Try Puku free for 30 days! All tidied up and presentable. A Tom Swifty is a play on words taking the form of a quotation ascribed to Tom and followed by an adverb. Here's a good example:. The term was coined by Willard Espy —99 , one of the masters of word play, who compiled two wonderful collections of poems, essays, quizzes, and other writings about language: An Almanac of Words at Play and Another Almanac of Words at Play Merriam-Webster was fortunate to acquire the rights to these books and published excerpts from them in a collection entitled The Best of an Almanac of Words at Play in
A Tom Swifty or Tom Swiftie is a phrase in which a quoted sentence is linked by a pun to the manner in which it is attributed. Tom Swifties may be considered a type of wellerism. The hypothetical speaker is usually, by convention, called "Tom" or "he" or "she". The name comes from the Tom Swift series of books —present , similar in many ways to the better-known Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew series, and, like them, produced by the Stratemeyer Syndicate. In this series, the young scientist hero underwent adventures involving rocket ships, ray-guns and other things he had invented. A stylistic idiosyncrasy of at least some books in this series was that the author, " Victor Appleton ," went to great trouble to avoid repetition of the unadorned word "said", using a different quotative verb, or modifying adverbial words or phrases in a kind of elegant variation. Since many adverbs end in "ly" this kind of pun was originally called a Tom Swiftly, the archetypal example being "'We must hurry,' said Tom Swiftly.