\ ˈpən How to pronounce pun (audio) \

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


punned; punning

Definition of pun (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

: to make puns

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 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.
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun That is one of the primary goals of succession planning and how its success (pardon the pun) is measured. John Morgan, Forbes, 27 Apr. 2022 To pardon the pun, at the start there won't be any excess of XeSS. Chris Stobing, PCMAG, 30 Mar. 2022 At the same time, the steady stream (pardon the pun) of emails in my inbox on Tuesday showed ample interest in streaming too, both among cord-cutters and people who have cable but want more. Brian Stelter, CNN, 30 Mar. 2022 As the oldest millennials are reaching their prime earning and spending years, here’s one of the generation’s younger members making wine geared — pardon the pun — for them. Washington Post, 17 Mar. 2022 Pardon the pun, but dry hair can be at the root of many hair problems. Celia Shatzman, The Hollywood Reporter, 22 Feb. 2022 According to Fede Alvarez and Rodo Sayagues, producer and co-producer for Netflix’s new Texas Chainsaw Massacre movie, the opportunity to make a sequel to the 1974 original was, pardon the pun, a nightmare come true. Andy Meek, BGR, 17 Feb. 2022 For all the Disney+/Beatles hype, Paul — pardon the pun — just can’t let these sessions be. Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2021 But the Treehouse, which is marking a quarter of a century in business, is rooted – pardon the pun – in something more than beer and shots or even the shocking price of the tree. cleveland, 23 Aug. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Here are some themes and strains (pun cautiously intended) that caught my attention. Martha Schwendener, New York Times, 5 Mar. 2020 Das Leek Neill collaborates — remotely — with fellow actor Steven Weber in a punning short film. Clark Collis, EW.com, 12 Apr. 2020 Has Trump punned about Kamala Harris not coming out of an elevator alive? Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, 27 Aug. 2019 The pigs have pun-tastic names like Britney Spare Ribs, Kim Kardashi-ham, Harry Porker and Sponge-hog Pork Pants. Jason Gay, WSJ, 11 Oct. 2018 Richardson uses words impishly, rhyming, punning and twisting idioms at a prodigious rate. Giles Harvey, New York Times, 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, 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, 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, 18 Sep. 2017 See More

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.

First Known Use of pun


1644, in the meaning defined above


1670, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for pun


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

Learn More About pun

Dictionary Entries Near pun

pump well



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Statistics for pun

Last Updated

26 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pun.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pun. Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for pun


\ ˈpən How to pronounce pun (audio) \

Kids Definition of pun

 (Entry 1 of 2)

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


punned; punning

Kids Definition of pun (Entry 2 of 2)

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

More from Merriam-Webster on pun

Nglish: Translation of pun for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pun for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pun


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