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A Trusted Friend in a Complicated World

12 Thesaurus Jokes Grammar Nerds Will Appreciate

Feeling qualmish, ill, and peaky? You must be ready for a sick joke!

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Punster paradise

Are you a word nerd? A lover of bon mots? You’re in the right place. Whether the thesaurus is your friend or foe (your confidante or nemesis), it’s a book to keep on hand (hereabouts or accessible) so you can find a word that’s just right (consummate, first-rate, and dandy!). Plus, etymology is comedy gold, people. Get ready for some wordplay—all puns intended!

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Raising the bar

A dictionary, an encyclopedia, and a thesaurus walk into a bar. The mixologist takes one look at them and quips, “What is this—a jest, mockery, target practice, repartee, facetiousness, drollery, banter, or a knee-slapper?” Please joke responsibly when drinking (and when not). Here are 15 witty bar jokes anyone can remember.

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Going ape

Did you hear the one about the monkey who could read the thesaurus? He was hanging on every word. Did this make you chuckle? If not, try these 25 clever jokes that make you sound smart.

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Mother tongue

What’s another word in the thesaurus for mother? Can’t say. Mum’s the word! Yo Mama! Check out these 29 funny mom quotes that will have you cry-laughing.

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Book him

What did the book reviewer say about the thesaurus? Don’t arbitrate, assess, decree, estimate, mediate, reckon with, evaluate, or appraise a book by its cover. Don’t miss these 12 smart jokes that will make you sound like a genius.

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Spoken in jest

What did the clown say to the thesaurus? Put in a good word for me! Is monster a synonym for clown? Here’s the real reason why everyone is afraid of clowns.

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Tyrannosaurus flex

What’s the best reference book for Neanderthals? The Thesaurusaurus. If you think that’s uproarious, you’ll love sinking your teeth into these 20 dog puns that will give you paws.

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Best-seller twist

Famous book titles if the authors had used a thesaurus:

  • The Grapes of Exasperation
  • 50 Penumbras of Silvery-Ash
  • The Ravenousness Competitions
  • An Adieu to Limbs
  • The Supremo of the Circlets

See how easy it is to wreck a good thing? That was a massacre! A bloodbath! Thesaurus-cide! John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath is a beautifully eloquent title. And E.L. James’ 50 Shades of Grey sounds like poetry compared to that. Did you even recognize The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins? Actually, maybe Ernest Hemingway should have gone with An Adieu to Limbs over A Farewell to Arms? And let’s round out the list with J. R. R. Tolkien’s orbicularly titled The Lord of the Rings. While they’re not jokes, per se, here are some hilarious examples of how not to use a thesaurus.

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Movie madness

Five famous movie lines rewritten with a thesaurus:

  • Here’s being observant of you, child.
  • May the fortitude be with you.
  • I’m going to make him a countersuggestion he can’t repudiate.
  • You possessed me at “salutation.”
  • Forsooth, my pet, I don’t give a doodley-squat!

Ouch! Way to siphon out all the wit, Thesaurus! Did you recognize your favorite movie lines from Casablanca and Star Wars? How intimidating would Don Corleone have been in The Godfather if he’d consulted a thesaurus? You had me at “don’t use a thesaurus,” Jerry Maguire! Wouldn’t you like to hear Rhett Butler say doodley-squat at the end of Gone with the Wind? Um, yeah, maybe not. For more laughs, try using synonyms in these other classic one-liners from your favorite movies.

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Start the day with a pun

What do lexicographers prefer for breakfast? Synonym rolls. Bah-dum-tiss! That was so punny! Here’s a collection of grammar jokes that word nerds will find hysterically pun-derful.

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Five famous song lyrics revamped with a thesaurus:

  • Rah, rah, ah, ah, ah. Roma, roma, ma. Gaga, ooh, la, la, want your lousy infatuation.
  • You can’t consistently apprehend what you hanker for.
  • Come on, baby, enkindle my inferno.
  • Bindlestiffs like us, baby, we were spawned to scamper.
  • Like a gangplank over anxious H2O, I will situate myself down.

Did you recognize your favorite tunes? Lady Gaga’s Bad Romance—ring a bell? And also, You Can’t Always Get What You Want by the Rolling Stones. How about some Light My Fire by the Doors? And then there’s Bruce Springsteen with Born to Run. Finally, how much gratitude do we have for the fact that Simon and Garfunkel probably didn’t use a thesaurus when they wrote Bridge Over Troubled Water? That said, some lyrics are confusing just as they are. Take a look at these popular song lyrics that don’t mean what you think.

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All you can eat

Why did the writer stop using his thesaurus? Because he bit off more than he could masticate. Hungry for more? Here are 20 food jokes that will make you laugh and/or want to get a bite to eat.

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Book learnin’

What do logophiles do when you tell them to hit the books? First, they consult their thesaurus. Next, they swat, thwack, larrup, spank, bust, sock, wallop, punch, and clobber the literary paperbound publications. Next, find out why the chicken actually crossed the road—and the history behind 9 more jokes.

Molly Pennington, PhD
Molly is a writer and collage artist with a PhD in film and cultural studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Her professional astrology services and artwork are available at Baroque Moon Astrology. She covers the zodiac, books, movies, TV and culture for Reader’s Digest, and loves to talk about all the ways we make meaning.