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

Examples of Common Puns

  • The life of a patient of hypertension is always at steak.
  • Why do we still have troops in Germany? To keep the Russians in Czech.
  • A horse is a very stable animal.
  • Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
  • An elephant’s opinion carries a lot of weight.
  • What is the difference between a conductor and a teacher? The conductor minds the train and a teacher trains the mind.

Examples of Pun in Literature

In literature, puns have been used by famous writers in their literary works.

Example #1

In constructing puns, William Shakespeare was a master craftsman. We find many examples of puns in his plays. Let us have a look at some of them:

  • “It is the unkindest tied that ever any man tied.”(Richard III)
  • “winter of our discontent…made glorious summer by this Son of York.”(Richard III)
  • Romeo: “Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes with nimble soles; I have a soul of lead” (Romeo and Juliet)
  • Claudius: “…But now, my cousin Hamlet, and my son…” Hamlet: [aside] “A little more than kin, and less than kind. (Kindred)” (Hamlet)

Example #2

Oscar Wilde employs puns in his play “Importance of being Earnest”. Jack Earnest tells Aunt Augusta in Act III:

“On the contrary, Aunt Augusta, I’ve now realised for the first time in my life the vital Importance of Being Earnest”

Similarly, in Act III we see Jack puns his family name again:

“I always told you, Gwendolen, my name was Ernest, didn’t I? Well, it is Ernest after all. I mean it naturally is Ernest.”

Here Jack discovers his father name which makes him truly earnest.

Example #4

Charles Dickens plays around with words in his novel “Great Expectations”. In his opening chapter “Pip” says:

“They seemed to think the opportunity lost, if they failed to point the conversation to me, every now and then, and stick the point into me”

Note the pun in the use of the word “point”. We see another interesting example in Chapter 2:

“Tickler was a wax-ended piece of cane, worn smooth by collision with my tickled frame.”

The writer puns the word “tickle”.

Example #5

We notice a unique use of multilingual puns in Vladimir Nabokov’s “Lolita”. For example, the name of a character “Humbert” is a pun in two languages. In French it means “Shadow” and in Spanish it means “man”. Similarly, “Lolita” changing her name to “Dolores” which means pain in Latin and her nick name “Dolly” refers to a toy in English.

Function of Pun

Apart from being witty and humorous, puns add profound meanings to texts and shape the way in which the text is interpreted by the readers. By playing with the words, the writers reveal their cleverness and the cleverness of their characters. Besides, puns in a literary works act as a source of comic relief or an intentional effort on the part of the writer to show his/her creative ability in using language.

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Pun Examples:

The pigs were a squeal.

I walked into a cheese shoppe. It was grate.

A polar bear walks into a bar and says 'I would like a ... large beer please'. The batman says 'why the big pause?'

The past, like your jokes, is imperfect.

Facebook response:
--And then the subjunctive interfered and changed the mood.

--And the "tense-sion" was neither simple nor perfect!

the furniture is moved

the ceiling is too high to care

My wife was quite upset (teed off?) after she spilled a freshly brewed cup of hot chocolate (spiced chocolate chai actually), not because of the broken cup, or that it spilled on the carpet and might leave a stain the best cleaning company NYC has to offer couldn't get out, but because she had just spent all that time making it exactly the way she likes it at just the right temperature. "I didn't even get one sip of that," she said. I couldn't help myself when I replied. "Well, if at first you don't succeed, chai, chai again."


Did you hear about the man who lost his left side?
He's all right now.


Did you know William Tell and his family were avid bowlers? It's true. But, unfortunately, a fire destroyed all the league records, so we'll never know for whom the Tells bowled.


The Tate Watch Co., established in the 1880s in Massachusetts, wanted to expand their line of products. They decided on compasses, reasoning that the pioneers traveling west would all need one. Their watches were of excellent quality, not so their compasses. Pioneers often ended up in Canada or Mexico. Hence the expression, "He who has a Tate is lost."


Why did the little boy who was part of the wedding party roar as he walked down the isle?
He was the ring bear.


What do you call two people in an ambulance?
A pair of medics.


Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, but when they lit a fire in their craft it sank -- proving once and for all that you can't have your kayak and heat it, too.


What time is it when it is time to go to the dentist?
Tooth hurty.

Good one, Joe!


A mushroom walks into a bar, sits down and orders a drink. The bartender says "We don't serve mushrooms here." The mushroom says,"Why not? I'm a fun guy!"


Where do erasers go for vacation?
To Erazona.


A neutron goes into a bar and asks the bartender, "How much for a beer?" The bartender replies, "For you, no charge."


Why did the golfer bring two pair of pants to the game?
In case he got a whole in one.


There was a man who entered the local newspaper's pun contest. He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win. Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.


A guy goes to a psychiatrist. "Doc, I keep having these alternating, recurring dreams. First I'm a teepee; then I'm a wigwam; then I'm a teepee; then I'm a wigwam. It's driving me crazy. What's wrong with me?" The doctor replies: "It's very simple. You're two tents."


Two vultures get ready to board an airplane, each carrying two dead raccoons. The stewardess looks at them and says, "I'm sorry, gentlemen, only one carrion allowed per passenger."


Two boll weevils grew up in South Carolina. One went to Hollywood and became a famous actor. The other stayed behind in the cotton fields and never amounted to much. The second one, naturally, became known as the lesser of two weevils.


A three-legged dog walks into a saloon in the Old West. He slides up to the bar and announces: "I'm looking for the man who shot my paw."


This guy goes into a restaurant for a Christmas breakfast while in his home town for the holidays. After looking over the menu he says, "I'll just have the Eggs Benedict." His order comes a while later and it's served on a big, shiny hubcap. He asks the waiter, "What's with the hubcap?" The waiter sings, "There's no plate like chrome for the hollandaise!"


A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office and asked them to disperse. "But why?," they asked, as they moved off. "Because," he said, "I can't stand chess nuts boasting in an open foyer."


A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt and is named "Amal." The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him "Juan." Years later, Juan sends a picture of himself to his mom. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Amal. Her husband responds, "But they are twins--if you've seen Juan, you've seen Amal.


A doctor made it his regular habit to stop off at a bar for a hazelnut daiquiri on his way home. The bartender knew of his habit, and would always have the drink waiting at precisely 5:03 p.m. One afternoon, as the end of the work day approached, the bartender was dismayed to find that he was out of hazelnut extract. Thinking quickly, he threw together a daiquiri made with hickory nuts and set it on the bar. The doctor came in at his regular time, took one sip of the drink and exclaimed, "This isn't a hazelnut daiquiri!"

"No, I'm sorry," replied the bartender, "it's a hickory daiquiri, Doc."


These friars were behind on their belfry payments, so they opened up a small florist shop to raise funds. Since everyone liked to buy flowers from the men of God, a rival florist across town thought the competition was unfair. He asked the good fathers to close down, but they would not. He went back and begged the friars to close. They ignored him. So, the rival florist hired Hugh MacTaggart, the roughest and most vicious thug in town to"persuade" them to close. Hugh beat up the friars and trashed their store, saying he'd be back if they didn't close up shop. Terrified, they did so, thereby proving that Hugh, and only Hugh, can prevent florist friars.


Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him .... A super callused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.


A hungry lion was roaming through the jungle looking for something to eat. He came across two men. One was sitting under a tree and reading a book; the other was typing away on his typewriter. The lion quickly pounced on the man reading the book and devoured him. Even the king of the jungle knows that readers digest and writers cramp.


Following last week's news that Origami Bank had folded, we are hearing that Sumo Bank has gone belly up and Bonsai Bank plans to cut back some of its branches. Karaoke Bank is up for sale and is (you guessed it!) going for a song.