Exactly What I Meant To Say
The verbal equivalent of Exactly What I Aimed At, this is when a character deliberately says one thing, and is mistaken for having meant to say another thing. Cue another character wrongfully "correcting" them. A sub-variety of this is things that are mistaken for misspellings or mispronounciations, but these aren't the only cases.
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- In Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight #128 (collected in The Ring, the Arrow and the Bat), the Goo Goo Godlike religious leader of a Fictional Country tells a treacherous general that he will be "safed". The general corrects his pronounciation of "saved", but the boy insists that's what he meant. Five minutes later, the general is hit by a falling safe.
Film (Live Action)
- In Iron Man 3, after Tony reboots JARVIS, JARVIS reports that "I seem to do quite well for a stretch and then at the end of the sentence I say the wrong cranberry." As a result, when he tells Tony a few minutes later that the Mandarin is in Miami as opposed to somewhere more exotic, Tony has trouble believing him. But no, he actually did mean Miami.
- "I had a box of sordid chocolates the other day."
"Don't you mean assorted?"
"No, they were all the same, and absolutely vile."
- In the novel Freaky Friday, Annabel's friend Boris has problems breathing through his nose, and when he offers to "bake a beetloaf" for dinner, she assumes he means "make a meatloaf". He doesn't. (Also, his name is actually Morris, but that's a case of Annabel failing to correct for his pronunciation.)
Live Action TV
- Mr. Rumbold from Are You Being Served? would sometimes get the wrong idea of a word. For example the sales staff had the verb "to knee" meaning "press one's knee in the armhole of a suit to loosen a few threads so as to make it fit the customer better." Thus creating this exchange:
Mr. Lucas: You see, it was like this, you see, Sir. Erm, Mr. Humphries kneed the jacket.
Mr. Rumbold: Ah! You mean, Mr. Humphries needed the jacket. Let's get our tenses right.
Mr. Humphries: No, no, you don't understand, Sir. You see, I kneed the jacket.
Mr. Rumbold: You need it now?
Mr. Humphries: No, I kneed it then.
Mr. Rumbold: You mean, you needed it then.
Captain Peacock: If I might clarify the situation, Sir.
Mr. Rumbold: Thank you, Captain Peacock. It does seem to have got rather out of hand.
Captain Peacock: Yes. It's a matter of spelling, Sir.
Mr. Rumbold: Spelling?
Captain Peacock: Yes Sir. You spelled kneed with an N. Mr. Humphries was using a K.
Mr. Rumbold: Oh, you mean like kneading dough? Is that it, Mr. Lucas?
Mr. Lucas: Yes, that's it. I needed the dough, but he didn't want the jacket because it was too tight.
Mr. Rumbold: So you kneaded it to make it more supple, which was why you needed the jacket, you may recall Captain Peacock. That is what I said in the first place.
Captain Peacock: Nearly right, Sir, yes. But what they're trying to explain, Sir, is that, erm... and coming from Hardware, you would not be aware of this, but there is a method used, and I disapprove of it myself, Sir. There is a method used to enlarge the arm holes of jackets, and the method used is to knee the jacket... with a K.
Mr. Rumbold: I am aware of how you spell jacket, Captain Peacock.
- On Cheers Norm's favorite restaurant is the Hungry Heifer, which specializes in cheap food. One time he got Cliff to go with him.
Norm: Cliffy had himself the "Ton O' T-Bone". For less than four bucks you get 24 ounces of USDA Choice bef.Cliff: Bef? No, you mean beef.Norm: Beef? Don't be ridiculous, Cliffy. That stuff is bef. You see it's a Hungry Heifer trademark for a processed, synthetic, meat-like substance.Cliff: Ah, no.Norm: What do you expect for four bucks? You see me complainin' about the loobster?
- In Green Acres ("It's Human to Be Humane"), Lisa asks Oliver to play "Scribble, Cabbage, or Monotony", and he assumes it's one of her malapropisms Later, Mr. Drucker tries to sell him those same games, which apparently do exist in Hooterville.
- There is a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch invoving a man who cannot pronounce the letter 'C' (his 'C's coming out as 'B's) that includes this exchange:
Tourist: Yes I'm sorry I can't say the letter 'B'
Tourist: Yes that's right. It's all due to a trauma I suffered when I was a sboolboy. I was attacked by a bat.
Bounder: A cat?
Tourist: No, a bat.
Burrows: It's so embarrassing when my wife and I go to an orgy.
- Another Monty Python example is a sketch about a person who sometimes ends his sentences with the wrong fusebox.
Thripshaw: A party?
Burrows: No, an orgy. We live in Esher.
Recorded and Stand-Up Comedy
- In The Order of the Stick, during Roy's duel with Thog in the arena:
Roy: I don't care how strong you are, thug.
Thog: thog's name is thog.
Roy: I didn't misspeak.
Interrogator: You mean the fifth?
- "My hobby: Using the more obscure meanings of 'affect' and 'effect' to trip up amateur Grammar Nazis."
- Black Hat Guy "pleads the third."
Black Hat Guy: No, the third.
Interrogator: You refuse to quarter troops in your house?
Black Hat Guy: I have few principles, but I stick by them.
- "I could care less": rather than using the usual meaning of the phrase, even though the words themselves indicate the opposite, the speaker literally means she does care a little bit.
- The Ferry Man in Monster Soup caps this trope with, "Why would I worry about losing a tentacle? Those things grow back." Jacklyn the ghost played the Straight Man here.
- From The Simpsons:
Bart: I'd be happy to do this one pro-boner.
Skinner: You mean, "pro bono".
Bart: I know what I said.
- From an episode of Danger Mouse:
Colonel K: Danger Mouse! Wales is being devastated by a giant fire-breathing dragon!
Penfold: No, no, Colonel, it's "whales are being devastated."
Stiletto: I've given him his new destructions.Greenback: Don't you mean instructions?Stiletto: I know what I meant, Baroni.
- The villiains got in on that act too:
- In Family Guy:
Brian: "Quagmire's Cross-Country Tour." Wait, isn't "country" supposed to have an "o" in it?