Some works have titles with multiple meanings that all refer to the content of the work in different and independent ways. The authors are probably very proud of themselves.
They are often hard or impossible to translate literally to another language, so translations will frequently use a Completely Different Title
Compare: Pun-Based Title
, where the titles only sound like other things that refer to the content of the work, Justified Title
, where a title that refers to the format of the work also refers to the content in some way, and Multiple Reference Pun
, where similar forms of wordplay appear in other facets of the work. Subtrope of Double Meaning
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Anime and Manga
- Mai-HiME is a quintuple pun, meaning "Mai the HiMe", "My HiMe", "My princess", "Mai the princess" and "Maihime" (a kind of dance).
- Tenchi Muyo!! can mean "No Need For Tenchi!", "No Need For Heaven and Earth!", or "This Way Up!", depending on the interpretation.
- In B Gata H Kei, (B type, H style), B stands for the main character's B blood type, and B cup breast size. It also stands for "second base", in the Japanese equivalent of our baseball metaphors. (Coincidentally, by our classification, she is also a B Type Tsundere.)
- Jungle wa Itsumo Hare nochi Guu: the title of the series is a rather elaborate pun that can be read several different ways, due to different readings of some of the words:
- In the Jungle was Always Hare but then came Guu
- The Jungle was Always Nice, Then Came Guu
- The Jungle Is Always Sunny or Hungry
- And the most obscure, a pun on a common phrase in Japanese weather forecasts:
- The Jungle Is Always Clear, With A Chance of Showers
- The Jungle is Always Clear, With Scattered Guu
- The font of the kanji "魔法" (mahou, magic) in Mahou Shoujo Madoka Magica (Magical Girl Madoka Magica) logo text is heavily stylized, and could be read instead as "廃怯" (hai-kyou, cowardice, hesitation). The title could reasonably be read as "廃怯少女 まどか☆マギカ" (Hai-Kyou Shoujo Madoka Magika), or Wavering Girl Madoka Magica in English. This is, if anything, a more accurate description of the series.
- Another view is this: as Kyubey mentioned 魔法少女 (Magical Girl) are immature witches (魔女), 廃怯少女 can be construed as immature 廃女 (abolish-girl), or girl that abolishes— so what did Madoka do in the end?
- Similarly in the romanized title Puella Magi is known to be incorrect Gratuitous Latin for Magical Girl however Magi is masculine as opposed the correct Latin for magical girl Puella Maga. However "magi" is actually a noun with many meaning in Latin among them "wise man" or "deceiver" meanwhile Puella while it could be used as a translation of girl is usually used in the context of child slaves. In other words the romanized title could be considered Deciever's slave: Madoka Magica highlighting the manipulative nature of Kyubey and the magical girl system.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica The Movie: Rebellion, meanwhile, has a title seemingly chosen specifically to make people argue about which "Rebellion" they're referring to. Kyubey rebelling against Madokami? Homura rebelling against her imprisonment? The girls rebelling against Homura's attempt to destroy herself and the labyrinth to save them? Homura rebelling against Madokami? The implied eventual rebellion to Homura's new world order? Urobuchi rebelling against people wanting a happier ending? It's anyone's guess, but it's probably meant to be at least a few of these things.
- Neon Genesis Evangelion:
- The Japanese title for the first movie, Death and Rebirth, is written as "シト新生" (Shi to Shinsei). The first two characters, written in katakana, can either stand for "死と" (shi to, "death and," as in the English title) or "使徒" (shito, "apostle," the term used in the original Japanese to refer to the Angels).
- A similar pun was employed for the title of episode 24, "最後のシ者" (Saigo no Shisha), which can be read as "The Final Messenger" or "The Final Casualty" depending on what kanji is used for "shi". On top of that, "シ者" looks like "渚" (Nagisa - as in Kaworu's last name). This pretty much sums up the plot of the episode, which is that Kaworu turns out to be the final Angel, and dies.
- The final episode of the series is called, "The Beast that Shouted Ai at the Heart of the World." Obviously it's a pun on a Harlan Ellison novel ("The Beast that Shouted 'Love'..."— ai means "love"), but it sounds like "The Beast that Shouted 'I'..." As in, "I am an individual!"
- The title of Girl Friends could mean "female friends" or "romantically involved female companions". The story revolves around both, being about how former loner Mari becomes friends with Akko and slowly falls in love with her.
- Love Hina. Hina refers to Hinata Sou, named after the original owner, but is also Japanese for "chick".
- Mobile Suit Gundam AGE refers to both the AGE system that are used to create the titular mechas, as well as the Coming of Age Story of its three protagonists.
- Shokugeki No Soma directly means "cooking spirit", yet it can also be interpreted as "Soma of Shokugeki", where the term "shokugeki" refers to the name of the school's famous high-stakes cooking duels. The word "Soma" is a pun on Soma's name in the Japanese version, and a direct reference to his name in the English localization.
- The last story arc of The Sandman is The Wake, which has three relevant meanings. The titles of the three chapters make them explicit: "Which Occurs in the Wake of What Has Gone Before", "In Which a Wake Is Held", and "In Which We Wake".
- The phrase "Who watches the watchmen?" can be translated from the original Latin ("Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?") as "who guards the guards?" implying that the superheroes themselves are under attack. But it can also refer to those who watch, implying that someone else is watching them. It's also suggested to mean "Who watches over them?", since they're virtually all horribly broken individuals. Alternately, it can be interpreted as "who polices the police?", referring to the fact that the "heroes" aren't really as heroic as they should be.
- It also has an entirely different set of layered meanings - Dr. Manhattan was originally a watchmaker, and his ability to see the future implies that everyone and everything in the universe is simply an unwinding clockwork mechanism - a world of mechanical watch-men.
- The Walking Dead: At first you think it's relatively obvious that the Walking Dead refers to the Romero like zombies. The first time it receives a Title Drop is when Rick has reached a Heroic BSOD and shouts that the survivors of the Zombie Apocalypse are the Walking Dead because it's only a matter of time until they all die.
- The Invader Zim fanfic "In Short Supply" deals with the Irkens' height-based class system, with both a lack of medium-sized Irkens and Zim's own shortness central to the story.
- With Strings Attached has four different meanings in the context of the book.
- And the subtitle, The Big Pink Job, has five.
- Calvin & Hobbes: The Series has "RIP Calvin". It's a My Future Self and Me plot, and the first part of it heavily hints that Calvin would die in the future. This is revealed not to be the case - he's alive, albeit as a Brain in a Jar. Then the future selves start trying to kill off their younger forms, and Calvin is the first to die.
- The Cleaner sidestory of The Universiad - as in cleaning up loose ends, or being less messy than the alternatives? Yes.
- Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, with the subtitle referring to the title character (1) being lucky to have been born with telepathic and telekinetic abilities, and (2) being lucky to be chosen as Smurfette's One True Love. Also (3) he is lucky to be the only begotten son of Papa Smurf, as all his fellow Smurfs are actually Happily Adopted.
- Aside from the obvious, Vinyl and Octavia Have Multiple Dates can also refer to the fact that the story opens on Vinyl and Octavia eating a lot of dates (the fruit).
- Lampshaded by the author's notes in chapter eight of Bait and Switch. StarSwordC said that "A Captain's Hardest Job" was supposed to refer to Eleya visiting the morgue and sickbay after a battle to check on the dead and wounded, but given she ended up in bed with somebody at the end he wondered if it didn't end up being a bad sex pun instead.
- The title of the Girls und Panzer fic, "Off The Path" not only refers to the incident in which a tank fell from a path into a river, causing Miho to save it, but, in the last chapter, the title also refers to Miho's departure from tankery, one step in her changing ideals about tankery.
- The title of the Facing The Future Series story, Ancient History, could refer to both Amity Park being transformed into an ancient Egyptian kingdom, and Tucker facing the return of the two biggest mistakes in his past.
Films — Animated
- The subtitle of The Lion King II: Simba's Pride can refer to either the lions that follow him or the fact that he's initially too proud of his father's legacy as a good king to really understand what it took to build that legacy in the first place.
- Tangled can refer to either or both the main character's very long hair and her being The Pawn of her adoptive mother's gambits.
- Frozen co-director Chris Buck mentioned in an interview that the title was chosen because it described the film on two levels. On the literal level, it describes the ice-covered landscape that the story took place in. On a more symbolic level, it describes the relationship of the two sisters, which is "frozen in the film when they were little girls". Additionally, it also refers to the loss of warmth of feeling and being stunned or chilled with fear (or shock), something that the sisters experienced during the film.
Films — Live-Action
- The French film Metisse (derived from mixticius, meaning mixed) was called Cafe Au Lait in the US as a reference to the mixed race characters, mix of the characters races and the french style coffees they all drank.
- Predators: The title not only refers to the iconic monsters but also to their prey who were dangerous killers on planet Earth.
- Camp is about a summer camp for ("campy") musical theatre performers. Most of the male ones are Camp Gay.
- Adaptation is about how orchids are adapted to their environment, how a book is adapted into a screenplay, and how people adapt themselves to a new situation.
- Enemy Mine refers both to the Enemy Mine situation the main characters find themselves in, as well an actual mine owned by the villains. This is, however, a case of a forced double meaning — the mine did not exist in the original story that became the film, but was added at the insistence of studio executives who felt that audiences would not understand that "enemy mine" means "my enemy".
- La Historia Oficial, the title of a film about Argentina's "Dirty War", can mean both "The Official Story" and "The Official History."
- The Straight Story is about a man named Straight, and is also the only non-Mind Screwy, "played-straight" film made by David Lynch.
- Daddy Daycare was translated into Hebrew as "Aba Ba Lagan", which literally means "Daddy came to kindergarten". However, "Balagan" is also a slang word for a mess, making the title "Messy Daddy".
- Also, Species was translated as "Min Mesukan" (literally "Dangerous Species"). The word "Min" also means "Sex", making the title "Dangerous Sex".
- PCU could stand for "Port Chester University" or "Politically Correct University".
- The King's Speech could refer to the publicly important speech that King George delivers at the end (to which the whole story has been building up) or his speech as in his way of speaking.
- Severance, a post-Hostel horror film set on a corporate retreat. "Severance" is 'termination of employment' (the threat of which drives the conflict), and 'dismemberment'. The fact that the DVD cover shows a disembodied leg is a subtle indicator of which of these elements gets the most focus.
- United 93 is about United Flight 93, and how the passengers united against their aggressors.
- X-Men: First Class: The subtitle specifically refers to Professor X's first group of students, but it can also mean that the young mutants excel at using their powers (as in "first in their class").
- Primer has time machines which, because of the way they work, must be "primed" for several hours before they can be used. Later in the movie, it's revealed that the first part of the movie happens after Aaron will have traveled back to the beginning of the movie, bringing a recording of everything he did up to that point. He uses this information as a primer/self-prompter, to make sure he does all the right things to keep the timeline consistent until he reaches the part he wants to change.
- Trading Places refers to how Louis Winthorpe and Billy Ray Valentine are switched around in terms of social status, but also to the financial trading they both deal with.
- Easy A is a pun on the common school slang term for a course that doesn't require much studying, a Shout-Out to The Scarlet Letter, and a reference to Olive's supposedly loose morals.
- A Perfect Getaway refers to the honeymoon vacation of one couple and the post-double-homicide escape from the law of another couple.
- Looker refers to both the commercial actresses being "lookers" and the device being used to kill them.
- The World's End refers to both the eponymous pub at the end of the Golden Mile and the actual end of civilization as we know it through the complete destruction of modern technology.
- Son of Frankenstein refers to Dr. Frankenstein's biological son and the constructed one.
- The title of Casino Royale is both a reference to the story's main location (the Casino Royale, or "Royal Casino", in Montenegro), and to the "battle royal" (that is, a violent duel in which the last man standing is declared the winner) that takes place there.
- The 2010 film Conviction is a legal drama about a woman who spends eighteen years tirelessly working to free her wrongfully convicted brother from prison, refusing to believe that he is guilty. The title refers to both "conviction" in the legal sense (finding someone guilty of a crime) and to "conviction" in the psychological sense (strong, unshakeable belief in something).
- Laurel and Hardy's first feature film Pardon Us reflects the duo's exceedingly polite nature - and it's a prison picture.
- The title of Howard Stern's biopic Private Parts (which Stern himself wrote and starred in) refers to Stern's controversial use of crude sexual humor in his radio show, and to the parts of his life that he ordinarily doesn't share with the public.
- In Twin Sitters, the title can be either about the twins that are being babysit, or the twins that are babysitting them.
- The title of Little Miss Sunshine is both a reference to the Cheerful Child main character and the beauty pageant she'll participate in.
- Almost Famous is a reference to the rise to stardom of the band that the main character is following/scooping and the name of their tour during the film.
- The first book of The Baroque Cycle is called Quicksilver. Two of the recurring topics of the series are the element mercury (i.e., quicksilver) in chemistry and alchemy, and the birth of the modern economic system in which money (i.e., silver) can flow quickly from place to place.
- The Baroque Cycle as a whole is not only set in the Baroque era but also exceedingly complex.
- The Confusion is not only about the confusion of metals (in the alchemical sense) and the confusion of messages (in the cryptography sense), or even a certain amount of confusion in the modern "what's going on?" sense, but the Author's Note explains that the book's structure (alternate chapters of parallel narratives) is an alchemical confusion as well.
- The novel (and musical) Ragtime by E. L. Doctorow takes place during the heyday of ragtime music, and one of the lead characters is a ragtime performer; but the title also refers to the persistent poverty among the underprivileged classes of that era—it was "rag time".
- In the poem "The Collar" by George Herbert, the title can be taken to refer to either a priest's collar or a slave's collar. Since the text poem consists of someone crying out (i.e., they're a caller) in anger (i.e., choler), it's also a Pun-Based Title.
- The title of Soul Music refers to both the actual genre of music and the fact that, in the book, the music literally gets into people's souls.
- The Fifth Elephant refers to an old legend about a fifth elephant that used to support the Disc, but which slipped off and crashed down on the flat world in the distant past. It's also an Uberwaldian expression (derived from said myth) that can variously mean "that which does not exist," "that which is not what it seems," and "that which while unseen controls events." All of these interpretations come into play over the course of the novel. In addition, it's a pun on quintessence, the "fifth element."
- The title of Thud! refers to both the Variant Chess played in the series and the opening line—onomatopoeia for being hit by a club. Both are important plot points and arguably the opposite of each other, representing the violent and peaceful solutions for the Fantastic Racism between dwarves and trolls.
- Going Postal refers both to going insane and delivering mail.
- Making Money refers to producing currency and to getting rich.
- Snuff refers to murder and tobacco.
- Ian McEwan's Enduring Love could just mean a love that lasts (most people just assume this is the meaning), but it has a second meaning: tolerating love or putting up with love.
- Ciem: Vigilante Centipede has a planned sequel dubbed Nuclear Crisis, which both refers to Capp Aard stealing a radioactive blue rock called the Ming-Yo from China; and to Candi's struggles with keeping her growing family safe. Especially since she's pregnant and has the flu, her new husband has cancer, her sister is pregnant and engaged to a treasure hunter, and her sister is on the run from spies and a Government Conspiracy. And she plans to adopt a 3-year-old.
- Ian Rankin has a lot of these. Fleshmarket Close, for instance, starts out in the Edinburgh street of the same name (so called because it used to be a butcher's market), but goes on to be about two different "fleshmarkets"; prostitution and trade in illegal immigrants.
- Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game" could refer to either the contest of pitting hunter vs. hunter or the hunting of humans. (The trope named after it is explicitly about hunting humans.)
- Clarifying: "game" not only means "sport", but also the animal being hunted. Man's advanced intelligence makes him the most dangerous animal to hunt.
- The title High Fidelity refers both to record albums (it's what "hi-fi" is short for, if you didn't know) and to commitment in romantic relationships.
- Timothy Zahn likes these.
- The Thrawn Trilogy: Heir to the Empire could refer to the New Republic which has risen as the Empire fell or to Grand Admiral Thrawn, who has returned from a long absence to take up the Empire's remains. Or to C'baoth. Dark Force Rising may be the Katana fleet, the Dark Side of The Force, or Thrawn's Empire. The Last Command might be Palpatine's final command to his Hand, or another reference to Thrawn.
- Hand of Thrawn duology: "Hand of Thrawn" itself could be the influence he has even after his death, the dissidents impersonating him, and the various things related to that fortress on Niruan. Specter of the Past is, obviously, referring to Thrawn, but also to the pasts of the other characters that affect them still, and on a meta note, Zahn's unhappiness about what other authors did to his characters. Vision of the Future is more straightforward, but you could make a case for it being Luke's vision, the things the Empire of the Hand are preparing for, and the future of the Star Wars Expanded Universe itself.
- "Mist Encounter" can be seen as the meeting of the exiled Thrawn and Imperial forces on the misty world of his exile, or the pun "Missed encounter" - the Imperial forces are there to chase Booster Terrick, who took cover and were ignored for the events transpiring around him. "Command Decision" can be the decision made by the ranking officer - Thrawn - or the decision his suboordinates, not understanding his rather unorthodox and possibly traitorous orders, come to regarding whether he is fit for command. "Judge's Call" can be about how Luke clearly felt called to arbitrate, or about how he called for that private time with his wife.
- Just in general, a number of Star Wars EU books have titles like this.
- Rogue Squadron refers to both the name of the New Republic's best starfighter squadron and their unpredictable, not-by-the-book attitude. Wedge's Gamble encompasses the missions that Wedge and the Rogues head off on and the absolute, unwavering trust he has for possible Manchurian Agent Tycho Celchu. The Krytos Trap? That's the two ways that the Krytos plague "traps" the New Republic; killing nonhumans and being part of a ploy to turn them against the human members. Solo Command is the taskforce under the command of General Solo and Wraith Squadron coming under the command of Face Loran.
- In the Coruscant Nights Trilogy, one book is Patterns of Force. In that title, Force means what it usually means in Star Wars as well as what it means pretty much everywhere else.
- A storm does approach in The Approaching Storm, which also refers to the enemies who attack and, conceivably, the slight wrongness of Anakin Skywalker.
- All of The Dresden Files novels, notably Grave Peril, Summer Knight, Blood Rites, White Night, and Dead Beat. (Well, except Changes, which, as a Wham Episode.) Dead Beat in particular is a triple-loaded title: a deadbeat, as in a poor guy, dead beat, as in very tired, a dead beat, as in a cop's beat that is either slow or deadly, and a dead beat, as in the rhythm that the dead move to
- Orson Scott Card's Children of the Mind in the Enderverse. Ender joins the Catholic religious order known as the Filhos da Mente de Cristo in Portuguese - in English, it's the Children of the Mind of Christ. But two of the other main characters in that book, Peter and Val Wiggin, were accidentally created from Ender's memories when he went outside the universe - they're the Children of the Mind of Ender.
- Star Trek Novelverse:
- The Star Trek short story "Empathy", featuring the Mirror Universe versions of the Titan crew. The title refers to the gestalt between the lifeforms of Lru-Irr, which the Alliance wants to exploit. It also refers to Ian Troi and Tuvok's determination to save the Irriol from the Alliance, as well as Bajoran scientist Jaza Najem's own increasing empathy for the Irriol, combined with the love he shares with Terran slave Christine Vale. Perhaps more of a stretch, one of Troi's crew, the sociopathic William Riker, notably lacks any sort of empathy, possibly because he never met his captain's daughter.
- The Star Trek: Titan novel Orion's Hounds. Orion refers both to the constellation of the hunter, and to the galaxy's Orion arm. The Pa'haquel race, who hunt spacefaring lifeforms across the Orion Arm, are the titular hounds in two senses.
- Another Star Trek example: The Diane Duane TOS novel Doctor's Orders, in which Dr. McCoy is left in command of the Enterprise, the double meaning being that McCoy is a doctor and in command (thus giving orders), and the phrase "doctor's orders" which describes a doctor's instructions to his patients.
- The Star Trek: Typhon Pact novel Zero Sum Game refers not only to the obvious meaning but also to a cold war scenario and to the Breen civilization, who are famed for liking the cold. The novel revolves around a cat-and-mouse game between Starfleet and the Breen while Breen scientists try to reverse-engineer stolen Federation technology.
- The Star Trek: Department of Temporal Investigations novel Watching the Clock refers both to the DTI's role in protecting and monitoring the timeline, and to the mundane nature of its agents, who are most certainly not Starfleet-style adventurers. The DTI know that if they're having an adventure, they've already screwed up, and it's going to pay hell with the paperwork. No, they're 9-to-5 government employees, and like to keep things as unchaotic and, ideally, dull, as possible.
- Not Star Trek, but Star Trek-related: A book of poetry and prose written by an Assistant Director while working on Star Trek Voyager and Enterprise is named Poetry and Prose from the Director's Ass. Given a lot of the jobs an Assistant Director does, the title is fitting...
- Dan Abnett's Gaunt's Ghosts novel His Last Command has multiple Title Drops to both meanings: "the last unit he commanded" and "the last order he gave."
- Long for This World. refers both to Immortality and the desire for it.
- Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! Adventures of a Curious Character — Richard Feynman was a curious character in two senses of the term — a rather strange character, who was curious about everything.
- Every book in the Arkady Renko series of mystery novels, written by Martin Cruz Smith, beginning with Gorky Park, have titles that first clearly reference one thing, then towards the climax of the book are revealed to refer to something much more important. Titles include Gorky Park, Polar Star, Red Square, Havana Bay, and Wolves Eat Dogs.
- The Man Who Fell to Earth refers to both the Alien Among Us hero's physical arrival on Earth and his metaphorical falling to the vices and treacheries of humanity.
- The Lord of the Rings refers both to Sauron, that heavy and evil menace always present in the background and the hero's mind throughout all the Book, but also to the hypothetical Master of the One Ring. "The Lord of the Rings" is an idea of what you could become if you can master it, and it is the temptation that the hero must resist if he is to conquer. In that sense it can represent Frodo or Gandalf or Aragorn or Saruman or Boromir or Galadriel or Sam or anyone really.
- All Quiet on the Western Front's German title, Im Westen nichts Neues, means "Nothing New in the West". Like the English translation, this is the report given by the papers and military on the day the protagonist dies, but it also refers to the constant cycle and futile nature of war.
- Michael Chabon came up with a particularly dark one when he wrote a novella about an 80-something Sherlock Holmes helping a young boy. It was effectively a spiritual successor to Doyle's story The Final Problem, with the added detail that the boy was a Jewish Holocaust escapee. The title: The Final Solution.
- The A-to-Z Mysteries book The Orange Outlaw has the meanings "the outlaw that has orange hair" and "the outlaw who stole oranges". The outlaw is a trained monkey who steals a painting and leaves a big mess of orange peels because of its enormous appetite.
- The Drawing of the Dark sounds like a story about dark forces drawing near—and it is—but mainly, the title refers to drawing a tankard of dark beer. Magical dark beer. Beer that will restore the Fisher King and save the West.
- James Joyce deliberately did not put an apostrophe in the title of Finnegan's Wake to create a double meaning. It can be read in (at least) two different ways, either it is the wake of Finnegan or multiple Finnegans wake up.
- In the The Lost Hero, Percy has gone missing and since he was the The Hero in the last series, it seems like the title might apply to him. By the end of the book, the same can be said for Jason.
- Wind And Shadow refers to the main female character, Wind Haworth, and the main antagonist, who is a Shadownote , as well as to the book's thematic elements: the ability of people to heal or to harm (wind, which can be beneficial or devastating) and spiritual darkness and temptation (shadow).
- Halting State: A "halting state" is the condition of a computer that has reached the end of its programming and will do nothing until it gets further instructions (or that it's stuck on the same spot). Appropriate for a novel about the software-saturated world, but it also refers to bringing a nation state to a standstill.
- The Brother Cadfael novel The Rose Rent; a widow donated her property to the Abbey at Shrewsbury, in return for a single white rose to be delivered to her once every year as rent for the property. Later, Niall, a bronze-smith sent to deliver the rose was found dead, and the white rose bush was rent, or hacked at its bole.
- Julie Orringer's short story "Pilgrims" takes place on Thanksgiving Day, and it involves an awkward Thanksgiving dinner that's likened to a feast between "Pilgrims and Indians". Said dinner also happens to take place on a New Age commune for cancer patients, where the adults in attendance are literal pilgrims (that is, people on a religious journey of healing and self-discovery).
- In Robert A. Heinlein's Between Planets, a portion of the story takes place on an interplanetary space ship traveling from Earth to Venus, that is "Between Planets". However, the protagonist was born in space when his parents were on a previous voyage from Earth to Mars leaving him to consider himself a citizen of the Solar System. With the Earth/Venus conflict, he wanted to remain neutral because he was "Between Planets" and had been on his way back to Mars when the Venusian Rebels seized the space station that was the transfer point to interplanetary craft.
- The Man With the Golden Arm, possibly a reference to the protagonist's drug addiction (morphine, though heroin in the Film of the Book]]) and his great skill in dealing cards.
- Dave Barry Slept Here has "Chapter Eleven: The Nation Enters Chapter Eleven."
- The second of Mark Gatiss' Lucifer Box novels is called The Devil in Amber. The most obvious reference is to the rising fascist leader who dresses himself and his army in amber shirts, but once his Evil Plan is revealed, it becomes a reference to a literal devil sealed away (i.e. preserved "in amber", like the mosquito in Jurassic Park) until its summoning rite is performed.
- The original Norwegian title of Alexander Kielland's Gift can be translated into either "poison" or "married". The former refers to how the students are "poisoned" by rote learning of topics unrelated to real life and societal norms. The latter is less important, but one character is stuck in a marriage and in love with another man.
Live Action TV
- The Twilight Zone episode "To Serve Man" (based on a short story by Damon Night). The title can mean either "to perform a service for humanity" or "to serve the meat of a human as food." Given the show, guess which one they're talking about here.
- Arrested Development is about a land developer who is arrested, and whose children suffer, in some way or another, from arrested development in the psychological sense. They also live in the demo house of a housing development that has been put on hold - arrested, as it were.
- One episode had an in-universe example with the song "Big Yellow Joint", which was written in the 1960s about the Bluth family's banana stand, when it was still a popular hippie hangout spot. Two meanings of the slang term "joint" apply: "joint" as in "business establishment", and "joint" as in "hand-rolled marijuana cigarette" (referencing the giant banana on top of the stand, which the hippies thought looked like a yellow joint).
- Scrubs, a Work Com that sometimes dips into dramedy territory about medical interns ("scrubs" referring to the clothing doctors wear on the job, as well as a slang term for new and inexperienced people).
- Just Shoot Me!, a sitcom about a woman who ends up with a miserable job at a fashion magazine ('shoot' being a synonym for 'taking a picture').
- The Green Green Grass: City Mouse moved to the countryside for his own protection after informing (or 'grassing') on some criminals.
- Grass: Identical to the above, right down to the pun. But funnier.
- Press Gang: About a group of children who run a school newspaper, some of whom have been forced into doing the job as punishment for misbehaviour. The original treatment played on the pun even more, with two warring school gangs being forced to work together. However, this was toned down to two occasionally-sparring characters for the final show.
- Law & Order: Special Victims Unit usually has episode titles with double or even triple meanings. Which is sort of impressive, when you consider that all episodes since the second season have had one-word titles.
- The Leverage episode "The Bottle Job" is a Bottle Episode. They also describe the con they're running as "The Wire in a bottle". Finally, it's the episode where Nate falls Off The Wagon.
- Weeds is a sitcom about a marijuana dealing widowed soccer mom in the suburbs. "Weed" is a slang term for marijuana, can also refer to suburban housing developments springing up like weeds, and also refers to "widow's weeds".
- A number of LOST episode titles employ this. For instance, "Recon" could be short for "reconnaissance," or it could mean "con again." Also, the title of the series refers to the characters being spiritually as well as literally lost.
- A meta-example is found in the Stargate Atlantis episode "Grace Under Pressure." The obvious meaning of the title refers to McKay staying focused and calm while under both the literal pressure of the water over his submerged jumper and the mental pressure of figuring a way out his situation. The title is also a reference to the Stargate SG-1 episode "Grace" where an alone and concussed Sam Carter hallucinates other characters to help her out of a dangerous situation.
- Grace Under Fire, the sitcom about a divorced single mother, and Saving Grace, about a policewoman whose soul needs to be saved by a guardian angel. And yes, both women are named Grace.
- The Eureka episode "Crossing Over" is about objects crossing over from one time to another. It's also a Crossover with Warehouse 13.
- The Sandbaggers: The title of "A Special Relationship", the season 1 finale, refers both to the "special relationship" between the American and British intelligence services and the growing relationship between Neal Burnside and Laura Dickens.
- Castle: The episode "3xK", is about a serial killer called the "Triple Killer." The killer gets his name because he usually kills three women at a time. The title can also refer to the the fact that there are three people involved in the murders.
- "The Double Down" invokes both Castle's running bet that he and Beckett can solve their case before Ryan and Esposito solve theirs, and the later discovery that the two cases are connected due to the fact that the two suspects swapped murders.
- "Hunt" refers both to Castle's hunt to save Alexis, and to "Jackson Hunt", the assumed name of the man who aids Castle in rescuing her. Who happens to also be his father.
- In the season six Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode, who is "Seeing Red"?
- Is it Tara, who's back together with her red-headed girlfriend?
- Is it Warren, who's so angry at Buffy that he shoots her with a gun?
- At the end of the episode we find out that it's Willow, who is so full of rage and magic that her eyes literally turn red.
- Angel has "A Hole In The World", which refers to The Deeper Well and Fred's death, and "The Price", which refers to the consequences of using powerful magic and the loss of a member of a team member (Wesley Wyndham-Pryce).
- Home Improvement, a sitcom about family man who hosts a home improvement show, refers to both the physical improvement of houses and the improvement of one's family life.
- The Caitlin's Way episode "Caitlin's Trust" refers to both Caitlin questioning whether or not she can trust the Lowes after learning they were receiving government checks for letting her live with them and the trust fund they opened in her name, which they've been depositing those checks in.
- 15/Love: The perfect title for a show about teens at a tennis-focused private school.
- New Tricks simultaneously explains one double meaning and then adds another one on top of it: "Love means nothing in tennis".
- The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "It's Only A Paper Moon". Nog becomes a Shell-Shocked Veteran and refuses to leave the holosuite, running the Vic Fontaine program constantly. The episode title is one of the swing standards sung by Vic, but also reflects Nog retreating into an unreal world.
- There was also the episode "Defiant," the name of the ship assigned to DS9, which was stolen by Tom Riker (Will's transporter "clone"), who attempts to join the Maquis with her.
- Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Galileo Seven", which refers not only to the shuttlecraft, but the seven people aboard her. This reference was sadly missed by the writers of Star Trek: Enterprise when naming the episode "Shuttlepod One".
- The Japanese Super Sentai series Rescue Sentai GoGoFive might be one of the most multi-layered titles ever. It's official name in Japanese is KyuuKyuu Sentai GoGo 5. KyuuKyuu is Japanese for "Rescue" (they were a team of rescue workers), however Kyuu is also the number 9, making it "99" (the year is was made.) At the same time, "Go" is the number 5, making GoGo Five "555," which is the number for emergency aid (similar to 911.)
- The "Mad" in Mad Men can be a pun on ad men, which is what the main characters are; short for Madison Avenue, where the show takes place; or it may refer to the madcap existence of the cast.
- Doctor Who:
- The episode "The God Complex" could refer to the mysterious hotel that was constructed as a prison for a minotaur alien that was once worshiped as a deity or the Doctor's Chronic Hero Syndrome.
- "The Twin Dilemma": Anyone who has watched it will think of Romulus and Remus when hearing the title, but anyone who knows it as "the first Sixth Doctor episode" will think of regeneration and his moodswings.
- Can't forget "A Good Man Goes to War". At first blush, it seems to be describing the Doctor, especially since the first several minutes of the episode find him amassing an army. However, he later claims that he is NOT a good man, making the title a reference to Rory instead.
- "Cold War" is set at the height of the Cold War, and is about finding an Ice Warrior in the Arctic.
- "Last of the Time Lords". At the beginning, it applies to the Master, who has spent a year ruling Earth as the last Time Lord (with the Doctor out of commission) when the episode starts. At the end, when the Master chooses to let himself die to force the Doctor to live with the anguish of being The Last of His Kind, it applies to the Doctor.
- "The Big Bang" refers either to the Doctor rebooting the universe ("Big Bang 2" he calls it) or, as Steven Moffat suggested, to Amy and Rory's wedding night.
- "The Power of Three" is about a series of synthetic black cubes spontaneously appearing all over Earth, but also about Amy and Rory trying to settle into normal lives without the Doctor, and the Doctor trying to get used to adventuring without them. The title can be taken as an allusion to the mathematical operation of bringing a number to the third power (i.e. cubing it), or to Amy, Rory and the Doctor's character dynamic as a Power Trio.
- "The Name of the Doctor" refers to the Doctor's true name (a major plot point in the episode), but also to the sworn moral code that his chosen name represents. The latter meaning doesn't become obvious until the Title Drop in the last scene, where the Doctor meets the War Doctor: one of his past incarnations, who broke that moral code.
The War Doctor:
What I did, I did without choice. The Doctor:
I know. The War Doctor:
In the name of peace and sanity. The Doctor:
in the name of the Doctor
- Pointless: Besides the usual meaning of the term, the idea is to get a low score by finding answers literally worth no points.
- Ep 3: "Child Predator." Holmes was after a serial killer who targeted on children. The killer is a child who IS a predator.
- Ep 12: "M." neatly sums up all the different forces intruding on Holmes and Watson's lives: M. Holmes, Sherlock's father; the serial killer "M", whose real name is Sebastian Moran; and Moran's boss, Moriarty.
- Season 2 Ep 23: "Art in the Blood." The story centres around a tattoo artist, but the title is also a quote from the original stories, in which Holmes refers to the fact his brother Mycroft shares his detective gifts, a fact that in Elementary continuity he only learns in this episode.
- Chuck frequently combines this with Idiosyncratic Episode Naming and the occasional Pun-Based Title. For example, "Chuck Versus the Ring" refers not only to Ellie's wedding to Devon, but also the first appearance of third season Big Bad "The Ring".
- The X-Files episode, "Terma" fits. In Buddhism, "Terma" means hidden texts. Chris Carter felt that it symbolized hidden truth. In Russian, "Terma" is a word for "prison", and Mulder and Krychek were held in a Russian prison. In Latin, it means "death".
- The Big Bang Theory is obviously descriptive that most of the main characters are physicists but it is also the obvious Double Entendre, "The other kind of bang." A further analysis of the show is that the guys social life is expanding from a previously very narrow circle.
- The Bill episode "Identity Theft": the B-plot is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, they put a stop to a series of identity thefts. The A-plot is about a woman who's been engaged in increasingly wild behaviour because she thinks her life as a wife and mother has "stolen" the person she used to be.
- Psych is the name of Shawn Spencer's detective agency, which is itself a double meaning that's explained in the first episode: he's a psychic detective, but he's not actually psychic and is just tricking everyone. Psyche!
- Many episodes of Game of Thrones have double-meaning titles:
- Season One:
- A Golden Crown: Joffrey's etc. blond hair and the molten gold used to crown Viserys.
- Fire And Blood: The words of House Targaryen, along with the dragon hatching ritual.
- Season Two: The Prince Of Winterfell: Theon or Brandon.
- Season Three:
- Kissed By Fire: The Hound endures a Trial by Combat that also invokes Trial By Fire. Red-heads like Ygritte are called "Kissed by fire" by the Wildlings.
- The Climb: The Wildlings climbing the literal Wall and Littlefinger etc climbing the metaphorical ladder.
- The Bear and the Maiden Fair: The folk song and Brianne fight with a literal bear. There's episode also focuses on several couples (i.e. Jon and Ygritte, Robb and Talisa, Jaime and Brianne, giving a third meaning.
- Second Sons: The mercenary group, and The Hound, Stannis, Tyrion, Samwell (in this case, the "lesser" son), all of whom are second sons.
- Season Four:
- Two Swords: The two swords forged from Ice, the Starks losing Ice but gaining Needle, and The Hound and Arya's relationship.
- The Children: The Children of the Forrest, the Stark children (Jon, Bran, and Arya) prospects looking good for once, and the Lannister Children (Jaime, Cercei and Tyrion) defying their father.
- Several episodes of Breaking Bad have them:
- "Phoenix" is a reference to Jane's birthplace, the name of the Mars Lander shown on TV, a reference to the Birth-Death Juxtaposition of Holly's birth and Jane's death, and a Cross Referenced Title with "ABQ".
- "I See You" is a reference to Leonel recognizing Walt and attempting to kill him, but also a play on the hospital term "ICU" (where much of the episode takes place).
- "Open House" has Jesse's open-house party and Marie's open-house viewings.
- "Shotgun" has Jesse riding shotgun for Mike, and being threatened with one by a stick-up guy.
- "Face-Off" has Gus' conflicts with both Walt and Tio Salamanca coming to a head, and it ends with Gus getting half of his face blown off by a bomb.
- "Buried" refers to both Walt burying his money at the To'hajiilee reservation, and Declan's buried meth lab, in which Lydia takes shelter while Declan's crew is massacred.
- "Rabid Dog" makes an explicit parallel between Jesse Pinkman and Old Yeller... but also shows Hank continuing to act outside police protocol and betraying a more ruthless streak than we've seen from him before.
- The series finale "Felina" has a doozy. It's a reference to Marty Robbins' song "El Paso" (the song playing on Walt's car radio in the opening scene), which is about a cowboy who dies in the arms of his lover, Felina, after being gunned down by his enemies. But it's also an anagram of "Finale", and a sly reference to the chemical formula "FeLiNa" ("Iron, Lithium and Sodium", which can be seen as shorthand for "Blood, Meth and Tears").
- Sherlock's "The Reichenbach Fall" refers to both Sherlock's fall from glory as the 'Reichenbach Hero' when Moriarty turns both the press and the police force against him, and the literal fall he takes at the end of the episode to fake his death. It also echoes the Reichenbach Falls, the site where Holmes' final confrontation with Moriarty took place in the original novels.
- The Smoke is about firefighters in London ("the Smoke" is a nickname for the city).
- The Sopranos:
- The Season 1 episode "Boca" (Spanish for "Mouth") revolves around Uncle Junior's relationship with his mistress in Boca Raton, Florida, but it also involves a sensitive bit of word-of-mouth gossip that Tony exploits to damage Junior's reputation. For the hat trick: the gossip involves Junior's willingness to give his mistress oral sex, which is seen as unmanly in the Mafia.
- "Eloise", the penultimate episode of Season 4, includes a pivotal scene where Meadow and Carmella have brunch at the Plaza Hotel under the famous painting of the titular character of Eloise at the Plaza. More subtly, though, the title alludes to Carmella's dissatisfaction in her marriage and to the Unresolved Sexual Tension between her and Furio, which evokes the tragic love affair of Abelard and Heloise. The latter meaning is made clearer in the following season, when Carmella takes an interest in the letters of Abelard and Heloise shortly after separating from Tony.
- "Harmony" refers to a person with a Magic Music ability and areas of the town being thrown into chaos when their sanity and insanity are inverted.
- "Sketchy" refers to a person with an Art Initiates Life ability and a person involved in shady business dealings.
- "Ain't No Sunshine" refers to a Living Shadow, a blind man's depression over the death of his wife, the blind man's final fate to be secluded in darkness indefinitely, and Nathan's depression when Jess breaks up with him.
- "Fear & Loathing" refers to a girl with an I Know What You Fear ability who hates it, and a man who hates all the townspeople and wants the power to destroy and be feared by them.
- "Roots" refers to some killer trees and a look into some characters' family histories.
- "Friend or Faux" refers to the heroes dealing with a man and his homicidal duplicate, and the heroes finding that they are being conspired against by some of their supposed friends and co-workers.
- "301" refers to the episode being episode 1 of season 3 (meaning #301 in production order), and plot 301 in the cemetery.
- "Stay" refers to the Monster of the Week being a bunch of transformed dogs, and the revelation that Audrey will eventually vanish for 27 years (and is thus unable to stay).
- "The Farmer" refers to a killer who harvests people's organs and a killer who skins people and collects the skins.
- "Over My Head" refers to various ocean-related deaths, Nathan potentially endangering himself by trying to infiltrate The Guard, and Audrey seemingly not ready to recover her lost memories.
- "Burned" refers to burned dead bodies being found, a little girl thinking her father abandoned her, and Nathan dumping Jordan.
- "Reunion" refers to a high school reunion and the return of Audrey's long lost son and daughter-in-law.
- "Thanks For The Memories" refers to several characters being shown memories of the past, and Audrey saying farewell to everybody.
- "Fallout" refers to the aftermath of a meteor shower that bombarded the town and the consequences of Nathan's mistakes. Duke also literally falls out of The Barn.
- "Survivors" refers to the Survivor Guilt suffered by a man who survived the meteor shower, and people slowly realizing Audrey is still alive.
- "Bad Blood" refers to a man with a Bloody Murder ability and the hatred and animosity between several characters.
- "Lost and Found" refers to the heroes' efforts to find missing children, their efforts to find the missing Audrey, and Lexie's efforts to find who she is and where she belongs.
- "The New Girl" refers to two girls who are new in town, Jennifer Mason and Lexie DeWitt, and Wade moving on from his cheating wife and going out with Jordan.
- "Countdown" refers to a literal countdown people are experiencing before they get Taken for Granite, and the heroes running out of time before their ruse is exposed.
- "Lay Me Down" refers to people being killed in their dreams (similar to the poem "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep"), and Duke being forced to kill his psychotic brother and "put him to rest".
- "Crush" refers to areas of the town being subjected to high pressure and crushed, and Nathan and Audrey's attraction to each other.
- "Shot in the Dark" refers to the film crew of the Show Within a Show Darkside Seekers, who mostly operate at night, and various characters having to take a leap of faith.
- "See No Evil" refers to a curse based on the Monkey Morality Pose that causes people to spontaneously get their eyes and mouths sewn shut, and the villainous Mara mocking several characters for not being able to see the truth like she can.
- Brave Saint Saturn's album Anti-Meridian. The "Anti-" references antimatter, as the discovery of a cheap means of manufacturing the stuff is a major plot point. It also represents "ante meridian", representing the dawn of a new era, caused by the aforementioned antimatter.
- The Genesis song "Snowbound" from And Then There Were Three.... The title refers to being snowbound (as in, trapped inside by snow) and... well, hiding a dismembered body inside a snowman, which is what the song is actually about.
- Their 1977 live album Seconds Out may have a double or even triple meaning. Second live album out since their formation (Genesis Live came out in early 1973), second of the "classic" five-member Genesis lineup to leave (first Peter Gabriel, then guitarist Steve Hackett), and a boxing term where the boxers' crew members are asked to leave at the end of a round, making way for the next round (possibly a reference to the band feeling the live album marked the end of an era for them).
- Christian supergroup Lost Dogs released an album in 2001 called Real Men Cry. The title track is ostensibly about a failing romantic relationship, but the album was the first released since the death of founding member Gene "Eugene" Andrusco. Furthermore, as the band went from four members to three, the song "Three-Legged Dog", ostensibly about a hunting dog missing a leg whose owner keeps him out of love and affection, counts for this as well.
- REM's album "Green" has multiple examples. Does it represent starting over? (This was REM's first album on Warner Bros. Records.) Naivety? Money (The new record deal did bring in more money to the group)? Environmental themes?
- Iron and Wine's extended narrative song "The Trapeze Swinger" is named for a recurring symbol in the song that relates back to the title in varying ways. At various points, it refers to the protagonist's memory of visiting the circus as a child and being entranced by a trapeze artist (symbolizing his lost childhood innocence), to the precarious nature of his relationship with his beloved (with their relationship referred to as a "trapeze act" at one point), and to the precarious nature of life itself (when, in the end, it's revealed that the protagonist has been Dead All Along, and narrating the song from the afterlife).
- Ingrid Michaelson's song "The Chain", in which the act of taking the chain off of the door is about making up with her ex and letting him back into her home/life. There's also the implication that the chain could refer to their relationship, with the Breakup Makeup Scenario constantly repeating itself, since he keeps breaking his promises and she keeps forgiving him because she always misses him when he leaves.
- The cover of Rush's Moving Pictures illustrates the title's triple meaning: men carry around paintings; onlookers cry in adoration of the paintings; all outside a movie cinema.
- Phil Dunlap's Ink Pen takes place around a talent agency for cartoon/comics characters - an 'ink pen' of sorts.
- Follies takes place at a reunion of former showgirls from a fictional equivalent of the Ziegfeld Follies, and shows how their lives have been affected by the foolish choices they've made in their lives since then—i.e., their follies.
- Pacific Overtures is about the opening of Japan to Western trade—hence, "Pacific Overtures", since Japan is in the Pacific Ocean and an overture is a piece of music (ironically, Pacific Overtures lacks an actual overture). But the title also means 'peaceful initiatives', and was supposedly Commodore Perry's actual description of the American's efforts to persuade the Japanese to open up to trade with them.
- Rent deals with characters who are trying to get out of paying their rent, and whose lives are torn apart—i.e., rent—by poverty and disease.
- La Bohème, on which Rent is based, has a similar duality; taken literally, it refers to "The Bohemian (woman)" - i.e. Mimi - and figuratively it refers to "The Bohemian Lifestyle" (referenced in Rent with the song "La Vie Bohème")
- The Musical of Musicals: The Musical uses this trope for two of its five segments. The Rodgers and Hammerstein parody is entitled "Corn!", because it takes place among the cornfields of Kansas and because of its old-fashioned, hokey, corny sentimentality. The Stephen Sondheim parody is called "A Little Complex", achieving a rare triple meaning: it takes place in a little apartment complex, everyone has a little psychological complex, and the music itself is a little complex (i.e., complicated).
- Much Ado About Nothing follows the standard Shakespearean comedy convention of having a self-deprecating title. Additionally, in Shakespeare's day, "nothing" was a double-entendre for female genitalia, and a major part of the plot deals with Hero's virginity. (It's also — and separately — a Pun-Based Title, as "nothing" and "noting" were homonyms to Shakespeare.)
- No Strings has a title song which uses the metaphorical meaning. The orchestration applies a more literal meaning: not counting a guitar, a contrabass and a harp, there is no string section.
- The title of Der Kuhhandel, an unfinished operetta by Kurt Weill, is a German idiomatic expression for shady business. However, the literal meaning, "cow trading," also happens to be accurate.
- The Importance of Being Earnest: The conflict stems from several different characters not being earnest, and also about the surprisingly important matter of who is and is not named "Ernest".
- The title of the musical Grind had several meanings. As spelled out by Ken Mandelbaum in Not Since Carrie: "there is the grind of show after show at Harry Earle's; the bumps and grinds of Satin and the girls; Doyle's grinding of elements to make the bomb that killed his family; and the grinding down of people's spirit by the Depression."
- The title of Peter Shaffer's play Amadeus—the basis for the film of the same name—obviously refers to the middle name of its subject, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, but it can also be taken as a reference to the Latin phrase "Ama Deus!" ("Love God!"), referencing Salieri's strong religious convictions, which end up leading to his love of music and his eventual descent into madness.
- The one-woman show A Day Without Sunshine, which centers around the life of Anita Bryant, references both the slogan for Florida Orange Juice, for which she was a spokeswoman for in her heyday, how her anti-gay activism torpedoed her career.
- There are some Trope Names that have double meanings:
- Like Is, Like, a Comma: In the days before punctuated titles were allowed, this could be parsed as either "The word 'like' functions as a comma" or as a Self-Demonstrating Article ("'Like' is, like, a comma!") The current punctuation establishes the second interpretation as correct.
- Un Entendre: "Un" being both a negating prefix and French for "one".
- As noted in the trope description, Last-Second Chance can be parsed as either "a chance (at redemption) offered at the last second" or "the final possible offer of a second chance for the character," both of which neatly sum up the description when taken together.
- The name Deus Ex is both a commentary on typically weakly-structured FPS plots that often employed Deus ex Machina, and also refers to the literal meaning of the phrase "god from the machine", since the story deals with Deus Est Machina.
- In Earthworm Jim, the first section of Buttville is also known as "Use Your Head". In this section, you must skydive through an enormous serpentine tunnel composed entirely of razor-sharp thorns while using your face as a helicopter-thingy.
- A Just Cause? Just (Be)Cause? YOU MAKE THE CALL!
- It's even a triple meaning; the games deal with freeing countries from oppressive dictatorships, and the US invasion of Panama in the late 1980s was codenamed "Operation Just Cause".
- The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess: The title can refer to both Zelda, the princess of a realm which has been overtaken by Twilight, and Midna, whose actual royal title is Twilight Princess.
- In The Legend of Zelda: The Minish Cap, the title either refers to Ezlo, a Minish who became a cap or the magical cap created by Ezlo that empowers the villain.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword: In an interview, the devs mentioned that in addition to "Skyward" meaning "towards the sky", they picked up from the American team that "ward" means "to defend", giving it the double meaning of "Protector of the/from the sky".
- Mario & Luigi: Bowser's Inside Story refers to how Mario and Luigi can go inside Bowser and how the plot focuses more on Bowser than it does the Bros.
- Mass Effect refers to the eponymous phenomenon, the "Mass Effect," harnessed by humanity and other advanced civilizations to alter mass and the incredible technologies based upon it. It also refers to your decisions and actions, which have a mass effect on the galaxy.
- A "solid" in geometrical terms refers to a three-dimensional figure. The original Metal Gear Solid happens to be the third Metal Gear game and the first one in 3D.
- Ōkami has a triple meaning. The name (assuming long o) can mean "great god". It can also mean "wolf". Your character, naturally, is both. In addition, Kami by itself means both god and paper, and one of the game's mechanics involves using a Celestial Brush on "Celestial" Paper.
- The title of Rockman Mega World, the Japanese version of Mega Man: The Wily Wars (a compilation of the first three Mega Man games for the Mega Drive), can be considered as an allusion to the Mega Drive itself, as well as the title character's name in the English versions (Mega Man). It can also be seen as a nod to the Rockman World games for the Game Boy, which were pseudo-compilations of the original Famicom games.
- Touhou - Shoot the Bullet refers both to the game's Shoot 'em Up origins (in which characters fire bullets at enemies) and its main gameplay gimmick (in which you photograph bullets for higher scores and to clear them from the screen).
- Double Spoiler, on the other hand... Well, the "Double" can refer to either it being the second Shoot The Bullet, or the inclusion of a second playable character.
- The first episode in Telltale's Back to the Future series is titled "It's About Time". The game is about time travel, and the phrase was also the fan reaction to the announcement. It's also Marty's reaction to seeing Doc again. The saying it also a tagline in the trailer for Part II (the movie) - itself coming 4 years after the original.
- Fans of the first game had long been waiting for Pop Cap's Video Game/Plants Vs. Zombies 2- It's About Time, in addition to the game focusing on time travel.
- The subtitle of Dragon Quest VIII is "Journey of the Cursed King". This obviously refers to King Trode, who has been transformed into a troll-like creature because of a curse. But it also refers to the main character, as it can eventually be revealed that he has been cursed since he was a child, and is the rightful heir to a kingdom.
- The level "Manifest Destiny" in L.A. Noire, which has two meanings. The most obvious is that it's a stock phrase about claiming the west, and the game takes place in Los Angeles. The double meaning is that many, many characters are murdered because their names are on the shipping manifest of the Army ship that was robbed prior to the game's events.
- The case "Rise from the Ashes" from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney. The title of the episode could be referring to the fact that Edgeworth rises up from his past, and the fact that a Phoenix is said in legend to be reborn from ashes, which is a metaphor for how Phoenix Wright comes back from a hopeless trial.
- Also done with "Bridge to the Turnabout". Not only is it referring to the literal bridge that plays a big part in the case but it also refers to the fact that the case "bridges" all of the games plot lines and how the events are a "bridge" that leads to the end turnabout. It could also be referring to the fact that it "bridges" Mia's trial with Phoenix's giving them an overall resolution.
- The case title "Turnabout Goodbyes" also has several meaning. It refers to both the fact that von Karma is saying "goodbye" to the DL-6 Incident (due to the statute of limitations) as well as how it refers to how Phoenix has to say goodbye to Maya at the end of the case. It could also refer to how Edgeworth is saying goodbye in way to his past perfectionist self.
- "Farewell, My Turnabout". It refers to both how Phoenix's client is guilty yet he is forced to defend him so it's like he is saying goodbye to him having a turnabout and how Phoenix feels he does not deserve to be a lawyer anymore because he is defending a murderer.
- Borderlands 2 has one mission titled "Rising Action." This refers both to Sanctuary rising out of the ground and part of the traditional Plot Mountain (which this mission is an example of).
- Lead writer Walt Williams has acknowledged several ways the title of Spec Ops: The Line can be interpreted. It is typically taken as a reference to the line which, once crossed, there is no going back; but Williams also argued that it could equally refer to the line between expectations and reality, when players of a game expect one thing but end up getting something quite different.
- In the world of the game, a "Receiver" is a person (like the player character) who can hear the messages of the people who made the tapes, but the word can also mean the functional part of a firearm. Given that the primary hook of the game is the detailed simulation of the mechanics of firearms operation, this double-meaning is quite fitting.
- Redemption Cemetery has every game so far in the series have different meanings. For example: Grave Testimony has the "Grave" either mean how the situations where each of the characters died be serious, or rather how their witnessing to supernatural events sent them to their graves.
- The Elder Scrolls series has a few In-Universe books which use this trope:
- Confessions of a Khajiit Fur Trader. The narrator is a fur trader and a Khajiit, and he has no problem trading the skins of his kinsmen (or any other sentient being) if he can get his hands on them.
- The Importance of Where is the story of a warrior learning where he must strike his blows. He can kill a monster by aiming for its weak spots, but he also needs to chase the monster to his village before landing the final blow if he wants the glory associated with killing it.
- Uncharted: Drake's Deception refers both to Sir Francis Drake concealing his trip to Yemen, and the revelation that Nathan Drake isn't actually his descendant.
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater refers to the name of the operation the protagonist takes part of, the fact that he may have to eat snakes while on the mission or the Final Boss chewing the protagonist (codenamed: Naked Snake) out of his naivety.
- The game Hack 'n' Slash is a hack and slash game about hacking NPCs' source code.
- Kira-Kira generally means shining, or sparkling. In this story, it refers both to Kirari's name, and the band's first performance, the song Twinkle Twinkle, that is also translated with this word.
- Hatoful Boyfriend has three. "Hato" is apparently the word for "Dove", and it is a game where most characters are doves. "Hatoful" is one way to say "Heartful" in Japanese, and it's also a play on "Hurtful".
- Both of the When They Cry series contains a few. The first and most obvious one is the double meaning of the word ´´cry/naku´´ (both words carry the same meaning), to call and to weep. In other words the the titles' is either When The Cicadas/Seagulls Call or When The Cicadas/Seagulls Weep.
- Another double meaning for Higurashi is that "cicada" (蜩) can also be written as "day-to-day life" (日暮し), and besides the above translation Naku can also be written as "none/nothing". This means that besides When The Cicadas Cry, the title can also be written as "When the day-to-day life is no more".
- While it is a bit of a stretch Umineko literally means Seacat (Umi-Sea, Neko-Cat) and Schrödinger's Cat is often used in the series to explain the endless possible scenarios of Rokkenjima. So the title can be written as either "When the Seagulls Cry" or "When the cat in the middle of the sea is dead". Which fits surprisingly well with the end of the series where Beatrice's "catbox" is buried at the bottom of the sea.
- The title of The Royal Trap refers to the dangers of royal politics, but takes on an entirely different meaning when you realize that Princess Cassidy is male.
- The El Goonish Shive arc "New and Old Flames" seems to refer both to past and present love interests, as well as fire-based enemies.
- Homestuck has Titles for players that grant them certain powers. The titles have non-literal meanings to them (Prince effectively means Destroyer, Light mainly means Chance), and your main power is linked to Sburb's interpretation of the Title. However, if a Title can have a literal meaning, Sburb has a chance of granting you that too (a Seer of Mind can see imaginary friends) or giving you a fate that literally interprets your Title (the Thief of Light blinded someone).
- Irregular Webcomic! is a bizarre case; the title was supposed to mean that it would update irregularly, but it soon began having extremely regular daily updates. Conveniently, the title fit with the comic's numerous separate irregularly-updated storylines...until the comic ended, and the website switched to hosting weekly blog posts, which the author lampshaded as making it neither irregular nor a webcomic.
- The cast of Winters In Lavelle will probably end up spending a winter or two in Lavelle; but the title also refers to two of the main characters, Aiden and Kari Winters, who are themselves "Winters" in Lavelle.
- Chapter 13 of Go Get a Roomie! is titled "Your Song". It begins with Allan's phone, which has the Elton John track as its ringtone. It ends with Lillian talking to Allan about Roomie's suggestion that she write stories based on her dreams, and Allan saying, "It's your song, Lillian. Now you can dance to it."
- The Comic Strip was a US syndicated first run animated series. In broadcasting terms, to show episodes of the same series five days a week is called stripping a show.
- In Hong Kong, South Park was retitled as Nanfang Sijianke, or South Park's Four Slackers; it also sounds an awful lot like The Four Musketeers.
- The title of two-part episode "Cartoon Wars" can refer to the rivalry among South Park, The Simpsons and Family Guy, and to the protests sparked by the Danish newspaper cartoons about Muhammad. Of course, both themes are touched in the episode.
- The episode "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson" could be referring to the scene where the fictional Jesse Jackson asks Randy Marsh to "apologize" by Literal Ass Kissing, or it could be interpreted as an apology to the real-life Jesse Jackson for that scene and the constant use of the N-word.
- In 6teen, the show's title refers to the six teenagers that make up the show's True Companions and the fact that they're all 16 years old.
- The title of Extreme Ghostbusters takes on a new significance in the wake of Ghostbusters: The Video Game. In the game, a "necromantic shockwave" made all of New York's ghosts much stronger; the show is not so much Extreme Ghostbusters, but Extreme Ghost Busters.
- The Smurfs episode "Smurf The Other Cheek" can either be (1) a reference to Biblical doctrine about how one should respond to aggression with non-violence, or (2) a Smurfing way to tell somebody to "kick the other's cheek (butt)", which is what the episode actually is all about.
- The Boondocks episode Wingman refers to Moe, Granddad's actual wingman in World War II. However, in modern slang a "wingman" is someone who draws the attention of undesirable women away from you...and at the end, it turns out Moe did exactly that.
- The King of the Hill episode "Lucky's Wedding Suit" refers to both the story arc of Lucky and Luanne getting married, and the main plot of Lucky filing a Frivolous Lawsuit on Dale to pay for the wedding.
- The Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Great Divide" refers to both the Canyon in which the episode takes place and the conflict between two tribes about an incident that happened a century ago.
- The Phineas and Ferb episode "Bee Story" is paired with, and is a P.O.V. Sequel to, "Bee Day", explaining what the Fireside Girls were doing. So in addition to being a story about bees, it's a B-story.