There are about 200,000 words in English, a new study rates 45,000 of the more common ones as to their level of being "funny" (CBC Books)

English has some funny words, and science has rated them

Upchuck, bubby, boff, wriggly, yaps, giggle, cooch, guffaw, puffball, and jiggly. some of the words rated as among the funniest

What makes a word funny? Well, its form partly, partly what it means, and partly the image it implies among other things.

A new study has quantified some of the funniest words in English, which include words like, upchuck, bubby, boff, wriggly, yaps, giggle, cooch, guffaw, puffball, and jiggly”

Chris Westbury (PhD) conducted the study. He is a professor of psychology at the University of Alberta.


Professor Westbury notes that indeed we tend to find words about sex and bodily functions rather funny, along with some insulting words.  Still, negative words are low on the list, and positive words are higher.

Professor Chris Westbury PhD (John Ulan for the University of Alberta’s Faculty of Science)

To determine what are the funnier words, he analysed some 45,000 words of the English language and rated them through two different computerised models, linear and non-linear  and then rated them according to six categories involving semantics and a variety of parameters

One of them is “superiority humour” or using a word to make fun of people  Another is incongruity..where things that seldom happen are funnier than things that may be common,, ie one doesn’t often slobber but pointing out that someone is slobbering may seem humourous. A third is juxtaposition, where certain actions are funny, including words connected with sex, or bodily function for example. Puking is apparently high up on the list.

Semantics connects the word’s meaning and the image. In terms of sex, boob, penis, and slang like cooch, are high on the list.

Other predictors are how often a word appears in use, common usage is less funny that not so common use.  Even letters are predictors with the letter K often cropping up in funny words, “puke, oink, wank” and the oo sound also, either through double “o” or “u” as in “boobs, puke, pubes” or words  ending in “le”  like giggle and wiggle.

Professor Westbury notes that cultural differences would means some words are funnier, or used in one area, but less funny or not common in other English language areas, like the U.S, Canada, the British Isles, Australia and New Zealand etc.

As for Professor Westbury himself, a word he likes is “squify” (squiffy) a British word meaning slightly intoxicated.

The top 20 are listed below, the entire list of 45.000 is here

  1. slobbering
  2. upchuck
  3. puking
  4. humping
  5. fuzz
  6. bawl
  7. giggle
  8. cooch
  9. bunghole
  10. floozy
  11. boff
  12. cackling
  13. chucky
  14. guffaw
  15. slobber
  16. pukes
  17. giggling
  18. bubby
  19. titty
Categories: Arts and Entertainment, International, Internet, Science and Technology, Society
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet Netiquette guidelines.

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1.’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3.’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish or in one of the two official languages, English or French. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *