Origin of pun
OTHER WORDS FROM punpunless, adjective
Words nearby pun
MORE ABOUT PUN
What is a pun?
A pun is a humorous use of words with multiple meanings or words that sound similar but have different meanings, as in The gravekeeper buried the evidence under his desk.
There are two ways to make a pun. The first involves using a word with more than one meaning to create humorous wordplay, as in The dentist put his assistants through some drills. A drill is both a tool a dentist uses and a training exercise.
The second way is to use similar sounding words with different meanings to make humorous wordplay, as in The clown helped the children across the street. It was a kind jester. Here, jester, a type of clown, is used instead of the similar sounding gesture, meaning an action or a courtesy.
Why is pun important?
The first records of the term pun come from around 1655. It was possibly used as a variant of the word pound, meaning “to strike with great force.” The idea is that a person making a pun is intentionally mistreating words for comedy.
Not everyone finds puns particularly funny or clever. The terms dad joke and groaner are frequently used to refer to puns that are really obvious (corny) and not funny. Sometimes, the comedy is the fact that the pun itself is ridiculous or cringeworthy.
However, this occasional disapproval of puns hasn’t stopped them from being used in countless jokes and even the titles of movies and other works of popular culture, such as Shaun of the Dead (2004) and Shanghai Noon (2000).
Did you know … ?
In 2011, the Academy Award for Best Picture was given to a film with a clever pun for its title, The King’s Speech. The title refers to the fact that the film is both about King George VI overcoming his stutter (his speech) and the declaration he had to deliver over the radio during World War II (also his speech).
What are real-life examples of pun?
This video shows a collection of (bad) puns used by actor Arnold Schwarzenegger in the 1997 superhero film Batman and Robin.
Many people use puns to make jokes. Results may vary.
My humor is equivalent to Carlos from Magic School Bus. Blame my bad puns on his influence…
— Kirby Kelly (@kirbyisaboss) April 27, 2015
How many puns, is too many puns, for one 30 minute newscast? Asking for me.
— Mark Taylor (@MarkTaylor) September 27, 2019
Is the following sentence an example of a pun?
The farmer tried to guard his chickens from predators but he was constantly outfoxed.
How to use pun in a sentence
Lyrics from songs like “I’m a Slave 4 U,” “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman,” and “Stronger” were used as puns in headlines.Why Did It Take So Long to Believe Britney Spears?|Kevin Fallon|June 25, 2021|The Daily Beast
Sorry for this inevitable pun, but there seems to be a sea-change in conservation underway.How Surprising Connections Can Save the Ocean - Issue 99: Universality|Mary Ellen Hannibal|April 29, 2021|Nautilus
The phone booth and bookshelves and pantry are all shaped like honeycombs, and the walls are full of puns like Bee Kind.How Whitney Wolfe Herd Turned a Vision of a Better Internet Into a Billion-Dollar Brand|Charlotte Alter/Austin|March 19, 2021|Time
Report from Week 540, in which we asked for news or historical events to be presented in the “Rocky and Bullwinkle” “A, or B” format of groaner puns or other halfwitticisms.
This presents a risk to spectacular puns accompanied by unspectacular ones, so do your best.
“There aren't any steaks involved, pardon the pun,” says Chin.Adventure Photographer Jimmy Chin: Defying the Rational, Physically and Creatively|Oliver Jones|October 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
A paper published this week illuminated (pun intended) the relationship between light and matter.
Here's to hoping it's not illegal to make a terrible sex-related pun.Our Dumb Puritan Laws: Sex Bans and Illegal Adultery|Kevin Bleyer|April 20, 2014|DAILY BEAST
Note the bawdy pun in the first example, by which the speaker implies that she came last night.Beauty and Subversion in the Secret Poems of Afghan Women|Daniel Bosch|April 6, 2014|DAILY BEAST
But at least they "forge" (pun intended) the pieces by him that matter.
He pounded out the pun ordinary by the dozen for the comic weeklies at fifty cents an item.The Woman Gives|Owen Johnson
Win' ruffle up he ha'r, yit he aint move; sun shine down 'pun 'im, yit he aint move.Nights With Uncle Remus|Joel Chandler Harris
I explained that he probably intended a pun upon his name, which was Coleman.
"They ought to keep you there for an hour longer for that vile pun," said Cumberland.
I confess that I don't see why a good pun should be thrown aside after it has served as the soul of a single sentence.
British Dictionary definitions for pun (1 of 2)
Word Origin for pun
British Dictionary definitions for pun (2 of 2)
Derived forms of punpunner, noun
Word Origin for pun
Cultural definitions for pun
“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.”