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Puns: The Lowest Form of Wit

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According to Sigmund Freud...

Puns may be the lowest form of wit (and "therefore the foundation of all wit" according to Henry Erskine) but do they deserve the scorn that has been heaped upon them by their detractors down through the ages? Coleridge allowed that the pun was "harmless... because it never excites envy." Even Sigmund Freud waded in on the topic explaining the pun's lowly stature with the fact that they are "the cheapest- can be made with the least trouble." Leave it to Oscar Levant to astutely point out: "A pun is the lowest form of humor- if you didn't think of it first."

Easy to make...

Puns are easy to make. Just find two words that sound alike and substitute one for the other in a phrase or sentence. For example: the glutton commented after wolfing down a doughnut: "I can't believe I ate the hole thing!"

Some authorities claim a pun is not, strictly speaking, a 'play on words'. They reserve this term for cases where an identical word with more than one meaning is used so it can be taken either way. For example, the woman who got a speeding ticket on her way home said: "It was a fine trip!"

The following relies on a pun:

My grandfather came from eastern Europe.
Russian?
No, he took his time.

Next-> Puns Throughout the Ages

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