Is there a world that indicates the "zero-th" value in the series single, double, triple, ... ?

This came up in a humorous discussion of a double entendre. An interlocutor was accused of making a double entendre, to which they countered it was a "zeroth entendre", because there was no double-meaning, nor any straight forward ribald meaning (single entendre); therefore it was a _________ entendre, meaning that no improper interpretation could be made of the utterance.

I thought about "null", but I wonder if there is an official word in the series. Or, at least a word that fits the pattern better.

Edit Since a couple of comments have noted that a 0th entendre would technically have no meaning, please allow me to describe the context.

First, keep in mind that a double entendre is almost exclusively used to describe a situation where a phrase has a sexual innuendo meaning, despite the literal meaning of the phrase. In fact, it's probably a mischaracterization to describe a phrase with two possible meanings, neither of which are sexual, as a double entendre, according to common understanding. (I would be interested to see any references to the phrase double entendre used in a situation where neither meaning has sexual innuendo.)

The situation in which this question developed was one where it would be inappropriate to make any sexual remarks. Speaker A made a comment that, with some imagination, could be said to be a double entendre, by a stretch. Speaker B humorously noted this, and Speaker A quickly denied any sexual implications. Extending the joke, Speaker B then asked if it was a single entendre, meaning a straight-forward sexual comment, which would have been highly inappropriate in the situation, and perhaps indicate some negative consequences for Speaker A (please remember, the comment was only a double entendre by the longest stretch). Speaker A, wanting to end the conversation, stated emphatically that it was a 0th entendre, meaning that no sexual meaning whatever could be construed from the phrase.

As a humorous, playful use of language, entendre in this sense means "sexual meaning". "Zero-th entendre" would be "no sexual meanings whatsoever".

  • 1
    "meaning that no improper interpretation could be made of the utterance"... that is quite an absolute statement that sounds like a challenge :P
    – oerkelens
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 16:07
  • 3
    Of related interest: 1st hour, 2nd hour, 3rd hour… But how to say “zero”-th hour? and, more distantly, Sice, cinque, cater, trey, deuce, ace, and then?
    – choster
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 16:16
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    'Double entendre' means there are two possible meanings. Neither need be ribald (though in normal usage, one is usually assumed to be).'Null entendre' doesn't exist, but would, one assumes, default to '[an expression having] no meaning' rather than 'no ribald meaning'. Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 16:56
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    I agree with @EdwinAshworth . If there is no double meaning, there is still a single meaning, not a zero meaning (unless it is gibberish).
    – Nigel J
    Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 16:59
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    @FF Wiktionary risks << single entendre (plural single entendres) (humorous) A phrase that has a single, often bawdy, meaning and is lacking in subtlety or cleverness. >> Commented Feb 1, 2018 at 17:07

1 Answer 1


There is indeed an English word "zeroth", as in the Zeroth Law of Thermodynamics, but it belongs in the sequence "first, second, third".

The word that belongs at the beginning of the sequence "single, double, triple" is "no". You can have your suit jacket double vent, single vent, or no vent.

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