Transpositional pun

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A transpositional pun is a complicated pun format with two aspects. It involves transposing the words in a well-known phrase or saying to get a daffynition-like clever redefinition of a well-known word unrelated to the original phrase; the redefinition is thus the first aspect, the transposition the second aspect. As a result, transpositional puns are considered among the most difficult to create, and commonly the most challenging to comprehend, particularly for non-native speakers of the language in which they're given (most commonly English).[1]


Pun Original reference
Alimony: The bounty of mutiny.[2] The Mutiny on the Bounty
Dieting: A waist is a terrible thing to mind. "A mind is a terrible thing to waste", the motto of the United Negro College Fund.
Hangovers: The wrath of grapes. The Grapes of Wrath
Olympic officials: The souls that time men's tries. Thomas Paine's saying "These are the times that try men's souls".
The oboe: An ill wind nobody blows good. "'tis an ill wind that blows nobody any good".
Feudalism: It's your count that votes! "It's your vote that counts!"
Soldiers of fortune: Give chance a piece "Give peace a chance"
Vigilantism: the soul of the Dark Knight "The dark night of the soul"
Trophies: the memory of persistence The Persistence of Memory

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Pollack, John (2012). The Pun Also Rises. Gotham Books. pp. 12–13. ISBN 978-1-59240-675-3.
  2. ^ Sulek, Edward (2008). Words of a Father. Xlibris. p. 37.[self-published source]