Definition of deadpan in English:



  • Deliberately impassive or expressionless.

    ‘answers his phone in a deadpan tone’
    ‘deadpan humor’
    • ‘His expression was deadpan, but I detected the anger.’
    • ‘But the face expresses the same deadpan ferocity as the film.’
    • ‘Stoic bafflement - a deadpan stare into the camera - is Geist's usual game.’
    • ‘Much of the humor comes from the deadpan bowling instructions voiceover that accompanies the dancers' goofy antics.’
    • ‘The latter work is done drily, with humor of the most deadpan variety; one never believes that this apprentice truly was in danger.’
    • ‘Despite his deadpan expression, I could tell that he was pleased.’
    • ‘In fact, Sheen had most of the best lines, although I could be prejudiced by the fact that he has one of the best deadpan deliveries in the business.’
    • ‘Looking out over a million square miles or so of Indian Ocean, I kept my expression deadpan.’
    • ‘Truss's voice is deadpan, her asides are witty, and she is never condescending about misuse of the language.’
    • ‘His features were deadpan but his voice was bursting with emotion.’
    • ‘Whitford especially is a comic gift to any director, capable of the sort of arrogance, deadpan humor and blank-faced terror that Bill Murray has perfected.’
    • ‘Even as her voice drips sarcasm, her deadpan expression doesn't change.’
    • ‘The deadpan expression he wears in almost every scene might seem like heroic stoicism, but it's also the face of deep denial.’
    • ‘You'll never see a movie with more deadpan, underemphasized humor in it than this one.’
    • ‘The actors move as though struck with severe stage fright: wooden, deadpan and without any remote glimmer of expression.’
    • ‘Rolling her eyes, Mira remained deadpan, her face as expressionless as an empty platter.’
    • ‘The movie's deadpan tone is perfectly suited to the humour in the material and also keeps Bukowski's own sentimental streak in check.’
    • ‘He's never been the most expressive of actors but here is deadpan to the point of catatonia at times.’
    • ‘There was a good deal of narrative alternating with enactment, all presented in an understated, even deadpan, style.’
    • ‘He's slightly detached, everything delivered in deadpan Liverpudlian tones, like he's doing some spoof of Ringo Starr.’
    blank, expressionless, unexpressive, inexpressive, impassive, inscrutable, poker-faced, straight-faced, dispassionate, unresponsive, stony, wooden, empty, vacant, glazed, fixed, lifeless
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  • In a deadpan manner.

    • ‘If you can say it deadpan and just fast enough but not too fast, they don't even think about questioning it.’
    • ‘‘You forget - I have to ask your father for your hand in marriage tomorrow morning,’ David said, dead-pan. ‘After that, I can do anything.’’
    • ‘Nova looked at Mr. Hamilton deadpan and shifted his eyes toward Jocelyn who was sitting at her desk with an unreadable look.’
    • ‘His story about the book was one big joke, but he delivered it deadpan.’
    • ‘Newsreaders are expected to deliver stories deadpan.’
    • ‘Lewis took his lead from the atmosphere around him and delivered his instructions deadpan.’
    • ‘She uttered this deadpan, as if this was inescapable logic that justified everything that was happening to me.’
    • ‘He speaks slowly and deliberately, deadpan and measured.’
    • ‘and was less than impressed when the teller told her, dead-pan, that she had never heard of her.’
    • ‘The advice is often both ludicrous and enlightening at once, and is delivered dead-pan by Chevy Chase.’
    • ‘Pollsters themselves, and the media who report their findings deadpan, are partly responsible for this.’
    • ‘Levy is dazed and robotic, and O'Hara is subtle and deadpan sly.’
    • ‘I don't think I was prepared for how deadpan funny she is.’
    • ‘‘I hope that Roy Keane is not playing,’ says Arveladze deadpan while shifting his gaze.’
    • ‘Tsai's mood is absolutely unique because it can be deeply sad and deadpan funny, highly metaphorical and stubbornly concrete at the same time.’
    • ‘I replied dead-pan and turned back to face the drinks I was sorting out.’


  • [with direct speech] Say something amusing while affecting a serious manner.

    ‘“I'm an undercover dentist,” he deadpanned’
    • ‘Shi and Chi froze, just as Sailor Captain Tsukiou dead-panned, ‘I wouldn't be harming my Sailor Commander, if I were you.’’
    • ‘Baillie dead-panned that the first Scotland boss he covered was Tommy Docherty and it had been ‘downhill ever since’.’
    • ‘They cut to a commercial, and when the show came back on, Carson and the bare-chested guests were seated and he looked into the camera and dead-panned, ‘Welcome to Rawhide.’’
    • ‘Bill Murray affirms himself as a true incarnation of insincerity in the briefest of cameos, deadpanning the line "Honestly, I wouldn't miss this for the world" at a lame party.’
    • ‘Quizzed on whether he was surprised that Hamilton got the nod ahead of his young lock, the Edinburgh coach dead-panned: ‘I can't possibly comment on that… but yes.’
    • ‘‘It sounds fabulous,’ he dead-panned, before turning his back on me to greet his public.’
    • ‘‘You know, if you take a coin and scratch the paint, you can tell whether one of these is real of not,’ Chase dead-panned.’
    • ‘Bombs had been thrown around in this country before, the prime minister dead-panned.’
    • ‘There was silence for a minute until Jessi dead-panned, ‘Damn, he knows the secret.’’
    • ‘Harrison intentionally deadpanned the narration because he wanted it NOT used.’
    • ‘Skovdahl dead-panned: ‘That was the kind of goal I used to score.’’
    • ‘‘I'm a Napoli supporter,’ Paul dead-panned, with impeccable comic timing.’