Archive for Puns

Pots and puns

Edward FitzGerald’s translation of Omar Khayyam’s Rubaiyat includes several verses making an analogy between clay pots and humans, and between the Potter and God. In a note, FitzGerald adds: This Relation of Pot and Potter to Man and his Maker figures far and wide in the Literature of the World, from the time of the […]

Dog crosses

Philpotts (the cooperative’s dog) is a cross between an Afghan and an English sheepdog; first he chases the sheep, then he knits them into sweaters. (From Joanna Russ’s novel On Strike Against God.) I welcome suggestions for what other hybrid dog breeds might do, along similar lines.

More puns

Back in 2013, I posted a collection of puns that my uncle Dobe had sent me. Several of them had a format I particularly like: a brief situation setup, followed by a common phrase that, in this context, is a pun. My favorite example (listed on that page): “I wondered why the baseball was getting […]

Bear and bar

A bear walks into a bar and says, “I’ll have a beer ……… and a whiskey.” The bartender says, “Why the big pause?” I had never heard that before, and I laughed out loud when I ran into it online the other day. Turns out it’s widely enough known that there’s even a song based […]

Fruit on wheels

As for this tropical fruit: it lived a long and happy life. When it retired, it faced a quandary: it loved its house, but it also loved to travel. In the end, it put wheels on the house and traveled all over the place, having many wonderful adventures. And that’s the story of this old […]


My father told me a joke a couple of times when I was a kid that I could never entirely reconstruct later. I just found a version of it in a 1908 O. Henry story, “The Man Higher Up.” Partway through the story, a man named Alfred E. Ricks has been selling land in Florida […]

edifice complex

I thought I just heard US Rep Donna Shalala (D-FL) say on NPR that Donald Trump has an Oedipus complex. It gradually became clear that what she had actually said was “edifice complex”—which is pretty clever, but perhaps not a great choice of phrase for radio, where a slightly staticky signal could easily result in […]


Gneiss is one of those words that I have a hard time not making jokes about. I’m in the midst of labeling my photos from a 2014 trip to the British Museum. In most cases, I took a photo of a piece of art and then took a photo of the nearby explanatory card, but […]

Double garden path

Turns out that although I mentioned garden-path sentences once here in passing, I’ve never really written about them. A garden-path sentence is one that initially leads the reader to parse it in one way, but turns out to be structured differently than it appeared to be. The usual example, and the first example I encountered, […]

Puns from Facebook

Every now and then, I come up with a pun that I like, and I post it to Facebook. I’m now collecting those posts on a Words & Stuff page. (Which I’ll add to over time.) Oddly, all the ones I’ve put on that page so far have been posted in April of various years. […]