Punch-line meaning

The climactic phrase or statement of a joke, producing a sudden humorous effect.
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The final part of a joke; the word, sentence, or exchange of sentences that is intended to be funny and provokes laughter from the listeners.

That was quite a build-up for such a puny punch line.

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Origin of punch-line

punch +"Ž line, probably American. It was probably meant to be likened to a quick, sharp punch.