What is a pun? A pun is a joke that makes a play on words. Puns rely on words that are similar in spelling, sound or meaning to make their listener laugh. Check out the different types of puns, and enjoy additional pun examples to get you laughing!
Puns are also known as paronomasia, a rhetorical device that uses the dual meaning of a word to achieve an effect. There are several different types of puns that you're likely to hear from writers, your friends or even your dad.
When your pun relies on the way words sound alike but have different meanings and spellings, it's a homophonic pun. Homophonic puns use homophones or near-homophones to be funny — the punchline is in the double meaning of the word.
Examples of homophonic puns are:
- A bicycle can't stand on its own because it is two-tired.
- No matter how much you push the envelope, it will still be stationery.
- A pessimist's blood type is always B-negative.
- Two peanuts walk into a bar, and one was a-salted.
- Reading while sunbathing makes you well-red.
You'll find homographs, which are defined as words that are spelled the same way but have different meanings, in homographic puns. Homographic puns are also known as heteronymic ("same name") puns. They're funny because they're true in both interpretations of the word, and they are best understood when read.
Homographic pun examples include:
- After hours of waiting for the bowling alley to open, we finally got the ball rolling.
- Always trust a glue salesman. They tend to stick to their word.
- Every calendar's days are numbered.
- A dog gave birth to puppies near the road and was cited for littering.
- If you don't pay your exorcist, you will get repossessed.
Who needs one pun when you can have two? Compound puns include two punny words in one statement, or they rely on the sound of two words blended together to make the joke. They can be homographic, homophonic or both.
Examples of compound puns are:
- One hundred hares have escaped the zoo, so police are combing the area.
- Everyone thinks my runny nose is funny, but it's snot.
- Did you hear about the lumberjack who couldn't hack it? They gave him the axe.
- Jungle animals are very fair. Cheetahs are always spotted.
- A short psychic broke out of jail. She was a small medium at large.
It's nice to know what type of pun you're reading, but the most important part of a pun is whether it's funny or not! Read these funny pun examples for a quick chuckle.
- Santa Claus' helpers are known as subordinate Clauses.
- She had a photographic memory but never developed it.
- The two pianists had a good marriage. They always were in a chord.
- I was struggling to figure out how lightning works, but then it struck me.
- The grammarian was very logical. He had a lot of comma sense.
- A chicken farmer's favorite car is a coupe.
- What do you call a person rabid with wordplay? An energizer punny.
- I've been to the dentist many times, so I know the drill.
- What did one plant say to another? "What's stomata?"
- The other day I held the door open for a clown. I thought it was a nice jester.
- A chicken crossing the road is truly poultry in motion.
- The politician is not one for Indian food. But he's good at currying favors.
- How do construction workers party? They raise the roof.
- A boiled egg every morning is hard to beat.
- When a woman returns new clothing, that's post-traumatic dress syndrome.
- Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was brilliant!
- My math teacher called me average. She's so mean!
- I went to a seafood disco last week and pulled a mussel.
- Guerrilla warfare is more than just throwing a banana.
- The cartoon animator felt imprisoned by his job. He could not free himself from his cel.
- I thought Santa was going to be late, but he arrived in the Nick of time.
Comedians and writers use puns all the time in their acts and writing. However, only the best puns will do; adding too many puns will make readers roll their eyes. Examples of puns in quotes from famous people include:
- "You can tune a guitar, but you can't tuna fish. Unless, of course, you play bass." - Douglas Adams
- "Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana." - Groucho Marx
- "Hanging is too good for a man who makes puns; he should be drawn and quoted." - Fred Allen
- "Denial ain't just a river in Egypt." - Mark Twain
- "Atheism is a non-prophet institution." - George Carlin
- "I saw a documentary on how ships are kept together. Riveting!" - Stewart Francis
Looking for more quotes from literature? Check out these examples of puns in literature for more fun puns from your favorite authors.
Editors and advertisers love a good pun! It gets the readers' attention because they must read it once more to really get the meaning. But an accidental pun can make the headline pretty confusing! Examples of puns in headlines and advertising include:
- New Study of Obesity Looks for Larger Test Group
- Safety Experts Say School Bus Passengers Should Be Belted
- Juvenile Court Tried Shooting Defendant
- Farmer Bill Dies in House
- Eye Drops Off Shelf
- Hospitals are Sued by Seven Foot Doctors
- Residents Warned to Protect Fish and Hens to Avoid Otter Devastation
- Big Rig Carrying Fruit Crashes on 210 Freeway, Creates Jam
You can also get a pint-sized laugh out of some pun examples for kids. They may be easier to understand, but they're just as funny as the rest of the puns.
The pun doesn't have to stop here! Check out these punny slideshows that are perfect for your next chuckle.
- Use 12 great love puns to get a giggle out of your loved one.
- You don't have to be a cat lover to love these cat puns!
- Feeling hungry for some humor? Don't check the fridges; check out these food pun examples.
- Animals are funny enough without the wordplay, but these funny animal puns are too good to miss!