double entendre

dou·​ble en·​ten·​dre | \ ˈdə-bəl-än-ˈtänd(-rə) How to pronounce double entendre (audio) , ˈdüb-ᵊl-äⁿ-ˈtäⁿd(rᵊ) How to pronounce double entendre (audio) \
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 ; ˈdə-​bəl-​än-​ˈtän-​drəz \

Definition of double entendre

1 linguistics : a word or expression capable of two interpretations with one usually risqué flirty talk full of double entendres
2 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.

Examples of double entendre in a Sentence

The song's title is a double entendre.
Recent Examples on the Web The sybaritic Bond was an ace with women, a master of intricate weaponry and the double entendre, a cultured vinophile (who preferred martinis — shaken, not stirred) and a violent thug who wore bespoke tuxedos. Washington Post, "Sean Connery, first James Bond of film, dies at 90," 31 Oct. 2020 Not content with a mere double entendre, Elon Musk hits at least three. Spencer Jakab, WSJ, "Tesla’s Short Shorts Are a Bit Like Its Cars," 7 July 2020 Most kids’ animation is pap: conventions and tropes punched up with smarmy double entendre for the benefit of the adults who bought the tickets. Rumaan Alam, The New Yorker, "“Onward,” the Silly, Cynical Pixar Movie That Strikes a Nerve During Quarantine," 23 Apr. 2020 Cantonese is supple, playful, full of puns and double entendres. Yi-ling Liu, Harper's Magazine, "Dream State," 31 Aug. 2019 Take a Fuddruckers ad from the early 1980s that is rife with double entendres. Maria Cramer, New York Times, "In a Long History of Sexist Ads and Outrage, It’s the Apology That’s New," 1 Feb. 2020 Each time that the pair meets up, their conversation is shrouded in innuendo and double entendre. Ineye Komonibo,, "The Plot Twist In The Rhythm Section Just Wasn’t Twisty Enough," 31 Jan. 2020 But others, including Governor Kristi Noem, defended the double entendre as effective advertising. CBS News, "PSA gaffe or genius slogan? South Dakota's new anti-meth ad gets mixed reviews," 19 Nov. 2019 Look beyond Dana Osborne’s clever costumes and double entendres of all kinds abound. Chris Jones,, "At the Goodman Theatre, ‘Bernhardt/Hamlet’ is a takedown of the guys in Bardland — with some rough patches," 24 Sep. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'double entendre.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of double entendre

1673, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for double entendre

obsolete French, literally, double meaning

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Time Traveler for double entendre

Time Traveler

The first known use of double entendre was in 1673

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Cite this Entry

“Double entendre.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for double entendre

double entendre

How to pronounce double entendre (audio) How to pronounce double entendre (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of double entendre

: a word or expression that can be understood in two different ways with one way usually referring to sex

Comments on double entendre

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