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double entendre

[duhb-uh l ahn-tahn-druh, -tahnd; French doo-blahn-tahn-druh]
See more synonyms for double entendre on Thesaurus.com
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/.
  1. a double meaning.
  2. 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. 2018

Examples from the Web for double-entendre

Historical Examples

  • It was not a double-entendre, but a mot of triple ambiguity.

    The Scalp Hunters

    Mayne Reid

  • 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 double-entendre of Telo with Mentula is evident, and makes clear the apology to Venus.

  • Then there is double-entendre, implying a secondary meaning of doubtful delicacy.

    Society for Pure English, Tract 5

    Society for Pure English


British Dictionary definitions for double-entendre

double entendre

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

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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

double-entendre in Culture

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.”

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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.