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 mispronunciations, but these aren't the only cases.
- 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.
- In a Peanuts strip from 1960, Snoopy's trick of flying using his ears as helicopter blades is introduced this way.
Linus: That's the first time in my life I've ever seen a whirlydog!
Lucy: Not whirlydog... whirlybird!
[Snoopy zooms by; Lucy looks shocked]
Linus: I think if I had meant whirlybird, I would have said whirlybird!
- Used in one of the moments of Black Comedy in Dark Fic Prison Island Break by the psychotically angry Shadow the Hedgehog.
Shadow: Scourge. Get to your feet and Ill kill you.Sonic: (coughs) Shads its or. Or Ill kill you.Shadow: I KNOW WHAT I SAID!
- In This Means War several of Harry's friends terrify Pansy Parkinson to the point where she pees her pants.
Blaise: Thanks to our wonderful actress here, she fell for it hook, line, and stinker.
Padma: Dont you mean sinker?
Blaise: I said what I meant.
- In Red and Yellow Draco Malfoy is unable to take no for an answer.
Harry: Out of my way.
Hannah: No. Not till you tell me what you are going to do.
Harry: Obliterate him.
Hannah: Dont you mean Obliviate?
Harry: I said what I meant.
- Harry Potter and the Quantum Leap:
Harry: Now, I want to speak to Dumbledore. He's really getting on my pecs with his behavior, and I want it to stop. Would you please escort me so I don't explode him?
McGonagall: Don't you mean, 'explode at him'?
Harry: If that's what you wanna think, Professor, don't let me stop you, but I'd prepare to cast Scourgifynote just in case.
- Play to Your Strengths:
Goblin warrior: [Dumbledore] actually tried that with your King many years ago. He tried to tell our King which goblin maiden to pick. Our King was not pleased. It was almost the start of another Goblin/Wizard War. Luckily your grandfather, Mr. Potter, cast a silencing spell on him and informed our King that Dumbledore was a stupid child who had delusions of adequacy.
Hermione: Don't you mean delusions of grandeur?
Goblin warrior: I meant what I said, human.
- In The AFR Universe story "Boys and Queens", Ryuji and Haru are texting each other. When Haru recounts the time she was punched by their ally Makoto while she was Brainwashed and Crazy, she recalls how painful and terrifying it was and says she would wish that on her worst enemy.
Ryuji: You mean wouldnt wish it on your worst enemy, right?
Haru: That was not a typo, Ryuji-kun.
- 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.)
- In "The Singing Bell" by Isaac Asimov, a police officer claims that he cannot prove the suspect's guilt because he has no alibi. Not because he has one, but because he doesn't. A document or witness can be suspected of being false, but when a person is simply known to live in complete isolation for a month every year, what reason is there to assume this year was different?
- In Jingo, Sergeant Colon, Corporal Nobbs, Leonard of Quirm and Lord Vetinari are flying across Klatch on a flying carpet. Colon is not happy with this:
Colon: It's not natural, just a bit of broadloom between you and certain splash.Vetinari: We're not over water, sergeant.Colon: I know what I meant, sir!
- 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.
- Dramatic version in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Deadly Years", when Kirk, whose forced, space-disease-imposed aging had imposed progressive senility, returns to the bridge supposedly all better; then he orders Uhura to send a message in a code Uhura knows to be compromised, a fact of which Uhura had had to remind Kirk earlier in the episode, much to his chagrin. But when she questions him this time, Kirk affirms that he meant what he had said. He then dictates a message that he actually wants the enemy to hear.
- A harsh but funny version on The Office (US):
Kelly: I want a June wedding. I've always wanted one. Ryan, do you know when you would want to get married?Ryan: Actually, I don't see myself ever getting married.Kelly: Oh.Pam: Ryan, you should be more sensitive. It's obvious she likes you and comments like that, they just...Ryan: I know what I said.
- Ron Swanson of Parks and Recreation rephrases himself to his server before he can fall victim to this trope:
Just give me all the bacon and eggs you have. Wait! Wait. I worry what you just heard was, "give me a lot of bacon and eggs." What I said was, give me all...the bacon and eggs...you have. Do you understand?
- Composers occasionally write footnotes in their scores to indicate that a particular note, with or without an accidental, should not be considered accidental. False relation is a typical cause of this.
- 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.
- This page of Monster Soup.
The Ferry Man: Damn mermaids. I lost a testicle to them last year.
Jacklyn: Don't you mean "tentacle"?
The Ferry Man: Why would I worry about losing a tentacle? Those things grow back.
- In the Dragon Ball Z Abridged movie "Cooler 2: the Return of Cooler's Revenge - The Rekoning", the Z Fighters are confronted by Cooler once again, whom Goku still mistakes for Freeza.
Goku: So, you return once again, Freezer.
Cooler: Yes, I have returned, dumbass.
- 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?
- When Brian checks out Quagmires RV before a trip:
- In another episode, Peter mentions that hes looking forward to phone sax with Lois. No, he did not mean phone sex.
- From Scooby-Doo and Scrappy-Doo:
Scrappy: Professor Spaulding, eh? I bet thats an alien!Velma: You mean an alias?Scrappy: Nope! I mean alien! Like in Star Creature!
- From Rocky and Bullwinkle, Boris sounds like he's using his usual Poirot Speak pronunciation when he suggests they beat Bullwinkle with "stragedy," but:
Natasha: You mean "strategy," darling.Boris: No, stragedy! I'm going to stretch the rope across the door and fasten the end to trigger on the shotgun, and when moose comes out the door, what is it?Both together: Is tragedy!
- Real life: Tell someone that an anime was macekered and sometimes they'll say, "Don't you mean massacred?"
- Stage critic George Jean Nathan belittled Tallulah Bankhead for her performance in what he called Queen of the Nil: "no e, please, Mr. Printer; don't make something out of nothing."note
- Saying an actual quote instead of the Beam Me Up, Scotty! version of it could get this reaction.