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Double Entendre
"If I told you you had a beautiful body, would you hold it against me?"
Benny Hill, Groucho Marx, Mel Brooks, John Cleese, Britney Spears, Black Mage and many others

One of the fundamental types of verbal gag in comedic television, especially the Sitcom.

A Double Entendre is a word or phrase which was meant to be taken in two different ways. Archetypically, one meaning is obvious, literal, and innocent. The other has a usually taboo or sexual subtext.

The Double Entendre's popularity in comedy stems from the fact that if you don't get it, you won't realize something dirty just happened. As a result, clever use of a Double Entendre can keep a show "family-friendly" by allowing children to appreciate the joke on one (non-sexual) level while adults enjoy it on another level.

On the other hand, if the Double Entendre fails to be funny on the obvious level, it can result in a show which is "safe" for broadcast in family time slots but which younger viewers do not enjoy. In other words, the joke has to work well in both ways.

British comedy is especially fond of the device, especially when the joke "works" on both levels. The Double Entendre predates television, of course. William Shakespeare was very fond of this device as well. "Do you think I meant Country Matters? What, shall I lie my head upon your lap?"

When the viewer is specifically led toward the sexual meaning until The Reveal, this is an Innocent Innuendo. When the non-sexual meaning is perfectly clear but the innuendos continue, it's Does This Remind You of Anything?. When the non-sexual meaning doesn't make any sense, this can constitute an Unusual Euphemism. When the sexual meaning has been lost due to language change, it's Get Thee to a Nunnery.

If someone makes a Double Entendre, but the recipient fails to see it as anything other than a literal statement, it becomes Entendre Failure. If someone makes a perfectly innocent statement that others interpret as a Double Entendre anyway, it becomes an Un Entendre. Extreme cases of double-entendre interpretation can lead to Freud Was Right.

Sometimes lampshaded with a wink, a nudge, and/or "if you know what I mean". See also Getting Crap Past the Radar. May lead to someone saying "Heh heh, you said [x]..." or "That's What She Said".

Of course, as is obvious from many of the examples below, certain ...frustrations will lead some viewers to interpret anything as a double entendre.

Subtrope of Double Meaning. See also Is That What They're Calling It Now?

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Board Games 
  • In the US there are several editions of an extremely successful board game called "Dirty Minds", which is nothing but double entendre. The slogan is "A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste." In the game, players are given three clues towards an answer. The clues sound dirty but the answer is innocent.
    Clue 1: I am a 4 letter word.
    Clue 2: I'm a name for a woman.
    Clue 3: I end in "unt".
    The answer? AUNT.
    • Here's another:
    Clue 1: I usually take it in the rear.
    Clue 2: It takes a long hose to fill me.
    Clue 3: You smell it on your hands when you're done.
    Answer? GAS TANK.
    • The company, TDC Games, has just signed a contract for a future TV game show.

    Fan Works 
  • This piece of fan art refers to Claudia of ''The Vampire Chronicles" as "La Petite Mort", "the little death". This is true both literally, as a vicious killer with the body of a child, and also, well, metaphorically. At least, that's what her fans are thinking.
  • Episode 2 of Fullmetal Alchemist Brotherhood Abridged features this one liner:
    Alphonse: You just got fisted by GOD!
    • It makes sense in context.
  • A few episodes of Adamwestslapdog's Ocarina of Time Abridged Series does this.
    Deku Tree: I want you inside me. (as in go inside of him and help him).
    • This is mostly unintentional, since Navi (the fairy) even says to him, "Couldn't you have worded that a little bit differently?"
    • Another episode does this, after Link tells Navi why he named his horse Zelda:
    Link: Now to mount Zelda and ride through the night.
    • that time, it is definitely intentional.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, during Yugi's duel with the Paradox Brothers:
    Yugi: Leave it to Beaver Warrior!
    (Beaver Warrior gets destroyed)
    Joey: Let this be a lesson to you, Yug'. Never, under any circumstances, leave your beaver exposed.
    Yugi: You're right Joey, my beaver was on full display. Next time I'll take better care of my beaver.
    Tea: I didn't know Yugi had a beaver.
  • Zarbon from Dragonball Abridged practically lives off these.
    • Also this gem from episode 24 when Goku explains his situation to King Kai.
    Goku: Well, when I got down here, I ran into some really weird guys. One was really big and muscly, but he went down really easy. Then these two guys double-teamed me. One of them took it really hard in the back, but the other didn't seem that interested, so he went and brought this really horny guy.
    George Takei: Oh my...
    Goku: Who's that, King Kai?
    King Kai: It's George Takei. Somehow we made this into a three-way...
    George Takei: OH MY...
    King Kai: ...Call! Three-way call!
  • In Death Note The Abridged Series Kpts4tv when Light is killing Higuchi by writing Higuchi's name with his own blood and ends up stabbing himself repeatedly. Hilarity Ensues:
    Light: First I gotta get my stupid watch open. Aw, there we go...
    L: What's that Light?
    Light: Oh I'm just excited we caught Kira is all. Hey look, they're bringing him in right now... Ow!
    L: Are you okay?
    Light: Yeah I'm fin-OW! I'm okay OW! DAMMIT!
    L: Light, do you need me to come over there?
    Light: No, no. I'm okay. I'm just so happy that it hurts. Kinda like a little prick.
  • In Seigikan Light does this deliberately when he's talking to a classmate about studying and L can only hear his side of the conversation:
    Light: After I'm through with you tonight, you'll be able to teach that technique to your girlfriend. If you are still unsure after tonight, we can practice it together in front of her to break the ice.
  • In Pretender after Frederick tells Lissa that he is dining with Robin to get over his dislike of game meats.
    Lissa: You… you're asking Robin to help you with your gag reflex?

    News 
  • When Swiss football team Young Boys Bern hosted an extravagant homecoming party to celebrate the opening of their new stadium, the Stade de Suisse Wankdorf ("Wankdorf" being the name of a suburb of Bern), the resulting ESPN Soccernet headline read Young Boys Wankdorf erection relief.
  • Around the Internet there is an image of a college newspaper reporting on the Republican Party disagreeing on President Obama's economic stimulus package, deeming it too large. Or, as the headline puts it, "REPUBLICANS TURNED OFF BY SIZE OF OBAMA'S PACKAGE".
  • Wendy Rieger had quite a few when she was covering Hurricane Sandy:
    • "Look at these hunks of burnin' love that I'm workin' with!" (fourth listed meaning)
    • "Look at this monster coming in! Wow!"
    • "This thing is like, pounding us from behind!"
    • She also said that she had 300 dates and was going to do all of them in one weekend.

    Radio 
  • Scoring girl Samantha from BBC Radio 4 show Im Sorry I Havent A Clue owns this Trope, having had it for almost 40 years...
    • In Search of Mornington Crescent features a spoof cricket commentry in which No Celebrities Were Harmed versions of Johnston and Blofeld discuss a cricketer called Geoffrey Hiscock, including such lines as "It was a bold decision for Gardner to open the batting with Hiscock" and "Hiscock is out! And the umpire is pointing Hiscock towards the pavillion." And so on...
    • Clue's spin-off, Hamish And Dougal: You'll Have Had Your Tea, is another major offender. For instance, when Dougal's entered a "Macathalon":
    Hamish: Are you up for it?
    Dougal: Not the night before a Macathalon.
    Hamish: But are you having misgivings?
    Dougal: Not the night before a Macathalon!
    Hamish: Well, I'll be right behind you.
    Both: Not the night before a Macathalon...
    Hamish: But, looky here. Do you think you can pull it off?
    [[Long pause]]
    Dougal: Yes.
    • And the original show which Clue was spun off of, I'm Sorry, I'll Read That Again, also did it on occasion, using radio for full ambiguity. IIRC, from Black Cinderella 2 Goes East:
    Princess Sally: Oh, you're not really Jewish. You're just saying you are.
    Prince Charming: But I am! Wait, I'll show you! Hang on while I get it out! (rustling sound) There! You can't get much more Jewish than that, can you?
    Princess Sally: ...That doesn't prove anything. Anyone can buy a skullcap.
  • The Reduced Shakespeare Company Radio Show has a rap song about William Shakespeare's characters and their need to practice safe sex: "Rap Your Willy!"
  • A staple of Round the Horne. At one point, Horne and Williams break character so that Horne can express his concern that the audience may be seeing a second meaning in what they say; Williams replies "Second meaning? Them? They don't even see the first meaning — they just laugh at anything that might be dirty."
  • A staple of all BBC Radio comedy, ever. On programme featured a spoof letter from someone objecting to the amount of double entendre on the airwaves, saying "I don't wish sex to be forced down my throat. It leaves a nasty taste in my mouth, and I'm not swallowing it."
  • In a spoof technothriller on Saturday Night Fry, Stephen Fry's character, Dr Fordyce, discovers a secret formula that transforms him into a woman (Jenny, played by Emma Thompson), but turns Hugh Laurie's character into Barry Cryer (played by himself). Amongst his strange Barry Cryer powers is the ability to turn anything into a Double Entendre.
    Jenny: But that's horrifying!
    Barry Cryer: It is horrifying, isn't it? I'll put it away. There, you see what I mean? A lewd ambiguity for every occasion.
    Jenny: You're having me on.
    Barry Cryer: No, but it's an idea.
    Jenny: And you can keep this up indefinitely?
    Barry Cryer: Are you sure you want me to answer that?
  • Often used on Hello Cheeky. Frequently lampshaded.
    Barry: I'd like the rest of this programme to be of a totally pure and innocent nature...but, as that won't get any laughs, let's do a rude joke!
    Tim: Look at those tits! ...Oh, one of them's flown away.

    Theater 
  • Naturally, William Shakespeare's career was built on this. And iambic pentameter. Sadly this is often obscured by the associations people make between Shakespeare, snooty English professors, and snooty Victorian aristocracy, as well as shifts in word meaning.
    • In Othello, it is noted that Othello and Desdemona "are making the beast with two backs." Next time someone uses that euphemism or some variant, you can tell them it's over four hundred years old.
    • In The Merchant of Venice, Shylock complains that his daughter has stolen from him "two rich and precious stones"—in other words, his family jewels.
  • The musical Chicago is rife with this trope. One song in particular, "When You're Good to Mama", has the ambiguously lesbian warden of the women's jail delivering double entendres at every other line. Perhaps even triple — they succeed in being Unusual Euphemisms for both sex and money. Additionally, a song absent from the film is "Baby and Me", which is full of double non-sexual entendres: "I can assure you, it won't go away / I can assure you, it grows every day;" is Roxie singing about the baby she's supposedly carrying, or about the lie she's now living?
  • The Barrison Sisters was a vaudeville group in the 1890s. In their most famous act, the sisters would dance, raising their skirts slightly above their knees, and ask the audience, "Would you like to see my pussy?" When they had coaxed the audience into an enthusiastic response, they would raise up their skirts, revealing that each sister was wearing underwear of their own manufacture that had a live kitten secured over the crotch.
  • In Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad, Rosalie admits with a smirk that she indeed lets men do anything they like to her:
    "Behind the bushes and it's done. One-two-three and it's done. Here's the money. Thanks. Come again. Hah-hah! Come again!"
  • In The Book of Mormon, "Baptize Me," Elder Cunningham's big duet with Nabulungi, has lyrics that make his baptism of her sound like Intercourse with You. The song begins, "I'm about to do it for the first time / And I'm about to do it with a girl," and continues in the same vein for 4 minutes.
  • Keating The Musical :"I wanna do you slo-owly, holy moly..." Based on a real Paul Keating quote...
  • The lyrics in Spring Awakening are full of them. There are a few notable examples in dialogue, too, such as:
    Hanschen: I'll walk with you, Ernst.
    Ernst: You will?
    Hanschen: We'll huddle over the Homer. Maybe do a little Achilles and Patroclus.
  • The famous "china" scene from the Restoration Comedy The Country Wife. The title The Country Wife is a triple entendre.
  • "The Tennis Song" in City of Angels.
  • As everyone knows by now, the Double Entendre was Mae West's stock in trade. The Pleasure Man was one of several of her 1920s plays raided for obscenity, and the censors took note of such lines as a Drag Queen offering "I get down on my knees" as a description of his act and an observing couple calling such performers "extraordinarily queer."
  • Older Than Feudalism: This trope was a favorite tactic of ancient Greek comedians. Aristophanes' plays are full of them.
  • The Moon Is Blue: At the end of the first act, David has a man-to-man talk with Don about why Don declined Cynthia's offer to sleep with him, and the discussion turns to a football metaphor just before Patty enters:
    Patty: What are you fighting about now? Football?
    David: Why, yes. We were just discussing an incompleted pass.
  • A clever, non-sexual example from Evita: In "Buenos Aires", Eva sings the line, "Put me down for a lifetime of success. Give me credit; I'll find ways of paying." That could mean either, "Sign me up to have a lifetime of success. Advance me the capital I need and I'll find a way of recompensing you." or "Denigrate me for having a lifetime of success, but cut me some slack: I'll suffer for it in the end." Eva presumably intends the former meaning, but the latter is what ends up happening to her.
  • The Rodgers and Hart musical Too Many Girls had a song titled "She Could Shake The Maracas." The original cast featured Diosa Costello, a dancer best known for shaking what could only euphemistically be called her maracas.
  • The Richard Rodgers musical No Strings has the song "Eager Beaver," which includes the line, "Eager beavers always give a dam." At one point in the dance routine, the final word of that line turns into a four-letter interjection.

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • In The Gamers Alliance, the amnesiac Ronove's ramblings are often taken the wrong way. On one occasion he asks if he can taste Ax's cherry pie. He actually wants to trade pie recipes with her and isn't thinking of anything sexual, but everyone around them misunderstands the conversation. Hilarity Ensues.
  • Sarah of lonelygirl15 often uses these. An example is her "vote Salinas" routine in "Casting Couch": "Hey, there. I was wondering if you'd be interested in hearing about a man named Edward Salinas. He's the man with the plan and it's a big one. Oh, it surely is! He wants to build a stronger community. The strongest, firmest, hardest community..."
  • The Rooster Teeth logo is a visual double entendre that you only pick up when your humor is in the gutter. I can't be the only who is reminded of the endearing insult "cockbite" they commonly use in Red vs. Blue, whenever they show a picture of a rooster and teeth.
    Tucker: Bow chicka bow wow.
    • Tucker does this so much that Tex lost her cool and put him on point. That's right, the super-soldier put the Badass Normal in the most dangerous position in the squad when investigating an unknown threat that had beaten her and Church already, Tucker made so many of these.
    • While getting away from Red Base, Simmons takes command of the group, which includes Lopez the Spanish-speaking robot, and Donut, the unambiguously gay Private in pink (lightish red) armor:
    Simmons: Okay, Lopez, you take the front.
    Donut: And I'll handle your rears!
    Simmons: Okay, change of plans: Donut, you're in the middle.
    Donut: It'll be a Donut sandwich, mm-mm!
    Simmons: Ugh! You can ruin anything!
  • If doing a NaviGTR/Flights of Fantasy Retsupurae, Diabetus says a joke with one of these that is related to the game that George Wood is reviewing in his best Bill Clinton impersonation.
    "Are you ready to contend with what's in my pants?"
    "After I play Buster Brothers I'm gonna bust a nut!"
    "I'll show you why they call me Big Dong Donkey Kong."
    "Look in my pants and I'll show you why they call it the Playstation."
  • A line from College Humor's "Powerthirst 2" video:
    "Powerthirst now comes in WOMEN!"
  • This page. The captions. 'Nuff said...
  • The Secret Life Of Dolls has lots of jokes about swords. Also:
    "I'm not supposed to but I've tasted your shortcake!" The Littlest Edward blurted out (I immediately filed this away for future double entendre use).
  • Rosa Fiametta of Survival of the Fittest loves these.
    "I can run off an empty tank all day long,"
    "It'd be just great for you to help me by coming ... and lawyering."
  • While reviewing David Bowie's crotch... er, Labyrinth, The Nostalgia Chick is repeatedly interrupted by Nella, who offers her "dick", "meat and two veg" and "cock". All perfectly innocent food - the first one's spotted dick (a British dessert) and the last one's chicken.
  • This deviantART stamp. It's very clever.
  • I'd like to dip my fries in your... '''special sauce.'''
  • Balls, balls are so much fun! That's why I have two and not just one!
  • "Taco night is when we lay some beef in a pink taco...drip some guacamole...make her sour cream..."
  • A lot of Alex's lines in Awkward., although given how deep in the gutter (and Lester's pants) his mind is, it's hard to say how much is intentional.
    Alex: You know it's all about finding the right key. The one that fits... just right. The one that you insert deep into the back door...
  • The third paragraph in this otherwise straight review of an electric kettle.
  • In Cracked's article on Jennifer Love Hewitt, those are plentiful.
  • On That Guy with the Glasses, Doug Walker, Spoony, Benzaie and Sad Panda all tried... well see for yourself.
    • Also in The Nostalgia Critic's "Nostalgic Commercials", during the "Wet Banana", "You and Your Johnson", and "Wonder Boner" ads.


Covert Distress CodeDouble MeaningDouble Meaning Title
Accidental InnuendoInnuendo TropesErotic Eating
DetournementTrope Names from the FrenchDroit du Seigneur
Don't Shoot the MessageOlder Than FeudalismDouble Standard
Doppelganger DatingComedy TropesDouble Standard: Rape, Male on Male
A Dog Ate My HomeworkWe Are Not Alone IndexDragons Prefer Princesses
Damn You, Muscle MemoryImageSource/Web ComicsDownloadable Content
Don't Come A-Knockin'Sex TropesDo You Want to Copulate?
Don't Come A-Knockin'Administrivia/No Real Life Examples, Please!Do You Want to Copulate?
Zombie ApocalypseOverdosed TropesFragile Speedster
Accidental PunPunDuck!

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