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Is the above a pun? In one sense, the word covered is used to different ways (sort of) in that the phrase is usually used to mean a covered responsibility, not literally covered.

At the same time, one use of the word is clearly descended from the other (so much so that maybe it is the same definition of the word that is being used, not two distinct ones).

Is this is pun?

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Shortly after buying insurance, customer wires 'Gown lifted in London'. Insurance company promptly responds, 'Sorry, Madam, but you can't expect our policy to cover that.' (spoiler: both lift and cover are punned on here). – Kris Mar 1 '12 at 10:39
Could it be this umbrella is a promotion gift from an insurance company? – Jürgen A. Erhard Mar 1 '12 at 16:36
That would be funnier, but no, it is from a school – soandos Mar 1 '12 at 19:57
up vote 1 down vote accepted

It is a play on words. It is a double entendre - two meanings. Whether it is truly a pun is perhaps more debatable. I think probably not, but it is borderline. No-one in their right minds would get upset by someone calling it a pun.

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So, what is the difference between a pun and a play on words? I thought it was one and the same? (And so does, from what I recall, Terry Pratchett in multiple Discworld novels) – Jürgen A. Erhard Mar 1 '12 at 16:34
I think all puns are plays on words, but there are plays on words which are not puns. – Jonathan Leffler Mar 1 '12 at 16:43

"Cover" has several meanings. This is definitely a pun ("joke or type of wordplay in which similar senses or sounds of two words or phrases, or different senses of the same word, are deliberately confused") as the phrase is printed on an umbrella, and an umbrella covers; and presumably the supplier of the umbrella provides some kind of coverage too.

Certainly, one of the definitions of "cover" can apply to an umbrella, but there are several other meanings as well:

"Cover" could be used in the same way as it is during military operations, where a single soldier, or group of soldiers venture into the open, while another group of soldiers "cover" them from behind, that is, provide gunfire to distract the enemy and protect them.

"Cover" could also mean "provided for", e.g. "The contract covers all the costs..."

In this case, of the umbrella, the meaning could be interpreted differently as the individual pleases. But the main point of the humour is that the words have more than one meaning, and that all their meanings are valid the way the sentence is phrased.

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