Word play

A pun is a rhetorical figure, mainly on the ambiguity, twist, turn ( in spirit ) or any other word changes based and the author appears humorous and / or witty. For example Copyleft is a play on the word copyright.


There are several categories of puns. The most common are:

  • Homonymy: Different words that sound the same random, but different origin and are often written differently
  • Polysemy: the ambiguity of words is used
  • Paronomasia: the phonetic similarity of words is the basis
  • Para grams: a word or fixed phrase is modified by replacing individual letters or sounds, so that the model remains clearly visible
  • A special case of this are spoonerisms - (also known as transposed letters ) anagrams: there are letters or sounds reversed
  • A special case of this, in turn spoonerisms (eg: . " In this year's Bach festivals unfortunately did not sing the best specialist " )
  • Hyphenation: The syllables of several words are separated so that these words found in writing a new meaning. The new sense arises already from the context, even though you can not hear the hyphenation.
  • It is played with the sound of foreign language words that are incorporated into a set of their own language


The pun is a term from the general language and stands for a specific use of language. This use may be witty, funny, sarcastic, but also kalauernd. The pun makes use of homo grapher or homonymous words and expressions.

In the word game to use also come varied techniques, such as the resolution of compositions, the derivative, the " Literally companies," the comparison, the letters change, the change of words ( see below), shift in emphasis, slight change of the graphic or phonetic shape or the portmanteau.


Puns are often in anagrams and para -grams, aphorisms, echo poems, corny jokes ( jokes that are often based on puns ) used suitcase words, mnemonics and Zeugmata.

In children word games are common because the norms of the adult language are not yet internalized. Even unintentional puns, there are almost daily (see literature: for example, " 30 kilos fever ").