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

What kind of animal is doing this? Dave M., Bay Area DEAR DAVE: The creature who finds the rind more appealing, no pun intended, than the pulp is the rat. Joan Morris, The Mercury News, "Are bobcats moving into Lafayette?," 31 July 2019 Fans of the hit Netflix series can turn their dog Upside Down (pun intended) thanks to Etsy user ThatCraftyFriendShop, who is selling Demogorgon head pieces that can fit perfectly on a pup’s head while still looking adorable. Eric Todisco, PEOPLE.com, "Turn Your Dog Into an Adorable Demogorgon with Stranger Things Dog Costumes on Etsy," 16 July 2019 The hip hop collective met with Marion and fellow Hop City beertender Annie Good over a month ago, so there have been rumblings that something was brewing (no pun intended). Shauna Stuart | Sstuart@al.com, al.com, "Chef Rita Bernhardt will host her first wine dinner at Satterfield’s," 11 July 2019 Perhaps the hair was a nod to Festival headliner Mary J. Blige, or just Braxton in the mood to go platinum (no pun intended). Shalwah Evans, Essence, "Tamar Braxton’s Essence Festival Performance Hair Is A Platinum Dream," 6 July 2019 Spoken like someone who has never spent a day working toward the goal (no pun intended) of a lifetime. Paul Daugherty, Cincinnati.com, "Doc's Morning Line: Here's why the U.S. women's soccer World Cup team did the right thing," 13 June 2019 The desire to keep up is happily furnished (pun intended) by companies that make affordably priced furniture. Kate Wagner, Curbed, "The budget furniture dilemma," 24 July 2019 And to keep his money in-house, pun intended, House Speaker Dennis Bonnen announced the creation of a new political action committee focused on re-electing Republicans to the lower chamber of the Texas Legislature. Jamie Hancock, Dallas News, "Who's got the money for 2020, Beto O'Rourke's slaveholding ancestors, Republicans condemn Trump's remarks as racist," 16 July 2019 On the heels of Kevin Durant’s Achilles rupture (pun intended), Klay Thompson ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee last Thursday night during Game 6 of the NBA Finals. Colin Hoobler, oregonlive.com, "Klay Thompson’s torn ACL: How rehabilitation and return might go for the Golden State Warriors guard," 17 June 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.

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

16 Aug 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

a haphazard or makeshift solution

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Summer 2019 Words of the Day Quiz

  • a-bowl-of-peach-sorbet-with-cut-peaches-next-to-it
  • Which is a synonym of desideratum?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Syn City

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!