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Here We Go a Punning

Updated on January 28, 2019
lambservant profile image

Lori loves a good punchline. She loves to spread humor to make people laugh and not take life too seriously.

Defining "Pun"

As a writer I love words. I love to expand my vocabulary, and if I was down to my last five bucks and had a choice of buying a used paperback novel or a thesaurus, I'd choose the thesaurus. I have a great interest in and have written a lot on idioms and their origins, which is quite fascinating. So when I discovered punning, I caught the fever and sometimes I get carried away. Puns are fun because they're a play on words.

"No pun intended," is an oft used parenthetical insert when we've said something that included a pun. It's easy now and again to make an unintended pun. Why just the other day I was writing on the topic of hell and began with the line "Hell is a hot topic." When I realized I'd just made a pun, I added the "no pun intended." It was a serious discussion and I hadn't meant to be cute, but it happened and it was funny. Before we go any further, we need some definitions:

Pun - is a riddle or joke exploiting the different possible meanings of a word or the fact that there are words that sound alike but have different meanings.

Punning - making puns

Punster - one who loves to make puns and is particularly gifted at it.

Punnery - The practice or art of punning.

Making puns is a fun and exciting pastime. It's a fun-tastic way to communicate with people who confuse the heck out of you already.

Double Entendres

This is a phrase or sentence that can have a double meaning or be understood in two ways. Usually, double entendres are sexual innuendos, which I do not use in my life, so I am not giving those kinds of examples. Shakespeare used double entendre a lot in his writings. That being said, it does not have to have a sexual connotation.

The most well known non-sexual double entendre comes from the movie Silence of the Lamb, where the main character, Hannibal Lecter, says: I do wish we could chat longer, but...I'm having an old friend for dinner. This is an example of a double meaning. Hannibal, of course, is the cannibal serial killer. So the double meaning is Hannibal could be having a friend over to dine with, or he could have the friend over to be the dinner.

Here are a few less glorious ones: The violinist sat next to the pianist in class, who was writing. "What are you doing?" asked violinist. The pianist replied, "I'm making notes."

I do wish we could chat longer, but...I'm having an old friend for dinner."

— Hannibal Lecter, Silence of the Lamb

Homographic Puns

Homographic means two or more words spelled the same but not necessarily the same meaning or pronunciation.

Examples:

The salmon played the scales on his trumpet.

The race car driver made a pass at the waitress.

The optometrist made a spectacle of himself.

The buck said to the doe, "I'm game if you are."

Rose dropped her child off at the nursery.

The premarital counselor told the pilot, "Don't marry your flight attendant, she's carrying too much baggage."

The watchmaker told his customer, "I didn't have time to finish the repair. I hope you aren't too ticked off."

Homophonic Puns

These puns involve words that sound similar but with different spellings and meanings.

Examples:

The DNA scientist wore genes to work today.

The author had the write of way.

The fish hit the ball and made it to first bass.

The jeweler got hungry and ate a carat.

Visual Puns

Puns can be made visually as well. The example below is a man whose job is to use an apparatus that depresses soda cans. The caption plays on the image and words that describe the image - "This is my job, it's sodapressing."

Visual puns

Having Pun With Random Puns

  • Mars told Jupiter, "I want to throw you a party, but I don't have time to planet."
  • I'd rather stay in a hotel. Camping is too intents.
  • Granny Smith told Macintosh, "You're the apple of my eye."
  • On an outing, the princess went on a fairy ride.
  • The shopper had to see a psychiatrist for being a basket case.
  • The dog was arrested for barking up the wrong tree.
  • The cabernet promised the champagne she'd quit wining.
  • The minister saw his wife and pastor the Bible.
  • The hornet told the wasp not to bee so stingy.
  • The best way to communicate with a fish is to drop them a line.
  • The flock of doves decided to stage a coo.
  • When chemists die they barium.
  • Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.
  • I'm reading about anti-gravity but I can't put it down.

My friend Joe - kKng of Punners

I have a friend who loves to pun on facebook. He'll make a statement and follow it with # pun alert, then write the pun relating to his post. He's really good at it, although every now and then it goes sour and he makes a lemon (pun intended). Here are just a few:

  • I've been mugged! Called the cups and they placed the coffee under a wrist.
  • If I tackle the YMCA's vending machine will I get my quarter back?
  • A priest asks team setting up candlelight service if they've Litany?
  • Hard to clean up after editing a video because it leaves a film on everything.
  • Having fish today, or did salmon else already mention that? Hope I don't get arrested for being a poacher!
  • I am toying with the idea of helping Santa load his sleigh.
  • My chest infection got much worse last nite so I am stocking up on soups...Rather than stewing over my symptoms, I headed for the souper market. I'm not letting this deep cough get the bisque of me.
  • I should be dancing since this is a Saturday Night Fever! Finding out you have a sore throat is hard to swallow!
  • I cannot find a couple of dog biscuits... Should I call the Lost In Hound Department?
  • If you jog holding a thermometer, is that called running a temperature?
  • Are we winter hikers called cold callers? I guess that makes the weather bureau a temp agency!
  • Never realized before how much money coffee beans enjoy spending - surely you've seen a coffee shop.

Some of the lemons

  • Most holiday recipes call for at least a cup of flower. And long days of baking require stamen-a. But like a banker, I better leaf well enough a loan.
  • Posting a photo of Mount Rainier he punned- I have a lava these photos. Sorry for the brief eruption in your busy day, but I just had to bare my sulfur you!
  • Hopefully, some cool produce will turnip. Always speak politely to a butcher.. they have deli cut dispositions. Never pray with grocers, because they are sack religious. And as for florists, I can be myself because they love a blooming idiot!
  • While working out at the YMCA, at first I thought a grasshopper had landed on my knee, but now I think it was at the gym a knee cricket. #punochio!

© 2014 Lori Colbo

Comments

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    • PaigSr profile image

      PaigSr 

      4 years ago from State of Confusion

      I have always enjoyed puns. However the guys that I was doing the prison ministry with not so much. I was once told one more pun and you walk home. One one had that is an hour drive. On the other you could also take it as a complement with the groans involved.

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      4 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Audrey, I love punning because puns are corny. Sometimes corny is hilarious. I hope your husband enjoys this hub too. Blessings.

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 

      4 years ago from California

      OH this made me laugh and groan! My husband is a punster--and particularly good at it--I will pass this around and to him so he can guffaw!

    • profile image

      Lambservant 

      5 years ago

      Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. Happy punning.

    • bluebird profile image

      bluebird 

      5 years ago

      Great hub, great subject, everyone loves puns, don't they? My husband is a pun freak, he was driving me crazy so he's toned it down some. But he's very good at it nonetheless! I like this hub and thanks for sharing so many, I liked the one about the flock of doves who staged a coo. A good one for sure. They're all good.

      I am certainly going to come back and finish reading this, it is very lengthy and I'm amazed you have so many! (And I'm gonna see if any of these are new to my hubby!)

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Ah, thanks Bill. Someday's we wake up down. I have discovered the gift of laughter and it's effects are astounding. Sometimes when I get really depressed, I find something to laugh at, whether a funny article, watching a comedian on Youtube (the clean kind), reading a humorous book, or hanging out with a goofy friend. Prayer going up for you my friend.

    • lifegate profile image

      William Kovacic 

      5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

      Well, another one of those hubs I never got notification of. Must have been planned that way because I needed to laugh this morning. Thanks for brightening my day. You always have a way of doing that!

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 years ago from SW England

      Yes, it's a common one here, the dinner thing!

      I think only those who are 'into' language understand 'received', either here or across the pond. Most of my friends haven't a clue what it means!

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Annart, you may have read this somewhere else.

      I wonder of anybody across the Pond understands what "Received" means in relation to speaking the English language.

      I speak a combination of Received, E.A and British India, so my puns are couched in quite a comfy blanket.

      My version of your pun is, "We had Great Aunt Maud for Christmas Dinner last year".

      "Really? That's rather adventurous. We usually have turkey".

      (I've just looked back, and I can almost say, "No pun intended", but Advent finishes on Christmas Day, doesn't it?)

      If you are confused, may I draw you attention to "adventurous" and "Advent".

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      5 years ago from SW England

      I love plays on words too. It's fun to make them up and so many exist in English literature. Churchill and Oscar Wilde were past masters. Many depend on one's accent or slightly differing meanings of words - US or English, 'received' or local dialect but they all work one way or another.

      If we say, 'We had friends for dinner last night', often some bright spark will say, 'Did they taste good?'. Oh dear! Interesting hub.

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Very funny. Thanks for getting back. Maybe I'll write a hub on it.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      Don't think I am as clever as this. I looked it up on Wikipaedia - to save time:

      A malapropism (also called a Dogberryism) is the use of an incorrect word in place of a word with a similar sound, resulting in a nonsensical, often humorous utterance. An example is Yogi Berra's statement: "Texas has a lot of electrical votes, rather than "electoral votes".

      The word malapropism comes ultimately from the French mal à propos meaning "inappropriate" via "Mrs. Malaprop", a character in the Richard Brinsley Sheridan comedy ‘The Rivals’ (1775) who habitually misused her words. Dogberryism comes from "Officer Dogberry", the name of a character in the William Shakespeare play ‘Much Ado About Nothing’. These are the two best-known fictional characters who made this kind of error—there are many other examples. Malapropisms also occur as errors in natural speech. Malapropisms are often the subject of media attention, especially when made by politicians or other prominent individuals.

      Bertie Ahern, Taoiseach of Ireland, warned his country against "upsetting the apple tart" (i.e., applecart) of his country's economic success.

      Former Chicago Mayor Richard J. Daley referred to a tandem bicycle as a "tantrum bicycle" and made mention of "Alcoholics Unanimous" (Alcoholics Anonymous).

      In August 2013, Australian politician Tony Abbott addressed an audience of Liberal Party members, stating "No one, however smart, however well educated, however experienced is the suppository of all wisdom".

      Some good examples:

      He had to use a fire distinguisher.

      Dad says the monster is just a pigment of my imagination.

      Isn't that an expensive pendulum round that man's neck?

      Good punctuation means not to be late.

      He's a wolf in cheap clothing.

      Michelangelo painted the Sixteenth Chapel.

      My sister has extra-century perception.

      I have a friend whom I have affectionately called the Modern Mrs Malaprop, but unfortunately, her "slips" tend to be outrageously funny, but usually too bawdy for your gentle ears.

      Cheers

      Ian

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Twilight, what is a Malapropism? There's a new word to go on my mystery word list. You are right that the impact of homophones are best when heard rather than written. I think that is the case with most word plays. Thanks for stopping by.

    • Twilight Lawns profile image

      Twilight Lawns 

      5 years ago from Norbury-sur-Mer, Surrey, England. U.K.

      I think that the most effective puns are those based on homophones, but then, to give them impact, it is best if they are spoken, rather than written, so we are brought to the humour by that feeling of, "Did she mean to say that? Was that an intelligent use of words, to pun, or simple a Malapropism?"

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Hady, I am glad you stopped by and thanks for your comments. Ms. Dora, glad I could give you a chuckle.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      I always enjoy a good pun. Thank for the explanations and the illustrations, some of which are hilarious. Very thorough. Voted Up!

    • Hady Chahine profile image

      Hady Chahine 

      5 years ago from Manhattan Beach

      This was an enjoyable hub to read! Although personally I am not gifted at making puns I do, however, have a couple of punster friends who are quite gifted, especially after a couple of beers or glasses of wine. I will make sure to share your hub with them. ; )

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Thanks for stopping by for a laugh Faith.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 

      5 years ago from southern USA

      hahaha Just when I thought I arrived at the end of the hub, more puns ... so much fun! I always have loved a play on words and so I really enjoyed reading your pun hub. It is always fun to make a pun when you did not mean to, then it is even better.

      Thank you for the smiles and laughs.

      Up and more and sharing.

      Blessings,

      Faith Reaper

    • lambservant profile imageAUTHOR

      Lori Colbo 

      5 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Thank you Patty. I love a good word smith, and I love the different uses of language.

    • Patty Inglish, MS profile image

      Patty Inglish MS 

      5 years ago from USA and Asgardia, the First Space Nation

      Wonderful! And you made me smile all the way through this Hub. Rated Up all across. Shared it too.

      It is intriguing what we can do with language.

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