Definition of wordplay in US English:



  • The witty exploitation of the meanings and ambiguities of words, especially in puns.

    ‘so many of the jokes are based on wordplay’
    • ‘If you survive his maze of dense wordplay and obscure references, you will probably not find anything too terribly profound, but you'll still be smarter.’
    • ‘That kind of heady wordplay isn't always consistent or accessible, yet it generates excitement with every vivid line.’
    • ‘That level of weasel wordplay is for professionals only.’
    • ‘However, anyone up for catchy tunes and witty wordplay will be rewarded by this album's warm left-field charm and intelligence.’
    • ‘As you know, it's not unknown for me to make bad jokes, especially where wordplay is involved.’
    • ‘Jackson is the poet ever alert to phonetic ambiguities and other forms of wordplay.’
    • ‘The main thing I remember is how funny Jimmy was, his weakness for dumb puns and wordplay.’
    • ‘Shiny, colourful, mass-produced materials and images abound, as well as irony, wordplay and visual jokes.’
    • ‘But he makes up for it by deft wordplay and a sharp wit.’
    • ‘Back then, it was largely based around the interest we had in wordplay and rhyming about things that MCs don't normally rhyme about.’
    • ‘Here are a few movie taglines, based on some wordplay on their name.’
    • ‘It's a panel show, riddled with puns, cultural references, and wordplay.’
    • ‘Women, they say, laughed more at jokes involving wordplay, while men preferred more aggressive humor.’
    • ‘I'm usually pretty leery of investing a lot in over-clever wordplay.’
    • ‘Without being particularly inventive, it is still a passable excuse for the protagonists to go places, draw swords and engage in smart wordplay.’
    • ‘There's the weary, gravelly vocal style they share, the theatrical, elegantly sleazy wordplay and, of course, the ears.’
    • ‘Even behind bars, Bruce instantly came to be known as the mighty king of puns and wordplay.’
    • ‘No, stop it, George - really, you're killing us with your witty wordplay.’
    • ‘But instead of name calling and personal attacks, the weapons of choice are logic, wordplay and witty repartee.’
    • ‘She always thought that I was the one using wordplay to make a joke at her expense.’
    punning, puns, double entendres, play on words
    View synonyms