double entendre


plural double entendres ˈdə-bəl-än-ˈtänd(-rə) How to pronounce double entendre (audio) ˈdüb-ᵊl-äⁿ-ˈtäⁿd(rᵊ)(z) How to pronounce double entendre (audio)
 also  ˈdüb-ᵊl-äⁿ-ˈtäⁿz;
linguistics : a word or expression capable of two interpretations with one usually risqué
flirty talk full of double entendres
literature : ambiguity of meaning arising from language that lends itself to more than one interpretation

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What is the Difference Between a double entendre and a pun?

The words double entendre and pun are both about double meanings. Double entendre, in fact, originated in an obsolete expression in French, which means “double meaning.” The origins of pun are less certain, but it likely traces to the Italian word puntiglio meaning “fine point, quibble.” In English, double entendre refers to a double meaning in which one meaning is usually shocking or risqué in its sexual suggestiveness. Pun usually has more to do with silly or humorous double meanings than with anything sexually suggestive or lewd.

Example Sentences

The song's title is a double entendre.
Recent Examples on the Web Almost Dry, is a double entendre. Jason Newman, Rolling Stone, 18 Apr. 2022 That is definitely not a double entendre! Seriously Science, Discover Magazine, 18 Oct. 2017 Dying made easy with a double entendre. Neil Senturia, San Diego Union-Tribune, 28 Feb. 2022 On the one hand, a wooden tendril growing out of a man’s back as the front of his body cavorts with a tavern wench is an amusing visual double entendre; some of the other CGI creatures, goofy mishmashes of various animals and insects, don’t inspire much fear. Roxana Hadadi, Vulture, 17 Dec. 2021 In a conversation recently between Rainero, Aldo Cipullo’s brother Renato (also a jewelry designer) and Vivienne Becker, author of the new book, Renato Cipullo said his brother had the extraordinary ability to turn basic things into statements with a double entendre. Roberta Naas, Forbes, 2 Mar. 2021 The phonetic double entendre is applicable: Dashtaki originally pitched the book to focus exclusively on whey, the nutrient-dense liquid that remains after straining yogurt. Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times, 18 Mar. 2023 That’s because this work shows a fascinating bit of American history but in double entendre. Adrienne Gibbs, Forbes, 10 Feb. 2023 While the line is about a woman lying about receiving cosmetic shots, listeners denounced the double entendre that leans on allegations that Tory Lanez shot Megan Thee Stallion in the foot. Elise Brisco, USA TODAY, 4 Nov. 2022 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'double entendre.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


obsolete French, literally, double meaning

First Known Use

1673, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of double entendre was in 1673

Dictionary Entries Near double entendre

Cite this Entry

“Double entendre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 May. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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