Pun Examples – Definition & Types

You may have heard people making use of puns in their statements. Admit that you cannot help but groan at it. And you would even groan some more when they would also add “pun intended”. Aside from having been utilized well in jokes, puns are actually so much more than that. In fact, you can find a lot of puns used in William Shakespeare’s famous plays.

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12 puns min lim1

Get it? Taco means talk about.

The tendency when you would be the one who will be making jokes that are loaded with puns is that it would lose its effect and people would ask you to explain what you actually meant. Would you also agree that explaining jokes loses the initial effect of the joke? Maybe it’s best to tell jokes and puns to intellectual people who can immediately get what you mean. But unfortunately, not everyone can really get the fun of puns.

What is a Pun?

A pun is a kind of wordplay that takes advantage of words having the same sound but having more than one meaning at the same time.

One way of identifying a pun is to listen closely. Another way is not to take the words literally.

Types of Puns

There are three types of puns, namely homographic puns, homophonic puns, and homonymic puns.

1. Homographic puns

This type of pun plays with words that have identical spellings but have different meanings and different pronunciations.

For example:

“You can tune a guitar, but you can’t tuna fish. Unless of course, you play bass.” – Douglas Adam

The bass here could mean both the instrument, which is pronounced as beyss, and the kind of fish, which is pronounced as bass.

2. Homophonic Puns

Homophonic puns is a type of pun that plays with words or phrases that have different spelling but have similar pronunciation.

For example:

“You can tune a guitar, but you can’t tuna fish. Unless of course, you play bass.” – Douglas Adam

The tuna here is the pun because it sounds identical with “tune a”.

Keep in mind that these type of pun does not always have to involve words that sound identical; as long as it sounds merely similar, it can already pass as a homphonic pun.

3. Homonymic Puns

These type of pun involves homonyms. Homonyms are words that have similar spelling but have different meanings and origins words.

For example:

“Two silk worms had a race. It ended in a tie.”

The tie can refer to a result in races wherein two competitors finish at the same time. And tie could also mean the neck wear which is made of silk.

Examples of Puns

Here are some examples of common puns.

1. You insisted on being right so I just decided to go left. (Get it? Right and left could also mean directions)

2. Would you agree that geometry is so pointless? (Get it? In geometry, points are important)

3. My younger sister finds it hard to beat scrambled eggs. (Get it? To make scrambled eggs, you have to beat it)

Here are some examples of puns in a question and answer format.

1.  Why didn’t the cannibal eat the clown? He was worried he’d taste funny.

2. What do you call a cinnamon bun that does well in school? An honor roll.

3. Don’t spell part backward. It’s a trap.

4. Why couldn’t the bike stand up by itself? It was two tired.

5. What’s the worst part about space travel? You have to planet.

6. I’m not scared of insects… But they really bug me.

7. What do sea monsters eat? Fish and ships!

8. I’m pretty sure these stairs are up to something. But I’m going to take steps to prevent it.

9. I used to be afraid of pole vaulting… but I got over it.

10. The librarian got crushed under an avalanche of books… but he only has his shelf to blame.

11. Why did the clown hold the door open for everyone? He made a nice jester.

12. The kleptomaniac didn’t understand any of the puns. He took everything literally.

13. What do you call a dinosaur who knows all the words? A thesaurus.

Examples of Puns in Literature

Shakespeare Puns

There are a lot of puns in William’s Shakespeare. Here are some examples:

Hamlet

Claudius: How is it that the clouds still hang on you?

Hamlet: Not so, my lord. I am too much i’ the sun.

(The sun here is an example of homophonic pun. Its pun is sun and son.)

Two Gentlemen of Verona:

Panthino: Away, ass! You’ll lose the tide if you tarry any longer.

Launce: It is no matter if the tied were lost; for it is the unkindest tied that ever any man tied.

Panthino: What’s the unkindest tide?

Launce: Why, he that’s tied here, Crab, my dog.

(The Bard plays with the words tied and tide.)

Richard III

“Now is the winter of our discontent

Made glorious summer by this sun of York.”

(The sun he refers to the blazing sun on Edward IV’s banner and also the fact that he is the son of the Duke of York.)

Romeo and Juliet,

  • “Give me a torch: I am not for this ambling; Being but heavy I will bear the light.”
    (The Bard plays on the opposing meanings of heavy and light)
  • Mercutio“ask for me tomorrow, you shall find me a grave man.”
    This is a kind of a morbid pun where grave means serious and it also means Mercutio’s death.
  • “From forth the fatal loins of these two foes,
    A pair of star-crossed lovers takes their life.”
    (The word ‘loins’ would originally have been pronounced the same as ‘lines’ and this would refer to the fatal bloodlines of Romeo and Juliet (Montague and Capulet))
  • Mercutio: “Nay, gentle Romeo, we must have you dance.”
    Romeo: “Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes
    With nimble soles; I have a soul of lead
    So stakes me to the ground I cannot move.”
    (Soul of lead signifeis that Romeo is doubtful to attend the party because he is still nursing his broken heart.)

As You Like It, Act 3, Scene 3

Touchstone: “I am here with thee and they goats, as the most capricious poet, honest Ovid, was among the Goths.”

(The Bard plays with the words goats and Goths since these two would have sounded the same.)

A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act 5, Scene 1

Demetrius: “No die, but an ace for him.”

The word ace sounds like ass (as in donkey) during the time of Shakespeare.

Sonnet 116

“If this be error and upon me proved,

I never writ, nor no man ever loved.”

(The word proved here is pronounced to rhyme with ‘loved’)

Troilus and Cressida, Act 1, Scene 2:

Thersites: “But yet you look not well upon him; for, whomsoever you take him to be, he is Ajax.

The name Ajax is already a pun since, at the time of Shakespeare, Ajax was pronounced as a jakes which is a word that meant sh**house.

Why Do Writers Use Puns?

There are a lot of reasons why writers would use puns in their writing and here are some of them:

1. To make jokes or create humor

There are a lot of tendencies wherein a written composition could get too serious and what’s a perfect icebreaker? Of course, a joke sprinkled with puns all over it. This makes written composition surprising and delightful as well.

2. To create double entendres

The double meanings, or also called as double entendres, are mostly clear but it really does not have to. Sometimes, the subtle is the way to effectively communicate a hidden meaning. Most of the time, words that have double entendres usually mean something that is illicit, sexual, or even political.

3. To make you groan

What’s the best way to make people (who cannot easily get a joke or a pun) groan? Say a pun.

Here are some honorable mentions of other reasons why writers, and even ordinary people, would use puns in their daily conversations:

  • Pun adds comical effect that would attract readers.
  • Puns encourage the readers to think with a deeper context.
  • Puns, although baffling to some, actually adds clarity to the text.

We hope you found our article on pun examples to be informative. The next time you say a pun, refer to this article.

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