Puns are pretty great. At least, we at the House of Frying Pun think so. People have been trying to define puns for a while now but it is actually notoriously hard to define it to bring out its truest effect. However, it is surely wordplay that is super versatile in usage. It can be used in silly ways for a laugh or in very impactful ways to convey multiple meanings.
The most common type is what you hear your close friend cracking, which eventually gets them a label of being a dork. But the sheer possibilities of interpretations of puns is what makes them so interesting. Every pun is ambiguous and creates an opportunity of adding layers to meaning, even if only a few words are used.
Across many industries today, we see Marketing teams use puns to convey complex ideas to the general public using puns because they are such powerful tools. To the extent, it has been seen that puns have been used politically in the past as well.
For instance, long before Pollack served under the Clinton Presidency in the US. Sources say that even during the signing of the Declaration of Independence in The United States, Benjamin Franklin said, “We must all hang together or assuredly we shall all hang separately.” Geddit? This is a literal quote. We are not making this up.
We haven’t kept records of such quotes from our Indian leaders, but pretty sure they’ve used them in some scenario or the other. That’s the beauty of puns, nearly every major language can be used to make them. The stuff we can find on our internet is living proof that this has happened. From celebrities to commoners, we’ve all made puns at some point.
The earliest citation of a pun can be found in the first edition of Abraham Cowley’s comedy The Guardian from 1641. This play has a character named Mr. Puny who is described as “a young Gallant, a pretender to Wit.” Now the character’s name and description point at different interpretations. Cowley has not used the word ‘pun’ but has put a pun in action because ‘Puny’ could describe someone who is either tiny or punished or both. What was he trying to say? We don’t know. But we sure are glad he made the pun!