Difference Between Pun and Double Entendre

Main Difference – Pun vs Double Entendre               

Pun and double entendre are two techniques used by writers to create humor. The main difference between pun and double entendre is that pun is a type of word play whereas double entendre is considered as a literary device. Double entendre can be created with the use of pun and other types of wordplay.

What is Pun

Pun is a play on words which is produced by using a word that suggests two or more meanings or by exploiting similar sounding words having different meanings. Writers often use pun to create a humorous effect by using the ambiguities of words. There are several different types of puns.

Homophonic pun: uses word pairs that sound similar. For example, the joke “Question: Why do we still have troops in Germany? Answer: To keep the Russians in Czech” is based on the aural similarity between check and Czech.

Homographic pun: uses words that are spelled the same, but have different meanings and sounds (homographs) For example, “You can tune a guitar, but you can’t tuna fish. Unless you play bass.”Note that bass is a homograph.

Homonymic pun: involves homographic and/or homophonic puns. For example, in the phrase, “War does not determine who is right – only who is left.” right is both homographic and homophonic

Examples of Pun in Literature

Shakespeare was a master at creating in puns. Following phrases are taken from his plays.

“Now is the winter of our discontent made glorious summer by this son of York” – Richard III

“Ask for me tomorrow and you shall find me a grave man” – Romeo and Juliet

“Not I, believe me. You have dancing shoes with nimble soles; I have a soul of lead” – Romeo and JulietMain Difference - Pun vs Double Entendre

What is Double Entendre

Double entendre is a literary device that contains a phrase that could be interpreted in more than one way. Basically, it refers to a phrase or sentence with two meanings; an obvious meaning that matches the context and another meaning which may require some thought. The second meaning is often socially awkward, sexually suggestive or offensive to state directly.

Double entendres generally use on multiple meanings of words and exploit ambiguity. They often use puns and other forms of wordplay. Given below are some examples of double entendre in literature.

Nurse: Is it good den?

Mercutio: ‘Tis no less, I tell you; for the bawdy hand of the dial is now upon the prick of noon.

Nurse: Out upon you! What a man are you! – Romeo and Juliet by Shakespeare

When she spoke, Tom held his breath, so eagerly he listened; when she sang, he sat like one entranced. She touched his organ, and from that bright epoch even it, the old companion of his happiest hours, incapable as he had thought of elevation, began a new and deified existence.””― Charles Dickens, Martin ChuzzlewitDifference Between Pun and Double Entendre

Difference Between Pun and Double Entendre       


Pun is a word play which exploits different possible meanings of a word or similarity in appearance and sound between two words.

Double Entendre is a word or phrase open to two interpretations, one of which is usually indecent or sexually suggestive.


Pun is a play on words.

Double Entendre is a literary device.


Pun can be used to create a double entendre.

Double Entendre can be formed using puns.Difference Between Pun and Double Entendre - infographic

Image Courtesy:

“Lodgings to Let, an 1814 engraving featuring a double entendre.” by Charles Williams (engraver), W. Holland (publisher) – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3f03806. (Public Domain) Commons Wikimedia

“1940 cartoon”  (The Tacoma Times) (Public Domain) Commons Wikimedia 

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