double entendre

play
noun dou·ble en·ten·dre \ ˈdüb-ᵊl-äⁿ-ˈtäⁿd(-rᵊ) ; ˈdə-bəl-än-ˈtänd(-rə) \

Definition of double entendre

plural double entendres play \ same also -ˈtäⁿz; -ˈtän-drəz\
1 literature :ambiguity of meaning arising from language that lends itself to more than one interpretation
2 linguistics :a word or expression capable of two interpretations with one usually risqué
  • flirty talk full of double entendres

Examples of double entendre in a Sentence

  1. The song's title is a double entendre.

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.

Origin and Etymology of double entendre

obsolete French, literally, double meaning

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


DOUBLE ENTENDRE Defined for English Language Learners

double entendre

play
noun

Definition of double entendre for English Language Learners

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


Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up double entendre? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

to curse or denounce

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Merriam-Webster's New Words Quiz—Fall 2017 Edition!

  • young-plant-shoots
  • Which of the following is a new sense of the word bunny?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!