The slang Henway is a part of a joke created by the Marx Brothers.
The joke would go something like this:
- You: “I am going to the shops to buy a Henway..”
- Other person: “What’s a Henway?”
- Your: “Oh, about 4 to 6 pounds.”
It is made funny by the fact that when you say Henway out loud, it sounds like “hen weigh”, so when someone asks “What’s a Henway?” it comes out as “What does a hen weigh?”, obviously unrelated to what the person was telling earlier.
You can also follow up with an innocent “Why do you ask?”, to continue the joke.
The original Henway joke was first presented by The Marx Brothers.
Marx Brothers was a very popular family comedy act in the first half of the 20th century, made up of the brothers “Chico”, “Harpo”, “Groucho”, “Gummo” and “Zeppo” (stage names).
Later, Henway became the common name of the type of puns that play around with pronounciation of different words.
Spread and Usage
Henway is now used to describe “pun trap” jokes. For example, all “Knock knock” jokes are Henway jokes.
Although the original Henway joke is over 100 years old, these types of classical jokes are still in fashion and enjoyed by all ages.