Weekly Vocab Builder: Humor

Lately, I’ve been thinking about humor and the varieties it comes in. My husband has been talking about it on his blog, too, which is what got me started. In general conversation, we tend to use humor labels loosely. But your writing should never be so loose. This week’s Vocab Builder brushes you up on some different types of humor. Be laughed with, not laughed at!

  • Sarcasm: “a cutting, often ironic remark intended to wound
  • Irony: humor in which what is said is “marked by a deliberate contrast between apparent and intended meaning” 
  • Gallows humor: humor about serious or grave situations 
  • Parody: “a literary or artistic work that imitates the characteristic style of an author or a work for comic effect or ridicule.” 
  • Dry wit: humor that pokes fun of people in a way that those being made fun of laugh at the joke/themselves 
  • Blue humor: “adult” humor: foul language, sexual remarks, scatalogical remarks, grossness, etc. 
  • Black humor: “humor marked by the use of usually morbid, ironic, grotesquely comic episodes.” 
  • Burlesque: “marked by an effect of comic or grotesque imitation or exaggeration usually with the intent of mocking or making ridiculous: derisively imitative
  • Satire: “irony, sarcasm, or caustic wit used to attack or expose folly, vice, or stupidity.
  • Repartee: “a swift, witty reply”
  • Wit: “the natural ability to perceive and understand; intelligence
There’s no end to the types of humor. Here are couple sites with extensive lists:

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About Erin Brenner

With a BA and an MA in English, Erin has been an editing professional for 15 years, working on a variety of media, especially online. Her niche is business/marketing and online. In addition, she has experience teaching editing to non-editors and coaching writers. In 2008, Erin was bitten by the social media bug...hard. Follow her on Twitter, @ebrenner, and get a daily vocabulary word, a link to the article of the day, and much more. You can also find her on Facebook and LinkedIn.
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