Is there a name for this construction or wordplay?

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It can be both:

  • Cancer be beaten
  • Cancer can be beaten ("Can" in "Cancer" is emphasized for the purpose)

It can be called a wordplay or a pun but I thought there might be a specific name for it. In this example, it is a phrase within a phrase because there is a word within a word.

I checked this Wikipedia article but nothing seems to fit:

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    Would Donuts do make you fat! count? Does it have to be the same sound, or can it just be repetition of the same letters? – FumbleFingers Jun 24 '15 at 16:11
  • @FumbleFingers: It seems like a similar wordplay. I'm not sure if there is a term that covers both examples?! Do you know any term for your example? – 0.. Jun 24 '15 at 16:14
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    Maybe an orthographic pun: arnoldzwicky.org/2014/01/27/orthographic-pun – user66974 Jun 24 '15 at 16:46
  • @Josh61: Getting close! But it is a double meaning of one word. (IV can be a Roman numeral or an abbreviation) – 0.. Jun 24 '15 at 16:55
  • That is just an example I've found on the net, but it has to do with orthography so orthographic pun, wordplay etc. are a close definition IMO. – user66974 Jun 24 '15 at 16:59

I think you are looking for something like "rebus". It was a type of visual pun. It used to strictly be with icons but it can be done through text.


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I've found the term typographic pun. It is mentioned as a kind of connotative typograhic treatment in the book Street-Smart Advertising: How to Win the Battle of the Buzz (by Margo Berman). The book says that when connotative type works as part of the concept (main message), it contributes to the overall idea of the promotional material. It is the combining of the verbal and visual message into one total expression.

Here is the relevant excerpt from the book:

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This might be known as a double entendre, where a phrase is open to two interpretations. The secondary meaning is often of indecent or sexualized meaning, but it does not always have to be.

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    No. A double entendre does not rely on selectively extracting bits of orthographic words. – Edwin Ashworth Jun 24 '15 at 16:25

Is it a wordplay? Or more a graphic thing? Instead of "Can cancer be beaten? or "Cancer can be beaten" we only have "Cancer be beaten" with the syllable can in different colour to make us read this syllable as an extra word. I don't know whether there are special terms for such graphic gags, there are too many possibilities for such graphic gags.

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