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Accidental Pun

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"...No pun intended."
An old saying indicating this trope is in effect

A humorous play on words not intended by the speaker.

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

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

Compare Innocent Innuendo, where listeners assume that something they hear has a deliberate hidden meaning, but actually it's unintended and unnoticed by the speaker. Then there's Accidental Innuendo, where the audience finds an unintended hidden meaning.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • The name of the medium Anime itself. One kanji that can be pronounced "me" means female, another means eye. Both, incidentally, things anime is known for overseas.
  • Funimation's dub of the sixth episode of Asteroid in Love, some of Mikage's classmates help her in boring (as in drilling) into the school playground for the Earth Sciences club's exhibit for School Festival. Mikage reflects on the fact that they seem to be more interested in geology than she expected all along:
    Mikage: Before today, I just assumed my classmates would think geology was boring—no pun intended.
  • The title of Bloom Into Younote  ends up becoming this, since the name of the main protagonist is Yuu.
  • In Hidamari Sketch, Sae gives Hiro a poetry collection covered with an embroidered book cover. Shishuu is a homonym for both "poetry collection" and "embroidery," but when Miyako asks if it was a pun, Sae claims it was accidental.
  • In Little Witch Academia (2013), when a minotaur is approaching antagonist Diana, her friends Hannah and Barbera try to tell her it's behind her (ushiro) but only manage to stammer out ushi (cow.)
  • Made in Abyss abbreviates to MiA, better known as the acronym for "Missing in Action." Coincidentally, the main character's mother is missing-presumed-dead at the bottom of a cave of horrors, and the heroes' primary goal is to find out what happened to her.
  • In episode 24 of Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, Mr. Daidoji sees into Hel kidnapping his daughter, but has no idea who she is. Their first exchange:
    Mr. Daidoji: Who the hell are you?!
    Hel: [chuckles]
  • The title of Neko Kissa is either this or a Bilingual Stealth Pun. In Japanese, "Neko" = "Cat" and "Kissa" = "Cafe." So, "Cat Cafe." The title could also be translated as being the word "cat" in two different languages — Japanese and Finnish: Neko (Japanese), Kissa (Finnish).
  • Nurse Hitomi's Monster Infirmary: Itsuki bursts into laughter at Hitomi mentioning kids who "fly the coop" and turn to delinquency, since Tobita, the delinquent in question, is a Winged Humanoid. Hitomi insists she didn't mean to make a pun.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Mami Tomoe's name "Mami" means Mommy in Spanish and other languages like German. Considering her mentor role, it fits her. Whether this was accidental is hard to say, since "mama/mommy" is a somewhat universal word for mother, based on common baby-talk noises.

    Comic Books 
  • During the Justice League of America event JL Ape, Batman is briefing Nightwing on a Gorilla City crimelord who acts like he's in a '30s gangster film:
    Batman: Grimm wouldn't be the first hood to ape old movies.
    Nightwing: "Ape".
    Batman: Sorry. Unintentional.
  • It happens several times in Superman storyline Two for the Death of One:
    • Superman tries to go back to the past via Barry Allen''s Cosmic Treadmill, but it does not seem to work. When the Flash suggests trying again...
    The Flash: Once the treadmill's cooled off, we can try again.
    Superman: Thanks, Barry, but no, thanks. It'd be a waste of... time!
    • In one scene, Superman has spent some while trying to break the chains Syrene bonded him with. When he finally succeeds:
    Superman: "These chains are starting to break! If I had my super-strength, this would be a... snap!"
  • Ultimate Galactus Trilogy: After arranging the action with Xavier, Nick Fury told him to "hop to it" (as in "let's do this, now!"). Then he remembered that he's in a wheelchair, so he added "or whatever".

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • The Aristocats: When Edgar is confiding in Frou-Frou the horse about him catnapping Duchess and her kittens the previous night.
    Edgar: I have some news straight from the horse's mouth... if you'll pardon the expression.
  • In The Legend of the Titanic, Smiley belongs to an Andalusian prince, making him an Andalusian dog. Considering the largely poor quality of the production, it's unlikely the creators deliberately included such a subtle reference on purpose.
  • Sausage Party has Douche keep making accidental references to items that you'd find in a grocery store through the use of everyday sayings (Ex. "How do ya like them apples" or "Spill the beans"), causing whatever item he's referencing to show up and ask if they're talking about them. He gets progressively angrier and angrier as this goes on.
    Douche: Okay, so—
    -Queso: Did someone say Queso?

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

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

    Live-Action TV 
  • One episode of The Big Bang Theory has Sheldon and Amy start a rumor about having had sex to see if it would spread faster than a rumor about Amy starting an herb garden. Once the whole social group asks about them having sex, Amy states that their rumor has reached "Full penetration." Sheldon asks if the pun was intended, and she replies "No, happy accident." Later, Amy notes that Penny is asking for details about their supposed sexual encounter, and Sheldon says it's interesting that she's moved on to asking for a "blow by blow." Amy asks if the pun was intended, and Sheldon asks "What pun?"
  • Frequently inverted on A Bit of Fry and Laurie:
    Fry's character: Pardon the pun.
    Laurie's character: What pun?
    Fry's character: Oh, wasn't there one?
  • Blackadder: After the Prince seduces both nieces of the Duke of Wellington (played by Stephen Fry), he receives this letter:
    Sir, prince or pauper, when a man soils a Wellington, he puts his foot in it. [open brackets] This is not a joke. I do not find my name remotely funny and people who do end up dead. [close brackets]
  • One episode of Drake & Josh features the following exchange:
    Angry factory lady: Let the sushi roll!
    Josh: Haha, I get it. Sushi roll.
    Angry factory lady: That wasn't a joke. That was an unfortunate coincidental pairing of words.
  • An early episode of Have I Got News for You, with an Odd One Out round featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu:
    Ian Hislop: Didn't Tutu train in Hull?
    Angus Deayton: Tutu train? No, I don't think so...
  • A Super-Match posit on Match Game was "_______ Duty." The cast and crew were looking for other possibilities to fill in the blank ("Do Your Duty," "Civic Duty,") when someone offstage cracked "Howdy Duty." Gene Rayburn bought it and then discovered how hard he bit.
  • In the QI segment about lobster-hypnosis, Stephen Fry commits some accidental mussel/muscle punnage, which is immediately jumped on by Phil Jupitus.

  • Old Master Q does this occasionally as a gag, especially in stories where foreigners are involved (the manhua is from Hong Kong). Notably, a foreigner asking Master Q about a portrait of a sunny beach lead to the titular character replying, "Sun of a Beach"...

    Video Games 
  • In American McGee's Alice, Alice unintentionally does this to the Cheshire Cat. He calls her out on it all the same.
    Alice: And if not, there must be more than one way to skin a cat, If you'll... pardon the expression.
    Cheshire Cat: Most unpleasant metaphor. Please avoid it in the future.
  • In Dragon Age II, a potions shop in the Gallows is low on stock and the owner is looking for Hawke to "remedy that." Snarky!Hawke can point out the pun, at which the owner says it wasn't meant as a pun, but that he should remember it for future use.
  • The tutorial in LEGO Chess on getting in and out of check features this line:
    King: So can you check out — 'scuse me, that wasn't a joke — the spaces I can move to?
  • In the Saints Row: The Third mission "Nyte Blayde's Return," Viola objects to having to dress as the Bloody Cannonness as part of a scheme to kidnap Josh Birk, star of a Show Within a Show and spokesman for S.T.A.G.
    Viola: I'm not making going out like this a habit!
    The Boss: [Male Voice 1] See, you're already making nun jokes, I knew you'd get into this.
    Viola: I hate you.
  • The way Hwoarang's name is pronounced in Tekken 6 and Street Fighter X Tekken is literally "how wrong" and strangely enough, that's exactly the case. The first syllable "Hwoa-" is supposed to be pronounced as "hwah" (which rhymes with "bwah," as in "BWAHahaha!") The second syllable "-rang" is pronounced with an alveolar flapped "r".
  • In Ultima V Gazers are one of the many enemies borrowed from Dungeons & Dragons; resembling beholders. Starting this game, if you kill one, they release a swarm of insects. In other words, they're Bee-Holders. Word of God very strongly states that this was not intentional.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Doki Doki Literature Club!, Monika apologises for accidentally making a pun about hanging when talking about someone who actually did hang herself. Mind you, she made the same kind of pun back when it actually happened, and Word of God has it (around 1:09 here; heavy spoilers) that was deliberate. Even in this latter scene where she apologises for punning, she's nonchalantly talking about the actual event itself, and others like it, because she doesn't think they really happened (It Makes Sense in Context).

    Web Animation 
  • In episode 3 of gen:LOCK, Dr. Weller manages to avoid making one while explaining through his presentation about how the gen:LOCK program works, and how it allowed Julian Chase to survive the Battle of New York.
  • In episode 10 of Let's Go! Tamagotchi, the Gotchi King, a giant egg who can't laugh without it breaking his shell, assures Mametchi and his friends that he's taken steps to make sure he doesn't crack up. Ironically, that's what makes him laugh in the first place since he then realizes the pun about "cracking" up he just made by accident.

  • Played with in Darths & Droids #868:
    Tarkin: Whah do we not just flah arahnd ze planet?
    Vader: This is a quadrillion Imperial tonne space station. Looks like a moon, moves like a moon, steers like a cow.
    Tarkin: Ha ha! Ah get zis joke. A steer is lahk a cow! You kill me, Lord Vader.
    (beat panel with Vader just staring at Tarkin)
  • In Homestuck, Terezi was named after the Azerbaijani name for the constellation Libra. However, when her name is correctly pronounced with this in mind (which, contrary to popular belief, would be more along the lines of "ter-REE-see"), it sounds very similar to a feminine version of "Tiresias" — the archetypical Blind Seer from Sophocles's Oedipus trilogy.
  • The unfortunately named nük e-reader and the sheet e-reader are running gags in Mike: Bookseller.
  • 180 Angel: Lilith turns around Sam asking for a "straight answer" about her feelings for her.
    Sam: I thought this would probably be my last chance to ask that and get a straight answer.
    Lilith: Well if it's a straight answer you were after then I f*cked that up.
    Sam: Isn't labeling sexual attraction a misappropriation of human culture?
    Lilith: What are they gonna do, call me a sinner?

    Web Original 
  • In Ambisagrus's Let's Play of Little King's Story, Ambisagrus is going through the Worrywart Kingdom, which they establish early on has an egg theme to it. Plaz uses the phrase "egg it on".
    Plaz: That was accidental. I'm gonna go now.
  • In Chip Cheezum's Let's Play of Beyond Good & Evil:
    General Ironicus: Do naked cartwheels while grabbing your junk!
    Chip Cheezum: This isn't Metal Gear Solid.
    General Ironicus: Aw, nuts.
    Chip Cheezum: (beat) "Aw nuts."
    General Ironicus: Hey, that was unintentional.
  • While Chuggaaconroy is known for intentionally making bad puns, he's made quite a few by accident:
    • While fighting Kingfin in Super Luigi Galaxy he gets a Life Mushroom and says: "Hey, thank you! Look at that! How many bosses help you out like that? Kingfin, you are the king, man! [Beat] Actually, that wasn't even an intentional...[laughs] I didn't even intend to make that pun!"
    • During episode 48 of Ōkami, when he's in the Water Dragon's belly, Chugga remarks that while the scenery and 'trees' are beautiful, the fact that they're the insides of a water dragon is gross.
      Chugga: You know, these trees look really pretty, but at the same time when you think about what these trees probably are, it's kind of gross. So they're like, they're pretty gross, is what I'm saying—they're pretty gross, wow. I didn't even intend that pun.
    • In Majora's Mask's Snowhead Temple (the main dungeon for Link's Goron form), Chugga says: "So this dungeon is off to a pretty rockin' start - I'm just making bad puns without even realizing it now".
    • While at the Oho Oasis in Mario & Luigi: Superstar Saga, Merri ends up stealing his "shocking" pun and calls her out for "stealing his thunder".
    • Quite a few in the Lost Tower in Pokémon Platinum making several "insensitive" puns without meaning to. When he encounters a young couple, he says that whoever decided to go on a date there is a "deadbeat". Later he says that he should be able to use an Escape Rope by tying it to a tombstone and rappelling out the window, and once he realizes how distasteful this is, he says he should cut away "before I dig myself a hole."
  • There is a Facebook group about this. Seriously.
  • In Freeman's Mind, Gordon Freeman says "what's up with the ceiling" in his head. It takes him a few seconds to realize what he just said.
    Gordon: Oh my God, that was a pun! "What's up with the ceiling?" What's wrong with me? I'd punch somebody in the mouth if they said that to me.
  • In Red vs. Blue, Agent Washington, also known as Wash, is part of the Cleanup Crew of Project Freelancer.
  • A fellow in Tipping Forties asks for a rain check on a meeting with Raine.
  • Urban Dictionary calls this an eigenpun.

    Western Animation 
  • The creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender admit they didn't really know that "Momo" means peach in Japanese until after they made the scene in which said lemur is named while holding a peach.
  • In DC Showcase: Green Arrow, Perdita comments that "every queen needs a consort," unaware that Green Arrow's real name is Oliver Queen.
  • Dan Vs.:
    • In "Canada", Chris expresses disbelief that a Mountie "lifted [his car] with his bare hands!" We find out later that in-universe, Canadians are half-bear.
    • In "Reality TV", one of the contestants makes an outfit by simply taking his existing wardrobe and placing two turtles around his neck. However, he didn't realize the "turtle neck" pun until it was pointed out by the judge.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In "Tourist Trapped", Mabel is propositioned by a bunch of gnomes that want to make her their queen.
      Jeff: So what d'ya say? Will you join us in holy matri-gnomey? Matri—matrimony! Blah, I can't talk today.
    • In "Little Dipper", Stan and Mabel are cracking short jokes about Dipper when they discover Mabel is slightly taller than him. Soos tells them to "lay off a tiny bit", but Stan just thinks Soos is joining in.
      Stan: Hah, "tiny"! Soos is in on it now!
    • From “Dreamscaperers”:
      Stan: Sir, would you like to buy a Stan-Vac vacuum? Stan-Vac. It sucks more than anything. [Man slams door] Gotta work on that.
      • This becomes a Running Gag in "A Tale of Two Stans" when Stan reveals that he also tried to market a shammy called the "Sham Total" ("It's a total sham!") and an adhesive bandage called the "Rip-Off".
  • Kaeloo:
    • Happens in the Halloween Episode when Mr. Cat criticizes Stumpy's ridiculous zombie impression.
    Mr. Cat (to Stumpy): We already told you, your zombie impression bites!
    • In the episode "Let's Play at Reading Books", Quack Quack slams a book in Mr. Cat's face by accident. When Mr. Cat tries to say "Meow", it comes out as "Me..... OW".
  • An ad bumper for Looney Tunes on Cartoon Network had the narrator describing Bugs Bunny as "your favorite playboy bunny". He then hastily adds "No, not that kind, although Bugs does look good in a dress."
  • In Ready Jet Go!, Carrot and Celery think their names are "Earth" names. They were probably going for Garrett and Sally, respectively. Uncle Zucchini was most likely going for Zachary.

    On This Very Wiki 

Alternative Title(s): No Pun Intended, Pun Not Intended, Unintentional Pun



Mrs. MacGrady mistakes Buster's comments for jokes.

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