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Questions tagged [puns]

Pun is a play on words or paronomasia.

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What is Plautus’s pun about frustum and frustrum? [migrated]

The word frustum is often mispronounced as frustrum. Wikipedia states that this mispronunciation goes back a long time and a pun about them is included in the works of Plautus. Can anyone direct me ...
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1answer
51 views

Is there an existent terminology for ironically replacing a word in a phrase with something related that does not sound similar to the original word?

This is mirrored to the question: "Jokes where you replace a word with something unrelated but similar sounding" (Jokes where you replace a word with something unrelated but similar sounding). ...
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1answer
66 views

Can the word “backhanded” be easily misunderstood by a young kid?

In a recent question at Spanish Language it has been asked about the translation of "backhanded" into Spanish as "treacherous". I answered that that is an adaptation more than a translation because of ...
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1answer
61 views

What is the term for finding words within words for comedic effect?

I am trying to find a word that describes finding a word within another word for comedic effect i.e. functioning as a pun or word play. The example that sparked this question was when I came across a ...
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3answers
159 views

Spoonerisms in the English language

As a native French speaker, I am a big enthusiast of spoonerisms. I used to write a few texts full of them, mainly for my own pleasure! But I have to be honest...the underlying meaning was bawdy most ...
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1answer
82 views

Is a sentence with two literal meanings a metaphor?

Yesterday, the Twitter user @TomLarkinSky tweeted: Metaphor alert: there’s currently no power in the room at No 10 where the PM is going to make her speech. Might delay things a bit. Is this a ...
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1answer
436 views

What do you call a pun that isn't a pun?

I've just learned of the event within the (UK) Labour Party known as the 'Chicken Coup' and it made me wonder: is it still a pun if it's a play on writing, and not the spoken word? According to the ...
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1answer
56 views

sarcastic responses as used in comedy or joking around [closed]

when a supervisor gives unsolicited advice on how to do something as a reminder and you have been doing this job just that way for the last twenty years and you want to say ...really for real you are ...
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3answers
379 views

What's the meaning of “They’ll be all the sense you got”?

On page 13 of Educated by Tara Westover, it says When Dad read the verse to his mother, she laughed in his face. “I got some pennies in my purse,” she said. “You better take them. They’ll be all ...
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81 views

Explain this Pun “A Slice of New York”

How would you describe "A Slice of New York" as a pun?
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1answer
153 views

Is “on porpoise” a pun?

Is the phrase “Did you do that on porpoise?” a pun? It doesn’t exploit multiple meanings of the same word but instead uses a different word that sounds similar
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2answers
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Is there a hidden meaning to the name “Coraline Cake” from the suffragette cook book?

According to NPR, the suffragette movement included politically subversive recipe books. Chicago obstetrician and gynecologist Alice Bunker Stockham, the fifth woman to become a licensed doctor in ...
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A Pun or Not a Pun [closed]

If you say, "hello dear" to a person dressed as a deer is it a pun? I think it is a pun, but my friend argues that it is not.
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Can the unexpected validity of the literal meaning of a phrase on top of the usual figurative sense be considered a pun?

This is from the transcript of an episode titled Leela and the Genestalk (WARNING: very badly formatted wiki page) of the popular cartoon series Futurama. (Background: a character named Mom has ...
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1answer
348 views

Ovine Wordplay: On the 'lam' vs. On the 'lamb'

Pardon me for feeling a bit sheepish; this is my first time posting a question here. I am known - and revered, as far as I can tell - as something of a pun wizard at my workplace. Today, on our ...
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2answers
2k views

What is the meaning of the phrasal verb 'move about'?

In the Xenophobe's guide to the English, page 54, under the heading Sense of Humour, the authors, Antony Miall and David Milsted, state that: English humour is as much about recognition as it is ...
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2answers
1k views

Is there a word for the use of words which, phonetically, create another word?

In the board game "Scotland Yard" one player attempts to thwart capture by the others through misleading them as to his true whereabouts. In the rules, this player is referred to as "Mr. X". Saying ...
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1answer
389 views

Term For A Portmanteau of Phrases [duplicate]

Does "portmanteau" only refer to single words like spork or turducken? If so what would be the term for multiple phrases combined together on a common word or words? For example: If I wanted to ...
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1answer
528 views

Does this pun make sense to native speakers? [closed]

If one were to play the pipes without an audience, would that constitute an "exercise in flutility"? Not sure if that pun works on native speakers…
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2answers
4k views

“Love Trumps hate”? [closed]

I noticed a slogan in the past presidential election: Love Trumps hate. At first I thought "Trumps"referred to people who supported Trump, and a "what" was omitted. Only "Love what Trumps hate" made ...
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3answers
15k views

What is so bad about puns?

Many times I've heard of 'pun intended' or 'pun not intended', which I see as a form of excuse in the English-spoken world. However, I can not wrap my head around why are you constantly excusing/...
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0answers
113 views

Identifying Literary Devices ~ Synecdoche or Pun?

"She would step out of the river, dry in the sun for five minutes and climb back into the car among the shocked eyeballs of her companions." Is the emphasized phrase an example of a synecdoche or a ...
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1answer
69 views

Does “X is made of people” intend a joking tone?

The essay How to Make Pittsburgh a Startup Hub reads: It said "people ages 25 to 29 now make up 7.6 percent of all residents, up from 7 percent about a decade ago." Wow, I thought, Pittsburgh could ...
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1answer
115 views

Wordplay that thwarts expectation by applying a description to a different object? [duplicate]

Example: 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 ...
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1answer
710 views

Is there a name for a phrase or proverb that multiple possible word-meanings but the same phrase-meaning?

I will start with my example to clarify the odd phrasing of my question. The die is cast. Since both 'die' and 'cast' have two meanings, the phrase can be read in two ways: The die [as in a game ...
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1answer
287 views

“Keeping up with the car dash icons” - What's the pun?

This tweet asserts that an article by this title contains a pun. However, myself and a few friends, all American, don't get the joke. We assume it's in the title: Keeping up with the car dash icons ...
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2answers
451 views

Is there a pun in the name “Crodfoller T. Rhubarb”?

In the 1992 adventure game The Dagger of Amon Ra, the protagonist Laura Bow has the following conversation with her colleague, Crodfoller T. Rhubarb: Laura: What can you tell me about ...
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2answers
913 views

Explain a pun please

I think it's the right place to ask. English is not my native, so while I'm able to understand a majority of puns I come acrossб this one puzzles me: Here's a link to the image.
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2answers
441 views

Word meaning “has many similar forms”

I'm looking for one word (or a variety of words) that imply ambiguity through synonymous meaning. "Do you have that in large?" "No sir, we only have it in big, great, impressive, grand, and ...
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3answers
6k views

How or why did “sock” come to mean “punch”?

I see that sock as an article of clothing is derived from Latin soccus for slipper. But, how did it also become a synonym for "a punch" or "to punch"?
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2answers
2k views

Would you consider “sound idea” (usable as) a pun?

Today I read this comment in the Csound mailing list see full post (emphasis mine): The interface could be polished, IMO, but the idea is sound [...] it took me (as a German native speaker) a ...
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2answers
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What does “cup and Chaucer” mean?

I've recently come across a phrase unknown to me: "cup and Chaucer". What does it mean? Obviously it is connected with the popularity and influence of Geoffrey Chaucer as the Father of English ...
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0answers
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What's it called when a compound word can be split up in diff ways to present alt meanings? [duplicate]

For instance, is the pet store PETSMART meant to be Pets Mart, or Pet Smart? That's not actually my question, as I'm pretty sure it's Pet Smart. I'm just asking what it's called when a word either CAN ...
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1answer
2k views

Is there a technical name for a play on words, such as “FaceCrook”? [duplicate]

Is there a technical name for the play on words where someone would substitute a word for a similar one (or add a common word to the end of one) in order to express their opinion about the subject in ...
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8answers
6k views

What's the pun in this “Julius Caesar” reference?

In a Blacklist episode, the following conversation takes place, the first and last speaker is the sophisticated Raymond Reddington: -'Ambition's debt must be paid'. -Julius Caesar? -One ...
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2answers
336 views

Does a pun require an explicit reference to the word being punned?

If one is referencing a prior comment in a conversation that uses a term with multiple meanings, using the alternate meaning to make wordplay, would this be considered a pun? (Note: poor software ...
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1answer
375 views

Pun with “effervescent” and “fiddlesticks”

I read a pun in a children's joke book "Effervescent enough covers on your bed, your fiddlestick out." I know that "fiddlestick out" is "feet will stick out", but what is the "effervescent" punning on?...
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1answer
589 views

Is there a technical name for this kind of wordplay?

In his book Humorous English, Evan Esar writes, The blended compound is the fusion of two compounds, with the terminal word of one being the same or similar to the initial word of the other. By ...
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1answer
909 views

What makes 'St-n-c-tt-r' a 'smirking pun'?

This passage comes from Walter Isaacson's “Benjamin Franklin: An American Life.”: Franklin wrote about a husband who caught his wife in bed with a man named Stonecutter, tried to cut off the ...
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2answers
628 views

When Harry met Sally - idiomatic expression

In the 1989 movie "When Harry met Sally" the expression: When X met Y Has some other meaning other than the obvious one, or there's a hidden idiomatic expression or a pun?
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2answers
6k views

“That's bang out of order”: pun, anagram or play on words?

There is a one-liner by Tim Vine, a British stand-up comedian, that sees him pull out a card with the word... BNAG and exclaim: That's bang out of order! The joke is derived from the idiom out ...
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2answers
3k views

Is the second last “shipping” necessary?

From this question, This is a ship-shipping ship, shipping shipping ships. The second to last word shipping seems to be redundant. Is it necessary? Does the sentence still preserve the same ...
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2answers
170 views

The “preying” mantis female is said to devour its “mail” during copulation. Considering these mistakes unintentional, what would we call them?

Is there such thing as "a written malapropism" or "a slip of the pen"? Or are they just simple spelling mistakes? If they were unintentional, they couldn't be considered puns or a play with words, I ...
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1answer
520 views

What literary term best describes the following phrase relying on the dual meaning of a word for humorous effect?

"A sheep led astray rarely gets fleeced." The literal act of fleecing of a sheep alludes to the alternative meaning of fleeced - to get swindled, or stripped of money. It doesn't seem to be a pun, ...
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1answer
1k views

“Foot pound energy Irish appearing” pun?

In translating W. H. Hodgson's The Regeneration of Captain Bully Keller, I came across this sentence, which I suppose must be some kind of pun or joke, but I cannot understand at all. He knew [...]...
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3answers
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Word for “extinct”, “eradicated” that sounds like “reserved” [closed]

In the Czech language, there's a word play with copyright notice. We say "vyhrazena" for "reserved" (as of rights) and "vyhlazena" as for eradicated (eg. Indians). I used that pun on my mini site ...
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2answers
94k views

Two crows being an attempted murder

What is the point of this joke? — "What do you call two crows on a branch?" — "Attempted murder." I've googled it to check if it was a word play but the closest one I've hit was "marauder". ...
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1answer
554 views

Informal Vocabulary - 'Mank you'

I understand the character is being sarcastic but I don't understand why exactly he says 'mank you'. I looked up the word 'mank' and it doesn't make sense in the context so I suppose 'mank you' is ...
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3answers
814 views

What English homophone corresponds to 'oise salon'?

This is something of a fringe question. I hope it's considered on-topic. There have been two books published which purport to be French poetry. The joke is that when read aloud, the poetry sounds, ...
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3answers
802 views

Origin of “Arachnoleptic fit”

In various websites on the Internet, including http://www.joke-archives.com/dictionaries/dictionarywords.html, I've come across the phrase Arachnoleptic fit. Apparently all the words in that set (...