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: 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


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punned; punning

intransitive verb

: to make puns

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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 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
While Twitter was far from perfect, people flocked (no pun intended) to the platform. Saira Mueller, CNN, 23 Feb. 2024 As the years have gone by, artists and writers have leaned more and more heavily into the darker aspects of Batman’s persona, but there was also a lighter side in the earlier comics, a world of giant props, banter, and puns that made Batman and Robin beloved by their readers. Josh Weiss, Forbes, 14 Feb. 2024 Here are some silly Valentine's Day puns your kids might enjoy. Fiona Tapp, Parents, 24 Jan. 2024 Part of Riemann's job included writing the jokes and puns for overhead highway messages. Journal Sentinel, 16 Jan. 2024 The moving lights, visual effects, and pyrotechnics only add to the magical ambience (pun intended). Lauren Dana Ellman, Travel + Leisure, 12 Feb. 2024 With more than 103,000 5-star ratings on Amazon, this tiny but mighty (pun intended) patch works quickly using hydrocolloid — an adhesive gel that absorbs excess fluid from the skin — to remove oils, pus, and sebum from acne spots. Madison Yauger, Peoplemag, 9 Feb. 2024 But pay close attention to what’s happening on screen and there is a sly and markedly witty humor that underscores (pun intended) the film. Lily Moayeri, SPIN, 9 Feb. 2024 In recent years, a transformative cultural shift has been brewing — pun intended. Joshua Adragna, Rolling Stone, 30 Jan. 2024
Favorite Hobbies: Reading (favorite genres: fantasy, science fiction and romance), running, playing pick-up soccer, crossword puzzling, and punning. Dalton Ross, EW.com, 6 Sep. 2023 But the Japanese embassy in Washington moved decisively to reassure the public, while revealing its staff are also fans who are not above punning on Swift songs in public statements. CBS News, 3 Feb. 2024 That’s one insider reference too many (Everett puns incessantly), but these facile jazz, blues, Invisible Man, even Flannery O’Connor stunts don’t really land for a culturally illiterate generation. Armond White, National Review, 15 Dec. 2023 Enter Email Sign Up The book’s punning title references bacteria and viruses, the vaccines designed to combat them, and such conspiratorial imaginings as Bill Gates’s mythical vaccine nanochip. Julia M. Klein, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Sep. 2023 Appropriately enough, the system takes its punning name from a Surrealist painter, since DALL-E 2 is ideally trimmed to make soft watches and derby hats on dogs and trains racing out of fireplaces. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 1 Mar. 2023 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 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pun.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History



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

First Known Use


1644, in the meaning defined above


1670, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of pun was in 1644

Dictionary Entries Near pun

Cite this Entry

“Pun.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pun. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

Kids Definition


: the humorous use of a word in such a way as to suggest different meanings or of words having the same sound but different meanings
pun verb

More from Merriam-Webster on pun

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