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Pun Pun Pun Till Daddy Takes the Wordplay Away.

Teach Figurative Language with Flocabulary

Listen to Flocabulary’s new, free Figurative Language song. You’ll learn all about puns, as well as metaphors, simile and more.

Some call it wordplay. Some call them puns. But whether these double meanings make you giggle or make you groan, you should know what they are. Today, our servers are bringing you a big platter of puns and wordplay from rap, literature, advertising and more. When you’re done reading, let us know whether you’re a wordplay lover or a pun hater.

A little two in tents. Get it? Get it?

Sometimes puns are a little too intense.


Definition: Wordplay that exploits the multiple meanings of words or words that sounds alike but have different meanings.

Why Writers Use it: Punning is a showy way of demonstrating how smart you are. You’re clever enough to know the different meanings of words, and you’re going to tell everyone in a rather indiscreet way. So puns work well in a rap battle, say, when you’re trying to show that you can outsmart your opponent.

Some people use puns to make people laugh, but generally they make your audience groan, say “womp womp womp” on a descending melodic scale, roll their eyes in an exaggerated fashion or conjure the memories of beloved grandfathers. Use them at your own risk.

Pun Examples in Hip-Hop

Big Pun

The rapper Big Pun, whose name actually was just short for Big Punisher. So that isn’t really a pun.

“I put in overtime, like a tied score” – Lil’ Wayne

“Boy got drive like Ford transmissions” – Los

“You never leave the home, you’re just a back catcher” – Los

“Hear no evil see no evil, Helen Keller” – Lil’ Wayne

“Standing on my monopoly board, that means I’m on top of my game” – Eminem

“Too many Urkles on your team, that’s why your win’s low” – Kanye West

“I been fly so long I fell asleep on the plane” – Lil’ Wayne

“I don’t wanna be in the blind, but sometimes I Stevie Wonder about her” – Lil’ Wayne

“Dressed smart like a London bloke, before he speaks his suit bespoke” – Kanye West

In democracy its your vote that counts. In feudalism its your count that votes

“We must, indeed, all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” – Ben Franklin

Shakespearean Puns

Shakespeare’s plays are filled with puns. Some of the double meanings hinge upon meanings or pronunciations of words that no longer exist, but a lot of them still work well.

Mercutio: That dreamers often lie
Romeo: In bed asleep, while they do dream things true.
Romeo and Juliet

“Now is the winter or our discontent
Made glorious summer by this sun of York…”
-Richard III (sun refers to both sun and son)

“If reasons were as plentiful as blackberries, I would give no man a reason upon compulsion, I.”
Henry IV, Part I (Shakespearean audiences pronounced “Reason” like “raisin”)

“…ask for me to-morrow, and you shall find me a grave man”
-Romeo and Juliet, just before Mercutio dies.

Newspaper headlines capitalize on puns all the time.

“Obama Lama Ding Dong (for when Barack Obama met the Dalai Lama)”

“Super Caley Go Ballistic, Celtic Are Atrocious”

Star Wars references are crucial

A well-placed Star Wars pun always wins the day

“Shoplifter who soiled clothes fails to wipe record clean.”

“ID thief orders pizza; police deliver justice.”

 Puns in Advertising

When you take a moment to think about the pun, you’re taking a moment to think about the brand. Which is the point, of course.

“Taste. Not waist.”
-Weight Watchers

“Technology the world calls on.”
-Northern Telecom

“Money doesn’t grow on the trees. But it blossoms at our branches”
-Lioyd Bank

“Coke refreshes you like no other can”
-Coca Cola

Puns are weird sometimes.

Check Out the Previous Literary Terms in the Series

Extended metaphor

Share your best examples of puns in the comments!


Photo of the kids in tents and the Big Pun mural available via a Creative Commons license.

This Post Has One Comment

  1. Thanks so much for taking the time to gather and post both the contemporary and classic uses of literary terms. It’s good for our students to understand that knowledge of literary terms is not only fun-damental to their education, but also can help them become more creative producers and critical consumers of communication.

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