Definition of a play on words in English:

a play on words

phrase

  • A pun.

    ‘every page contains a subtle play on words or arresting metaphor’
    • ‘If the title contains subtlety, or a play on words, or something that Germans are unlikely to be able to easily translate, they may go for a different English language title.’
    • ‘The word Utopia, in More's hands, is actually a play on words.’
    • ‘‘The title's a play on words, really,’ he explains.’
    • ‘He said: ‘The youth church will be called Sorted, which is a bit of a play on words, because as well as being a trendy, youth culture word, ‘soter’ is Greek for salvation.’
    • ‘It is called sound geometry and is just a play on words really because the CD's are about sound usually and it is a very geometrical concept.’
    • ‘By his own admission, the self-congratulatory title is actually a play on words based on the legendary Studio One in Kingston.’
    • ‘The headline, ‘The Last Anchor,’ is a play on words: ‘anchor’ as in anchorman and also any object that secures firmly.’
    • ‘Why is something less ‘obscene’ because it's a play on words?’
    • ‘For those of you out there who didn't realise it was a play on words.’
    • ‘‘Modern ‘readers of this book are in for a pleasant surprise from the outset - its very title turns out to be a play on words.’’
    • ‘I was unprepared, though, for the excellence of chef Willie Little's establishment Exceed - a play on words which refers to the premises, once the shop and loft for seed merchants.’
    pun, wordplay, double entendre, double meaning, innuendo, witticism, quip, quibble
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