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Pun and Pickpocket

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He who would make a pun would pick a pocket. Dr. Johnson is generally credited with this silly dictum (1709–1784), but Dennis had said before to Purcell, “Any man who would make such an execrable pun would not scruple to pick my pocket” (1657–1734). (Sir W. H. Pyne: Wine and Walnuts, vol. ii. p. 277.)

The “execrable pun” was this: Purcell rang the bell for the drawer or waiter, but no one answered it. Purcell, tapping the table, asked Dennis “why the table was like the tavern?” Ans. “Because there is no drawer in it.”

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Pukwana (North American Indian)
Pull
Pull Bacon (To)
Pull Devil, Pull Baker
Pulling
Pumblechook (Uncle)
Pummel or Pommel
Pump
Pumpernickel
Pun
Pun and Pickpocket
Punch
Punch
Punctual
Punctuality
Punctuation
Pundit
Punic Apple
Punic Faith
Punish a Bottle (To)
Punjab [five rivers]