Sunday, April 11, 2010

The Top Ten Funniest Words in the English Language

It's entirely subjective, of course. But some words just make me laugh. Some words make kids laugh too - reliably, and at great length. For some reason I cannot comprehend, grade 5 kids find the word "saggy" absolutely hilarious. Grade 2s, on the other hand, respond by falling over in giggle-fits every time you say "underwear."

Saggy and underwear, great as they are, are not inherently funny (ok, maybe saggy has a nice, amusing ring to it). But some words are totally giggle-worthy, even when divorced from their meaning. Pickle, for one. It's hard not to laugh when there's a pickle under discussion.

I know, for example, that comedians extol the virtues of the letter K, saying that words that have a k in them are definite laugh-getters. There's something to it - after all, "kumquat" is pretty darn ridiculous. As is "ridiculous." And whether or not they are made with vinegar, pickles always do contain a comic k.

So, in the interests of scientific inquiry,  I've decided to start compiling a list of the all time top funniest words in the English language. The rules are simple: the words can't be rude, and should be funny mostly because of the way they sound, not because of what they mean.

To get things going, herewith, my top ten offerings, subject to revision as more silly syllables spring to mind:

10. Corollary (especially the way Canadians say it, with the emPHAsis on the seCOND syllABle

9. Expunge

8. Persnickety

7. Blurb

6. Pulchritude

5. Tipple

4. Bladder

3. Pickle


and my favorite funny word of all time....

1. Nincompoop

Please feel free to argue with me and supply your own choices. I will definitely laugh while reading them, and may find nice use for them all in future poems.


  1. Persnickety is one of my favourites. :) And, of course, nincompoop.

    Great list, Helaine!


  2. I have study in Canada and i am working in a Hotel part time. I am studying and work also in Canada.

    work and study


Because: Science!