Does anyone know another word or way to say double entendre — in the non-bawdy sense of the word — as this phrase was only invented in the latter 1600's and so not around when Shakespeare wrote his plays, specifically as ever, the Merchant

it is a straight statement... he is a good man... just one that two people take to mean two different ways is there a nice word for that when used purposefully?

  • There may be some possibilities here: english.stackexchange.com/questions/15139/… – Callithumpian Mar 20 '11 at 13:37
  • i would love it to be an example of amphiboly but don't think it is...i mean it is a straight statement...he is a good man...just one that two people take to mean two different ways – iminei Mar 20 '11 at 15:23

If you make a statement that, by accident, can reasonably interpreted two ways, you have said something ambiguous.

If you make a statement that, by design, can reasonably interpreted two ways and it's not dirty or sexual, you've said something with a double meaning or perhaps a hidden meaning. (I can't think of any single word that describes it, but if one exists I'm sure Robusto will find it for you....)


You mean one of

  • i love the first but think i mean more of a alternative word for the use of misunderstanding within literature – iminei Mar 20 '11 at 12:57

If you want a term that Shakespeare himself (or at least his contemporaries) might have used, how about bawdy quips or more specifically bawdy puns?

(And I feel sure there’s somewhere also in Romeo and Juliet where this subject comes up — Mercutio and Benvolio(?) are teasing Romeo about having the hots for Juliet, and he says something like “enough with the filthy jokes, guys! my love for her is pure and special!” — but I can’t remember for the life of me remember his actual words, I’m up afraid.)

  • nah, its more of a genuine misunderstanding...really just wondering if there is a name for that introduced as a linguistic device – iminei Mar 20 '11 at 15:15

Innuendo fits, but only in the romantic or sexual connotation.


How about good old irony, subtext or perhaps a pun?


another word that is appropriate in this context insinuate


Hate to reference a cartoon, but Archer calls out double entendre statements by saying "Phrasing" I think that is a logical "other" way to say it.




  • 1
    The asker is not requesting an exclamation used to point out an instance of double entendre, but rather an alternative name for the term "double entendre" itself, one without bawdy connotations. – Theodore Broda Jun 22 '14 at 2:20

...double entendre — in the non-bawdy sense of the word

Coined in 1375–1425; late Middle English:

Equivocality 1. allowing the possibility of several different meanings, as a word or phrase, especially with intent to deceive or misguide; susceptible of double interpretation; deliberately ambiguous: an equivocal answer.

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