double entendre

dou·​ble en·​ten·​dre | \ˈdüb-ᵊl-äⁿ-ˈtäⁿd(-rᵊ); ˈdə-bəl-än-ˈtänd(-rə) \
plural double entendres\ same also  -​ˈtäⁿz ; -​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

Most of her work came with double entendres that were sharp as swords and could quickly be turned on their heads. Koko Ntuen, Teen Vogue, "Aretha Franklin Taught Me to Respect Myself and Demand Respect from the World," 17 Aug. 2018 Image Dan Ingram, a popular disc jockey whose wisecracks and double entendres rippled through the air at rock ’n’ roll stations in New York City from the early 1960s to the early 21st century, died on Sunday at his home in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Richard Sandomir, New York Times, "Dan Ingram, Irreverent Disc Jockey, Is Dead at 83," 25 June 2018 Young Victoria Janicki is affecting as Viola/Cesario, full of double entendre and vibrantly present. Hugh Hunter,, "Pennsylvania Shakespeare Festival's 'Twelfth Night': A hilarious tragedy on human frailty," 24 June 2018 Danny Rutigliano brings a Danny DeVito dirtiness to Dimas, gardener of veggies and double entendres. John Timpane,, "'Triumph of Love' at Bristol Riverside: Goofy, bawdy romp," 11 May 2018 The play’s humor depends on fast-talk, anachronistic modern references, puns and double entendres — and MacKinnon’s able cast gets all of this just right. Matthew J. Palm,, "St. Luke's 'Peter and the Starcatcher' takes flight," 13 Apr. 2018 Midland is not alone in its reverence for double entendres and crooked lines. Tom Roland, Billboard, "What In the Word? Bent Phrasing Is On the Rebound In Country Music," 21 Feb. 2018 Artistic director Kevin Stalheim explained that a number of pieces on the program would be loaded with double entendre on the words piece and peace. Elaine Schmidt, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Present Music takes a chance on unpredictable sounds," 23 Feb. 2018 Popular in England since the early 1700s, the panto is eccentric entertainment with comical characters, lots of audience participation and, though the show may be aimed at kids, the kind of double entendres that elicit a wicked chuckle from adults. F. Kathleen Foley,, "The 99-Seat Beat: A theater in fire-scarred Ventura makes its holiday wish," 15 Dec. 2017

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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Last Updated

16 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for double entendre

The first known use of double entendre was in 1673

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More Definitions for double entendre

double entendre


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

More from Merriam-Webster on double entendre

Spanish Central: Translation of double entendre

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