from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun colloquial, dated A stale jest; a worn-out joke.


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

After Joe Miller (actor) (1684–1738), the namesake of the 18th-century joke book Joe Miller's Jests.



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  • "Joe Miller was a popular comic actor on the London stage from 1709 until his death in 1738. A year later, the publisher T. Read enlisted a down-and-out writer named John Mottley to compile a book of jokes, and stuck Miller’s name onto it. Not only did Joe Miller originate only a handful of the Jests published posthumously under his name; he was apparently illiterate.

    The book proved wildly popular, and a series of ever-expanding editions followed: By 1865, there were nearly 1300 jests in the volume. Meanwhile, the late comedian’s name entered the vernacular: A Joe Miller is a groaner, a hackneyed joke."

    - From, where you can find 247 of Joe Miller's Jests: or, the Wits Vade-Mecum (my favorite is number 124).

    July 24, 2010