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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Our testers loved the out-of-the-box (pun intended) dessert options that come with every order. SELF, "The Best Meal-Kit Delivery Services to Try in 2019," 1 Jan. 2019 Uranus is the butt of many elementary school jokes (pun very intended), but in astrology, this planet means serious business. Aliza Kelly Faragher, Allure, "What Uranus’s Astrological Transit Into Taurus Means for Your Finances," 10 May 2018 This is perhaps too common for Musk, who is known to place a premium on aesthetics and pun-heavy marketing. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "Elon Musk Unexpectedly Renamed the Big Falcon Rocket 'Starship'," 20 Nov. 2018 There’s a love ballad composed entirely of bad puns about police. Aja Romano, Vox, "Gettin’ the Band Back Together is a giant musical comedy dad joke. To hate it is to hate joy.," 28 Aug. 2018 Meat raffle Steaks will be high in Cudahy May 5 (Gotta love meat puns). Hannah Kirby, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Kidney foundation holds Derby Dash in Franklin May 5," 30 Apr. 2018 The points were never the point, no pun intended, and we — and the characters — understand that now. Karen Han, Vox, "The Good Place episode 5 recap: “Jeremy Bearimy” gets season 3 back on track," 19 Oct. 2018 But Beguelin liberally sprinkles the script with puns and goofy running jokes, not all of which land on the funny bone. Terry Byrne, BostonGlobe.com, "Magic and much more from a dazzling ‘Aladdin’," 12 July 2018 Like every season, last night’s entrances were at times bizarre, uncomfortable, over the top, underwhelming, and of course, full of puns and props. Madeleine Aggeler, The Cut, "Every Awkward, Bizarre, Boring Entrance From The Bachelorette Premiere," 29 May 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

The pigs have pun-tastic names like Britney Spare Ribs, Kim Kardashi-ham, Harry Porker and Sponge-hog Pork Pants. Jason Gay, WSJ, "A Sports Column Goes to the Hogs," 11 Oct. 2018 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about pun

Statistics for pun

Last Updated

18 Jan 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for pun

The first known use of pun was in 1644

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on pun

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with pun

Spanish Central: Translation of pun

Nglish: Translation of pun for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of pun for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about pun

Comments on pun

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

WORD OF THE DAY

tremendous in size, volume, or degree

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Homophone Quiz

  • three-bears-two-of-them-look-like-theyre-whispering-to-a-third-bear-who-looks-chuffed-to-be-the-center-of-attention
  • In order to judge how people felt, the senator's office hired a firm to take a ______.
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Bee Cubed

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!