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

The page almost groans under the dead weight of that pun. Washington Post, "From Gourmet to Serious Eats, two food memoirs chronicle the pitfalls of old and new media," 11 June 2019 Twenty-four goats brought to devour weeds in Manhattan’s Riverside Park got a rousing welcome, with an explosion of applause, selfies and b-a-a-a-a-d puns. Leslie Brody, WSJ, "Herd on the Street: Goats Arrive With Fanfare at New York City Park," 21 May 2019 Return the favor by rattling off any of these funny Father's Day puns, which any sense of humor—no matter how dry or sarcastic—can easily get behind. Blair Donovan, Country Living, "25 Genius Father's Day Puns That Absolutely Can't Be Beet," 3 May 2019 These captions, puns, and quotes are sure to last you from June through September. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "50+ Summer Captions for Every Beach Photo You Post on Instagram," 5 Apr. 2019 Much of her thread in the novel is rendered on the page screenplay-style, nearly every line a Preston Sturges-worthy wisecrack or pun or both. Elif Batuman, The New Yorker, "A Public Defender’s Polyphonic Novel of Football and Social Justice," 30 Apr. 2018 Sure, drummer Carter Beauford starts things off with a bang (pun intended) but it’s Tinsley’s masterful turn at the violin that gets the masses dancing. Aly Semigran, Billboard, "Dave Matthews Band's 10 Most Essential Boyd Tinsley Tracks," 30 Apr. 2018 Except, of course, for the people - who countered terror with acts of courage, grace and love, and even humor and bad puns. The Washington Post, NOLA.com, "Jet engine falls apart over the Pacific as passengers watch," 14 Feb. 2018 But with these Mother's Day puns, that part gets a little easier. Nicol Natale, Woman's Day, "22 Perfect Mother's Day Puns to Use for Your Instagram Post," 3 Apr. 2019

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

21 Jun 2019

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 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

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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