In the past this column covered the question of sex, or gender. I mentioned in passing something about "double entente". At the time I thought the comment looked unusual in type, but more pressing matters prevailed.
A few days later a reader, Norm Wardle, questioned the expression: "Perhaps you mean double entendre," he said, adding the helpful letout "perhaps a computer at fault".
I checked on double entente, along with triple entente and any other ententes I could find. I was able to find a single entente, or a comment alluding to it. If I say the comment about single entente was made in a BBC interview by entertainer Julian Clary you probably don't need any further explanation. The illustration Clary gave was censored, the people at the BBC saying it was "non-broadcastable".
Many would be aware of an entente cordiale. This expression refers to an understanding between two or more political powers, starting with England and France in 1904. These two countries and Russia entered a triple entente in 1904. Later we saw what was described as a "little entente" in the 1920s.
So, in the political sense, one could assume a cordial understanding, or entente, between three countries could be a triple entente and between two countries could be a double entente. Well, the English language does some funny things at times.
Viewers of television programs such as Are You Being Served would have laughed at the antics in the Grace Bros store and in particular the comments by Mrs Slocombe, who made innuendo an art form. The use of innuendo became popular as a double entendre, with Mrs Slocombe's reference to her pet pussy guaranteed to raise a laugh, or at least a snigger.
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