I am trying to come up with a pun for a specific situation.

In a playground, there is a kid sitting down at the edge of a merry-go-round with his legs sticking out touching the ground. While it spins the legs are getting dragged over the ground. The kid looks at his legs quite unimpressed because the whole experience of having his legs dragged is rather dull.

So my pun for this was: “It was a dragging experience”. The literal meaning would be the legs getting dragged. Figuratively it would mean that the experience is boring and not fun.

Does the pun make sense? I am unsure because “drag” is usually used in the form of the phrase: “what a drag”.

  • 1
    It does make sense, but is not common usage. Perhaps, "It was a real drag," might get the idea across. You can add, "pretty rough," or "I scraped through," if his footwear was abraded. Commented Aug 16, 2020 at 23:31
  • Pippik (above) is correct; the pun only works with drag as a noun. Your idea is too literal, and thus is no longer a pun. It was a drag is colorful, but so common nowadays that it just sounds informal, and *It (the experience) dragged on" is a plain, descriptive way to say the event was dull. To describe the experience as a "dragging" one is odd - the listener will wonder why you have altered the idiom. As the above says, to be humorous, just say "It was a drag." It is funny enough to use, but only because it is quick. The humor is that it is a literal example of the idiom. Commented Aug 17, 2020 at 3:02

1 Answer 1


For it to be a pun, it needs to have a duality of meaning. As you point out, the word "drag" has multiple meanings, but using the word alone in the same context will not make people think you are making a pun. You need to use the word out of context in a recognisable idiom so that people make the link between the two uses of the word.

There are more elegant puns I could give as examples, but for instantly recognisable one-liners, look no further than the movies of Arnold Schwarzenegger. He'd pin someone to a wall and say "stick around" (which idiomatically means "wait"), push someone off a cliff and say "I had to drop him off" (meaning leave someone somewhere) or cut someone in half and say "he had to split" (meaning leave in a hurry). In all these examples, the idiomatic phrase is used out of context.

For your example to be a pun, you'd need to say "it was a drag" or "a real drag", which idiomatically mean something was tiring or boring.

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