Welcome to the website woven for wordaholics, logolepts, and verbivores. Carnivores eat meat; herbivores eat plants and vegetables; verbivores devour words. If you are heels over head (as well as head over heels) in love with words, tarry here a while to graze or, perhaps, feast on the English language. Ours is the only language in which you drive in a parkway and park in a driveway and your nose can run and your feet can smell.

 

In our exuberant country we celebrate just about everything, so it may come as no surprise to you that tomorrow, March 4, pun-up girls and pun gents observe National Pun Day.

According to a YouGov.com survey of 8,314 U.S, adults, most Americans appreciate and even adore puns. The study shows that 38 percent of us like puns and 21 percent of us love puns, while only 10 percent of us dislike or hate them. (The rest are unsure of how they feel.)

Three groups are particularly fond of plays on words — 68 percent of millennials, 72 percent of college graduates and 76 percent of Americans with a postgraduate degree.

I’ve been an unrepentant pun pal all my life and truly believe that the pun is worth celebrating — all year round. After all, the pun is mightier than the sword, and these days you are much more likely to run into a pun than into a sword.

Punnery is largely the trick of compacting two or more ideas into a single word or expression. Punnery challenges us to apply the greatest pressure per square syllable of language. Punnery surprises us by flouting the law of nature that pretends that two things cannot occupy the same space at the same time. Punnery is an exercise of the mind at being concise.

Punning is a rewording experience. The inveterate (not invertebrate) punster believes that a good pun is like a good steak — a rare medium well done. Before you start beefing and stewing about my meaty pun, notice that in my prey on words, rare, medium and well done are double entendres so that six meanings are crammed into the space ordinarily occupied by just three.

Have you heard about the successful perfume manufacturer? Her business made a lot of scents (cents, sense)! Within the brief compass of a one-syllable word are packed three different meanings and spellings.

I especially enjoy the cruel and unusual punishment of serial puns. For example, have you heard about these Knights of the Round Table?:

  • Sir Cumference, the roundest Knight at the Round Table;
  •  Sir Loin, the rarest of the knights;
  • Sir Cumcision, who always cut people off;
  • Sir Prize, who always came up with something new;
  • Sir Cus, the foul-mouthed clown;
  • Sir Mount, the brave knight;
  • Sir Render, the cowardly knight;
  • Sir Rendipitous, who stumbled upon the Holy Grail by sheer luck;
  • Sir Press, the royal censor;
  • Sir Amic, who had feet of clay;
  • Sir Real, the otherworldly knight;
  • Sir Plus, the over-the-top knight;
  • Sir Reptitious, the secretive knight who always repeated himself;
  • Sir Charge and Sir Tax, the capitalists;
  • and Sir Lee, the teenage knight.

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Recently, Marilyn vos Savant, whose popular column reposes in Parade magazine each week, issued a word challenge. She asked readers to send her lists of four-letter words that can change the vowels a, e, i, o and u and still be words. I winged her eight. Can you add any more?:

ball      bell      bill       boll      bull

band    bend    bind     bond    bund

last       lest       list       lost      lust

mash    mesh    mish-mosh       mush

mass    mess    miss     moss    muss

mate    mete    mite     mote    mute

pack     peck     pick     pock    puck

pall      pell mell   pill     poll      pull

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 Next Saturday, March 10, at Petco Park, I’ll be joining Dan Fouts, Ann Meyers Drysdale, Pam Shriver and many others offering “Dick Enberg: A Celebration of Life.” Fox Sports San Diego will televise live the memorial to America’s finest sportscaster from 10 to 11:30 am.