Sometimes words are funny. Sometimes people don’t know what a word means, yet they use it all the time. That’s pretty funny. Sometimes people say a word at the wrong time. That’s also pretty funny. I screw up my words all the time, and usually it isn’t funny to me, but other people get a kick out of it. Today, I’d like to outline some of the funny things that happen when we foul up the English language (not talking about cuss words, of course).
One thing that is pretty funny is when a word has more than one meaning and people sometimes get them mixed up. The words don’t always have the same spelling, but they sound the same when spoken out loud. A good example are the words vice/vise – as a kid, I knew a vise as something that held something else tightly while you hit it with a hammer. Like the picture on the left. Then I heard someone talking about the show Miami Vice, and I just didn’t get it. I knew Miami was a city, but why in the world would it be in a vise? Or why would you name a vise after Miami? And why would there be a show about it either way? I remember asking someone about it, and they said that a vice-unit in a police department handled prostitution and gambling crimes. Huh… So vice = sex + poker. I won’t tell you what I thought about vise-grip pliers after that, but let’s suffice it to say that I stayed clear of them for health reasons. Then I was watching another show (I don’t remember what it was), and in it there was a priest that liked to drink something with a little kick in the evenings, and he told another guy that it was his “vice,” and it all clicked! Vice is a completely different word from vise, and the latter has nothing to do with hookers and blackjack. That’s a good thing, because I was starting to avoid our garage due to the fact that we had a big vise attached to the workbench out there, and I didn’t want to get arrested for being near it…
Of course, words don’t have to be spelled differently to have different meanings. Look at these sentences and try saying them out loud (it’s harder than it looks):
- The bandage was WOUND around the WOUND.
- The farmer’s job was to PRODUCE PRODUCE.
- Since there is no time like the PRESENT, he figured it was time to PRESENT the PRESENT.
- They were too CLOSE to the door to CLOSE it.
- I had to SUBJECT the SUBJECT to a series of tests.
*Taken from/see more here
One liners are good kinds of jokes – they don’t take up a lot of time. If you don’t like it, well, you only wasted a few seconds of your life, unlike long, drawn out jokes that take several minutes to get through. I think my favorite kind of one-liner joke is the kind that includes a pun, or a play on words. Some really good one-liners that use puns:
- What happened to the grape when it got stepped on? It let out a little wine.
- What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.
- Did you hear about the butcher who backed up into his meat grinder? Yeah, he got a little behind in his work.
- She’s happy to make a pair of pants for you, or at least sew its seams.
- I’ve been to the dentist quite a bit, so I know the drill…
*Taken from/see more here
I love these kinds of jokes! I’d probably tell them more often, but when I do tell them I end up saying “Get it? Get it?” so many times, people hate me. So I avoid telling them…
Slip Of The Tongue
Have you ever been talking and accidentally said something that you totally didn’t intend to say? I know I have! Sometimes we say this is a “slip of the tongue,” or if you have a degree in psychology like me, you would have to call it a Freudian slip…which of course is when you say one thing, but mean your mother. (Get it? Get it?). I guess public speakers have more problems with this than anybody, since they talk a lot, most of the time people are listening, and we never forget when other people screw up. Preachers have it the worst…
What about you? Can you think of anything I didn’t mention about words that make them super funny? Please share!