Word Wizard

Q: What is a wizard’s favorite class in school?
A: Spelling!

Explanation: To spell a word (verb) is to say each letter in the word one by one: l – e – t – t – e – r. (Spelling in English is a challenge!)

The magic words that wizards says are called spells (noun).  When a wizard casts a spell, some magic will happen.

This joke is funny because it plays with the different meanings of the word spell.  Here are some spells from the Harry Potter movies:

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Puppy Time

Q: What do you call a dog that can tell time?
A: A watch-dog!

Explanation: A watchdog is a dog that guards your house; they are also known as guard dogs. (Watchdog can also refer to a group or agency that makes sure that other groups are doing good work.)

A watch is something you use to tell what time it is; a watch is typically worn on your wrist although some people use pocket watches.  (A clock also shows the time but is usually on a wall or on a table.)

This joke is funny because it makes you think of a dog wearing a watch: A watch-dog.  Can you imagine a dog wearing a watch, telling time?

While these dogs below may not be able to tell time, they do a great job of herding:

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Can you ear me now?

Q: What has many ears but cannot hear?
A: A field of corn!

Explanation: “Ear” has two meanings (when used as a noun, a thing): 1) Most people (and most animals) have an ear on each side of their head that allow them to hear sound; 2) ear also means the whole cob of corn (see the picture).

This joke is funny because it plays with two meanings of the word ‘ear.’

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Ear of Corn

By the way, ear is used in some common idioms such as I’m all ears (listening completely), I learned it by ear (to learn a song by listening), and Your suggestion went in one ear and out the other (something you heard but it did not impact you in any way).

Harvest time is coming to an end in the northern hemisphere so I thought a corn joke would be appropriate.  Watch the corn harvest here:

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Stealth

Q: What kind of shoes does a ninja wear?
A: Sneakers!

Image by DavidRockDesign from Pixabay

Explanation:  A very long time ago in Japan, ninjas worked as secret agents for the government; they were spies who were trained in the martial art of ninjutsu.  They were known for being very quiet when they worked so that no one would hear them; ninjas sneak around quietly.  To sneak (verb) means to go quietly so that no one will hear you.

Sneakers (noun) is another word for tennis shoes or running shoes.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word sneaker: Both a type of shoe and someone who sneaks.

Do Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles wear sneakers?

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Among the Hidden

Q: Can a leopard hide anywhere he wants?
A: No, he is always spotted!

Explanation:  If you have ever seen a leopard, you will know that leopards have spots. Spots are the round marks that a leopard has on its fur.

Spot can also be used as a verb.  To spot something means to find it or notice it while looking for it- I spotted a squirrel in the tree.

This joke is funny because it plays with the word spot.  A leopard is spotted (adjective) because it has spots; a leopard is spotted (verb) when you see it.

This is from Rudyard Kipling‘s Just So Stories about How the Leopard Got His Spots:

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Bogged Down

Q: What is the difference between a pirate and a cranberry farmer?
A: A pirate buries his treasure while a cranberry farmer treasures his berries!

Explanation:  Cranberries are a sour fruit, related to blueberries, that are used to make cranberry sauce and cranberry juice.  Because they are so sour they are not usually eaten by themselves.

Pirates are, well, pirates (think Pirates of the Caribbean).

This joke is funny because it plays with the word treasure.  When used as a noun it is a thing that is very important to you, like the treasure that pirates bury.  When it is a verb, you treat it with respect because of its value to you, you treasure it.

Watch the cranberry harvest here-

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Worse Than Its Bite

Q: Why is a tree like a noisy dog?
A: Because each has a lot of bark!

Explanation:  Dogs bark; barking is the noise they frequently make (some dogs bark less then others).  In this case, ‘bark’ is a verb, an action.

Trees have bark; when you touch the trunk of a tree you are touching the bark.  In this case, ‘bark’ is a noun, a thing.

This joke is funny because it plays with the two meanings of the word ‘bark.’

Here is a barking dog running up the trunk of a tree, touching the bark, of course.

Thanks to a student of mine for his inspiring care for dogs!

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