- the humorous use of a word or phrase so as to emphasize or suggest its different meanings or applications, or the use of words that are alike or nearly alike in sound but different in meaning; a play on words.
- the word or phrase used in this way.
- to make puns.
Origin of pun
Examples from the Web for punning
The following may be given as an example of a punning epitaph.
Examples of punning etymologies on names of gods are frequent.The Religion of Babylonia and Assyria
The Latin epitaph is a string of punning allusions to his name.Bell's Cathedrals: Southwark Cathedral
The ‘only Shake-scene’ is a punning denunciation of Shakespeare.A Life of William Shakespeare
Young ladies, especially, should beware of establishing any reputation for punning.Social Life
Maud C. Cooke
- the use of words or phrases to exploit ambiguities and innuendoes in their meaning, usually for humorous effect; a play on words. An example is: "Ben Battle was a soldier bold, And used to war's alarms: But a cannonball took off his legs, So he laid down his arms." (Thomas Hood)
- (intr) to make puns
- (tr) British to pack (earth, rubble, etc) by pounding
Word Origin and History for punning
1660s (first attested in Dryden), of uncertain origin, perhaps from pundigron, which is perhaps a humorous alteration of Italian puntiglio "equivocation, trivial objection," diminutive of Latin punctum "point." This is pure speculation. The verb also is attested from 1660s. Related: Punned; punning.
Pun was prob. one of the clipped words, such as cit, mob, nob, snob, which came into fashionable slang at or after the Restoration. [OED]
“And how many hours a day did you do lessons?” said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.
“Ten hours the first day,” said the Mock Turtle, “nine the next, and so on.”
“What a curious plan!” exclaimed Alice.
“That's the reason they're called lessons,” the Gryphon remarked: “because they lessen from day to day.”