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

The ad features Jack, the brand’s fictional CEO, discussing the new bowls by using them as a pun for a part of the male anatomy. Alexandra Deabler, Fox News, "'Tone-deaf' Jack in the Box teriyaki bowl ad sparks backlash for sexual innuendos," 8 Aug. 2018 Here is a collection of tweets showing some of the more creative Tesla plates: Douglas Kass, founder and president of hedge fund sponsor, Seabreeze Partners Management, Inc., spotted a plate that transformed a standoffish response into a clever pun. Ben Tobin, USA TODAY, "Tesla car owners' clever license plates praise electricity, denounce gas," 4 July 2018 The puns, insider references and jokes come fast and furious. Matthew J. Palm, OrlandoSentinel.com, "Jokes fly faster than warp factor 9 in 'Star Trek Abduction'," 1 June 2018 His music, even since Pavement melted into entropy in 1999, has been jarring and opaque, defined by lyrics that circle around homonyms and puns, or break from generational observations into non sequiturs. Rob Tannenbaum, New York Times, "Stephen Malkmus Doesn’t Think He Was a Jerk," 14 May 2018 The script is lackluster, relying mostly on puns, boob or groin jokes. Mark Kennedy, Detroit Free Press, "Review: Melissa McCarthy’s ‘Party’ is a disaster," 10 May 2018 That struck me as a particularly cruel, particularly hetero thing to say to clumsy me, someone who only thinks of caulk when making a bad pun. Daniel Rafinejad, Longreads, "A Remarkable Child," 9 May 2018 Way to stick to your guns (pun intended), Mr. President. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc: Bengals' Cordy Glenn deal a fan-friendly upgrade; FC Cincinnati making its case," 13 Mar. 2018 After all the costume changes and the hits, the show at its core was, pardon the pun, a sweet escape. Mark Gray, PEOPLE.com, "It’s B-A-N-A-N-A-S! Gwen Stefani Kicks Off Vegas Residency Show with Blake Shelton on Hand: All the Details," 28 June 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.

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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

6 Dec 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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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

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