This may seem like a lame question without much thought, and it really is, but did any (mainly Classical because we're all brainwashed into believing that this is the optimal stage of Latin, but other ages accepted,) authors use words that sound alike to make a joke about their relationship? If this is too broad, and there are far too many notable examples available, feel free to flag or vote to close it. In an example, please include a brief explanation of the context and like words.

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    All the time - one example that comes to mind (I read it this morning) Horace odes 1.18.7: ac ne quis modici transiliat munera Liberi: we're more accustomed to leaping over moenia than munera. Word play and etymologizing show off the poet's skill and knowledge. You're going to need to narrow it down; are you looking for a specific kind of pun? Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 21:00
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    Actually, I was looking for any pun. If nobody can give an answer other than this, you could vote to close this question. I never thought that they would be rather common. Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 21:24
  • Puns are not rare. If you are looking for anything whatsoever to get a concrete example, please indicate that in the question. Of course you can also narrow it down if you want.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 21:54
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    Alright, let's wait for someone with more Latin experience (and reputation (: ) to weigh in then - there might be some general principles that can be put down, or a natural modification to make this more answerable. Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 22:06
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    Puns are certainly not rare in Latin! Pompeii graffiti preserves the oldest known advertising pun, for instance, one of my favorite random facts. Many of the poets enjoyed using wordplay in their work, and some of Plautus's verge on "dad jokes".
    – Draconis
    Commented Mar 13, 2017 at 22:48

1 Answer 1


The question can obviously never be answered completely, but the basic answer is of course yes. Puns are all around us, everywhere we go.

One of the examples I remember best, from class, is the rather grim wordplay in Apuleius, Met. VIII, 6 when a bride-to-be finds her future husband murdered:

invita remansit in vita

translatable as:

she remained, unwillingly, alive

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    Maybe we should just turn this answer into a community wiki ? That way, as far as I understand the concept, anyone can edit and there's no huge rep advantage to the original post.
    – blagae
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 8:10
  • If you want to turn your answer into CW, flag it and write a custom message "Please make this CW." or something.
    – Joonas Ilmavirta
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 14:13
  • @blagae I didn't think this was necessary. It was a short and simple but entirely sufficient answer to a question, no need to turn it into CW, I think.
    – cmw
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 14:21
  • I would like to avoid that this kind of question is 'answered' by a hundred comments with separate examples, so it seems logical to me to pool them in a CW. I don't mind the rep anyway :)
    – blagae
    Commented Mar 14, 2017 at 14:27

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