wordplay

noun
word·​play | \ ˈwərd-ˌplā How to pronounce wordplay (audio) \

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 The puns that were too beautifully belabored to use A clever pun is heaven for some, which may explain why the Good Place hosted prime time’s best wordplays. Dan Snierson, EW.com, "The Good Bye: The Good Place creator Mike Schur looks back on four seasons of magic and morality," 30 Jan. 2020 Yet there was far more to Mr. James than sharp observation and clever wordplay. BostonGlobe.com, "You're using a browser set to private or incognito mode.," 29 Nov. 2019 Yet there was far more to Mr. James than sharp observation and clever wordplay. Matt Schudel, Washington Post, "Clive James, Australian-born TV host, writer, critic and all-around wit, dies at 80," 27 Nov. 2019 The animated figures hew closely to Addams’ cartoons, imparted in the dry, deadpan, punny wordplay integral to the Addams appeal. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, "Review: Animated ‘The Addams Family’ stays true to creepy, kooky form," 10 Oct. 2019 Melodies inevitably appear from inside the opiated haze of instrumentation and the sometimes archly clever wordplay. Greg Kot, chicagotribune.com, "Album review wrap-up: Nick Cave transforms, the Highwomen rise, Tool returns, and more," 9 Oct. 2019 This story, however, didn't need any clever wordplay to be fascinating. Eric Bangeman, Ars Technica, "The 20 most popular sci-tech stories of 2019," 24 Dec. 2019 There is neon wordplay perhaps inspired by the modern artist Jenny Holzer, with whom Abloh has collaborated on a fashion show spotlighting immigration woes. Steve Johnson, chicagotribune.com, "Virgil Abloh's journey — from T-shirts to Kanye West to Louis Vuitton — now stops at the MCA for an exhibit devoted to the Rockford artist," 5 June 2019 Cryptics, by comparison, age gracefully: their sphinxlike wordplay has a long shelf life. Nicholas Henriquez Liz Maynes-aminzade, The New Yorker, "Reintroducing The New Yorker’s Cryptic Crossword," 26 Nov. 2019

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.

See More

First Known Use of wordplay

1794, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about wordplay

Time Traveler for wordplay

Time Traveler

The first known use of wordplay was in 1794

See more words from the same year

Statistics for wordplay

Last Updated

10 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Wordplay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wordplay. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for wordplay

wordplay

noun
How to pronounce wordplay (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of wordplay

: playful or clever use of words

More from Merriam-Webster on wordplay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wordplay

Comments on wordplay

What made you want to look up wordplay? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!