Some of
My Favorite Puns
 last update:  October 19, 2003

Some puns stand alone, by themselves:

Some puns require a small introduction:

Some puns are properly told only with an elaborate story:
  Some puns are not immediately obvious and require a bit of thought:
Here are some other daffy definitions:
            Alarms:  What an octopus is.
            Alimony:  The bounty of mutiny.
            Archeologist:  A man whose career lies in ruins.
            Chaste Manhattan:   Bank for virgins.
            Cobra: .. A bra for siamese twins.
            Diplomacy:  Lying in state.
            Diplomat:  One who is disarming, even if his country isn't.
            DAM:  Mothers Against Dyslexia.
            Dockyard: A physician's lawn.
            Egotist:  One who is me-deep in conversation.
            Fjord:  a Norwegian car.
            Flattery:  Phony express.
            Incongruous:  Where bills are passed.
            Hangover:  The wrath of grapes.
            Income Tax:  Capital punishment.
            Kleptomaniac:  One who can't help himself from helping himself.
            Middle Age:  When actions creak louder than words.
            Olympic Officials:  The souls that time men's tries.
            Pasteurize:  Too far to see.
            Pole Vault:  a Polish bank.
            Propaganda:  A gentlemanly goose.
            Psychologist:  A person that pulls habits out of rats.
Signs of the Times:

             In a brassiere shop window:  "We're the real decoy."
             At a brothel:  "It's a business doing pleasure with you!"
             In a butcher shop window:  "Never a bum steer."
             On a diaper service truck:  "Rock a dry baby."
             On a divorce lawyer's wall:  "Satisfaction guaranteed or your honey back."
             On a junkyard fence:  "Edifice wrecks."
             Over the psychiatrist's couch:  "I shrink, therefore I am."
             At Spooner's Tailor Shoppe:  "It's our measure to pleat you!"
             At the tire store:  "We skid you not!"

What is a Pun?

    In Italian, 'puntiglio' means "a fine point," hence a verbal quibble, and is most likely the source of the English "punctilious."  There developed in late 17th- and early 18th-century England a short-lived, fanciful word "pundigrion," which indeed was a term for what we now know as a pun.  Since snappy monosyllables produced by breaking off pieces of longer words were all the rage back then, it is widely thought that  this is how and where the word "pun" was created.

    A pun is defined by Webster as "the humorous use of a word, or of words which are formed or sounded alike but have different meanings, in such a way as to play on two or more of the possible applications; a play on words."   In describing the various forms of verbal humor, The New Encyclopaedia Britannica refers to a pun as "two disparate strings of thought tied together by an acoustic knot."  That analogy strikes a very pleasant cord!

    Are puns dangerous?  There are only 15 recorded deaths attributed to punning, and  the majority of those were individuals that unfortunately  responded to an ad in Variety seeking "headliners" for the court of King Henry VIII.  However, so many a pun has resulted in tears, that it has been  said that this is how the two lachrymal ducts, located at the  nasal end of the upper and lower lid margins of each eye, came to be known as 'puncta lacrimalia,' very loosely translated from the Latin for "tearfully criminal puns."

    Puns don't kill people, people kill puns.

    Are there different types of puns?   Funny you should ask.

    Homographic:  use of multiple meanings from a single spelling (e.g., "pen" for writing instrument or animal  enclosure).  Also referred to as antanaclasis.

    Homophonic:   use of like sounds but with different spellings and meanings.  Also referred to as polyptoton.    Examples of homophones from A to Z:

    ad ... add              nap ... knap
    buy ... by              oar ... or
    caries ... carrys     primer ... primmer
    damn ... dam         queue ... cue
    eerie ... Erie          rain ... rein ... reign
    for ... four             scent ... sent
    gait ... gate            taro ... tarot
    hear ... hear          urn ... earn
    idle ... idol             vain ... vane
    jeans ... genes       waive ... wave
    knot ... not            xero ... zero
    ledger ... leger       yore ... your
    main ... mane ... Maine   zounds ... sounds