Word Play: Examples of a Play on Words | Writers.com (2023)

It goes without saying that writers are drawn to language, but because we love words so much, the English language is filled with word play. By interrogating the complexities of language—homophones, homographs, words with multiple meanings, sentence structures, etc.—writers can explore new possibilities in their work through a play on words.

It’s easiest to employ word play in poetry, given how many linguistic possibilities there are in poetry that are harder to achieve in prose. Nonetheless, the devices listed in this article apply to writers of all genres, styles, and forms of writing.

After examining different word play examples—such as portmanteaus, malapropisms, and oxymorons—we’ll look at opportunities for how these devices can propel your writing. But first, let’s establish what we mean when we’re talking about a play on words.

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Wordplay Definition

Word play, also written as wordplay, word-play, or a play on words, is when a writer experiments with the sound, meaning, and/or construction of words to produce new and interesting meanings. In other words, the writer is twisting language to say something unexpected, with the intent of entertaining or provoking the reader.

Wordplay definition: Experimentation with the sounds, definitions, and/or constructions of words to produce new and interesting meanings.

(Video) Word Play: Learning the Basics

It should come as no surprise that many word play examples were written by Shakespeare. One such example comes from Hamlet. Some time after Polonius is killed, Hamlet’s uncle, Claudius, asks him where Polonius is. The below exchange occurs:


Now, Hamlet, where’s Polonius?


At supper.


At supper! where?


Not where he eats, but where he is eaten: a certain
convocation of politic worms are e’en at him. Your
worm is your only emperor for diet: we fat all
creatures else to fat us, and we fat ourselves for
maggots: your fat king and your lean beggar is but
variable service, two dishes, but to one table:
that’s the end.

The line “Not where he eats, but where he is eaten” is a play on words, drawing the audience’s attention to Polonius’ death. He is not eating, but being consumed by the worms. This play on the meaning of “eat” utilizes the verb’s multiple definitions—to consume versus to decompose. (It is also an example of synchysis, and of polyptoton, a type of repetition device.)

The most common of word play examples is the pun. A pun directly plays with the sounds and meanings of words to create new and surprising sentences. For example, “The incredulous cat said you’ve got to be kitten me right meow!” puns on the words “kidding” (kitten) and “now” (meow).

To learn more about puns, check out our article on Pun Examples in Literature. Some of the play on words examples in this article can also count as puns, but because we’ve covered puns in a previous blog, this article covers different and surprising possibilities for twisting and torturing language.

Examples of a Play on Words: 10 Literary Devices

Word play isn’t just a way to have fun with language, it’s also a means of creating new and surprising meanings. By experimenting with the possibilities of sound and meaning, writers can create new ideas that traditional language fails to encompass.

Let’s see word play in action. The following examples of a play on words all come from published works of literature.

1. Word Play Examples: Anthimeria

Anthimeria is a type of word play in which a word is employed using a different part of speech than what is typically associated with that word. (For reference, the parts of speech are: nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, pronouns, articles, interjections, conjunctions, and prepositions.)

Most commonly, a writer using anthimeria will make a verb a noun (nominalization), or make a noun a verb (verbification). It would be much harder to employ this device using other parts of speech: using an adjective as a pronoun, for example, would be difficult to read, even for the reader familiar with anthimeria.

Here are some word play examples using anthimeria:

Nouns to Verbs

The thunder would not peace at my bidding.

—From King Lear, (IV, vi.) by Shakespeare

The word “peace” is being used as a verb, meaning “to calm down.” Many anthimeria examples come to us from Shakespare, in part because of his genius with language, and in part because he needed to use certain words that would preserve the meter of his verse.

“I’ll unhair thy head.”

—From Antony and Cleopatra (II, v.) by Shakespeare

Of course, “unhair” isn’t a word at all. But, it’s using “hair” as a verb, and then using the opposite of that verb, to express scalping someone’s hair off.

Up from my cabin, My sea-gown scarf’d about me, in the dark
Groped I to find out them; had my desire.

—From Hamlet, (V, ii.) by Shakespeare

Shakespeare is using “scarf” as a verb, meaning “to wrap around.” Nowadays, the use of “scarf” as a verb is recognized by the Oxford English Dictionary, but at the time, this was a very new usage of the word.

Verbs to Nouns

It’s difficult to find examples of nominalization in literature, mostly because it’s not a wise decision in terms of writing style. Verbs are the strongest parts of speech: they provide the action of your sentences, and can also provide necessary description and characterization in far fewer words than nouns and adjectives can. Using a verb as a noun only hampers the power of that verb.

Nonetheless, we use verbs as nouns all the time in everyday conversation. If you “hashtag” something on social media, you’re using the noun hashtag as a verb. Or, if you “need a good drink,” you’re noun-ing the verb “drink.” Often, nouns become acceptable dictionary entries for verbs because of the repeated use of nominalizations in everyday speech.

Nouns and Verbs to Adjectives

“The parishioners about here,” continued Mrs. Day, not looking at any living being, but snatching up the brown delf tea-things, “are the laziest, gossipest, poachest, jailest set of any ever I came among.”

—From Under the Greenwood Tree by Thomas Hardy

The words “gossipest, poachest, jailest” might seem silly or immature. But, they’re fun and striking uses of language, and they help characterize Mrs. Day through dialogue.

“I’ll get you, my pretty.”

—From The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

(Video) Play on Words word card game -- Welcome and Game Features

By using the adjective “pretty” as a noun, the witch’s use of anthimeria in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz strikes a chilling note: it’s both pejorative and suggests that the witch could own Dorothy’s beauty.

Anthimeria isn’t just a form of language play, it’s also a means of forging neologisms, which eventually enter the English lexicon. Many words began as anthimerias. For example, the word “typing” used to be a new word, as people didn’t “employ type” until the invention of typing devices, like typewriters. The word “ceiling” comes from an antiquated word “ceil,” meaning sky: “ceiling” means to cover over something, and that verb eventually became the noun we use today.

2. Word Play Examples: Double Entendre

A double entendre is a form of word play in which a word or phrase is used ambiguously, meaning the reader can interpret it in multiple ways. A double entendre usually has a literal meaning and a figurative meaning, with both meanings interacting with each other in some surprising or unusual way.

In everyday speech, the double entendre is often employed sexually. Indeed, writers often use the device lasciviously, and bawdry bards like Shakespeare won’t hesitate when it comes to dirty jokes.

Nonetheless, here a few examples of double entendre that are a little more PG:

“Marriage is a fine institution, but I’m not ready for an institution.”

—Mae West, quoted in The 2,548 Best Things Anybody Ever Said by Robert Byrne

The repeated use of “institution” suggests a double meaning. While marriage is, literally, an institution, West is also suggesting that marriage is an institution in a different sense—like a prison or a psychiatric hospital, one that she’s not ready to commit to.

“What ails you, Polyphemus,” said they, “that you make such a noise, breaking the stillness of the night, and preventing us from being able to sleep? Surely no man is carrying off your sheep? Surely no man is trying to kill you either by fraud or by force?”But Polyphemus shouted to them from inside the cave, “No man is killing me by fraud; no man is killing me by force.”

“Then,” said they, “if no man is attacking you, you must be ill; when Jove makes people ill, there is no help for it, and you had better pray to your father Neptune.”

Odyssey by Homer

In Homer’s Odyssey, the hero, Odysseus, tells the cyclops Polyphemus that his name is “no man.” Then, when Odysseus blinds Polyphemus, the cyclops is enraged and tells people that “no man” did this, suggesting that his blindness is an affliction from the gods. In this instance, Polyphemus means one thing but communicates another, causing humorous ambiguity for the audience.

On the contrary, Aunt Augusta, I’ve now realized for the first time in my life the vital importance of being Earnest.

The Importance of Being Earnest, A Trivial Comedy for Serious People by Oscar Wilde

In Oscar Wilde’s play, the protagonist Jack Worthing leads a double life: to his lover in the countryside, he’s Jack, while he’s Ernest to his lover in the city. The play follows this character’s deceptions, as well as his realization of the necessity of being true to himself. Thus, in this final line of the play, Jack realizes the importance of being “earnest,” a pun and double entendre on “Ernest.”

3. Word Play Examples: Kenning

The kenning is a type of metaphor that was popular among medieval poets. It is a phrase, usually two nouns, that describes something figuratively, often using words only somewhat related to the object being described.

If you’ve read Beowulf, you’ve seen the kenning in action—and you know that, in translation, some kennings are easier understood than others. For example, the ocean is often described as the “whale path,” which makes sense. But a dragon is described as a “mound keeper,” and if you don’t know that dragons in literature tend to hoard piles of gold, it might be harder to understand this kenning.

A kenning is constructed with a “base word” and a “determinant.” The base word has a metaphoric relationship with the object being described, and the determinant modifies the base word. So, in the kenning “whale path,” the “path” is the base word, as it’s a metaphor for the sea. “Whale” acts as a determinant, cluing the reader towards the water.

The kenning is a play on words because it uses marginally related nouns to describe things in new and exciting language. Here are a few examples:

Kenning In Beowulf

At some point in the text of Beowulf, the following kennings occur:

  • Battle shirt — armor
  • Battle sweat — blood
  • Earth hall — burial mound
  • Helmet bearer — warrior
  • Raven harvest — corpse
  • Ring giver — king
  • Sail road — the sea
  • Sea cloth — sail
  • Sky candle — the sun
  • Sword sleep — death

Don’t be too surprised by all of the references to fighting and death. Most of Beowulf is a series of battles, and given that the story developed across centuries of Old English, much of the epic poem explores God, glory, and victory.

Kenning Elsewhere in Literature

The majority of kennings come from Old English poetry, though some contemporary poets also employ the device in their work. Here are a few more kenning word play examples.

So the earth-stepper spoke, mindful of hardships,
of fierce slaughter, the fall of kin:
Oft must I, alone, the hour before dawn
lament my care. Among the living
none now remains to whom I dare
my inmost thought clearly reveal.
I know it for truth: it is in a warrior
noble strength to bind fast his spirit,
guard his wealth-chamber, think what he will.

—”The Wanderer” (Anonymous)

“The Wanderer” is a poem anonymously written and preserved in a codex called The Exeter Book, a manuscript from the late 900s. It contains approximately ⅙ of the Old English poetry we know about today. In this poem, an “earth-stepper” is a person, and a “wealth-chamber” is the wanderer’s mind or heart—wherever it is that he stores his immaterial virtues.

No, they’re sapped and now-swept as my sea-wolf’s love-cry.

—from “Cuil Cliffs” by Ian Crockatt

Ian Crockatt is a contemporary poet and translator from Scotland, and his work with Old Norse poetry certainly influences his own poems. “Sea wolf” is a kenning for “sailor,” and a “love cry” is a love poem.

There is a singer everyone has heard,Loud, a mid-summer and a mid-wood bird,
Who makes the solid tree trunks sound again.
He says that leaves are old and that for flowers
Mid-summer is to spring as one to ten.
He says the early petal-fall is past
When pear and cherry bloom went down in showers
On sunny days a moment overcast;
And comes that other fall we name the fall.
He says the highway dust is over all.
The bird would cease and be as other birds
But that he knows in singing not to sing.
The question that he frames in all but words
Is what to make of a diminished thing.

—“The Oven Bird” by Robert Frost

In this Frost sonnet, the speaker employs the kenning “petal-fall” to describe the autumn. The full text of the poem has been included, not for any particular reason, other than it’s simply a lovely, striking poem.

4. Word Play Examples: Malapropism

A malapropism is a device primarily used in dialogue. It is employed when the correct word in a sentence is replaced with a similar-sounding word or phrase that has an entirely different meaning.

(Video) How To: Play Word Factory

For example, the word “assimilation” sounds a lot like the phrase “a simulation.” Employing a malapropism, I might have a character say “Everything is programmed. We all live in assimilation.”

For the most part, malapropisms are humorous examples of a play on words. They often make fun of people who use pretentious language to sound intelligent. But, in everyday speech, we probably employ more malapropisms than we think, so this device also emulates real speech.

The name “malapropism” comes from the play The Rivals by Richard Brinsley Sheridan. In it, the character Mrs. Malaprop often uses words with opposite meanings but similar sounds to the word she intends. Here’s an example from the play:

“He is the very pineapple of politeness!” (Instead of pinnacle.)

Malapropisms are also known as Dogberryisms (from Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing), or as acyrologia. Though this word play device is employed humorously, it also demonstrates the complex relationship our brain has with language, and how easy it is to mix words up phonetically.

5. Word Play Examples: Metalepsis

Metalepsis is the use of a figure of speech in a new or surprising context, creating multiple layers of meaning. In other words, the writer takes a figure of speech and employs it metaphorically, using that figure of speech to reference something that is otherwise unspoken.

This is a tricky literary device to define, so let’s look at an example right away:

As he swung toward them holding up the handHalf in appeal, but half as if to keep
The life from spilling

—“Out, Out” by Robert Frost

The expected phrase here would be “the blood from spilling.” But, in this excerpt, “life” replaces the word “blood.” The word life, then, becomes a metonymy for “blood,” and as this displacement occurs in the common phrase “spilled blood,” “life” becomes a metalepsis.

So, there are two layers of meaning going on here. One is the meaning derived from the phrase “spilled blood,” and the other comes from the use of “life” to represent “blood.” In any metalepsis, there are multiple layers of meaning occurring, as a metaphor or metonymy is employed to modify a figurative phrase, adding complexity to the phrase itself.

This is a tricky, advanced example of word play, and it primarily occurs in poetry. Here are a few other examples in literature:

“Was this the face that launched a thousand ships and burnt the topless towers of Ilium?”

Dr. Faustus by Christopher Marlowe

Here, the face in question is that of Helen of Troy, the most beautiful woman in the world (according to The Iliad and the Odyssey). Helen is claimed by Paris, a prince of Troy, and when he takes Helen home with him, it incites the Trojan war—thus the references to a thousand ships and the towers of Ilium. So, the face refers to Helen, and Faustus describes the beauty of that face tangentially, referencing the magnitude of the Trojan War.

“And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities.”

—The Book of Amos (4:6)

In this Biblical passage, the phrase “cleanness of teeth” is actually referencing hunger. By having nothing to eat, the people have nothing to stain their teeth with. Thus, the figurative image of clean teeth becomes a metalepsis for starvation.

“To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
To the last syllable of recorded time;
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player,
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
Signifying nothing.”

Macbeth (V; v), by Shakespeare

This is a complex extended metaphor and metalepsis. Instead of saying “to the ends of time,” Shakespeare modifies this phrase to “the last syllable of recorded time.” He then extends this idea by saying that life is “a walking shadow, a poor player”—in other words, that which speaks the syllables of recorded time, and then never speaks again. By describing life as an idiot which signifies nothing, Macbeth is saying that life has no inherent value or meaning, and that all men are fools who exist at the whim of a random universe.

Note: this soliloquy arrives after the death of Macbeth’s wife, and it clues us towards Macbeth’s growing madness. So, yes, it’s a very dark passage, but dark for a reason.

To summarize: a metalepsis is a type of word play in which the writer describes something using a tangentially related image or figure of speech. It is, put most succinctly, a metonymy of a metonymy. There is also a narratological device called metalepsis, but it has nothing to do with this particular literary device.

6. Word Play Examples: Oxymoron

An oxymoron is a self-contradictory phrase. It is usually just two words long, with each word’s definition contrasting the other one’s, despite the apparent meaning of the words themselves. It is a play on words because opposing meanings are juxtaposed to form a new, seemingly-impossible idea.

A common example of this is the phrase “virtual reality.” Well, if it’s virtual, then it isn’t reality, just a simulation of a new reality. Nonetheless, we employ those words together all the time, and in fact, the juxtaposition of these incompatible terms creates a new, interesting meaning.

Oxymorons occur all the time in everyday speech. “Same difference,” “Only option,” “live recording,” and even the genre “magical realism.” In any of these examples, a new meaning forms from the placement of these incongruous words.

Here are a few examples from literature:

“Parting is such sweet sorrow.”

Romeo and Juliet (II; ii), by Shakespeare

“No light; but rather darkness visible

Paradise Lost by John Milton

“Their traitorous trueness, and their loyal deceit.”

—“The Hound of Heaven” by Francis Thompson

(Video) Word Play: Creating Worlds (And Words)

Note: an oxymoron is not self-negating, but self-contradictory. The use of opposing words should mean that each word cancels the other out, but in a good oxymoron, a new meaning is produced amidst the contradictions. So, you can’t just put two opposing words together: writing “the healthy sick man,” for example, doesn’t mean anything, unless maybe it’s placed into a very specific context. An oxymoron should produce new meaning on its own.

7. Word Play Examples: Palindrome

The palindrome is a word play device not often employed in literature, but it is language at its most entertaining, and can provide interesting challenges to the daring poet or storyteller.

A palindrome is a word or phrase that is spelled the exact same forwards and backwards (excluding spaces). The word “racecar,” for example, is spelled the same in both directions. So is the phrase “Able was I ere I saw Elba.” So is the sentence “A man, a plan, a canal, Panama.”

The longer a palindrome gets, the less likely it is to make sense. Take, for example, the poem “Dammit I’m Mad” by Demetri Martin. It’s a perfect palindrome, but, although there are some striking examples of language (for example, “A hymn I plug, deified as a sign in ruby ash”), much of the word choice is nonsensical.

Because of this, there are also palindromes that occur at the line-level. Meaning, the words cannot be read forwards and backwards, but the lines of a poem are the same forwards and backwards. The poem “Doppelganger” by James A. Lindon is an example.

Want to challenge yourself? Write a palindrome that tells a cohesive story. You’ll be playing with both the spellings of words and with the meanings that arise from unconventional word choice. Good luck!

8. Word Play Examples: Paraprosdokian

A paraprosdokian is a play on words where the writer diverts from the expected ending of a sentence. In other words, the writer starts a sentence with a predictable ending, but then supplies a new, unexpected ending that complicates the original meanings of the words and surprises the reader.

Here’s an example sentence: “Is there anything that mankind can’t accomplish? We’ve been to the moon, eradicated polio, and made grapes that taste like cotton candy.” This last clause is a paraprosdokian: the reader expects the list to contain great, life-altering achievements, but ending the list with something a bit more trivial, like cotton candy grapes, is a humorous and unexpected twist.

With the paraprosdokian, writers contort the expected endings of sentences to create surprising juxtapositions, playing with both words and sentence structures. Here are a few literary examples, with the paraprosdokian in bold:

We clutch our bellies

and roll on the floor.

When I say this, it should mean laughter,

not poison.

—“Litany in Which Certain Things Are Crossed Out” by Richard Siken

By the time you swear you’re his,
Shivering and sighing,
And he vows his passion is
Infinite, undying—
Lady, make a note of this:
One of you is lying.

—“Unfortunate Coincidence” by Dorothy Parker

“By the wide lake’s margin I mark’d her lie –The wide, weird lake where the alders sigh –
A young fair thing, with a shy, soft eye;
And I deem’d that her thoughts had flown …
All motionless, all alone.
Then I heard a noise, as of men and boys,
And a boisterous troop drew nigh.
Whither now will retreat those fairy feet?
Where hide till the storm pass by?
On the lake where the alders sigh …
For she was a water-rat.”

—“Shelter” by Charles Stuart Calverley

9. Word Play Examples: Portmanteau

A portmanteau is a word which combines two distinct words in both sound and meaning. “Smog,” for example, is a portmanteau of both “smoke” and “fog,” because both the sounds of the words are combined as well as the definition of each word.

The portmanteau has become a popular marketing tactic in recent years. A portmanteau is also, often, an example of a neologism—a coined word for which new language is necessary to describe new things.

Here are a few portmanteaus that have recently entered the English lexicon:

  • Fanzine (fan + magazine)
  • Telethon (telephone + marathon)
  • Camcorder (camera + recorder)
  • Blog (web + log)
  • Vlog (video + blog)
  • Staycation (stay + vacation)
  • Bromance (brother + romance)
  • Webinar (web + seminar)
  • Hangry (hungry + angry)
  • Cosplay (costume + play)

Lewis Carroll popularized the portmanteau, but a work of fiction that’s rife with this word play is Finnegan’s Wake by James Joyce. The novel—which is notoriously difficult to read due to its use of foreign words, as well as its disregard for conventional spelling and syntax—has coined portmanteaus like “ethiquetical” (ethical + etiquette), “laysense” (layman + sense), and “fadograph” (fading + photograph).

10. Word Play Examples: Spoonerism

A spoonerism occurs when the initial sounds of two neighboring words are swapped. For instance, the phrase “blushing crow” is a spoonerism of “crushing blow.”

Often, spoonerisms are slips of the tongue. We might confuse our syllables when we speak, which is a natural result of our brains’ relationships to language.

Spoonerisms can be literary examples of a play on words. But they’re also just ways to have fun with language. An example is Shel Silverstein’s posthumous collection of children’s poems Runny Babbit: A Billy Sook.

Word Play: Examples of a Play on Words | Writers.com (6)

How to Use a Play on Words in Your Writing

Writers can utilize word play for two different strategies: literary effect, and creative thinking.

When it comes to literary effect, a play on words can surprise, delight, provoke, and entertain the reader. Devices like oxymoron, metalepsis, and kenning offer new, innovative possibilities in language, and a strong example of these devices can move the reader in a way that ordinary language cannot.

Word play can also stimulate your own creativity. If you experiment with language using literary devices, you might stumble upon the following:

  • A title for your work.
  • Character names.
  • Witty dialogue.
  • Interesting or provocative description.
  • The core idea of a poem or short story.

I’ll give a personal example. Once, in a fiction course, I was struggling to come up with an idea for a short story. A friend and I ended up bouncing words around and came up with the phrase “psychic psychiatrist” (an example of alliteration and polyptoton). Just playing with words like this was enough to inspire me to write a story about exactly that, a psychiatrist who predicts the future for their clients without realizing it.

Titles like The Importance of Being Earnest (a self-referential pun), “Dammit I’m Mad” (palindrome), or Back to the Future (oxymoron) all use word play to frame and guide the story or poem. You might find inspiration for your own work by considering, with careful attention and an appreciation for language, the many possibilities of a play on words.

Experiment with Word Play at Writers.com

The instructors at Writers.com are masters of word play. Not only do we love words, we love to mess with them in surprising and innovative ways. If you want to formulate new ideas for your work, take a look at our upcoming online writing classes, where you’ll receive expert instruction on all the work you write and submit.


What is the meaning of the word play in the poem? ›

Word play is a poetic device in which the words are used in the poem specifically as main subject of the poem itself, primarily for amusement or the intended effect of the words themselves. Examples include puns, double entendre, rhetorical questions, obscure words and unusual meanings.

What do you understand by the word play? ›

A play is a performance that is done on a stage or in a theater. Play also means to engage in a fun activity or to emit sound or video from a media device. Play has many other senses as both a noun and a verb.

What are examples of a play? ›

Best plays of all time
  • A Raisin in the Sun by Lorraine Hansberry. ...
  • Death of a Salesman by Arthur Miller. ...
  • Long Day's Journey Into Night by Eugene O'Neill. ...
  • Our Town by Thornton Wilder. ...
  • Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? ...
  • The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams. ...
  • Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead by Tom Stoppard.
Jul 19, 2022

How do you play Wordplay? ›

How to play. Try to guess the word in 6 tries. After each guess, the color of the tiles will change to show how close your guess was to the word. The letter S is in the word and in the correct spot.

What is play give example? ›

: to engage or take part in a game. : to perform in a position in a specified manner. the outfielders were playing deep. : to perform an action during one's turn in a game.

What part of speech is the word play? ›

We use play as a verb to talk about doing sports, music and other leisure activities. We usually don't use an article (a/an, the) when we talk about sport or leisure activities.

What is it called when you play with words? ›

What Is Wordplay? Wordplay is a literary device in which writers employ the definitions or sounds of words for the sake of amusement. An instance of wordplay may be called a play on words. Puns are a popular form of clever wordplay, but there are many examples of wordplay as verbal wit in the English language.

How do you know if something is a play? ›

A play is comprised of any number of acts; an act may be comprised of any number of scenes. How and why acts and scenes are broken are relatively subjective, but traditionally a change of scene/time/subject-matter might require an end to a scene/act.

What are the 7 types of play? ›

The types of play include physical, dramatic, sensory, nature, music and art, and age-appropriate play. Children need the various types of play in order to support and facilitate meaningful learning opportunities as they develop language, motor, social, emotional, and cognitive abilities.

What are the 4 types of plays? ›

Shakespearean critics have broken the plays into four categories: tragedies, comedies, histories, and "problem plays." This list contains some of the plays that fall into each category.

What is the best first word for Wordle? ›

Sorry Bill Gates, but AUDIO isn't the best word to start with when you're playing Wordle. A pair of MIT researchers recently set out to find the optimal starting word for the popular online puzzle, discovering that the statistically superior first guess is SALET, which is a 15th century helmet.

How do you play phrases? ›

Players have six attempts to guess the phrase and must use valid words, using all spaces. Just like with Wordle, the tiles will change color to reflect how close you are to the correct answer. A green letter indicates your letter is not only correct, but in the right place.

What is an example of free play? ›

Examples of Free Play

True free play involves any kind of unstructured activity that encourages children to use their imagination, such as playing with blocks, dolls, and toy cars. It wouldn't include playing with most electronic toys.

What is the correct form of the word play? ›

play. he/she/it. plays. present participle. playing.

What are the 5 verb forms of play? ›

'play' conjugation table in English
  • Infinitive. to play.
  • Past Participle. played.
  • Present Participle. playing.

What is the origin of the word play? ›

The noun is from Middle English pleye, from Old English plæġ, plega, plæġa (“play, quick motion, movement, exercise; (athletic) sport, game; festivity, drama; battle; gear for games, an implement for a game; clapping with the hands, applause”), deverbative of plegian (“to play”); see above.

What is it called when you say a word over and over and it sounds weird? ›

Semantic satiation is a psychological phenomenon in which repetition causes a word or phrase to temporarily lose meaning for the listener, who then perceives the speech as repeated meaningless sounds.

What is it called when you run two words together? ›

Portmanteau meaning

A portmanteau (pronounced port-MAN-toe) is a word made by blending at least two words. The new word combines both the sounds and meanings of the originals. To form a portmanteau, usually the first segment of one word is attached to the final segment of another word.

What is it called when you switch your words around? ›

A 'spoonerism' is when a speaker accidentally mixes up the initial sounds or letters of two words in a phrase.

What are the 3 basic elements of a play? ›

Theme: the basic idea of a play; the idea, point of view, or perception. Language: in drama, the verbal expression diction or style of writing, or the speech or phrasing that suggests a type of character. Style: the shaping of dramatic material, settings, or costumes.

What are the 3 main types of plays? ›

Generally though, Shakespeare wrote three types of plays: Tragedy, Comedy, and History. These names help us understand the archetypes of a play and better analyze its events. After all, The Comedy of Romeo and Juliet would be a very different play from The Tragedy of Romeo and Juliet.

What are the 3 styles of plays? ›

The three classic genres of Western theater are the tragedy, comedy, and history play.

How do you play Wordplay game? ›

How to play. Try to guess the word in 6 tries. After each guess, the color of the tiles will change to show how close your guess was to the word. The letter S is in the word and in the correct spot.

How do you play the board game Wordplay? ›

All words written down by a player must be at least 4 letters long, and must be spelt correctly, or no points are given. As players take turns revealing their answers, you may challenge any other player to show their scoresheet to prove their words are spelt correctly.

What is it called to play with words? ›

Word play or wordplay (also: play-on-words) is a literary technique and a form of wit in which words used become the main subject of the work, primarily for the purpose of intended effect or amusement.

What is the 5 letter word game called? ›

Wordle is a free online puzzle game where players try to guess a valid five-letter word in six tries or less. Wordle can be played on a computer or mobile device.

What is the word game everyone is playing? ›

Wordle is a daily word game created by Josh Wardle, a Brooklyn-based software engineer who has developed something of a reputation as a crafter of interesting social experiments. Every day, the people of the internet are greeted with a fresh word puzzle that can only be solved — or not!

What is the famous word board game? ›

Scrabble is probably one of the most well-known classic word board games perfect for ages 8+. Players take turns making words with letter tiles to earn points.

How do you play the word candy? ›

Swipe a candy either up, down, left or right so that it matches with two or more identical candies. These will then turn into cookie letters. Click on the cookie letters to spell a word and earn points.


1. Word'Play EP-1 What Are Words?
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3. Word Play Example
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4. Play On Words word card game -- summary
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5. Poetry and word play
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6. Word play: A visit to D.C.'s Planet Word
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