Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Puns Use Key Words

Puns. The lowest kind of wit or more picturesque speech? As you know, I believe they are the latter. Susan recently pointed me in the direction of an NYT article on puns which I'd like to share with you.

The inglorious pun! Dryden called it the “lowest and most groveling kind of wit.” To Ambrose Bierce it was a “form of wit to which wise men stoop and fools aspire.” Universal experience confirms the adage that puns don’t make us laugh, but groan. It is said that Caligula ordered an actor to be roasted alive for a bad pun. (Some believe he was inclined to extremes.)

Addison defined the pun as a “conceit arising from the use of two words that agree in the sound, but differ in the sense.” “Energizer Bunny Arrested! Charged with Battery.” No laugh? Q.E.D. Puns are the feeblest species of humor because they are ephemeral: whatever comic force they possess never outlasts the split second it takes to resolve the semantic confusion. Most resemble mathematical formulas: clever, perhaps, but hardly occasion for knee-slapping. The worst smack of tawdriness, even indecency, which is why puns, like off-color jokes, are often followed by apologies. Odds are that a restaurant with a punning name — Snacks Fifth Avenue, General Custard’s Last Stand — hasn’t acquired its first Michelin star.

You can read the rest here. As Susan points out, "a pun's wit and entertainment is in the very groan that it produces."

My predilection for puns has me and my blog landing into a soup often (pun fully intended), if one were to go by the weird keywords or search phrases that I get. I've left off the usual risque ones so here are a pick of the past few days:

"I was just sitting there, eating my soup"

"Caterpillar in my soup"

"Can turnip greens be used in wedding soup"

"My love is alive summer begins"

"How we came alive"


  1. a pun is so much pun. :)

  2. LOL! Great list "puns" from your blog, didn't know you come alive and eat soup in Summer!! :D

    Jai HO!!
    Get it? (in Trish's vocab as Purnima pointed out to me!)

  3. I read this article too. I should make A read it though! :D

    Your blog is a fun read, Sra!

  4. LoL...Sorry, I couldn't hold my laugh! I love to read your punny posts. :)

  5. After 10 hrs of non-stop meetings and coding I can't even come up with a simple p(f)unny retort for this one :(.

  6. Thats a nice written post! And puns ae all around in our home as my brother and father were specialists in puns :)

  7. Catterpilar in my soup?? :-)

  8. The reader doesn't pick up your puns, what happened ??

  9. Search engine terms are hilarious.:)

  10. Sure puns can be phun. You just need to keep an opun mind. :D

  11. Bee, you said it!
    Asha, yep, got it! :-)
    A_and_N, thanks, N.
    Uma, thanks.
    Sig, at least you managed to visit, thanks. :-)
    Ni, really? Must be fun. Er, pun.
    Sunita, yeah, even I was foxed by that!
    Sandeepa, as I don't give direct headlines, like 'tomato curry' or 'mango pickle' but say something like 'The Power of Red', search terms are not always returning the precise results.
    Vidya, I know, they're all about soup this time.

  12. Aparna, that's a good one!

  13. that was refresshing, after a tiring day..

    how are you, Sra...

  14. Sra,
    thats so much fun reading it ..
    always so refreshing to read your very pun post ...apun to pun parke bas mast ho gaya rey!
    hugs and smiles

  15. Great post!!!! Your blog is a great read..Wud love u to be more regular...:-)

    I have recently started blogging again.. Check out my blog at http://overacuppacappuccino.blogspot.com

  16. Sona, glad to be of help :-) I'm fine, how are you?
    Jaya, I was also thinking of 'apun' for some reason and your comment was waiting!
    Arabica, good for you, will visit soon. I used to post twice a week earlier, now I can only manage once a week.


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