Civilization. Ghandi replied, "Ahhh, that would be a very good idea."


    Mao Tse Tung was reputedly asked in the 1950s what he thought the lessons of the French Revolution were. He replied "It is far too early to tell yet."


    Senior Member
    deadpan humor is "marked by an emotionless matter-of-fact manner, style, or expression"

    dry humor is " marked by matter-of-fact, ironic, or terse manner of expression'

    According to merriam webster's that is. Who wants to sort this out now?


    English - England
    Dry humour = amusing, not rolling on the floor with laughter kind of humour.

    Deadpan humour = said with a straight face, and often it's hard to tell if someone if joking or not.
    Hi Catira,

    My late husband was Irish and had an extremely dry sense of humour.

    I once told him that a man, passing me in the street, said to me, 'Hello gorgeous.'

    My husband replied, with a straight face, 'What colour was his guide dog?'

    I hope you understand the joke.



    Senior Member
    Finnish - Finland
    I'm not sure wether this is a good example of dry humor but it's dry, anyway:

    Shortly after the WW2 two German businessmen went to England. They had studied the pronunciation very closely because Germans were not so popular in those years. They went to a restaurant.

    "Would you like to have aperitifs?" asked the waiter.

    "Yes, please, we'd like to have Martinis."


    "Nein, nein, nur zwei!"


    Senior Member
    English, Hodgepodge
    GenJen54 said:
    Hi catira,

    You might be amused by THIS thread, which describes "dry" humour - or "toungue in cheek" humour as it's also called - in depth.
    Is "dry" humour really the same "tongue in cheek" humor? I feel as though "dry," "tongue in cheek" and "deadpan" are distinct?

    Isotta said:
    Is "dry" humour really the same "tongue in cheek" humor? I feel as though "dry," "tongue in cheek" and "deadpan" are distinct?

    Hi Isotta,

    Three definitions from dictionary.com
      1. Humorous or sarcastic in a shrewd, impersonal way: dry wit.

      adj : cleverly amusing in tone; "a bantering tone"; "facetious remarks"; "tongue-in-cheek advice" [syn: bantering, facetious] adv 1: in a bantering fashion; "he spoke to her banteringly" [syn: banteringly] 2: not seriously; "I meant it facetiously" [syn: facetiously, jokingly]

      adj : deliberately impassive in manner; "deadpan humor"; "his face remained expressionless as the verdict was read" [syn: expressionless, impassive, poker-faced, unexpressive] adv : without betraying any feeling; "she told the joke deadpan"


    Senior Member
    US, English
    Personally, I think part of what makes dry humor funny is the way it is conveyed. In addition to the fact it is verbal instead of physical or slapstick, the fact that the speaker looks serious as he says something either patently ridiculous or bizarrely unexpected is a way of using himself as part of the joke.
    And sometimes, he is not trying to exclude you, but give you credit for your intelligence - for a kind and considerate person will not use dry humor on just anyone.


    venezuela / spanish - english - italian
    thanks to all! :) for your answers... I know now, what they mean, but I don't think I am particulary good at it.. :)

    catira :)


    Senior Member
    U.S. English
    I've read that dry is a punchline that doesn't need to be said:

    My old neighbor Gramp Wiley was not too pleased when he heard that my friend Winky got a job as an ambulance driver. He said, "Winky can't work on that ambulance; Winky is stupid. He gets everything back end to. It would be just my luck to have Winky show up in that ambulance 2 o'clock some morning when I'm lying here on the kitchen floor needing a tube shoved down my throat."


    New Member
    English - American
    Three years late, but...

    To me, the master of dry humor is Steven Wright, but I can't post a link.

    Two all time favorite quotes:

    "I spilled some spot remover on my dog. Now he's gone."


    "This axe was originally owned by George Washington. Some years ago I had to replace the handle. Some years later I replaced the blade."

    There's a commenter that said something about "self-deprecation," I'm not sure it's that as much as it's that the teller seems to be on the unwitting butt end of a cosmic joke. If that helps.


    New Member
    It usually involved a statement that leaves you in a state where you in doubt whether to laugh or cry, say:
    Dry humor example : I've never been married, but I tell people I'm divorced so they won't think something is wrong with me.


    Senior Member
    Hebrew-US English (bilingual)
    Moderator note:

    This is not a joke thread. It is a request for an explanation of dry humor.

    If you want to illustrate a point, that's fine, but a joke that constitutes the main part of a post will be deleted.

    Spoilsport Nunty, mod


    When you tell a joke (perhaps a sarcastic and impersonal one) like its not funny
    eg. When someone close to you dies, move seats. (by Jimmy Carr)


    Senior Member
    American English
    I have, on a number of occasions, been described as having a dry wit.

    I really should ask some of those people what they meant, because frankly I have no idea what it means, and dictionaries and this thread are no help, since all the opinions seem to contradict each other.

    Whether this post is itself an example of such dry humor is left as an exercise for the reader.
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