double entendre

[ duhb-uh l ahn-tahn-druh, -tahnd; French doo-blahn-tahn-druh ]
/ ˈdʌb əl ɑnˈtɑn drə, -ˈtɑnd; French du blɑ̃ˈtɑ̃ drə /

noun, plural dou·ble en·ten·dres [duhb-uh l ahn-tahn-druh z, -tahndz; French doo-blahn-tahn-druh] /ˈdʌb əl ɑnˈtɑn drəz, -ˈtɑndz; French du blɑ̃ˈtɑ̃ drə/.

a double meaning.
a word or expression used in a given context so that it can be understood in two ways, especially when one meaning is risqué.

Nearby words

  1. double dummy,
  2. double dutch,
  3. double duty,
  4. double eagle,
  5. double ender,
  6. double entente,
  7. double entry,
  8. double exposure,
  9. double fault,
  10. double feature

Origin of double entendre

From obsolete French, dating back to 1665–75; see origin at double, intend

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for double entendre

double entendre

/ (ˈdʌbəl ɑːnˈtɑːndrə, -ˈtɑːnd, French dubl ɑ̃tɑ̃drə) /

noun

a word, phrase, etc, that can be interpreted in two ways, esp one having one meaning that is indelicate
the type of humour that depends upon such ambiguity

Word Origin for double entendre

C17: from obsolete French: double meaning

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for double entendre

double entendre

also double-entendre, 1670s, from French (where it was rare and is now obsolete), literally "a twofold meaning," from entendre (now entente) "to hear, to understand, to mean." The proper Modern French phrase would be double entente, but the phrase has become established in English in its old form.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper