A pun is, quite simply, a play on words. There are many types, but in general, they all utilize one word that is relevant to the subject matter at hand, but is impractical in context. If formed correctly, a pun can be humorous, and can sometimes derail any given conversation in itself.
Puns are common comedic tools in literature, conversation, blogging, and all other sorts of digital and interpersonal communication. However, they are surprisingly complicated, and the concept of what comprises a pun can be confusing. Simple puns, such as humorous rhymes (i.e., *guy sees a woman get decapitated in a movie* "Geez, she didn't need to lose her head over that."), are not unfamiliar to the average speaker, and most of us have used them since our earliest years. Complex puns, such as the use of words in actual sentence structure (for example, *daughter gets her father an Icee slushie* "Icee what you did there!") require some degree of verbal and dictional proficiency.
1. It should be clearly relevant to the topic of discussion at hand, while being unnecessary (i.e, it certainly would not be the first thing you would use).
2. It should be fairly easy to recognize; puns often use elements of cliche and popular phrasing.
3. It should be timely. The goal is to be clever, not predictable.
A good way to understand how puns work is to ponder the place of irony in humorous context.
Brock (Pokemon): "It's raining! I guess I'll use my frying pan...as a drying pan!" *holds it over head to catch the rain*
Frank: "Hey Bob, what's wrong? Why are you crying?"
Bob: "Oh...hey, Frank. My dog passed away a little while ago. I found him lying under the table, struggling to breathe. The vet said he had a cardiac arrest."
Frank: "Oh, I'm sorry, man. It sounds like his last few minutes were a *heart ache*."
Bob: "God damnit, Frank, you're such an ass! Fuck you and your damn puns!"
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