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

Bobby inherited my father’s extraordinary gift for humor and wordplay and, as J. R. Pick, became one of Czechoslovakia’s leading satirical writers. Zuzana Justman, The New Yorker, "My Terezín Diary," 9 Sep. 2019 The lyrics instead mostly preoccupy themselves with wordplay that swings between excellence and something worse than a dad joke. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Chance the Rapper Wants You to Get Married," 30 July 2019 Great on his own, especially here, with some expert wordplay on his verses and an infectious, boastful flow. Billboard Staff, Billboard, "The 50 Best Songs of 2018 (So Far): Critics' Picks," 6 June 2018 Vintage Conway: profound, pathbreaking, disturbing, original, dazzling, witty and splattered with outrageous Carrollian wordplay. Quanta Magazine, "A Life in Games," 28 Aug. 2015 In the end, its nonsensical tide of wordplay made total sense. Manuel Mendoza, Dallas News, "There was none better than Katherine Owens, whose brilliant career at Undermain Theatre ends at 61," 23 July 2019 Appropriation for the sake of wordplay can’t even be characterized as a tribute to Japan or a nod to the culture. Ephrat Livni, Quartzy, "Read the letter from Kyoto’s mayor to Kim Kardashian protesting “Kimono” shapewear," 30 June 2019 The wordplay is relentless as a quartet of scholarly men try (and fail) to avoid romance, and slapstick acting sometimes just gets in the way. Washington Post, "13 things to do in the D.C. area this week," 10 June 2019 The story can also illustrate the perils of wordplay, of course. Luc Sante, Harper's magazine, "A Crew of Variegated Weirdos," 10 Jan. 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.

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First Known Use of wordplay

1794, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for wordplay

Last Updated

7 Oct 2019

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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

More from Merriam-Webster on wordplay

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with wordplay

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