Sick Joke

Meaning of Idiom ‘Sick Joke’

A sick joke is a joke or anecdote that is in very bad taste or socially inappropriate; a joke that is morbid or perverted; potty humor (jokes about defecation, flatulence, vomiting, etc.) 1Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook. Wiley, 2003.,2Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.

Examples Of Use

“The president does not hesitate to tell sick jokes about other politicians at his many rallies.”

“Don’t let Dave tell you one of his “dirty” stories. They are really just sick jokes about disgusting sex acts.”

“He started the meeting by telling a sick joke about a dying man.”

Origin

Used since at least the latter half of the 1800s.

The word sick in this idiom is used in the sense of morbid, perverted, sadistic, macabre, etc. This use further derives from the idea of a “sick person” as one who is perverted or who has unattural and unsavory tendencies.

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Sources   [ + ]

1. Brenner, Gail Abel. Webster’s New World American Idioms Handbook. Wiley, 2003.
2. Ammer, Christine. American Heritage Dictionary of Idioms]. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2013.