Puns are a fun play on words that really gets you thinking, that is after you stop belly laughing and their meanings. For many, this is the thinking man’s type of jokes because we can date the pun to long before Shakespeare.
It was very common for Shakespeare himself to be heard muttering the phrase, “That dreamers often lie”, referring to the fact that a dreamer will lie in bed and lie about their dreams. The good puns of today are definitely more connected to the times, for example, “He became a math teacher due to some prime factors”.
So hopefully this introduction has grabbed you in all the right places, so put your seat back in the upright position as we prepare to take off on a journey about everything puns.
To Be a Pun, To Not Be a Pun – Pun Meaning
Before we can delve into the world of puns, you have to understand exactly what is a pun and what is a joke.
The pun is a humorous use of phrases or words that puts emphasis on suggesting it could have a different meaning based solely on the words itself. So in other words, this play on words is a unique way to describe the pun, whereas a joke has more of a question and punch line relationship.
So for example, “What has four wheels and flies?”, the answer to this “joke” is a garbage truck. However, the pun reads more like this, “A newspaper that was published this week illuminated the relationship between light and matter.”
See the difference?
The pun is a thinking mans joke in a sense, you either get it immediately or you have to scratch your head before it becomes apparent.
The Anatomy of Funny Puns
So the funny puns are designed to do two things, they are going to make you think, and once you get the pun, you should be laughing. What makes the puns funny is the combination of the play on words and what your brain actually imagines when you visualize this pun in reality.
So let’s put it to the test and see if you are laughing after reading these funny puns:
- “I wasn’t originally gonna get that brain transplant, but, I decided to change my mind.”
This pun is funny because you visualize this person physically replacing their mind. By associating the word mind and brain, you see them as meaning one in the same.
- “I was wondering why the ball was getting larger. Then it literally hit me.”
So here you to see this knucklehead getting smacked in his head with a ball. This type of humor literally knocks ’em dead.
- “Pickup artists and garbage men should switch names.”
This pun is funny because it is true, and it’s funny to see how long it takes the person to imagine it before they laugh! It might take a few seconds, but the laughs should come rolling in soon after.
The Tortured Life of the Bad Puns
Just like bad jokes, no one wants to hear bad puns. No we don’t mean bad like in naughty, these are just horrible attempts at getting someone to laugh. These are worse than bad jokes because at least with the joke the punch line makes a veiled attempt at humor.
With a bad pun, not only is there no humor, the connection falls apart and you are left wondering how you could get back that few minutes of your time you wasted trying to imagine there was more to the line. To help you visualize exactly what a bad pun is, try to make your way through a few of these:
- “I don’t understand why sun tanning isn’t an Olympic sport when they are always trying to get bronze.”
Like we said, the bad pun is not funny and you scratch you head wondering if there is more. No, there is less! This joke takes too much time to figure out, and even when you get there, expect no payoff.
- “I didn’t remember how to throw a boomerang, but it came back to me.”
So even though anything related to someone getting hurt is funny, this is the exception to the rule. This pun is bad on too many levels because it just seems like a bad idea from the start.
- “Did you know that a sniper take their coffee one shot at a time?”
Oh brother, this pun is bad in so many ways. There is nothing funny about a sniper, drinking coffee, or taking it one shot at a time. These are two different ideas that should not have been combined.
Examples of Great Puns That Hit the Mark
So now that you know what a pun is, the difference between a funny pun and a terrible pun, it is time to expose you to some great puns. These puns need no explanation because they hit the mark as far as making a point, twisting the meaning of a word, and giving you a laugh at the same time. So without further hesitation, here are a few great puns:
- “Did you know that going vegetarian is a missed steak?”
- “The steak pun is a rare medium well done!”
- “Ask the pizza delivery guy for a pun, he’ll deliver”
- “I just got canned from a calendar factory because I took a day off.”
- “Started reading that book on anti-gravity but it’s not easy to put down.”
- “I’m so glad that I know the sign language, it really is pretty handy.”
- “I’m currently on a seafood diet. I see food and I eat it.”
- “I worked at the orange juice factory, but I was canned because I couldn’t concentrate.”
- “I’m so poor that I can’t even pay attention.”
- “If anything’s possible, is it possible for something to be impossible?”
- “She has a photographic memory and never developed it.”
- “I am struggling to discover how lightning works and it hit me.”
- “I wanted that camouflage shirt, but couldn’t find one.”
- “A chicken farmer’s favorite car is his coupe.”
- “I’ve been to the dentist so many times I know the drill.”
Other Good Pun Examples
- Animal puns
- Bear puns
- Birthday puns
- Bread puns
- Cat puns
- Cheese puns
- Dog puns
- Easter puns
- Fish puns
- Food puns
- Horse puns
- Math puns
- Skeleton puns
- Tennis puns
- Tree puns
How Puns are Used in Every Day Life
The thing about puns is that if you use them correctly, you can really connect with your audience. This is the reason many businesses have started to use puns in their advertising and marketing campaigns. Not only are you making your target audience laugh, you show them that your company has a human side too.
If you had to choose between two car insurance companies, and one used the same boring advertisements they all do, while the other used clever puns to get a message across, you will remember the latter and most likely feel like you can relate to them on some level.
Here are some of the ways companies use puns to get their message across.
When Nokia was looking for a way to increase sales, their ad department came up with “Connecting People”. This clever pun is short and sweet, and it tells the consumer this company gets the job done in more ways than one.
Burger king was looking for a clever way to sell the idea they were making Italian chicken sandwiches, and “Ciao Down” was a huge success because it grabbed your attention, told you what to do, and sprinkled in a little Italian too. It went on to be a huge successful ad campaign.
Even local restaurants like a pizza joint in New Jersey grabbed local attention when they used the pun, “Buy Our Pizza, We Knead the Dough!” to get more business. They still have the sign in the window because of the huge success.
The Use of Puns by Famous People
One of the reasons many celebrities are given lines with puns in them is because you will remember that one line more than most of the dialogue in the film. The best puns almost take on a cult like following, and film lovers repeat the phrase over and over and give the film global exposure.
Many movie titles make use of the puns to try and resonate with movie goers, and some of the more successful were, Santa Clause, Cop Out, The Family that Preys, and Face Off. Here is an example of some puns used by famous people;
- “If you’re going through Hell, keep going.” Winston Churchill.
- “Ask for me tomorrow, and you’ll find me a grave man.” William Shakespeare
- “Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt.” Mark Twain
- “Immanuel doesn’t pun, he Kant.” Oscar Wilde
Explosive List of Funny Kid Puns
Puns for kids can be education and hilarious at the same times. It doesn’t take much for the kids to crack up, but if you can make them think a little rather than tell them a joke, they will not only retain the pun longer, they will become curious to learn more and investigate more things they hear.
Kids have inquisitive minds, and if you can tickle their senses on multiple levels with a witty pun, they will look for the fun in everything. To give you an example of how witty and fun kids’ jokes can be, the following list should give you a good idea how to make kids smile:
- “An alligator wearing a vest is called an investigator.”
- “It takes ten-tickles to make that octopus laugh?”
- “Insect puns really do bug me.”
- “I am good friends with twenty-five letters in the alphabet, I don’t think I know why.”
- “The golf ball is still a golf ball regardless the way that you putt it.”
- “Every time I try to catch fog, I mist.”
- “Tall people tend to sleep much longer in bed?”
- “Pencils can be made with an eraser at either end, but what’s the point?”
- “Tami broke her pinky finger today, but the other hand she’s completely fine.”
- “I’m addicted to somersaults because that’s how I roll.”
- “My sister jokes about the TV controller but it wasn’t remotely funny.”
- At the restaurant last night we had Wookie steak, I found it Chewy.”
- “I asked my sister to design me jeans. I thought she was happy, or sew it seams.”
Why Puns are Great and Not the Lowest Form of Humor
The great thing about puns is that if you get the joke, you really feel like you connected on a deeper level with the point than had you simply been told a silly joke. There are many who find that puns are the absolute lowest form of humor, but that is due in part to the fact they struggle to get the point of the joke.
These puns may involve a little work, a little thinking, and today everyone wants everything handed to them or spoon-fed in a way that they don’t have to think. If you are annoyed that puns are not really humorous, then you missed the joke and it went over your head.
Part of the fun for the rest of the world is peeling apart the outer layer of the pun to find the gem inside. When you do that little extra work, the prize inside rewards you on many levels.
So there you have it, we literally covered everything from the anatomy of the pun to the good and bag puns, and what type of people love puns. The pun is nothing more than a joke that makes a play on simple words.
A pun uses words that have several different meanings or words that sound similar but will have different meanings. Those who ridicule the pun simply don’t appreciate the pun, for once you understand the effort expended to mix the meanings in a silly way, you appreciate them even more.
In an effort to win over those who may be the last holdouts against the puns, we leave you with what are considered the best puns of all time:
- “Did you ever hear about that guy that was hit by a soda pop can in the head? He’s lucky that it was only a soft drink.”
- “That person that invented the door-knock eventually won that No-bell prize.”
- “If Apple makes a car, should it have Windows?”
- “Singing in your shower is fun until you eventually get shampoo in the mouth, at that point it becomes the soap opera.”
- “I couldn’t understand how to put on my seat belt. Suddenly it clicked.”
By now should understand the inner workings of the pun and why they are more rewarding than the jokes and riddle. While they may involve just a little more work on the front end, the payoff is worth the trip.