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Posted by ESC on May 16, 2003

In Reply to: Corny (as in jokes) posted by Jane Ferdinand on May 16, 2003

: : How on earth did the term 'corny' come about? Why would such a word be used to describe something like a joke or saying? And where did it originate? I'm assuming the U.S., only because of the reference to corn, which is obviously a sweeping guess.

: I believe it comes from rural America (The Corn Belt). Jokes that were so obvious and heavy-handed were considered the kind of jokes the "hicks" would understand.

CORNY - "originally a contraction of 'corn-fed,' was first used by actors and vaudevillians to describe audiences in 'the sticks.'.Since these 'corn-fed' audiences relished a broad and unsubtle brand of humor, it became known as 'corn-fed humor' - a phrase which now is simply 'corny joke.'" From "Morris Dictionary of Word and Phrase Origins" by William and Mary Morris (HarperCollins, New York, 1977, 1988).