Suppose I am writing to an audience of mathematics teachers, and I want very much to tell them that "I initially had an irrational fear of" a certain subject in mathematics.
But in that subject, the word "irrational" is a technical term in math that all mathematics teachers are familiar with. So if I just used it in that context, it is likely that many will interpret it as an attempt at paronomasia — in other words, punning.
I cannot think of any other word that is even as accurate as, or more accurate than, the word "irrational" used for what I am trying to say, so I am loath to give that up.
This is my main issue:
I would like to convey the idea of "no pun intended" — or in other words: "I am not trying to be funny" — in the most graceful and brief way, preferably without having to spell out the whole phrase "no pun intended" or use the abbreviation "n.p.i." that I have seen (but which some may find obscure).
I expect to need to use this just once in my essay. But it is a central point that I need to make.