Definition of gallows humour in English:

gallows humour


mass noun
  • Grim and ironic humour in a desperate or hopeless situation.

    • ‘I mean to say that he doesn't have the cavalier attitude and penchant for gallows humour that a lot of his colleagues do.’
    • ‘I think in real life there is much more gallows humour among the staff - that's how they keep going when they're dealing with murderers on a daily basis.’
    • ‘I also felt that her self-absorption needed to be tempered by a sort of gallows humour, ever present in her own journals, which prevents the audience from losing sympathy with her during her bleak last days.’
    • ‘On Wednesday, he displayed the full range of his emotional repertoire, complete with gallows humour, as the schizophrenic tale of two Cities unfolded at White Hart Lane.’
    • ‘It is dramatically quite daring and it has got plenty of colour and humour in it - gallows humour, if you like.’
    • ‘I've said it before, but it's worth saying again: I think it would be a shame if colourful language and the occasional over-the-top analogy or gallows humour were to be stamped out by the relentlessly dull march of political correctness.’
    • ‘Most people hate it, and the characterisation is a tad shallow, but Shakespeare's beautiful language, Ovidian imagery and a thick vein of gallows humour pull the whole thing together.’
    • ‘I know it's not really funny, but we did find a sort of gallows humour in the situation.’
    • ‘But on reflection, perhaps Scottish Cricket Limited should consider adopting a variation of that gallows humour in pursuing the Herculean task of persuading Scots that their main summer activity should revolve around cork and willow.’
    • ‘Plenty of gallows humour was being voiced by the Rangers supporters traversing Hans Christian Boulevard to pitch up at Copenhagen's main square on Wednesday afternoon.’
    • ‘The diminutive professor looks pensive, and tries to extenuate his anguish with a shot at dark, gallows humour.’
    • ‘Most of us are indulging in the usual gallows humour we use to get us through the general round of threats and attempted assaults that are our daily lot.’
    • ‘With record-breakingly low turnouts predicted, gallows humour seems de rigueur among London's MEPs, who, under a system introduced in 2001, now all represent me simultaneously.’
    • ‘A gifted storyteller who delivers in a style that is best described as UK patois; it could make for gloomy listening if there weren't healthy doses of gallows humour among the bleak visions.’
    • ‘If you're not familiar with the show, you'll be surprised at the undercurrent of danger running through - jokes often come loaded with gallows humor from characters who know they could die if plans don't pan out.’
    • ‘A 5-0 defeat and ridiculously inept performance meant he was a dead man walking and the supporters - sensing it - had indulged in grim gallows humour throughout that match.’
    • ‘A grim sense of humour - gallows humour - marks journalists' description of their situation.’
    • ‘His strongest collection of poems, Crow, speaks of death in the abstract with a combination of horror, fascination and gallows humour.’
    • ‘It allows that people are complicated, and that no amount of Hollywood style over-earnest emoting can take the place of gallows humour as a way to see your way through tragedy.’
    • ‘With gallows humour typical of soldiers on the frontline, the name relates to the insurgents’ unsettling habit of lobbing mortars at them.’


gallows humour

/ɡaləʊz ˈhjuːmə/