Funny person [or...?]

A-friend

Senior Member
Persian (Farsi)
I wonder if you tell me in contemporary English, what adjective do natives use for someone who is amusing and make them smile or laugh:
Example: Jack is very………………! He makes you laugh your head off. Once he said me a story about his childhood. You cannot imagine! I couldn’t stop my laughter!
a) funny
b) jokey
c) witty
d) comic
e) jocular
f) humorous
g) hilarious
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Source: I have written this example myself.
Bringing up this thread I am going to distinguish these synonymous adjectives from one another. In my dictionary and according to many other dictionaries, these words have some overlaps in meaning. For example:
a) funny:
making you laugh
funny story/joke/film etc .
- Do you remember any funny stories about work?
Source: http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/funny
b) jokey: (informal) --> not serious and tending to make people laugh: - Dave was a sweet man, very jokey about everything.
Source: http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/jokey
c) witty: using words in a clever and amusing way: - Laura's very witty.
Source: http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/witty
d) comic: someone who writes or performs things that make you laugh
Source: http://www.ldoceonline.com/dictionary/comic_1
e) jocular: liking to tell jokes:
Source: http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/jocular
f) humorous: Source: http://www.thefreedictionary.com/humorous
1. Full of or characterized by humor; funny: a humorous story.
2. Employing or showing humor; witty: a humorous writer.
**************
causing laughter and amusement; comic:
Source: http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/humorous
g) hilarious: Extremely funny
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hilarious
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Therefor I as one cannot tell them apart from each other and need your help to be able to realize their exact meaning to use why I am able to use e.g. the word “funny” here but bit e.g. hilarious. [Anyway in my view the only choice wich does not work here is "e". Because this adjectives implies that someone tends to crack jokes all the time, while the adjective(s) which I am looking for covers a broader meaning. E.g. someone who even hie / her dialect or the manner which he / she looks at you or... can be very amusing for you]
Thank you in advance.
 
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  • ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    All this is personal opinion: people perceive words differently.

    (a)
    funny:):thumbsup:

    Jokey doesn't work for me because the example you give isn't a joke: it's a funny anecdote.
    Witty people don't make you laugh your head off: they make you smile appreciatively.
    Comic doesn't work because it's usually a noun. When it's an adjective it tends to apply to situations (We found ourselves in a very comic situation). Comical would work ... but it's a lot less common ~ and less funny ~ than funny.
    Jocular. A very formal word you might go for decades without ever hearing in spoken English.
    Humorous. Again, a humorous person probably wouldn't make you laugh your head off ~ he'd just make you smile or laugh. It's less funny than funny.
    Hilarious ~ doesn't collocate with very. You're either hilarious ... or you aren't: there are no degrees of hilariousness.

    Amusing would also work ... but is even less funny than humorous.
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    All this is personal opinion: people perceive words differently.

    (a)
    funny:):thumbsup:

    Jokey doesn't work for me because the example you give isn't a joke: it's a funny anecdote.
    Witty people don't make you laugh your head off: they make you smile appreciatively.
    Comic doesn't work because it's usually a noun. When it's an adjective it tends to apply to situations (We found ourselves in a very comic situation). Comical would work ... but it's a lot less common ~ and less funny ~ than funny.
    Jocular. A very formal word you might go for decades without ever hearing in spoken English.
    Humorous. Again, a humorous person probably wouldn't make you laugh your head off ~ he'd just make you smile or laugh. It's less funny than funny.
    Hilarious ~ doesn't collocate with very. You're either hilarious ... or you aren't: there are no degrees of hilariousness.

    Amusing would also work ... but is even less funny than humorous.
    Wow! What a great explanation Ewiw. I have no word to expressm my gratitude. Nothing to say! Just perfect...
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Just one more question!
    What if I did not use the adverb "very" in my example?! Then which one of these choices could work here properly?
     

    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    Wit is (put simply) clever humour: you appreciate the cleverness and the humour of it, rather than rolling around on the floor laughing:)
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Excuse me Ewie :) Just one more question emerged in my mind!
    What about the adjective "hysterical"? Does it work for an individual? (Can I say E.g. "Jack is really a hysterical guy"?)
    Can I have such a top to down hirerarchy and clasification for the level of funiness of a person:
    --------------------------------
    [Comical < Humorous < Funny < Amusing < Hilarious < Hysterical]

    ***As you mentioned:
    Comical
    would work ... but it’s a lot less common ~ and less funny ~ than funny.
    Humorous: Again, a humorous person probably wouldn’t make you laugh your head off ~ he’d just make you smile or laugh. It’s less funny than funny.
    Funny
    Amusing would also work. but is even less funny than humorous.
    Hilarious ~ doesn’t collocate with very. You’re either hilarious ... or you aren’t: there are no degrees of hilariousness.
    --------------------------------

    ***The following adjectives would not work for this context:

    Jocular: A very formal word you might go for decades without ever hearing in spoken English.
    Jokey I was surprised to learn this adjective. It’s not a common term, and the meaing really doesn’t fit.
    Witty [witty people don’t make you laugh your head off: they make you smile appreciatively. Wit is (put simply) clever humour: you appreciate the cleverness and the humour of it, rather than rolling around on the floor laughing.]
    Comic doesn’t work because it’s usually a noun. When it’s an adjective it tends to apply to situations (We found ourselves in a very comic situation).
     

    owlman5

    Senior Member
    English-US
    Though I used to hear it fairly often, these days I rarely hear "hysterical" used to mean "really funny". If you told me that "Jack is a hysterical guy", I'd probably assume that he had emotional problems unless the context made it very clear that you intended "hysterical" to mean "very funny".

    Even when I heard it more often, I never had any use for "hysterical" as a synonym for "really funny". It sounds too exaggerated to me. Also, "hysterical" does have other meanings that could confuse your listener.

    Earlier, Ewie mentioned that some of your adjectives don't work well with "really". If I were you, I would add "hysterical" to that list. If Jack is hysterically funny, he is really funny. Adding "really" to "hysterical" doesn't help any.
     
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    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    Though I used to hear it fairly often, these days I rarely hear "hysterical" used to mean "really funny". If you told me that "Jack is a hysterical guy", I'd probably assume that he had emotional problems unless the context made it very clear that you intended "hysterical" to mean "very funny".

    Even when I heard it more often, I never had any use for "hysterical" as a synonym for "really funny". It sounds too exaggerated to me. Also, "hysterical" does have other meanings that could confuse your listener.

    Earlier, Ewie mentioned that some of your adjectives don't work well with "really". If I were you, I would add "hysterical" to that list. If Jack is hysterically funny, he is really funny. Adding "really" to "hysterical" doesn't help any.
    Thanks Owlman
    But did you see my another thread named "A comic story"? http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=2751442
    As dear Ewie had mentioned, perhaps it is possible to use the adjective "hysterical" for indicating "very funny" [thing] such as a story / movie etc.; but what about the AmE? Are they the same in that aspect or again this is a matter of AE and BE? :) I wonder if you do me a favor and explain it! It sounds a little confusing for me :(
     
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    ewie

    Senior Member
    English English
    I never had any use for "hysterical" as a synonym for "really funny". It sounds too exaggerated to me.
    (I must admit, Mr O, I don't have much use for it: a thing has to be very very very very funny for me to describe it as hysterical. And I very rarely come across anything that funny:()
     

    A-friend

    Senior Member
    Persian (Farsi)
    (I must admit, Mr O, I don't have much use for it: a thing has to be very very very very funny for me to describe it as hysterical. And I very rarely come across anything that funny:()
    I am sure that this is another difference between two wings :) I guess for an AmE speaker it sounds a little bit odd these days and in modern English hearing the adjective "hysterical" to refer to a particular thing or an individual in the meaning of (very funny); instead there is such a possibility in BE to indicate something or someone that sounds "very funny" using this adjective; am I right Ewie? ;) What is your idea? Is it a matter of geographical differences or not? I personally think it is possible to say somebody or something is "hysterical"! [Though I know that in spite of my other choices in this threadit is an informal adjective] :)
     

    slej

    Senior Member
    Ireland / England English
    Hello
    Hysterical is a word that's fallen out of fashion when describing someone as funny, because of political correctness I suppose, but words go in and out of fashion. It can have the negative connotation of madness, originally in respect of females. You can say informally that someone is hysterical but you need to be clear about the context. For example I think that the overactive British comic Lee Evans is hysterical, but not in a good way. Although it's no longer fashionable, my family still says 'they / it had me in hysterics' , but we laugh a lot, are a bit old and aren't American.
     
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