Fun with Puns

Fun with Puns

Found at Jot HQ the other day, a small booklet of 48 pages entitled  A Pennyworth of Puns, which in its references to Home Rule and The New Woman,  can be dated to the close of the nineteenth century. In its attempts to describe various types of pun, to date its origin to Ancient Greece and to comment on its place in the history of English humour, this is more a disquisition on the pun than a mere list of examples of it. Perhaps we should begin with some punning book titles.   

In a previous Jot we listed some witty book titles which one writer had concocted for books in his library. Thomas Hood was asked by the Duke of Devonshire to come up with titles that he could place on the spines of a ‘ blind door ‘ in his library at Chatsworth. Not all can be appreciated today, but the following are some of the best.

Book titles

Cooke’s Specimens of the Sandwich Tongue 

Wolfe’s Treatment of Sheep

Boyle on the Gums

Bunyan on the Foot: by a Pilgrim

Walker’s Excursions to the Birthplaces of distinguished Travellers.


Why is a postage stamp like a naughty boy?

Because it’s licked and put in a corner.

What makes Treason reason, and Ireland wretched ?

The absentee (T)

Why is it a dangerous thing to sit in the free seats at church?

Because you learn to be good for nothing

Why is a novelist the most extraordinary of animals?

Because his tale comes out of his head.

Why is blindman’s buff like sympathy ?

Because it is a fellow feeling for a fellow creature.

When is a ship in love ?

When she is attached to a buoy

When is her love serious?

When she wants a mate.

Douglas Jerrold.

A dissipated litterateur applying to Jerrold for money, said, “ You know, Jerrold, we both row in the same boat.” “Ay”, said Jerrold, “ but thank God, with different 


Samuel Johnson

Johnson, referring to the practice of borrowing books and not returning them, remarked that  though some of his friends were poor hands at keeping accounts, they were first-rate book keepers.

Robert Peel.

When Peel’s brother-in-law came back unsuccessful from his election contest ay Devonport, Peel said, “ Well, George, you are back, but not returned !”


If two coats of paint are enough for one house, would a third be a waste-coat?

Can a baby that has fallen asleep be described as a form of kid-napping ?


Two shoemakers travelling together were asked by a gentleman at the table hote as to their occupations, “I practice the heeling art, said one. “ And I”, said the other, “ labour for the good of men’s soles”.


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