Joke vs. Humour

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Joke and Humour is that the Joke is a something spoken, written, or done with humorous intention and Humour is a tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement.

  • Joke

    A joke is a display of humour in which words are used within a specific and well-defined narrative structure to make people laugh and is not meant to be taken seriously. It takes the form of a story, usually with dialogue, and ends in a punch line. It is in the punch line that the audience becomes aware that the story contains a second, conflicting meaning. This can be done using a pun or other word play such as irony, a logical incompatibility, nonsense, or other means. Linguist Robert Hetzron offers the definition:

    A joke is a short humorous piece of oral literature in which the funniness culminates in the final sentence, called the punchline… In fact, the main condition is that the tension should reach its highest level at the very end. No continuation relieving the tension should be added. As for its being “oral,” it is true that jokes may appear printed, but when further transferred, there is no obligation to reproduce the text verbatim, as in the case of poetry.

    It is generally held that jokes benefit from brevity, containing no more detail than is needed to set the scene for the punchline at the end. In the case of riddle jokes or one-liners the setting is implicitly understood, leaving only the dialogue and punchline to be verbalised. However, subverting these and other common guidelines can also be a source of humor—the shaggy dog story is in a class of its own as an anti-joke; although presenting as a joke, it contains a long drawn-out narrative of time, place and character, rambles through many pointless inclusions and finally fails to deliver a punchline. Jokes are a form of humour, but not all humour is a joke. Some humorous forms which are not verbal jokes are: involuntary humour, situational humour, practical jokes, slapstick and anecdotes.

    Identified as one of the simple forms of oral literature by the Dutch linguist André Jolles, jokes are passed along anonymously. They are told in both private and public settings; a single person tells a joke to his friend in the natural flow of conversation, or a set of jokes is told to a group as part of scripted entertainment. Jokes are also passed along in written form or, more recently, through the internet.

    Stand-up comics, comedians and slapstick work with comic timing, precision and rhythm in their performance, relying as much on actions as on the verbal punchline to evoke laughter. This distinction has been formulated in the popular saying “A comic says funny things; a comedian says things funny”.

  • Humour

    Humour (British English), also spelt as humor (American English; see spelling differences), is the tendency of experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body, known as humours (Latin: humor, “body fluid”), controlled human health and emotion.

    People of all ages and cultures respond to humour. Most people are able to experience humour—be amused, smile or laugh at something funny—and thus are considered to have a sense of humour. The hypothetical person lacking a sense of humour would likely find the behaviour inducing it to be inexplicable, strange, or even irrational. Though ultimately decided by personal taste, the extent to which a person finds something humorous depends on a host of variables, including geographical location, culture, maturity, level of education, intelligence and context. For example, young children may favour slapstick such as Punch and Judy puppet shows or the Tom and Jerry cartoons, whose physical nature makes it accessible to them. By contrast, more sophisticated forms of humour such as satire require an understanding of its social meaning and context, and thus tend to appeal to a more mature audience.

  • Joke (noun)

    An amusing story.

  • Joke (noun)

    Something said or done for amusement, not in seriousness.

    “It was a joke!”

  • Joke (noun)

    The root cause or main issue, especially an unexpected one

  • Joke (noun)

    A laughably worthless thing or person; a sham.

    “Your effort at cleaning your room is a joke.”

    “The president was a joke.”

  • Joke (verb)

    To do or say something for amusement rather than seriously.

    “I didn’t mean what I said — I was only joking.”

  • Joke (verb)

    (intransitive, followed by with) To dupe in a friendly manner for amusement; to mess with, play with.

    “Relax, man, I’m just joking with you.”

  • Joke (verb)

    To make merry with; to make jokes upon; to rally.

    “to joke a comrade”

  • Humour (noun)

    The quality of being amusing, comical, funny. from the early 18th c.

    “She has a great sense of humour, and I always laugh a lot whenever we get together.”

    “The sensitive subject was treated with humour, but in such way that no one was offended.”

  • Humour (noun)

    A mood, especially a bad mood; a temporary state of mind or disposition brought upon by an event; an abrupt illogical inclination or whim.

    “He was in a particularly vile humour that afternoon.”

  • Humour (noun)

    Any of the fluids in an animal body, especially the four “cardinal humours” of blood, yellow bile, black bile and phlegm that were believed to control the health and mood of the human body.

  • Humour (noun)

    Either of the two regions of liquid within the eyeball, the aqueous humour and vitreous humour.

  • Humour (noun)

    Moist vapour, moisture.

  • Humour (verb)

    To indulging.

    “I know you don’t believe my story, but humour me for a minute and imagine it to be true.”

  • Humour (noun)

    the quality of being amusing or comic, especially as expressed in literature or speech

    “his tales are full of humour”

  • Humour (noun)

    the ability to express humour or amuse other people

    “their inimitable brand of humour”

  • Humour (noun)

    a mood or state of mind

    “her good humour vanished”

    “the clash hadn’t improved his humour”

  • Humour (noun)

    an inclination or whim

    “and have you really burnt all your Plays to please a Humour?”

  • Humour (noun)

    each of the four chief fluids of the body (blood, phlegm, yellow bile (choler), and black bile (melancholy)) that were thought to determine a person’s physical and mental qualities by the relative proportions in which they were present.

  • Humour (verb)

    comply with the wishes of (someone) in order to keep them content, however unreasonable such wishes might be

    “she was always humouring him to prevent trouble”

  • Humour (verb)

    adapt or accommodate oneself to (something)

    “in reading this stanza we ought to humour it with a corresponding tone of voice”

Oxford Dictionary

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