A news show puts an image of donald trump holding up a fish on the screen. The announcer says: "Here's a photo of a slimy, scaly, reptile -- and he's holding a fish, too."

I'm not sure if you'd classify this as a specific genre of joke, or wordplay, or pun. But I'm curious if there's a term specifically for it?

  • It's definitely a play on words, since word play describes any form of wit in which attention is directed to or humor is drawn from the words themselves and less so from their actual meaning, but I'm not sure that this specific form has a name. I'll at least say that it's not a pun, as puns involve words being used to draw meaning from similar sounding words or ironic contexts of the same word.
    – R Mac
    Aug 31, 2016 at 20:03
  • 2
    It's misdirection, but that term has a far broader scope than word play. Aug 31, 2016 at 20:07
  • besides taxonomically challenged?
    – Phil Sweet
    Sep 1, 2016 at 1:51
  • @EdwinAshworth yeah, i think the essence of the question is: "Is there a special term for word misdirection?" And specifically, for comedic effect.
    – Jonah
    Sep 1, 2016 at 2:14

1 Answer 1


This is an example of a:

Paraprosdokian: (Noun) Figure of speech in which the latter part of a sentence or phrase is surprising or unexpected; frequently used in a humorous situation.


Unfortunately it isn't quite a specific as you are probably looking for since it isn't specifically a description applied to an unexpected target, but it does at the very least encompass the phenomenon you are referring to.

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