->''"Mind you, the Elizabethans had so many words for the female genitals that it is quite hard to speak a sentence of modern English without inadvertently mentioning at least three of them."''
-->-- '''Creator/TerryPratchett''', in alt.fan.pratchett

The inverse trope to HaveAGayOldTime. Due to changes in vocabulary over time, something that originally was supposed to be raunchy and DoubleEntendre-laden can often sound perfectly straightforward--or sometimes incomprehensible--to modern ears.

Creator/{{Shakespeare}} is probably the most common exemplar of this trope, both because he wrote [[UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance a long time ago]] and because he had a [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar filthy streak]] wider than the [[UsefulNotes/ElizabethI Queen's]] farthingale (at least by the standards of the time). There was also no such thing as a "sensitive" listener who could not stand to hear a dirty joke in his day (except the Puritans, but they considered theatre itself to be sinful, so Shakespeare never seemed to keep their tastes in mind). The Queen's (and later King's) censors cared more about sedition and blasphemy than about sexual or scatological humor. This is how the awful puns in ''Henry V'' were allowed to be used while seemingly mild oaths like "Gadzooks" (God's hooks, or the nails that held Jesus to the cross) were banned.

''Nunnery'' meant a convent for nuns but was also used as an UnusualEuphemism for brothel.[[note]]Because a common occurrence in Shakespeare's time and earlier was that, often, a nunnery convent ''would'' be pretty much a brothel in disguise, usually with the ''monks and priests'' taking sexual advantage of the women there.[[/note]] [[AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle Now you know]]. For situations about women actually entering a convent, see TakingTheVeil and/or LockedAwayInAMonastery. Contrast HaveAGayOldTime.

Subtrope of SexualEuphemism, for ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin.



Shakespeare's plays are absolutely chocked full of puns, references, double-meanings, and innuendos that are completely lost on modern audiences due to how the English language and society have evolved. One really has to read annotated versions to get everything that Shakespeare intended. Of course, this presents its own problems.

* In ''Theatre/AsYouLikeIt'', the clown Touchstone gives a speech which is mostly funny because Shakespeare expects "hour" and "whore" to be homophones. This is one of many small things put forward as evidence for the idea that Shakespeare's dialect of Early Modern English most closely resembled the [[OopNorth northern]] dialects of Modern English (in which "hour" and "whore" still aren't homophones, but are closer to being so than in [[Creator/TheBBC BBC]] English)--doubtless quite a shock for generations of RP-speaking Shakespearean actors. Probably the best modern guess at what Shakespeare's dialect sounded like can be found [[http://www.pronouncingshakespeare.com/op-recordings/ here]].
* In ''Theatre/KingLear'' Edmund's line "Yours in the ranks of death!" is actually a Elizabethan era euphemism or pun for an orgasm or sex in general. "Die" was a common English euphemism for "orgasm" well into the 18th century, probably stemming from the French euphemism ''la petite mort'', "the little death." Shakespeare loved the phrase "I die in your lap"--he uses it in ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' and in ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'', where Benedick tells Beatrice he "will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in thy sight." Also in the same play, Benedick says he was told Beatrice was "sick for him" (i.e. in love with him), leading Beatrice to reply that ''she'' was told Benedick was "well nigh dead for her."
* ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'':
** Juliet's impassioned speech to her mother, in which she uses many double meanings that can be taken to mean she hates Romeo (the way her mother takes it) but could also be taken to mean she's in love with him. In one part, Juliet states that her dearest desire is to "behold Romeo dead." She gives the speech after they're married. What do you think Juliet's ''really'' saying she wants in that speech?
** The line from Mercutio "O Romeo, that she were! Oh, that she were/An open arse, and thou a poperin pear". The "open arse" is a reference to the medlar fruit, but there is no such thing as a "poperin pear". Separate the syllables, though, and you get "pop 'er in", which means these lines are about... things to do with a lady's rear end.
* Shakespeare used the phrase "too much of a good thing" as a DoubleEntendre in ''As You Like It''. The original context was as follows:
-->'''Rosalind:''' Are you not good?\\
'''Orlando:''' I hope so.\\
'''Rosalind:''' Why then, can one desire too much of a good thing?
* In Shakespeare's time, "thing" being a euphemism for a man's primary naughty bit, "nothing" or "no-thing" was also a euphemism for a woman's naughty bits. Many plays make use of this term, often to pun or joke.
** ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'': The title has three different yet equally appropriate meanings, as the main conflict over the play revolves around the false implication of Hero losing her virginity to another man while engaged to Claudio. Therefore it is "Much Ado about Nothing" as nothing was really going on, "Much Ado about Noting" as it's concerned with the views the characters have of each others' moral fiber (how they "note" each other), and "Much Ado about Nothing" as it was concerned with Hero's own naughty bits/her virginity. Sadly this clever wordplay is lost on many modern readers and the first interpretation is all they are aware of.
** "Nothing" also appears in ''Hamlet'':
--->'''Hamlet:''' That's a fair thought to lie between a maid's legs.\\
'''Ophelia:''' What is, my lord?\\
'''Hamlet:''' Nothing.
** And of course Mercutio and his "queen Mab" monologue in {{Romeo and Juliet}}, when Romeo interrupts mid-sentence:
--->'''Romeo:''' [[HehHehYouSaidX You speak of nothing.]]
** Sonnet 20 uses the conceit of a man being [[EvenTheGuysWantHim as pretty as a woman]], and plays with this euphemism:
--->''And for a woman wert thou first created,\\
Till Nature, as she wrought thee, fell a-doting,\\
And by addition me of thee defeated,\\
By adding one thing to my purpose nothing.''
* "Wit" was a slang term for "dick" at the time and appears in this fashion a few times:
** ''Theatre/MuchAdoAboutNothing'':
*** This one:
---->'''Don Pedro:''' I said that thou hadst a great wit. Yay, said she, a great gross one. Nay, say I, a fine wit. Yay, said she, a fine little one. Nay, said I, a good wit. Just, said she, it hurts nobody.
*** There's also this exchange:
---->'''Claudio:''' Wilt thou use thy wit?\\
'''Benedick:''' It is in my scabbard. [[CoitusInterruptus Shall I draw it?]] ''[Here referring to wit as a slang term for fencing skill]''\\
'''Don Pedro, that filthy man:''' Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?
** ''Romeo and Juliet'': There is a pretty hilarious scene where Romeo and Mercutio match wits leading to gems such as "O here's a wit of cheveril, that stretches from an inch to an ell broad!"
* Similarly, whenever the word "quaint" occurs in Creator/WilliamShakespeare or [[Creator/GeoffreyChaucer Chaucer]]… it means the same as "nothing", or "wit", or "ring." Terry Pratchett was right.
** Believe it or not, the word "quaint" has [[CountryMatters quite a filthy etymological history]].
* ''Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew'':
-->'''Petruchio:''' Come, come, you wasp; i' faith, you are too angry.\\
'''Katherina:''' If I be waspish, best beware my sting.\\
'''Petruchio:''' My remedy is then, to pluck it out.\\
'''Katherina:''' Ay, if the fool could find it where it lies. \\
'''Petruchio:''' Who knows not where a wasp does wear his sting? In his tail. \\
'''Katherina:''' In his tongue.\\
'''Petruchio:''' Whose tongue?\\
'''Katherina:''' Yours, if you talk of tails: and so farewell. \\
'''Petruchio:''' What, with my tongue in your tail?
** That's even worse than is implied so far! Kissing ass has a certain set of meanings in the modern era, but in those days it was the sign of a witch or warlock's devotion to and service to the Devil. In other words, Petruchio was literally demonizing her.
** Yet another meaning to it: "Tail" was also a euphemism for vagina (yes, apparently the term is really [[OlderThanTheyThink that old]]). It's a joke about cunnilingus!
** Almost every argument Kate and Petruchio have would fit this. There's also this:
--->'''Katherina:''' Asses were made to bear, and so will you.\\
'''Petruchio:''' Women were made to bear, and so will you!
*** This would, of course, be referring to women having ("bearing") children, and being expected to hold ("bear") her husband's weight during sex.
* The title quote--at the time ''Theatre/{{Hamlet}}'' was written, "nunnery" was a euphemism for "brothel".
** And another one, from Hamlet's conversation with Polonius--in the same conversation in which he makes reference to Jephthah, he calls Polonius a "fishmonger"--a euphemism for a "pimp", referring to a similarity in scent between fish and female genitalia. Which is, of course, a clue that Hamlet already suspects Polonius of using his own daughter to get to Hamlet.
* Several of Shakespeare's sonnets make extensive use of the word "will" which, aside from conveniently being the poet's name, meant both "penis" and "sexual appetite."
** Of course, "willy" is still slang for a penis. The Creator/ReducedShakespeareCompany made gleeful use of this DoubleEntendre in ''[[Theatre/TheCompleteWorksOfWilliamShakespeareAbridged The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (abridged)]]''.
--->'''Scholar:''' It's all in my new book on Shakespeare, entitled ''I Love My Willy''--Which I'd like to whip out for you right now.
* Similarly, any Shakespearean reference to "stones" is likely to be an anatomical DoubleEntendre.
** An interesting question arises: Has this usage returned (in the 19th century through today) or did it always remain current? This usage also appears in the King James Bible, so at least the usage has been generally available, if not actually used, the whole time.
* According to a certain annotated copy of ''Theatre/TwelfthNight'', the following conversation is actually about having sex with prostitutes:
-->'''Sir Andrew:''' I'll stay a month longer. I am a fellow o' the strangest mind i' the world; I delight in masques and revels sometimes altogether. \\
'''Sir Toby:''' Art thou good at these kickshawses, knight? \\
'''Sir Andrew:''' As any man in Illyria, whatsoever he be, under the degree of my betters; and yet I will not compare with an old man.\\
'''Sir Toby:''' What is thy excellence in a galliard, knight? \\
'''Sir Andrew:''' Faith, I can cut a caper. \\
'''Sir Toby:''' And I can cut the mutton to't. \\
'''Sir Andrew:''' And I think I have the back-trick simply as strong as any man in Illyria.
** More glaringly, when Malvolio reads the fake letter supposedly from Olivia, he notes her handwriting by her "C"s, her "U"s, and her "T"s, [[StealthPun from which she makes her great "P"s]]. Need it be mentioned that "cut" was old-timey slang for a woman's private parts?
--->'''Sir Andrew:''' [[WhatAnIdiot Her "C"s, her "U"s, aNd her "T"s?]] [[CompletelyMissingThePoint Why that?]]
* The awful puns in ''Henry V'' referred to above include the following:
-->'''Katherine:''' …''Coment appelle vous les pied et de roba?''\\
'''Alice: ''' ''Le ''Foot'', Madame, et le ''Count.\\
'''Katherine:''' ''Le ''Foot'', et le ''Count''! O Seignieur Dieu, il sont le mots de son mauvais corruptible, grosse, et impudique, et non pour le dames de honeur d'user: je ne voudray pronouncer ce mots devant le seigneurs de France, pour toute le monde! Fo! Le ''Foot'' et le ''Count!
** Or in translation from Shakespeare's [[BlindIdiotTranslation mangled]] Elizabethan French:
--->'''Katherine:''' ... ''How do you say, ''le pied'' and ''la robe''?''\\
'''Alice:''' ''The ''Foot'', my lady, and the ''Gown.\\
'''Katherine:''' ''The ''Foot'' and the ''Gown''! O Lord God, these are words of a wicked, corruptible, gross, and immodest sound, and not for ladies of honour to use! I should not want to pronounce these words before the lords of France for all the world! Fie! The ''Foot'' and the ''Gown!
** The wordplay is on the French words ''foutre'' ("fuck" or "jizz") and ''con'' ("[[CountryMatters cunt]]").
* Again in ''Theatre/RomeoAndJuliet'', we have the opening scene where a Capulet man expresses his desire to fight the Montagues and "cut off the heads" of their maids--"maidenhead" being an old term for a woman's hymen/virginity. This is lampshaded by a second man asking "The heads of the maids, or their maidenheads?" to which the first replies "Ah, 'tis all one."
** Similarly, in the same scene he mentions he would "take to the wall any Man or Maid of Montague". "Take to the wall" is a reference to the fact in fancy Italian cities of the time (such as Verona) families would have their toilets on the second floor of their homes, set up in such a way that their contents would dump down and drain into a trench in the center of the street. In essence, the Capulet man is saying he'd want to [[ToiletHumor shove the Montagues under a toilet and give them an excrement shower]]--or doing [[WallBangHer something different]] with the maidens.
* In ''Theatre/HenryIV'' there is a whole speech full of whore jokes at the beginning of the second scene in the first act.
-->'''Prince:''' Thou art so fat-witted, with drinking of old sack and unbuttoning thee after supper and sleeping upon benches after noon, that thou hast forgotten to demand that truly which thou wouldst truly know. What a devil hast thou to do with the time of the day? Unless hours were cups of sack and minutes capons and clocks the tongues of bawds[[note]]pimps[[/note]] and dials the signs of leaping-houses[[note]]brothels[[/note]] and the blessed sun himself a fair hot wench[[note]]in this context, prostitute[[/note]] in flame-coloured taffeta[[note]]the color of fabric often worn by whores[[/note]], I see no reason why thou shouldst be so superfluous to demand the time of the day.
* And then there are some lines in Shakespeare the meaning of which is so obscure that even the world's foremost experts couldn't tell you what the hell they even mean. King Lear's baffling exclamation about "a good block", for example, seems to mean nothing at all as far as most editors can reckon. These problems are exacerbated by the fact that Shakespeare never published definitive editions of his own works, and the versions that exist today are often incomplete, damaged, or suffered under over-zealous early editors.

[[folder: The Bible]]
* In Literature/TheBible, the phrase "And Adam knew his wife" sounds innocent enough, until you learn that in Hebrew, there are two words for "know": one applies to people, and the other applies to inanimate objects. If you use the second to apply to a person, it becomes a euphemism for sex. [[AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle And now]] [[InnocentInnuendo you know]]. To be fair, the meaning is rather obvious--the next few words are, "and she conceived a son". This one seems to have come full circle, as "knew her in the Biblical sense" has entered the popular lexicon. Still, some translations render such pages into the contemporary English phrases for clarity. This is also the basis of the legal term "carnal knowledge".
** "In the Biblical sense" is an idiom in modern day Hebrew. Used also in ''Film/SisterAct''.
** The Biblical sense of "know" appears in the play ''Theatre/TheCrucible''. One of the most dramatic lines is this:
--->'''John Proctor:''' I have... ''known''... Abigail Williams.
** ''Theatre/TheBibleTheCompleteWordOfGodAbridged'' naturally brings this in:
--->'''Nim:''' I thought I knew you, Caphtorim.\\
'''Caphtorim:''' You never really knew me. But Shem knows me two, three, even four times a night.
** The song "If It Isn't Her" by Ani Difranco has the lyrics: "She says, 'Do I Know You'. I say, 'Well not biblically.'"
** In an obscure Radio 4 comedy featuring Hugh Grant, "The Crusader Chronicles", there was a marvelous exchange, as depicted here:
"Cadworthy! I was just, ummm, taking your wife over the scriptures..."\\
"Very energetic of you, old boy..."\\
"I don't mean in the biblical sense! No, wait a minute, I do mean in the biblical sense..."
** There is also that bit of dialogue surrounding Tia Dalma's introduction in ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanDeadMansChest''.
--->'''Will Turner:''' You know me?\\
'''Tia Dalma:''' You want to know me.\\
'''Jack Sparrow:''' There'll be no knowing here!\\
'''Jack Sparrow:''' I thought '''I''' knew you.\\
'''Tia Dalma:''' [[TakeThat Not so well as I had hoped.]]
** Also used in this manner in ''Film/DoubleTake'', when Creator/OrlandoJones's character Daryl is being held in a Mexican police station after he pretends to be Eddie Griffin's character Freddie (who's wanted for assassinating a Mexican governor). A woman with a child shows up, whom Daryl recognizes from a party. Surprised, he tells her he knows her. She then claims that he's the father of her child. He tries to deny this to her and the police chief, who points out that Daryl just said he knew her. Daryl explains that he knows her, but not in "the Biblical sense". Crying, the woman tells him that he knows her "''mucho'' times".
** [[ComicBook/ChickTracts Jack Chick]] used this in one of his tracts about the tale of Sodom and Gommorah, with a side of DontExplainTheJoke
---> '''Angry Mob''': '''''Lot'''''--where are the men who came to see you tonight? Send them out so that we may know them ''[sexually]''.
** Chances are that Chick felt the need for that hilarious aside because he heard theories that the crimes of the mob weren't necessarily homosexuality and he wanted everyone to be damned sure that it ''was''. Yeah.
*** Never mind that Sodom's crimes were a) [[RapeIsASpecialKindOfEvil rape]], not sex, and b) violating [[SacredHospitality the laws of hospitality]], per Ezekiel 16:49 and several other places…
** One of Creator/GarthEnnis' war stories has a captured NaziNobleman tell a British soldier he might have known his father at Eton. "If you mean in the biblical sense, I believe you. Father's proclivities never cease to amaze me."
** And getting back to Shakespeare's Hamlet, though he probably didn't mean it that way, considering the scene:
--->'''Hamlet:''' ''[holding a skull]'' Alas, poor Yorick… I knew him, Horatio.
** This also puts the Wiki/TVTropes phrase "Administrivia/GetKnown" in a whole new light...
* More on the Bible. A few examples:
** Genesis 24:9, Abraham's servant swears by holding Abraham's '''package''': ''"And the servant put his hand under the thigh of Abraham his master, and sware to him concerning that matter."'' Swearing a promise on your father's genitals (yes, you were expected to cup [[IncrediblyLamePun his family jewels]]) was considered the most sacred of oaths in Jewish society, and in this case Abraham was a father figure to his servant.
*** Don't forget the Latin word ''testicula'', which means ''little witness''.
** In 2 Kings, King Solomon's son responded to requests for lower taxes with "My father's thigh was smaller than my smallest finger." Yeah.
** Ezekiel 16:25, Ezekiel compares Jerusalem to a prostitute who spreads eagle to every man who walks by: ''"thou hast opened thy feet to every one that ped by, and multiplied thy whoredoms."'' In Biblical Hebrew, the same word is used for "feet" and "legs". That pretty much preserves the euphemism in modern language! Among popular Protestant translations, the NASB renders this "spread your legs," while the NIV and RSV have "offering your body" and "yourself," respectively. The Catholic NAB has "spreading your legs," and the Jerusalem Bible has "give your body"… "to every [[HaveAGayOldTime comer]]."
** Some Biblical pages have been sanitized for our protection by translators. One example is in 1 Samuel 20:41: the King James version is (greeting Jonathan) "David arose out of the place… and fell on his face to the ground, and bowed himself three times; and they kissed one another, and wept one with another, until David exceeded." Conservative Christian commentators claim that "exceeded" means that he became overly emotional, but at least [[http://www.examiner.com/x-689-Spiritual-Life-Examiner~y2009m2d5-Sorry-rightwingers-but-King-David-was-gay one rabbi]] has claimed that in the original Hebrew, the last two words are really "David enlarged"--in other words, "[[SomethingElseAlsoRises David had an erection]]".
** Also, Adam's rib may have had nothing to do with the ribs in his chest, rather a part of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baculum anatomy that humans lack]].
** The word "foot" in Biblical usage is often an euphemism for "penis." In 2 Samuel 11:8, David's exhortation to Uriah to "Go down to thy house, and wash thy feet" is meant to get him to have sex with his wife, whom David has just gotten pregnant. (It didn't work, so they went with [[TheUriahGambit Plan B]].)
** When Zipporah circumcises her and Moses' son and touches the father's "foot" with the foreskin, this probably also means penis.
** Thus the Description of the Seraphim, whose final set of wings shield their "feet," was actually referring to them shielding their genitals out of modesty. Of course, considering that angels aren't supposed to ''have'' genitals raises interesting questions...
*** [[FridgeLogic Not to mention that without having eaten from the Tree they shouldn't have any sense of modesty either. I guess this is referring to their actual feet now?]]
** In 1 Samuel, Saul goes into a cave to "cover his feet", here meaning "go to the bathroom."
* The Song of Solomon (or Song of Songs, depending on your translation) consists entirely of explicit love poetry. Taste of my garden, indeed.
** "I sat down in his shadow [i.e., sat down while he was standing up] …and his fruit was sweet to my taste." [[WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}} Goodnight everybody!]]
** "My beloved put his hand by the hole [of the door] and my bowels were moved for him." That has to actually mean more than it lets on. [[note]]No, the speaker didn't actually ''soil herself''--"Bowels" was basically Hebrew for ''"heart."'' At the same time… he has his hands inside her "hole" and her insides "moved".[[/note]]

[[folder: Comic Books]]
* In Creator/CarlBarks' ''Back to the Klondike'', Scrooge [=McDuck=] describes Glittering Goldie as "the only live one I ever knew." Given his reclusive, [[GoodIsNotNice asocial attitude towards life]], and disdain for everything except money up to that point, it's entirely possible (indeed, in context, there's no other logical interpretation) that he means this in the above-mentioned clinical sense of "know." This, along with a somewhat more overt gag, is an epic case of GettingCrapPastTheRadar; when questioned by observant fans at the exact nature of Scrooge and Goldie's relationship, Barks tactfully insisted it wasn't something his publishers would want to get into.

* Bizarrely, and probably unintentionally, used in ''Film/NineteenFortyOne''. In a deleted scene, Sgt. Tree says he's going to "ream" Sitarski for vanishing during tank maintenance. The common usage of 'ream', to mean 'rebuke', didn't come into American vernacular until 1950. In 1941, however, 'ream' was just coming into usage as a vulgar slang term for anal sex.
* ''Franchise/BackToTheFuture'':
** There's this (non-sexual) exchange from the [[Film/BackToTheFuture first movie]] that's puzzling to modern audiences. (Pepsi Free has long since been discontinued, so the fifties waiter's interpretation becomes younger viewers' as well. As for Tab, it still exists but is far less common — and many younger viewers might only know it from ''{{Webcomic/Homestuck}}''.)
---> '''Marty:''' All right, give me a Tab.\\
'''Waiter:''' Tab? I can't give you a tab unless you order something. \\
'''Marty:''' Okay then, give me a Pepsi Free.\\
'''Waiter:''' You want a Pepsi, pal, you're gonna pay for it!\\
'''Marty:''' ...just give me something without any sugar.
** Ever wonder why Buford Tannen kept referring to Marty as "dude" in ''Film/BackToTheFuturePartIII''? During that time period, "dude" basically meant CityMouse (hence, a "dude ranch" is a ranch for "dudes", i.e. tourists). Considering Marty is from TheEighties, it's odd that he doesn't {{lampshade|Hanging}} how that word changed. For the record, "dude" had acquired its current meaning, at least among hipsters, by the 1960s. The 1969 movie ''Film/EasyRider'' {{lampshade|Hanging}}s this.
* Towards the end of ''Film/MaryPoppins'', the joke where Constable Jones tells his superior to "go fly a kite", then quickly [[VerbalBackspace backpedaling]] with "No, sir, I didn't mean ''YOU'' personally...", is often lost on modern audiences. The phrase was once used as a family-friendly version of "Go fuck yourself," but is almost never used this way today.

[[folder: Other Literature]]
* ''Literature/TheCanterburyTales'':
** The Monk doesn't give a "Pulled Hen" about the scriptures.
** In Chaucer's Middle English, the word "queynte" could mean "quaint", "intelligent", or [[CountryMatters that other word]]. Chaucer uses this pun extensively throughout the Canterbury Tales, especially in the Miller's Tale.
* ''Literature/TristramShandy'' has a lot of fun with the fact that, at the time it was written, the word "hobby-horse" could mean either "obsession" or "prostitute".

* The Nunnery problem is lampshaded in [[http://www.bmoviecomic.com/?cid=340 this]] ''Webcomic/TheBMovieComic'' strip.
* [[http://xkcd.com/794/ This]] ''WebComic/{{XKCD}}'' comic has an example of the "incomprehensible" variety.

[[folder: Other Theater]]
* Creator/GilbertAndSullivan's ''Theatre/{{Ruddigore}}'' had a very edgy name at the time--"ruddy" and "gore" are two synonyms for "bloody", a cussword that was further beyond the bounds of polite society in those days. When confronted with this, Gilbert responded:
-->''That would be like saying 'I admire your ruddy countenance' -- which I do-- means the same thing as 'I like your bloody cheek' -- which I don't.''
* The play ''I Hate Hamlet'' creates a joke of this quote when Andrew uses Hamlet's speech and the abuse of Ophelia to seduce his girlfriend Dierdre, who imagines herself a Shakespearean heroine.

[[folder: Other Word Shifts]]
* The sword in the constellation Orion, under his belt? "Sword" means something else.
** Discussed by Webcomic/{{xkcd}} [[http://xkcd.com/1020/ #1020]].
* Any time the word "horns" shows up in Elizabethan English (particularly in ''Theatre/TheMerryWivesOfWindsor''), it's usually a reference to adultery. To cheat on your husband was to make him a "cuckold," a reference to cuckoos, which lay eggs in other birds' nests to raise. A cuckolded man is said to have cuckold's horns, which are actually a reference to stags, who can lose their mate if they are defeated by another male. If a man is said to have horns, it means his wife is sleeping around.
** This was alluded to in a scene in ''Hamlet'', in which Hamlet wigs out on Ophelia and accuses her of a number of various nasty, sexual things. One of those things was "Men know what monsters you make of us!", which of course refers to the cuckold's horns.
** "Horns" shows up in this sense in George Martin's ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire''.
*** It's also used for symbolism regarding house Baratheon, whose sigil is [[AnimalMotifs is a stag.]] Robert Baratheon's wife Cersei [[spoiler:cheats on him with her own brother]], Renly Baratheon's wife Margaery [[spoiler:eventually marries two of his rivals, Joffrey and Tommen; Renly himself cheats on Margaery with her brother Loras, but she doesn't seem to mind too much.]] Stannis's wife Selyse doesn't cheat on him at all, but the Lannisters create propaganda saying she did.
** Memorably used in an obscure gag in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', as Homer sees a cuckoo clock in an unfaithfulness situation.
--->'''Cuckoo:''' Cuckold! Cuckold! Cuckold!\\
'''Homer:''' ''[scared]'' What's a cuckold?
*** In this case, quite possibly the Simpsons episode is referencing Joyce's Ulysses, in which a cuckoo clock chimes three times when a character realizes he's being cuckolded.
** French horns are used very often in opera to comically announce that a character is being cuckolded (or thinks he is).
** There's a very good pun in ''[[Literature/DangerousLiaisons Les Liaisons Dangereuses]]'' where [[TheCasanova Valmont]] mentions that he's going to visit a nobleman with an extensive forest that he maintains for the benefit of his friends. The French for "forest" is ''le bois.'' The French for "horns" is ''les bois.'' [[DeadpanSnarker Mme. de Merteuil]] writes back to him that the nobleman is [[MyGirlIsASlut a friend to the entire world.]]
** "How fitting that Lord Auberon is horn'd" in ''ComicBook/TheBooksOfMagic''
** The prank of holding two fingers behind someone's head as their picture is being taken is a reference to cuckold's horns. Americans know the prank as "bunny ears," but in other cultures it means your wife is cheating on you.
** Apparently, this is present in alien languages as well, as mentioned in an episode of ''Series/StargateSG1'', where the Jaffa word "Kelmar'tokim" is literally translated as "revenge by the wearer of horns" and is first mentioned when Teal'c finds out that his wife had their marriage annulled to marry a friend of his. Justified, since the Jaffa are TransplantedHumans, whose language has probably evolved from an Earth one. However, the word is used in another episode to mean a more generic revenge without reference to any sexual betrayal (namely, Teal'c swears Kelmar'tokim on the Goa'uld who murdered his father).
** Averted in most Hispanic countries, where "Ponerle el cuerno" (Spanish for "Putting the horn on him/her") is still common slang for cheating today.
** Also averted in Russian, where the word for cuckold is "rogonosets", which literally translates as "wearer of horns".
* Before TheEighties, "dork" was a slang term for "penis". Today its alternate meaning, "foolish or ridiculous" is much more common.
** There seems to be a certain oblivion to alternate meanings of dork. Otherwise, ''The Dork Diaries'', books about a middle school girl would have UnfortunateImplications.
** The webcomic ''Webcomic/ElfOnlyInn'' makes use of this tidbit when chatroom maker Lord Elf tries to get the Lord of Dorkness banished, and [[http://www.elfonlyinn.net/d/20020605.html uses his name as justification:]]
--->'''Sysop:''' What??? You want to censor the word 'dork'? Why whatever for?\\
'''Lord Elf:''' Because it means whale penis, duh!\\
'''Sysop:''' But neither the word 'penis' nor 'whale' is censored in your room!
** It meant this up until '87, if ''The Monster Squad'' is anything to be trusted. "Of course WolfMan wore pants. It was the Forties! Otherwise you'd see his... you know. Wolfdork." And who could forget "We were wondering if you had ever... um... to what extent you had... been dorked."
** The ''Gorgo'' episode of [[Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000 MST3K]] featured a whole running gag on a character named "Dorkin."
** And a line in ''ComicBook/TheSandman: A Game of You'', originally published in 1991:
--->'''Barbie:''' Guys think with their dorks.
** And a line in ''Film/{{Mallrats}}'', Brodie says, "What about [[ComicBook/FantasticFour The Thing's]] dork? Is it like the rest of him?"
** On the other hand, the first ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' comic in which Marcie [[DontCallMeSir refers to Peppermint Patty as "sir"]] (July 20, 1971) had Patty using the word "dorky" to describe both the weather and Marcie.
** ''Film/SixteenCandles'', when the brother says in regard to Long Duck Dong, "At least you don't have to sleep under a guy named after a duck's dork!"
** Gary Larson was forced to remove the word "dork" from one of his ''ComicStrip/TheFarSide'' cartoons when his editor informed him that it meant "penis." He'd never heard of that meaning and looked it up in a slang dictionary to confirm it.
* In a similar vein, many people who use the Yiddish word "schmuck" have no idea what it means either. (Which really messes up the joke about the guy who rides a camel across town to impress the ladies, "Officer, it was a male camel. I know because I heard all of these people saying 'Hey, look at the schmuck on the camel!'")
** The meaning of the word "schmuck", believe it or not, was a key point in one of Lenny Bruce's obscenity trials. The prosecution asserted that Lenny was using it to mean "penis". Lenny, meanwhile, had references to dictionaries of Yiddish slang which gave its primary meaning as "fool". These days, "schmuck" has mostly moved into the "fool" meaning. For the dual fool/penis connotation, "putz" is the term more often used. Nonetheless, it's considered a very offensive word by Yiddish speakers, and many Jewish adults, who don't speak much Yiddish, but whose parents did, still remember being punished for saying it. It made seeing the word on a marquee, when ''Dinner for Schmucks'' was in theaters quite jarring.
*** Incidentally, ''Dinner for Schmucks'' was a remake of the French movie ''Le Dîner des cons''; ''con'' itself was once an obscene word meaning "cunt" but is now a very mild expression meaning "stupid" or "an idiot," with the former meaning next to forgotten. Making "schmucks" a beautifully analogous translation.
*** Came up by accident in a 1980 ''ComicStrip/{{Peanuts}}'' storyline, where Lucy teaches Charlie Brown an (initially) unhittable pitch called the "Schmuckle Ball". The choice of name is a portmanteau of "schmush" (Schultz's spelling) and "knuckle", but it's rather like singing the "Name Game" song with "Chuck"...
* In many languages the word for the mathematical operation opposite to differentiation is a variation of "integral", but not in Polish, where it's been translated to a word stemming from the root of "making something whole", as "integrating" is. Now, since it's an archaism for "virgin", thousands of students each year have to endure terrible, terrible jokes about "integrals" being difficult to find, etc.
** Which is similar to the reaction of most English-speaking students in their first foreign-language class when they first learn about ''conjugating'' verbs.
* [[EvilMinions Minion]] used to indicate a much more specific kind of [[DoubleEntendre service]]...
** It referred to the CampGay favorites of [[DepravedHomosexual certain]] [[DepravedBisexual courtiers]] (and even of the king sometimes) called "mignons", which today means "cute". Go figure.
* The word "gunsel", in a way. Back in the day, it meant either a young boy kept for sexual purposes, or the passive partner in anal intercourse. Then writers like Creator/DashiellHammett began to [[GettingCrapPastTheRadar slide the word into their stories]] knowing the real meaning, but relying on their editor to not know the word, and assume it had something to do with guns. These days, [[http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/gunsel a gun-wielding hoodlum]] is a valid alternate meaning, and has appeared in that context on such places as the HBO website, talking about the character of Brother Mouzone from ''Series/TheWire''. (Unless there's [[AmbiguouslyGay something we don't know about Brother...]])
* [[http://www.theodore-roosevelt.com/images/masters/punch/punchtoon18.jpg This cartoon]] refers to a play on words involving an antiquated use of the word "corporation" to mean "big belly." The same pun is made in ''Literature/TenSixtySixAndAllThat'', in which the Corporation Act passed under Charles II "said that everyone had to be as fat as possible."
* ''Punk'' has undergone a remarkable semantic shift over the past century or so. It first appeared sometime around TheGayNineties, and was slang for....well, for a concept quite similar to that covered by ''gunsel''. Flash forward ten and a half decades later, and the primary meaning of ''punk'' is not only something non-sexual, but something that can be interpreted as a compliment! Well, depending on whether or not you happen to be in prison, that is.
** [[OlderThanTheyThink The word is used in Shakespeare's]] ''Theatre/MeasureForMeasure'' to mean a female prostitute. (Definitely female - one character knocks her up and is forced to marry her, despite his protestations that "marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death, whipping and hanging.")
* Frigging, which means rubbing, at a time had all the sexual connotations of that other F word.
** It still sometimes means [[ADateWithRosiePalms a certain sort of rubbing]].
* "Orchids" is an archaic term for testicles - archaic as in Aristotle would use it. It's survived somewhat to this day when referring medically to testicular maladies (for instance, a guy with three bad boys is a polyorchid; an orchidectomy is [[GroinAttack having one removed]]), but to most people orchids are simply flowers.
** It's worse than just that. [[HavingAGayOldTime The word originally meant 'testicle']]; the flowers got the name because, well, somebody thought they (well, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Orchis_lactea_rhizotubers.jpg their roots]]) ''looked'' like...orchids.
*** And that casts new light on the White Stripes song, Blue Orchid. Knowing them, it was probably intentional.
*** And interestingly, one can grind up the roots of some species and boil the resulting flour in water to produce a drink with the color and consistency[[note]]Although ''not'' flavor[[/note]] of semen. The drink, known as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salep salep]] (from its Turkish name), is understandably considered an aphrodisiac and a restorer of virility.
** There's a certain irony here since Georgia O'Keeffe, in her paintings of orchids, emphasizes their-- shall we say-- ''feminine'' qualities.

* The Irish FolkSong ''The Holy Ground'' sounds like a love song nowadays, with the narrator singing about the sailors on his ship returning to the eponymous Holy Ground to see the girls they love. This holds until you realize that in the 18th century the section of the port town of Cobh known as the Holy Ground was actually the RedLightDistrict.
* Nursery Rhymes and traditional lullabyes can be rife with this, since the words haven't changed much in at least a few hundred years.
** When "Lucy Locket lost her pocket", a "pocket" was a detachable pouch women wore under their skirts and over their petticoats. Such a pocket is visible in [[http://www.history.org/history/teaching/enewsletter/volume6/images/may/tightlacing_lg.jpg this painting]].
** No one actually knows what "pop goes the weasel" is supposed to mean. One theory cites evidence that, in ancient Cockney slang, "pop" meant "pawn" (as in "pawnbroker") and "weasel" meant "coat". Thus, according to this theory, "pop goes the weasel" means that the speaker has gone broke and must now sell his coat for money. Another theory suggests that "weasel" refers to a spinner's weasel, which was a mechanical device used for measuring yarn in the 19th century. This device made a "popping" sound after the correct length of yarn was measured. And then there's the unexciting theory that "pop goes the weasel" was never meant to be anything other than whimsical nonsense. Nevertheless, this may be the correct theory. Folklorists Iona and Peter Opie found that no one seemed to know what "pop goes the weasel" meant even when the song first became popular in the 1850s. If you're wondering what any of this has to do with monkeys or mulberry bushes, those lyrics weren't added until later.
* In the old English ballad [[http://www.mysongbook.de/msb/songs/f/foggydw1.html "Foggy Foggy Dew",]] one of the possible meanings of "foggy dew" is a euphemism for virginity or the {{bogeyman}}, and that the girl's sudden distress came about from an overwhelming desire for the young man. Another verse of the song, according to ThatOtherWiki [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foggy_Dew_(English_song) goes as follows:]]
-->So, I am a bachelor, I live with my son\\
And we work at the weaver's trade.\\
And every single time that I look into his eyes\\
He reminds me of that fair young maid.\\
He reminds me of the wintertime\\
And of the summer, too,\\
And of the many, many times that I held her in my arms\\
Just to keep her from the foggy, foggy, dew.
** When you hear the singer mentioning that looking into the young man's eyes reminds him of the encounter with that fair young maid, it may have seemed like an unnatural attraction to the morally conservative community, as compared to more recent years, now that more parts of the world are gradually granting legal recongition to the LGBTQ community. Folk singer Burl Ives, who claimed that his 1940's version dated back to the colonial days, was jailed in Mona, Utah for singing it in public, and the song was deemed indecent and bawdy for some time.
* For anyone younger than 50, the word ''funky'' definitely makes this list. You probably grew up hearing it used in popular songs in expressions like "Get down! Get funky!" - and assumed the word simply meant "cool." But it originally referred to the smell of a woman's vagina, so that expression is actually an instruction/encouragement to engage in cunnilingus.
** "Funky" still has that connotation, but more generalized when referring to smell.
* Also related to meanings in living memory but no longer current" Music/SteelyDan's "The Fez" (off ''The Royal Scam'') is basically making fun of a guy who "won't do it without the fez on," the "fez" being 1970s slang for a condom.[[note]]Yes, there is some ValuesDissonance here; but you have to remember that in the 70s, (1) there was a wide array of easily-available, effective contraceptives (the pill, the IUD, the diaphragm...) and (2) so far as anyone knew, all [=STIs=] either were curable (antibiotic resistance wasn't on anyone's radar) or would not be prevented by condom use anyway, so insisting on a condom was seen as unhip and a mark that you didn't trust your partner. HIV's appearance at the end of the decade changed all that in a hurry...[[/note]]
** This gives bonus meaning to the perpetually horny character of Series/That70sShow's nickname: "Fez".
* John Dowland, the famous lutenist and composer, was a contemporary of Shakespeare, and probably just as naughty. His known ayre ''Come again'' has this passage:
-->To see, to hear, to touch, to kiss, to die with thee again in sweetest sympathy.
** This part of the melody is sung in a - ahem - rhythmical manner, with a small inhaling between each phrase, while the word ''die'' lands on a high note. ''Could you possibly be more specific''?
* A very peculiar example of this is the {{Misaimed|Fandom}} {{Hatedom}} about the story "[[RascallyRabbit Br'er Rabbit]] and the Tar Baby", who insist that "tar baby" is some kind of anti-African racial slur. As a matter of fact, it literally refers to [[StickySituation a moppet of tar that is used to catch Br'er Rabbit]]. The story itself was ''invented'' by Africans, and is in fact a re-telling of an African mythological tale about Anansi, with the only change being to replace Anansi with Br'er Rabbit.
** Indeed, a "tarbaby" just meant any sticky situation, not even referring to an Afro-American or African. If a politician had a scandal in the Old South, it would often be called his "tarbaby." They were referring to the sticky thing you couldn't get rid of. If anything racial, it was cultural appropriation on part of the white people for adapting and using that African legend.

...Wait, but what does "farthingale" mean when it's ''not'' an innuendo?[[note]]It was apparently a "hooped petticoat or circular pad of fabric around the hips, formerly worn under women's skirts to extend and shape them." [[Main/AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle Now you know.]] [[/note]]