Dad joke history

This dad is telling HIStory

There’s a new post at our sister site, Quizmedians, with a quiz based on dad jokes. In honor of that quiz, we will give you a brief history of the dad joke.

The truth is, no one actually knows where the term “dad joke” comes from. (We know, what kind of history is this???)

But wait! There’s more!

The term was certainly being used in the early and mid-1980s, but there was no one to whom the etymology could be attributed. The first time the term was published was in June 1987 in The Gettysburg Times in an article by Jim Kalbaugh under the headline “Don’t Ban the ‘Dad’ Jokes; Preserve and Revere Them”.

The first known use of “dad joke” on the internet was in 2003, but searches for the term didn’t really take off until 2013. In 2017, it skyrocketed on social media. #dadjokes and #dadjokesrule cemented dad jokes in pop culture that year.

Another big moment for the term “dad joke” came when Barack Obama even made dad jokes a central feature of his turkey pardon ceremony (he had a whole corny one in 2016 and referenced the phenomenon by name).

Then came the pinnacle moment for dad jokes: in September 2019, Merriam-Webster added the phrase “dad joke” to the dictionary. That’s an official marriage with the English language! Dads everywhere should be proud of all the groans and facepalms they’ve caused over the years to reach that honor.

That’s right, this September, the English and dad jokes language will celebrate its 5th anniversary. My partner and I will also celebrate 5 years of being happily married in September, coincidentally, we’ve been married for ten!

Check out Quizmedians punny dad jokes and trivia at


Leave a Reply