Double entendre

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A double entendre (French pronunciation: [dublɑ̃tɑ̃dʁə]) or adianoeta[1] is a figure of speech in which a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in either of two ways. Often the first (more obvious) meaning is straightforward, while the second meaning is less so: often risqué, inappropriate, or ironic.

The Oxford English Dictionary defines a double entendre as especially being used to "convey an indelicate meaning". It is often used to express potentially offensive opinions without the risks of explicitly doing so.

A double entendre may exploit puns to convey the second meaning. Double entendres tend to rely more on multiple meanings of words, or different interpretations of the same primary meaning; they often exploit ambiguity and may be used to introduce it deliberately in a text. Sometimes using a homophone (i.e. a different spelling that yields the same pronunciation) can sometimes be used as a pun as well as a "double entendre" of the subject.



A person who is not familiar with the hidden or alternative meaning of a sentence may fail to detect its innuendos, aside from observing that others find it humorous for no apparent reason. Perhaps because it is not offensive to those who do not recognize it, innuendo is often used in sitcoms and other comedy considered suitable for children, who may enjoy the comedy while oblivious to its second meanings. Innuendo can also be used to make socially acceptable sexual humor. Shakespeare's play Hamlet used this ploy to present a surface level description of the play as well as a pun on the Elizabethan use of "nothing" as slang for sexual relations.[citation needed]

A triple entendre is a rare variation of a double entendre where a phrase can be understood in any of three ways. An example of this is the cover of the 1981 Rush album Moving Pictures. The title could be read to mean transporting or relocating wall paintings or photographs by a moving crew, pictures that invoke emotional (moving) reactions, or a literal "moving picture" (i.e. a film or movie). In fact the original back cover of the LP showed a film crew shooting a crowd being moved by movers moving moving pictures.

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