Pun is a play on words or paronomasia.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

93
votes
3answers
17k views

I don't get this joke. Is it some kind of play on “water, too?”

I don't get this joke. Is it some kind of play on "water, too?" Transcript: Two scientists walk into a bar. The first says, "I'll have some H2O." The second says, "I'll have a glass of water ...
23
votes
1answer
2k views

Explain this pickup line: “If Bangkok invaded Djibouti, would Greece help?”

I was at an Model UN conference and often notes like the following get passed. As I'm not a native speaker, I assume that this has to do with some pronunciational issue. Can you please explain what's ...
22
votes
3answers
2k views

Make like a banana

In my area, it's not unusual to hear expressions like I'm going to make like a banana and split. ...make like a tree and leave. ...make like a baby and head out. ...make like a prom ...
21
votes
6answers
4k views

“Tortoise” and “taught us”

I’m reading Alice in Wonderland, and found the following dialogue: “The master was an old Turtle — we used to call him Tortoise—” “Why did you call him Tortoise, if he wasn’t one?” Alice ...
13
votes
1answer
827 views

“Soft-peddle” vs. “Soft-pedal”: eggcorn blunder or sly play on words?

In chat the other day I asked the following question: "Recently I've been seeing writers using "soft-peddle" in print (in reputable publications, to boot) when I am certain the trope is ...
9
votes
3answers
5k views

A word for when a word is used incorrectly (grammatically) but can still be parsed in a grammatically correct way?

Does such a word exist? An example: Do good. Supposing that my intention in saying "Do good!" was actually "Do well (on your test)!", the sentence still parses correctly as "Do good (deeds)!" I ...
8
votes
1answer
1k views

“After all 7 8 9” joke?

I know that it is very important to be aware of "hidden meanings" of words and phrases. (Especially if the meaning is sexual.) That is why I love Stephen Colbert's "The Word" segments and usually ...
8
votes
1answer
527 views

What is the earliest recorded pun in the English language?

So, I'll admit I love a good pun. Done correctly, it is humor for the clever that builds up rather than tears down. Plus, it beats an emetic in the right situation. That said, I wonder how far back ...
6
votes
5answers
553 views

A pedant's plea for a proper pun

This problem has plagued me occasionally, and I'm finally asking: What is the proper grammar (specifically, verb use and capitalization) in the following pun situation? The only Windows I want to ...
6
votes
1answer
243 views

Jackson = $$son: pun or topical reference

Alfred Bester's short story The Demolished Man (the original version serialized in Galaxy magazine in 1952, not the novel published in 1963) may have been the first instance of SMS-speak, featuring ...
5
votes
1answer
588 views

Brainstorm: a pun on rainstorm?

The Online Etymology Dictionary unsurprisingly says brainstorm is from the combination of brain and storm. What I want to know is whether or not this neologism was an intentional pun on the word ...
4
votes
3answers
247 views

Can you explain the pun “erpigarms”

Here is an extract from a short story: When Pushkin broke his legs, he started to go about on wheels. His friends used to enjoy teasing Pushkin and grabbing him by his wheels. Pushkin took this ...
4
votes
2answers
1k views

Double meaning?

Taken from "A Quiver Full of Arrows": "The flowers have lasted well," she teased, and left him to make the coffee. Does the sentence clearly imply that she left to make the coffee? Or could ...
4
votes
3answers
843 views

Is this sentence grammatically correct or punny (or both)?

I have a comment on this question where I refer to a list of three examples deemed 'valid'. I said: "I think the last valid example is not." The sentence sounds kind of strange (I did that on ...
4
votes
1answer
378 views

Term for misspelling used as pun of another word

What is the term for a common or potential pun of another word using a misspelling? For example, I thought the made-up word bikery was a funny sort of play on the word bakery. What, therefore, would ...
3
votes
1answer
16k views

How to use “no pun intended”?

The phrase "no pun intended" is often added after someone made a pun or something that could be considered a pun. If this should be taken literally (i.e. it really was unintentional), then I'm not ...
3
votes
3answers
305 views

What is the best way to idiomatically translate this pun into English?

I'm trying to translate some text from Russian to English. The text discusses both chairs and power over people (it is a fantasy work discussing a Chair of Power for a Lord). At one point, it has a ...
3
votes
1answer
91 views

“Do You Dreams Come True”: A clever pun or just bad English?

There's a Japanese band called "Dreams Come True", and on March 21st (2009) they released an album entitled: "Do You Dreams Come True". The title of the album has troubled me since this time. src: ...
3
votes
2answers
896 views

“We've got you covered” on an umbrella

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, ...
2
votes
3answers
1k views

What is the meaning, or fun of the pun in the line, “H.D. was the youthful butt of excruciating jokes, or eggscruciating yolks”?

I came across the line, “In the orphanage he shared with Puss, H.D. was the youthful butt of excruciating jokes (or eggscruciating yolks).” in Time magazine’s review of the newly released animation, ...
2
votes
1answer
4k views

What do you call two words that contradict each other in a sentence?

I'm having trouble as to what you call two words that contradict each other. For example, "That was weirdly normal." I think this kind of word play is used in puns and jokes. But I do not know how you ...
2
votes
0answers
403 views

Shakespeare: “Asses are made to bear” [closed]

When Petruchio invites Katherine to sit on his lap, she replies, "Asses are made to bear, and so are you." (Taming of the Shrew Act II, Scene 1.) The denotation is clear, donkeys (Equus africanus ...
1
vote
2answers
829 views

A pun or not a pun?

I was talking to someone about puns and she said that it's a play on words, e.g. "those two pears are a pear of green balls" (sorry about the awful example, I couldn't think of any others on the ...
1
vote
3answers
610 views

What is the correct term for this juxtaposition of words?

He has a soft spot for playing hard ball Not really a pun, I think. What is the exact term? And correct me if the title can be made better.
1
vote
1answer
323 views

I can't make heads or tails of this paragraph. It's a complex pun. (Warning: mildly “bad language” and urban lingo.)

Here it is: It's your brother's MR. T PUPPET, which of course is kept in the apartment with a sense of profound humorous irony. But as usual with your BRO's exploits, this is no ordinary irony, or ...
0
votes
2answers
98 views

Can Someone Tell me if This Sentence is a Pun?

My friend and I are walking along a nude beach. There is an exposed man directly in front of us. My friend asks me what time it is. My response is "It's 12 o'cock." Pun or bad joke?
-1
votes
4answers
518 views

Literal antonym to “Outspoken” [closed]

I'm working on a humorous project in which one character is called the Outspoken Mime. The adjective "outspoken" means the mime in question is "free, bold, or unreserved in speech." On one side, ...