Accidental Pun

"That wasn't a joke. That was an unfortunate coincidental pairing of words."
Angry factory lady, Drake & Josh

A humorous play on words not intended by the speaker.

The accidental pun is exactly what it sounds like. While it has to be unintentional by the speaker in-story, it can be, and generally is, intended by the author. If the original speaker notices their pun after the fact, they will generally respond with "No pun intended," or something similar. If a Pungeon Master is nearby, they will almost always be pointed out. Oops, no pun intended.

Often the closest The Comically Serious will ever come to telling a joke.

Compare Innocent Innuendo, where a double-meaning is invoked by observers but not the speakers and Accidental Innuendo.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The name of the medium Anime itself. One kanji that can be pronounced "me" means female, another means eye. Both, incidentally, things anime is known for overseas.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Mami Tomoe's name "Mami" means Mommy in Spanish and other languages like German. Considering her mentor role it fits her.
  • In Hidamari Sketch, Sae gives Hiro a poetry collection covered with an embroidered book cover. Shishuu is a homonym for both "poetry collection" and "embroidery," but when Miyako asks if it was a pun, Sae claims it was accidental.
  • In episode 24 of Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, Mr. Daidoji sees into Hel kidnapping his daughter, but has no idea who she is. Their first exchange:
    Mr. Daidoji: Who the Hell are you?!
    Hel: [chuckles]
  • The title of Neko Kissa is either this or a Bilingual Stealth Pun. In Japanese, "Neko" = "Cat" and "Kissa" = "Cafe." So, "Cat Cafe." The title could also be translated as being the word "cat" in two different languages — Japanese and Finnish: Neko (Japanese), Kissa (Finnish).
  • In Little Witch Academia, when a minotaur is approaching antagonist Diana, her friends Hannah and Barbera try to hell her it's behind her (ushiro) but only manage to stammer out ushi (cow.)

    Comic Book 
  • During the Justice League of America event JLApe, Batman is briefing Nightwing on a Gorilla City crimelord who acts like he's in a '30s gangster film:
    Batman: Grimm wouldn't be the first hood to ape old movies.
    Nightwing: "Ape".
    Batman: Sorry. Unintentional.

    Fan Work 

  • The Hudsucker Proxy has the hero surrounded by reporters, excited about his invention of the hula hoop. When he comments on all of the hoopla surrounding it, the reporters laugh at his cleverness and he winds up very confused. After it's explained to him, he uses it all the time in future press conferences with far less stellar results.
  • Sort of a meta-example in A Knight's Tale: When William notices the trademark (an upside-down Nike logo) on the armor that Kate made for him, Kate mentions that she had put it on the armor "in case some other knight should admire (her) work." Neither the script-writers nor the cast were aware at the time that one of Nike's co-founders was named Phil Knight.
  • In the french Les Combinards, a character is trying to seduce a widow whose husband died at sea recently. She starts crying as she thinks about it. The Widow:" Booh… Booh … "The character: "Ooh… Your eyes are as blue as forget-me-nots… The forget-me-nots are flowers that mustn't be drowned !" The Widow: "DROWNED ! Booh-hoohohooo…

  • In Doom: Hell on Earth, Arlene and Albert are out trying to find computer connectors for their hacker Jill. Arlene tells Albert that they shouldn't have any problems finding the jacks for Jill. She starts giggling when she catches it and Albert takes longer to figure it out.
  • A meta example snuck in Dora Wilk Series. In-universe, "pyr" is a powerful fire demon, and as Polish grammar rules go, female pyr is "pyra"... Which in Poland is also a regional name for potato.
  • In Brothers of the Snake, a Chaos cult called Children of Khorne bases itself on a planet whose main produce is... yes, corn. The local Inquisitor even lampshades it, but the pun goes over the heads of everyone else present.
  • In Hogfather, Ridcully asks the Chair of Indefinite Studies "Lares and Penates? What are they when they're at home?" The Chair interprets "at home" as a play on the fact they're household gods, but Ridcully's genuinely clueless.
    Chair: I thought you were making a rather good joke, Archchancellor.
    Ridcully: Was I? I didn't mean to.
    Dean: Nothing new there.

    Live Action Television 
  • One episode of Drake & Josh features the following exchange:
    Angry factory lady: Let the sushi roll!
    Josh: Haha, I get it. Sushi roll.
    Angry factory lady: That wasn't a joke. That was an unfortunate coincidental pairing of words.
  • In the QI segment about lobster-hypnosis, Stephen Fry commits some accidental mussel/muscle punnage, which is immediately jumped on by Phil Jupitus.
  • An early episode of Have I Got News for You, with an Odd One Out round featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
    Ian Hislop: Didn't Tutu train in Hull?
    Angus Deayton: Tutu train? No, I don't think so...
  • A Super-Match posit on Match Game was "_______ Duty." The cast and crew were looking for other possibilities to fill in the blank ("Do Your Duty," "Civic Duty,") when someone offstage cracked "Howdy Duty." Gene Rayburn bought it and then discovered how hard he bit.

    Video Game 
  • The tutorial in LEGO Chess on getting in and out of check features this line:
    King: So can you check out — 'scuse me, that wasn't a joke — the spaces I can move to?
  • The way Hwoarang's name is pronounced in Tekken 6 and Street Fighter X Tekken is literally "how wrong" and strangely enough, that's exactly the case. The first syllable "Hwoa-" is supposed to be pronounced as "hwah" (which rhymes with "bwah," as in "BWAHahaha!") The second syllable "-rang" is pronounced just like the English word "rung."
  • In Dragon Age II, a potions shop in the Gallows is low on stock and the owner is looking for Hawke to "remedy that." Snarky!Hawke can point out the pun, at which the owner says it wasn't meant as a pun, but that he should remember it for future use.
  • In the Saints Row: The Third mission "Nyte Blayde's Return," Viola objects to having to dress as the Bloody Cannonness as part of a scheme to kidnap Josh Birk, star of a Show Within a Show and spokesman for S.T.A.G.
    Viola: I'm not making going out like this a habit!
    The Boss (Male Voice 1): See, you're already making nun jokes, I knew you'd get into this.
    Viola: I hate you.


    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • The creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender admit they didn't really know that "Momo" means peach in Japanese until after they made the scene in which said lemur is named while holding a peach.
  • In Transformers Animated, the writers swear that when they named the Fully Automated Rapid Transit System, they didn't realize the initials spelled F.A.R.T.S.
  • League of Super Evil consists of three characters trying to be supervillains and failing miserably at it. Their team name's acronym is L.O.S.E.
  • In The Fairly Oddparents, after getting their butts kicked by Timmy, Crocker, Dark Laser, and Foop form the League Of Super Evil Revenge Seekers. They aren't even aware of the acronym.
  • In the first episode of Gravity Falls, Mabel is propositioned by a bunch of gnomes that want to make her their queen.
    Jeff: So what d'ya say? Will you join us in holy matri-gnomey? Matri—matrimony! Blah, I can't talk today.
  • In The Legend of the Titanic, Smiley belongs to an Andalusian prince, making him an Andalusian dog. Considering the creators didn't even care enough to write a decent story, it's very unlikely they bothered to think up such a subtle reference.
  • In DC Showcase: Green Arrow, Perdita comments that "every queen needs a consort," unaware that Green Arrow's real name is Oliver Queen.
  • Dan Vs.: In "Canada", Chris expresses disbelief that a Mountie "lifted [his car] with his bare hands!" We find out later that in-universe, Canadians are half-bear.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Sugilite sounds similar to "suggilate" (to beat until bruised), and she's an aggressive fusion who loves to smash.
    • Sapphire is close to "sapphic" (lesbian) - like her love with Ruby.
    • Malachite is reminiscent of words that start with the mal- prefix, meaning "wrongful", "bad", "ill" or "evil" (such as malicious, malevolent or malfunction.) She's an unstable, deformed fusion formed through hate and revenge.

    On This Very Wiki 
  • The word "straight" can come off as this on the Playing With pages for sexuality tropes. Occasionally, it's lampshaded with a link to this page.
  • In a crossover with Innocent Innuendo, this can also happen on pages relating to anatomy as well, making the page sound far filthier than it really is.
  • Every page for an individual Saints Row game begins with "The [number] of the Saints Row series". E.G., the page for Saints Row 2 begins with "The second of the Saints Row series". The accidental pun occurred when the third game was revealed to be titled Saints Row: The Third (which nominally represents the fact that the gang is called "The Third Street Saints", thus being an intentional pun that led to an accidental one).
  • The entry for "Brick Joke" on the page for The LEGO Movie is linked to this page before the trope explanation occurs.

Alternative Title(s):

No Pun Intended, Pun Not Intended, Unintentional Pun