pun

noun
\ ˈpən \

Definition of pun 

(Entry 1 of 2)

: the usually humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest two or more of its meanings or the meaning of another word similar in sound

pun

verb
punned; punning

Definition of pun (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make puns

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

Noun

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 pun in a Sentence

Noun

The delicatessen is sandwiched, if you'll pardon the pun, between two stores. She's a skillful pilot whose career has—no pun intended—really taken off.

Verb

“Firefighting sparks my interest,” he punned.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Speaking of sparklers, sales of fireworks are skyrocketing (pun fully intended) since Pennsylvania changed its laws, though even the smallest fireworks can be deadly. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "Philly preps for the Fourth, Allentown Cadets march on | Morning Newsletter," 3 July 2018 The latest proof of their romance comes in the form of some pretty steamy (no pun intended) hot tub photos that Justin posted (and then, uh, deleted?) to the 'gram earlier today, June 14. De Elizabeth, Teen Vogue, "Justin Bieber Posted and Deleted Instagrams of Hailey Baldwin in a Hot Tub," 14 July 2018 Two and a half months later, the couple bit the bullet — no pun intended. Deanna Paul, Washington Post, "A man who broke into an ‘escape room’ repeatedly called 911 when he couldn’t escape, police say," 12 July 2018 That's where 69 Positions comes in (no pun intended). Rebecca Reid, Marie Claire, "I Tried 11 Sex Apps to Spice Up My Marriage," 11 July 2018 In my case, hurricane Tim (pun intended) was a jerk, which embarrassed me a lot. Timothy Morton, The Atlantic, "The Hurricane in My Backyard," 8 July 2018 At some point, Borton's uncle introduced him to competitive bass fishing and he was hooked — no pun intended. Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press, "How basketball helped make Adrian College a powerhouse — in bass fishing," 30 June 2018 The song that kicks off Vulgar is a better display (no pun intended) of Paul’s talents. Bram Teitelman, Billboard, "10 of Vinnie Paul's Hardest-Rocking Songs, From Pantera's Picks to Hellyeah's Hits," 23 June 2018 During an appearance on MasterChef Australia, Camilla was asked about foods that are off the table (pun intended) at royal events. Kayleigh Roberts, Marie Claire, "Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Just Confirmed This Weird Royal Rule," 8 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Richardson uses words impishly, rhyming, punning and twisting idioms at a prodigious rate. Giles Harvey, New York Times, "Letter of Recommendation: ‘The Totally Football Show With James Richardson’," 3 July 2018 In spellings like conte, kointe, queinte, quoynte, and quaint, medieval authors—notably Chaucer—punned on the word. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "What’s So Bad About the C-Word?," 5 June 2018 His lesson escalates into a campy tap routine, with funny title-punning blackouts during the traditional breaks in the music. Brian Seibert, New York Times, "Ridiculous! Fabulous! On Broadway, Tapping in Quotation Marks," 15 May 2018 Saucy, punning monikers like Hazel Honeysuckle and Gal Friday are all of a piece with elaborate makeup jobs and spectacular, sometimes quasi-fantastical costuming — designed with rapid disrobing in mind. Neil Young, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Getting Naked: A Burlesque Story': Film Review | Venice 2017," 18 Sep. 2017 For fashion-lovers like ourselves, this is a prime time — pun 100 percent intended — to stock up on staple pieces at way cheaper price points. Kaleigh Fasanella, Teen Vogue, "Best Amazon Prime Day Fashion Deals," 11 July 2017 The answer to this question became the performance’s punning title. Jonah Weiner, New York Times, "The Magician Who Wants to Break Magic," 15 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pun.' 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 pun

Noun

1644, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1670, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pun

Noun

perhaps from Italian puntiglio fine point, quibble — more at punctilio

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Statistics for pun

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pun

The first known use of pun was in 1644

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More Definitions for pun

pun

noun

English Language Learners Definition of pun

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a humorous way of using a word or phrase so that more than one meaning is suggested

pun

verb

English Language Learners Definition of pun (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a pun

pun

noun
\ ˈpən \

Kids Definition of pun

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a form of joking in which a person uses a word in two senses

pun

verb
punned; punning

Kids Definition of pun (Entry 2 of 2)

: to make a joke by using a word in two senses

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Comments on pun

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