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funny bone

a nerve in the arm

TRANSLATION

funny bone = der Musikantenknochen

STATISTICS

IN THE PRESS

“We have all experienced the pain of banging our FUNNY BONE against furniture, and it is the farthest thing from funny.”

Penn State’s SC200 course - ‘Why Hitting Your funny bone Isn’t Funny’

Did you
know?

funny bone
noun phrase

- A point on the elbow where the ulnar nerve runs close to the surface and produces a sharp tingling sensation when knocked against the bone.

- A sense of humor

The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms


ORIGIN

The term “funny-bone” (or “funnybone”) first appeared in English in the mid-19th century: “It is like rapping a man … over the funny-bone,” 1867.

The “funny-bone” is not actually a bone, but a spot on the elbow where the ulnar nerve passes over the end of the humerus and is thus sensitive to pressure. Striking your “funny-bone” on a piece of furniture or other hard object is likely to produce a strong, and sometimes very unpleasant, tingling sensation in your arm.

The feeling is usually “funny” in the “funny-strange” sense rather than the “funny-haha” sense, although spectators may find your reaction amusing.

The expression is said to be a pun on “humerus” (pronounced the same as humorous),


FUNNY PHRASES

- funny business = dishonest or unpleasant actions

- the funnies = the section of a newspaper containing comic strips

- as funny as a barrel of monkeys = extremely funny


SMUGGLE OWAD into a conversation today, say something like:

“I wonder why FUNNY BONE is ‘hueso del diablo’ the devil’s bone in Spanish.”


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Paul Smith

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