What is a Pun? (7 Examples in literature)

Originated from the Italian word “puntigilio” in 1664.


The ‘Pun’ in a play is used for different word meanings and is rarely used except for jokes. It has identical sounds of words with different meanings seldom used to create ambiguity and to indicate a negative aspect of character; however, primarily to create a humorous and comic effect. Puns have purposeful literary uses, but since the eighteen century, this literary form has been used mainly to create a humorous effect in a story. Using Puns in work, writers used to play with words to create amusement.

Examples of Pun:

  • Bear ……  bare
  • Soul …… sole
  • Dear …… deer
  • Hart  ……  heart
  • Letter …… later
  • Farm …… form
What is pun?

Pun Examples in Sentences

  • The tallest building in town is the library, it has thousands of story.
  • Why do amphibians take the bus? Because their cars always getting toad.
  • He jumped in to the river to know its depth.
  • He drank five bottles of cold drink to check its taste.
  • He always trusts the lament man because he has no sense to deceive.
  • He always comes first in the class because of his mischievous.
  • A teacher trains the mind, a driver mind the train.
  • A motor bike can’t stand on it’s own because it is two tired.
  • You were right, so I left.
  • Always trust a glue shopkeeper. They tend to stick his words.
  • The population of United Kingdom is always Dublin.
  • His brother is thin and smart like a stick.
  • The elephant’s trunk is safe place to oscillate.
  • This boy has long legs so he can walk ten hours daily.

Functions of Pun

  • Pun is used like allusions to make strong connection with the audience.
  • Elaborate the theme of the story
  • Human behaviours are also analyzed by using Puns.

How to use Pun?

  • To detect ‘Pun’ reader has to actively read the story
  • Background knowledge is also important to understand Pun
  • By utilizing background knowledge and vocabulary reader can easily detect Puns in the story.

Authors who used Puns:

Authors of different genres used Puns in their work. Writers like Shakespeare, Chaucer, James Joyceand comedians largely used Puns in their literary work.

Puns Examples in Literature

The use of Pun in many literature’s is wide spread, mostly used to create humor and to amuse the readers or to point out some serious issue by concealing the real meaning.

“Alice Adventures in Wonderland” by Lewis Carroll’s

“It is a long and sad tale that I have,” said the mouse, Looking at Alice and sighing.  It is certainly a long tail, said Alice, looking at the tail of the mouse. “But why you say that it is sad?”

The use of word ‘tail’ and ‘tale’ are confused in order to create a pun. The first word ‘tale’ used by the mouse means a story while the second one used by Alice means mouse tail.

“Romeo and Juliet” by Shakespeare

“Ask for me tomorrow, and you sha’l find me a grave man.”

Here the ‘Pun’ has been used on the word grave which means both ‘serious’ or ‘hole’ in which the dead body is buried.

“Cymbeline” by Shakespeare

The form of Pun known aasteismus has been used in the play. When there occurs a dialogue between Cloten and Lord.

Cloten:      Would he had been one of my rank? Lord:         To have smelled like a fool.

Here the ‘Lord’ is making fun upon the cloten and says, that ‘cloten’ has no wit and he is a fool.

The important of Being Earnest by (Oscar Wilde’s)

“I have realized for the first time in my life the vital importance of being earnest”

Here the use of word earned in both meanings “earnest” and “ernest” has been used by making Pun.

“Great Expectations” by Charles Dickens

“They seemed to think the opportunity lost, if they fail’d to point the conversation to me, every now and then and stick the poin’t into me”. Here in the above lines, the word ‘point’ has been as Pun.

“With a Book” by Ambrose Bierce

“Words  shouting, singing, smiling, frowning Sense lacking, Ah, nothing more obscure than Browning Save blacking.”

Here the writer used Pun on the Robert Browning writing.

Difference between Pun and Metaphor

The two terms ‘Pun’ and ‘metaphor’ are sometimes confusing with each other. However, there is difference between them.

‘Metaphor’ is a word or phrase which is used to show similarity between the two but that does not directly relates, however by the use of ‘like’ and ‘as’  we show the common thing.

‘Pun’ is the use of words or phrase which directly relates to the other. In ‘Pun’ the sound of words are same but their meanings are different.

Further Reading

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