The Best of Puns, the Worst of Puns

atkins-bookshelf-wordsThe pun, of course, is a much maligned form of humor. Noah Webster, in his first edition of the American Dictionary of the English Language (1828) defines the pun as “an expression in which a word has at once different meanings; an expression in which two different applications of a word present an odd or ludicrous idea; a kind of quibble or equivocation; a low species of wit.” Sigmund Freud, in his seminal work Wit and Relation to the Unconscious (1917), added: “Puns are generally counted as the lowest form of wit, perhaps because they are cheaper and can be formed with the least effort.” Sounds like the father of psychoanalysis suffers from pun envy. In an article for the New York Times, Joseph Tartakovsky posits: “Puns are the feeblest species of humor because they are ephemeral: whatever comic force they possess never outlasts the split second it takes to resolve the semantic confusion.” Punsters will counter that if the pun is the lowest form, then it is the foundation of all wit. Known for his razor-sharp wit, comedian Oscar Levant declared: “A pun is the lowest form of humor — when you don’t think of it first.” Take that, Noah and Siggy! 

For punsters, the internet, serves as a giant sandbox, where they can all step in, gluttons for punishment, and hurl puns at one another, howling with devilish glee (and not a single groan!) that only a true paronomasiac can appreciate. Here are the best of puns or the worst of puns, depending on your perspective.

A cartoonist was found dead in his home. The details of his death are sketchy.

A dyslexic man walked into a bra.

All the toilets in New York’s police stations have been stolen. Police have nothing to go on.

A soldier who survived mustard gas and pepper spray is now a seasoned veteran.

Be kind to your dentist — he has fillings, too.

Broken pencils are really pointless.

Class trip to the Coca-Cola factory. I hope there’s no pop quiz.

Earthquake in Washington obviously government’s fault.

England has no kidney bank, but it does have a Liverpool.

Haunted French pancakes give me the crepes.

How does Moses make his tea? Hebrews it.

How do you make holy water? Boil the hell out of it.

I did a theatrical performance about puns. It was a play on words.

I didn’t like my beard at first. Then it grew on me.

I dropped out of communism class because of lousy Marx.

I got a job at a bakery because I kneaded dough.

I know a guy who’s addicted to brake fluid. He says he can stop any time.

I should have searched for my missing watch, but I could never find the time.

I stayed up all night to see where the sun went. Then it dawned on me.

I tried to catch some fog, but I mist.

I used to be a banker, but then I lost interest.

I used to have a fear of hurdles, but I got over it.

I used to think I was indecisive, but now I’m not so sure.

If towels could tell jokes, they would probably have a dry sense of humor.

If you asked a plastic surgeon to make you look like a pelican, would you get a massive bill?

I’m reading a book about anti-gravity. I can’t put it down.

Jokes about German sausage are the wurst.

The cross eyed teacher was fired because she couldn’t control her pupils.

The Energizer bunny was arrested; he was charged with battery.

The podiatry book used footnotes while the proctology book used endnotes.

They told me I had type A blood, but it was a type-O.

This girl said she recognized me from the vegetarian club, but I’d never met herbivore.

Velcro – what a rip off!

Venison for dinner? Oh deer!

What does a clock do when it’s hungry? It goes back four seconds.

What do you call a dinosaur with a extensive vocabulary? A thesaurus.

When ancient wall sculptors finished their work, it was a relief.

When chemists die, they barium.

When you get a bladder infection, urine trouble.

Read related posts: Top Ten Puns
Best Pi Puns

For further reading:

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