Double Entendre (n)

“Double Entendre (noun): A provocative ambiguity in an expression, especially a humorous or risqué connotation in a word or phrase; double meaning. British: double-entente.

‘The editor was also often on the edge of panic about suspected double entendre, and after thirty-one years I recall his concern about an Arno drawing of one of his elderly gentlemen of the old school dancing with a warmly clinging young lady and saying, ‘Good God, woman, think of the social structure!’ Ross was really afraid that “social structure” could be interpreted to mean a certain distressing sexual phenomenon of human anatomy.’ James Thurber, The Years with Ross”

Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.

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