Paronomasia – What it is, how to make one and examples

We explain what paronomasia is as a literary figure, its origin, how to do it and various examples. Also, other literary figures.

Paronomasia combines words with different meanings but similar pronunciations.

What is paronomasia?

The paronomasia, paranomasia or prosonomasia is a literary figure of the phonic type (that is, that works with the sound of words), and that consists of the use of paronyms in the sentence, that is, of words endowed with different meanings but very similar pronunciations. It is a resource widely used in poetic writing, for playful and satirical purposes, as well as in popular sayings and sayings.

The term paronomasia comes from the Latin paronomasia and this one from the Greek παρονομασία, as it is a very ancient resource, on which Roman grammarians such as Diomedes and Charisio (both of the 4th century), and before them Cicero himself (106-43 BC) spoke. Already in the modern world it was common among the conceptists of the fifteenth century and in the Spanish baroque of the seventeenth century, as part of their puns for burlesque purposes.

How to make a paronomasia?

Paronomasia consists of the game of sounds between similar words, which appear successively in the sentence, giving the impression that something is repeating itself. A) Yes, it is enough to change a vowel and / or a consonant in the same word to obtain a paronymAnd the challenge is to use them in a way that not only makes sense, but also has ingenuity: to introduce a joke or a mockery about what is said.

For example, if we take the word “step”, we can find its paronyms “weight” and “well”, which although they sound similar have totally different meanings, and construct a sentence like the following: “Pedro for a peso takes a bad step and falls into a well ”, meaning in a veiled way that Pedro suffers from an excessive attachment to money.

Examples of paronomasia

Here are some examples of paronomasia by literary authors:

  • “In the good republic the priest now, The farmer ara and the knight fights “(Fray Antonio de Guevara)
  • “Little goes from play to fire / playing I think to burn myself “and” From husband to dizzy no way?” (Tirso de Molina)
  • “The white and beautiful hand, / beautiful and white bailiff / of liberty and of purse, / is of snow and of neblí”(Góngora)
  • “The sea ​​urchin I know irisa, I know bristle, I know curls from laughter” (Octavio Paz)
  • “It is Wall it is Mere Wall is mute sight go dead”(Alejandra Pizarnik)
  • “A man to shoulders of fear ”(Blas de Otero)

Other literary figures

In addition to paronomasia, there are other literary figures, such as:

  • Synesthesia, which consists of mixing the visual, auditory, tactile or taste sensations described in the text, in a similar way to the metaphor.
  • The hyperbaton, which consists of altering the ordinary syntax of the sentence, in order to obtain powerful expressive effects or achieve a desired rhyme.
  • Asyndeton, which consists of suppressing or omitting the links that would normally be used in an enumeration, to obtain a specific rhythm through the pauses.
  • The polysyndeton, otherwise the previous one, which introduces links in all the terms of an enumeration, even where they would not ordinarily go, in order to achieve a repetition of greater loudness.
  • The parallelism, which consists of the repetition of the same syntactic structure in several phrases or sentences, to achieve a rhythmic and sequential effect.