Wikipedia gives the following as an example of a double entendre.

"If I told you that you had a nice body, would you hold it against me?"

I also remember the one scene from a TV show where the two characters are playing music together and the woman turns to the male Cellist and says... "You have a magnificent piece of wood between your legs."

To which the man says. "You mean my Cello, right?" and then she replies. "I'm referencing the crude double entendre." "I'm seducing you."

These all seems like clever word plays to me. So exactly what is the difference between a play on words and a double entendre?

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  • 5
    The DE is a subset of the POW. – Tᴚoɯɐuo Jun 16 '16 at 17:13
  • 1
    DE is POW, but POW not always DE. :) that is the difference (nice to have Leonard Hofstadter and Leslie Winkle mentioned as an example for a question :)) – InitK Jun 16 '16 at 18:55
  • A double entendre is a specific type of play on words, where the phrase can have two meanings. One of the meanings is almost always sexual. – Tofystedeth Jun 16 '16 at 19:31
  • Your question needs to tell us your understanding about what "double entendre" and "a play on words" mean. Basic research is expected. Basic references in this case might be Word play and double entendre. – user3169 Jun 16 '16 at 23:39

A play on words can happen when words are used which which can mean or sound like completely different words with completely different meanings.

a double entendre

is a type of word play, usually sexual or bawdy in nature, where the words used are not necessarily used as homonyms. In the "body" example you gave, there is no ambiguity of what each word means.

In a different approach, homonyms can be used to reference completely different words (the homonyms) with completely different meanings (since they are different words)

A well known example is of a sign at a pub telling where to find things here
Another example of homonym word play is this video on the new cider product from Dickens in Australia.

Another type of word play are oxymorons, words which contradict each other in meaning but are put together

jumbo shrimp
legal brief


A double entendre is a kind of play on words, where there is a double meaning. Usually one meaning is uninteresting, and the other is sexual.

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