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illustration Paronomasia



Part of speech: noun

Origin: Latin, 16th century


A play on words; a pun.

Examples of Paronomasia in a sentence

"My favorite paronomasia is: "The difference between a hippo and a Zippo is that a hippo is very heavy, while a Zippo is a little lighter.""

"I thought "paronomasia" sounded like a terrible illness, but I learned in English class it’s just a fancy word for a pun."

About Paronomasia

Paronomasia is a loanword from Latin, based on the ancient Greek "παρονομασία" (or "paronomasía," meaning "play upon words which sound alike").

Did you Know?

While puns have been called the lowest form of humor, there can be some sophisticated wordplay involved in paronomasia (the formal name for puns). The essence of a classic paronomasia is not just a word with multiple meanings, but one in which the conflicting meanings all sound plausible. Paronomasia often employs homophones (different words that sound alike, as in, "When I realized my favorite jeans were fading, I felt like dyeing"), homographs (different words with identical spellings, such as, "I shed a tear when I saw the tear in my shirt"), and homonyms (a combination of the two, as in, "the bare bear bared its teeth").

illustration Paronomasia

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