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funny bone

a nerve in the arm


funny bone = der Musikantenknochen



“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’

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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


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 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.”

HERZLICHEN DANK to all readers helping me keep OWAD alive with single or monthly donations at:

Paul Smith

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