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Paronomasia

 

Techniques > Use of language > Figures of speech > Paronomasia

Method | Example | Discussion | See also

 

Description

Paronomasia is the use of similar-sounding words to cause confusion, often for humorous effect.

Example

You can tune a file system, but you can't tune a fish. ('tuna fish' - from a Unix manual)

We egged on the runners, but the yolk was on us.

I've a library in my trousers. Now there's a turn-up for the books!

Discussion

Humor is based on the unexpected, and setting up confusion through ambiguous use of words is a classic and usually inoffensive source of wit.

Paronomasia is the basis of puns, which is a short word that is less (or maybe more) punishing.

Classification: Hidden, Humor.

See also

Confusion principle

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