The phrase no pun intended is used to acknowledge that a play on words — commonly known as a pun — was not the intent of what was said or written. It is typically added to a joke or humorous statement as a parenthetical comment. The phrase has been in use since the early 1800s, according to Dictionary.
A pun is a clever play on words that utilizes the homonymous nature of certain words or similar-sounding words to create a funny, sometimes cringeworthy joke. Puns are considered low brow humor, and they often make people groan or roll their eyes. Nevertheless, they can still be a great way to add humor and amusement to a conversation or a story.
Puns are a common form of comedy in English, which is believed to be the most prolific language for puns. This may be due to the fact that many of the words in English are homonymous or share similar sounds, making it easy for people to create clever word plays. Almost every major language uses puns to some extent, and they are particularly popular in English because of the number of homonymous words and sound similarities between words.
While most puns are intentional, it is not uncommon for a pun to slip out unintentionally. When this happens, it is common for the speaker or writer to quickly add the phrase no pun intended to clarify that they were not trying to be funny or if they realize the pun did not work as well as they had hoped.