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It’s likely you know more than 20 very funny English puns, just from casual conversations and witty comedy entertainers. Clever puns do seem to pop up everywhere, which is a good thing because they keep us smiling (and maybe even rolling our eyes once in a while).

Puns have been around for a very long time. Did you know they have been traced back to ancient civilizations and communications?

They’ve been found to be used in old Roman plays; Egyptian myths and dream interpretations; in BC China; in the Hebrew Bible; in BC Mesopotamian cuneiform; in Mayan hieroglyphic writings; in old Japanese graphomania; and in Tamil and Telugu literature and language.

As we all know, puns and pun jokes provide a clever wordplay that either twists a term or infers double or multiple meanings for a word. It can use similar sounds or spellings to create a funny rhetorical switch. They can be formed in subtle or bold ways, and usually are crafted to fit the audience or listener so they can pick up on the comedy of it. Funny puns are particular for each culture, and funny puns for kids are an even more sweetly specific category.

Here are some various examples of puns or skip to get to our very funny English puns list:

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Compound puns

This cunning version has two parts. They need each other to “survive”. Usually, the sentence starts out innocently enough and ends with a bang. An example of a compound pun:

“Don’t scam on your test in the jungle — Cheetahs are always spotted.”

Recursive puns

Like compound puns, recursive puns have two parts. The first is just an awareness or knowledge of a topic. The listener or reader must understand that in order to process the way the pun is presented. For example, one would have to know about the Star Wars movies and the fact that May 4 is ‘Star Wars Day’ to appreciate the pun:

“May the Fourth Be With You.”

Homophonic puns

Homophones are words that sound the same but have different meanings and often different spellings. One can twist homophones into funny pun jokes in some creative ways. For example, interchanging the right and write:

“We made a list of the crimes committed, putting forth an effort to write the wrongs.”

Homographic puns

These puns are visual and must be seen to be understood. It takes homographs, which are words that are spelled exactly the same but have different meanings, and uses them in a purposefully wrong way. Sometimes these are called heteronymic puns, too. Here’s an example:

“Time flies like a jetliner and fruit flies like an old banana.”

There are other types of puns, too, such as visual — which are often seen in symbols, signs, and logos — and artistic puns, where a painting or drawing includes something subtly funny with a double meaning. There are also other rhetorical stylings and wordplays like ambigrams, palindromes, oxymorons, chiasmus, tongue twisters, redefinition, and portmanteau words. So many witty possibilities in the world of words!

Common uses

Puns are used in everyday life and in schools all over the world. Humor helps in many situations, including learning environments. In fact, some say that we retain information much better when it is injected with a bit of laughter and fun.

Clever puns are seen frequently in comedic television shows and movies. They are presented as punchlines of jokes and even ease the tension in many dramatic scenes. Parodies, songs, stage performances, skits, speaker presentations — all have effectively used puns to endear themselves and get the positive attention of their audiences. Puns are wonderful ice breakers and speech rejuvenators.

They are used throughout history in literature, as well. From ancient plays to current magazine articles and blog posts, puns for kids and adults amuse and delight. There is no end in sight for the use of funny puns, as human beings do love to be surprised and provoked to laugh with clever use of wordplay when they read or watch a performance.

20 Very Funny English Puns

With more than 20 very funny English puns here, you are sure to find good use in lesson plans or upbeat conversation for some of these. Students, friends, and family can always use a great giggle, right?

Check out this silly list of puns:
  1. Your home is your castle, in a manner of speaking.
  2. If you gossip a lot, you must have a good sense of rumor.
  3. Your life would be pointless without geometry.
  4. Religious leaders must all have an alter ego.
  5. Don’t speak poorly of the dead — that’s a grave mistake.
  6. Going without pizza for 7 whole days makes one weak.
  7. When silkworms race they always end up in a tie.
  8. When the neutron finished his meal at the restaurant, the waiter ripped up the bill and said, “For you, no charge.”
  9. Who is the least guilty of all former presidents? Lincoln, because he is in a cent.
  10. A scientist took the day off and put this sign on his door: “Gone Fission.”
  11. I quit being a teacher because I didn’t have enough classes.
  12. I tried selling velcro but I couldn’t stick with it.
  13. Santa Claus calls his little helpers subordinate clauses.
  14. Her photographic memory wasn’t fully developed.
  15. After trying to figure out the effects of lightning for years, it finally struck me.
  16. A boiled egg for breakfast is hard to beat.
  17. When chickens dance, it’s poultry in motion.
  18. When two antennas got married, the ceremony was boring… but the reception was brilliant!
  19. You can always trust glue salespeople because they stick to their word.
  20. Even when you push the envelope it remains stationery.

Enjoy your own wordplay and be sure to have pun…er, fun!