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 Its darker, more topical currents are veiled in a combination of wordplay, striking melodies and deft arrangements, and surrounded by songs on other topics. Allan Kozinn, WSJ, "‘McCartney III’ by Paul McCartney Review: Songs From a Homebound Beatle," 15 Dec. 2020 Daniel Dumile, the masked rapper who performed as MF Doom and built a lasting underground fan base with his offbeat wordplay and comic-book persona, died on Oct. 31, a statement from his family said on Thursday. New York Times, "MF Doom, Masked Rapper With Intricate Rhymes, Is Dead at 49," 31 Dec. 2020 The Minnesota native specializes in adorable puns, clever wordplay and a cheerleader's spirit. Neal Justin, Star Tribune, "Her heart stopped, but this Minnesota comedian bounced back: 'This is my second life.'," 10 Dec. 2020 These songs, several of which feature productions by Mr. Mathers, exist to showcase his wordplay, settle a few scores, and crack a whole lot of jokes, a significant percentage of which are cringe-inducing. Mark Richardson, WSJ, "‘Music to Be Murdered By—Side B’ by Eminem Review: Wordplay That Wears Thin," 22 Dec. 2020 Bit by bit, this pervasive yet subtle wordplay begins to strip words of their meanings. Dan Kopf, Quartz, "This is the year Hong Kong began speaking the Communist Party’s authoritarian language," 16 Dec. 2020 Harlow’s laid back flow and wordplay are top-notch. Troy L. Smith, cleveland, "Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s ‘WAP’ is the undisputed song of 2020," 6 Dec. 2020 Critics adored his wordplay, and audiences made his first two records big hits. David A. Graham, The Atlantic, "Why a 41-Year-Old Record About Fascism Matters Now," 30 Nov. 2020 Conway delighted in anagrams, wordplay and subtle verbal clues that few readers would notice. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, "Agatha Christie fans, take note: Anthony Horowitz has a clever new twist on the classic whodunit," 11 Nov. 2020

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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The first known use of wordplay was in 1794

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Last Updated

8 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Wordplay.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/wordplay. Accessed 25 Feb. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of wordplay

: playful or clever use of words

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