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/.
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Words nearby double entendre
What else does double entendre mean?
Where does double entendre come from?
In French in the 16th century, double entendre was an expression meaning “double understanding” or “ambiguity”—something that could be construed in two ways.
Its modern French form is double entente (like double intent), but double entendre became fixed in English at least since it was used by John Dryden in his 1673 comedic play Marriage à la Mode.
Early uses of double entendre in French and English were used to call out duplicitous or evasive language meant to deceive someone, wriggle out of the long arm of the law, or deviate from Christian virtues in some way. One early French author even warned that “girls must be firmly on their guard against double entendres,” as they might “poison these poor, sweet, delicate girls.”
How is double entendre used in real life?
Double entendre usually describes sexually suggestive wordplay ranging from Shakespeare’s use of sword to pun on “penis” throughout his 1590s Romeo and Juliet to rockers Led Zeppelin’s use of squeeze my lemon for “sexual stimulation” in their “Lemon Song” in 1969.
Less commonly, double entendre can also describe other wordplay, such as life’s a beach.
While double entendres themselves aren’t usually appropriate in a professional context, the expression double entendre is considered a learned, if not uncommon, term.
More examples of double entendre:
“Showcasing uncanny vintage wit, Cella Blue fashions a double entendre out of an intruder rifling through her dresser with anonymous sex in standout cut ‘Who’s That in My Drawers?’”
—Kevin Curtin, The Austin Chronicle, June, 2018
This content is not meant to be a formal definition of this term. Rather, it is an informal summary that seeks to provide supplemental information and context important to know or keep in mind about the term’s history, meaning, and usage.
Example sentences from the Web for double entendre
Though a good fellow and a wisely humorous one, he seldom said any thing whose cleverness lay in a double-entendre.
A double-entendre is designed here, and the same is often to be found in old plays.
This double-entendre was originally published in a Philadelphia newspaper a hundred years ago.The Queer, the Quaint and the Quizzical|Frank H. Stauffer
It was not a double-entendre, but a mot of triple ambiguity.The Scalp Hunters|Mayne Reid
No double-entendre was intended, but Ruth's thoughts gave one miserable bound to Arnold.Other Things Being Equal|Emma Wolf
British Dictionary definitions for double entendre
Word Origin for double entendre
Cultural definitions for double entendre
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.”