Why is it called the funny bone?

Have you ever hit the inside of your elbow in just the right spot and felt a tingling or prickly kind of dull pain? That’s your funny bone! It doesn’t really hurt as much as it feels weird.

There are two thoughts on where the name “funny bone” originated. It may be based on the sound resemblance between the name of the upper arm bone, the “humerus” and the word “humorous”, used to describe something funny. It may also refer to the odd sensation you get when it is struck.

But your funny bone isn’t actually a bone at all. Running down the inside part of your elbow is a nerve called the ulnar nerve. The ulnar nerve lets your brain know about feelings in your fourth and fifth fingers. It’s also one of the nerves that controls some movement of your hand.

You get that funny feeling when the ulnar nerve is bumped against the humerus (say: HYOO-muh-rus), the long bone that starts at your elbow and goes up to your shoulder. Tapping your funny bone doesn’t do any damage to your elbow, arm, or ulnar nerve. But it sure feels strange!

People sometimes mention the funny bone when they talk about their sense of humor. Maybe you’ve heard someone say that something “really tickled my funny bone.” We’ll leave you with a joke and hope that it tickles yours:

What’s a bone in your body that you can never break? Your funny bone!

Check out my related post: Do you do baby talk?


Interesting reads:

https://www.childrensmuseum.org/blog/why-it-called-funny-bone

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/21474/what-funny-bone-and-why-does-hitting-it-hurt-so-much

https://theconversation.com/explainer-what-is-the-funny-bone-12149

https://www.nebh.org/blog/why-is-it-called-the-funny-bone/

https://kidshealth.org/en/kids/funny-bone.html

https://www.wfmz.com/news/why-do-they-call-it-a-funny-bone/article_f33db7cf-61da-5325-a5d0-f9bd88140bc1.html

 

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