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

After weeks of anticipation, Princess Eugenie finally unveiled (pun intended) her wedding dress this morning on the steps of St. George's Chapel at Windsor. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "Everything That Princess Eugenie's Wedding Dress Had in Common with Meghan Markle's," 12 Oct. 2018 While puns may not be the way to everybody’s heart, there was one person who seemed to be won over by Mars’ unique flirting technique: the koala next to him! Maria Pasquini, PEOPLE.com, "Bruno Mars Tries Out Some Koala-Themed Pick-Up Lines While Struggling to Keep a Straight Face," 29 Mar. 2018 Adam pulled double duty—pun intended—and appeared alongside his fellow Voice coach, John Legend, in a new Pampers commercial that aired on February 3. Kelly O'sullivan, Country Living, "Adam Levine Made a Rare Appearance With His Baby Daughter During the Super Bowl," 4 Feb. 2019 Dressing up with your significant other for Halloween is a tricky beast (pun intended). Lynsey Eidell, Glamour, "The Best Celebrity Couples Halloween Costumes Ever," 21 Sep. 2018 In a tweet posted Wednesday, Kim admitted to lying to North West about her Yeezy shoes being glow-in-the-dark, giving Kanye West a brilliant (no pun intended) idea. Eileen Reslen, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kim Kardashian Told North West a Lie—and It Inspired Kanye West's New Yeezys," 29 Aug. 2018 Hopefully this means that more are on the way, especially a Minnie Mouse stand, which would delight pun-aficionados everywhere. Dami Lee, The Verge, "This cute stand makes Google’s Home Mini look like Mickey Mouse," 9 Oct. 2018 Early in the day, have teens or unoccupied adults think up scavenger hunt clues (bonus points for Thanksgiving puns) and hide them around the house and yard. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "12 Thanksgiving Tradition Ideas for the Best Holiday Ever," 28 Aug. 2018 There’s also the pun-derful Cumin Knock on My Door (vodka, St-Germain, cumin, honey, yogurt, egg white, and lime). Devra First, BostonGlobe.com, "Tavern Road chef Louis DiBiccari is now behind a hummus-centric pop-up," 19 Apr. 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

29 Mar 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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