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Harp's avatar

Know any classy puns?

Asked by Harp (19161points) January 30th, 2009

Puns are repeatedly bashed as low humor, but they can rise to the level of art. There’s the classic gem penned by Sir Charles Napier, commander of British forces in India in the 1840s. After subjugating the province of Sindh (against orders), he wrote a single-word communique back to headquarters: “Peccavi”. Perhaps the most surprising thing about this annectdote is that the recipients of the message understood it- “peccavi” is Latin, meaning “I have sinned”.

Can you think of any other examples that rehabilitate the pun’s image?

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25 Answers

EmpressPixie's avatar

Not right now, but that’s awesome. Punning is used as a form of commenting on Jezebel from time to time though.

Mtl_zack's avatar

There was a man who entered a local paper’s pun contest. He sent in ten different puns, in the hope that at least one of the puns would win.

Unfortunately, no pun in ten did.

Bagardbilla's avatar

@Mtl Zack
Lurve for that

gailcalled's avatar

Harp: I love the story about “Peccavi, ” but I don’t see that it is a pun.

“Two maggots were fighting in dead Ernest.”

Harp's avatar

@gailcalled Brilliant

I think “peccavi” is a pun, but its true genius is that it’s a pun packed in a linguistic box: first, you must unpack the box by translating “peccavi”, and only then do you find the pun inside.

gailcalled's avatar

Aha. I had to say it aloud. The cold is destroying yet more of my brain. I have also sinned. You are right. Brilliant.

(Were you typing with mittens on?)

There is a shaggy bird story (make it up) that ends with, “Never leave a tern unstoned.”

Anaphase's avatar

A great source of some really funny puns is Weird Al’s Party At The Leper Colony.

Nearly every line is a pun about Lepers. Fun times.

gailcalled's avatar

Henry V, act III, scene iv.

The French princess Catherine (soon to be Henry’s betrothed) has an English lesson (from her maid, Alice), the sounds of which make words in French that in her day were not spoken in polite society.

English for “les pieds” and “la robe” sound vulgar to Catherine when she pronounces them in English. Catherine questions, “De foot* and de *cown [gown]? ” Lord God, those are evil-sounding words, easily misconstrued, vulgar, and immodest, and not for respectable ladies to use.”(III, iv, 47–9.

*Foutre and *con”

Harp's avatar

@gailcalled I had forgotten those! Excellent.

gailcalled's avatar

I bet that you and I could do something with “sic transit,’ if I weren’t trying to leave and live a life.

However, we used to translate my college motto (Non Ministrari sed Ministrare) as “Not to be a minister but to be a minister’s wife.

El_Cadejo's avatar

I wouldnt call it classy but its one of my favorite puns soooo im sharing anyway

Two pretzels were walking down the street, one was assaulted.

syz's avatar

Did you hear about the agnostic, dyslexic insomniac who stayed up all night wondering if there was a dog?

Is that a pun or a joke?

Bri_L's avatar

Ok, this thread is way to smart for me.

Harp's avatar

@syz I think that does qualify, because it has the requisite double entendre, though in a quirky way. Good call.

aprilsimnel's avatar

I’d share a Shakespeare pun from Hamlet, but it’s duurrty and not classy.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

All I know is that a pun is 2/3rds pee yoo. I know…that stinks

evelyns_pet_zebra's avatar

I’ve heard it said that there is a special place in Hell for the people who tell puns; If I get there first, I’ll save you all a seat.

I use good puns (well, there are no good puns, just groaners) is a lot of my humorous fiction, none of which I can remember now.

El_Cadejo's avatar

a piece of string walks into a bar. he’s really needing a drink due his long, hard, day, so he walks to the bartender, and asks for one. the bartender says “we don’t serve pieces of string here so get the fuck out”. the piece of string walks out the front doors. thinking he despirately needs a drink, he comes across an idea. he sees a guy walking past and he asks “hey buddy, can you tie me together in the center and pull me apart at the ends?” the guy says “what?”. he says again “can you tie me together in the center and pull me apart at the ends?” the guy confusingly agrees, and he ties him together in the center and pulls him apart at the ends. the piece of string walks back into the bar. the bartender looks at him and sees some similarity, and asks “hey, aren’t you that piece of striing i just threw out of here?”....the piece of string looks at him and says, “no, i’m a freyed not”.

Anaphase's avatar

’‘no, i’m a freyed knot’’

gailcalled's avatar

“no, I’m a frayed knot,” if you want to be a stickler.

Anaphase's avatar

“No, I’m a frayed knot,” if you really want to be a stickler.

zenele's avatar

I wondered why the baseball kept getting bigger. Then it hit me.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Clairvoyants meeting canceled due to unforeseen events.

zenele's avatar

^ Good one.

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