Tag Archives: word play

Pun (Paronomasia!) RFP: your contributions?

Pun: n. a form of word play that deliberately exploits ambiguity between similar-sounding words for humorous or rhetorical effect. Also known (by an erudite few) as paronomasia. By definition, puns must be deliberate; an involuntary substitution of similar words is called a malapropism, after the verbally challenged Mrs. Malaprop in Sheridan’s 1798 comedy “The Rivals”.

Paronomasia: n. a play on words. (From Greek,  para beside + onoma name  – to call with a slight change of name).

The pun is often disparagingly referred to as “the lowest form of wit” – which my dad loved twisting into “a bun is the lowest form of wheat.”

Knock-knock jokes are almost always based on puns:


Who’s there?


Alaska who?

Alaska no questions, you tell me no lies.

The customary response to a pun is a groan, hence they’re often called “groaners.”

So here’s my groaner. Last week I had waited days for FedEx to bring me a 1 gig memory chip so my laptop would have enough oomph to do a presentation. When it finally arrived, hours before my deadline, I called my daughter triumphantly, “My chip has come in!”

I know you can do better..