Explanations To 13 Jokes Only Smart People Understand

Want to make your brainy friends laugh this weekend?

Redditors took turns sharing their favourite intellectual jokes that require a certain specialised knowledge to understand. We’ve gathered our favourites here, and provided a quick explanation for each.

(An earlier version of this post was written by Dylan Love and has been updated.)





Question: What is the difference between an entomologist and an etymologist? Answer: Only the etymologist knows.

It's funny because: The two words sound very much alike, but an 'entomologist' is someone who studies insects while an 'etymologist' is someone who studies the history of words and their origins. So, the etymologist would know what the difference between the two, while the entomologist wouldn't.

Extra credit follow-up from another Reddit user: 'Something about this joke bugs me just a little'

What do you get when you cross a joke with a rhetorical question?

Shrug emoji

It's funny because: A rhetorical question isn't meant to elicit a reply, so this cleverly plays on a traditional joke format, but without having an answer.

Question: Why did the polar bears disappear when they jumped into the pool? Answer: Because they dissolved.

This is funny because: Besides being a type of bear, 'polar' can also describe a bond between two atoms that have different electronegativies. A polar compound dissolves in water.

The French existentialist Jean-Paul Sartre was sitting in a cafe when a waitress approached him: 'Can I get you something to drink, Monsieur Sartre?' Sartre replied, 'Yes, I'd like a cup of coffee with sugar, but no cream'. Nodding agreement, the waitress walked off to fill the order and Sartre returned to working. A few minutes later, however, the waitress returned and said, 'I'm sorry, Monsieur Sartre, we are all out of cream -- how about with no milk?'

It's funny because: In his book 'Being and Nothingness,' Sartre argued that being absent was a quality that an object could have unto itself. The waitress is treating 'no cream' as a real characteristic of the coffee instead of as a lack of cream.

When Helium walks into a bar and orders a beer, the bartender says, 'Sorry, we don't serve noble gases here.' He doesn't react.

It's funny because: Helium is a noble gas, which means that it has very low chemical reactivity (hence, it 'doesn't react'). Also, its symbol on the periodic table is He.

C, Eb, and G walk into a bar. The bartender says, 'Sorry, no minors.'

It's funny because: C, Eb, and G are the musical notes that constitute a C minor chord.

A photon is going through airport security. The TSA agent asks if he has any luggage. The photon says, 'No, I'm travelling light.'

It's funny because: 'Travelling light' is an expression that indicates travelling without much (or any) luggage. In science, a photon is a particle of light (almost always moving).

How can you tell the difference between a chemist and a plumber? Ask them to pronounce 'unionized.'

It's funny because: A more labour-conscious plumber would pronounce the word as 'yoon-yun-ized.' A chemist would probably say 'un-eye-on-ized.'

Heard about that new band called 1023 MB? They haven't had any gigs yet.

It's funny because: A gigabyte is a measure of data equal to 1,024 MB. As you can see the band is only 1,023 MB, they haven't had any 'gigs' yet.

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