Pun intended vs No Pun intended vs Pun intended, perhaps ? I have come across these 3 terms a lot of times, so decided to clarify once for all if my understanding about them is correct or not, please feel free to correct my explanations by providing answers

I have tried my level best to write what all I could grasp by looking some past answers on ELL or Google , please correct me wherever possible

My thinking:-

Pun intended means :- To explicitly use clever Wordplay and attach a double meaning to a word by substituting it with some other similar looking word, and drawing the attention of the reader to this skill of author

No pun intended means:- Unknowingly using a word which could be thought of as being a double meaning, the author suspects that some readers could think of it as double meaning, so he explicitly writes no pun intended - that is don't take the meaning of this word as the common double meaning which is popular

"Pun intended, perhaps ? " -I am not sure about this one but ill write what I think:-Here the author leaves it upto the reader to decide if that word could be used as a pun or not, but the author had an intention of introducting the pun

  • 3
    No pun intended - most likely the play on words has been noticed by the speaker before speaking, but the speaker has decided to use the words anyway because they are in other respects the most appropriate. Pun intended - you are expected to notice the play on words.
    – Peter
    Commented Feb 8, 2022 at 5:27
  • 2
    You're quite right on the first two. The last one isn't something that any of us are sure about, really. I don't recall seeing it anywhere but in your quote from your other post, but your interpretation is likely to be correct.
    – BobRodes
    Commented Feb 10, 2022 at 4:22

2 Answers 2


I think it's a lot simpler:

  • 'Pun intended': the wordplay was intentional
  • 'Pun unintended': the wordplay was unintentional

However, these idioms are sometimes used to, for example, take credit for an unintentional pun, or cover up some inappropriate innuendo, respectively.

  • 'Pun intended, perhaps?' indeed feels more like the punster wants the audience to decide for them, in an effort to be perceived in the best possible light.

If taken literally, 'pun intended' would mean you just made a pun intentionally and 'no pun intended' would mean it was accidental.

In reality, it's not so straightforward. Both are ways of drawing attention to the fact that a pun exists in what you said, and if you are drawing attention to it then you want your audience to see it. Even if it wasn't planned, saying that it wasn't intended means you were aware of it, so arguably if you said it whilst being aware there was a pun it was intentional.

Commenting on something somebody else said is a different matter, and may be where "pun intended, perhaps?" could come in. You'd be expressing your opinion on whether someone else intended to make the pun, so your choice would be taken at face value. But again, the purpose of any variation on this is the same - to highlight that a pun exists.

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