[[quoteright:350:[[Franchise/ArchieComics http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Over_The_Edge.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:340:[[TemptingFate She has no idea how right she is...]]]]

->'''Kate:''' That is... a really interesting painting.\\
'''White:''' Thank you. Yeah, that's me, taking the bull by the horns. It's how I handle business. It's a metaphor.\\
'''Kate:''' I get it.\\
'''White:''' But that actually happened, though.
-->-- ''Film/DodgeballATrueUnderdogStory''

[[AliceAndBob Alice]] uses a figure of speech. Bob reiterates the usual metaphorical meaning. Alice says no, she meant it literally.

There's also a variation in which Bob questions the metaphor, and Alice responds ''[[AskAStupidQuestion sarcastically]]'' that she meant it literally. See also VisualPun for when a play on words is given literal visualization. Related to NotHyperbole, where what seems like an exaggeration isn't, and MadeFromRealGirlScouts, where the literal meaning is true... and you really wish it wasn't.

A common way to lampshade the trope is "I've heard of [X], but this is ridiculous!".

Compare DoubleMeaning, NotHyperbole, NoLongerWithUs.

The "everything but the kitchen sink" metaphor is so common, [[KitchenSinkIncluded it has its own trope]].



* Hey, how 'bout a nice [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=86IpU3g-S8Q Hawaiian Punch?]]
* In TheEighties, Granada TV Rental in the UK had a cartoon mascot of a leopard in a suit covered with multi-coloured polka dots, the point being that by offering a full guarantee and free delivery (unlike - it was implied but not exactly stated - their rivals) they were the leopard that had changed its spots.
* As was his style, Creator/LeslieNielsen did ''several'' in ''each'' commercial he appeared in, regardless of the product.
* One Snickers campaign had characters that ''actually'' turned into different (often crabby) people when they got hungry.
* A series of Santander Bank radio ads revolved around people going to competing banks and getting strange things there, such as a large metal pole ("the shaft"), a man named Jack who follows them around doing exercises ("Jack squat"), or a coat of wool growing on their body ("fleeced").
* In a Butterfinger commercial featuring Advertising/TheSimpsons, Bart is playing baseball, and Otto, who's sitting in the stands, tries to encourage Bart to "hit a homer, dude!". Bart then proceeds to hit the ball, which then "hits Homer" (i.e., the ball hits his father Homer who's also sitting in the stands).
* The cigarette Brand Silk Cut stopped formally doing advertisements in 2002. Their final promotional image was of an opera singer with a ripped seam (referencing their campaign motif of cut or ripped silk),a handy VisualPun telling the viewers that their campaign is over (because the fat lady sung).

[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena'': These pop up ''everywhere'' in Ohtori Academy, often adding a MindScrew to even the simplest conversations. Phantom baseball games, transforming statues, moving photographs, and invisible press conferences all appear and disappear in the background without comment by the characters, usually as {{Foreshadowing}} or to underscore DramaticIrony. It's anyone's guess just how much of this is intended to be taken as literal fact, some kind of ImagineSpot, or ''both''.
** WordOfGod says that "Utena is the vehicle through which Anthy escapes from Ohtori." Which is one explanation for why she suddenly turns into a sports-car near the end of ''[[TheMovie Adolescence of Utena]]''.
** In the show, Nanami thinks she's (literally) laid an egg and asks her brother how he feels about girls who lay eggs. "Do you know why we've been able to live together so happily? It's because you aren't the type of girl who lays eggs."
* In ''Anime/RocketGirls'', Yukari is offered a job that's "so simple even a monkey could do it" -- an ''astronaut''.
* A variation occurs in an episode of ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'', when Chiyo, overwhelmed at the preparations for the Culture Fest, begs someone to turn back the clock before it's too late. [[{{Cloudcuckoolander}} Osaka]] takes this as literal instruction.
* In ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', the last half of the episode is set to a backdrop of Beethoven's "Ode to Joy". [[spoiler:When Kaworu enters Heaven's Door to merge with Adam (and destroy humanity)]], they sing a part with two of these metaphors:
-->''Freude trinken alle Wesen\\
An dem Brüsten der Natur\\
Alle Guten, alle Bösen\\
Folgen ihrer Rosenspur\\
Kusse gab sie uns und Reben\\
[[ICannotSelfTerminate Einen Freund geprüft im Tod]]\\
Wollust ward dem Wurm gegeben\\
Und der Cherub steht vor Gott''
* In Episode 10 of ''Anime/SpacePatrolLuluco'' [[spoiler:Nova breaks Luluco's heart and stomps on her feelings both figuratively and literally]].
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', the country of Zou is ruled by the Minks, who are basically PettingZooPeople. Their leaders are Duke Dogstorm and Master Cat Viper, who are so antagonistic that they can't even ''be awake at the same time''; They literally fight like cats and dogs.
* In ''[[Manga/TouhouBougetsushou Inaba of the Moon & Inaba of the Earth]]'', [[ButtMonkey Reisen]] asks her mentor Eirin if she could be a bit nicer and adopt a "whip and candy" approach (the Japanese equivalent of "carrot and stick"). Eirin takes her suggestion...which, naturally, involves whipping Reisen, then pelting her with hard candy.

* Guerrilla street artist Creator/{{Banksy}} used the phrase EatTheRich in one of his works [[http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3440/3965058479_9ac1fbedf5_z.jpg with a much more literal slant.]]

[[folder:Audio Plays]]
* ''AudioPlay/BigFinishDoctorWho'':
** In "The Whispering Forest", Turlough and Nyssa are wandering through tunnels, and Turglough says the hairs on the back of his neck are sticking up. Nyssa assumes he means the caves are spooky, but he actually means they're filled with static electricity.
** In "The Destroyer of Delights", Amy tells Nisrin, a slave in ArabianNightsDays, that she saw a blue man in a cave, and Nisrin seems remarkably unfazed by this. Later Amy tries to tell the Doctor, who misunderstands who saw what and explains to Amy that Nisrin is of Scandinavian origin and the medieval Norse used "blue men" to describe the people of Africa. He's still explaining this when the actual blue man shows up.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* From ''ComicBook/BirdsOfPrey'' #93:
-->'''ComicBook/LadyBlackhawk:''' You drive. [[CallingShotGun I call shotgun.]]\\
'''Gypsy:''' But Shiva's already in that seat...\\
'''Lady Blackhawk:''' No. I mean -- I call '''{{shotgun|sAreJustBetter}}'''.
* ''ComicBook/ScottPilgrim'':
** Ramona says that her last ex-boyfriend Gideon has a way of getting inside her head. Scott agrees, prompting Ramona to tell him that she means Gideon has a way of ''literally'' invading her subconscious.
** Todd (another evil ex) is called incorrigible, to which he replies that '[he] doesn't know the meaning of the word.' A caption then pops up telling the reader that Todd really ''doesn't'' know what it means.
* A variant, making it part of the mystery, in a ComicBook/{{Mickey Mouse comic|Universe}}s story that casts Mickey as a professional detective: A man accused of destroying evidence against the local mob boss is in a mentally unstable condition, and some of his ravings include the mention of "the monkey on my back". It turns out this refers to the actual pet monkey of the mob boss, who likes to jump down to the backs of intruders and tear them with his claws.
* ''{{ComicBook/Watchmen}}:'' Night Owl comments that in the early years, Rorschach "...was quiet, he was grim, but he still had all the buttons on his overcoat". And in fact, in flashbacks to those early years, Rorschach's trench coat has all its buttons--in the 'present day' storyline, his coat is missing one.
* ''ComicBook/ArchieComicsSonicTheHedgehog'': During Sonic's trial after the Mecha Madness storyline, Antoine has Amy Rose on the stand and holding up a badger, demanding to know if she invited said badger to join her Sonic fan club. Sally promptly orders Antoine to "stop badgering the witness."
* ''ComicBook/TheWickedAndTheDivine'' has the gods/artists that Ananke had more trouble controlling, Baphomet and the Morrigan, described as "underground" and given a more indie vibe...while also generally being located underground, with the Morrigan preferring subway tunnels and abandoned stations. [[spoiler: Persephone takes it up a notch by being able to sink herself and her allies directly under the earth, while also having the same indie flavor of the other two.]]
* ''Comicbook/LaffALympics'': Yogi says his team "doesn't know the meaning of the word '''defeat'''... Several of them don't even know the meaning of the word '''cabbage'''! Boy, are they '''dumb'''!".
* ''ComicBook/{{Iznogoud}}'': In "Incognito", Iznogoud is said to be "cold and calculating". He mentally calculates that 5,763,257*312,418=1,800,545,225,426 .
* In a four-page comic book story from ''ComicBook/TheSmurfs'' regarding Smurfette's visit to the Smurf Village, when Smurfette tells her fellow Smurfs that she wants them to "bring her the moon," the Smurfs take to fulfilling this request rather literally -- one Smurf tries to pole-vault up to the sky and grab the moon, another Smurf tries to scoop up the moon's reflection in the water with a net, a third Smurf tries with an arrow and gets another Smurf ShotInTheAss, a fourth Smurf tries to build a rocket, a fifth Smurf makes a cutout of a moon shape, and so on.

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'': Several of Calvin's {{Imagine Spot}}s involve this. Many other comics have since picked up on this and done it ''ad nauseum''.
* From ''ComicStrip/TheWizardOfId'', [[http://www.gocomics.com/wizardofid/2016/06/03 this one]] takes the term "hung jury" a little too far...
* ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'':
** In an early strip, Garfield wakes up, and steps out of bed, not realizing it's at the edge of the table, which he falls off of. Jon frantically asks what happens, and Garfield replies, "I got up on the wrong side of bed."
** [[http://www.gocomics.com/garfield/1994/09/29 Garfield wants to "put a smile on Jon's face"]]. He draws a smile on it.
* ''ComicStrip/BeetleBailey'':
** Pretty much any metaphor after processing through [[LiteralMinded Zero]].
** Many of the other jokes as well:
--->'''Frame One:''' "How does the Chaplin remain impervious to Miss Buxley?" "He just closes his eyes to that sort of thing."\\
'''Frame Two:''' The Chaplin crashes into a streetlight.
* ''ComicStrip/PearlsBeforeSwine'' has a strip where somebody says that "if that guy doesn't stop talking, my ears are literally going to fall off." Rat chastises him for misusing the word 'literally,' at which point [[NotHyperbole his ears literally fall off.]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In ''Fanfic/HarryPotterAndTheMethodsOfRationality'':
-->''"Yes," Hermione said, her voice might have been a little acerbic, "that was what I said to Professor Flitwick while I was apologizing to him, that I knew things had gotten out of hand, and he yelled: ''Really, Miss Granger? Do you think?'' in a squeak so loud that my ears caught on fire. I mean my ears ''actually caught on fire''. Professor Flitwick had to put them out again."\\
Harry had put his hand to his forehead. "Excuse me," Harry said. His face was perfectly straight. "Sometimes I still have a little trouble getting used to that sort of thing."''
* In ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' fanfic ''Fanfic/TangledInTime'', Fyrus recalls his mother calling him "a little prince" when he was younger. After being crowned King of the Gerudo, he realizes that she was dropping hints about his heritage.
* ''Fanfic/RosarioVampireBrightestDarkness Act VI'': In chapter 35, while explaining why they don't want Talon to free them from their servitude, Jovian and Jacqueline say that they'll die without him. Talon assumes that they're just being dramatic, until they explain that part of their summoning spell includes a {{curse}} that will eventually kill them unless they have a master to serve.
* Website/DeviantArt contributor Daniel-Remo-Art creates an odd interpretation of DeaderThanDisco with [[http://daniel-remo-art.deviantart.com/art/Disco-Is-Dead-Iray-568673665 this Deviation]] of an [[OurZombiesAreDifferent undead]] version of ComicBook/{{Dazzler}}. (Warning, slightly NSFW.)
* In ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/10954087/4/Laughing-As-I-Pray Laughing As I Pray]]'', Thor attacks the X-Men under the false assumption they're out to destroy Midgard after hearing a bigot accuse the mutants from poisoning children's minds and ruining lives. It's {{justified|Trope}} by the Asgardians being not inclined to distort the facts, which means that when someone claims there is a monster destroying a town and eating children, there REALLY is a kid-eating monster to slay.
* Over the course of the first several chapters of ''FanFic/TheDragonKingsTemple'', Toph and Zuko repeatedly ask to be allowed to "see sunlight". SGC refuses the request, thinking that it's just a metaphor for feeling confined and wanting some fresh air. It isn't: As a firebender, Zuko will literally die if cut off from Sun for long enough.

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/ChickenRun'', Rocky and Ginger are trying to escape from the chicken-pie-making machine. When they get pushed into one chamber, Rocky exclaims, "Whew! It's like an oven in here..." A second later, gas flames shoot up on all sides and the door starts to close.
* In ''[[WesternAnimation/FamilyGuyPresentsLaughItUpFuzzball Blue Harvest]]'', Chris!Luke's fellow pilot Dack tells him "I feel like I can take on the whole Empire today!" Chris!Luke shouts to everyone in the hangar "Hey guys, Dack says he's got this one!" In ''Film/TheEmpireStrikesBack'' the same conversation happened with Dack's statement being taken for the metaphor you'd expect. In ''Blue Harvest'', we see Dack fly solo against a star destroyer and get nonchalantly one-shotted.
* At the end of the ''WesternAnimation/Shrek2'' DVD version, Shrek and Fiona judge a [[Series/AmericanIdol sing-off with Simon Cowell]]. Donkey and Dragon decide to sing "Disco Inferno" ("[[RefrainFromAssuming burn, baby, burn!]]").
-->'''Simon:''' You're on fire, Donkey!\\
'''Donkey''': ♪''Burn baby burn...''♪\\
'''Shrek''': No, you're really on fire!\\
'''Donkey:''' ♪''Burn baby burn, oh, yeah!''♪ ''[sees that his tail's on fire]'' AAAAAAAH!!!!!!
* At the end of ''Disney/AtlantisTheLostEmpire'', while Whitmore is going over the gang's cover story:
-->'''Whitmore:''' What happened to [[spoiler: Helga]]?\\
'''Cookie:''' Weeeeeell, we lost her after a flamin' zeppelin come down on her--''[Mrs. Packard whacks him on the head with her umbrella]'' Uh, missin'.\\
'''Whitmore:''' And [[spoiler:Rourke]]?\\
'''Dr. Sweet:''' Nervous breakdown. You could say he went all to pieces.\\
'''Cookie:''' In fact, you could say he was [[BodyToJewel trans-a-morgified]], and then [[LiterallyShatteredLives busted into a zillion]]-- ''[Packard threatens him with her umbrella again]'' Uh, he's missin', too.
* ''Disney/{{Zootopia}}'':
** On Judy's first day in the police headquarters, Chief Bogo says he needs to address the elephant in the room... then looks at an elephant officer. "Francine? Happy birthday."
** Tundratown crime-lord Mr. Big tries to "ice" Judy and Nick... in this case, it literally involves [[DrowningPit dropping them into a tank of ice water]].
* ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'' had one when Hades' coup on Mt. Olympus was foiled by Hercules.
-->"Thanks a ton, Wonderboy! But at least I've got one swell consolation prize! A friend of yours, who's ''[[YourSoulIsMine dying]]'' to see me!"
* In ''WesternAnimation/MonstersVsAliens'', The President defiantly fires at a huge alien robot that's ImmuneToBullets, shouting "Eat lead, alien robut!" Then there's a gulping noise from offscreen.
-->'''President:''' Evidently, they eat led. Huh.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Happens in the film ''My Favorite Year''. Alan Swan is drunk, and hanging off a building by a fire hose.
-->"I think Alan Swan is beneath us!"\\
"Of course he's beneath us. He's an actor!"\\
"No! I think Alan Swan is beneath us right now!"
* This is how the Human Torch in the ''Film/FantasticFour2005'' film discovers his powers -- he is skiing with a friend and he suddenly catches fire.
-->'''Nurse:''' Johnny! You're on fire!\\
'''Johnny:''' Thanks! You're pretty good too!\\
'''Nurse:''' No, ''you're on fire!''
* ''Film/AHardDaysNight'': When Music/RingoStarr decides to leave the group to have some time to himself.
-->'''Music/{{Paul|McCartney}}:''' He can't just walk out on us like this!\\
'''[[Music/JohnLennon John]]:''' Can't he? He's done it, son!
* In ''Film/AguirreTheWrathOfGod'', the expedition is descending the Andes, having already had some difficulties. One character says optimistically, "It can only go up from here!" Another looks at the slope they're on and corrects him literally, "No, down." Actually, the second character is also metaphorically right: things [[FromBadToWorse got worse]] drastically.
* In ''Film/VillageOfTheDamned1960'', the protagonist focuses on the words "brick wall" to hide how he plans to kill the psychic children. We see their attempts to break through his PsychicStatic as a literal brick wall, which slowly falls to pieces as they force their way in. [[spoiler:By the time they finish breaking through, there isn't enough time left to stop the explosives from going off.]]
* In ''Film/StarTrekVTheFinalFrontier'', Kirk at first assumes Spock is speaking metaphorically when he says that Sybok is his brother.
* Played for Drama in ''Film/ShutterIsland''. While venturing through the highest security ward of Ashecliffe mental hospital, US Marshall Teddy Daniels encounters George Noyce, a patient he's met before, but he has a massive scar across his face. When Teddy asks who did this to him, he replies "You did". [[spoiler:Teddy is actually a dangerously insane patient, who's convinced he's a US Marshall, and he beat up Noyce two weeks ago.]]
* A nice example in ''Film/KeepingTheFaith'', when Bonnie Rose is boasting about daughter Rose's professional achievements to the hot new Rabbi: "My mum does all my PR," Rose explains. "I know what you mean. Mine too," says the Rabbi. "No, I mean really. My mum's firm does all my PR."
* In ''Film/EuroTrip'', Scotty and Cooper are at the Vatican and have managed to sneak into a room with the Pope's clothes. Cooper puts on the Pope's hat and accidentally sets it on fire but doesn't notice. This little exchange takes place:
-->'''Scott:''' Cooper, the hat! The hat! The hat is on fire!\\
'''Cooper:''' We don't need no water let the motha..."\\
'''Scott:''' I'm not kidding! Look!\\
'''Cooper:''' Oh, holy shit!
* The campy 1992 movie ''Film/HighwayToHell'' has a scene where the old proverb "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions" very literally; in the scene, the souls of good-intentioned sinners are ground into pavement by a team of workers who look like Creator/AndyWarhol, from the ''Good Intentions Paving Company''. "I was only sleeping with my husband's boss to advance his career", one of them says sadly.
* ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'':
** While searching in a crypt under a library (which was an old converted church), Indy says, "Oh, rats.", and we pan to see hundreds of rats moving around in the tunnel.
** Later, as Indy and Henry Sr. argue over traveling to Berlin to get the Grail diary or going to Iskenderun to save Marcus, they're at a literal crossroads, with the road sign shaped like a cross.
* In ''Film/HocusPocus'', the witches sing "I Put a Spell on You" to a crowd of party-goers. It puts them into a trance.
* Happens in ''Film/MrsDoubtfire''.
-->'''Miranda:''' How did your husband die?\\
'''Mrs. Doubtfire:''' He was quite fond of the drink. It was the drink that killed him.\\
'''Miranda:''' How awful, he was an alcoholic?\\
'''Mrs. Doubtfire:''' No, he was hit by a Guinness truck, so it was quite literally the drink that killed him.
* Occurs in ''Film/BugsyMalone''. One of Fat Sams workers says he can't stop Dandy Dan's gang because "he's all tied up" (he's actually tied up). Fat Sam replies "I don't care how busy you are."
* ''Film/InTime'', with its premise of using the time of your life as currency, regularly features phrases such as "spending time", "out of time", and "give me a minute" used in a literal sense.
* ''Film/{{Airplane}}'': [[HurricaneOfPuns The series is fond of this trope in general.]]
** As a visual gag, when someone is warned about the shit hitting the fan. Cut to a view of the fan.
** There's also the lead character's "Drinking Problem"... cue him clumsily spilling his drink all over his face.
** In the sequel, one character is told, "Don't come apart on me!" His limbs promptly begin to fall off. In a later scene, he literally [[VisualPun turns to jelly.]]
* In the first ''Film/TheNakedGun'', Jane is standing up on a ladder at a bookcase, with Lt. Drebin on the ground, the impression that he's looking up her skirt. Drebin cracks "Nice beaver!", after which Jane comes down with a taxidermy beaver ("Thanks, I just had it stuffed.").
* In one scene of ''Film/DodgeballATrueUnderdogStory'', we learn that the film's villain, sleazy fitness mogul White Goodman, has a painting of himself riding a wild bull hanging in his office. He helpfully states that it's a metaphor for how he runs his business ("Taking the bull by the horns,"). Then he adds that, even though it's a metaphor, the scene in the painting actually happened to him. ([[UnreliableExpositor It probably didn't.]])
* In ''Film/BeingThere'', Chance the gardener's comments about plants are mistaken for profound metaphorical statements about the economy.
-->'''Chance:''' As long as the roots are not severed, all is well. And all will be well in the garden.... In the garden, growth has its seasons. First comes spring and summer, but then we have fall and winter. And then we get spring and summer again....\\
'''Benjamin Rand:''' I think what our insightful young friend is saying is that we welcome the inevitable seasons of nature, but we're upset by the seasons of our economy....\\
'''The President:''' Well, Mr. Gardner, I must admit that is one of the most refreshing and optimistic statements I've heard in a very, very long time. I admire your good, solid sense. That's precisely what we lack on Capitol Hill.
* As [[Creator/MarxBrothers Harpo Marx]] proves in ''Film/HorseFeathers'', you can indeed burn a candle at both ends.
* Early in ''Film/{{Trainspotting}}'', the heroin-addicted protagonist goes to a friend in hopes of scoring one last hit before he goes clean, but finds that said friend only has opium anal suppositories. Disappointed, but realizing that they're the closest thing to heroin that he's going to get, he takes the suppositories, inserts them into his anus, and remarks [[InvokedTrope "For all the good they've done me, I might as well have stuck 'em up my arse!"]]
* In ''Film/MissionImpossibleII'', when Ethan and Luther meet again, Luther ends up stepping in sheep droppings. This conversation takes place:
-->'''Luther Stickell:''' Shit.\\
'''Ethan Hunt:''' Yes it is.
* ''Film/WhoFramedRogerRabbit'':
** R.K. Maroon claims that Disney/{{Dumbo}} "works for peanuts". Meaning Maroon ''literally'' pays Dumbo with peanuts, seeing as he's an elephant.
** Eddie Valiant takes pictures of Jessica Rabbit and Marvin Acme literally [[UnusualEuphemism "playing patty-cake"]].
** Dolores catches Eddie with his pants down (he had just gotten out of the shower and was getting dressed) when [[FemmeFatale Jessica Rabbit]] tries to seduce/sweet-talk him into helping Roger.
** Near the end of the movie, Roger tells Judge Doom and his goons that the real meaning of justice "would probably hit you like a ton of bricks!" Then one of the weasels [[AnvilOnHead drops an actual ton of bricks on Roger's head]].
* In ''Film/AddamsFamilyValues'', Gomez says that baby Pupert [[FamilyEyeResemblance has his grandfather's eyes]].
-->'''Morticia:''' Gomez, take those out of his mouth.
* The same joke is used in ''Film/HotShots''.
* At the beginning of ''Film/ItsAMadMadMadMadWorld'' when Jimmy Durante's character dies, his leg spasms - and kicks a bucket.
* ''Films/{{Spaceballs}}'':
** When Dark Helmet reports to President Skroob that they've lost Princess Vespa on the desert planet, he orders them to "Comb the desert!". In the next scene, the Mooks are "combing" it... [[VisualPun With giant combs.]] (Colonel Sandurz ''does'' turn to Dark Helmet to ask if they're being too literal).
** A twofer: Lone Starr manages to jam the radar... with raspberry jam. Dark Helmet immediately knows who's responsible because only Lone Starr would ''dare'' to give him the raspberry.
* In ''Film/LittleShopOfHorrors'', Mr. Mushnick sarcastically asks Audrey why she's late for work (he knows her boyfriend is abusive, but she's reluctant to admit it):
-->'''Mushnick:''' Let me guess, you were all tied up.\\
'''Audrey:''' No, just handcuffed a little.
* Towards the beginning of ''Film/TheJerk'', Navin Johnson literally learns the difference between shit and Shinola from his adoptive father.
-->'''Mr. Johnson:''' ''[points at pile of manure]'' You see that, son? That's shit. ''[takes out bottle of Shinola]'' And this is Shinola.\\
'''Navin:''' ''[pointing]'' Shit... Shinola...\\
'''Mr. Johnson:''' Son, you're gonna be alright.
** [[FunnyBackgroundEvent Navin then steps in the manure anyway]].
* ''Film/{{Apollo 13}}'': In both RealLife and the film, the carbon dioxide levels aboard the Lunar Module rose faster than anticipated, because the LM's air filters weren't designed to support all three crew members at once. (The LM was only designed to support the two crew who would land on the moon, while the third would have stayed in orbit in the Command Module.) The Command Module's filters ''were'' up to the task (after all, it was the crew's main living space), but the CM was deactivated and its air filters were not compatible with the LM's ports- because the CM's units were square and the LM's were round. Flight Director Gene Kranz promptly {{Facepalm}}s and lampshades it ([[CrowningMomentOfAwesome they manage it]]).
-->'''Kranz:''' Well, I suggest you gentlemen invent a way to put a square peg in a round hole. ''Rapidly''.
* Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse:
** ''Film/{{The Avengers|2012}}'':
--->'''[[Film/IronMan Tony Stark]]:''' Well, I did do all the heavy lifting. Literally, I lifted the heavy things.
** ''Film/AvengersAgeOfUltron'':
--->'''ComicBook/TheVision:''' Well, I ''was'' [[ReallyWasBornYesterday born yesterday]].
* This exchange in ''Film/BatmanForever'', meant to serve mainly as a [[MythologyGag reference]] to [[Series/{{Batman}} the campy '60s show]]:
-->'''Robin:''' [[CatchPhrase Holy rusted metal, Batman!]]\\
'''Batman:''' Huh?\\
'''Robin:''' The ground, it's all metal. It's full of holes. You know, hole-y.\\
'''Batman:''' Oh.
* In allegorical film ''Film/{{Hypocrites}}'' the character of the Naked Truth is portrayed by [[NudityEqualsHonesty a nude woman]].
* In ''Film/WitnessForTheProsecution'', Leonard recounts his first meeting with Christine by saying "the roof fell in on me." Meaning, LoveAtFirstSight, right? Well, the flashback does show them being pretty into each other from the get-go... and then he knocks over a makeshift support in her half-ruined apartment, causing the roof to actually fall on him.
* In ''Film/SinginInTheRain'', Don Lockwood has escaped his adoring fans by [[MeetCute jumping into Kathy Sheldon's car]]. After suggestive dialog, Don must tearfully depart. He inadvertently closes the car door on his (already-ruined) suit.
-->'''Don:''' Farewell, Ethyl Barrymore. I must tear myself from your side. ''Exaggerated rip, followed by exasperated expression.''\\
'''Kathy:''' ''[[LampshadeHanging Uncontrollable laughter]]''
* ''Film/HMPulhamEsq'': Kay and Harry are going boating. She admits that she thought a man was going to sweep her away, only for him to dump her. Then she remembers Harry's breakup with his girlfriend [[TomboyishName Marvin]] and says "I guess we're both in the same boat." Harry looks down at the actual boat that they're actually in, chuckles, and says "Yes, well, we're in the same boat."
* In the animated opening for ''Film/GeorgeOfTheJungle'', we sees the plane going to the "Heart of Africa" on a map. Which happens to be next to the Sinus, Liver and Upper Colon of Africa.
* In ''Film/{{Hanna}}'', Marissa does one unintentionally. When her superior wants her to stand down, she refuses, saying "No, I am inches...". Hanna is literally inches away from her, hiding under the bed.
* ''Film/TheCobbler'' revolves around a magical shoe-stitching machine that lets the main character turn into his customers by trying on their shoes, i.e. literally letting him walk a mile in their shoes.
* In ''Film/{{Hook}}'', Tootles, a former Lost Boy and now elderly man, complains that he has “lost his marbles.” It turns out he actually had a bag of marbles, which were his “happy thought,” but he left them in Neverland. Once they are returned to him he is able to fly (with the help of pixie dust).
* ''Film/{{The Ring|1927}}'': Mabel has left her husband Jack, a boxer, for another man. At the end of the movie Mabel returns to Jack, saying "I'm in your corner"...and she's actually in his corner, in the boxing ring, between rounds of his championship fight.
* At one point in ''Film/PulpFiction'', Mia Wallace goes off to "powder her nose" -- by which she means snort cocaine in the bathroom.

* What did the Sphinx say when Theatre/{{Oedipus|TheKing}} answered his riddle? "Motherfucker!"
* I wondered why the Frisbee was getting bigger, and then it hit me.
* Vampires suck. Werewolves bite.
* What did Creator/MarkHamill say after finishing reading the script to ''Film/TheForceAwakens''? "[[Creator/JJAbrams J.J]], may I have a Word?"
* Walking into a bar...
** A man walks into a bar. He says "ouch".
** Two men walk into a bar. You'd think the second one would have noticed.
** [[RuleOfThree Two men walk into a bar. The third one ducks.]]
** Two men walk into a BAR. They didn't survive the shots.
* "Literally" has been used figuratively so often that literal use of "literally" is now a humorous subversion:
-->''It takes literally ''hours'' for a commercial airplane to fly from New York to Colorado.\\
Anything flying from New York to Colorado in five minutes is literally in orbit.''

* In the book ''Literature/AnansiBoys'', [[spoiler:Tiger]] is trapped in a cave with the thoroughly annoying [[spoiler:Grahame Coats]]. [[spoiler:Tiger]] warns him to not be irritating or he will bite [[spoiler:Coats]]'s head off.
-->[[spoiler:'''Grahame Coats:''']] You keep using the phrase "bite my head off." Now when you say "bite my head off," I take it I can assume that it is actually some kind of metaphorical statement, implying that you'll shout at me, perhaps rather angrily?\\
[[spoiler:'''Tiger:''']] Bite your head off. Then crunch it. Then swallow it.
* In the final story in ''Literature/AngelsOfMusic'' [[Literature/SherlockHolmes Irene Adler]] calls [[Literature/TheSandman Olympia]] "a real doll", [[Literature/AnnoDracula Kate Reed]] chides her for using Americanisms; Irene replies she wasn't.
* ''Literature/DirkGentlysHolisticDetectiveAgency'' had a LanguageEqualsThought gag running into this, which doubles as a BrickJoke to a moment when Dirk's secretary rips a handful of pages out of a dictionary in order to make it fit in a desk drawer:
-->''The word "impossible" is not in my dictionary. In fact, everything between "herring" and "marmalade" appears to be missing.''
* ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'':
** ''Discworld/TheTruth'', about the Discworld's first newspaper, begins with someone yelling "Stop the presses!"... because the cart carrying the printing press in question has come loose and is careening down the street.
** ''Discworld/TheColourOfMagic'' has the world's first tourist attempting to convince a bunch of brawling heroes to pose for a picture. He barely speaks their language and none of them have ever seen a camera before. His guide tells them that the box the man is carrying has a little imp inside who will draw them really quickly, in an obvious attempt to [[LiesToChildren keep them from getting confused or asking too many questions.]] The guide is as surprised as the reader when the imp turns out to be real.
** In ''Discworld/GuardsGuards'', Nobby Nobbs tries to kicked a downed troll "[[GroinAttack in the stones]]", and nearly breaks his foot when it turns out ''those'' parts are made of rock, as well.
--->"Have trolls ''got'' stones?"\\
"Stands to reason."
** In ''Discworld/MovingPictures'', characters affected by the magic of Holy Wood really do have stars in their eyes.
** A variant in ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'', where the literal interpretation ''leads'' to the metaphorical one: Early in the book Chalky the Troll examines some clay and says it's crank (a coarse clay) with a lot of grog (pre-fired clay) in it. It's also been sort of heated, but not baked properly, leaving it crumbly. When [[spoiler:the insane Golem King]] appears, he's cranky, groggy, half-baked and cracking up.
** One of the possible results of dark-light photography, as seen in ''Discworld/TheTruth'', is that the resulting photo will show a metaphor as if it were literal. For instance, someone whose father looms high in their life is pictured with their father standing behind them and looking down over their shoulder.
** In ''Discworld/GoingPostal'', Moist's reaction to seeing the once-proud Post Office is "Oh, shit!" Mr Pump reproves him for his language, but he explains it was a statement of fact: the place is filled with pigeon droppings. Then he finds out [[spoiler:they're actually piles of dead letters ''covered'' in pigeon droppings]]. Near the end of the book, [[spoiler: Reacher Gilt [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere is forced to go on the run]], but not before mailing his pet cockatoo Alphonse to Moist, which as Adora points out is Gilt [[FlippingTheBird literally giving Moist the bird]] on his way out.]]
** It's a minor RunningGag that Corporal [[{{Gonk}} Nobbs]] has the body of a twenty-year-old, though "nobody's quite sure where he keeps it."
** Also in ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'', the latest incarnation of imp-powered organiser has handwriting recognition. Vimes show the imp his notebook and it says "Yep, that's handwriting."
** [[TheIgor Igors]] are experts at organ transplants and don't believe in letting useful body parts go to waste. If an Igor says he has his grandfather's hands, [[HavingAHeart he isn't being metaphorical]].
* ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''. Inverted in ''Literature/DeathMasks'': Dresden tells Molly she's sounding all grown up, and Molly snarks that "The breast fairy came to visit and everything." Quoth Dresden, to the reader, "Some might find it significant that it took me a second to realize she wasn't being literal about the faerie. Sometimes I hate my life."
* Just before the Sun impales him with light, the narrator of ''Literature/TheGreatDivorce'' is reminded of the errors that could arise from assuming his vision of Heaven encompasses the entire unending super-nature of {{God}} and says "God forbid." The narrator's guide says, "He has forbidden it. That's what I'm telling ye."
* In ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheGobletOfFire'', Tom Riddle tells Wormtail he will get to "perform a task most [his] followers would give their right hand to perform" -- little does Wormtail know that to perform the task you literally have to sacrifice your right hand as a flesh offering for Dark Magic.
* In ''Literature/TheLegacyOfTheGlorious'', the part where the Spanish-American War begins is called "The Boiler Explodes", which is what literally happens to be what starts the war, as an American ship's boiler's explosion makes the Americans believe the Spanish are attacking them.
* In ''Literature/PaperTowns'', Margo leaves a clue by highlighting a line from Creator/WaltWhitman's "Song of Myself": "Unscrew the locks from the doors! Unscrew the doors themselves from their jambs!" The gang considers various metaphorical meanings, but the actual clue meant that there was another clue hidden inside one of Q's door hinges.
* ''Literature/ThePhantomTollbooth'' is loaded with these types of jokes. It starts with Milo literally going beyond Expectations on his way to the Land of Wisdom, and includes moments like him and his companions jumping to Conclusions (a small DesertedIsland off the coast) and having to swim back to the mainland.
* ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'': Telling Tyrion his answer to the riddle of the sellsword and the three powerful men, Varys says political power is a "shadow on the wall . . . yet shadows can kill." Later in the same volume, both [[spoiler:Ser Cortnay Penrose]] and self-styled [[spoiler:King Renly Baratheon]] are literally killed by a shadow.
* From ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant'':
** Skulduggery states in the first book that his skull was stolen several years ago by goblins - or, as Valkyrie puts it, he lost his head.
** In the fifth book, Skulduggery gets an artificial, magic face to cover his skull. Unfortunately, it starts malfunctioning, and at one point his face starts drifting across the skin on his head, leading to Valkyrie saying "You've got eyes on the back of your head, and I don't mean that as a compliment."
** When the title character's subconscious becomes a physical, evil being the main characters have to fight.
--->'''Valkyrie:''' But if you can confront your inner demons--\\
'''Skulduggery:''' I did confront my inner demon. I punched him in the face and he exploded.
** In ''Dying of the Light'', Clarabelle makes up a story about a mage who fought a warlock after losing all his limbs - making him a master of "unarmed combat".
* Done in the narration in ''Literature/StarCarrier: Earth Strike'' during a {{Xenofiction}} moment.
--> "Emphatic Blossom at Dawn, like all of the Turusch, was of three minds.\\
"''Literally.''" ''[book goes into an {{infodump}} about Turusch BizarreAlienPsychology]''
* The young adult novel ''This Place Has No Atmosphere''. The expression that a place "has no atmosphere" generally means that the place in question is especially dull and boring. However, the novel is set on the Moon, which ''literally'' has no atmosphere.
* In ''Literature/TheInvisibleLibrary'' [[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragons]] have innate ElementalPowers. In the second book, ''Literature/TheMaskedCity'', when Irene says the wrong thing to a dragon king, the temperature in the room really does drop a couple of degrees. And when he gets ''really'' angry, the atmosphere does indeed start to thicken.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/TheBennyHillShow'':
** A prison scene has a piano against a brick wall, and the narrator states, "During this dark time, music was his only escape", followed by Benny climbing on top of the piano to get over the wall.
** In a sketch on the beach, Benny is reading a book titled ''How to Pick Up Girls''. Then, he tries to ''physically'' lift a swimsuit-clad beauty, and gets slapped for it.
* ''Series/{{Frasier}}'':
** On several occasions, being a WorldOfSnark:
--->'''Frasier:''' Niles, is there a lightbulb over my head?\\
'''Niles:''' You have an idea?\\
'''Frasier:''' No, I'm literally asking if there's a lightbulb over my head! Of course I have an idea!
** After Niles is caught out in a ClosetShuffle when he falls asleep over a breakfast trolley:
--->'''Lilith:''' You have egg on your face. \\
'''Niles:''' That's an understatement, I'm mortified! I--\\
'''Lilith:''' No, ''actual'' egg! It's in your hair, too...
** The station hired a tough negotiator, "[[NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast The Hammer]]" to renegotiate everyone's contract. Gil's salary has been slashed, but Bebe comes in with Roz, cheering.
--->'''Gil Chesterson:''' How on earth did you get all that?\\
'''Bebe Glazer:''' Oh, we go way back, the Hammer and I. I know where the bodies are buried. [''{{beat}}''] Usually, that's just a metaphor...
* Early episodes of ''Series/TheOfficeUS'' had various examples.
--> '''Toby:''' Oscar’s really gay.\\
'''Michael:''' Exactly.\\
'''Toby:''' I mean for real.\\
'''Michael:''' Yeah, I know.\\
'''Toby:''' No, he’s attracted to other men.\\
'''Michael:''' Okay, little too far, crossed the line.\\
'''Toby:''' Okay, I am telling you Oscar is an actual homosexual.
* This is a regular gag for Sophia on ''Series/TheGoldenGirls'':
-->'''Sophia:''' Then it happened, what every runner dreads. I hit the wall.\\
'''Dorothy:''' Aww, you ran out of steam.\\
'''Sophia:''' No, I actually hit a wall!
* Used in the ''Series/{{Wings}}'' episode "Plane Nine From Nantucket":
-->'''Joe:''' Who won the arm-wrestling match?\\
'''Helen:''' Fay licked me.\\
'''Joe:''' She beat you, huh?\\
'''Helen:''' No, she licked me. She literally ''licked'' my hand. I was so startled, she caught me off-guard, pinned me to the table.
%%* A recurring element on ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch''.
* ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'':
** An episode put an ''interesting'' spin on this one:
--->'''J.D.:''' We could have sex again.\\
'''Elliot:''' Bite me.\\
'''J.D.:''' Oh, come on, I was kidding! It's a joke!\\
'''Elliot:''' No, I mean it. Like you did last night. ''[takes off her shirt and throws it at him]'' Come bite me.
** In another, Elliot talks about how great [[RomanticFalseLead her fiancee Keith]] is, saying he would walk through fire for her. A GilliganCut shows the Janitor trying to convince Keith to literally walk through fire to prove the his love for Elliot. [[note]]([[ItMakesSenseInContext Janitor's wedding gift to Elliot is making sure Keith will make a good husband.]])[[/note]]
* ''Series/BabylonFive'': Lord Kiro mentions that his aunt once told him he would be "killed by shadows". He doesn't think it makes any sense. Pity no one told him about that ancient alien race who call themselves The Shadows...
* ''Series/PushingDaisies'':
** "Smell of Success":
--->'''Emerson:''' Your book was a bomb.\\
'''Napoleon:''' Who are you to criticize my life's work?!\\
'''Emerson:''' ''[deadpan]'' Your book. Was a bomb. It ''exploded.''
** "Bad Habits":
--->'''Emerson:''' That's bat crap.\\
'''Olive:''' It's a frickin' convent. Show some respect.\\
'''Emerson:''' ''[pointing at the white-streaked wall of the bell tower]'' I'm showing you bat crap.
* In the ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' episode "Romeward Bound", the company Marshall works for is revealed to have descended to the point that everyone except Marshall and Bernard has been laid off or left for better prospects, and all they've done for the last few months is muck around. Marshall didn't want to want to reveal this to his wife, nor did he want to lie to her, so every time she called, he told the truth using a metaphor:
-->'''Marshall:''' I can't talk right now; I got a lot on my plate.\\
''[Marshall puts down the phone and sits in front of a plate of burgers]''\\
'''Marshall:''' Well, let's dig in. If we start now, we can be done by lunch.
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'':
** Inverted:
--->'''Buffy:''' [My mom] saw these scores, and her head spun around and exploded.\\
'''Giles:''' I've been living on the Hellmouth too long... that ''was'' metaphorical, wasn't it?
** A somewhat different kind of inversion occurs in "A New Man", after Giles has been turned into a demon:
--->'''Spike:''' Hey, picked up a tail...\\
'''Giles:''' Yes, just a little, uh... Hurts when I sit.\\
'''Spike''' I mean someone's following us.
** Played straight by the Mayor:
--->'''The Mayor:''' There's more than one way to skin a cat. [[KickTheDog And I happen to know that's factually true.]]
** Also played straight in what Xander says in "Dead Man's Party" during the big WhatTheHellHero moment against Buffy for running away at the end of season 2. Unbeknownst to the gang, a small-scale ZombieApocalypse is going on at that very moment:
--->'''Xander:''' You can't just bury stuff, Buffy! It'll come right back up to get you.
** Part of the modus operandi of Vengeance Demons.
--->'''Rachel:''' I wish you could all feel what's it like to have your hearts ripped out.\\
'''Anyanka:''' Wish granted.
* ''Series/{{Angel}}'': One of the prophecies that has Wolfram & Hart so worked up regarding a pregnant vampire states that on the foretold night, there will be no birth, only death. They do relax somewhat at that, concluding that the offspring will either be miscarried or stillborn or killed before it can be born. It turns out that this is actually a literal statement: The vampire is undead, her body isn't designed to give birth and magic protecting the baby from harm means a C-section cannot be performed either. Her solution is to stake herself. Her body disintegrates into dust, leaving the (very alive) baby lying on the ground where her body used to be. One of the lawyers immediately recognizes the similarity to a certain [[NoManOfWomanBorn other prophesy]]...
* ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'':
** One doctor [[LiteralMinded does this]] a [[RunningGag few times]], saying that "[[NoLongerWithUs we lost him]]" when a patient escaped, "it looks like he's dead" [[ExactWords to refer to a patient covered in blue paint, and "he's going to be all right"]] after [[spoiler:Buster loses his left hand]].
** In another episode, Michael repeatedly asked his imprisoned father about finances, only to be told "There's money in the banana stand." Michael assumes that just meant that the sales from the banana stand would always be there but really [[spoiler:the banana stand is lined with $250,000 in unmarked bills but Michael doesn't learn about it until after the stand burns to the ground]].
* In one episode of ''Series/TheGruenTransfer'', "The Pitch" had two advertising agencies competing to "sell ice to Eskimos".
* In ''Series/{{Jonas}}'':
-->'''Nick:''' She got a frog in her throat.\\
'''Kevin:''' There is a bug going around.\\
'''Nick:''' No, she was swimming in the swamp and got an ''actual'' frog ''in'' her throat. She's at the hospital right now getting a frog-ectomy.
* In one episode of ''Series/{{Spaced}}'' Mike walks off in the pub saying he has to "point the pink pistol at the porcelain firing range". When he gets back he is carrying an actual pink pistol.
* In ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'':
-->'''Dean:''' Where'd you serve?\\
'''Guy:''' Fallujah -- two tours. Got back a little over a year ago. Takes one to know one. Where'd you serve?\\
'''Dean:''' Hell.\\
'''Guy:''' No, seriously.\\
'''Dean:''' Seriously. Hell.
** Inverted in a season nine episode. The statement is the exact opposite of a common metaphoric phrase, but it's so bizarre that a character not in on the {{Masquerade}} asks if it is one.
-->'''Kim''': I am a prayerful woman who believes in miracles as much as the next, but I also [[spoiler:know how to read an EEG.]] And unless you're telling me you have a direct line to those angels that you were looking for –\\
'''Dean''': Yeah, no, I, uh... Guess I don't. But I might have something better. [[DealWithTheDevil I got the King of Hell in my trunk.]]\\
'''Kim''': Uh, is – is that... I'm sorry. Is that a metaphor?
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS30E4TheSontaranStratagem "The Sontaran Stratagem"]], when describing the ATMOS GPS system while driving:
--->'''Russ:''' It drives me round the bend.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS31E5FleshAndStone "Flesh and Stone"]], the Doctor tells Amy and River to "get a grip"... [[spoiler:because the Weeping Angels are about to drain the last of the ''Byzantium''[='s=] energy and accidentally deactivate the artificial gravity.]]
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E4TheDoctorsWife "The Doctor's Wife"]], the Doctor tells one of the two inhabitants of an asteroid in a bubble planet that he has the eyes of a twenty-year old. The man accepts the compliment before the Doctor clarifies that [[spoiler:he's just worked out that these two people are made from recycled bits of people who were lured here and killed, resulting in parts of their bodies being older or younger than other parts. He then hits the trope again roundabout by asking about their ability to dance...due to one of them literally having two left feet]].
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E10TheGirlWhoWaited "The Girl Who Waited"]], Amy disarms a Handbot -- though it's really more like "dehanding" it (she chops off the hands, since they administer anaesthetics and are how the robot "sees".
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS32E11TheGodComplex "The God Complex"]]:
--->'''Doctor:''' Are there any more of you?\\
'''Rita:''' Joe. But he's tied up right now.\\
'''Doctor:''' Doing what?\\
'''Rita:''' No, I mean he's tied up right now.\\
''[cut to a man who is tied to a chair]''
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS34E2IntoTheDalek "Into The Dalek"]], Clara asks what to do with a moral Dalek. The Doctor says he needs to "get into its head." Cue the FantasticVoyagePlot...
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS34E5TimeHeist "Time Heist"]], employees of the Bank of Karabraxos whose performances are deem substandard are fired... by means of an incinerator.
** In [[Recap/DoctorWhoS34E11DarkWater "Dark Water"]] after [[spoiler:Clara's boyfriend dies, she tries to force the Doctor to save him, threatening to throw all of his TARDIS keys into an active volcano if he declines]]. The Doctor can't fix it, so Clara appears to mercilessly go through with her threats, only for it to be revealed that the whole thing was a hallucination the Doctor set up once he saw what she was planning. When Clara asks what happens next, the Doctor understandably says "Go to Hell"....then reveals he intends to [[spoiler:take her to the afterlife in an attempt to save Danny]].
* In the new ''Series/{{Battlestar Galactica|2003}}'', Baltar asks the "imaginary" [[FanNickname Head]] [[MsFanservice Six]] what she really is. Her response? [[spoiler:An angel of God sent to guide humanity. And it turns out that she was being completely serious.]]
* In an episode of ''Series/IDreamOfJeannie'', Major Healey has invited everyone to a party in his completely bare apartment. He tells Major Nelson that new furniture would be installed "in the blink of an eye. Um, where did you say Jeannie was?"
* ''Series/StargateSG1'':
** From the episode "1969":
--->'''Maj. Thornberg:''' What was the weapon you used?\\
'''Col. O'Neill:''' ''[innocently]'' Weapon?\\
'''Maj. Thornberg:''' Our cameras saw some sort of weapon.\\
'''Col. O'Neill:''' Oh. Well, it's hard to say.\\
'''Maj. Thornberg:''' Some sort of state secret?\\
'''Col. O'Neill:''' No, just [[TheUnpronounceable difficult to pronounce]].
::: It was a Goa'uld Zat'nik'tel, for reference. And that's not even the least pronounceable term in Goa'uld language -- that would be the Tacluchnatagamuntoron, which even the always proper Teal'c shortens to "tacs".
** In season 9 episode "Off the Grid", when asked how he managed to have BigEater Goa'uld Nerus leave the SGC while unknowingly carrying a subspace tracker, General Landry answers that "It was a piece of cake..." (of cupcake, to be precise).
* ''Series/{{Smallville}}'':
** One is lampshaded in the episode "Icarus". After Hawkman jumps from a window with his wings on fire, General Wilson points out that he had intended the name to be a metaphor for Clark's fall from grace. Or to use the paraphrasing given [[http://www.comicsalliance.com/2010/12/13/recap-smallville-episode-10-11-icarus/ in a recap:]]
--->"Look, when I named this project Icarus, I never expected an actual dude with flaming wings falling from the sky. This is totally awesome. I love life."
** In an earlier episode, when Clark Kent catches a life-threatening fever, a doctor tries to give him a shot:
--->'''Pa Kent:''' You can't do that! ''[the doctor is outraged]'' No, I mean you literally can't do that.\\
[[spoiler:''[the doctor tells him off and sticks the needle in, which goes in fine because the fever neutralized Clark's invulnerability]'']]
* ''Series/{{Being Human|UK}}'': Annie is talking to another ghost, who mentions that her death was "a terrible shock". Annie replies, "Well, I should think it would be!" The other ghost then explains that she meant it literally; she died by electrocution.
* In one ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' episode, the Seer says she sees nothing. Her master assumes she failed to see the future, but she means, "Nothing. No Life. No World."
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'':
** In "Operation Righteous Cowboy Lightning":
--->'''Pete:''' Tracy's phoning it in.\\
'''Liz:''' So what else is new?\\
''[cut to show a phone where Tracy should be]''\\
'''Tracy:''' Line!
** Liz's boyfriend Floyd, upset over being passed up for a promotion, complains that he's sick of the rat race. It turns out his neighbors race rats in his apartment hallway late at night. Sometimes he places bets.
** Tracy makes reference to having a money pit in Connecticut.
--->'''Jack:''' You have a house in Connecticut?
--->'''Tracy:''' No.
** When Liz angrily says that she saved Tracy's career when they met five years ago, Tracy counters, "Five years ago, ''I'' saved ''your'' show! I rode in here on my white horse, which ''you made me me leave in the lobby!''"
** Tracy on why he wants to have another child:
---> I got a hole in my heart, Liz Lemon. And not the one I got from eating batteries.
* During a song at the 2006 Oscars, Creator/JackBlack bolsters Creator/WillFerrell by telling him they may not win any awards, but they'll win "the ultimate fight".
-->'''Jack:''' And I'm not speaking in a metaphor, I mean literally. I am going to fight the nominees.
* "Gay Witch Hunt", the third-season premiere of the U.S. edition of ''Series/{{The Office|US}}''.
-->'''Toby:''' Oscar's really gay.\\
'''Michael:''' Exactly.\\
'''Toby:''' I mean for real.\\
'''Michael:''' Yeah, I know.\\
'''Toby:''' No, he's attracted to other men.\\
'''Michael:''' Okay, little too far, crossed the line.\\
'''Toby:''' Okay, I am telling you Oscar is an actual homosexual.
* In ''Series/HerculesTheLegendaryJourneys'', reference to the manure Hercules cleared from the Augean Stables has someone say "Holy--" "[[CurseCutShort Exactly.]]"
* In the pilot of ''Series/MrSunshine'', after [[spoiler:Crystal dumps Ben for Alonzo]], they are just proceeding in opposite directions when [[BrickJoke the missing elephant]] turns up.
* ''Series/WizardsOfWaverlyPlace'':
-->'''Alex:''' You've got to help me!\\
'''Crumbs:''' I wish I could, but my hands are tied.\\
'''Alex:''' You don't believe me either?\\
'''Crumbs:''' No, I mean ''my hands are tied. (shows Alex he's handcuffed to the table)''
* Mark's discussion in ''Series/ParksAndRecreation'' of why he decided to turn his life around: "I hit rock bottom that night. I mean I literally fell to the bottom of a pit and hit a rock. I remember laying there thinking, there's probably a good reason why I'm down here. And then I remember thinking I need morphine."
* ''Series/{{Blackadder}}'':
** In the episode "Captain Cook", Baldrick paints a picture.
-->'''Blackadder:''' What's it called Baldrick? "The Vomiting Cavalier"?\\
'''George:''' That's not supposed to be vomit; it's dabs of light.\\
'''Baldrick:''' No, it's vomit. You told me to paint what comes from within.
** We also get his gem:
-->'''Young Crone''': Two things, my lord, must thee know of the Wisewoman. First, she is... a woman. And second, she is...\\
'''Blackadder:''' Wise?\\
'''Young Crone:''' You do know her then?\\
'''Blackadder:''' No, just a wild stab in the dark which is, incidentally, what you'll be getting if you don't start being a bit more helpful. Do you know where she lives?
* ''Series/HorribleHistories'':
** [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8qSkaAwKMD4 The Viking song]]:
--->''We're tearing down this place tonight... literally!\\
We're gonna set this sleepy town alight... literally!''
** Also, in the Dick Turpin song, Turpin describes his actions as a highwayman as "daylight robbery" -- normally meaning an extortionate charge for something, but here meaning literally robbing people in broad daylight.
*** Not to mention the final lines of the song, when Turpin is caught and hanged:
--> ''No more stand and deliver, you'll remember this, I hope:\\
It's no fun hanging with highwaymen when you're hanging from a rope.''
** Some Crusaders decide to follow a goose that's "filled with the Holy Spirit." After it fails to get them any closer to the Holy Land, one of them says, "I never thought I'd say this, but that was ''literally'' a wild goose chase."
** The Guy Fawkes ''Film/OceansEleven'' parody:
--> '''Guard:''' You'll be hung, drawn, and quartered.
--> '''Guy Fawkes:''' Gutted.[[note]]British slang for extremely disappointed[[/note]]
--> '''Guard:''' You will be.
* In the ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' treatment of ''Film/SpaceMutiny'', Crow pretends to be excited about watching the climactic battle, at first.
-->'''Crow:''' Wow! I am on the edge of my seat! ''[beat]'' I should probably scoot back a little; I'd be more comfortable.\\
'''Mike:''' Yeah, you've got a lot more room back there.
* In "Bringing Up Baby", the fourth-season premiere of ''Series/ModernFamily'', sitting on their sofa mulling their failed second adoption, Mitchell tells Cam that they have to talk about the elephant in the room. He agrees, and the camera pulls back to show a large stuffed elephant on one of the chairs, apparently received as a baby gift. For good measure, the gag repeats itself after one of them mentions the 800-pound gorilla.
* Used in a particularly dark (still funny) instance in ''Series/{{Community}}'', about the head of a law firm losing his job.
-->'''Lawyer:''' He got too old. Swam with the sharks and got eaten!\\
'''Jeff:''' He created the firm! You can't lose your job when you're the boss.\\
'''Lawyer:''' Not if you're ''dead''. That shark thing was not a metaphor.
* ''Series/MarriedWithChildren'': Al once made a DealWithTheDevil and ended up DraggedOffToHell. There, he commented it was hot like in hell. He then realized why.
* ''Series/MooneBoy'':
-->'''Martin:''' "Playing with myself?" How'd they know I was playing with myself?\\
''[cut to Martin under the covers with a flashlight -- playing foosball with himself]''
* A subtle example in ''Series/GameOfThrones''. When the character known up until that point only as The Boy is about to kill one of Theon's guards, the guard exclaims, "Bastard!" This should be a pretty big hint that The Boy is actually [[spoiler:Roose Bolton's (literal and [[BastardBastard figurative]]) bastard son Ramsay, who has been mentioned once or twice]].
** Petyr Baelish counseled his ward Robyn Aryn that "“People die at their dinner tables. They die in their beds. They die squatting over their chamber pots." He meant it as common, but hypothetical occurrences that the boy should not focus on. At the time of his speech, the first example happened in a well-known recent massacre and at a murder Petyr facilitated. The second two would happen in the next episode unbeknownst to him.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Becker}}'':
-->'''Becker:''' Sorry I'm late, I was tied up all morning.\\
'''[[EthicalSlut Linda]]:''' Hey, so was I!\\
'''Becker:''' Linda, I wasn't ''actually'' tied up.\\
'''Linda:''' Oh, uh, then neither was I.
* ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'': The gang realizes they have too many unresolved issues with various people around town and decide to use Thanksgiving dinner as an opportunity to "squash their beefs." Dennis interprets this metaphorically, but the rest of the gang takes a more literal approach, deciding that they should serve squash and beef for dinner, literally bury a hatchet in the ground, and physically wipe a slate clean. Dennis immediately points out that this is all "very on the nose."
* ''Series/MasterMinds'' has "...and make himself millions" as one of their catchphrases, but they added the word "literally" in the case of Wesley Weber, Canada's most notorious [[CounterfeitCash counterfeiter]].
* In the ''Series/{{Sherlock}}'' episode "The Sign of Three", Sherlock is giving a speech [[spoiler:as John's best man]] and reminisces about some of their more interesting cases (none of which were shown in past episodes). He mentions the "Elephant in the Room". Cut to the two of them staring at something big in a room and the sound of an elephant trumpet.
* In the fourth episode of the fifth series of ''Series/{{Misfits}}'', one of the members of the superpower support group is a gay man who involuntarily teleports into the nearest closet whenever he denies his sexuality.
* ''Series/DowntonAbbey'': In Series 4, Charles Blake helps Lady Mary save the Crawley family's recently delivered pigs from dehydration:
-->'''Mary:''' You've certainly saved our bacon. Literally!
* As a show run on DoubleEntendre, ''Series/AlloAllo'' featured many of these. It was particularly common for men to tell the women they had 'something in their pants' for them (as this was a favorite smuggling tactic).
* ''Series/BlackJesus'': On being told a bag of fertilizer costs $800, one of Jesus' crew says, "I don't even have $800 to my name, you know what that means? That means my life ain't worth a sack of shit!"
* ''Series/{{Detectorists}}'' [[OverlyLongGag drags this out for comedy]] as Sophie desperately searches for the deeper meaning behind Lance's admission, while Lance remains completely ignorant of how his words could be interpreted any other way;
-->'''Lance:''' Listen, I've never admitted this to anyone, but I really won the lottery the day Maggie left me.\\
'''Sophie:''' Right. You mean, what, you didn't realise at the time but actually it was the best thing that could have happened?\\
'''Lance:''' Pardon?
-->'''Sophie:''' What did you mean then, "I won the lottery"?\\
'''Lance:''' ...[[CassandraTruth I won the lottery the day Maggie left me.]]\\
'''Sophie:''' Sorry, what do you ''mean?''\\
'''Lance:''' What part of "[[SecretlyWealthy I won the lottery]]" do you not understand??
* In ''Series/CovertAffairs'': Auggie gets slapped, somewhat deservedly, by a hot-headed ex-girlfriend as soon as she sees him after two years apart (which she spent in prison, by the way).
-->'''Auggie:''' Didn't see that coming.\\
'''Tash:''' You should have. Do you know what I've been through the last two years?\\
'''Auggie:''' ''[waves folded white cane]'' I meant because I'm blind.
* In ''Series/AgentCarter'' episode [[Recap/AgentCarterS1E2BridgeAndTunnel "Bridge and Tunnel"]], a man being interrogated by the SSR is [[TheEasyWayOrTheHardWay literally shown a carrot and a stick]].
* On ''Series/HouseOfCardsUS'', Underwood asks to be alone in a cathedral, then spits contemptuously on a large clay statue of Jesus. When he goes to wipe the spit off, the statue falls down and shatters. He calls his Secret Service detail to come in and pick it up; as they arrive, he walks off with a bit of the statue, saying, "At least now I have God's ear."
* ''Series/TheSketchShow'': Several sketches rely on this type of gag, including one where a famous "sex symbol" is interviewed (the male one), and one of a "sports extremists club" (members include Muslim terrorists, Nazis, and Klansmen).
* ''Series/TheElectricCompany1971'': In an animated short, an angry wife tells her husband, who's dozing in his armchair, that he "drives [her] up the wall". He wakes up, and thinking that was a request, grabs hold of her and pulls a ripcord on the chair, starting up an engine and ''driving'' the two of them ''up the wall'' of the room and back down.
* In "Chapter 14" of ''Series/JaneTheVirgin'', Luisa recounts how she and Rose got together. "And then she kissed me. And then there were fireworks." It was the 4th of July, and the fireworks show started right as Rose kissed her. And then they [[TwoPersonPoolParty had sex in a pool]], while the fireworks continued.
* ''Series/TheDailyShowWithJonStewart'': While discussing the Boston Marathon bombing in April 2013, they showed a clip of a CNN correspondent reporting during the lockdown, saying [[OpenMouthInsertFoot "It's as though a bomb had dropped"]]. After a massive {{Facepalm}}, Creator/JonStewart said:
-->'''Jon:''' That's not so much a metaphor as ''what actually happened''.
* ''Series/{{Veep}}'': In the episode "Camp David", Dan calls up Selina to tell her that Jonah just shot himself in the foot. Selina assumes he means that Jonah's made another gaffe on his Congressional campaign, only for Dan to explain that Jonah, who was filming a hunting-themed commercial, [[NotHyperbole literally shot himself in the foot]] by accident.
* ''Series/{{Arrow}}'': In the episode "Legacy", Oliver Queen has been captured to be used as bait to trap the Green Arrow, by someone [[BruceWayneHeldHostage unaware that Oliver Queen and the Arrow are one and the same]]. Oliver, tied to a chair, tells his kidnapper that the Arrow isn't coming, saying "I have it on pretty good authority that he's tied up right now."
* In ''Series/AmericanGods'', Audrey has her [[spoiler: [[YourCheatingHeart cheating]]]] husband Robbie buried [[spoiler: with his severed penis shoved up his ass]].
* On ''Series/AgentsOfSHIELD'', Coulson describes Ivanov, the latest ArcVillain, as having "more than a few skeletons in his closet." At the time, he's standing in a closet in which Ivanov has literally left the skeletons of his former compatriots for Coulson to find.
* One episode of ''Series/LawAndOrderSpecialVictimsUnit'' has a utility worker drop a cable he is taking out of a truck after being startled. His supervisor asks him what's wrong.
-->'''Man''': Rats!\\
'''Woman''': Son of a bitch, can't even curse like a man!\\
'''Man''': No, I mean...(''points to several large rats scurrying towards what turns out to be an unconscious woman'')
* ''Series/StarTrekDeepSpaceNine'': During a flashback to Odo's early days of working security under the Cardassian occupation and his first meeting with Quark:
-->'''Quark:''' First drink on the house. An old and dreadful Cardassian tradition. What'll you have?\\
'''Odo:''' I don't drink.\\
'''Quark:''' A soft drink then...?\\
'''Odo:''' I don't drink.\\

* "''At your command, before you here I stand, my heart is in my hand'' -- yeucch!" from Music/TomLehrer's "The Masochism Tango", on ''Music/AnEveningWastedWithTomLehrer''.
* Variation in Music/{{Gorillaz}}'s ''We Are the Dury'':
-->'''Murdoc:''' It can be very distracting when you've got six or seven decomposing zombies stuck up your chimney flue.\\
'''2D:''' We've got a chimney flue?\\
'''Murdoc:''' I'm speaking metaphorically, D. I'm using the analogy of the chimney flue to describe the, um, passageways of our flowing creativity. The zombies, in this case, are used as a metaphor for blockages to the airways, figuratively speaking.\\
'''2D:''' Really?\\
'''Murdoc:''' No. There really are about six undead carcasses stuck up the studio chimney.\\
'''2D:''' Oh. Well, that'd explain the smell.
* Music/WeirdAlYankovic's "Albuquerque" does this in two places. Once, where a guy sarcastically says, "Noooo, I want you to cut off my arms and legs with chainsaws!", and another time, when another guy says "I haven't had a bite in days."
* Music/TheLonelyIsland song "Punch You In The Jeans" says in the chorus that "this is not a metaphor". The song is literally about violence against clothing.
* "Knee Reconstruction" by Greg Champion, a parody of "Eve of Destruction":
-->''You may want to play football 'till your dying day,\\
But if your knee has had the gong, there is no running away!''

* In Creator/SternPinball's ''Pinball/{{Star Trek|Stern}}'', the Warp ramp is also a RampJump, making it a literal [[Franchise/StarTrek warp jump]].

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* Franchise/TheMuppets seem to love jokes like this:
** ''Film/TheMuppetMovie'' features jokes about "starting off with a bang", "drinks on the house", and a "fork in the road".
-->'''Fozzie''': ''(as he and Kermit pass a literal [[VisualPun fork in the road]])'': Ker-MIT!
-->'''Kermit''': I don't believe it.
** In ''Series/TheMuppets'' episode "Swine Song", Kermit remarks that he's got butterflies in his stomach... because [[PostStressOvereating he eats a lot of butterflies when he's stressed]].
** In "A Tale of Two Piggies", Big Mean Carl is revealed to have a sister who's in real estate.
--->'''Rizzo:''' She got my brother a great place! There was a bidding war and she just ate the other buyer alive.\\
'''Gonzo:''' Oh, she sounds like a great negotiator.\\
'''Rizzo:''' No, no, I’m saying [[SwallowedWhole she ate him.]] While he was still alive. And then my brother got the place.

* ''Podcast/WelcomeToNightVale'':
** A recurring bit of weirdness when comments are made by a group. When Cecil says "The City Council said...", he probably doesn't mean that they released a statement, or used a spokesman, but that the whole Council spoke as one in [[HiveMind hive-minded]] unison.
** Also, metaphor in general. There's a really, really good chance that its meant 100% literally. (e.g. "Home is where the heart is. You'll never guess where we hid it, though.")
** "And now, a word from our sponsors. That word... is carp."
** At one point when Cecil says he will take a look at the traffic, he proceeds to do so... without particularly describing it to the listeners, but mutters a few observations to himself.
** After [[spoiler:[=StrexCorp=] takes over Night Vale]], [[BadassBookworm Tamika]] leads an attack (among other things) of the Book Club. They club people with books.
** When Cecil was anxious to learn more about Carlos from the representative of the University of What It Is, he told her: "Tell me everything." She answered that would take an awfully long time, and would probably include lots of things Cecil already knows. Cecil then narrowed down his question to information about Carlos.
** During the mayoral election, Marcus Vansted throws his hat in the ring by having a large boxing ring constructed and throwing one of his hats into it.
* Whenever a metaphor is used in ''Radio/HamishAndDougal'' there's a good chance that either someone will [[LiteralMinded take it literally]] or it was ''meant'' literally. (Rarely both at once, for maximum miscommunication.)
* In one ''Radio/JohnFinnemoresSouvenirProgramme'' sketch, John plays a diplomat dealing with a very tough team of negotiators. The one in the middle is "slightly to the right of Genghis Khan", the one next to him is "far to the right of Genghis Khan", and the one on other side is, of course, Genghis Khan.

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Nobilis}}'':
** One of the bits of flavor text:
--->''Humans do not understand the nature of crime on Nigerian campuses. They do not understand why it seems so hard to fight. I did not understand, until I became [[AGodAmI Noble]]; until I could ''see'' it. The gangs are not packs of rogues. They are not criminals. They are a hydra. Cut off one head and two more grow. This is not a metaphor. This is not a verbal device. They are a hydra. I have seen it rage with my own two eyes.''
** Being a game about {{Anthropomorphic Personification}}s in an animistic world, this comes up constantly. The corebook also discusses an infectious laugh (it spreads to anyone who hears it, and makes them keep laughing until they pass out from lack of oxygen), and one of the supplements contains this little gem:
--->''The stone was as heavy as my sins. That's not a metaphor, not exactly. That's how heavy my mistress had made it.''
* A meta example would be ''TabletopGame/AyeDarkOverlord''. This game is a BlameGame. Literally, as the gameplay consist of blaming someone else for failing a mission the [[EvilOverlord Dark Overlord]] send your team (you and all the other players) on...
* In the ''TabletopGame/{{Paranoia}}'' adventure ''Orcbusters'' (a parody of ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons''), there is a wandering monster table - it's the table where the monsters sit around playing poker with each other when it's not their turn to wander...

[[folder:Video Games]]
* In ''VideoGame/GrimFandango'', Glottis complains that being fired is like they reached into his chest, tore out his heart, and tossed it into the woods, while '''doing exactly that''' to himself. This is rather too serious for Manny to bother questioning the odd choice of metaphor or why he's bothering to act it out literally at the same time.
* ''VideoGame/EvilGenius'' has a brainwashing device for restoring a minion's smarts. How does it ''restore'' smarts, you ask? It sucks the patient's brain out through their ear, washes it with a special chemical concoction, then sticks it back in again.
* ''VideoGame/CommandAndConquerRenegade'' had a cutscene where [[PlayerCharacter Havoc]] is escaping from a [[NGOSuperpower Nod]] compound with Sydney Mobius, who is driving the truck. They start arguing, and Havoc then calmly says "cow". She blows up, assuming he called her a cow. A little more urgently, he points forward, "No, cow!" They end up almost hitting an actual cow crossing the road.
-->'''Havoc:''' Cow.\\
'''Sydney:''' ... PIG!\\
'''Havoc:''' No, ''cow''. ''[points]''\\
'''Cow:''' MOO!
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout}}'':
** The "bloody mess" trait/perk from the series leaves a literal bloody mess of organs whenever you kill an enemy if you have it.
** The Treeminders of ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 3}}'' constantly mistake Harold's requests for a MercyKill for some sort of riddle.
* ''VideoGame/{{Borderlands 2}}'':
** After completing a quest given to you by Patricia Tannis, she states that she has "a pile of blood money with your name on it" with her. She soon assures you that wasn't a metaphor.
** Inverted later, when Sir Hammerlock promises to pay you "a pretty penny" if you do a favor for him. He immediately clarifies that he's not talking about just giving you a literal penny, seemingly under the assumption that you're unfamiliar with the expression.
* In ''VideoGame/StubbsTheZombie in Rebel Without a Pulse'', Police Chief Masters threatens to dance on Stubbs' grave. When you finally confront him, Chief Masters prepares to take this literally by challenging Stubbs to a dance contest that takes the form of a SimonSaysMiniGame.
* After clearing the Mysterious Island War quest in ''VideoGame/KingdomOfLoathing'', either the Orcish Frat House or the Hippy Camp (or [[TakeAThirdOption possibly both]]) will be bombed back to the Stone Age... as in, the monsters will be replaced by more powerful cave-man versions of the enemies normally found there.
* In ''[[VideoGame/{{Tekken}} Tekken 6]]''[='s=] Scenario Campaign mode, on Christie's stage. Her universal dialogue with whoever the player's character is, involves her asking for the whereabouts of Eddy, with the player's character telling her they honestly don't know. Christie believes they're lying, calls them a Mishima devil, and tells them not to play dumb with her. Possibly using the term devil in a number of ways: being an afro latina character and accusing the player of taking advantage of her as a minority (i.e. white devil), or maybe just accusing the player of being [[{{Satan}} deceptive and evil]]. Either way, her irrationality to find Eddy automatically assumes the player to be working for the Mishimas, which leads to the metaphor she uses. However, you can actually play as Devil Jin, who is a literal devil transformed version of one of the Mishima characters.
* The recipe for a HideousHangoverCure in ''VideoGame/TheCurseOfMonkeyIsland'' includes "HairOfTheDog that bit you". Literally. You need to take some hair from a dog that bit you.
* Shows up in ''VideoGame/FarCry3'':
-->'''Willis:''' You have ten seconds to tell me who you are before I remotely detonate the C4 under the table and this whole place explodes like a pop bottle.\\
'''Jason:''' JESUS!!!\\
'''Willis:''' I doubt it. Five seconds.
* ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'':
** The Spy's main attack is "backstabbing" his "teammates" by literally stabbing them in the back with a knife while disguised as someone on their team.
** In the [=TF2=] comic "A Cold Day in Hell", the Soldier, the Scout and the Pyro kill three Siberian bears, before the Heavy Weapons guy came along and told them those bears were babies. Heavy calls anyone or anything weaker than him a baby, but this time it's literally. He then proceeds to take on the much larger literal MamaBear.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Pokemon}}'' Farfetch'd is a [[LetsMeetTheMeat duck carrying a leek]], a literal version of a Japanese figure of speech used to indicate something absurdly convenient.
* People unfamiliar with ''Videogame/{{Portal}}'' may hear the song "Still Alive" and not realize that the lines "Even though you broke my heart and killed me/and tore me to pieces/and threw every piece into a fire" are not a metaphor.
* ''VideoGame/{{Persona 5}}'': In [[Franchise/ShinMegamiTenseiPersona previous games]], Personas were described as metaphorical "masks", as a tie to [[UsefulNotes/CarlJung Jungian psychology]]. In ''Persona 5'', the party's Personas literally transform into personalized masks when not in use.
* ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'' occasionally features this as humorous NarrativeFiligree:
-->"Aaron is sweating bullets. Literally."\\
* In ''VideoGame/WestOfLoathing'', you'll occasionally be given a chance to say some form of MetaphorIsMyMiddleName. If you check your character sheet afterward, you'll find that the word in question is, in fact, now your middle name.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* In ''WebAnimation/XRayAndVav'', Flynt Coal is doing a PrivateEyeMonologue when we get this gem:
-->''It's a dog-eat-dog world out there. Looking at these streets I can't help but wonder... why are all these dogs eating other dogs? Don't they know that's cannibalism?''
* In ''WebAnimation/IfTheEmperorHadATextToSpeechDevice'', Kitten accuses [[spoiler:Magnus]] of inviting some daemons over for a party. Immediately afterward the camera shows 4 daemons who came for a literal party, with hats, a grill and everything.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* In an early episode of ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'', Marten describes his job as being "[[http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=85 the office bitch]]". This is his official job title.
* One patron in ''Webcomic/{{Unshelved}}'' runs into a problem like this when his girlfriend [[http://www.unshelved.com/archive.aspx?strip=20070417 wants to close the book on their relationship]].
* In ''Webcomic/FindersKeepers'', Death sends Cailyn Asher a knife after Card asks for her (Death's) help. When Cailyn, Card, and Lady Scarring examine the knife later, Scarring calls it "the cutting edge." Cailyn of course asks what it is the cutting edge of, only to be told that the knife is '''the''' Cutting Edge, and it ''literally'' [[http://www.finderskeepers.gcgstudios.com/?p=comic&chap=1&cid=22 cuts theory from reality.]]
* [[http://exterminatusnow.comicgenesis.com/d/20080112.html One strip]] from ''Webcomic/ExterminatusNow'':
-->'''Eastwood:''' Oh, I assure you I'm pissing myself with fear.\\
'''Virus:''' Well, I wouldn't go that far.\\
'''Rogue:''' I would. Just noticed. Watch your step there.\\
'''Virus:''' Oohh, right, '''NOT''' a metaphor.
* ''Webcomic/DanAndMabsFurryAdventures'' can be literal at times:
-->'''Dan:''' ''[with ears on fire]'' [[http://www.missmab.com/Comics/Vol_332.php Whoah... Hey Lexsi... my ears are burning!]]\\
'''Alexsi:''' ''[not looking]'' I'm sure they are, Dan...
* ''Webcomic/EverydayHeroes'':
** Jane confesses to her neighbor Joan that she used to be a villain. When Joan expresses doubt, Jane assures her it's true; "Been there, done that, got the T-shirt!" And to prove it, she [[http://eheroes.smackjeeves.com/comics/1990785/fits-to-a-t/ shows Joan the T-shirt]]. (Also a ShoutOut to ''Webcomic/{{Narbonic}}''.)
** Also, it's not polite to say "don't get all bent out of shape" to a man with a [[http://eheroes.smackjeeves.com/comics/2111619/bent-out-of-shape/ spinal injury]].
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'': A fairly common gag.
** The author himself gets one when the [[http://www.giantitp.com/Images/fanart/ootslate2.gif "Comic is running late."]]
** Celia's ex-boyfriend is caught "[[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0269.html slipping the wood]]" to some dryad hussy. At least it was a potted wood.
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0320.html When leaving Azure City,]] Roy states that they are on "the road to Adventure". And indeed, it's the name of Gate 6 (between Gate 5, the Film/RoadToMorocco, and Gate 7, the Film/RoadToPerdition).
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0328.html "The Test of the Heart"]] is another blatant case. "The truths that are in your heart will be laid bare for all to know." [[spoiler:Through a cardiac exam.]]
** Sabine makes one in [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0349.html "Every Couple Has Their Quirks"]]:
--->'''Sabine:''' It's hard, but sometimes, I need to make a sacrifice in order to maintain our love.\\
'''Roy:''' Like dressing up for him?\\
'''Sabine:''' No, I meant a literal sacrifice. I have a desecrated altar waiting for your corpse in the next room.
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0487.html "Their Concierge Service is Heavenly"]]:
--->'''Roy:''' Huh... I always thought the "revolving door afterlife" was just a metaphor...
** And [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0490.html "Final Review"]]:
--->'''Bureaucratic Deva:''' Mr. Greenhilt, we do things "by the book" around here -- and it just so happens that the book in question is 100 feet tall and alight with holy fire --
** In [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0757.html "Something Blue"]], Tarquin mention that some of his previous wives got cold feet before the marriage. [[ColdBloodedTorture The flashback reveals that it is quite literal.]]
** A delayed action one: In [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0747.html "Make It Three, Just to Be Safe"]], Haley asks Elan if he needs "200-foot-tall flaming letters" to see Tarquin is evil. In [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0759.html "Yes, Apparently"]], he's given some.
** Sabine gets one turned on her in [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0794.html "We Recommend Tsukiko"]]:
--->'''Nale:''' Oh really? Why don't you chase after him, then?\\
'''Sabine:''' Nale, you know I love you. I didn't--\\
'''Nale:''' No, I mean literally. Go chase after him. He's escaping.
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0804.html "Where Her Loyalties Lie"]]: Saying "Go to Hell" to an Infernal being just doesn't have the same weight...
--->'''Sabine:''' Go to Hell, imp.\\
'''Qarr:''' Was just headed there now. I'll give your love to the Directors.
** [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0987.html "The Soul of Discretion"]]:
--->'''Veldrina:''' Oh, don't mind the tiger. Little Whiskers wouldn't hurt a fly.\\
'''Wrecan:''' On the plus side, that was more Giant Monstrous Fly experience points for the rest of us.
* ''Webcomic/SluggyFreelance'':
** Parodied:
--->'''Riff:''' How did your blind date go?\\
'''Torg:''' She got eaten by the alien.\\
'''Riff:''' All right! Way to go man! ...Oh, you meant that literally.\\
'''Torg:''' How the hell did you think I meant it?\\
'''Riff:''' Not sure, didn't really think about it too much, but it sounded dirty!
** What is either Bun-bun himself or Gwynn's internal representation of Bun-bun mocks her current problems (possessed by a demon, imprisoned in a sort of fantasy world within her mind) by playing the world's smallest violin. Then he [[CrowningMomentOfFunny drops it down his ear]].
** Elsewhere, the [[http://www.sluggy.com/daily.php?date=020412 invention of the Chick Magnet]].
** In the ''Years of Yarncraft'' game, Torg was once [[http://sluggy.com/comics/archives/daily/080811 handed his ass by the Forest Yetis of Black Rook Caverns]]. First literally, and then figuratively too in all likehood.
* A page of the webcomic ''Webcomic/RealLifeFiction'', aptly titled "[[http://rlf.smackjeeves.com/comics/772566/too-literal/ Too Literal]]", hasa cold medicine that "may cause drow-siness". And indeed, imbibing it immediately turns the protagonist into a "drow" -- the ''D&D'' name for a dark elf.
* ''Webcomic/{{Sinfest}}'':
** Done occasionally by playing off sexual euphemisms, such as [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2009-07-27 "wax my missile"]] and [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2010-08-30 "sowing wild oats"]].
** [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2004-06-02 Back on the wagon]].
** [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2007-05-01 Slick decides to stand up to live, on reading of it.]]
** [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2008-02-06 And a fish finds a bicycle. Is assured that it doesn't need it, and doesn't care.]]
** [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2008-02-19 And the misery of being the]] ElephantInTheLivingRoom.
** When God says "[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2011-05- 30 And now I rock your world ]]
.]]" -- thy world will be... rocked.
* From ''Webcomic/HarkAVagrant'': [[Theatre/JuliusCaesar Cry "Havoc!"]] and let slip the [[http://www.harkavagrant.com/index.php?id=307 dogs of war]]!
* ''Webcomic/SkinHorse'':
** [[http://skin-horse.com/comic/todays-comic-650/ One comic]] does it with a metaphor that doesn't even exist.
--->'''Sweetheart:''' [[LampshadeHanging Its so hard to tell when Unity is euphemizing]].\\
'''Tip:''' [[NoodleIncident Like when she]] [[AccidentalInnuendo throttled that bishop]]?
** In another comic, Tigerlily Jones talks about how Tip is "always '''covered''' in hot chicks." [[DescriptionCut In the next panel]], Tip ''is'' covered in hot chicks, but they're literal baby chickens and he's checking the temperature on their incubator.
* This is a commonly used punchline in ''Webcomic/PennyArcade''.
* In ''Webcomic/MeatShield'', Leonid the pseudo-lich once did [[http://www.meatshield.net/archive/179-a-little-soul-searching/ a bit of soul-searching]]. Since at the time he was a disembodied head that had been stuffed inside his SoulJar, this didn't take very long. (For that matter, the fact that this particular phylactery is indeed a jar may fall into Literal Metaphor too.)
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' has Coyote and Renard referring to Annie as "fire-headed girl" and telling her "there's a fire in you... fire that belonged to your mother!" -- repeatedly. She takes all these mentions as cringe-worthy attempts at being poetic in regards to how much she is like her mother, Surma. [[spoiler:It's not the case. This wasn't about her temper or anything, at least not directly. They said what they meant, as straightforward as possible. By her basic nature [[ElementalEmbodiment she is a fire creature]], part-human part-fire-elemental, which means her mother's fire/soul was literally passed to her, resulting in Surma's death as Antimony matured]].
* In ''Webcomic/KevinAndKell'', Bruno's friends [[http://kevinandkell.com/2003/kk0217.html discovered he was trans-diet]] when they found him [[DoesThisRemindYouOfAnything in a closet]]. Eating hay.
** In a storyling in 2006, Aby was telling Kell about another in a series of terrible dates. She admitted that the big problem with her love life is the fact that she's MarriedToTheJob. [[http://kevinandkell.com/2006/kk0425.html Kell asked if she had a ceremony for that.]] The last frame shows a wedding announcement, which is now the trope image for that trope.
* In ''Webcomic/BrawlInTheFamily'', [[IdenticalStranger Kingsonnn Dededoo]] is here to [[http://brawlinthefamily.keenspot.com/2008/11/12/103-dededoo/ clean your clock]].
* In ''Webcomic/FauxPas'', [[http://www.ozfoxes.net/cgi/pl-fp1.cgi?1159 waiting all morning to say "A little birdie told me."]]
* In ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'',
** When he was young, Gilgamesh Wulfenbach built a clank for [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20120314 "picking up girls".]]
--->'''Gil:''' Well, when I was a kid, we heard some of the older guys talking, but we were kind of... um... unclear on the concept, and, ''well...''\\
'''Zoing:''' Itworkz! it''workz''!\\
'''Bang:''' That is so just like you... soooo ''pathetic''.
** When something is pounding on the gates of Mechanicsburg, a soldier reports that "It's a ram". Agatha is still surprised when she sees the [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20120917#.V3Ly5DWwjow ovine monstrosity]] butting the gate and realises "''AAH!'' It's a ''ram''!"
* ''Webcomic/FreeFall'':
** Yes, when it comes to "bugs in the security system" [[http://freefall.purrsia.com/ff1700/fv01669.htm 2000 crickets would indeed be the stuff of legend]].
** An earlier strip has a joke about a prototype reactor that lost its plasma containment, [[StuffBlowingUp becoming literal]] VaporWare.
* ''Webcomic/RustyAndCo'':
** [[http://rustyandco.com/comic/level-6-32/ At the beginning of a Level 6 strip]], Y.T. warns Mimic: "Don't [[SssssnakeTalk crossss]] me." At the end of the strip, Mimic does exactly that (using Y.T.'s stretched body to cross a chasm); the lamia ain't happy about it.
--->'''Y.T.:''' Whu'd I ''jusst'' sssay, hah?
** During the Gnomish Baseball game, [[http://rustyandco.com/comic/level-8-45/ when Dirk says that Robespierre won a face-off in the third inning]], he means it quite literally, as we see the barbarian holding the ripped-off face of one of their troll opponents.
* ''Webcomic/AntiHeroes'': In [[http://antiheroescomic.com/comic/125 "Ineffective Roadblock"]], Kaalinor proudly states "If you're trying to get inside this tower, you'll have to go through me first!" Brave of him, true, but since he's a ghost and his opponent a lich, Finx has absolutely no trouble just walking through Kaal's incorporeal body.
* In ''Webcomic/WildeLife'', Barbara [[http://www.wildelifecomic.com/comic/10 tells Oscar not to be late with the rent]], as "I'm a real witch." He naturally assumes she means witch in the [[WitchWithACapitalB spelled with a B]] sense, but she's being entirely literal. The fact that her full name is [[Literature/BabaYaga Barbara Yaga]] is a bit of a hint.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Plume}}'', when clotheslined, Dom runs into an actual clothes line rather than the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_wrestling_attacks#Clothesline wrestling move]].
* ''Webcomic/BladeBunny'': Bunny proudly states to her latest employer that she isn't tripped up easily. Then a bystander points out that her bootlaces are untied (again). Bunny trips and {{faceplant}}s.
-->'''Bunny:''' That doesn't count. I was being metaphorical.\\
'''Lady Kyoto:''' I am beginning to believe this plan was an horrible mistake.
* In the ''WebComic/AxeCop'' story "The Songster", there's a two-part song sung by the Songster called "Tortured Past". In the first part, it's a StartOfDarkness story for the Torture Master, detailing his [[PlayedForLaughs numerous very minor]] {{Freudian Excuse}}s, with the refrain "that's how a monster is made." In the second part, it turns out that the Songster is literally creating a monster out of the Torture Master's past. That's how a monster ''is'' made, apparently.
* In ''Webcomic/{{Puck}}'', [[http://www.puckcomics.com/?comic=puck-106 Phoebe tries to tell Puck she's pregnant]] and says "You have a bun in the oven". Puck opens the oven and finds a cheese-onion bun.
-->'''Phoebe:''' I was simply not expecting that.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* Wiki/TVTropes: Sometimes a trope is played in a way that its title is taken literally.
** LethalChef: When someone's cooking results in death.
*** Typhoid Mary was a cook who carried Typhoid, but showed no symptoms of it. She's said to have spread typhoid to several households, and is known to have killed at least 3 people.
*** ''Radio/WaitWaitDontTellMe'' discussed a recipe from a British chef once called for "henbane". What he meant was ''fat hen'', a pleasant herb. ''Henbane'' is ''poisonous.''
** LethalEatery: Health inspections exist for a reason. Poorly-cooked food, or making uncooked food like nachos right after handling something that SHOULD be cooked can lead to food poisoning, which can be deadly.
** OhCrap: BringMyBrownPants (it's even {{lampshade|Hanging}}d in the description).
--->'''Creator/BillCosby:''' ... first you say it, then you do it
** BackseatDriver: The driver's seat is in the back (see page image for a cartoon example). It also happened in real life (such as the Woods Spider).
** MamaBear: [[JustForFun/XMeetsY When this trope meets]] BearsAreBadNews.
** PapaWolf: When the father is indeed a wolf.
* One scenario in ''Blog/WhatIf'' involves glasses literally half empty. As in, glasses with one half containing only vacuum like space.
* ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'': "Welcome to ''Atop the Fourth Wall'', where bad comics burn." This is ''usually'' a figure of speech referring to the comic being [[CausticCritic critically roasted]], but on three occasions thus far he has literally set the comics on fire once he's finished reviewing them. It is important to note that he only used this AFTER setting a comic on fire....
* WebVideo/JesuOtaku often says metaphorical-sounding things in his anime reviews immediately before showing clips of those exact things happening -- for instance, that one villain crushes the heroes' lives like marbles, or that another abandons the goals for which his sister sacrificed everything and [[BrotherSisterIncest screws her]].
* ''WebVideo/TransolarGalactica''[='s=] first episode revolves around Captain Trigger ordering his helmsman to steer to "the second star to the right, straight on 'til morning."
-->'''Captain Trigger:''' Let me tell you something: whether my orders are technical, dangerous or goddamned beautifully metaphorical, you better flogging well do 'em. So when I tell you, Ensign Yasaki, to take the second star to the right and drive straight on till morning, you better flogging well do it. You got that?
* ''WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic'':
** [[Recap/TheNostalgiaCriticS7E19 Top 11 Best]] ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' episodes. After Creator/DanteBasco as Zuko [[FrameBreak punches down the Critic out of the video player]] and into the Website/YouTube comments section below, the Nostalgia Critic retaliates by calling out a "FlameWar". That is, he grabs negative comments and throw them at the firebender. And when low on ammunition, he yells "Creator/JossWhedon is overrated!" to make more appears.
** In his review of ''Film/TheMasterOfDisguise'', the Critic repeatedly begs for someone to kill him in increasingly over-the-top ways to express how much he hates the movie, only to be disturbed when Rachel always happens to have just the tools on hand (and that she is willing to use them).
** In his tribute to Series/SiskelAndEbert, the Nostalgia Critic mentions that, for a time, Gene Siskel was "phoning it in". Thing was, Mr. Siskel was in the hospital and literally on the phone to do his part, making this an example of dedication rather than apathy.
* ''WebOriginal/SeventeenThousandSevenHundredSeventySix'' has a lampshaded one:
-->'''Thuy:''' And then... [Washington's football team] just fell off a cliff.\\
'''Roger:''' That's really fun to say. Because you know, we're always figuratively saying, "oh, they fell off a cliff." Like, their offense stalled out or something. No, they fell off a cliff for real.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheAdventuresOfJimmyNeutronBoyGenius'' episode "Crouching Jimmy, Hidden Sheen":
-->'''Jimmy:''' It's Yoo Yee's temple, alright. And it's crawling with ninjas!\\
''[cut to the ninjas literally crawling on the ground]''
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'':
** From "It Came from the Nightosphere", just after Finn and Marceline have started going after her dad, Finn asks how he can kill her father.
--->'''Marceline:''' Finn! You can't ''kill'' my ''dad''!\\
'''Finn:''' Oh, right, I'm sorry--\\
'''Marceline:''' No. You literally can't kill my dad. He's deathless.
** In "His Hero", when Finn and Jake convince Billy that fighting evil with violence isn't so pointless, Billy tells them "It's as if your words are filling a hole in my very being... Wanna watch?" He then parts his beard to show that a ''literal'' hole in his chest is being filled in again.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Aladdin}}'': In "Shark Treatment", Genie does this accidentally when Aladdin is turning into a shark.
-->'''Genie:''' Al, you look a little green around the gills.
-->''(Aladdin starts gasping and puts his hands around his throat)''
-->'''Genie:''' ''(startled)'' Since when does he have gills?
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'': For Penny, a sentient peanut, the term "coming out of your shell" is quite literal.
* ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'':
** This exchange:
--->'''Steve:''' We don't have an instrument for Jeff.\\
'''Bob:''' He could play the skin flute!\\
'''Steve:''' ''[bursts out laughing]''\\
'''Bob:''' ''[holds up a flute bound with animal skins]''
** On one occasion, Francine is completely fed-up with Roger's [[{{Jerkass}} jerkishness]], and screams at him "Would it ''kill'' you to be nice for a change?!" As it turns out, members of [[TheGreys Roger's species]] have to let out their innate "bitchiness", or it will fester in their bodies, poisoning and eventually killing them. So, yes, it ''would'' kill him to be nice.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' short "Video Revue", the Warner siblings are in a video store, fleeing from a ''T. rex'' that came out of a ''Jurassic Park'' video -- so they decide to drop some "bombs" on it, including ''Film/HeavensGate'', ''Film/{{Ishtar}}'', and ''Film/HowardTheDuck''.
* ''WesternAnimation/AquaTeenHungerForce'', after the gang gets a dog:
-->'''Master Shake:''' ''[annoyed]'' Oh ''great,'' our little canine friend left a "present" on my chair. Yyyyep... looks like someone delivered some ''baked goods''.\\
''[Shake suddenly becomes happy and lifts a tray of muffins from the chair]''\\
'''Master Shake:''' How did he know I ''love'' baked goods?!
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'':
** {{Double Subver|sion}}ted and played straight in the same episode. Charles and Rudy are two gay guys trying to help Archer seduce a gay spy named Ramon:
--->'''Rudy:''' I'd try The Cockfight.\\
'''Archer:''' A cockfight?\\
'''Charles:''' It's the name of a gay bar.\\
'''Rudy:''' But they do have actual cockfights there.\\
'''Charles:''' Latinos... you take the bad with the good.\\
'''Rudy:''' Look at slut just getting home!\\
'''Charles:''' Well, I guess our advice worked.\\
'''Archer:''' No! It didn't! Ramon blew me off.\\
'''Rudy:''' Then where were you all night?\\
'''Archer:''' Way the Christ out in the Everglades, burying some Dominican guy's rooster!\\
'''Charles:''' Fun!\\
'''Archer:''' ''[beat]'' Wha...?\\
'''Charles:''' Oh, you meant literally.\\
'''Archer:''' Yes!
** In the episode "Lo Scandalo", Kreiger is called in to dispose of a corpse in Malory's apartment.
--->'''Malory:''' And is Krieger... hard at work?\\
'''Archer:''' [[NightmareFetishist He literally might be, yes]].
** In "The Honeymooners", when Archer steals Malory's limitless credit card, and proceeds to waste money:
--->'''Malory:''' ''[calmly]'' I am literally going to kill him.\\
'''Gilette:''' Well figurati--\\
'''Malory:''' '''LITERALLY.''' I'll lure him to my condo in Miami, drug his steak au poivre, drive him out to the middle of the Everglades, slather him with rancid chicken fat and then ''toss him to the gators!''\\
'''Gilette:''' ''[shocked]'' That's pretty specific for a hypothetical...\\
'''Malory:''' Oh he is going to pay for this... ''literally.''
* From ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'': "The Waterbending Scroll":
-->'''Uncle Iroh:''' ''[stops Zuko and a pirate captain from fighting]'' Are you so busy fighting you cannot see your own ship has set sail?\\
'''Prince Zuko:''' We have no time for your proverbs, Uncle!\\
'''Uncle Iroh:''' It's no proverb!\\
''[cut to pirate ship being hijacked]''
** Later, ''Zuko's'' ship gets hijacked! "Maybe it ''should'' be a proverb..."
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' got a creepy example in "Deep Cover for Batman". While Batman is in a MirrorUniverse where heroes are villains, the alternate version of Blue Beetle, Scarlet Scarab, comments that he has the heart of a hero. An eavesdropping Batman wonders if he's a possible ally... only for Scarab to add that he keeps it in a jar in his closet.
* Done a fair number of times on the ''WesternAnimation/{{Beetlejuice}}'' cartoon, with its love of {{visual pun}}s. In one episode, Beetlejuice is hosting a ShowWithinAShow and excuses himself for "a few words from our sponsors"... the words turn out to be "BUY!", "NEW!" and "FREE!"
* ''WesternAnimation/TheClevelandShow'':
** Mr. Waterman is trying to find the rest of his Santa costume:
--->'''Mr. Waterman:''' Where's my [[TheBeard beard]]?\\
'''Mrs. Waterman:''' Right here. ''[{{beat}}, then holds up a Santa beard]''
** In "Hustle 'n' Bros", Cleveland realizes he's metaphorically on a SnipeHunt:
--->'''Cleveland:''' Chasing these wild geese is like some kind of wild goose ch-- son of a bitch!
* The main characters in ''WesternAnimation/CourageTheCowardlyDog'' live in the middle of Nowhere. It's an actual place called Nowhere which is located in Kansas, the actual middle of the country.
* In ''WesternAnimation/Ducktales1987'', when we first meet Fenton Crackshell, he's a literal "bean counter", as in, he actually works in a bean factory counting beans that get put in jars.
** This happens in ''WesternAnimation/DuckTales2017'', during an argument between Scrooge and Donald in the first episode.
-->'''Donald:''' Oh, here we go! Getting on us like he's the richest duck in the world!
-->'''Scrooge:''' I ''am'' the richest duck in the world!
*** During the second half of the premiere, Donald [[MyBelovedSmother has to let go and trust his nephew, Dewey]]. Except in this case, he ''literally'' has to let go of [[spoiler: the holes in the wall he's plugging so that the room can fill with water, trusting that Dewey's right about a gem on the "ceiling" being the power source]].
* ''WesternAnimation/EdEddNEddy'': In "Three Squares and an Ed" Edd and Eddy are trying to bust Ed out after he's been grounded. When Sarah discovers Ed's not in his room...
-->'''Sarah''': '''''ED!!!!'''''
--> ''(downstairs...)''
-->'''Ed''': SARAH KNOWS, GUYS!
-->'''Eddy''': Duh, Ed, we heard her! Just keep your shorts on! ''(Ed's shorts are around his ankles)'' No, seriously, keep your shorts on. ''(pulls them back up)''
* In the first episode of the obscure series ''The Fairy Tale Police Department'', the female officer Chris gets a call from her male partner informing her that he's been attacked by the Three Little Pigs (''very'' long story) and she responds "You're pulling my leg!" He remarks "Funny you should use that phrase." as one of the pigs pulls his leg.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'':
** This one:
--->'''Man:''' Wow, Lois Griffin. Hey, I love your act! Nice melons.\\
'''Peter:''' Hey, listen pal!\\
'''Lois:''' Peter, I'm holding melons.\\
''[she's holding two watermelons]''\\
'''Peter:''' Oh.\\
'''Man:''' And her hooters ain't bad either.\\
'''Peter:''' Now hang on a second there!\\
'''Lois:''' Peter, I'm holding hooters!\\
''[she has two owls perched on her arm]''\\
'''Peter:''' Oh, sorry.\\
'''Man:''' No problem. ''[beat]'' [[RuleOfThree Your wife's hot!]]\\
'''Peter:''' All right, that's it!
** In another episode, Peter is trying to organize Stewie's first birthday party but one of the only things he could find was a "big-ass piñata"; pan over to show a large papier-mâché butt. Brian responds "I sure hope ''candy'' comes out of that."
** After finding out that Cleveland's wife cheated on him, Peter and Brian agree that the last thing they want to do is tell Cleveland about it. SmashCut to Peter and Brian, having now accomplished everything else on their agenda, telling Cleveland.
** A CutawayGag from "Grumpy Old Man" depicts the way every pizza place ruins a salad. It turns out the restaurant is called Every Pizza Place.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones'': Done in the episode in which Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone meet Dr. Sinister.
-->'''Barney:''' Hey look, Fred. The volcano's flipping its lid!
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'':
** An example from when the crew are floating in space collecting [[PlotCoupon Chronotons]]:
--->'''Leela:''' All right, cool your jets, hotshot.\\
'''Fry:''' C'mon Leela, why won't you go out with me? We both know there's something there!\\
'''Leela:''' No, I mean ''cool your jets''. You're melting Bender's face.
** And another when Zoidberg is trying to do standup:
--->'''Zoidberg:''' Good evening ladies and germs.\\
'''Zoidberg:''' That wasn't a joke! I was talking to Dean Streptococcus!
** Bender's [[MetaphorIsMyMiddleName middle name]] is ''actually'' "Bending".
** In "The Bots and the Bees", as Bender drinks at popular club [[{{Pun}} The Hip Joint]], he overhears the following from a robot bar patron:
--->'''Robot:''' I need to loosen up, give me a screwdriver.\\
''[bartender lays a flathead screwdriver on the bar in front of her]''
** In "A Big Ball of Garbage":
--->'''Talking Bart Simpson Doll:''' Eat my shorts!\\
'''Bender:''' Okay!\\
''[literally eats doll's pants]''\\
'''Bender:''' [[{{Homage}} Mmm, shorts...]]
** In "Bender's Game", an ordinary outhouse is occupied by a wizardly version of Farnsworth.
--->'''Farnsworth:''' Just a minute. ''[closes the door]''\\
'''Bender:''' ''[waving around his nose]'' Methinks he's casting a powerful spell indeed.\\
''[Farnsworth opens the door to reveal [[BiggerOnTheInside a large cozy room]]]''
** Wanting a subject for his experimental growth ray, Farnsworth announces that they'll need a guinea pig. Cut to an actual guinea pig, which Farnsworth uses as bait to trap Zoidberg so that they can experiment on him.
** In "A Taste of Freedom", Zoidberg's prosecution for eating a flag leads to his Decapodian brethren enslaving the Earth, and Fry's [[BreakOutTheMuseumPiece ancient heat-seeking missile]] fails to demolish the Decapodian Mobile Oppression Palace because "All Decapodian technology is cold-blooded, like us!". Zoidberg saves the day by burning a flag "to preserve the freedom it represents" because he's not just expressing his free speech, but also using it as a beacon for the missile.
** At the end of "The Late Phillip J. Fry", Fry finally makes it to his dinner date with Leela after going through two iterations of the universe in a one-way time machine and accidentally killing an alternate version of himself. When Leela expresses disbelief that Fry would make it on time, he casually remarks "That was the old Fry. [[ThatManIsDead He's dead now]]."
** From "[[SeriesFauxnale The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings]]":
--->'''Bender:''' Sure, I can help you, but we might have to metaphorically make a DealWithTheDevil. And by "devil," I mean "[[AffablyEvil Robot Devil]]," and by "metaphorically", I mean "get your coat."
* ''WesternAnimation/GarbagePailKidsCartoon'':
** "Green Dean Goes Out of His Bean" had Elliot Mess express his disbelief at Patty Putty's claims of a plant monster with a voracious appetite being on the loose by telling her to stop pulling his leg. Because Elliot's limbs are scrambled, Patty actually was pulling on his leg while dragging him along.
** The "Garbage Pail Groaner" segment of the episode "Heartless Hal" had a boy attempt to swipe cookies from a cookie jar. When his mother catches him, she states that she caught him red-handed. The boy disagrees on the grounds that his hand isn't red, but finds to his shock that his hand actually has turned red, causing his mother to say "I told you so".
** The final episode had a segment where a boy's mother scolds her son with common figures of speech and the boy then undergoes a transformation following his mother's words literally. For example, when he is warned that making a face will cause his face to freeze that way, his face literally becomes frozen solid.
* ''WesternAnimation/GravityFalls'':
** In the episode "Little Gift Shop of Horrors", Dipper advises Stan against taunting the fortune-telling Hand Witch, to which Stan loudly refers to Dipper as a wet blanket to everyone in earshot. Cut to [[ButtMonkey Toby Determined]] selling actual wet blankets.
** Another example in "Irrational Treasure". Quentin Trembly, the 8th and 1/2 President of the United States, is said to have won the election in a landslide. Said landslide buried everyone else running, leaving him the only suitable person for the role.
** In the GrandFinale "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls", Mabel finds Stanford, who's been [[TakenForGranite turned into a gold statue]] by Bill Cipher, and calls out "I found Ford, and he's golden... but not in a good way."
* ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy'':
** "It's Hokey Mon!": Grim has created chaos after being badgered into bringing kids' Hokey-Monster cards to life, and Mandy puts a stop to things by making her own monster for Grim to bring to life, which she describes with the phrase "Makes toast out of all other monsters." In this case, Mandy's monster literally turns its enemies into slices of toast.
** "Brown Evil": Billy accidentally makes a batch of brownies that taste terrible to humans, but are irresistible to monsters. Instead of throwing them out like Mandy ordered him to, Grim decides to stash the batch inside his skull. Unfortunately, the smell of the brownies attracts a horde of zombies to Billy's house, and Hoss Delgado ends up coming in to investigate. After determining that the zombies aren't interested in brains or human flesh, Hoss detects the smell of the brownies and finally figures out what's going on:
--->'''Hoss:''' ''[points at Grim]'' It's all in his head!\\
'''Mandy:''' You mean Grim's imagining all this?\\
'''Hoss:''' No, I mean whatever's attracting those zombies, it's inside his head.
* ''WesternAnimation/JackieChanAdventures'':
** Jade once used the Snake Talisman to sneak in during one of Jackie's missions. After he's complimented for defeating some bad guys "alone", she complained by asking if she was invisible. Duh, as she said once she realized she was indeed invisible because of the talisman's power.
** In "The Jade Monkey", Jade uses the Monkey Talisman to turn the Dark Hand enforcer Ratso into a rat and herself into a monkey to avoid the other enforcers. When Jackie realizes this, we get this line:
--->'''Jackie:''' Jade turned Ratso into a rat and herself into a monkey? I'm a monkey's uncle.
* ''WesternAnimation/JusticeLeagueUnlimited'':
** Brainiac 5 and Green Arrow find the [[FiveBadBand Fatal Five]] waiting for them.
--->'''Brainiac 5:''' Shoot.\\
'''Green Arrow:''' I know. I was hoping they'd be out looking for us.\\
'''Brainiac 5:''' No, shoot!
** Also, when the Leaguers were looking for New Genesis, they met someone who told them the Gods were above them.
** And when Green Lantern captures Firefly and Volcana in a giant green bell jar, and they try to burn their way out, he says "Sure, knock yourselves out!" A few seconds later, they've used up all the oxygen and fall unconscious.
* On ''WesternAnimation/KaBlam'', Henry says the ending to one "Sniz and Fondue" cartoon was so sickeningly sweet that he lost his lunch. He then grabs the bag with his meal that he dropped.
* ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'': Drakken and Shego go "shopping":
-->''[salesman describes the features of [[WeatherControlMachine a weather machine]] they're looking at]''\\
'''Drakken:''' We'll take it!\\
'''Salesman:''' Great! Hey, why don't we step into the office.\\
'''Drakken:''' No, I mean we'll ''take'' it. Shego!\\
''[they steal the weather machine]''
* In an episode to ''WesternAnimation/KingOfTheHill'', Cotton puts Peggy through a miserable, abusive TrainingFromHell so she can learn to walk again after her skydiving accident. He also spends the episode fighting to secure a final resting place in a veterans' cemetery. When he finally succeeds, he goads and hectors Peggy to climb up the hill so that she can literally dance on his grave. She makes it, and she and Cotton dance in celebration.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/LiteSprites'' special, the sprites are lost in a cave, and Meadow begins to glow. The other girls try to tell her this, but she takes it as a compliment instead.
* ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'':
** Marvin the Martian's "[[EarthShatteringKaboom Earth-shattering kaboom]]" in "Hare-Way to the Stars" was a literal metaphor. Then it became metaphorical again -- the Trope name for the explosion of a whole planet or moon ([[ThatsNoMoon or humongous spacecraft]]), not just the Earth.
** Played straight in "WesternAnimation/KnightyKnightBugs" where Yosemite Sam is the Black Knight, who owns a fire-breathing dragon who tends to sneeze a lot, breathing fire uncontrollably when it does. At the climax, Bug manages to lock Sam and the dragon in a tower full of explosives. Sam desperately tries to keep the dragon from sneezing, shouting, "No! No! Don't sneeze, you stupid dragon! Or you'll blow us to the moon!" Unfortunately for him, the dragon does sneeze, and the tower takes off like a rocket, towards the moon. (With Sam growling, "Dragons is so stupid!")
* Ski-Nose, the Bob Hope caricature in the Bakshi ''WesternAnimation/MightyMouse'' episode "Bat With a Golden Tongue," greets the audience at an awards ceremony as "{{ladies and germs}}," and sure enough, the tables are populated by ladies and germs.
* In an episode on ''WesternAnimation/MyGymPartnersAMonkey'', Adam wants to try a game at a carnival where you have to knock over pins; the carnie tells him, "Sure kid, knock yourself out." When Adam tries, the ball ricochets back, and beans him in the forehead, knocking him to the ground. The carnie says, "You know, kid, usually that's a figure of speech..."
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** In the episode "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E7Dragonshy Dragonshy]]", Fluttershy is so nervous about facing a full-grown dragon she's literally scared of her own shadow.
** In "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS1E12CallOfTheCutie Call of the Cutie]]", when Apple Bloom is upset about being the last pony in class to get her cutie mark, Rainbow Dash sees her and comments "Looks like somepony has a dark cloud hanging over her head." Fortunately, Rainbow Dash is a weatherpony, and can move [[PersonalRaincloud the actual dark cloud]] elsewhere.
** In "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E25TwilightsKingdomPart1 Twilight's Kingdom – Part 1]]", Discord's ears are burning. Yes, literally.
** In "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS5E7MakeNewFriendsButKeepDiscord Make New Friends but Keep Discord]]", Discord [[FireballEyeballs gets green fire in his eyes]] when his rage over Fluttershy's new friendship with Tree Hugger reaches its peak, turning him into a literal GreenEyedMonster.
** In "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS5E16RarityInvestigates Rarity Investigates!]]", one of Rarity's {{Private Eye Monologue}}s involves this: "Rainbow Dash was obviously upset, but I had all my ducks in a row!" (''An orderly trio of ducklings crosses the screen.'') "...except one." (''A fourth duckling rushes to catch up with the others, trips, and falls into a rain puddle.'')
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb'':
** Used a couple of times in the episode "Comet Kermillian". While at the park, Candace's screams of "I have SquirrelsInMyPants!" are misinterpreted by a couple of performers, who think she's referring to her crazy dance moves. Then the squirrels get out, and one of the guys comments, "We just got served." Later on, when [[ItMakesSenseInContext steaks are falling from the sky]], the same guy catches one and comments, "We keep getting served."
** Parodied in "Let's Take a Quiz".
--->'''Phineas:''' You're on fire, Candace!\\
'''Candace:''' [[FlatJoy Woo hoo.]] ''[{{beat}}]'' I'm not actually on fire, am I?\\
'''Buford:''' Nah, you're good.
** In "Brain Drain", Dr. Doofenshmirtz ends up busting a rap about being controlled by Perry the Platypus turning his mind-control device against him. Vanessa's friends all think "There's a Platypus Controlling Me" is a metaphor for "whatever's keeping you down".
--->'''Doofensmirtz:''' I'm not speaking metaphorically, the platypus controlling me is underneath the table!
** In retaliation to people telling him not to make a mountain out of a molehill, Doofenshmirtz tried to do it literally in "At the Car Wash".
** In "Picture This!", the boys literally turn the garage upside-down looking for Ferb's favorite skateboard.
** When Doofenshmirtz is told he doesn't have a green thumb in "Moon Farm", he takes it literally and buys a can of green paint to make himself green. Ironically, because of how he held the can, his thumbs aren't painted. Only later, as he explains his plan to Perry, Doof [[LateToThePunchline finally understands the metaphor]].
* In ''WesternAnimation/ThePinkPanther'' series where Pink isn't silent, there was one episode where a bad guy was illegally drilling for oil in an Alaskian village. A villager told Pink he was threading on thin ice. After Pink told the villager he agreed with the metaphor, the villager explained he meant it literally.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheRenAndStimpyShow'':
** The episode "Sven Hoek" ends with Ren taking a whiz on Sven and Stimpy's copy of "Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence", generating a short circuit that blows the three of them straight to Hell... as in, they end up in a fiery pit, where a BigRedDevil admonishes them with "So, you whizzed on the electric fence, didn't ya?"
** An inversion of the metaphor; Ren and Stimpy's attempts to become lumberjacks is foiled when they can't find any trees [[CompletelyMissingThePoint because of the giant forest in the way]].
* ''Series/TheGoldenGirls'' is spoofed on ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' when Sophia describes her encounter with a high school basketball team: They run a (model) train on her and she gets their (basket)balls in her face.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** In "A Star Is Burns", When Lisa is talking about guest-star [[WesternAnimation/TheCritic Jay Sherman]]:
--->'''Lisa:''' I like him! He's smart, he's sensitive, he's clearly not obsessed with his physical appearance --\\
'''Homer:''' My ears are burning.\\
'''Lisa:''' Uh, I wasn't talking about you, Dad.\\
'''Homer:''' No, my ears are really burning. I wanted to see inside so I lit a Q-Tip.
** In "A Fish Called Selma", when members of the LegitimateBusinessmensSocialClub catch sight of Troy [=McClure=].
--->'''Louie:''' Hey, I thought you said Troy [=McClure=] was dead.\\
'''Tony:''' No, what I said was: "[[BestialityIsDepraved He sleeps with the fishes]]". You see...\\
'''Louie:''' [[BrainBleach Uh, Tony, please, no. I just ate a whole plate of dingamagoo...]]
** In "The Great Money Caper":
--->'''Homer:''' How'd you get wise to us?\\
'''Abe:''' Are you kidding? They used to call me Grifty [=McGrift=]. I WroteTheBook on flimflamming.\\
''[Bart looks at the back of the book he and Homer have been using and sees a picture of a young Abe]''\\
'''Bart:''' Wow, he did!
** In "Make Room for Lisa", at a traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Homer sits down in [[Series/AllInTheFamily Archie Bunker]]'s chair to read the Bill of Rights. When the armed guards tell him [[SkewedPriorities to get out of Archie Bunker's chair]], Homer used the Bill of Rights to shield himself against the guards, complete with the line, "I am so sick of people hiding behind the Bill of Rights!"
** In "Insane Clown Poppy" Homer gives advice to Krusty about being a father. Krusty asks for more help after he alienates his daughter by losing her violin in a poker game. Homer asks Marge if he can play Devil's Advocate. After playing the pinball game with that name, Homer decides to talk to Krusty.
** A major plot point in the two-part special "Who Shot Mr. Burns" is Burns literally trying to take candy from a baby.
** In "And Maggie Makes Three", a {{Flashback}} shows Homer quitting his job at the power plant and burning his bridges both metaphorically (with a TakeThisJobAndShoveIt moment for the ages) and literally.
* Used to the point of a HurricaneOfPuns in the Creator/TexAvery short "WesternAnimation/SymphonyInSlang", where Noah Webster and St. Peter try to interpret the slang-filled life story of a new arrival at the Pearly Gates.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'':
** During one of the show's many repeated running gags (in this case, the famous "Jared Has Aides" episode), the title character repeats the joke while literally beating a dead horse.
** Stan's mom has an actual Aunt Flo who visits about once a month and stresses her out. In Stan's words, whenever her monthly visitor Aunt Flo arrives his mom turns into a real bitch.
** The episode "Douche and Turd" had Puff Daddy's "Vote or Die" campaign taken to its literal extreme; if you don't vote, he'll hunt you down and kill you!
** In "Bass to Mouth", some of South Park Elementary's faculty enlists Eric Cartman to help them, but then things quickly go wrong.
---> '''Mr. Mackey:''' Maybe there is a way out of this, but we're gonna have to throw Eric Cartman under the bus.\\
'''Mr. Adler:''' How do we do that?\\
'''Mr. Mackey:''' We get a bus, and then [[MurderIsTheBestSolution we throw Eric Cartman under it]].
** In 'Sons a Witches'', we learn that all the dads in town like to dress up as witches for Halloween week. When one of the dads falls under a curse and starts kidnapping children, the other witches [[https://youtu.be/SoAwLaHF5gQ urge the town]] not to let it degenerate into a [[WitchHunt "witch pursuit-thing"]].
--->''When things are going bad and there's people you need to confront,\\
Just be sure it doesn't turn into a [[SubvertedRhymeEveryOccasion witch-pursuit thing]].''
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'':
** In "Missing Identity", Mr. Krabs threatens that whoever doesn't pass his inspection will get the boot, as in they'll have to wear a smelly boot all day.
** In "Imitation Krabs" Mr. Krabs warns [=SpongeBob=] to keep a watchful eye on Plankton's tricks.
-->'''[=SpongeBob=]''': Don't worry, Mr. Krabs, as long as these pants are square, and this sponge is Bob... ''(lifts his arms up)'' I WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN!\\
'''Mr. Krabs''': Uh, [=SpongeBob=]? ''(camera zooms out to reveal [=SpongeBob=] holding Mr. Krabs above his head)'' Could ya let me down?
** In "Something Smells", when [=SpongeBob=] thinks people are avoiding him because he's ugly, Patrick tells him "you're never gonna feel better 'til you get this thing off your chest"... and then the camera zooms out to show a strange, pulsating octopus-like creature stuck to [=SpongeBob=]'s chest.
* Used in ''WesternAnimation/StrokerAndHoop'' to turn protecting [[MacGuffin the sword of the fire lotus]] into a ShaggyDogStory, when all it did was [[PowerGlows light up]].
-->'''Villain:''' The ancient scrolls said its power shone like a lantern... We always assumed it was a metaphor.\\
'''Stroker:''' Yeah... I guess it must have seemed a lot cooler before they invented flashlights.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Trollhunters}}'', Claire reads the letter Jim leaves him when he thought we would die from his battle with Draal and thinks that the "monsters" and "world-ending" he mentions was all just elaborate metaphors. He goes along with it not to sound crazy. She eventually realizes that he meant it ''literally''.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/UncleGrandpa'' episode "Bad Morning", it's eventually revealed that Uncle Grandpa's bad mood was caused by him literally getting up on the wrong side of the bed.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/WhateverHappenedToRobotJones'' episode "Politics", Robot states that he is confident he'll win the election because he has nerves of steel, then states that he really does have nerves of steel.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* Linguistically, a once-metaphorical term which has become literal is a "dead metaphor" (not to be confused with a stale metaphor); for instance, "electric current".
* Most people take the name of the restaurant "Hooters" to be a euphemism for breasts, whereas they assert, probably for legal reasons, that they are talking about [[BlatantLies owls]] and everyone just misunderstands.
* [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by Grace Hopper with the [[http://www.catb.org/jargon/html/B/bug.html "first actual case of [computer] bug being found"]]; the log entry from September 9, 1947 described a dead moth caught in the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvard_Mark_II Harvard Mark II]]'s circuitry, causing a short. The term "bug" was already being used to describe problems with telegraphs and other electrical equipment back in the 19th century.
* In 2014, [[http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/01/09/hell-froze-over-michigan_n_4568659.html Hell froze over.]]. Well, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hell,_Michigan Hell, Michigan]], anyway. Mind you, it ''is'' Michigan, so this happens on a regular basis.
* In an attempt to ruin the American millionaire [[TheFool Timothy]] [[IdiotHoudini Dexter]] (who is [[Literature/APickleForTheKnowingOnes known]] for being, frankly, insane), at some point in the 1780s or 90s, a few of his business rivals somehow convinced him to spend most of his capital to send a ship-load of coal to Newcastle-upon-Tyne. Newcastle is the major producer of coal in England, and "sending coals to Newcastle" is an idiom in the vein of "selling ice to a penguin" to suggest giving something to someone who already has too much of it. Coincidentally, when the coal arrived, the city was in the middle of a particularly hard frost and a coal miner's strike. Between the weather and the coal shortage, Dexter managed to make a killing.
* The practice of "controlled burning", containing wildfires by setting smaller fires to use up the fuel around the big fire, is a literal example of fighting fire with fire.
* Inverted with certain metaphors that ''used'' to be literal:
** Phrases such as "worth his/her salt" and "worth its weight in gold" stem from times when salt and gold were used as money.
** The original "pig in a poke" was a suckling pig sold in a burlap bag. Unscrupulous merchants would substitute a dog or cat instead, so this is also where we got the phrase "let the cat out of the bag".
** Being branded a coward, or being branded anything, came from the old tradition where soldiers caught fleeing from battle were punished by ''literally'' being branded a coward, with an actual red-hot brand being applied to the face.
** The phrase "getting your goat" comes from the tradition of keeping goats as companions for racing horses, which for some reason helps keep the horses more even-tempered. Unscrupulous race horse owners would try to steal the goats of rival horse-owners to upset their horses and make them too agitated to win races.
** There are at least two origins for the phrase "giving the cold shoulder" that are quite literal: it either involves turning your back on someone you don't want to talk to ("coldly" showing them your "shoulder"), or serving cold mutton shoulder to unwanted guests.
* George Eastman's house has an [[http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/jkouuv5zgizc9h0oynjr.jpg elephant in a room]].
* During the 18th century Age of Liberty in Sweden, a series of events led to a name stamp (with the king's signature) in the hands of the parliament legally filling in for the king when he didn't want to co-operate. The only thing hindering it being called a literal rubber stamp monarchy is that it isn't entirely certain the stamp was actually made of ''rubber''.
* When playing a normal game of baseball, it is impossible to steal first base since you can't advance to first from home without either hitting the ball or drawing a walk, and it is illegal to run the bases backwards "for the purpose of confusing the defense or making a travesty of the game" (thanks to Germany Schaefer, who was infamous for trying to do just that in the 1910's). The saying "You can't steal first (base)" is used as criticism for a player who is good at baserunning and base-stealing but has trouble getting on base in the first place (i.e., can't hit or draw walks). However, there was that one time (June 26, 2001) that Pittsburgh Pirates manager Lloyd [=McClendon=], having been ejected from the game for arguing with the umpire, was so furious he physically ripped first base out of the dirt and walked off the field with it and causing a game delay while a replacement base was installed.
* [[TheCaptain Steven Gerrard's]] [[NeverLiveItDown now infamous]] "[[TemptingFate This does not]] [[PrecisionFStrike fucking]] [[TemptingFate slip now!"]] RousingSpeech after a win over fellow title contenders Manchester City, sending Liverpool top of the 2013/14 Premier League table. Two weeks later, he literally slipped in a match against Chelsea to ultimately gift City the league title.