- 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 puns
Contemporary Examples of puns
Stephen Colbert dug up the clip and had a laugh, sprinkling on some fun with puns to seal the deal.Dumpster Politicians, Jeter Tributes, and More Viral Videos
September 21, 2014
Yet despite his pleas, and perhaps because of his puns, I want to give him a hand.Reporter Miles O’Brien Lost an Arm but None of His Admirable Spirit or Wit
March 2, 2014
The most retweeted messages are those with jests and puns and wordplay—and graffiti.Smiling Under a Cloud of Tear Gas: Elif Shafak on Istanbul’s Streets
June 11, 2013
It is an unabashed statement about corporate identity rather than product—akin to Kenneth Cole, but without the puns.Benetton’s Rebirth
September 23, 2012
You ditch worn out habits and routines— the same old group playing the same old games—for new toys and tricks, puns intended.The Stars Predict Your Week
Starsky + Cox
September 10, 2011
Historical Examples of puns
"Neither does our excellent preceptress approve of puns," said Clara.A Tangled Tale
The puns have a flavour of their medival home, the monasteries.The Civilisation of the Renaissance in Italy
Emma cried, and he tried to console her, adorning his protestations with puns.
Emma wept, and he tried to console her, adorning his protestations with puns.
He puns on the name Molon and molæ, "mill at which slaves worked."The Letters of Cicero, Volume 1
Marcus Tullius Cicero
- 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
Word Origin for pun
- (tr) British to pack (earth, rubble, etc) by pounding
Word Origin for pun
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.”