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

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

To say this dramatic comedy is searing is probably too easy a pun. Lisa Kennedy, The Know, "From Steve Martin’s “Bright Star” to Cheryl Strayed’s “Tiny Beautiful Things,” 10 must-see fall plays in Colorado," 8 Sep. 2019 Seriously, check the location tag on Instagram, and prepare to be disgusted by the number of ridiculously adorable photos—and the number of cheesy plant puns—that Shoppe has brought on. Birmingham Magazine, al, "Birmingham magazine’s Best and Worst of Birmingham," 3 Sep. 2019 The social media campaign tag #KuToo is a triple pun, playing on the Japanese words kutsu (shoes), kutsuu (pain), and the #MeToo movement. Vivian Rachelle, Quartz, "Japan’s #KuToo movement is fighting back against regressive dress codes for women," 29 Aug. 2019 Want a cute snow pun to write on your Christmas card? Jennifer Aldrich, Country Living, "60 Best Christmas Puns That Yule Be Laughing at All Season Long," 27 Aug. 2019 Fury upon discovering that the theme is based on a pun. Silently mouthing the first half of the Greek alphabet. Colin Stokes Ellis Rosen, The New Yorker, "Facial Expressions for Reacting to the New York Times Crossword," 17 July 2019 There were visual puns that needed no further explanation, and proved again that Photoshop is the tool of the humor gods. Julie Hinds, Detroit Free Press, "Twitter unleashes on Trump for Revolutionary War 'airport' flub," 5 July 2019 Still, though, this is a great initial (pun not intended, don’t judge me) step, and one for which both Congress and President Trump certainly deserve credit. Katherine Timpf, National Review, "The FIRST STEP Act Resulted In 1,151 Crack Sentence Reductions, and That’s Great," 13 June 2019 This costume — and many others just like it — trivializes eating disorders ... not to mention it's a terrible pun. Marci Robin, Good Housekeeping, "15 Offensive Halloween Costumes You Should Never Wear," 1 Aug. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

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 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

13 Sep 2019

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 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

Keep scrolling for more

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

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

formidable, illustrious, or eminent

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

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!