Playful device where similar sounding words with different meanings, or single words with multiple meanings are employed. Shakespeare frequently used puns for both comic and serious effect e.g. in Romeo and Juliet the dying Mercutio says: "Ask for me tomorrow, and you shall find me a grave man."
[n] a humorous play on words; "I do it for the pun of it"; "his constant punning irritated her"
[v] make a play on words; "Japanese like to pun--their language is well suited to punning"