You and your buddies are planning a prank, share a secret that the new guy doesn't know, or just plain have something to hide. Except one of them, usually The Ditz or a Cloudcuckoolander, can't help giggling. Or indulging in snarky remarks about the situation at hand. Or is about to tell too much, to reveal a secret or to let slip some important tidbit that better should stay unsaid. Or to express surprise at some statement, thus potentially ruining any chance of making a lie believable. Or just to comment about something at the inappropriate time and place, typically making a social situation awkward.
If the offender is exceptionally clueless, expect them to complain: "Ow! What was that for, and what does 'ixnay' mean?" Thus eliciting another, harder, punch, stomp or kick. May induce Agony of the Feet.
- There's an ad campaign for Chef Boyardee which is this same idea, except the harm comes to a display pyramid of cans instead of the woman who won't stop talking about the full serving of vegetables in the product.
- Happens in ElfQuest: Skywise nudges Cutter to shut him up when he's about to drunkenly blurt out the location of Sorrow's End to Picknose the troll.
- Superboy (1994): Superboy's friend Hillary Chang tries elbowing him to keep him from getting himself in trouble during class but it doesn't work.
- Tintin slams his heel into Haddock's foot to stop him from revealing information in The Calculus Affair.
- In Book #21 of the Comic-Book Adaptation of Le Donjon de Naheulbeuk, after the party saved a bunch of dwarves from a battalion of orcs, the Enchantress grinds her staff into the Elf's foot when the latter is about to mention that the arrow currently sticking into the chest of a dwarf seeking medical help is actually one of her own.
- In the Star Trek: Voyager Slash Fic "The Relevance of Discretion", B'Elanna Torres has to resort to increasingly desperate means to stop Seven of Nine from telling the entire crew about the latest step in her "exploration of humanity".
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged has a Running Gag on Namek that Krillin can't shut up when he is scared and will wind up blabbing whatever the bad guy of the moment wants to know when questioned. Eventually, during the fight between Goku and Freeza, when Krillin is in danger of alerting Freeza to Goku's plan to use the Spirit Bomb, Piccolo gives Krillin a Dope Slap in the middle of yet another of his outburst to make sure he doesn't ruin everything for the good guys. Link.
- In something of a role reversal, The Ditz Miguel does this to The Smart Guy Tulio in The Road to El Dorado.
- Scar from The Lion King hates hearing Mufasa's name, so Shenzi nudges Banzai when he almost blurts out the former king's name. So he opts to go for "Que pasa?"
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks:
- Adagio Dazzle emphatically gestures to Sonata Dusk to shut up as she almost blows their whole plan to Sunset Shimmer when they're being shown around the school.
- Rainbow Dash has to elbow Pinkie Pie when the latter is questioning Principal Celestia's decision of letting the Rainbooms participate in the finals instead of Trixie and the Illusions.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Forgotten Friendship: Princess Twilight gives a light slap with her wing to Sunset Shimmer to make her stop snickering when she hears Princess Luna's Antiquated Linguistics. Sunset can't help finding it funny, because she's more used to Vice-Principal Luna's much more casual speaking tone, and the contrast is cracking her up.
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Rainbow Rocks:
- In 101 Dalmatians, Jasper nudges Horace when they try to trick Nanny Cook into letting them inside and take the puppies, by pretending that they're from the electric company.
Jasper: Ah, good evenin', mum. We're here to inspect the wirin' and the switches.
Horace: Uh, we're from the gas company.
Jasper: [whispering] 'Lectric. 'Llectric.
- Tweedledee nudges Tweedledum — or was it the other way around? — in the Tim Burton rendition of Alice in Wonderland (2010) to keep him from blurting out that the Red Queen's new favorite, Um from Umbridge, was really the fugitive Alice.
- Clue, when the policeman inspects the body of the Motorist and says he's in no shape to drive:
Miss Scarlet: Oh, we'll— we'll— we'll get him a car!
Professor Plum: A long black car!
Miss Scarlet: [punches him in the stomach] A limousine!
- In The Great Race, Leslie administers the elbow-to-ribs version to Hezekiah when Hezekiah laughs too long at a joke the Crown Prince made.
- In His Girl Friday, Hildy Johnson keeps kicking Walter Burns under the table as he repeatedly insults her dull new fiancé, Bruce Baldwin (who doesn't notice). She ends up kicking the waiter.
- In Spider-Man 2, Aunt May kicks Peter under the table when he responds with surprise to her announcement that she's resumed giving piano lessons as she tries to get a loan at the bank, but she misses and gets the loan officer instead.
- The same subversion happens in Good Burger, when Roxanne is trying to get Ed to spill the beans about the secret sauce. Before Ed can talk, Dexter kicks under the table, hitting Roxanne's foot.
- In The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, when the party is captured by trolls, Bilbo tries to stall and avoid them being eaten by claiming the dwarves have parasites. To which Kíli dumbly protests, until Thorin (despite being tied up in a bag) kicks him so that he changes his tune.
- Referenced in Patton when he asks to be reminded to shut up if he says something that can get him in trouble:
Bradley: I'll give you a gentle nudge in the ribs.
Patton: Give me a swift kick in the ass.
- The Terminator: Lt. Traxler gives one to Det. Vukovich when he starts telling an unnecessary story to Sarah in the Police Station while they are explaining how the Terminator could have done the things she said it did.
Lt. Traxler: [shows Sarah a Bulletproof Vest] Sarah, this is what they call body armor. Our tac guys wear these. It'll stop a 12-gauge round. This other individual must have been wearing one under his coat. Feel that.
Sarah Connors: [feels the vest] But what about when he punched through the windshield?
Det. Vukovich: He's probably on PCP. Broke every bone in his hand and won't feel it for hours. There was this guy once, you see this scar...?
[Lt. Traxler shoves the armor into Det. Vukovich's chest]
Det. Vukovich: Thank you. [Det. Vukovich takes the vest and leaves]
- In Mary Poppins, when the family thinks Mr. Banks has disappeared, Ellen blabs that the policemen should be dragging the Thames, as there is nice known spot where people go drown themselves — until Mrs. Brill elbows her, as this is not helping one bit.
- Happens in one Animorphs novel, where Ax is narrating. He's posing as Jake and is kicked by Cassie before he blows his cover ("Why has your father removed the hair from the top of his head?")
- Happens several times in Harry Potter. It's noted that it's a lot more discreet when you're wearing robes rather than Muggle trousers.
- Happens a lot in Piers Anthony's works, most often in the form of a kick.
- Done by Ridcully in Soul Music, to Ponder, who can't understand why he should keep his mouth shut about their "sound-trap" in front of sausage-inna-bun vendor turned music producer C.M.O.T. Dibbler.
- Ridcully does it to Ponder before in Lords and Ladies, when Ponder asks how a man twenty years old could have a father who died thirty years ago. The answer is that the man's mother is Nanny Ogg.
- Done by Granny Weatherwax to Nanny Ogg in Maskerade when it's obvious that Enrico Basilica has reasons to hide that he speaks Morporkian, but Nanny won't let go of the fact he asked her for a pie.
- Rincewind does it to the title character in Eric, when Eric is about to let slip that they were the ones who let the Ephebian army into Tsort.
Eric: You didn't have to kick me!
Rincewind: You're quite right. It was an entirely voluntary act on my part.
- In The Elenium, Elhana attempts this with her husband. Of course, since he's wearing plate armour, all she gets out of it is a bruised elbow.
- In one of the Dragon Jousters novels, Ari is about to say something that would ruin his relationship with Nofret. Kiron kicks Ari before foot-in-mouth ensues.
- Happens several times in Septimus Heap, including an example from Syren where Jenna yanks at Lucy Gringe's cloak to tell her to be quiet while they are deciding upon how to take the ship Cerys' back. At one point, Aunt Zelda tries to do it to Alther (a ghost), goes right through him and bangs her elbow on the mast of the ship he's on.
- Gibbs prefers the Gibbs Slap.
- Kate typically prefers the elbow-to-the-ribs whenever Tony is, well, being Tony.
- Used in a Thanksgiving episode of Home Improvement. Twice. After Al has explained — at great length — why he's thankful for his girlfriend:
Brad: I'm thankful that Al's done being thankful! (Ow!)
Randy: And I'm thankful that Brad said that instead of me. (Ow!)
- Used a handful of times on The Nanny, often with an addition to it.
- Once, Fran continually corrects Max by smacking his hand with a spoon. When he finally gets it right, she smack a water glass, creating a game-show "Correct!" ding sound.
- Used again on Max when he is trying to comfort Fran after another failed date saying she didn't need a man. Sylvia silences him.
Sylvia: [holding a carving fork] Oh, I'm sorry. Did this fork accidentally puncture your tuckus?
- Occurs in the Season 2 episode "Ted" of Buffy the Vampire Slayer when Willow nearly slips up about Buffy liking Angel (to Ted and Joyce) and Buffy has to nudge her. Willow then uses a replacement word instead.
- In the Zorro TV series, Sergeant García and Corporal Reyes once exchange shut-up kicks with each other when either of them is about to let slip to Don Alexandro that they know what happened to Don Diego (whom they knocked out and sequestrated to save him from fighting in a duel).
- On M*A*S*H, Henry does this to Hawkeye in "The General Flipped at Dawn" in General Steele's court martial preliminary.
Steele: Thought I'd forgotten that bit in the supply tent!
Hawkeye: It's a night I'll never forget! [Henry nudges him]
- Shows up a few times in Friends, too.
Joey: Yeah, we were just talking about that! Richard is so much cooler than our dads! He ow ow ow! Would you quit kicking me? This guy!
Richard: You guys see as a dad?
Joey: Yeah! + Chandler: No!
- Happens in the first season finale of Sports Night:
Dana: We have a name for people like you back home in Cedar Rapids. It's called sourpuss.
Jeremy: We have a name for people like you back home in Boston, too. It's called— [Natalie pulls on his ear] —ow, ow, pain, pain, pain!
- A non-physical nudge is given in the first episode of The IT Crowd. Roy tries to be his normal philandering self when Jen first enters the office, but Moss the eternal Ditz that he is just doesn't get the hint.
Roy: [in a fake sophisticated voice] I believe it was Tolstoy who said [pretends to notice Jen enter] Oh hello. Moss and I were just in the middle of a rather serious discussion of books and such. What can I do you for...
Moss: Wait, it was Tolstoy who said what? When have you ever read Tolstoy? I don't remember this conversation at all. Why are you giving me the secret sign to shut up?
- Used in Les Guignols de l'info during an interview of Roselyne Bachelot and Xavier Bertrand (former and then-current Health Ministers, respectively). Roselyne, who's very much The Ditz, is about to tell everything about the scandalous links between the French government and the "Big Pharma", forcing Xavier to stomp on her foot. Twice. And when it's not enough to silence her, he upgrades to a "Be Quiet!" Shovel to the Face.
- The Team Fortress 2 Mann vs Machine Mecha-Engineer update comes with a comic; in it, the Heavy elbows Miss Pauling to stop her from mentioning his Russian heritage within earshot of the Soldier, who thinks the whole team is Americans.
- In Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal Ratchet does this to Klunk who was disguised as Clank when he was about to say something very offensive at Qwark's funeral after everyone thought he died. "What a load of bull-" (Prompt nudge)
- In Katawa Shoujo, Hanako's route has Hisao, Hanako, Lilly and Akira going into a jazz club after nightfall. While Hisao and Hanako slink off to play some pool, we get a little gem from Lilly and Akira at the bar:
Bartender: Good evening, ladies! What'll it be?
Akira: Just a scotch, thanks. Lilly?
Lilly: May I have a glass of cham-
A black-suited elbow hits her side sharply.
Lilly: Orange juice, please.
- In the parody series Les Kassos, Leya Sodo punches her father Dark Papy when he starts saying "You are not his father—" to Yann about their son. The fact that the latter growls like a wookie might be a clue....
- Over on RWBY, Ruby tries (and fails) to use "sophisticated", flowery speech with Weiss's high-class, military brass sister. Weiss responds by decking her.
- Steve from Questionable Content uses this as a signal to Marten to leave Steve alone with his lady-friend of the evening.
- The Order of the Stick:
- Early on, in "Deep Thoughts", when Nale pretends that the Linear Guild had been sent to retrieve the Talisman of Dorukan by their "wise and benevolent king," he has to elbow Sabine when she starts saying "King? What ki—OWW!"
- In "It's Just Aphasia She's Going Through", Haley is struck with aphasia and so can't talk Belkar into shutting it as he's about to tell Elan her feelings. However, a boot to the face is enough to convey the message more clearly.
Belkar: Objection noted.
- In "Perform IS on the Aristocrat's Skill List", Roy kicks Belkar so that the halfling doesn't join the already embarrassing conversation.
- Bridget shuts Alphonse up in a page of Far Out There, lest he should give away the fact that they were the ones who hired Skye. Of course, since neither of them can actually talk, one wonders what she's afraid of.
- Meat Shield: Dhur the barbarian stomps Becky Sourbottom in the foot (with Agony of the Feet bonus) to prevent from protesting while they are trying to convince her father to lend her to the group as a "guide".
- In Exterminatus Now, Virus elbows Eastwood while they're trying to hire mercenaries, as it wouldn't be a good idea to dwell on what happened to their previous hired guns. Those poor sons of— OW!
- Girl Genius:
- Dimo to Oggie, with a fist in the ribs. Higgs is still able to guess what Oggie was about to let slip, though.
- Krosp bites Dimo's finger to make him shut his trap about the presence of Agatha Heterodyne on the train. Not so surprising, though, since Krosp being a cat it's what comes most naturally, and Dimo being a Jäger it's doubtful he would have felt a mere nudge.
- The Zombie Hunters. Dr. Ellard to Dr. Mercer: cane to the foot.
- Leftover Soup:
- In Ménage à 3, Zii pinches DiDi's ear (link SFW, but NSFW webcomic) for this purpose, while trying to convince Kiley that the both of them are lesbians.
- In the first part of Suburban Knights, when The Nostalgia Critic tells Ma-Ti that "It's not that we don't want of you because your powers are completely and totally useless...", Bennett the Sage can't help but blurt out "It's not?!", and Lupa immediately elbows him in the chest.
- Done in Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, except the recipient is doing the whole Totem Pole Trench routine, so is blissfully unaware of "his" foot being kicked.
- Wakfu, season 2 episode 8: After Sadlygrove blurts out that he'd already seen Evangelyne naked, Eva, while denying, casually chokes Grovy with an arm around his neck to stop him from adding a word.
- In The Problem Solverz episode "Badcat", the gang is in disguise to sneak into Bad Cat's casino. When they're allowed in, Roba keeps saying how he feels so loved and wanted, which causes Horace to shush him in order to stay incognito.
- Codename: Kids Next Door:
- Numbuh Five is usually the one to elbow her teammates when they need to shut it, like with Numbuh Four at the end of "Operation: R.O.B.B.E.R.S.", or Numbuh Three in "Operation: C.A.K.E.D.-F.I.V.E.". Note that it hardly ever works on the latter: if you truly want Kuki to shut up, you need to gag her. Even then, there's no guarantee.
- "Operation: F.O.O.D.F.I.T.E." also has an example, as after they seemingly defeat Grandma Stuffums, she starts gearing up something big to attack the group, but Kuki is continuing on cheering while the others look on worried. Numbuh Five has to hit her in the arm to shut her up and get her to pay attention.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
- In "Friendship Is Magic, part 1", when Twilight Sparkle tries to take leave from Fluttershy, she uses the pretext that her baby dragon needs his sleep. Spike starts retorting "No, I don't—", but Twilight (who is carrying him on her back at the moment) shakes her rump and sends him landing on his tush on the ground.
- Rarity gives a few to Pinkie Pie in "Putting Your Hoof Down".
- Twilight Sparkle has to give one to Spike in "Hurricane Fluttershy" for him to stop being Innocently Insensitive toward Fluttershy.
- In "Inspiration Manifestation", Rarity slams into Spike rather hard to prevent him from revealing the existence of the spell.
- On Regular Show, Mordecai does this to Rigby all the time. Mostly when Rigby ridicules Mordecai's "relationship" with Margaret.
- In the Young Justice episode "Schooled", Aqualad prompts Robin to stop laughing outright at Superboy's failure with a sharp elbow to the ribs. One gets the feeling that it would have been a smack upside the head were Aqualad a less reserved person.
- Star vs. the Forces of Evil, "Sweet Dreams": Star tries to get some answers from her parents about her dreamwalking, but ends up convinced she'll be better off if they don't know. Marco is then about to add something but is silenced by Star kicking him under the table.
- The SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Clams" has this when Mr. Krabs realizes the dollar his crew tried to pass off as his lost millionth one was a fake that was crumpled, torn, and kissed with blue lipstick. Spongebob tries to say the actual name of the lipstick, but Squidward whacks him with a fishing pole to keep him from giving the game away, but it already has at this point.