Use the word deadpan to describe someone who uses no expression when speaking, such as the deadpan way some comedians deliver even their funniest jokes — which can make them even funnier

  • Pronunciation: /'dɛdpæn/
  • English Description: deliberately impassive in manner
  • Synonyms: expressionless
  • Chinese Translation: 面无表情的(mian4 wu2 biao2 qing2 de)
  • Spanish Translation: inexpresivo
  • ORIGIN: Deadpan dates to 1928, when pan was slang for "face." So if you seem to have a "dead face" as you say something, it means your face looks very blank — no energy or animation. Deadpan is associated with sarcasm, and like sarcasm, if you use it for comic effect, there's a risk your audience won't pick up on it. Nevertheless, deadpan humor can be funny and popular — witness the success of deadpan humor in the sitcom Seinfeld.


  • My eyes aimed forward in a deadpan stare.
  • The young players treated the anarchic Fluxus works from the early '60s with an encouraging degree of genuine understanding and captivating deadpan humor.

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