pun

noun
\ 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

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 But beyond them, no pun intended, comes a launch that could be even more important. Micheline Maynard, Forbes, "With Chicken Under Its Belt, McDonald’s Moves On To McPlant," 26 Feb. 2021 They were supposed to enjoy the sun (no pun intended), play out the string, and then head back to Phoenix and prepare for the lottery. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, "The only thing stopping Kevin Durant is the NBA’s confusing protocol rules," 13 Feb. 2021 The first nonsensical challenge is a pun searching for meaning like my friend Martin searching for his baggie of mephedrone in the basement of Dalston Superstore in the before COVID times. Brian Moylan, Vulture, "RuPaul’s Drag Race U.K. Recap: Gone Sour," 4 Feb. 2021 Given recent disturbing events, this may be a good time to take a long constitutional (pun intended) and clear your head. Ed Silverman, STAT, "Pharmalittle: Biden taps Kessler to lead Operation Warp Speed; Trump administration seeks term limits on top FDA, CDC scientists," 15 Jan. 2021 Pardon the pun, but this was plenty of red meat for Lions (fans), and fans of football all over, to sink their teeth into. Kirkland Crawford, Detroit Free Press, "Detroit Lions' Dan Campbell: News conference has everyone ready to run through a wall," 21 Jan. 2021 Saneh has goat feet for a Greatest of All Time pun. Ali Barthwell, Vulture, "The Bachelor Season Premiere Recap: Just Vibing," 5 Jan. 2021 Each is a meld pun that humorously joins the beginning of one word with the end of another. Richard Lederer, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Celebrate the 12 days of Christmas knowledgeably," 26 Dec. 2020 The title is a pun: Its phantoms contribute to comic situations rather than haunting ones. John J. Miller, WSJ, "Have Yourself a Scary Little Christmas," 17 Dec. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb Here are some themes and strains (pun cautiously intended) that caught my attention. Martha Schwendener, New York Times, "The Armory Show: Playing It Safe During an Unsettled Time," 5 Mar. 2020 Das Leek Neill collaborates — remotely — with fellow actor Steven Weber in a punning short film. Clark Collis, EW.com, "Sam Neill is making a series of wonderfully unhinged videos while self-isolating," 12 Apr. 2020 Has Trump punned about Kamala Harris not coming out of an elevator alive? Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Trump — or What, Exactly?," 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, "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

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

3 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pun.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pun. Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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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 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

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

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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