from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. Word play; punning.
  • n. A pun.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A pun or play on words

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A play upon words; a figure by which the same word is used in different senses, or words similar in sound are set in opposition to each other, so as to give antithetical force to the sentence; punning.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. In rhetoric, the use of words similar in sound but different in meaning, so as to give a certain antithetical force to the expression; also, the use of the same word in different senses; a play upon words. Also paronomasy. see pun.
  • n. Synonyms Assonance, etc. See pun.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a humorous play on words


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin, from Greek paronomasiā, from paronomazein, to call by a different name : para-, beside; see para-1 + onomazein, to name; see onomastic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin paronomasia, from Ancient Greek παρονομασία (paronomasia, "play upon words which sound alike"), from παρα- (para-) + ὀνομασία (onomasia, "naming").


  • I'm sitting here trying to decide whether a particular specimen of paronomasia is to be considered polyptoton or antanaclasis.

    Archive 2008-02-01

  • I'm reviewing important terms, including "paronomasia," which is the cocktail party word for "pun."

    Archive 2007-02-01

  • More than most linguistic modes, such as paronomasia and malapropism, quasi malediction has diametric force.

    VERBATIM: The Language Quarterly Vol X No 1

  • But then again, Tom Stoppard (who cowrote the film with Terry Gilliam) always seemed to prefer paronomasia to his fellow men anyway.

    Joshua David Stein: WALL-E and The Fall of Man

  • Warden, “grounded on a vain play upon words — a most idle paronomasia.”

    The Monastery

  • Lane held the poetry untranslatable because abounding in the figure Tajnís, our paronomasia or paragram, of which there are seven distinct varieties,433 not to speak of other rhetorical flourishes.

    The Book of The Thousand Nights And A Night

  • Scrotes allowed, nevertheless, there was something in what MacMurrough had said and by way of illustrating this allowance he quoted from Augustine who had polluted the vein of friendship with the filth of desire—a phrase, Scrotes remarked, which would mean nothing to the Greeks, for whom friendship and desire were congenial if MacMurrough would forgive the paronomasia bedfellows.

    At Swim, Two Boys

  • [869] A paronomasia on [Greek: genesis] as if [Greek: epi gên neusis].

    Plutarch's Morals

  • [327] The paronomasia is on [Greek: hetairos, heteros].

    Plutarch's Morals

  • Meek conveys the paronomasia involved very effectively by a rendering which we have followed above: "Called Babel because there Yahweh made a babble" Whatever other interpretation the

    Exposition of Genesis: Volume 1


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  • "The riddle that Lenehan the sports reporter proposes to his colleagues and friends at the newspaper, the Cicerone said—"What opera resembles a railway line?"—is remembered by Bloom on several occasions throughout the day of Ulysses.

    A few paragraphs further on, in the newspaper office, Lenehan proudly tells them the answer:

    "The Rose of Castile. See the wheeze? Rows of cast steel. Gee!"

    Railing at the rails, A said.

    Paronomasia, Professor Jones said."

    The House of Ulysses by Julián Ríos, translated by Nick Caistor, pp 105-106

    December 26, 2010

  • JM often has paronomasia experiences - sometimes even out of context experiences!

    March 10, 2010

  • Sorry, this paronomasia is puny.

    (By the way, why is the plural paronomasias, not paronomasiae?)

    October 25, 2009

  • No mas.

    March 1, 2009

  • Astonished that I didn't learn this word until today.

    March 1, 2009

  • cf. paronomasy

    January 1, 2009