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Double entendre

Carry On... Up the Khyber (1968) - Gerald Thomas
image sourced here.


Double entendre is a figure of speech similar to the pun, in which a spoken phrase can be understood in either of two ways. The first, literal meaning is an innocent one, while the second meaning is usually indecently sexual. Although a French term, the French generally say double entente or double sens for such phrases.

Many double entendres are sexual in nature. For example, consider the sentence "If a woman asks a man for an example of double entendre, he should always try to give her one." This double meaning has the innocent meaning to give her the example, and the second sexual meaning intending for the man to try and have sex with her.

Other classic double entendres include the title of Don McLean's song If I said you had a beautiful body would you hold it against me? and Mrs. Slocombe's references to her "pussy" in the British comedy show Are You Being Served? (e.g. "My pussy was soaking wet!")

In the English comic book Viz there runs a cartoon strip entitled "Finbarr Saunders and his Double Entendres", about a youngster who enjoys double entendres. Immediately after hearing someone crack a double entendre, Finbarr knowingly sniggers "Fnarr fnarr!". "Fnarr" has since become a popular exclamation in England.

Similarly, the cartoon characters Beavis and Butthead frequently note double entrendres of the most trivial kind with such comments as, "huh-huh, he said wood; huh-huh". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_entendre [Jul 2004]

Ambiguity [...]


Innuendo is an indirect and subtle implication in an expression in speech or writing, whereby a sentence has a double meaning. When innuendo is used in a sentence, it could go completely undetected by someone who was not familiar with the hidden meaning, and they would find nothing odd about the sentence (aside from other people finding it humorous for seemingly no reason). Innuendo often has sexual undertones, in that someone could be implying something related to sex in a seemingly innocent sentence.

Perhaps due to the fact that innuendo is not considered offensive to those who do not 'get' the hidden implication, it is often prevalent in sitcoms and other comedy which would in fact be considered suitable for children. Children would find this comedy funny, but because most children lack understanding of the hidden implication in innuendo, they would find it funny for a completely different reason to most adult viewers.

Sexual innuendo is common in British sitcoms and radio comedy such as I'm sorry I haven't a clue. For example, in Are You Being Served?, Mrs Slocombe makes frequent references to her "pussy", such as "It's a wonder I'm here at all, you know. My pussy got soakin' wet. I had to dry it out in front of the fire before I left." A child might find this statement funny simply because of the references to her pussy cat, whereas an adult would detect the innuendo (pussy is sexual slang for vagina).

The concept of innuendo is illustrated by this joke:

A man walked into a bar and asked the barmaid for an Innuendo; so she gave him one. (gave him one is a reference to a sexual practice of some sort). --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Innuendo [Jul 2004]

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