Difference Between Wordplay and Pun (With Table)

Many techniques are being used by comedians, poets, writers to make their content interesting. Those techniques maybe don’t matter to the audience until they are not getting bored but play a very interesting role for the content providers or creators. Those techniques play the soul of the act or performance which decides most of the results.

Wordplay vs Pun

The difference between wordplay and pun is based on classification and their meaning. Wordplay is a type of method which is used to entertain people where words are the main tool and used to create some laughs which can entertain the people whereas pun is a form of wordplay.

Wordplay, also known as play-on-words, is a literary method and a type of brilliance wherein the words employed already become a major subject of the work, mainly for the goal of effect or enjoyment. Puns, auditory mix-ups like idiomatic phrases, cryptic words and interpretations, brilliant rhetorical explorations, weirdly formed phrases, double punch lines, and revealing new characters are all examples of wordplay.

The pun is a wordplay that’s also created by utilizing a term with many meanings or by combining words with similar sounds but different meanings. Writers generally utilize puns to generate a comic impact by exploiting word ambiguity. Puns come in a variety of shapes and sizes.

Comparison Table Between Wordplay and Pun

Parameters of ComparisonWordplayPun
Definition according to WikipediaWordplay is a type of technique where the main focus is words and it is used as entertainment or intended effect.The pun is a type of wordplay.
As nounA collection of conversations where words are used for entertainment (witty conversation).A similar type of sense of word or phrase or different senses of the same words is used to play.
SynonymsDouble entendres, witQuip, double meaning
UsageThe author uses the art of wordplay to provide an effect of positivity in their content.It is used to make a conversation interesting and entertaining.
VerbWordplay cannot be used as a verbTo beat or strike

What is Wordplay?

The clever and witty use of words and meaning is known as wordplay (or wordplay, and also known as play-on-words). It entails forming entertaining and often humorous written and oral statements utilizing literary devices and techniques such as consonance, assonance, spelling, alliteration, onomatopoeia, rhyme, acronym, pun, and slang (to mention a few). The use of wordplay tactics draws on numerous parts of rhetoric, including spelling, phonetics (the sound and pronunciation of words), and semantics (the meaning of words) (meaning of words).

Wordplay is used by most writers to some level, although some writers are committed to, or are excellent in using it as a main component of work. Shakespeare’s “quibbles” have earned him a reputation as a witty punster. For his famed wordplay, P.G. Wodehouse got hailed by The Times for being a comic genius recognized in his life as a classic and an old master. Another well-known wordsmith is James Joyce, author of Ulysses. For example, Joyce’s statement “they were Yung and readily Freudened” in Finnegan Wake suggests “they were young and easily scared,” but the former also creates an effective pun on the names of two prominent psychoanalysts, Jung and Freud.

The use of wordplay goes well beyond jokes and humor. It makes the language more engaging, clever, and humorous than when standard words and phrases are used. It may be found in the classics of literature and philosophy, from Plato to Shakespeare to Mark Twain, where it plays an important role in rhetoric. Furthermore, it is an integral component of all languages and cultures around the world, employed by individuals of all ages as well as outstanding authors, speakers, and storytellers. Kids start employing wordplay as soon as they start cracking jokes!

What is Pun?              

Puns, also known as paronomasia, are a type of wordplay in which various understanding of a word or same-sounding words is used for a  rhetorical effect or comic.  The purposeful use of metonymic, homographic, metaphorical, or homophonic l language might result in these difficulties. A pun differs from a malapropism, malapropism is an improper version of an expression, but a pun is made up of expressions having many (right or reasonably acceptable) readings. Puns are sometimes referred to as inside jokes or idiomatic expressions because their meaning and usage are typically limited to a single language or culture.

In-jokes and comic shows, puns are a basic source of humor. They’re frequently employed as the punch line of a joke, they usually add a twist to an otherwise story. Feghoots is another name for these. The punchline is an example that comes from the film Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World, however, it has far older Vaudeville roots. The final line is a play on the phrase “lesser of two evils.” After Aubrey’s pun (to the delight of many), Dr. Maturin responds, “One who would pun would pick-a-pocket.”

Puns appear repeatedly in the titles of parodies. A popular song”s parody, movie or other work may be given a title that alluded to the title of the piece being parodied by substituting terms that sound or appear similar. For example, to attract admirers, collegiate Cappella groups are frequently called after musical puns. Such a title can immediately signal both that what follows is a parody and whose work is about to be parodied, without the need for any additional “setup” (introduction).

Main Differences Between Wordplay and Pun

  1. Wordplay is a type of technique where words are the main focus and used to create some amusing effects which can entertain people whereas pun is a form of wordplay.
  2. If these words are seen as nouns, Wordplay refers to a collection of conversation which is amusing and interesting and this is only possible with the help of wordplay whereas pun is a type of wordplay where the symmetry of sound or sense is used. Different senses of the same word can also be considered.
  3. The words which can be replaced by wordplay are wit or double entendres whereas puns can be exchanged using quip or double meaning.
  4. If the example of wordplay is needed, we can consider the sentence “The author uses wordplay to give an effect of positivity in the poem”. For Pun, the statement will be “To make a pun”.
  5. Wordplay word cannot be used as a verb whereas pun is used as a verb where it refers to beat or to strike.


There are many ways to express thoughts but the words dominate them the most. The reason behind it is that they are the most convenient way to express and understand others. This gift can also be used by many people to make others smile or laugh. That entertainment is related to wordplay.

There are many ways to make a conversation interesting and there is the role where pun comes into the picture. The pun is a type of wordplay which covers a specific section of the wordplay which is related to the same aspect. The aspect can be sound, sense, or word.


  1. https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/HUMR.2011.012/html
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0378216604002255
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