What does Deadpanned mean?

Deadpanned is an adjective that refers to people who operate with dry-witted humor.

Individuals that use this type of humor (deadpan) often appear emotionless, enervated, sometimes seemingly demotivated. That is all part of the act though, and many comedians like to apply this technique to entertain a crowd.

The term can also refer simply to an expressionless face.


What's the origin of Deadpanned?

The expression was coined in the early 20th century in the United States.

Baseball manager Roger Bresnahan came up with it when labeling the playstyle of one of his players. He combined the word “dead” with “pan”, which is slang for “face”.

The expression first appeared in print in the year 1915.

Spread & Usage

How did Deadpanned spread?

In the first half of the 20th century, the most prominent user of the technique was actor-comedian Buster Keaton, but several other filmmakers used it as it was convenient for silent movies.

During the second half of the century, many sit-com series utilized deadpanning as a central element for jokes, such as Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, or My Name Is Earl.

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