Polysemous though she wants a cracker

Posted by Bob on March 25, 2002

In Reply to: Polysemous people posted by ESC on March 25, 2002

: From editorandpublisher.com
: MARCH 25, 2002

: Copy Editors May Be the Most Polysemous
: The Phenomenon Of Punny Headlines

: By Wayne Robins

: NEW YORK -- Headline writers, caption scribblers, and copy editors may be the most polysemous people on Earth. So concludes Valerie Collins, who has a fascinating article about journalism and acts of polysemy in the most recent edition of The Vocabula Review (www.vocabula.com), an erudite online journal dedicated to excellence in the English language.

: But first: Polysemy? "The phenomenon of having or being open to several different meanings," speaketh Webster. Puns and their cute cousins, paragrams, are vehicles for polysemous expression. "Sidebars, subtitles, leads, and picture captions provide ... opportunities for extended punning," Collins explains mainly in the plain (she lives in Barcelona, Spain).

: "Admittedly," she wrote, "the dividing lines between true wit, cleverness ... and groan-induction are fuzzy." It's so much a matter of individual taste that using such tools is really in the I of the beholder.

to parrot the conventional wisdom, puns are the lowest fume of hammer, but are puns alone solo?