I had a post with the word 'prophetable' in it, but this was changed to 'profitable'. Is this because the person who read it didn't find it funny, had heard that one before, or just didn't get the joke, or is punnery and word coinaging disallowed on Biblic Hermeneutics meta? If so do people have particular reasonings?


On the contrary, we like puns. A pun, or paronomasia, exploits "multiple meanings of words, or of similar-sounding words, for an intended humorous or rhetorical effect" (Wikipedia). The Hebrew Bible in particular is replete with puns, and my experience here has indicated a general appreciation for this phenomenon.

Your use of "prophetable" depended not primarily on a pun (which involves words) but on a neologism (and, I suppose, a pun thereof). Neologisms tend to be appreciated by people with linguistic sensibilities, but they only "work" if the meaning is transparent based on known features of a language. The -able ending in English is generally an affix on verbs – profitable, dependable, remarkable etc – or occasionally on abstract nouns, e.g. knowledgable. On the other hand, "prophet" is a noun with a personal referent, a professional label. It's not clear by analogy what it should mean.* Furthermore, making a pun that depends on a (questionably intelligible) neologism steps several yards beyond what most people consider the bounds of coherent communication.

Despite this, the overall sense of your question was clear and valid. The edit simply helped to pull that bit of it in to cohere with rather than detract from the question at hand.

*This doesn't mean that it might not be viable in some context, only that to this native speaker, it's confusing.

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