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

Sacramento-area breweries seem to have gotten the hint, and the first six months of 2018 have seen all kinds of pun-rich drinks flow from local taps. Benjy Egel, sacbee, "These 15 Sacramento-area beers have the cleverest names of any released in 2018," 12 July 2018 There are so many puns being made about the Seattle Mariners infielder’s first name, and the team is taking advantage. Michelle R. Martinelli, For The Win, "Who you should pick for All-Star Final Vote based on each team's pitch," 11 July 2018 While misusing 911 is no laughing matter, the Hamilton police couldn’t help but joke about the situation on Twitter, with others joining in on the burger puns. Michelle Gant, Fox News, "McDonald's customer calls 911 over cold burger and fries," 6 July 2018 The image is rather appealing: fool’s cap and bells, the Elizabethan doublet, the shrewd old eyes darting about, the voice cackling puns and rhymes, barbs and shafts. Herb Caen, San Francisco Chronicle, "Tag, you’re it!, Herb Caen, 1976," 21 Mar. 2018 Diego Schwartzman: Applaud the Argentine for reaching these heights (no pun intended); but not his 0-3 record at Wimbledon. 15. Jon Wertheim, SI.com, "Wimbledon 2018 Seed Reports," 1 July 2018 Embiid nearly owed Atlantis a new rim in the process (no pun intended). Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Joel Embiid is dunking all over people ... even on vacation," 20 May 2018 No pun intended, but there’s no black and white way to talk about race. New York Times, "He Gives ‘Atlanta’ Anxiety. And That’s a Good Thing.," 9 May 2018 Speaking of sparklers, sales of fireworks are skyrocketing (pun fully intended) since Pennsylvania changed its laws, though even the smallest fireworks can be deadly. Aubrey Nagle, Philly.com, "Philly preps for the Fourth, Allentown Cadets march on | Morning Newsletter," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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

11 Oct 2018

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

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

a state of commotion or excitement

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

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!