Engineering Jokes Folklore S19


When asked if they know any engineering related jokes, engineers often respond that they don’t think engineers are very funny, or that jokes really don’t fit into engineering culture. Despite this, they are usually able to think of a few jokes or other types of humor that are relevant to their field.

While collecting these folklore items, we noticed that the jokes often fit in one of a few categories. Engineers seem to enjoy jokes that incorporate domain specific knowledge. These jokes can be incomprehensible to someone outside the field. These jokes help to reinforce group identity, by making a listener feel intelligent if they can understand the joke and excluding those who do not have the relevant knowledge.

Another common type of joke compares engineers to those in other professions, or makes comparisons between different sub-fields of engineering. This type of joke usually highlights a particular stereotypical aspect of each field. Often, one group, presumably the one the performer belongs to, is praised while another is made fun of. Again, this helps to reinforce a group identity.

Lastly, we identified a group of jokes that make fun of stereotypical behaviors and characteristics of engineers. Most commonly, these jokes portray engineers as introverted geeks.

Overall, it seems that engineers are attracted to jokes that help to distinguish engineering from other professions and create a unique identity as a folk group.


Spring 2019 – Engineering Jokes Presentation



  • Pierre Desvallons
  • Aadil Islam
  • Ben Wolsieffer


engineering, verbal folklore, jokes, proverbs