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pun

[puhn] /pʌn/
noun
1.
the humorous use of a word or phrase so as to emphasize or suggest its different meanings or applications, or the use of words that are alike or nearly alike in sound but different in meaning; a play on words.
2.
the word or phrase used in this way.
verb (used without object), punned, punning.
3.
to make puns.
Origin
1655-1665
1655-65; perhaps special use of pun, variant (now dial.) of pound1, i.e., to mistreat (words)
Related forms
punless, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for punless

pun1

/pʌn/
noun
1.
the use of words or phrases to exploit ambiguities and innuendoes in their meaning, usually for humorous effect; a play on words. An example is: "Ben Battle was a soldier bold, And used to war's alarms: But a cannonball took off his legs, So he laid down his arms." (Thomas Hood)
verb puns, punning, punned
2.
(intransitive) to make puns
Word Origin
C17: possibly from Italian puntiglio point of detail, wordplay; see punctilio

pun2

/pʌn/
verb puns, punning, punned
1.
(transitive) (Brit) to pack (earth, rubble, etc) by pounding
Derived Forms
punner, noun
Word Origin
C16: dialectal variant of pound1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for punless

pun

n.

1660s (first attested in Dryden), of uncertain origin, perhaps from pundigron, which is perhaps a humorous alteration of Italian puntiglio "equivocation, trivial objection," diminutive of Latin punctum "point." This is pure speculation. The verb also is attested from 1660s. Related: Punned; punning.

Pun was prob. one of the clipped words, such as cit, mob, nob, snob, which came into fashionable slang at or after the Restoration. [OED]

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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punless in Culture

pun definition


A humorous substitution of words that are alike in sound but different in meaning (see double-entendre), as in this passage from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll:

“And how many hours a day did you do lessons?” said Alice, in a hurry to change the subject.
“Ten hours the first day,” said the Mock Turtle, “nine the next, and so on.”
“What a curious plan!” exclaimed Alice.
“That's the reason they're called lessons,” the Gryphon remarked: “because they lessen from day to day.”
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for punless

pun

a humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest different meanings or applications, or a play on words, as in the use of the word rings in the following nursery rhyme: Ride a cock-horse to Banbury Cross,To see a fine lady upon a white horse; Rings on her fingers and bells on her toes,She shall have music wherever she goes

Learn more about pun with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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