[[SelfDemonstratingArticle Two tropers tarried to talk "tongue-twister" topic's techniques. Tropers' tongues twisted till tropers' tangled tongues tied totally taut. Talking troubles taught tropers twain to tackle tortuous tongue-twisters tentatively.]]

In plain language, a tongue twister is a sentence or phrase that's meant to be difficult to say, generally because it incorporates rhymes, near-rhymes, alliteration, assonance or all of the above. The simultaneous excitation of so many closely-linked neurons in the brain's speech centers results in unintended {{Spoonerism}}s and VerbalTic-like errors, mid-phrase. Sometimes these phrases are constructed so that the errors will generate [[InnocentSwearing unintentional]] swear-words. A tongue-twister is generally easier to say when speaking slowly; often, short ones will be accompanied by a challenge to say them [[RuleOfThree three times fast]].

These sayings occur both as works in themselves, and as features of larger works. Often, when a tongue twister is employed within a broader work, it's as a comedic element focusing on just how hard it is to say the phrase properly. Both in RealLife and in fiction, they can be used to practice enunciation in speech therapy and oratory training.

Interestingly, an equivalent concept exists in sign languages, in which difficult-to-sign phrases are known as "finger fumblers".

A sister trope of CannotSpitItOut. Often overlaps with AddedAlliterativeAppeal, but not always. If applied to a name, it'll become TheUnpronounceable.


[[folder:Typical tongue twisters]]
* William Poundstone declared this to be the most challenging tongue-twister in the English language:
--> The seething sea ceaseth and thus the seething sea sufficeth us.
* This old song, the first line of which is a well-known example:
--> She sells sea shells on the sea-shore,
--> The shells she sells are sea-shells, I'm sure.
--> For if she sells sea-shells on the sea-shore
--> Then I'm sure she sells sea-shore shells.
* Just ''try'' to rattle off the following without an error:
--> Betty Botter bought a bit of butter.
--> The butter Betty Botter bought was a bit bitter
--> And made her batter bitter.
--> But a bit of better butter makes better batter.
--> So Betty Botter bought a bit of better butter
--> Making Betty Botter's bitter batter better.
* This submission won a contest in ''Games'' magazine in 1979:
--> Shep Schwab shopped at Scott's Schnapps shop;
--> One shot of Scott's Schnapps stopped Schwab's watch.
* And while we're on the topic of watches we've got:
-->Three Swedish switched witches watch three Swiss Swatch watch switches.
-->Which Swedish switched witch watches which Swiss Swatch watch switch?
* This one, while less difficult, is still plenty impressive to rattle off at speed:
--> Around the rough and rugged rock, the ragged rascal randomly ran.
* Some high-speed examples, which become tongue twisters if said quickly and repeatedly:
** A Proper Copper Coffee Pot. (This one inspired a tongue-tangling song by the folk band Trout Fishing In America.)
** Betty Bopper's battering batton made Bertie Bopper bite her.
** Cecily thought Sicily less thistly than Thessaly.
** Irish wristwatch.
** Peggy Babcock.
** The bog above Bob Gorman's bog.
** Pleasant mother pheasant plucker.
** Red Leather, Yellow Leather. Or alternately: Red Lorry, Yellow Lorry.
** Rubber Baby Buggy Bumper.
** Smiley shlug with Shloer.
** Mad Man.
** Unique New York.
** City Shellfish.
** Toy boat.
* Some other classics:
-->Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers --\\
A peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked.\\
If Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers,\\
Then where's the peck of pickled peppers Peter Piper picked?

-->How much wood would a woodchuck chuck\\
If a woodchuck would chuck wood?
** And its answer:
--->All of the wood that a woodchuck ''would'',
--->''if'' a woodchuck ''could'' chuck wood!
** Alternatively:
--->A woodchuck could chuck as much wood as a woodchuck could
--->If a woodchuck could chuck wood.
** Or the variant:
--->How much whey would a zimbab weigh
--->If a zimbab would weigh whey
* According to at least one edition of the ''Guiness Book of World Records'', the world's hardest tongue twister (or at least in English) is:
-->The sixth sick sheik's sixth sheep's sick.
* "Fuzzy Duck" and "Duckie Fuzz" will eventually make the speaker mess up and say "fuck".
** The woodchuck example above is also intended to do this, as is the "pheasant plucker" variant.
* A German one that translates quite well:
-->''Fischers Fritze fischt frische Fische, frische Fische fischt Fischers Fritze.''
-->'''English version:''' Fisher(man) Fritz fished fresh fish, fresh fish fished fisher(man) Fritz
* Announcers' tests, used to determine if someone has a suitable speaking voice for radio or narration, often include tongue-twisters. A classic example requires reciting the following, from memory, without an error:
--> One hen
--> Two {{Duck}}s
--> Three [[NoisyNature squawking geese]]
--> Four [[UsefulNotes/{{Ireland}} Limerick]] oysters
--> Five [[DolphinsDolphinsEverywhere corpulent porpoises]]
--> Six bottles of smooth and pink [[ProductPlacement Pepto Bismal]] (or Six pairs of Don Alverzo's Tweezers)
--> Seven thousand [[ProudWarriorRace Macedonians in full battle array]]
--> Eight [[EverythingsBetterWithMonkeys brass monkeys]] from the [[AncientTomb ancient, sacred crypts]] [[AncientEgypt of Egypt]]
--> Nine [[GrumpyOldMan apathetic, sympathetic, diabetic old men]] [[CoolOldGuy on roller skates]] with a [[LazyBum marked propensity towards procrastination and sloth]]
--> [[SerialEscalation Ten lyrical, spherical, diabolical denizens of the deep who haul stall around the corner of the quo of the quay of the quivery, all at the same time]]
* There are a few tongue twisters that seek to take advantage of you. These are {{NSFW}} when said aloud and messed up.
-->I'm not the pheasant plucker / I'm the pheasant plucker's son
-->I'm only plucking pheasants 'til the pheasant plucker comes.

-->Silent Susan sits in her Chevrolet.
-->She sits and she shifts and she shifts and she sits.

-->I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit.


[[folder: Tongue-Tangling in Tales]]
* Creator/DrSeuss' ''Fox In Socks'' is made up of examples of this trope, as well as ''Oh Say Can You Say''.
** ''Fox in Socks'' is a more solid tongue-twisting read. Good luck getting through the "three free fleas" tongue twister without stumbling.
** ''Oh Say Can You Say'''s twisters are of varying quality and ease, but a few of them top ''Fox in Socks'' when taken individually. Yes, we're looking at you, "Never buy your Daddy a Walrus".
--->A walrus with whiskers is not a good pet.\\
And a walrus which whispers is worse even yet.\\
When a walrus lisps whispers through tough rough wet whiskers,\\
your poor daddy’s ear will get blispers and bliskers.
* Practically everything that comes out of V's mouth in ''ComicBook/VForVendetta'' qualifies. One wonders how many takes it must've taken to produce his dialogue for [[Film/VForVendetta the film]]...
* Non-alliterative example: In ''[[Creator/StephenKing It]]'', Stuttering Bill's speech therapist has him recite "He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists he sees the ghosts". This awkward sentence becomes something of a confidence-building mantra for Bill. It's actually much older than the movie or the book it was based on (first recorded in print sometime in the 18th century), and often used as a warmup for theatre actors. The full version goes "Amidst the mists and fiercest frosts[=/=]With barest wrists and stoutest boasts[=/=]He thrusts his fists against the posts[=/=]And still insists he sees the ghosts."
* Actors often use these to warm up for a performance; if someone is about to go onstage (in-universe or otherwise), you might see them preparing by speaking one of these aloud.
* In ''Series/TheBradyBunch'', little Cindy was attempting to get rid of her lisp:
-->'''Cindy:''' She sells seashells by the seashore. She sells seashells by the seashore. She sells seashells by the seashore.
-->'''Marcia:''' Cindy, would you mind practicing somewhere else? Arithmetic is kind of hard.
-->'''Cindy:''' So are S's.
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' had a CutawayGag mocking ''Series/TvsBloopersAndPracticalJokes'', with a blooper from ''Joanie Loves Chachi", with Chachi attempting to say "She sells seashells by the seashore", [[spoiler:he gets attacked by a bear]].
* 2d!Doofenshmirtz in ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb Across The Second Dimension'':
-->''2D!Doof:'' Boy borg. Try saying that five times fast. Boyborg, Boyborg, Boyborg, Boyborg, Boyborg...I guess maybe [[SubvertedTrope it's not that hard to say]].
* These are used as teaching tools in ''Theatre/MyFairLady'': "In Hertford, Hereford and Hampshire, hurricanes hardly ever happen." At the Ascot race, Eliza shows off her eloquence by discussing the weather in tongue twisters.
* A variant of the "announcers' test" example, above, appears in the 1997 novel ''Matters of Chance'' by Jeannette Haien:
--> One good hen
--> Two ducks
--> Three cackling geese
--> Four plump partridges
--> Five Limerick oysters
--> Six pairs of Don Alphonso tweezers
--> Seven hundred Macedonian horseman [''sic''] dressed in full battle array
--> Eight sympathetic, apathetic, diabetic old men on crutches
--> Nine brass monkeys from the Sacred Sepulchres of Ancient Egypt
--> Ten lyrical, spherical heliotropes from the Iliad Missionary Institute
* ''The Pheasant Plucking Song'' is referenced in the Literature/{{Discworld}} City Watch novels, as Fred Colon was once in a military regiment called the Pheasant Pluckers. In reminiscing, he recalls how the regimental song was a bit difficult to sing correctly.
* The third verse of Baloo's "Bare Necessities" song in ''WesternAnimation/TheJungleBook'' is one long tongue twister (this sound better with the music):
-->Now when you pick a pawpaw,
-->Or a prickly pear
-->And you prick a raw paw
-->Next time beware
-->Don't pick the prickly pear by the paw
-->When you pick a pear
-->Try to use the claw
-->But you don't need to use the claw, when you pick a pear of the big pawpaw
-->Have I given you a clue?
* Edward "Eddy J" Lemberger's ''[[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin The Tongue Twister Song]][[ExcitedShowTitle !]]''
* In episode 14 of ''LightNovel/{{Bakemonogatari}}'', Koyomi Araragi deals with [[CatGirl Black Hanekawa]] ([[spoiler:Tsubasa Hanekawa possessed by a ''male'' bakeneko she refers to as a "meddlesome cat"]]), whose appearance, demeanor, and actions get a rise out of [[ChivalrousPervert Araragi]]. He then asks her to repeat, "Can you imagine an imaginary menagerie manager imagining managing an imaginary menagerie?" Not only does she repeat the tongue twister flawlessly, but she finds the time to throw in her cat-based VerbalTic as well. [[CutenessProximity Araragi is quite impressed.]]
-->'''Black Hanekawa:''' "Can mew imyagine an imyaginyary mewnyagerie mewnyager imyagining mewnyaging an imyaginyary mewnyagerie?"
* On ''Series/ThirtyRock'', Jenna starred in a film called "The Rural Juror", which no one can pronounce without it sounding like gibberish.
* In one of Creator/JasperFforde's ''Literature/ThursdayNext'' books, a fictional character gets Thursday to try to say one, and is quite intrigued by her inability, because fictional characters have no trouble with them.
* There are numerous tongue twisters in the ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain'' episode "You Said a Mouseful", wherein Brain attempts to put helium into hacky-sack sack-kicker shoes in a Hackensack factory.
-->'''Brain:''' You must slit the sixth sick sheet slitter's son's sheet, secure it next to the toy boat from the Hackensack Socko Kicky-Sack Sack Kickers' picnic in Secaucus, stretch it past the sack pickers' station and the sock plucker's chute, and pick a sack, pluck a sock, and flick the plug, so I can put the pea in the plucked sock with the picked sack for ballast and bounce it off the rubber baby buggy bumper, into the Parker Packard purple pewter pressure pump.
* In one of the Harlem Globetrotters episodes of ''WesternAnimation/TheNewScoobyDooMovies'', the normally ComicallySerious Velma challenges her friends to say, "Something's thumping," three times fast. Shaggy doesn't even want to say it once.
* ''The Last Crown'' (sequel to ''VideoGame/TheLostCrown: A Ghosthunting Adventure'') includes the phrase "powerful paranormal phenomena", which the creator's blog suggests gave voice actress Emma Harry some RealLife Tongue Twister issues.
* In an episode of ''Series/TheColbertReport'', Creator/MartinFreeman discussed playing Bilbo Baggins in ''Film/TheHobbit''. He mentioned how thrilled he was that he, along with the rest of the cast, were immortalized as Lego figures.
-->'''Colbert''': Is there a Lego Legolas?
-->'''Freeman''': Yes, but he only goes down to here (indicates his waist) so he's a legless Lego Legolas.
* This exchange in ''Theatre/AFunnyThingHappenedOnTheWayToTheForum'':
-->'''Miles Gloriosus''': Oh, her bridal bower becomes a burial bier of bitter bereavement!
-->'''Pseudolus''': Very good! Can you say "Titus the tailor told ten tall tales to Titania the titmouse"?
* In ''Discworld/FeetOfClay'', Vimes recites "Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers" to prove he's not drunk.
* In Heinlein's short time-paradox story "By His Bootstraps", Wilson demonstrates that he '''is''' drunk by reciting "Peter Piper", and having it come out "Peter Piper pepped a pick of pippered peckles".
* In ''[[Literature/GarrettPI Wicked Bronze Ambition]]'', Garrett's sorceress companion teases him about [[DoesNotLikeSpam his least favorite food]], saying that if he could ban green peppers as he wished, his criminal friends would all start picking and packing pecks of peppers for the black market. Garrett himself has had trouble enunciating the phrase "saber-toothed tiger" ever since ''Bitter Gold Hearts''.
* ''Film/TheJerk'' has a scene of Navin TalkingInBed with Marie in which he quotes the "sheet-slitting" tongue twister:
-->'''Navin''': Marie, are you awake? Good. You look so beautiful and peaceful, you almost look dead. I'm glad because there is something that has always been very difficult for me to say. "I slit the sheet, the sheet I slit, and on the slitted sheet I sit." I've never been relaxed enough around anyone to be able to say that.
* A regular feature on ''Bosco''. Two animated characters would say the Tongue Twister more and more quickly as their necks expanded. [[WhatDoYouMeanItWasntMadeOnDrugs It was that kind of show.]]
* In a Toyota commercial, a saleswoman sums up a family's car-buying preferences:
--> "So, Clarence is here for clearance to get Cammy a Camry, and Blake wants it in black."
* In the "Martha's Got Talent" episode of ''WesternAnimation/MarthaSpeaks'', the talking dog plans to demonstrate her ability to recite tongue twisters in a talent contest [[spoiler: that's really a set-up by some bumbling would-be dog-nappers]].
* The "Three Musketeers" sketch from ''Franchise/TheMuppets Go to the Movies'' involves the Scarlet Pimpernel dropping a crumpet made from pumpernickel, covered in lumps, from Humperdink's bakery, [[OverlyPrepreparedGag leading to the line]] "It's that simple wimp, Pimpernel, and his Humperdink's lumpy pumpernickel crumpets!" Link Hogthrob, playing one of the Musketeers, keeps stumbling over the line.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBeatles'': George can't say "soothsayer to the stars" without getting his tongue twisted in "We Can Work It Out."
* The Creator/SmothersBrothers had a song "My Old Man", in which each verse started "My old man's an X, what do you think about that?" and X was then included multiple times in the verse (starting with "sailor", and then "anthropologist" and "refrigerator repairman"). The last verse started "My old man's a cotton-pickin, finger-lickin, chicken plucker, what do you think about that?" ("[[GettingCrapPastTheRadar You'd better not make a mistake!]]" "[[TemptingFate Let's hope not.]]")
* In an early episode of ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'', child prodigy Chiyo-chan admits that tongue twisters are one of the few things she's not good at, as she demonstrates when she adorably stumbles over saying "Basu gasu bakuhatsu" ("Bus gas explosion").
* ''Theatre/LadyInTheDark'' has one in "The Best Years Of His Life" (which fortunately is nowhere near as fast as the PatterSong sung by the same character immediately after):
-->The mister who once was the master of two\\
Would make of his mistress his Mrs.\\
But he's missed out on Mrs. for the mistress is through--\\
What a mess of a mish-mash this is!
* The announcer on ''[[GeorgeOfTheJungle Tom Slick]]'' has a tough time when Tom kits the Thunderbolt Grease Slapper with rubber baby buggy bumpers.
* You can play tongue twisters with Rio in ''[[VideoGame/OperatorsSide Lifeline]]'' after locating the correct command. Copy her without flubbing the words and she regains some health for free.
* ''Film/TheCourtJester'' starred Creator/DannyKaye, who could tear through tongue twisters with aplomb. The writers played to this by packing the script full of them:
** The instructions for the jester to avoid being poisoned are: "the vessel with the pestle has the pellet with the poison, and the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true." Later (because the chalice from the palace is broken), "the pellet with the poison is in the flagon with the dragon, and the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true."
** Also: "The Duchess dove at the Duke just when the Duke dove at the Doge. Now the Duke ducked, the Doge dodged, and the Duchess didn't. So the Duke got the Duchess, the Duchess got the Doge, and the Doge got the Duke!"
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheLastUnicorn'', Schmendrick tries twice and just gives up:
--> "And be wary of wousing a wizard's wath! Rousing a rizard's... Be wary of making a magician angry!"
* In one "Bullwinkle's Corner" episode of ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle'', Bullwinkle interviews Peter Piper, who says he quit the pickled pepper business because even ''he'' had trouble saying the tongue twister. So now he helps his sister sell sea shells by the sea shore. ("That's better?" exclaims Bullwinkle.)
* Zombie-child movie ''Film/{{Cooties}}'' points out the difficulty one can have in saying the name of those pickup trucks with double-wheels in the back: "dual-rear-wheel".
* Used in the ''WesternAnimation/SpongeBobSquarePants'' episode "Money Talks".
-->'''Flying Dutchman:''' All sales are final from the Flying Dutchman, especially for a selfish shellfish like yourself! ''[[BreakingTheFourthWall (to the viewer)]]'' Try saying ''that'' three times fast.
* On ''WesternAnimation/WildKratts'', Martin names a honey guide "Sweet Tweet", which Chris finds difficult to say.
* One ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' episode had the Warners encountering a pirate, who tells them "You're trespassing on my private pirate property!" Wakko challenges him to say that three times fast. He fails.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' once featured the Rubber Baby Buggy Bumper Babysitting Service. [[SubvertedTrope Strangely, no one seems to have a problem with saying the name.]]
* ''WebVideo/AskThatGuyWithTheGlasses'' once rattled off three tongue-twisters in sequence, without stumbling or pausing for breath. One can only imagine the amount of takes it must have taken for him to do that.
* In the final episode of ''VideoGame/SamAndMaxTheDevilsPlayhouse'', "The City That Dares Not Sleep", Mr. Featherly repeats "Unique New York" a few times in order to warm up for... laying an egg. ItMakesSenseInContext.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'':
** In "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS4E3ThePowerOfTheDaleks The Power Of The Daleks]]", the Second Doctor gets distracted by this trope after asking his companions "But will Lesterson listen?". Polly joins him in repeating "Lesterson listen" as fast as possible.
** From "[[Recap/DoctorWhoS27E13ThePartingOfTheWays The Parting Of The Ways]]":
---> '''Captain Jack:''' We've got a fully-functional force field. Try saying ''that'' when you're drunk.
* In his review of ''Film/RogueOne'', [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HO9eq6DLUrI Epic Voice Guy explains]]: "Rogue One is a sequel to the prequels of the sequels of the prequels that are the originals in which this is a prequel of, but not a sequel to the sequel of the originals."
* In ''Series/BrooklynNineNine'', Jake and Terry turn one of these into a tool of gloating after using a mobile situation command vehicle borrowed from the Department of Homeland Security to gain the upper-hand in a bet with Amy and Charles to see who can recover the most escape fugitives from a prison bus crash:
-->''[Regarding the mobile situation command vehicle]''\\
'''Terry:''' She's also got a holding cell. Which is big enough for three perps. Jake, counting this guy, how many perps have we caught and placed in the three-perp perp cell?\\
'''Jake:''' Well, Sarge, we've placed three perps in the three-perp perp cell.\\
'''Terry:''' So the three-perp perp cell is full?\\
'''Jake:''' Full of three perps is the three-perp perp cell--\\
'''Amy:''' ''Okay stop saying 'perps' and 'cell' and 'three'.''
* F. Gwynplaine Macintyre's historical murder-mystery story "The Weighing Of The Heart" opens with a TongueTwister in ''Ancient Egyptian'', no less:
--> ''Medu m'at mai ma'at mety'' ["A mummy speaks in straightforward truth"]
* In ''Literature/CuriousGeorge: A Halloween Boo Fest'', the Man in the Yellow Hat sends George to select a pumpkin. The young man who's managing the pumpkin patch rattles off a whole series of these, explaining that he's a "peppy expert picker, picking proper pumpkins".
* ''WesternAnimation/NatureCat'':
** Lampshaded when the title character proposes a trip to the grocery store to buy birdseed for "the Fabulous Feast for our Fine Feathered Friends".
** Daisy tries asking an ''actual'' woodchuck the solution to the "How much wood" example (see above). The woodchuck, evidently sick and tired of being asked that, refuses to come out of his burrow, instead sticking out a "No Tongue Twisters" sign.
* In Harry Lauder's "Wee Deoch an Doris" one is used as an index of sobriety.
-->Just a wee deoch an doris, just a wee drop, that's all.\\
Just a wee deoch an doris afore ye gang awa.\\
There's a wee wifie waitin' in a wee but an ben.\\
If you can say, "It's a braw bricht moonlicht nicht",\\
Then yer a'richt, ye ken.
* One skit on ''Radio/JohnFinnemoresSouvenirProgramme'' had two management consultants questioning whether by the seashore is the best place to sell seashells, with the tongue twister in question getting increasingly convoluted, until Mrs Shaw (the "she" in question) explains:
-->'''Mrs Shaw''': Right... But these shells that I sell here in my store, I sell as souvenirs ''of'' the seashore. Here by the seashore, shells are a draw, but inshore seashells lose their allure. When you buy seashells, if ever, I'm sure you buy seashells by the seashore.
* A subplot in Creator/JasperFforde's ''[[Literature/NurseryCrime The Fourth Bear]]'' turns out to be an OverlyPreparedGag setup to a tongue-twister, which prompts one character to say "[[WhoWritesThisCrap I don't know how he gets away with it]]".