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When a friend tells a joke, you might not get it while others are laughing. You may ask "what's the punchline or gag of this joke?".

However, how do you ask this question in Spanish? Is there a Spanish word meaning the same?

  • also for word ´pun´ in English, mean humor caused by 2 different words or phrase but sounding the same or very close. – Gary Wang May 10 '19 at 6:14
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    Hello, Gary, and welcome to Spanish Language! This is an interesting question and we will try to answer it. But note that your "pun" question in your comment is in fact another different question and you may want to ask it in another, separate post so we can answer it separately. Please read the How to Ask page for more information. Welcome again, and have fun! – Charlie May 10 '19 at 6:19
  • By the way, you should add in your question the Spanish variant you are more interested in. European Spanish? Latin-American Spanish? Maybe a specific country? Answers will probably vary depending on the country. – Charlie May 10 '19 at 6:22
  • Thanks Charlie, got you. really appreciate your patient explanation. – Gary Wang May 10 '19 at 6:25
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I don't know if this is used in Latin America, but in Spain when someone does not understand a joke we can say something like this:

Pues yo no lo pillo. ¿Cuál es la gracia? / ¿Dónde está la gracia?

This can be translated as:

I don't get it. What's the funny part? / Where's the fun?

In English the word punchline seems to reflect the lines that punches you, that hits you and makes you laugh. We use the word gracia to reflect the part of the joke that is funny ("hace gracia" or "es graciosa"). See meaning 9 in the link: "Ability of someone or something to make people laugh".

We also have the word remate which could be a valid translation for punchline as it may convey the same meaning of "hitting you" and even "killing you" (by laughter) but we do not use it in informal speech, it seems more of a technical word, meaning "the conclusion of something". I can't think of anybody asking "cuál es el remate del chiste" in a conversation.

Of course, you can also use the word chiste to ask for the punchline:

¿Y cuál es el chiste? / ¿Dónde está el chiste?

Translated:

And what's the joke? / Where's the joke?

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  • @walen yo creo que sí merecía la pena, pero como quieras, añadido está. :-) – Charlie May 10 '19 at 6:56
  • Remate is non-technical and commonly used in Argentina for the meaning of punchline. One common Twitter refrain, after referring to something ridiculous, is no hay remate, i.e. it looks like a joke but it's not, as there's no funny punchline. – pablodf76 May 10 '19 at 10:25
  • @pablodf76 the asker has not specified yet if they would like the answers to be biased towards a specific region, so you could add the use of remate in Argentina as an answer. – Charlie May 10 '19 at 10:38
  • Could I use remate for Give me a moment, please, I was just about to get to the punchline (which could be for an anecdote but could also be for something else)? – aparente001 May 11 '19 at 18:58
  • @aparente001 not in Spain, at least, I would say something like "dame un momento, que ya termino", as usually the punchline is at the end. – Charlie May 11 '19 at 19:29
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Following Charlie's comment, I'm noting here that "punchline" can be translated as remate. In the DLE the first meaning of remate is

Fin o cabo, extremidad o conclusión de algo.

i.e. something's end or conclusion. It seems in Spain this word is not as commonly used, but it's widely understood as "the conclusion of a joke" in Argentina and probably in other Latin American countries.

Your question, however, refers to not understanding the meaning of the joke or what's funny about it. In that case the problem might not be with the punchline, of course.

In Twitter I've often encountered remate in the expression «No hay remate» (lit. "There's no punchline"), after something that is absurd or appalling to the point that it looks like a joke, only it's not. A couple of examples:

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I bought something on the internet and when it was time to coordinate the delivery the guy tried to pick me up. There's no punchline.

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Arriving at 8 to work in the lab, Friday, zero desire (to work) and your boss welcomes you WITH GAME OF THRONES MEMES, there's no punchline.

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