word·​play | \ˈwərd-ˌplā \

Definition of wordplay 

: playful use of words : verbal wit

Examples of wordplay in a Sentence

Oscar Wilde was famous for his witty wordplay.

Recent Examples on the Web

Which seems like a cheeky bit of wordplay until one remembers that the word has a historical antecedent with important context. Andrew Zaleski, Curbed, "Can Apple stores be public spaces?," 3 Oct. 2018 Blindspotting is thus laced with wordplay, at times spinning out into full-on freestyling, and this furnishes some of the most memorable moments in the film (including its ending). Alissa Wilkinson, Vox, "Blindspotting is the rare buddy comedy that tackles social issues. It works.," 19 July 2018 Filled with wordplay and tongue-in-cheek references to the haters and negativity that the group has encountered in the past, the song came out of the group’s fifth-anniversary 2018 Festa celebrations. Tamar Herman, Billboard, "BTS' ARMY Reacts to 'Ddaeng' Diss Track," 11 June 2018 Repartee, off-the-cuff jokes, wordplay (suboptimal is a favorite theme-word), pop references, and a lot of bald-guy jokes (since Bennett is one and Davies will be) punctuate knowledgeable, indeed obsessive, football talk. John Timpane, Philly.com, "Men in Blazers: 'This is easily the greatest World Cup in the history of the entire universe'," 2 July 2018 With inventive flows, razor-sharp wordplay, and an infectious, laid-back delivery, Reyna quickly made a name for herself within Monterrey’s scene. Andrea Alonso, Los Angeles Magazine, "Why You Should be Listening to Mexican-Born, L.A.-Based Rapper Niña Dioz," 5 June 2018 The Wall Street Journal’s Robert McMillan explores how security experts and techies lean on puns and punchy wordplay to make their discoveries stand out. Lara O’reilly, WSJ, "CMO Today: Zuckerberg Returns From Washington; Facebook Time Spent Slips; E-Cig Ads Recall Big Tobacco Creative," 12 Apr. 2018 But why a gecko should come to represent an insurance company baffled him, beyond the obvious wordplay, which seemed weak even for advertising and was outdone only by the Aflac Duck. David Gilbert, The New Yorker, "Fungus," 4 June 2017 You'll be smitten by witty banter and clever wordplay, so enjoy cultivating these buoyant, intellectual bonds. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Your Sign's June 2018 Horoscope Predictions Mean for You," 29 May 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'wordplay.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of wordplay

1794, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for wordplay

Last Updated

17 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for wordplay

The first known use of wordplay was in 1794

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English Language Learners Definition of wordplay

: playful or clever use of words

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wordplay

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a nest or breeding place

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