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punch line

the climactic phrase or sentence in a joke, speech, advertisement, or humorous story that produces the desired effect.
Origin of punch line
An Americanism dating back to 1920-25 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for punch line
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Phil said, "Because people are—" And then he caught himself and waved his hand and muttered, "I forgot the punch line."

    The First One Herbert D. Kastle
British Dictionary definitions for punch line

punch line

the culminating part of a joke, funny story, etc, that gives it its humorous or dramatic point
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Slang definitions & phrases for punch line

punch line

noun phrase

The last line or part of a joke, which makes it funny; kicker, zinger: I remember the jokes, but not the punch lines (1921+)

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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