Paranomasia is the same thing as pun. Words that sound the same and/or are spelled the same, but have different meanings, are deliberately used. The writer who uses paranomasia is engaging in a word play that emphasizes the various meanings of the words.
"Your children need your presence more than your presents."
"Denial ain't just a river in Egypt."
"Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes with nimble soles; I have a soul of lead."
Romeo and Juliet
The name Peter means "rock." In the Bible, Jesus uses paranomasia when he says to Peter, "Upon this rock I will build my church."
Macbeth to Banquo (whom he plans to kill): "We should have else desired your good advice, / which still hath been both grave and prosperous /In this day's council; but we'll take tomorrow."Macbeth
Country music singer Merle Haggard sings a song titled "Old Flames Can't Hold a Candle to You."
Another country singer, Randy Travis, sings a song "On the Other Hand"-which uses the phrase "on the other hand" and the idea of a wedding ring on a "hand" to talk about why a man cannot engage in a new relationship.
Literary Terms Examples