How did the Funny Bone get its name and Where does the term Funny Bone come from?

The name funny bone for that portion of the elbow over which the ulnar nerve is drawn has never seemed appropriate to us.

To strike or be struck on that edge of bone distinctly gives rise to a tingling pain rather than to anything remotely amusing.

The American synonym, crazy bone, is more fitting.

But it has been funny bone since at least the early nineteenth century.

Barham, in “Bloudie Jacke of Shrewsberrie,” in The Ingoldsby Legends (1840), has these lines:

They have pull’d you down flat on your back,
And they smack, and they thwack,
Till your “funny bones” crack,
As if you were stretched on the rack,
At each thwack!
Good lack! what a savage attack!

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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