from the mail bag

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Mon Sep 12 19:05:03 UTC 2011

On Sep 12, 2011, at 2:06 AM, Wilson Gray wrote:

> On Thu, Sep 8, 2011 at 10:11 PM, victor steinbok <aardvark66 at> wrote:
>> double entendre: We are building insurance around you.(R)
> Uh, I don't get it, even under the assumption that "double-entendre"
> is exaggeration for effect.

If "double-entendre" is just French for 'pun' (after all, puns do literally involve two meanings) rather than the narrowed sense it usually has, i.e. 'pun with one obscene meaning that often involves a double-take on the hearer/reader's part', it qualifies:

We are [building insurance] around you  ("building" as what we're now calling a nounadjective, compound stress)
We [are building] insurance around you  ("building" as a verb, no compound)

Interesting that "double entendre" has become hard to understand as an intentional but "innocent" play on words.


> --
> -Wilson
> -----
> All say, "How hard it is that we have to die!"---a strange complaint
> to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.
> -Mark Twain
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list