Today’s article presents dad jokes, the subject of much debate. Have you ever pondered the official definition, considered the difference between a dad joke, a bad joke, and a pun, or wondered where the phrase originates?

Luckily, we too had these questions, and, in case you weren’t aware, Father’s Day is coming soon.

So, to get you in the Father’s Day spirit and to uncover answers to these life altering questions, we researched everything for you – you are welcome.

By the way, this year the Father’s Day gift should be something really, really special. How about a trip, full of adventure, relaxation, or free-time? Check out these awesome destinations for all daddies. If a vacation is too expensive, we still have amazing options for you. Check it out!

The Definition of Dad Jokes

Our journey began with Urban Dictionary. It describes the saying as “an indescribably cheesy and/or dumb joke made by a father to his children.”

But, we wanted specifics and continued digging until finding Wikipedia who states “a Dad joke is a short joke, typically a pun, presented as a one-liner…generally told by fathers…with sincere humorous intent.”

We could regale you with our research rendezvous, but you would probably die of excitement, so we’ll just summarize the results.

We discovered that the jokes must contain three elements:

  1. Delivery by fathers.
  2. Based in wordplay.
  3. Told repeatedly, making the joke unoriginal.

The Difference Between Puns and Bad Jokes

Well, after discovering the definition, we came to the realization that the essentials are great and all but they don’t really clarify things. Other than the dad factor, how are dad jokes remotely different from puns and bad jokes?

So, we began, once again, with definitions: a pun is a joke that exploits the varied meanings of words, and a bad joke is anything that the listener doesn’t find funny.

At this point, we realized that a dad joke is both a pun and a bad joke.

Then, things got really crazy.

Remember learning about squares and rectangles in school? Every square is a rectangle, but not all rectangles are squares.

Well the same concept applies here. All dad jokes are puns/bad jokes but not all puns/bad jokes are dad jokes. Don’t worry, we had to think about it for a while too.

The key lies in the intention.

Puns and bad jokes can be told by anyone to anyone with all sorts of underlying intentions.

However, dad jokes teach children to either alter their whiny behaviour or to recognize that words can have more than one meaning, all with the satisfaction that accompanies people smiling, laughing, and/or groaning at your wit.

And with that the world made sense.

Dad Jokes, The Past

We started our search for history deep in the recesses of the internet.

Minutes later we came to the depressing conclusion that no one knows the exact origins of the expression.

At this point we were exhausted and almost succumbed to despair. Then, we remembered that we had promises to keep, so we persevered.   

Luckily, we do know that the phrase was published in 1987 by the Gettysburg Times in the article “Don’t Ban the “Dad” jokes; preserve and revere them.” The writer was clearly as passionate as we are about the topic.

From 2003 to 2004 an online forum titled “Dad Jokes” was opened, an Urban Dictionary user defined them as an “embarrassingly bad joke,” and a book called Dad – This Joke’s For You was published.

During the following years, the expression slowly gained popularity. A Facebook page called “Dad Jokes” was created. TV shows mentioned them. More feeds opened mocking them. Then, in 2016, Obama told them at his last Turkey Pardon. Now, “dad jokes” is a commonly used phrase.

After completing our research and report, we knew there was only one thing left to do, tell some dad jokes.

The Best Dad Jokes

Now that we’ve gotten you in the mood, here is a list of our favourites:

Next up…

Awesome Ideas for Father’s Day: The Gift of Traveling


Hiya, I’m Maud. I’m an English girl who's moved to Berlin - because who wouldn’t fall in love with a country which has words like ‘Kummerspeck’ hidden around every corner... I love traveling and finding out the quirks of each country - and what better way to remember them than on a postcard?

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