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Origin of deadpan

An Americanism dating back to 1925–30; dead + pan1 (in the slang sense “face”)

historical usage of deadpan

Deadpan is an Americanism from the 1920s. Around that time, pan was emerging as a slang term meaning “the face,” probably due to a similarity in shape to a frying pan. When your face is deadpan, it's expressionless, as if you were dead.

OTHER WORDS FROM deadpan

dead panner, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use deadpan in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for deadpan

deadpan
/ (ˈdɛdˌpæn) /

adjective, adverb
with a deliberately emotionless face or mannerdeadpan humour
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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