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219

This is an old chemistry pun. The first scientist expected the exchange to go something like Scientist 1: I’d like some H₂O. Scientist 2: I’d like some H₂O, too. which would sound exactly the same as Scientist 2: I’d like some H₂O₂. H₂O₂ is the chemical formula for hydrogen peroxide, of which a glass would be highly toxic.


39

As choster explained, this is a modification of a chemistry joke. I'd just like to add that this is an example of an anti-joke. An anti-joke is typically prepared and delivered in a similar fashion to a regular joke but the climax (the punchline) is realistic, disappointing or depressing. This can still be funny because it can still shock the listener. ...


37

They're puns pretending to be similes, which is part of the source of the humour. "Make like" is an American English expression that can mean "behave as though" ("He keeps making like he's the smartest guy in the class, though he's the only one that keeps failing") or "behave in the manner of" ("He camped it up and made like Diana Ross"). For that reason, ...


29

The passage is funny because the Mock Turtle acts as an authority figure but uses abnormal logic and reason. This pretense of authority and twisting of logic are ongoing motifs of Alice in Wonderland. By saying, "we called him Tortoise [ˈtʰɔː təs] because he taught us [ˈtʰɔt əs]", the Mock Turtle claims that this similarity of pronunciation is a valid ...


24

I cannot commend Jon Hanna's erudite answer too highly. I should like to add, however, that the form of the joke probably goes back to a slightly different slang phrase which surfaces in 1908. I first encountered this in two works I was very fond of in my childhood: Mr. Parker rose. "There's nothing more to be done then," he said. "Nothing," agreed ...


15

Tortoises are a species of turtle. A tortoise is a turtle. But a turtle is not explicitly a tortoise. In that respect they are the same. However, tortoises are land animals while turtles are amphibious. That's the major difference. Edit: The context above isn't making reference to the tortoise animal. They called him tortoise (pronounced "taught us") ...


12

A Purim Shpiel By Dan Silverman contains what is unequivocally a pun. Although able to build a profitable medical practice in Kingston’s Jewish quarter, Maimonides could not secure a congregation among the suspicious and inward-looking autochthonous Jewish settlement. He came to soft-peddle his rabbinical wares among the local infirm gentile population, ...


10

In this case, the meaning is ambiguous and could mean either of the two you suggested as nothing in the phrase specifies who will be making it. I originally read it as she was leaving to make the coffee, but both are equally plausible. Is there any extra context around it that would clarify? E.g. are they in a location where making coffee is possible?


8

I believe you're talking about a portmanteau, which is where parts of two different words (in this case, "bike" and "-kery", from "bakery") are combined to form a new word. There's a long list of these over on Wikipedia, including such words as "cyborg" ("cy-bernetic" + "org-anism"), "gaydar" ("gay" + "ra-dar"), and "mockumentary" ("mock" + "do-cumentary"). ...


7

It's grammatically correct, and a little humorous, but not a pun: a pun is generally a play on the sound or meaning of a word or phrase. What you wrote is effectively the same as saying: I think the last "valid" example is in fact not. Note the quotes (referring to the original post) and the use of a term such as "in fact" (showing contrast), both of which ...


7

There are a few names for (rhetoric) vices that refer to using wrong words or wrong expressions at wrong places. You are probably looking for acyrologia, An incorrect use of words, especially the use of words that sound alike but are far in meaning from the speaker's intentions. Note: Malapropisms are a kind of acyrologia. or malapropism, A ...


7

The vast majority of times, "no pun intended" is used precisely to draw attention to the pun that was just made. Since the preceding pun may not be readily apparent, it can help the reader go back a few words and catch the pun. Personally I don't use this phrase much, but I'm not a very punny person. If you're actually afraid that something you wrote can ...


6

You're correct that capitalizing Windows gives away the joke. Since the joke is the whole purpose of the sentence, leave it in lowercase. I'm sure everyone will forgive you for your laxness in the case of one proper noun. You should use the verb is because, in the end, the word windows should be understood to refer to the operating system. So it should be ...


6

Puns go way back to ancient Egypt, and are found in the bible, and as some of the earliest books translated into English, may well be the source of the "first pun in English". Beowulf Beowulf "is one of the very earliest poems in English and its first great literary masterpiece". It was written in Old English sometime between the 8th and 11th centuries. A ...


5

Two ideas came to my mind. One is you could change the word chair to house, since house (esp. "big house") has been used as slang for jail or cell for quite some time. This big house is for the Dark Lord, so he can house everyone. The other idea is more grim; sometimes, The Chair is slang for "the electric chair." And this chair is for the Dark ...


5

This is an intentional misspelling on Kharms' part, as canpolat has shown an hour ago, but is not nonsensical at that. Since I happen to be familiar with Kharms' stories, I can infer what he wanted to achieve by writing эпиграммамы [epigramami] instead of эпиграммы [epigrami] (which is the correct plural dative). Мамы in Russian happens to mean moms ...


4

You won't find "eggscruciating" in a dictionary because it's a pun, "also called paronomasia, is a form of word play which suggests two or more meanings, by exploiting multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect". For example: Atheism is a non-prophet institution. You can tune a guitar, but you ...


4

This is a tough one to communicate to a non-speaker - analyzing humor even in one's own language is difficult and fraught with peril. A native ear hearing "eggscruciating yolks" would hear and understand it as a play on “excruciating jokes”, but the mental stretch is itself truly excruciating. (A "groaner" of a pun, we'd say.) "eggscruciating" is a word ...


4

I think @Unreason's answer is fantastic, especially catachersis. These kinds of errors could be considered solecisms, but the pun-like element is an interesting twist. Generally, puns are understood as intentional wordplay. Here, there's a tension between an inadvertent mistake, and an outcome which has a double-meaning, or can be understood as being as ...


4

It is an example of ellipsis. You are eliding the word valid at the end of the sentence “I think the last valid example is not valid.” It is perfectly grammatical. It might be considered a kind of use–mention distinction pun if you had put the word valid in quotation marks, as in I think the last “valid” example is not. Here, the first instance of the ...


4

Interesting questions. I think they are simply humorous similes. I'm not sure what you mean by "something more complex going on." I've only heard the construction used as parting phrases. I was hoping a look at the origin of this joke phrase might turn up some insights, but I wasn't able to find much easily. It seems the phrase make like (something) started ...


4

This is a rhetorical device known as antiphrasis. antiphrasis n (Literature / Rhetoric) Rhetoric the use of a word in a sense opposite to its normal one, esp for ironic effect An example of this would be Perdue Chicken's advertising tag line of a couple decades ago: It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken. Other examples: "Come ...


4

Both qualify as puns. I think you meant to say, "those two pears are a pair of green balls." The first case is an example of paronomasia--wordplay that is based on homophonic or near-homophonic resemblance. The words pear and pair are exact homophones, as are whole and hole, words that sound alike, but are spelled differently and mean different things. A ...


4

I'd suggest taciturn: : temperamentally disinclined to talk or even closemouthed: : cautious in speaking : uncommunicative; also : secretive


4

I finally found the "definitive" answer to my question. From the "Notes" section of Matvei Yankelevich's translation Today I Wrote Nothing: "Anegdote" and "erpigarm" in this piece are intentionally misspelled. Kharms deliberately played with the spelling of certain words. In a diary dated November 22, 1937, Kharms wrote that when confronted with a ...


3

The answer appears to be that there is no evidence that brainstorm is a pun on rainstorm. As mentioned in the comments, it was originally used to denote 'a violent transient fit of insanity', and according to Webster, that remains its primary definition. Elaborating on the transition to its present meaning, Ken Greenwald (Fort Collins, CO - U.S.A.) quotes ...


3

I find it an interesting question in the sense that it stretches the discussion of just what can and can't be verbed. I am unsure as to the exact evolution of the following, but it seems that "Do you drink coffee first thing in the morning" may have led to "Do you 'do' coffee first thing in the morning?", which would be understandable (even if quite ...


2

To be grammatically correct, and yet not give away the joke prematurely, say: The only kind of "windows" I want to hear about is the operating system. Using "kind" sidesteps the whole is or are issue, and I added the quotation marks because without them the joke sounded rather dry when read.


2

"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. ...



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