Follow TV Tropes


Inherently Funny Words

Go To
Careful, Calvin, he might smock you.

"Fifty-seven years in this business, you learn a few things. You know what words are funny and which words are not funny. Alka-Seltzer is funny. You say 'Alka-Seltzer', you get a laugh... Words with 'k' in them are funny. Casey Stengel, that's a funny name. Robert Taylor is not funny. Cupcake is funny. Tomato is not funny. Cookie is funny. Cucumber is funny. Car keys. Cleveland... Cleveland is funny. Maryland is not funny. Then, there's chicken. Chicken is funny. Pickle is funny."
Willy Clark, The Sunshine Boys

Fact: Whether by pronunciation, spelling, or use, some words are just plain funny to certain characters. Warning: Do not use any of these words to try to make an unfunny sentence funny. Tends to overlap with I Just Like Saying the Word, as in the case of the page image.

See also Narm, which can happen when these words crop up in inherently unfunny contexts. Also see Flowery Insults when used in an abusive manner. Also compare Heh Heh, You Said "X", and LOL, 69 and 420, Blaze It for specific inherently funny numbers. For a different sort of inherently funny wording, check Tongue Twister.

Want to have some fun sharing your favorite ones? Take a gander over at the Just-For-Fun page!


    open/close all folders 

  • Booger Mountain, North Carolina. Known for Christmas trees; their marketing campaign is "Always Pick a Booger!"
  • The Best Buy commercial with Amy Poehler as a Dumb Blonde:
    "Can I use a dongle with this? Does it make you uncomfortable when I use the word 'dongle'?"
  • From 1990: Pfister. "The pfabulous pfaucet with the pfunny name."
  • Used in an announcer spiel for an old "We'll be back" bumper for Tom and Jerry on Cartoon Network.
    Announcer: Stick around, Tom had to run out for some ointment. Funny word, ointment. Ointment! Where was I? Oh yeah, Tom and Jerry will be right back.
  • A certain 2017 Sprite advertisement featuring Lebron James bursts into his family's Christmas party and asks this memetic question: Wanna Sprite Cranberry?
  • The sandwich chain Schlotzsky's is well aware of this trope. Their slogans include "It's a mouthful" and "Funny name. Serious sandwich."

    Anime & Manga 

  • On Monty Python's Previous Record, Dr. Carl Gruber goes through words on which he gauges embarrassment levels: "Shoe. Megaphone. Grunties." And even ruder: "Wankel Rotary Engine."
  • An obscure German Kabarett sketch "The Red-Green Peril". By some Insane Troll Logic (involving traffic lights) it gets turned into Yellow Peril first, and subsequently this trope: "Chinese leader Dennnnng (spoken very energically) Xiao Piiiiing (spoken very Instant Soprano)..."
  • Eddie Izzard: Zingelbert Bembledack, Yingybert Dambleban, Zangelbert Bingledack, Wingelbert Humptyback, Slup ben Walla, Kringelbert Fishtybuns, Steviebuns Bottrittrundle, Tringelbert Wangledack, Klingybun Fistelvase, Dindlebert Zindledack, Engelbert Humptyback, Zengelbert Bingledack, Vingelbert Wingledanck...
  • George Carlin once did a routine where he talks about foods he can't eat because they have funny names. "I can't eat [snicker] bananas. And I could never eat [suppressed guffaw] kumquats!"note 
  • Rowan Atkinson's bit "No One Called Jones" relies on a combination of this, Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?, and Hypocritical Humor at the end.
    • Atkinson has a particularly impressive ability to make just about any word into one of these, solely by his use of inflection, starting in Blackadder with "Bob", as he over-enunciated each B due to his stutter.
  • Political songster/satirist Mark Russell had to do a song about Michael Dukakis on short notice, knowing absolutely nothing about him; he finally settled on pointing out that Dukakis was, of the 1988 lineup of Presidential candidates, "the only one whose name is fun to say":
    Michael Dukakis, Michael Dukakis,
    A name to gladden every voter's heart
    A name that's so neat it's
    Fun to repeat it —
    It sounds just like a car that will not start! Michaeldukakismichaeldukakismichaeldukakis ...
  • Yiddish seems to have a lot of words that are considered inherently funny whether one understands them or not. It could be conjectured that this helped the mainstream appeal of Borscht Belt comedy—or vice versa, that these words became funny by association with the Borscht Belt. (And "borscht", of course, is itself hilarious.)

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics: One story has Mr. Lodge invite Archie and Jughead to his talk about classical art, and Jughead starts laughing when he mentions "Bologna" because he thinks the word sounds funny. All the other guests, who are otherwise snooty art enthusiasts, start laughing as well. The strip ends with Jughead getting a Ming vase stuck on his head, courtesy of Mr. Lodge.
  • Doom Patrol:
    Love Glove: I don't know what to say.
    Mr. Nobody: Try 'baboon'. It never fails to raise an embarrassed chuckle.
  • Deadpool: "CHIMICHANGA!"
    Agent X: Spatula is a funny word. Do you know what else is a funny word?
    Agent X: Pancreas. And I want mine back.
  • Batman RIP
    Joker: What is it about the sombrero? Some words are just naturally funny.

    Comic Strips 
  • Garfield:
    • Abu Dhabi, hence its abuse in the comics. Jim Davis has also said he's a sucker for anything with a "k" sound. "Cabbage? Funny. Lettuce? Not funny." This line has also been said in a strip and in an episode of Garfield and Friends.
    • Also, Garfield likes take-out Chinese food (like egg-foo-young and moo-goo-gai-pan) because "it's as much fun to say as it is to eat".
  • Peanuts:
    • "Beagle" — according to creator Charles M. Schulz, Snoopy is a beagle because it's a funny word.
    • Schulz has also claimed he personally likes the music of Brahms better than that of Beethoven, but made the latter Schroeder's idol because "Beethoven" is a funnier word.
    • "Zamboni" probably counts as well, given the many hockey-related strips that ended with one as the punchline.
  • "Cow". The Far Side creator Gary Larson said so.
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Hobbes likes to say "smock". And "quark".
  • Dilbert:
    • An early strip has Dilbert use his computer to find the funniest words, which turn out to be "weasel", "chainsaw", "prune", and any reference to Gilligan's Island.
    • There was another early strip where he computed the most Inherently Sexy Words in order to craft the ultimate pick-up line. It was "Hi, I'm Mel Gibson. Did a dingo dog go by here with my shirt?"

    Fan Works 
  • In Don't Cry For Me, I've Already Wilted, Akaoni can make Saki laugh just by saying the word "ass".
  • In Just An Errant Thought Nicolas Flamel comments in a letter that he traded a few quips with William Herschel due to the inherent funniness of "Uranus".
  • Groinsaw, fuckfire, rape apes, the entirety of Thirty Hs is full of funny Squicky words.
  • In The Cosigner Harry burns a copy of the Daily Prophet which has a headline stating that he's a coward for not competing in the Triwizard Tournament.
    Hermione: We're getting a lot of use out of that fireplace. It's almost as if they're trying to goad you into participating.
    Harry: Appealing to my Gryffindor sense of honor and duty or what have you.
    Mafalda: Duty is a funny word. It sounds like doody.

    Film — Animated 
  • Two sequences in Beavis and Butt-Head Do America would put the duo on the seniors' touring bus and, as they would pass by different cities, they would all be Inherently Funny Words.
    Butt-Head (passes by a sign reading "Butte") Butt. (passes by a sign reading "Weippe") Wipe.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Deadpool (2016) has two different scenes of Wade and Blind Al arguing over the assemblage of Ikea furniture, because the Swedish names for said furniture sound hilarious coming from English speakers. Especially since they happen to be pronouncing them all wrong.
  • In an interview about Monty Python's Life of Brian, John Cleese, asked why they chose the name Brian, said, "It's one of the funny names, isn't it? It's like Trevor and Kevin. I mean, they're just funny."
  • In both the stage and film versions of The Sunshine Boys, Willy Clark claims that words with a "k" in them (like "Alka-Seltzer", "chicken", and "cupcake") are always funnier than words without (like "tomato").
  • In Who Framed Roger Rabbit, when Judge Doom asks Valiant if he saw Roger, Valiant retorts, "Have you tried Walla Walla? Cucamonga? I hear Kokomo is lovely this time of year."

  • According to Dave Barry, "doot", "weasel", and "Smoot-Hawley Tariff".
    I'm at home, sitting in front of my computer in my underwear, trying to decide which animal name is funnier, 'hamster' or 'gerbil.' ("Answer: 'weasel.'")
    • Dave Barry Slept Here has Barry profess a fondness for late 1800s/early 1900s workers' union leader Samuel Gompers, mainly because he likes the name "Gompers" and thinks it'd be perfect for a big dog, like a Great Dane. Or a goat.
    • "Giant prehistoric zucchini."
  • Harry Potter features the following quote from Albus Dumbledore:
    Before we begin our banquet, I would like to say a few words. And here they are: Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak! Thank you!
  • In "We Sled With Dragons", a children book by C. Alexander London, everybody can't help giggling when hearing "Djibuti". Subtly lampshaded when the author deadpan mentions the icy mountains of Uranus in the next sentence.
  • In "Stop me if you heard this" by Jim Holt, about joke history and philosophy, he claims "Kalamazoo", the town in Michigan, as worlds only one-word-joke (arguing that the "z" phoneme is the most funny in English language).
  • Landlubber Midshipman Alexis Carew trying to learn naval terminology in the first book leads to a bit of this.
    Alexis: (reading the name of a structural segment off her tablet) "Forward-twelve-port, first futtock"? Now you're just making things up!"
  • Robert Gernhardt, German humoristic poet, in his poetry collection "Lichte Gedichte", finds "Mürzzuschlag" (a small town in Austria) funny. German speakers probably agree, especially as the implied etymologies (e.g. river Mürz hits you innaface?) are just malapropisms (Wiki says it's probably derived from a Slavic word).

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock: Invoked in one episode.
    Liz: Jenna claims we're conspiring against her by giving her the lines with the fewest K sounds, which she claims is the funniest sound.
    Pete: (checking his phone and looking horrified) Oh, no! My cousin Carl crashed his car, and now he's in a coma at the Kendall Clinic!
    (everyone else laughs)
  • Blackadder has "Peebles," "Bob" and "wibble". Although Rowan Atkinson can make any word funny, which he demonstrated during his appearance on Top Gear.
  • Breaking Bad: When Walter is provided a remote cabin to hide out in while on the run, he's only given two DVDs of Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium for entertainment. In an interview, Vince Gilligan stated he'd never seen the movie and chose it simply because it has a goofy-sounding title (and thought it would be even funnier if there were inexplicably two copies).
  • While doing his scheduled show on CNN, Anderson Cooper started to read a report on Dyngus Day celebrations and could not stop giggling. It became even worse for him to read about how a pussy willow is involved.
  • In mid-2006, there was a segment of The Colbert Report where Colbert combined the names of celebrity couples. For William H Macy and Felicity Huffman's portmanteau, he couldn't help laughing at "Filliam H Muffman".
  • Doctor Who:
    • There's an old Jon Pertwee catchphrase for describing the reason for the series' focus on Earthbound horror — "a Yeti on the loo in Tooting Bec".
    • During the Fourth Doctor era, Robert Holmes would often give the Doctor funny-sounding phrases to say, because Tom Baker had a rich, melodramatic voice that Holmes found amusing. See:
      • "The Ark in Space": "Witty little knitter", and a whole scene where the Doctor has to repeatedly chant the word "green" (a word which Baker pronounces strangely).
      • "Pyramids of Mars": "I shall mingle with the mummies but I shan't linger."
      • "The Brain of Morbius" places weird emphasis on a scene where the Doctor is listing volcanoes, ending with a close-up of his face as he says the word "Popocatepetl".
    • "Love & Monsters" reveals that the twin planet of Raxacoricofallapatorius is named... Clom.
    • The main punchline in "Pond Life" is hearing Rory say the phrase "Ood on the loo".
  • Friends: In one episode Ross starts dating a girl named Elizabeth Hornswoggle. Chandler immediately picks up on how funny her last name is but his New Year's Resolution was to not make fun of his friends, so he can't make any comments on it without losing a bet on how long he'd last. At the end of the episode he finally can't take it any more, hands over the money and jokes about the name.
    Chandler: "Hornswoggle?" What, are you dating a character from Fraggle Rock?
    • After getting married Phoebe goes to register her new last name but on a whim decides to change her name to "Princess Consuela Bananahammock". When Mike asks her if she knows what a "banana hammock" actually is she admits she thinks it's just a funny word. She immediately agrees to change her name back after Mike tells her it's slang for a Speedo.
  • Discussed in Gilmore Girls: "Oy, with the poodles already!"
  • On Haven, Audrey teases Nathan for being into decoupage...before admitting she doesn't actually know what that is.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, a show known for its willingness to use the word "shit", has an episode in its fourth season called "Who Pooped the Bed?", where "shit" is scarcely used. Lampshaded, even.
  • An episode of the Johnny Carson Show parodied Dragnet using the 'k-sound' principle by having Johnny describe the caper of the copper clappers to Jack Webb.
  • The Late Show with Stephen Colbert: During the first impeachment trial of then-President Donald Trump, Chief Justice John Roberts, while chastising a senator, referenced the fact that a senator had in the past taken offense to the use of the word "pettifogging" in Senate business. This prompted Stephen to comment in his monologue that Roberts should probably pick a more recent example "because I'm pettifogging sure nobody knows what that means."
  • The Made in Canada episode "Just Another Week" sees clueless Pyramid CEO Alan Roy filming a documentary for the Toronto Film Institute about the creation of a comedy series about mummy bankers. Why mummy bankers? Mummies, because the costumes allow for actors to be easily replaced if they become difficult, and bankers, because the word "banker" has a "K" sound, and according to Alan, all words with a "K" sound are funny. At the end of the episode, he starts filming a follow-up about the creation of a dramatic series and asks the other executives to identify some inherently dramatic letters.
  • Defied by this review of Maniac (2018) which claimed that, among the show's other flaws, it severely overestimated the inherent funniness of the word "lemur".
  • Men Behaving Badly creator Simon Nye thinks this about the words "shed" and "cheese", and took every opportunity to use them in unusual ways in the show.
  • Happens quite a lot in Miranda (2009).
    Gary: (after jumping and sending popcorn flying everywhere) Sorry about that. The husks go everywhere.
    Miranda: That's a funny word, isn't it? Husks. [Beat] Husks. [to the audience] Husks.
  • Mock the Week:
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus got a lot of mileage out of naming characters with these. One sketch revolved around a man whose name is spelled "Raymond Luxury-Yacht" but which is pronounced "Throatwarbler Mangrove", another featured a Tarquin Fintimlinbinwhinbimlim Bus Stop Ftang-Ftang Olé Biscuit Barrel.
    • The Chemist Sketch was interrupted by an Eric Idle voiceover stating that "it is against the policy of the BBC to get cheap laughs with words like knickers, bum, or wee-wees."
    • And now, number one, The LARCH.
  • One episode of Most Extreme Elimination Challenge has Kenny finding the word "Astronaut" to be one ("Ass-tronaut").
  • One episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch featured Aunt Hilda musing over words she enjoyed saying. She eventually ends with "brackish water".
  • In a Celebrity Jeopardy sketch in Saturday Night Live, Burt Reynolds (Norm Macdonald) changes the name on his screen to "Turd Ferguson" because "it's a funny name."
  • In Seinfeld, George thinks that the word "puke" is funny. "That's a funny word. Puke. Puke! Don't have to think about that."
  • The Sopranos gets a lot of mileage out of this trope. A lot of the series' more light-hearted (or, blackly comedic) moments tend to involve the characters' favorite foods, which always seem to have really silly names. Choice examples include "gabagool"note , "buffalo mozzarella"note , and of course, that time Chrissy shot a rude bakery cashier in the foot over a box of sfogliatellenote  and cannolisnote .
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: "The Outrageous Okona" had a B-plot about Data's attempts to understand human humor. To help him, he has the holodeck create a stand-up comic (guest star Joe Piscopo). When asked simply, "What is funny?", The Comic lists a few random things he finds personally hilarious, and one of them is "words that end in K". Later, when The Comic says something that's not meant to be funny but happens to mention Teaneck, New Jersey, Data spots the K-word and thinks he's catching on.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?:
  • X-Play had a field day with the word "Kha'ak". "Dik dik" as well.

  • The song "John Jacob Jingleheimer Schmidt". Supposedly the reason for the long name is that the song's writer thought German-esque words were inherently funny.
  • The entirety of "Shia LaBeouf Live" came about when a friend of songwriter Rob Cantor dramatically whispered, "Shia LaBeouf!", causing both to laugh.
  • In a similar case, during the recording of Def Leppard's "Rock of Ages", producer Mutt Lange originally planned to start the song with "1-2-3-4". But in a case of Throw It In!, Lange mouthed out the German-sounding nonsense phrase, "Gunter glieben glauchen globen", which the band members found amusing and made the song stand out even further.
    • The Offspring found the phrase amusing enough that they sampled it and placed it at the start of their own single "Pretty Fly (For A White Guy)".
  • Jack Stauber's short animation "peenids" features a young girl going to a library in an attempt to find a book on swear words (so she knows which ones she shouldn't say). When asked which words she knows so far, she responds with sucks, crap, and... peenids, much to the confusion of the librarian.

  • In the Cool Kids Table game Homeward Bound 4. Thanks to Jake the Deinonychus' continued failures and landing on his groin, the word "cloaca" is said enough that Shannon suggests making a drinking game.
  • Mom Can't Cook!: When they discuss Jumping Ship, they bring up "sextant" as an example.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • Dead Ringers: At one point, Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is giving an interview where he says the word "package" repeatedly, eventually explaining that part of the reason is he just likes saying "package". Also, because of the show's depiction of Sunak as a sex god, there is another reason...
  • On I'm Sorry I'll Read That Again, Bill is strongly of the opinion that "terrapins" is an inherently funny word and tries repeatedly to make it the programme's catchphrase. Everyone else in the cast is baffled by this.
    • One episode begins with a court case about "the bear and cookie joke" making people laugh at something that isn't funny. The defense counters with the argument that if you repeat anything often enough then people will find it funny. He illustrates by repeating the word "teapot" until everyone is in fits and it becomes this trope for the rest of the episode.
  • There is an entire game on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue that revolves around saying these to get the audience to laugh. The panelist with the biggest laugh wins the round. Cue the audience roaring when someone says "Bollards".
  • Lo Zoo Di 105: By now, shouting "Canaglia!" (scoundrel) for no reason is a Running Gag on the show.
  • The Vestibules' "Bulbous Bouffant" sketch (Frequent player on the Dr. Demento Show) is focused on all sorts of words that would qualify, such as the titular hairstyle, mukluks or gazebos.
  • An exercise in reading the lyrics to "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" in a digitally-deepened growl with "Tubular Bells" playing in the background finally breaks down around the third verse with the promised "rooty-toot toots and rummy-tum-tums".
  • In one episode of The Al Franken Show, due to outsourcing, Al gets replaced with an Indian presenter. While the replacement assures everyone that he's very funny, most of his material is in Urdu and does not translate. At this point he starts pointing out funny words like "hockey puck".
  • The Unbelievable Truth: One lecture has Henning Wehn having to talk about squirrels, despite (and also because of) the fact as a German Henning has difficulty saying the word squirrel. He gamely tries anyway.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Cards Against Humanity:
    • deconstructed in the white card "Helplessly giggling at the mention of Hutus and Tutsis." While the words are inherently funny, the situation they are involved in is not... only it becomes funny in its own, messed-up way.
    • One of the cards simply reads "Bees?" and tends to get a laugh simply because "Bees?" said with an upward inflection is inherently funny.

  • Discussed in The Sunshine Boys, as quoted up top.
  • Animal Crackers:
    Captain Spaulding: Then we tried to remove the tusks. The tusks. That's not so easy to say. Tusks. You try it some time.

    Video Games 
  • Kingdom of Loathing: "You eat the kumquat, snickering a little at how funny a word "kumquat" is."
  • Borderlands 2 has a side-quest, "The Name Game", where Sir Hammerlock tries to come up with a new name for the ape-like Bullymongs. After his first two ideas are rejected, he gets frustrated and starts calling them "Bonerfarts". This leads to the Bullymongs being labelled as "Bonerfarts" for the remainder of the quest, including the young Monglets being called Bonertoots.
    • It lasts the rest of the game if you choose to stop advancing the quest at that point.
  • Mass Effect 2 introduces quarian Admiral Zaal'Koris vas Qwib-Qwib. Don't ask about the name.
  • "Banang", a fictional powdered fruit drink that first appeared in Telltale Games' Sam & Max: Freelance Police games, and quickly became something of a running gag. Sam seems to think it's hilarious, but Max quickly gets tired of the gag.
  • The main theme behind the names of everything in The Bizarre Adventures of Woodruff and the Schnibble.
  • Taokaka's name is flat out stupid for Spanish-speaking players of BlazBlue: Calamity Trigger, due the -kaka sounds exactly how the word poop is pronounced, it becomes a gold-mine of Narm when it's known there's a whole clan called the Kaka clan.
  • On the fifth night of Five Nights at Freddy's: Sister Location, your Mission Control asks you to type in what kind of gift basket you'd like to be given at the end of your first week, at which point the Running Gag of the glitchy console auto-correcting your responses in absurd ways gives you "Exotic Butters". The hidden ending features a basket full of sticks of butter in the background, one of which has a gift bow on it, and you gain an option in the extras menu of a picture of that basket of butter which, when clicked, just repeatedly says "Exotic butters".
  • In XCOM 2, one of the possibly words for the randomly-generated operation names is chicken.
  • Disco Elysium mentions a contemporary art facility called "The Wompty-Dompty-Dom Centre". With sufficiently high stats, The Detective's brain will get so hung-up on the sheer silliness of the name (and how the person mentioning it can say it so casually and straight-faced) that it eventually gives you a Thought based entirely on how silly the thing sounds.
    Reaction Speed: Wait. Did he just say "Wompty-Dompty-Dom Centre?"
    Suggestion: He did it! He said "Wompty-Dompty-Dom Centre" like it's the most natural thing in the world.
    Encyclopedia: What the hell is a "Wompty-Dompty-Dom Centre!?"
  • In Trombone Champ, trombone players are consistently referred to as "tromboners" rather than the more standard "trombonist", presumably because the fact that it contains "boner" makes it funnier.


    Web Original 
  • In the Game Theory episode on Choo-Choo Charles, Editor Dan, narrating for the episode gets really excited when he gets to say "bazookas".
  • In Helluva Boss, Stolas thinks "kooks" is silly. Him saying as much is the first lighthearted line of his in "Truth Seekers" after his otherwise terrifying Big Damn Heroes moment.
  • The Nostalgia Critic: "Lettuce' is not funny. 'Cabbage' is freaking hilarious. Just watch: lettuce (silence), cabbage (laugh track). Works every time."
  • The inherent hilarity of "gurt" is a Running Gag in Echo Chamber; it starts when Ace makes a video about portmanteaus, including separating "yogurt" into "yo" and "gurt". He keeps cracking up whenever he says "gurt", and later the word merely being mentioned is the only thing to get Mr Administrator to laugh, leading to the first time we see more of his face.
  • Microsoft Sam Reads Funny Windows Errors has "Taking a dump". Actually, there are a lot of them, like Tacos, Penguins, Diarrhea, and the infamous SWAAAAA.
  • In YouTube Poops, one popular practice is to play a short part of an audio clip forwards, then play the same part in reverse. (For example, "something" would become "sus"). This is known as a "sauce joke".
  • The VlogBrothers:
    • John is travelling on February 1st, 2007. "Okay, we're gonna walk through the airport and see if we can find anything funny. The word "choate" is funny."
    • When discussing the 2008 Nerdfighter website, John finds another word he considers inherently funny — "ning", related to their new site building. It's as good as bling but you don't have to spend money on jewels!
  • The Cinema Snob describes "Yeti" as one of the funniest words in the English language, to the point he thinks a horror movie with that as a monster (such as the reviewed one, Shriek of the Mutilated) is just asking for involuntary comedy.
  • In this Cracked article, Seanbaby describes how he filters any email he receives containing the words "cheese" or "weasel", citing these as the words most often used by people trying too hard to be funny.
  • Ben 'Yahtzee' Croshaw has found one for himself near the end of 'Let's Play Normality', it was boobie boobie bum bum. Made him laugh so hard he started to leaked tears.
  • In the RiffTrax short "This Is Hormel", poor Kevin has trouble coming up with riffs after hearing words such as "picnic boning" and "batch master".
    • And after it's joined by "Weiner" he has to have a lie down.
  • The YouTube channel PronunciationManual uses these a lot, and makes the problem worse by blatantly mispronouncing them.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series: The comedy of the "Vagina Monologue" versions of episodes is based around one joke: random nouns in the script are replaced with "vagina".
  • In a game of Trivial Pursuit, four members of Achievement Hunter — Jack Patillo, Jeremy Dooley, Michael Jones and Gavin Free — found the name of the Egyptian god Ptah funny, mostly because it was so out there.
  • Anna Akana admits in the video "How to Get Fired from Phone Sex" that the word "penis" makes her giggle.
  • Minilife TV: In "The Five Stages of DEATH!", Chris and Ian think the acronym for the Five Stages of Grief (DABDA) is funny to say out loud.
  • In The Runaway Guys' let's play of Nintendo Land, Tom Fawkes thinks that the word "Beebs" is this, leading him to mutter it practically any time Beebs show up.
  • Caddicarus seems to like saying "policeman" in a very distinctive way; expect to hear "Po-lease-mun" at least Once an Episode from about 2020 onwards.
  • Rerez: In their Just Bad Games episode on Morphman, Shane and Adam find out the rather phallic bit of the plane that Morphman transforms into is called a canard. They have some fun with this throughout the episode:
    Adam: This is a maze, isn't it?
    Shane: Uh-huh.
    Adam: Oh, canards...

    Western Animation 

  • In Animaniacs, the Warner siblings sing about Lake Titicaca because they "really like saying its name".
  • DuckTales (2017): The triplets have a good laugh over Scrooge's grandfather Dirty Dingus McDuck.
  • Family Guy: "Buttscratcher". "Mmmmmmm BUTT-SCRATCHAAAAAA?? Mmm BUTT-SCRATCHAAAA!!"
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: In "Squeeze the Day", Bloo got a kick out of the name "Topeka". "It's hot... in To-PEE-ka!"
  • Freakazoid!:
    • "Sewer Or Later" seems to have been an excuse to use the phrase "poo-gas" as much as possible.
    • "A Matter of Love" was dedicated to (among others) "Mrs. Ashley Huggbees of Fuller's Earth, AZ", because they really liked saying her last name, which became a Running Gag throughout the cartoon. "HUGGBEES!"
  • In the Garfield and Friends short, “How to be Funny”, Garfield goes to the National Institute of Humor and Mirth Analysis, where two deadpan scientists are researching the funniest words to use in jokes:
    Scientist 1: Pickle
    Scientist 2: Funny
    Scientist 1: Pretzel
    Scientist 2: Funny
    Scientist 1: Cookie
    Scientist 2: Funny
    Scientist 1: Steak
    Scientist 2: Not funny
    Scientist 1: Yellow Bellied Sapsucker
    Scientist 2: Funny
    Scientist 1: Dog
    Scientist 2: Not funny
    Scientist 1: Elephant
    Scientist 2: Funny
    Scientist 1: Chicken
    Scientist 2: Extremely funny
    Scientist 1: Lion
    Scientist 2: Not funny
    Scientist 1: Hmm...
  • In an episode of King of the Hill, Bobby goes to a clowning class, and is apprised of a phonological explanation for why "sacroiliac" note  is a funnier body part than "armpit". Yes, it's the number of "k" sounds.
  • A number of Looney Tunes shorts in the past would find some way to use the city of Walla Walla, Washington. Occasional shoutouts to Mel Blanc's non-Looney Tunes gag about a train bound for "Anaheim, Azusa, and" also appeared.
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Last Roundup", Pinkie Pie goes on a little rant about words she finds funny:
    Pinkie Pie: Say it with me! Pickle barrel kumquat, pickle barrel kumquat, pickle barrel kumquat, chimi-cherry-changa!
  • Jet from Ready Jet Go! considers lots of "Earth words" (like "falafel") to be absolutely hilarious.
  • Various alien names, locations and terms in Rick and Morty (i.e. Gazorpazorp, Krombopulos Michael, St. Gloopy Noops Hospital) are clearly made to invoke this, but it reaches critical mass with the Plumbus segment in Interdimensional Cable 2, which is a machine gun barrage of goofy-sounding nonsense words.
    Narrator: First they take the dinglebop, and they smooth it out with a bunch of schleem [...] They take the dinglebop and they push it through the grumbo, where the fleeb is rubbed against it. [...] Then a Schlami shows up, and rubs it and spits on it.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: Bullwinkle the Moose thinks "Monongahela" (among other words) is fun to say.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Day of the Jackanapes", Krusty the Clown thinks "mukluk" is funny.
    • One from "Homie the Clown":
      Krusty: OK, memorize these funny place names: Walla Walla... Keokuk... Cucamonga... Seattle...
      Homer: (splitting his sides in laughter) Stop it, you're killing me! Hee-hee-hee, Seattle...
    • One of the movies that shows up in the Simpsons' TV is about a Dirty Harry parody named "McGarnagle" that's mostly there just for characters to say the word McGarnagle repeatedly.
  • South Park would like to tell you about Rob Schneider's latest movie: "Da Derp Dee Derp Da Teetley Derpee Derpee Dumb".
  • Taz-Mania uses 'arugula' as an inherently funny word. Especially funny when John Astin says it.
  • In Ultimate Spider-Man (2012) Deadpool giggles at the phrase "trap" instead of the "booby" before it.
  • The Venture Brothers:
    • In "Eeney, Meeney, Miney... Magic!", Hank is hanging around being mildly annoying while Brock does his morning workout. He becomes entranced by the word "SCUBA", repeating it over and over and realizing that it's really a weirdly funny word. To his own surprise, Brock is forced to admit he's right.
    • In "Victor. Echo. November.", in the course of a discussion about how not to get urine in your pants after using the toilet, Dean uses the word "dab" so many times it becomes both grating and hilarious, and Hank demands he stop saying it. But later, when Hank accidentally sets his crotch on fire, Dean "wails on his junk" to put it out. In agony, Hank asks him to "just dab".
    • In "Momma's Boys", Hank stumbles across the phrase "doll withdrawal". He realizes it's not only funny-sounding, it's pretty hard to say.

    Real Life 
  • The dingbat for typesetting.
  • Roger Ebert closes his review of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) with "'Turtle,' by the way, is a very funny word."
  • Observe this trope in live action! There is a famous German Take That! against modern art, "Kunst kommt von Können, käme sie von Wollen, hieße sie Wulst" note , attributed to every Tom, Dick and Harry. This version is the earliest reported; the variant "Wunst" is no German word and never caught on. But in todays oral conversation, you will now always hear "Wurst", sausage. note  It partly ruins the "mechanic" of the joke, but it's (somehow) funnier.
  • Another German example for forced vague sexualization: Decades ago you could hear kids playing catch, shouting "Krieg mich doch, Eierkopf!" (Catch me, egghead!) Also dictated by rhyme, today it degraded to "Eierloch" (egg hole). Which doesn't make sense at all. But he said hole, Butt-Head, hu hu.
  • And now (Summer 2017) science has determined the list of these:
  • Joking about dongles can get you fired.
  • For many Poles, Czech (and, to a lesser extent, Slovak) is an inherently funny language. The reasons for this are threefold: Firstly, there's a degree of mutual intelligibility between Czech and Polish, so the two sound like distorted versions of each other. Secondly, many Czech words sound like diminutives of their Polish equivalents. Finally, a fair few words sound similar, but have very different meaning in both languages, leading to some rather unusual sentences.
  • It's become a meme on the internet that Dutch is also an Inherently Funny Language.
  • The word "spaghettification". It sounds so ridiculous that a lot of people believe it has to be a fake word. It is not. It is the process something undergoes when gravity is significantly stronger on one end of the object, causing it to "stretch out" until it resembles... well, a piece of spaghetti. This is most commonly associated with black holes.

Alternative Title(s): Inherently Funny Word


Lake Titicaca

Why do the Warners like singing about Lake Titicaca? Because they like saying it's name.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / InherentlyFunnyWords

Media sources: