(744 words)


Punning (paronomasía) is a play on words based on similarity in sound. Examples abound in Aristophanic comedy and Gorgias but are also well attested in periods and genres from Homeric epic to the Late Antique jokebook known as the Philogelos. The line between puns and ancient etymologizing is not clearly drawn.

The Greek word for ‘pun’ ‒ that is to say, a play on words based on similarity in sound ‒ is paronomasía ( Lausberg 1990³:322-325), a term whose first certain attestation is in a Roman work, Cic. De or. 2.256, where it is us…

Cite this page
Joshua T. Katz, “Puns”, in: Encyclopedia of Ancient Greek Language and Linguistics, Managing Editors Online Edition: First Last. Consulted online on 16 February 2019 <http://dx.doi.org/10.1163/2214-448X_eagll_SIM_00000522>
First published online: 2013

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