double entendre

[ duhb-uhl 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-uhl ahn-tahn-druhz, -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.

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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. 2020

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

Cultural definitions for double entendre

double-entendre
[ (dub-uhl-ahn-tahn-druh; dooh-blahnn-tahnn-druh) ]

A word or expression that has two different meanings (in French, double-entendre means “double meaning”), one of which is often bawdy or indelicate. A double-entendre is found in this sentence: “A nudist camp is simply a place where men and women meet to air their differences.”

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.