Calambur is a literary figure characterized by the regrouping of syllables or words in order to modify the meaning of a sentence, as well as to hide a double meaning.
Etymologically, the word calambur derives from the French calembour, however, there are those who claim that it derives from the Italian calamo burlare, which means ‘mocking with the pen’.
The elaboration of a calambur uses various types of words such as polysemy, paronymy or homonymy, in order to change the meaning of what is stated or generate an ambiguity. It also makes use of irony and double meaning.
Therefore, calambur is more easily appreciated when expressed in writing, since orally it is more difficult to perceive.
Therefore, it refers to a play on words whose purpose is to alter the meaning of what is said, hence it is widely used in the elaboration of riddles and other puns. For example, “Aitor Tilla / Hay tortilla”.
The most famous calambur in history is attributed to the Spanish poet Francisco de Quevedo, who was introduced to Queen Isabel de Borbón, wife of King Felipe IV of Spain, with two bouquets and recited:
“Between the white carnation and the red rose, your majesty choose.” / “Between the white carnation and the red rose, your majesty is lame.”
In this way Quevedo mocked the queen’s motor difficulty, but without her noticing and feeling offended.
Below are different examples of calambur:
- I crazy, crazy, and she crazy. / I put it on and she removes it.
- Bird! Caesar of Rome. / Sometimes Rome
- Alberto Carlos Bustos. / Seeing the busts touching.
- My mother was laughing. / My mother is sweeping.
- Why did the rue wash? / Why does the ball roll?
- Big milestones / Grandecitos.
- More expensive. / Mask.
- Serapio Joso. / It will be lousy.
- If I saw. / If it rained.
- Servile, lethal, unholy. / Clean napkin.
Examples of calambur in riddles and jokes
- And it is, and it is … who doesn’t guess what a fool it is. (Thread)
- It is puma, it is not animal; float and fly … what will it be? (foam)
- You see, you see, so clear it is. Don’t guess me in a month. (The keys)
- Gold seems silver is not. What is it? (Banana)
- Hello, my name is Enrique Cimiento. (Enrichment)