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Expospeak Gag

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Why don't we just shoot him instead? Oh, wait...

Sir Humphrey Appleby: Prime Minister, I must protest, in the strongest possible terms, my profound opposition to a newly instituted practice which imposes severe and intolerable restrictions upon the ingress and egress of senior members of the hierarchy and which will in all probability, should the current deplorable innovation be perpetuated, precipitate a constriction of the channels of communication and culminate in a condition of organisational atrophy and administrative paralysis, which will render effectively impossible the coherent and coordinated discharge of the function of government within Her Majesty's United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland!
PM Jim Hacker: ...You mean you've lost your key?

A joke based on describing something mundane using such technical language that it takes the audience a while to work out what's being talked about (though a Translator Buddy usually catches it right away).

Mostly limited to Speculative Fiction, where it can be seamlessly slotted into the standard Expospeak, but occasionally turns up in other genres, especially when the characters are meant to be especially intelligent or academic, such as scientists or doctors.

Sometimes used as a form of Unusual Euphemism (see Technical Euphemism) or to facilitate an Oops... I Did It Again plot where someone assumes the technical explanation refers to something much more serious than it really does.

Can be used to implement a Tomato Surprise, ("Their only weakness is dihydrogen monoxide!") or serve as a MacGuffin as the hero engages in an Evidence Scavenger Hunt to work out what the Expospeak really means. (For example, the hero is told that the Monster of the Week is a "lycanthrope", and then has to spend the next few scenes doing research to discover that "lycanthrope" is another word for "werewolf.") This second variety is dangerous, as you often run the risk of making the hero look like a complete moron if the Expospeak isn't impenetrable enough.

The number one all-time most common Expospeak Gag is, "He suggested that you perform an anatomically impossible act."

Compare with Description Porn and Non-Poetic Mauve Text Reflective Of Electromagnetic Waves Measuring Between Three Hundred Eighty And Four Hundred Twenty Nanometers.

See also Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, Sophisticated as Hell, Layman's Terms, Blunt Metaphors Trauma, Narrative Profanity Filter, Spock Speak, Techno Babble, Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp", Antidisestablishmentarianism, Scary Science Words. Buffy Speak is the opposite. If a character forces someone else to expospeak, that's Insistent Terminology.

A subtrope of Bathos.

The following is a semi-comprehensive list of specific points in varied media, in which this trope is utilized, either intentionally or unintentionally, by the so named media. Also known as, Examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • In Austria, there was a commercial having a young, enthusiastic manager do a presentation about his new energy drink, rich in pure water and vitamins, without additives, tasty, etc. The advertisement concludes with his boss responding: "That's really nice and all. But nothing new. We have apples, already."
  • In the mid 90s, around the time that businesses were just starting to use the internet to do stuff that we now take for granted as basic things to do when in business, IBM (as a manufacturer of much of the hardware used for commercial computer systems) ran a series of adverts involving a typical IT team interacting with the company execs. One of them featured a subversion of this trope:
    Exec's PA: David, the meeting starts in ten minutes, what do we tell them about why we're developing this website thing?
    IT Guy: [draws breath, raises finger]...
    Exec's PA: [interrupting] In language they can understand!
    IT Guy: [after a few seconds' thought] Tell them that for every penny they spend, they'll get four pennies back.

    Alternate Reality Games 
  • Omega Mart: One commercial advertises a sale on products made with mammal liquid (dairy) and goes on to talk about the savings for gestating mammal liquid (milk), gestating mammal liquid toast paint (butter), aged gestating mammal liquid (yogurt), and gestating mammal liquid in block form (cheese).

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Case Closed File 131 or so, Yukiko, Shinichi's mother, manages to cover for Shinichi in front of Ran by saying Conan (her secretly de-aged son) is really her distant relative — in fact, he's the nephew of the grandfather of the cousin of the daughter of the brother of her uncle. Or for short, her grandfather's nephew (thus, her first cousin removed once, also known as her uncle removed once).
  • Lyrical Nanoha
  • Koushiro "Izzy" Izumi from Digimon Adventure is notorious for this trope, though it is far more common in the English dub than in the original Japanese.
    Izzy: Stress accumulates until a crack develops, and with excess weight, the terrafirma isn't so firma.
  • After taking Amy hostage in the first episode of Gargantia on the Verdurous Planet, Ledo tasks Chamber with analyzing the local language and figuring out what she's shouting about. Turns out it was a Cluster F-Bomb.
    Chamber: Those were statements regarding reproduction with one's mother, as well as sanctified excrement.
    Ledo: As I thought, they're savages!
  • In Yuyushiki, when Ditzy Genius Yuzuko found out water can be called "oxidane," she made up lines like "pour oxidane on dumplings, then cover," in which both Yui and Yukari found to be scarier than it should be.
  • At the beginning of episode 16a of Jewelpet Sunshine, everyone is in class feeling hot because of the summer weather. Sapphie, the smart girl of the otherwise delinquent-filled Plum Class, says this:
    Sapphie: Because of a shift in the Earth's axis of rotation and a change in its orbital path, the amount of sunlight has increased.
    Peridot: It's summery and refreshing!
  • In Yuugai Shitei Doukyuusei, used for innuendo. Disappointed that Miyako didn't use the electric toothbrush she got her for masturbation, Reika muses on how "Miyako is taking my present, turning on its vibration, inserting it into one of her mucous membranes, and shoving it around until she's good and satisfied."

    Comic Books 
  • In Spark's origin issue of Legends of the Legion the villain Slopp talks entirely in phrases like "Undifferentiated from pilfering confectionery from a suckling!" Amusingly, his boss, High-Brow, who prides himself on his intelligence, hasn't a clue what Slopp is saying.
  • This is a constant source of friction between best friends Reed Richards and Ben Grimm. Reed is a genius and will never use four words where forty will do, whereas Ben is straight to the point and has no patience for Reed's technobabble.
  • In one chapter of Superman & Batman: Generations, Lex Luthor says he created a Time Travel field "generated when acetylsalicylic acid is irradiated at a 108 megahertz frequency"...or in plain English, he irradiated aspirin with an FM radio. He's done similar feats before.
  • In Titans (Rebirth) #24, Miss Martian says "The fecal matter has just intersected with the spinning blades of the cooling device". J'onn tells her she needs to work on her Earth idioms.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Calvin using "educated language" for a book report.
    Hobbes: "The Dynamics of Interbeing and Monological Imperatives in Dick And Jane: A Study in Transrelational Gender Modes".
    Calvin: Academia, here I come!
    • The 10th Anniversary book had Watterson openly comment on how he hates this type of thing when used seriously.
  • In Dilbert, Wally always does that. For example, transferring hundred of thousands of bytes to an auxiliary support (he copied a file on a floppy disk). He even suggested to assign him the task of testing the internet connection using high-requested servers (he intended to make watching porn his job!).
    • Scott Adams actually advises managers lacking inspiration to do so in The Dilbert Principle.

    Fan Works 
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged
    • What Gohan does when he goes berserk.
    Gohan: I'm going to eviscerate you, and use your gastrointestinal tract as a condom while I fornicate with your skull!
    Nappa: What?
    Gohan: I'm gonna skullf*ck you!!
    • Later, Gohan again:
    Gohan: Law of mass dictates that the mass of an object dramatically increases the force of impact when said object collides with the ground, and with your size, you'll make an extensively large impact upon your inevitable defeat.
    Vegeta (in Oozaru form), and Goku: What?
    Gohan: The bigger they are, the harder they fall!
    Goku: What?
  • An Eyrie Productions Unlimited forum bonus, lampshading the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy:
    GENOM MILARM testing report: This weapon experienced considerable difficulty in targeting the lateral elevation of an agricultural storage facility. You can't hit the broad side of a barn with this thing!
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero:
    Yuki: At this juncture, I will attempt to communicate something to you, though I am uncertain as to the accuracy of the transmission. Words remain a weak vector for communicating vital information. Despite the lack of adherence to social norms and the correct protocols for this procedure, I am attempting to convey to you the positive emotive content of my current condition and regards for you. The outcome is uncertain; no accurate prediction can be made. Regardless of the fact that determination is unclear, I have resolved to continue due to the content of the emotive concept I wish to relay. Despite the fact that I have no comparable metric, I am currently unable to conceive a greater intensity than the one I experience at this moment in relation to you.
    Yuki: I attempted to use more words. It appears that the data was not conveyed accurately.
    Kyon: C...can you try it again with less, maybe?
    Yuki: Yes. I like you. A lot.
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series has Thunderstorm revealing Shadow's Concentrated Electrical Manipulator.
  • In chapter 22 of Earth and Sky, when Twilight asks Doctor Insanity what exactly he has a doctorate in, he responds with "osculate-my-rump-onomy". "Osculate my rump" means "kiss my ass".
  • In the Ponies of Olympus series, Shining says he didn't forget to tell Twilight he was participating in the Atlas Strongest Tournament, he just "failed to mention due to cognitive flatulence" (read: he had a brain fart). Twilight says that she's too smart for using big words to confuse the issue (though she admits she used to do the same thing to Cadence).
  • In Mutant Storm, this was invoked to appease Professor Xavier when Logan and Harry wish to leave the Death Eaters a gift in place of the kidnapped Jean.
  • In Comes The Cold Dragon, most of the second half of Chapter 2 is an overly long Expospeak Gag going into great detail about Happosai triggering a bar brawl in order to prevent the interruption of a waitress performing certain services for the old lecher and using a very drunken Soun and Genma as distractions, which lead toward Happi being tossed in jail, Genma tossed in the panda cage at the zoo, and Soun passed out with the waitress's drunken exboyfriend who Soun used as a makeshift naginata, passed out next to him.
  • In Step by Step, Spock tells McCoy that "[the ship] needed to be unable to receive any further communications" from the admiralty before he could get Kirk off the bridge. Kirk asks him if he means that "You and Scotty sabotaged the comm system so [the admiral] won't realize [he's] not up there."
  • Things I Am Not Allowed to Do at the PPC: Sweeping one's partner into "a passionate osculation"note  if they don't want you to do that isn't allowed. Trawling through the dictionary just to find obscure words to confuse people with is allowed, but people won't like you for doing so.
  • Turnabout Storm has one by Twilight combined with Comically Missing the Point after Sonata testifies, without breaking her glare, that she cried.
    Phoenix: You... cried...?
    Twilight: Yes! It's a complex secretomotor phenomenon characterized by the shedding of tears from the lacrimal apparatus, without any irritation of the ocular structures...
    Phoenix: I know what crying is! I just can't see her crying!
  • From The Aristocats' Island:
    Jenny Searchanfind: You know something? I think these items may well be instrumental in securing for us deliverance from our enforced isolation.
    Berlioz: Not only that, we might get rescued!
  • Strange Times Are Upon Us:
    Ila'kshath: This is what happened. Our weapons fire mixed with the Breens' transphasic weapons, plus with the theta-verteron particles in the vicinity of that micronebula, produced a subspace distortion. A class four quantum singularity.
    Brokosh: Okay, Ila'kshath, remember what I said about technobabble?
    Ila'kshath: We accidentally made a wormhole, General.
  • In Going Home, Tatsuya caves to a "superior distraction technique" (his fiancée's Sleep Cute), and falls asleep again.
  • In What Tomorrow Brings, Mertil calls a kitchen sink "the water receptacle in the food preparation space."
  • In Bros Before Heroes, Nino reiterates his previous narration in a way that sounds more dramatic.
Nino paced the length of the boiler room as he awaited the arrival of Adri-
Wait. Scratch that.
Comrade Ketchup paced the length of the boiler room as he awaited the arrival of Comrade Mayo. There was critical intel that had fallen into his possession that he knew his compatriot needed to see.

    Films — Animation 
  • Chicken Run features this after Rocky wakes up with a bandaged wing:
    Rocky: Ouch! What happened to my wing?
    Ginger: You took a rather nasty fall.
    Mac: And sprained the anterior tendon connecting your radius to your humerus. I gave her a wee bit of a tweak, Jimmy, and wrapped her up.
    Rocky: Was that English?
    Ginger: She said you hurt your wing. She fixed it.
  • From The Rescuers Down Under:
    Mouse Doctor: (to the nurses) Bring me the epidermal tissue disruptor!
    Wilbur: The epidermal what?
    (The mouse nurses hoist a chainsaw over Wilbur's hospital bed)
  • In Toy Story, Buzz Lightyear uses quite a few of these: He refers to tape as "unidirectional bonding strip", pizza delivery as "jettisoning food supply", and seatbelts as "restraining harnesses".

    Films — Live Action 
  • 3 Idiots: Invoked as an indirect form of Ironic Echo. During the "What is a machine?" scene, Chantur recites the textbook definition of a machine in response to Virus telling Rancho to define a machine (which he does, but in "simple language"), and Rancho is told to Get Out! for questioning Virus' teaching methods. Cue this conversation:
    Virus: So we were discussing the machine…
    (Rancho turns back and walks back into the classroom)
    Virus: Why're you back?
    Rancho: I forgot something.
    Virus: What?
    Rancho: Instruments that record analyses summarize organize debate and explain information which are illustrative non-illustrative, hardbound paperback jacketed non-jacketed with forward introduction, table of contents, index that are indented for the englightnment, understanding enrichment enhancement and education of the human brain thru sensory root of vision… sometimes touch.
    (Cue Stunned Silence from the rest of the class)
    Virus: What do you mean?
    Rancho: Books, sir.
    (Most of the class starts laughing)
    Rancho: I forgot my books. May I?
    Virus: Couldn't you ask simply?
    Rancho: I tried earlier, sir. It simply didn't work.
    (The class, Chantur excluded, laughs even harder)
  • In Alien the gadget used to track the Alien detects "micro changes in air density". In other words, it's a microphone.
  • In Back to the Future, Dr. Emmett Brown sees a poster for the school dance and tells Marty there's a "rhythmic ceremonial ritual" coming up.
  • Subverted in Big Trouble in Little China, where Egg Shen uses what appears to be expospeak to clarify meaning something mystically as opposed to technically:
    Egg Shen: Black blood of the earth!
    Jack: You mean oil?
    Egg Shen: No, I mean black blood of the earth!
    • Played straight later when a visibly-annoyed Shen stands by idly while Jack Burton describes at length how a potion is making him feel positive, confident, and strong; it's implied Shen may have simply gotten Burton a little drunk.
  • The Coneheads from Coneheads
    • This exchange:
      Beldar: It is time for mid-day cessation of activities for carbo-protein intake.
      Otto: Yeah, sure. Take a lunch break.
      Prymatt: ...consume mass quantities of molten lactate extract of hoofed mammals on a starched disk.
      Beldar: Ah. Pizza. I shall enjoy!
    • Reversed the gag in this example:
      High Master: Ford Lincoln Mercury Sable?
      Beldar: A personal conveyance named after its inventor, an assassinated ruler, a character from Greco-Roman myth and a small furry mammal.
  • Howard the Duck features a pizza being described as "It's a circular Italian food object."
  • I, Robot:
    Spooner: So, Dr. Calvin, what exactly do you do around here?
    Calvin: My general fields are advanced robotics and psychiatry. I specialize in hardware-to-wetware interfaces to advance USR's robotic anthropomorphization program.
    Spooner: So, what exactly do you do around here?
    Calvin: I make the robots seem more human.
    Spooner: Now, wasn't that easier to say?
    Calvin: Not really, no.
  • In National Treasure, Ben tells Abigail that the back of the Declaration of Independence contains "an encryption" of "a cartograph" showing "the location of hidden items of historic and intrinsic value." "You mean a treasure map?" "That's where we lost the FBI." (And the Smithsonian, the NSA, etc.)
  • In the Bond movie Never Say Never Again, an aging 007 is sent to a health spa for a strict health regimen. When Moneypenny asks what his "mission" is, he says "I'm to eliminate all free radicals." Moneypenny looks concerned. "Oh, do be careful, James."
  • From Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl:
    Elizabeth: Captain Barbossa, I am here to negotiate the cessation of hostilities against Port Royal.
    Barbossa: There be a lot of long words in there, miss. We're naught but humble pirates. What is it that you want?
    Elizabeth: I want you to leave and never come back.
    Barbossa: I'm disinclined to acquiesce to your request.
    Elizabeth: (blank stare)
    Barbossa: Means "no".
  • The Shadow movie, set in the 1930s:
    Roy Tam: I guess you could call it an implosive, explosive, sub-molecular device.
    Lamont Cranston: Or... an Atomic Bomb.
    Roy Tam: Say, that's catchy.
  • Star Trek (2009) gives us this inversion when raw recruit Sulu can't get the ship to move:
    Pike: (jokingly) Is the parking brake on?
    Sulu: Uh, no sir. I'll figure it out.
    Spock: Have you disengaged the external inertial damper?
    Sulu: (looks embarrassed as he disengages the external inertial damper) Ready for warp, sir.
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has Dr. McCoy bully his way past hospital guards by shouting that his patient had, "acute post-prandial upper-abdominal distension," which is to say, "cramps".
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze involves The Professor (played by David Warner) asking Michaelangelo to pass him a vial of dimethyl chlorinide. Quips Mikey, "I don't mean to criticize science, but wouldn't it be easier just to call it 'the pink one'?"
  • Played for Drama in 2001: A Space Odyssey. When Hal cuts off the life support for the three hibernating astronauts, an alarm goes off and a monitor flashes "Computer Malfunction" then "Life Functions Critical". A systems status monitor shows the astronauts' bodily functions flatlining one by one (and in a subtle, disturbing note, the last function to go — "Central Nervous System", i.e., the brain — goes haywire for several seconds before flatlining, hinting that the astronauts' deaths were anything but painless). Finally, the alarm shuts off, and the monitor flashes the message "Life Functions Terminated."
  • Batman Begins. After Lucius Fox finishes explaining exactly how he derived the antidote for Crane's fear toxin:
    Lucius Fox: I analyzed your blood, isolating the receptor compounds and the protein-based catalyst.
    Bruce Wayne: Am I supposed to understand any of that?
  • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, after Maria Hill confusingly describes the Twins' abilities as 'increased metabolism and improved thermal homeostasis' and 'neuro-electric interfacing, telekinesis and mental manipulation' to Steve, she simplifies her brief drastically.
  • Used several times in The Wog Boy with two police officers who pull Steve over in an early scene.
    Steve: I'm actually on the dole. I just do favours for people.
    Bazza: Your vehicle appears disproportionately well maintained for a person of your fiduciary capacity.
    [Steve looks at Shazza]
    Shazza: Nice car for a dole bludger.

  • A professor is doing a chemical experiment with his students. Suddenly things start going wrong. The professor says:
    "This is a classic example of a link between scatologynote  and mechanics: shit's about to hit the fan".
  • A man is filling out an insurance application and one of the questions is "How did your father die?". His father had been executed by hanging, so he writes "My father died at age of 64. He was participating in a public function when the platform gave way." A similar joke has the hanged man be a Remittance Man, and the euphemism used in a letter of condolence to the father.
  • A man goes to the doctor with abdominal pains, and the doctor sends him home with instructions to take an enema - "Administer the apparatus rectally". Later that night, the man realizes he had no idea what the doctor actually meant, so he consults his wife. His wife suggests that he calls up the doctor to ask him, but the man voices his concern that the doctor will be mad about being called out of office hours. Eventually he relents and calls the doctor, asking him how he should use the enema. The doctor responds: "Just shove it up your ass!" The man hangs up the phone sadly, and tells his wife, "I told you he'll be mad."

  • In Terry Pratchett's Discworld novels:
    • The Colour of Magic, the Earth counterpart of one of the characters is described as "a specialist in the breakaway oxidation phenomena of certain nuclear reactors" (i.e. uncontrolled fires in nuclear reactors). Terry Pratchett worked in a nuclear plant before he became a Famous Author.
    • Mr Slant of the Guild of Lawyers would often say things in the Old Language (i.e. Dog Latin) to give his interpretation of Ankh-Morpork's ad hoc legal system a veneer of legitimacy (for instance Acquiris Quodcumque Rapis, "You Get What You Grab").
    • Leonard of Quirm has a strange habit of coming up with Clock Punk versions of familiar devices and giving them very densely verbose names. For example, after inventing the first submarine:
      Leonard: Because it is submersed in a marine environment, I call it the Going-Under-The-Water-Safely Device.
    • The description of Harga's menu in Mort:
      "They don't go in for the fancy or exotic, but stick to conventional food like flightless bird embryos, minced organs in intestine skins, slices of hog flesh and burnt ground grass seeds dipped in animal fats; or, as it is known in their patois, egg, soss and bacon and a fried slice."
    • In Sourcery, a magic carpet would fly to the command "down" due to "laminar and spatial arrangements", or, more simply, because it was put on the floor upside-down.
    • In Reaper Man, the head of the Guild of Alchemists insists that they're not behind the mysterious poltergeist activity; anything that goes flying when they're around is due to "unforeseen exothermic reactions", or in Layman's Terms "things keep blowing up".
    • In Jingo, Willkins warns Sam Vimes, "Lady Sybil has vouchsafed to me that if you are not there she will utilize your intestines for hosiery accessories, sir." In other words (and probably the ones Sybil used), she'll have his guts for garters.
    • In The Dark Side of the Sun, one of Pratchett's characters pulled "You are now recumbent water-fowl of the Genus Anatidae. I repeat, you are now sitting ducks."
    • In Guards! Guards!, Sybil asks Vimes if he thinks the noble dragon is a thaumivore, and Vimes says "I just think it eats magic, that's all."
    • Unseen University Challenge, the first Discworld quizbook by David Langford, asks "What type of exotic delicacy, served in a strangely wrought box of compressed fibres, is a Klatchian Hots?" It's a pizza, and it comes in a cardboard pizza box.
  • In John R. Erickson's Hank the Cowdog series, the titular canine narrator is given to describing his sensory organs as though they were sophisticated machinery:
    "... As I recall the scene, I was reclined on my gunny sack bad, hovering in the twilight zone between watchfulness and more or less complete oblivion. In other words, although my more critical faculties were pretty muchly in neutral, I continued to monitor all sounds and earatory data in the Ready Room of my mind."
  • Pretty much everything in The Eye of Argon is (perhaps unintentionally) described in this fashion. As an example, eyes are probably more often referred to as "[colour] orbs" and "organs of sight" than just "eyes".
  • As in other series which blur the line between fantasy and science fiction, Steven Brust includes coded references to modern things in the seemingly Renaissance-y Dragaera universe. In one memorable instance, there is a reference to characters eating "the house bread" with some kind of fish spread. In modern terms, this is bagels and lox cream cheese.
  • Good Omens mocks this:
    Tommy: Mom, if any throughput eventuates premising to interface with Sgt. Thomas A. Deisenburger telephonically, Mom, sir, this individual will be—
    Mom: Sorry, Tommy?
    Tommy: I said, if anyone calls, Mom, I'll be down in the Big Field, with Pop and Chester and Ted.
  • The Dresden Files has Harry describing a plant monster in narration as a "chlorofiend" because he feels silly saying "plant monster". It doesn't work, as he eventually has to use "plant monster" when everyone else wonders what a "chlorofiend" is.
  • Often happens with Telemain and his Magi Babble in the Enchanted Forest Chronicles; nearly all of it makes perfect sense if you happen to have a dictionary or someone with a very large vocabulary handy.
  • The Temps story "Pitbull Brittan" by Jack Yeovil opens with Brittan's papers regarding his transfer from One Para to the Department of Paranormal Resources. The DPR official is suspicious, believing "this is an oblatory equine situation, and we should acquire the services of a veterinarian dentist". (They should look the gift horse in the mouth.)
  • In The Legends of Ethshar series, wizards can get answers to yes-or-no questions by using the Spell of the Eighth Sphere, which makes runes appear in a black crystal globe. In other words, a Magic 8-Ball.
  • In his essay, "Politics and the English Language," George Orwell once translated the famous passage from Ecclesiastes 9:11 ("I returned and saw under the sun, that the race was not to the swift...") into what he called "modern English of the worst sort":
    "Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account."
  • Dark Future: Dr. Blakeley pulls one in Comeback Tour.
    "This isn't supposed to happen; he's not a subject, he's GenTech brass. The faecal matter just collided with the ventilation system."
  • Leif Helgarson of The Iron Druid Chronicles is a repeat offender.
    • To wit: "I should like to take this opportunity to name you Sherlock and point out that there is no shit."
  • In The Bacta War, Rogue Squadron has discovered that their old X-Wings are being surplussed out. Tycho notes to Wedge that the fighters are missing a critical part, the PL-1. Wedge asks him what a PL-1 is. Turns out that's bean-counter-ese for "pilot".
  • In Foundation's Edge, a customs official refers to his superior as a 'sanguinary person born of an irregular union'. In other words, he calls him a bloody bastard.
  • The author of Professor Mmaa's Lecture enjoys making the termite scientists speak in highly elaborate terms, such as calling all species that aren't termites with their Latin names.
  • In one of the Star Trek novels, there is this line: "The Tellerite nobleman's cries of rage were indicative of his species' porcine evolutionary antecedents; or, to put it more vulgarly, he squealed like a stuck pig."
  • In The Final Reflection, after a Human diplomat makes a proposal that Krenn finds horribly insulting, he relieves his feelings by using an alien language the Humans don't know "to curse the Humans and their riding animals".note 
  • In the forward to I Am Spock by Leonard Nimoy, Mr. Spock's reaction to the title is to ask Nimoy "To indulge in a human colloquialism: Have you lost your small glass gaming spheres?"
  • Humanx Commonwealth: Alan Dean Foster's early work in this series is noted for Purple Prose, including characters who speak in elaborately technical terms as a kind of Verbal Tic. Sometimes it's also a one-off gag, as in Bloodhype, when Mal Hammurabi describes the well-deserved spanking he's about to give to Kitten Kai-Sung as "eleemosynary chastisement", by way of demonstrating to her that he is not as dumb as his size and looks would indicate.
  • In the Touhou Project spinoff Touhou Kourindou ~ Curiosities of Lotus Asia, one chapter deals with Rinnosuke finding a device he describes as "a grey box, small enough to be held in the hands, made of... plastic, I believe it was called? [...] On top of that, this one has several differently-shaped buttons and switches on it." He's worried it's an Artifact of Doom because his Name Dar says it can "control just about anything. For example, manipulating people, making them fight, starting wars and, depending on the circumstances, even destroying the world." After spending most of the chapter trying to keep it from falling into the wrong hands, it gets stolen by Yukari, the last person he wanted to have it. She explains that the device is harmless — it's a Game Boy.
  • The book describing the rules for tabletop game The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen are written in an overly flowery dialect appropriate to the period, including the rules on playing it over internet chat. (There is a chapter that simplifies everything mentioned in the latter half, though)
  • Another Terry Pratchett example: In Only You Can Save Mankind, when the ScreeWee captain is insisting that Johnny has to feed them, as his prisoners, she gives him a meal ordernote . that he completely fails to understand as being food, even as she insists it's what he eats. (The items that don't get clarified are popcorn with butter, fizzy drink, and possibly Marmite.)
    Johnny: Me? I don't even know what that stuff is! What are pressed wheat extractions treated with sucrose?
    Captain: It said "Snappiflakes" on the packet.
    Johnny: Soured lactic acid?
    Captain: You had a banana yoghurt.
    Johnny: The grilled bovine flesh and all that stuff?
    Captain: A hamburger and fries with onion rings.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Our Miss Brooks: Teenage Walter Denton is sometimes very fond of Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness. It's on these occasions that Denton engages in expospeak. The following example is a petition he writes for the episode "Cafeteria Boycott", remade for television as "The Cafeteria Strike". Note the oddball combination of 50's slang, extensive "borrowing" from the Declaration of Independence, and assorted legalese (the petition omitted for time in the newest syndication cut of the show). Walter Denton is simply asking for Mr. Conklin to fire the incompetent new school chef.
    Walter Denton: Whereas and to wit—
    Miss Brooks: That's pretty strong language, isn't it? A little on the pink side.
    Harriet Conklin: Listen, Miss Brooks.
    Walter Denton: When in the course of student's events, it becomes necessary to turn one's back on one's stomach, we the undersigned, exercising our constitutional right to peaceably assemble, and to form a committee to seek the redress of grievances, do hereby announce our firm intention of the Madison High School Cafeteria only to use the tables, chairs, water, napkins and toothpicks provided therein. Until such a time that the duly appointed party or parties, namely Mr. Osgood Conklin, principal, or the Board of Education, responsible for the operational bog-down that has befallen this installation, do take such action that will improve the food, lower the prices and better the service in said cafeteria. It is also recommended the person, or persons, in whom this authority is vested, immediately see that the present chef in charge of preparing the food, and without any further frippery or fanfare, chuck him the heck off the premises. Well, Miss Brooks, what do you think of it?
    Miss Brooks: How much do you want for the picture rights?
  • The Beverly Hillbillies: Miss Hathaway is prone to this in earlier seasons. In "Jed, Incorporated" she goes on a long soliliquey describing the tax benefits of Jed Clampett having a corporation. The Clampetts admit not knowing what she said. Mr. Drysdale pretends not to know either.
  • The Australian news program The 7:30 Report periodically does political satire with John Clarke and Brian Dawe. One installment, in which Clarke-playing-John-Howard had returned from a meeting with Meg Lees to be interviewed by Brian, consisted largely of the minutes of the meeting turning out to be expospeak versions of common insults and expressions of exasperation, recording that, for example, Ms. Lees named a prominent religious figure.
  • In The Amos 'n Andy Show episode "Kingfish's Last Friend", Kingfish is suffering a great deal of pain and a doctor has been summoned to examine him. The doctor tells him he's suffering from "hypersaturation of the duodenum". The doctor then goes in the next room and tells Kingfish's wife Sapphire the same thing. She breaks down crying until the doctor tells her that that's just the medical name for overeating.
  • A variant occurs in Babylon 5: Garibaldi says nothing, but mind-reader Bester replies with "Anatomically impossible, Mr. Garibaldi, but you're welcome to try."
  • Better Off Ted: Veronica is late for a meeting because she was working on the "dough-based projectile ventilation targeting system". Translation: she was competing against Linda to see who could throw more bagels into the air vent.
  • This quote from Sheldon in The Big Bang Theory: "I'm polymerized tree sap and you're an organic adhesive, so whatever verbal projectile you launch in my direction is reflected off of me, returns to its original trajectory and adheres to you." For those getting a headache from that, it's the old "I'm rubber and you're glue" retort.
    • Another favorite, when he tries to trash-talk his opponent in a robot competition: "I'm given to understand that your mother is overweight. Now of course if that is the result of a glandular condition and not sloth and gluttony, I withdraw the comment. There are boundaries."
    • Also, in the episode when Howard accidentally drives the Mars Lander into a ditch, Sheldon remarks, "I believe the appropriate metaphor here involves a river of excrement and a Native American water vessel without any means of propulsion", which was his way of saying "up shit creek without a paddle".
    • Leonard explains Sheldon's relationship problems: "What would you be if you were attached to another object by an inclined plane wrapped helically around an axis?". The answer is, of course, screwed.
    • "Howard told me my allegiance should be to male companions before women who sell their bodies on the street". In other words, "bros before hos".
    • Often used in the show, of course, with Sheldon in particular. What's interesting is you often get two sets of canned laughter — one after the Expo Speak and another a few seconds later after the Layman's Terms translation. It's anyone's guess how much is due to different parts of the studio audience responding to different terms, and how much is the editors using a laugh track to simulate this effect.
  • Blackadder:
    • "Money": Edmund is trying to sell his house:
      Blackadder: Well, what we're talking about in, erm, privy terms is the very latest in front-wall, fresh-air orifices, combined with a wide-capacity gutter installation below.
      Prospective Buyer: You mean you crap out of the window?
      • Making this even funnier, this actually convinces the man and his wife to buy Blackadder's house — they're too lazy to bother with a chamberpot or anything like that.
    • Exaggerated when Samuel Johnson turns up.
      Dr. Samuel Johnson: I celebrated last night the encyclopedic implementation of my pre-meditated orchestration of demotic Anglo-Saxon.
      Prince George: ...Nope, didn't catch any of that.
      Samuel Johnson: Well, I simply observed, sir, that I'm felicitous since during the course of the penultimate solar sojourn, I terminated my uninterrupted categorisation of the vocabulary of our post-Norman tongue.
      Prince George: Well, I don't know what you're talking about, but it sounds damn saucy, you lucky thing! I know some fairly liberal-minded girls, but I've never penultimated any of them in a solar sojourn, or for that matter, been given any Norman tongue.
      Blackadder: I believe, sir, that the Doctor is trying to tell you that he is happy because he has finished his book. It has apparently taken him ten years.
      Prince George: Well, I'm a slow reader myself.
    • "Goodbyeee":
      Baldrick: No, the thing is: The way I see it, these days there’s a war on, right? and, ages ago, there wasn’t a war on, right? So, there must have been a moment when there not being a war on went away, right, and there being a war on came along. So, what I want to know is: How did we get from the one case of affairs to the other case of affairs?
      Edmund: (Beat) Do you mean, “How did the war start?”
      Baldrick: Yeah.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer seemed to like this. Usually, it was done by Giles, but...
    • Faith and the Mayor had this exchange:
      The Mayor: I don't want you staying in that motel, there are immoral liaisons going on in there!
      Faith: Yeah, plus all the screwing.
    • Also done back and forth between Buffy and Riley when they confront each other over their secret identities:
      Buffy: You’re part of some military monster squad that captures - demons, vampires, probably have some official sounding euphemisms for them, - like unfriendlies or – non-sapiens.
      Riley: Hostile Sub Terrestrials.
  • Quoth Insufferable Genius Frasier from Cheers: "I heard a line in one of those... tribal passages that I thought was the keynote for this evening: 'Everybody have fun tonight. Everybody Wang Chung tonight.'"
  • In the Scottish sketch show Chewin' the Fat, there's a famous sketch where a surgeon is describing with eloquent Expo Speak what happened to a patient who was shot. Each time, he's called out on it by the nurses who go "Ooooh!" patronisingly and make a certain hand gesture (which has undergone Memetic Mutation in Scotland) to show their disdain for pretentious wank. When his last sentence describes how the bullet ended up in the patient's "tummy", they're a bit disappointed.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Time Meddler": At the end, the First Doctor breaks the dimensional controller of the TARDIS belonging to rival Time Lord the Monk, making the inside of the Monk's TARDIS the same size as the sarcophagus it uses as its outside — tiny, but perhaps just small enough to squeeze into. When the Monk shows up again in "The Daleks' Master Plan" hell-bent on revenge, they share this exchange:
      The Monk: It took a bit of time, but I finally managed to bypass the dimensional controller.
      The Doctor: Yes, a very interesting solution, yes, I'm sure, though I think it would make for rather an uncomfortable ride.
    • A trope much beloved by Robert Holmes, the writer of more than a few classic serials, usually to illustrate pompous stupidity. In "Carnival of Monsters", for example, arrogant aristocrat Orum says of the low-ranking Functionaries "Give them a hygiene chamber and they'll store fossil fuel in it." This is an Expospeak Gag on a line from the early 20th century, reflecting conservative class attitudes "If the workers had baths, they'd use them to keep the coal."
      • Inverted in Holmes' "The Deadly Assassin". Rather than describe the Doctor's change of body by the rather more lofty "regeneration", a fellow Time Lord refers to them as "facelifts".
    • "Horror of Fang Rock":
      "The localised condition of planetary atmospheric condensation caused a malfunction in the visual orientation circuits. Or to put it another way, we got lost in the fog."
    • "Four to Doomsday": Adric displays both his scientific knowledge and personal immaturity by irritatingly asking for the "sodium chloride", when he really means the salt.
      • The same joke was later used in a Doctor Who spoof on Extras, where the Tenth Doctor defeats a ridiculous slug-like creature by throwing "sodium chloride" at it after spouting off lines of obvious expospeak.
    • "The Girl in the Fireplace": Sent up when the Doctor admits that he said "spatio-temporal hyperlink" because he didn't want to say "magic door".
    • "The Idiot's Lantern": The Doctor, on how he plans to get rid of the villain:
      Rose: That thing, is it trapped for good on video?
      The Doctor: Hope so. But just to be on the safe side though, I'll use my unrivaled knowledge of trans-temporal extrapolation methods to neutralise the residual electronic pattern.
      Rose: You'll what?
      The Doctor: I'm gonna tape over it.
    • "Turn Left": Captain Magambo outfits Donna with the gear she'll need for her mission.
      Magambo: Keep the jacket on at all times, it's insulation against temporal feedback. This [a technician straps on a watch] will correspond to local time wherever you land. This... is to combat dehydration. [offers ordinary glass of water]
    • "Let's Kill Hitler": "Miniaturisation ray?" "How do you know that?" "Well, there was a ray and then we were miniaturised..." And this time, the Doctor didn't say it. That may be a first.
    • "The Tsuranga Conundrum": After the Doctor delivers some technobabble, Ronan asks Yaz if she's also "experiencing comprehension difficulty".
  • Drop the Dead Donkey. Gus Hedges likes to present himself as a high-powered manager, and there's a Running Gag of his spouting nonsensical management speak instead of plain English, including one amusing scene where a blue-collar construction worker works out how to communicate with him.
    Worker: The hoist is ready.
    Gus: Huh?
    Worker: We have an impending vertical lift scenario.
  • In the Emergency! episode "Cook's Tour," Johnny removes a boy's handcuffs using a "stetso-hydraulic activator," aka pliers.
  • Eureka does this a lot, but one of the funniest examples comes not from the scientists, but from Vincent, the Cafe Diem owner/chef, at Holly's wake:
    Vincent: We have all Holly's favorites. Fusilli with gruyère, and peanut purée with blackcurrant preserves on a brioche.
    Jack: Mac and cheese and PB and J. Holly would have loved it.
  • Firefly:
    • In the episode "Out of Gas", River tries to explain to Simon why she forgot his birthday.
      "'Day' is a vestigial mode of time measurement, based on solar cycles. It's not applicable. (long pause) ... I didn't get you anything."
    • In "The Train Job":
      Drunk: I'm thinkin' yer one o' them independents.
      Mal: And I'm thinking you weren't burdened with an overabundance of schooling.
  • Glee
    Quinn: Oh my god, you're getting a nose job.
    Rachel: I'm... considering having a minor procedure to repair my deviated septum.
    Santana: ... so a nose job.
  • Inverted in Hogan's Heroes:
    Hogan: Newkirk, please tell Colonel Klink, without getting too technical, why his truck is being repaired.
    Newkirk: Certainly, sir. It's broken.
  • House does it sometimes to confuse patients or family. For example, he explained to the parents of a teenager patient that the underlying cause of her problems is a growth in her abdomen, which they will remove in a very common operation. In other words, it's a pregnancy complication and they're performing an abortion. In this case, House is doing this specifically because he's legally barred from telling them the specifics.
  • In How I Met Your Mother, when Barney's trying to convince Robin that her relationship with Gael (from Argentina) will fail, they start to implement this.
    Lily: Oh, here he comes — switch to big words.
    Barney: Within a triad of solar periods, you'll recognize your dearth of compatibility with your paramour and conclude your association.
    Robin: My journey was transformative, and I reassert my commitment to both the aforementioned paramour, and the philosophies he espouses.
    Gael: What are we talking of? Baseball?
    Barney: This is all going to return to masticate you in the gluteals. Support my hypothesis, Ted.
    Ted: I'm just jubilant my former paramour is jubilant.
  • In Living Color! based a series of skits on this premise. Prisoners with big words can be dangerous.
  • Lost: Sawyer is afraid his headaches indicate a brain tumor. Jack informs him he has hyperopia, letting him believe for a moment that this is a dreadful disease when it really means he's farsighted.
  • MacGyver (1985):
    • In the episode "Last Stand", Mac is holding some piece of equipment that he's supposedly going to use to fix up a plane so the bad guys can escape. When asked by his guard what the item is, he replies "Lateral... cranial... impact... enhancer", and smacks the guard across the head with it.
    • In another two-part episode, Mac puts together an ancient device explaining at length what it does, defining it as an "optic pump". When the Girl of the Week asks what an optic pump is, he says, "a laser".
  • This was a Running Gag during the first season of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers: Billy would say something long and complicated, another character would say "What?" and Trini would put it in simple terms. For example:
    Billy: You were right, Kimberly. The performers assembled to create this harmonious tune transcend all predecessors to this genre of music.
    Kimberly: Translation, please?
    Trini: He likes the music.
  • Used a couple of times in Monty Python's Flying Circus by Pepperpots (Pythoners dressed up as women). In one sketch with an exploding penguin on top of a TV, one Pepperpot said: "Oh, intercourse the penguin!". In another, when one Pepperpot was proven wrong about something, she said "Coitus!" In both cases, the Pepperpot was referring to the 4-letter "F-word".
    • Interestingly, "intercourse the penguin" wasn't in the script. John Cleese reacts with visible surprise and almost laughs.
    • Happens again in the "Cheese Shop" sketch.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 often had Dr. Forrester use made-up technical names for cruel but simple devices, such as "Hypno-Helio-Static-Stasis" for "Padding".
  • On an episode of MythBusters where they were going to light one million match heads at once, they brought in a bomb technician. When they asked him what they should do if it goes off early, he says to "De-ass the area with the quickness."
    • They would use that phrase again in future episodes.
  • An episode of Now and Again has the protagonist's widow (It Makes Sense in Context) try to get a job. As she's working on her resume, her daughter points out that listing part-time jobs like "waitress" doesn't look good. Instead, she uses fancy terms that make the position seem more important. However, when she goes to her first interview, the employer, a wizened middle-aged woman, sees right through the flowery language. She doesn't hire her, but she explains her own life story and how she started her now-successful business.
  • In QI, to avoid setting the klaxon off by saying porn, Jimmy Carr said that 70% of the internet is filled with "gentlemen's special interest literature" (a common euphemism, of course). It didn't work.
  • Red Dwarf plays this for laughs several times, most notably in "Stasis Leak".
    Cat: (to Rimmer) What is it?
    Rimmer: It's a rend in the space-time continuum.
    Cat: (to Lister) What is it?
    Lister: The stasis room freezes time, you know, makes time stand still. So whenever you have a leak, it must preserve whatever it's leaked into, and it's leaked into this room.
    Cat: (to Rimmer) What is it?
    Rimmer: It's a singularity, a point in the universe where the normal laws of space and time don't apply.
    Cat: (to Lister) What is it?
    Lister: It's a hole back into the past.
    Cat: Oh, a magic door! Well, why didn't you say?
    • Also Kryten, when he becomes human for an episode, describes his first breakfast as "boiled chicken ovulations".
    • Also to Kryten, a pub is a "Meeting place where people attempt to achieve advanced states of mental incompetence through repeated consumption of fermented vegetable drinks".
  • In an episode of Roseanne, when Nancy introduces her new girlfriend, the following exchange occurs.
    Nancy: This is Sharon. She's an erotic dance performance artist.
    Sharon: I'm a stripper.
  • Pretty much the entire point behind the Coneheads sketches on Saturday Night Live.
  • Stargate SG-1 uses this pretty frequently, most notably whenever an alien talks about guns (because they're unique to Earth; everyone else uses energy weapons).
    • "Small Victories":
      Teal'c: The replicators are impervious to Goa'uld technologies. They are, however, susceptible to human projectile weaponry.
      Davis: [visible confusion]
      Jack: Guns.
    • "Undomesticated equines could not keep me away." No matter how many times someone corrects Teal'c on this, he seems to persist in it. Upon hearing him say this, Jack accused Teal'c of trying to make a joke. Teal'c remained silent on the matter, though he did look a bit self-satisfied.
    • Then there was the one where Teal'c told Hathor she should attempt procreation with herself.
    • And when Teal'c is having trouble meditating:
      Carter: You want a glass of warm milk?
      Teal'c: I prefer not to ingest bovine lactose at any temperature.
    • Used for an in-joke and Genius Bonus in one episode featuring the Re'tu, aliens who are completely invisible. Carter comes up with a way to make them visible: expose them to electromagnetic radiation with a wavelength between 400 and 700 nanometers. This is a super-sciency way to say "shine a light on them" (EM radiation between 400 and 700 nanometers is otherwise known as "visible light").
  • Star Trek: Enterprise: In the episode "In a Mirror, Darkly", Hoshi translates a Tholian's protests as "Something about your maternal ancestor."
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: Because he doesn't quite understand metaphors, Data will occasionally lapse into one of these:
    Data: I fear I am pursuing an untamed ornithoid without cause.
    Dr. Crusher: [Beat] A wild goose chase?
  • Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The Doomsday Machine":
    Spock: Random chance seems to have operated in our favor.
    McCoy: In plain non-Vulcan English — we've been lucky.
    Spock: I believe I said that, Doctor.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • Episode "Fair Haven"
      Tuvok: I am experiencing a slight loss of equilibrium and some gastrointestinal distress.
      Seven of Nine: Space sickness.
    • Episode "The Voyager Conspiracy"
      Seven of Nine: I downloaded six months of ship's status reports into my new cortical subunit while I was regenerating.
      Tom Paris: Learn while you sleep.
  • On Three's Company, Jack cuts his finger on his first day as head chef at Angelino's. At the E.R.:
    Doctor: You've got a laceration of the middle phalanx.
    Jack: Oh, my God! Give it to me straight, Doc. I can take it.
    Doctor: Okay. You've got a li'l boo-boo.
  • Characters on The West Wing often use an Expospeak Gag to avoid mentioning politically unpopular things (like taxes).
  • A large majority of the dialogue between Hacker and Sir Humphrey in Yes, Minister consists of barely comprehensible expospeak, satirising the impenetrable workings of government. Most famously:
    Sir Humphrey: The identity of the official whose alleged responsibility for this hypothetical oversight has been the subject of recent discussion is not shrouded in quite such impenetrable obscurity as certain previous disclosures may have led you to assume. Not to put too fine a point on it, the individual in question is, it may surprise you to learn, one whom your present interlocutor is in the habit of defining by means of the perpendicular pronoun.
    Hacker: I beg your pardon?
    Sir Humphrey: It was I!
    • Also when Humphrey has been promoted and won't be working with Hacker anymore:
      Sir Humphrey: The relationship which I may tentatively venture to be not without a degree of reciprocal utility and even occasional gratification is reaching a point of inevitable bifurcation and, to be brief, is in the propinquity of its ultimate, regrettable termination.
      Hacker: What?
      Sir Humphrey: I'm on my way out.
      • Which Hacker misinterprets as meaning Humphrey is dying.
    • Sir Humphrey even manages to weaponize it at one point. When a cache of British-made weapons start showing up in the hands of terrorists, Sir Humphrey has to start up an investigation into how they got them. However, Sir Humphrey has no interest in doing so, since that would inevitably lead to an investigation into how the British Government lost them in the first place, which in turn would make him look bad. So he puts out a memo which technically would kick off the investigation, but couches it in bureaucrat-ese so dense anyone who reads it's eyes will have glazed over before they understand what it's about.

  • Used in an 1841 issue of Punch! as part of a series purporting to give useful instructions on daily life, in this case, the lighting of a fire, which begins:
    Take a small cylindrical aggregation of parallelopedal sections of the ligneous fibre (vulgarly denominated a bundle of fire-wood), and arrange a fractional part of the integral quantity rectilineally along the interior of the igneous receptacle known as a grate, so as to form an acute angle (of, say 25°) with its base; and one (of, say 65°) with the posterior plane that is perpendicular to it; taking care at the same time to leave between each parallelopedal section an insterstice isometrical with the smaller sides of any one of their six quadrilateral superficies, so as to admit of the free circulation of the atmospheric fluid.
  • The Annals of Improbable Research article "How To Write A Scientific Research Report," published along with its "English translation," "How To Write a Clear Research Report." One of the paper's three authors, a "relatively inexperienced researcher (t=0.9167 yr)", is the 11-month-old daughter of the other two authors, and blue, green, yellow, orange and red toy rings are described as "five toroids of different radii having mean reflected photon energies of 2.76, 2.43, 2.18, 1.97, and 1.80 eV."
  • The September/October 1960 issue of Datamation parodied operating manuals for computing hardware with a page describing the proper operation of a "Postal System Input Buffer Device" (i.e. an ordinary U.S. mailbox) in painstaking technical detail.

  • Frank Zappa loved this trope, would frequently pronounce such phrases in a distinctive voice where he exaggerated each syllable (The song 'Muffin Man' for instance, is full of it, notably the 'utility muffin research kitchen') In his autobiography, he uses italics any time a phrase that comes up that he would use that voice for in real life.
  • The pseudo-medieval band The Lost Boys disguise one of their covers as "Ode to an Unfettr'd Fowl".
  • Kids' band Rosenshontz has this at the beginning of a song about teasing: "Branches from the nearby foliage and geological specimens may fracture my skeletal framework. However, inaccurate descriptions of my personality and/or physical features will never damage my psyche." In other words: "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me."
    • Granting that controlling such physiological reactions is often beyond the parameters of the conscious mind, I would nevertheless advise that you withhold secretions from the ocular region with regard to an irretrievable quantity of bovine suckling fluid.
  • Les Luthiers in ''El sendero de Warren":
    Pastor: You had succumbed to gluttony's iniquity.
    Believer: And I'd eaten too much, too.
  • The second track on the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014) soundtrack is named "Adolescent Genetically Altered Shinobi Terrapins".
  • The song "Open the Door, Richard" (first recorded in 1946) has this call-and-response exchange:
    Call: That cat sure was booted with the liquor.
    Response: He was what?
    Call: He was abnoxicated.
    Response: He was what?
    Call: He was inebriated!
    Response: He was what?
    Call: Well, he was just plain drunk.
    Response: Well, alright then!
  • "Mission Statement" by "Weird Al" Yankovic is a song In the Style of Crosby, Stills & Nash, with lyrics composed entirely of corporate jargon and meaningless buzzwords that boil down to "we need to find ways for the company to make more money".
  • An alternate version of the old drinking song "Show Me the Way to Go Home" uses this trope:
    Indicate the way to my habitual abode
    I'm exhausted and I want to retire
    I consumed a small libation 60 minutes ago
    And it went right to my cerebellum
    And wherever I may perambulate
    On earth's crust or ocean or atmospheric discharge
    You will consistently hear me crooning this melody
    Indicate the way to my habitual abode!
  • Melvins' Mangled Demos from 1983 includes a track called "Bibulous Confabulation During Rehearsal". "confabulation" meaning "chatter" and "bibulous" meaning fond of drink - it's five minutes of Studio Chatter.

    Puppet Shows 
  • Link Hogthrob, in one episode of The Muppet Show's Pigs in Space, charges Miss Piggy with the important duty of utilizing the "independent heating-slash-unifying element" and the "horizontal equalizing plane". This wording is paramount in getting her to agree to ironing the laundry without her realizing it.

  • Cabin Pressure gives us "rabbit of negative euphoria" (not a happy bunny) among others.
  • In one episode of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, Chairman Jack explains the connection between the words "ugly", "manhole", "lazy" and "stupid", saying that they're all things with politically correct equivalents.
    Jack: A manhole is a utility hole, ugly is cosmetically challenged, and so on and so forth.
    Graeme: That's...differently interesting.
  • Adventures in Odyssey-
    Issac: But he used his sword to damage the Imagination Station.
    Eugene: Huh?
    Whit: He busted it.
    • There's extra humor here because normally Eugene is causing this trope with even more complicated language (with such gems as "Greetings and felicitations." ["Hello."] and "Attention! Our quarry is on the approach! I believe it would behoove us to seclude ourselves posthaste!" ["Hey! Here they come! Hide!"]); he's only confused here because normally people don't come out of the Imagination Station.

    Urban Legends 
  • A famous urban myth states that a man once bought a box of expensive cigars and had them insured. He then smoked them and claimed on the insurance, saying that the cigars were destroyed in "a series of small fires". He did indeed collect the insurance money, but he was subsequently charged with arson by the insurance company.

    Video Games 
  • The Mass Effect series loves this trope.
    • Blasto, the first hanar Spectre, does not have time for your solid waste excretions. He also has forgotten whether his heat sink is over capacity, and wonders if the criminal scum considers itself fortunate.
    • Mordin's dossier has a lot of these.
      21:41 — Mission Specialist Solus suggests change to plan; when informed that plan will not be changing unless parameters shift, Specialist Solus suggests Commander Kirrahe has foreign object in cloaca. Explanation 
      21:47 — Scouts neutralized. Rentola treated for minor injuries. After assisting, Specialist Solus asks if failure to land undetected constitutes parameter shift. Commander Kirrahe suggests operation may proceed as planned. Specialist Solus suggests cloacal obstruction is, in fact, Kirrahe's cranium. Explanation 
    • In the third game, Tali will, at one point, get utterly smashed by introducing turian brandy into her environment suit via an "Emergency Induction Port" ("That's a straw, Tali" "emeeeergency... induction... port").
  • There is a "salvage" item (AKA: enemy loot) from the MMORPG City of Heroes called a "Temporal Analyzer", which is described as a wrist-mounted " chronal device that tracks the current fourth-dimensional offset and velocity." If you give it any thought, it's obviously just a watch.
  • The infamously difficult Adventure Game adaptation of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1984) features a puzzle where the player has to use a "buffered analgesic" (i.e. take an aspirin tablet).
  • Freedom Force Vs. The Third Reich
    Mentor: There is a saying on Earth: "One engages in a contest with the group of cards granted to him by the dealer."
  • Portal makes a Running Gag out of the Expospeak used by Aperture Laboratories to describe the company's inventions. The most obvious example is the "1500 Megawatt Aperture Science Heavy Duty Super-Colliding Super-Button", which is, in fact, a pressure plate that resembles an overly large red button. GLaDOS also likes to use Buffy Speak (the "Aperture Science Thing We Don't Know What It Does") and oblique terminology ("victory candescence") to describe the ways she isn't not going to kill you. Portal 2, on the other hand, takes this and runs with it, giving us such gems as:
  • In Final Fantasy XII, when Balthier, Fran, and Vaan get their equipment back in the Nalbina Dungeons, combining it with Added Alliterative Appeal:
    Balthier: Ah! The prison repository of wrested relics and raiments.
    Vaan: So our stuff is in here?
    Balthier: That's what I said.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2002) has The Plumber explain his inability to escape a planet now under attack as the result of "socioeconomic disparities," meaning "I don't have enough money." (Much of the joke with the guy is being Smarter Than You Look, hence the high-minded language and clear class-consciousness.)
  • Presea from Tales of Symphonia does this occasionally.
  • Anything pertaining to gnomes in World of Warcraft
    • "I enjoy large posteriors and I can't prevaricate!"
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, after being sold into slavery by the player character:
    Arcade Gannon: In the words of Socrates, "Go fornicate yourself."
    • From Fallout 3: Liberty Prime's take on "Better dead than red":
  • StarCraft II: Wings of Liberty features a one-off Protoss character named Karass. One of his Stop Poking Me! quotes is this little gem...
  • In Star Wars: Republic Commando when you tell one of your squad mates to plant a demolition charge, two of the random lines you can say are "Initiate radical restructuring, commando!" or "Let's rearrange some architecture, Delta."
  • Downplayed in Don't Starve, where Wickerbottom the Librarian will often talk this way. Carrots are daucus carota; an axe is "a dual inclined plane attached to a lever;" if she gets caught in the rain, she might "wonder what [her] body's saturation point is." On the other hand, many of Wickerbottom's lines are much more reasonable (when asked to examine a flower she'll just say it's a wildflower, and admit she doesn't know what kind) or even sympathetic (when examining a collapsed rabbit hole, she simply says that she hopes the small animal inside is still okay).
    • Other characters in the game will occasionally talk this way as well (the robotic WX-78's tendency to make computer-themed puns about everything will sometimes alternate with this trope, for example; the flower parasol is a "MODERATE-STRENGTH PROTECTIVE SCREEN;" the silly monkey ball is a "SOURCE OF OBJECTIONABLE MONKEY MIRTH," etc.)
  • A minor example shows up in Paragon (2016) with Lt. Belica's ultimate ability, Neural Distruptor, which involves her casually drawing out her sidearm and shooting her target in the head.

    Web Animation 
  • "Death Note But Really Really Slow" has Kira describe the Death Note in this way.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: Magnus the Red occasionally does this:
    Magnus: He's using his Wraith-Slip! He's making his presence unknown to us! With this ability, he can erase the very perception that he exists from our minds, rendering him as a non-entity!
    Kitten: So... going invisible?
    Magnus: YES, PRETTY MUCH!!
  • In an Overly Sarcastic Productions video on the Norse myth of Utgard Loki the title character riffs on the "Weird flex but ok" meme with "Unorthodox display of hubris but very well."
  • The Youtube Poop trend sometimes called the "Verbose Meme" is heavily based on this. Essentially, a popular video clip is "translated" into Expospeak, Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and dashed with Antiquated Linguistics and passed off as the "posh," "upper-class" or "old-time" version. Needless to say, it often takes ludicrous levels. One notable example:
    "Oh, being of humanity which encircles the earth which had derived from multiple stages of assumed evolution, over time encompassing all prior creatures before their existence, developing new sorts of technology in order to continue its quest for domination amongst other species unsuited for the means of this intended sentence!"
    • Translation: Oh, man!

  • This xkcd comic, currently the page image for this trope.
  • Com'c: In the form of a 16-line sentence.Translation 
  • Girl Genius got "Stay back! He's Fructivorous!" "Fructivorous," of course, means "an animal that eats fruit" but the latter doesn't sound nearly as alarming.
  • Vaarsuvius of The Order of the Stick tends to do this as part of their general Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
    • Roy returned the favor once; it's how V came to respect him enough to work for him.
      Roy: Or maybe I'm hiring you because I require the creation of a managed spherical energy release with a thermal signature no less than 1850° Kelvin, which can be manifested at specific X, Y and Z coordinates from verbal cues.
      I require this precise temperature since it is the minimum level at which necrotized epidermis has been proven to combust...
      And I have reasons to believe that my mission will require the incapacitation of multiple post-organic hostiles.
      Vaarsuvius: So... you need Fireball spells to toast the undead you expect to fight?
      Roy: Did I stutter?
  • Irregular Podcast! annotations explain Australian Slang:
    crack on to — an attempt, usually by a male, to engage another person, usually a female, in conversation as a prelude to initiating manoeuvres aimed at the eventual amorous interaction of said second person by said first person.
  • Starslip:
    Vanderbeam: It's obvious, Mr. Quine, that our traditional methods of communication are ineffective. What we have here is a nonfeasance to linguically convey.
  • MS Paint Adventures is chock full of exotic terms for usually mundane things.
    • Perhaps the most beloved example: Kanaya refers to exclamation marks, question marks, and periods as "shout poles", "surprise noodles", and "finish crumbs" respectively. Karkat later calls quotation marks "enclosure talons".
  • In El Goonish Shive, the self-writing spell-books are very, very verbose, so whenever we get a quote from one, it's going to turn out to be this. So far, Elliot has been seen completely baffled by what his book could possibly mean when it says his transformations naturally possess "exorbitant breadth" in the chest area.
  • In Bob and George, Doctor Light has said things such as "Fornicating Feces" when annoyed.
  • Wondermark strip #826; In which Power is fleeting, with extra Serious Business on top.
  • In Commander Kitty, Mittens requests funds for commuter clearance transaction.
    CK: "...What?"
    MOUSE: "Fatso needs a space quarter for the space toll."
  • In LARP Trek, O'Brien threatens to have his character go on strike unless Geordi (the GM) gives him something to do. Data comments that this could "fracture the quaternary membrane".
  • An example from Schlock Mercenary, in which Kevyn actually is trying to convey important information — but he's been talking to scientists all day and needs to recalibrate for his military watchdog:
    Kevyn: "The stabilizer control systems for the stellar-core toroidal singularity that drives the gate-copy system were damaged in the initial assault. Between eighty and ninety hours from now, that singularity is going to release about a nonillion kilograms of mass, most of which will likely be expressed as energy.
    Captain Megido: "Not worth the call. What else have you got?"
    Kevyn: [annoyed] "Well, we expect a pretty impressive supernova in about four days."
    • Done by Kevyn again in a much earlier strip.
  • In this strip of Exterminatus Now, the heroes have been ordered to infiltrate a secret base that has been overrun by demons and shut off the device powering the portal which is letting them enter the mortal world. Eastwood asks why they don't just order Exterminatus since the facility is deep in isolated wilderness. The scientific expert gives a long-winded explanation that takes up three panels and when he gets only blank stares he sums it up as:
    Professor: "Shiny void rift plus big space gun make world go 'splodey."
  • In The Bird Feeder #17, "Dinner," when Darryl asks what they'll be eating, Edna replies with the scientific names of the insects on the menu.
  • In Skin Horse, Chris has gone from working in the Department of Irradiation to working in a sandwich shop. He offers two options: "radiant energy, via resistive heat, with which we hope to evoke the Maillard reaction" ( toasting) or "EM emissions, to rotate the polar molecules and induce dielectric heat" ( microwaving).
  • Played for Drama in Poppy Opossum, and justified, given that Kit has a lot of experience with chemistry and is also intending to distract Poppy.
    Kit: ...Poppy, do you know what you get when you expose hydric acid to an open flame?
    Poppy: Uh. No.
    Kit throws the candle providing illumination into the bath.
    Kit: Darkness.
  • The Humanoid Aliens of Strange Planet usually speak this way, as part of the comic's general theme of making common human behavior seems strange and whimsical: For instance, trapping carbon dioxide in ephemeral spheres note , mutual limb enclosure note , or even a background gag involving a cereal box labeled Fortunate Amulets note .
  • Concerned has "the latest development in occupant-propelled open-air semi-buoyant watercraft," and its "client-enabled moisture-resistant watercraft-propulsion device." They are, respectively, a leaky old rowboat and a shovel used as an oar.
  • Poison Ivy Gulch: A laywer uses the term "acetylsalicylic acid". When the judge clarifies that as being aspirin, the laywer says he can never remember that word.
  • During the mutiny in General Protection Fault, Planck says they can't just "sit on our gluteal clefts and twiddle our metacarpal digits".

    Web Original 
  • In the lonelygirl15 episode "Mission Alpha", Spencer explains why he has never exercised before: "I actually can't because I have a condition called nociception, which can be exacerbated by a build-up of lactic acid." Nociception is the ability to feel pain, while lactic acid is generated in normal exercise and simply causes mild discomfort.
  • The Bastard Operator from Hell sometimes uses this one or another way. For example, "Total Component Fatigue".
  • The headline for this article on The Escapist: "Kick-Ass Movie Trailer Delivers Force to Hindquarters Via Foot".
  • In Suburban Knights:
    Cloak #1: Unleash the fire of a thousand arrows!
    Cloak #3: You mean the machine-gun?
    Cloak#1: (Beat) Yes.
  • The classic website Strawberry Pop-Tart Blowtorches chronicles, in lovingly-rendered scientific format, an "experiment" by which a team of "researchers" tested the flammability of a Pop-Tart (by taping down the lever of a toaster and letting 'er rip).
    At this point, the researchers also realized that the heat could inadvertently melt the adhesive cellophane and cause the flaming SPTs to suddenly eject from the toaster. Unfortunately, this did not occur.
  • This Cracked article uses it to make a serious point.
    You go to the doctor and he tells you that you have a bacterial infection that will never, ever go away. It will literally eat away a crucial part of your digestive system unless you do a chemical treatment twice a day, every day, and do painful semiannual follow-up treatments with your doctor ... for the rest of your fucking life. Sure, it's not a death sentence, but the sheer weight of it kind of makes you want to give up — you can just see this burden stretching out in front of you, forever.
    But, of course, I've just described brushing your teeth.
  • The blog Pop Sonnets is devoted to recreating modern songs in archaic form. A good example is its version of Beyonce's "Single Ladies."
    ...For three long years, I left myself to pine
    For matrimony's gifts to grace my heart-
    If truly you did wish to win my hand,
    You should have graced it with a wedding band.
  • Quinton Reviews: At the end of "The Transformers' Corporate Origins", Quinton refers to the franchise as being "a greater quantity than was introduced to the cornea". In other words, it's more than meets the eye.
  • Many of the SCP Foundation’s joke articles run on this trope, since the entire point of the wiki is to make up supernatural anomalies and attempt to describe them in a clinical sense. To avoid Don't Explain the Joke (the trope of which coincidentally has its own article on the SCP wiki), the examples here will be blotted out save for their links:
  • In several Summoning Salt videos, the concept of a "frame rule" is explained using the analogy of a bus stop: just like arriving ten minutes before the bus arrives doesn't save you any time over getting there one second before it leaves, sometimes in games, getting somewhere 20 frames faster won't save you any time over getting there just 1 frame faster if an important event only happens every few frames. In "The History of Super Mario Bros. 2 World Records", he uses the same analogy, except changing the bus to a "4 Wheeled Vehicle of Transportation".
  • This Tumblr post gives several euphemisms used by biologists in the field:
    • “Specimen was released in the field immediately after capture” “I dropped the damn frog and despite the fact that we fell all over each other no one could recapture it”
    • “Impromptu dissection was performed under less-than-optimal lighting conditions.” “I stepped on it, I’m so sorry, it was dark out and the specimen was very small”

    Western Animation 
  • Star Trek: The Animated Series has a running gag of Spock doing this, and exchanges of this sort following:
    McCoy: Why couldn't you have just said [x]?
    Spock: I believe I just did.
  • The Simpsons:
    • "Homer's Triple Bypass" 1:
      Hibbert: Homer, I'm afraid you'll have to undergo a coronary bypass operation.
      Homer: Say it in English, Doc.
      Hibbert: You're going to need open heart surgery.
      Homer: Spare me your medical mumbo-jumbo.
      Hibbert: We're going to cut you open and tinker with your ticker.
      Homer: Could you dumb it down a shade?
    • "Homer's Triple Bypass" 2:
      Homer: And so the tiny aorta fairies will take Mr. Leg Vein on a long trip to marry to Ms. Left Ventricle.
      Lisa: Dad, are you trying to tell us you're getting a coronary bypass graft?
      Homer: Uh...yeah.
    • In "Old Money", Grampa doesn't realize he does it (he means it figuratively but the literal interpretation is also true):
      Grandpa: The Doctor says she died of a burst left ventricle, but I know she died of a broken heart!
    • The title of a Professor Frink-centric Valentines Day episode is one of these. "Love Is in the N₂-O₂-Ar-CO₂-Ne-He-CH₄".
    • There's an even more extended version regarding episode titles. Homer's "D'oh!" is written in the scripts as "Annoyed Grunt", hence four episodes with "D'oh"-related Pun-Based Title have that fully spelled out: "Simpsoncalifragilisticexpiala(Annoyed Grunt)cious", "E-I-E-I-(Annoyed Grunt), "I, (Annoyed Grunt)bot" and "G.I.(Annoyed Grunt)".
  • When an attack by Boris and Natasha lands Rocky the Flying Squirrel in the hospital, the doctor diagnoses him with a contusion of the cranium. Bullwinkle launches into an anguished revenge campaign upon hearing the severity of the diagnosis, not realizing that in layman's terms, Rocky has a bump on the head.
  • Dr. Orpheus from The Venture Bros. often talks this way, as when he makes reference to his daughter attending an "electronic music recital" (she went to a rave).
  • Happens on occasion with Edd from Ed, Edd n Eddy. A quote from the Christmas Special:
    Edd: Ed! Eddy's pillaged Saint Nick's satchel of individual Yuletide bestowals! (gets a blank stare) The presents, Ed. Eddy's taken the presents!
  • Although not the smartest of characters, Bloo pulls it off in the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Adoptcalypse Now":
    Bloo: Then it's time for drastic action, and I've got just the plan. Operation Eight Legged Drop Purple Scaredy Cat Run and Scramble. From the arboreal vantage point, we shall unleash the ultimate weapon, creating a devastating chain reaction the likes of which the galaxy has never known!
    Mac: What?
    Bloo: I drop this fake spider on Eduardo, he'll freak out, and everyone runs away.
  • In one episode of The Tick, Neil, a scientist, has managed to grow some dinosaur tissue in a lab, retarding its growth by keeping it in an acetylsalicylic acid solution. He accidentally eats the dinosaur tissue and ends up turning into "Dinosaur Neil", a giant monster. Upon learning about the acetylsalicylic acid, Arthur figures out how to save the day and turn Dinosaur Neal back to normal: as he tells the audience, acetylsalicylic acid is aspirin.
  • Used occasionally by Frylock in Aqua Teen Hunger Force when describing his latest invention or plan:
    Shake: What is that, for vegetables?
    Frylock: It translates brain synapses and neural skull vibrations into audio speech frequencies.
    Shake: Yeah, I got one of them too. It's called a mouth.
  • Used in Futurama's "Anthology of Interest I":
    Fry: Where am I, anyway?
    Nichelle Nichols: You're travelling in a specially equipped terrestrial transport module.
    Gary Gygax: A school bus!
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "I Had an Accident", where SpongeBob shatters his butt, we have this following conversation when SpongeBob's butt gets fixed.
      Doctor: Well Mr. SquarePants, it looks like your gluteus maximus has made a full recovery
      SpongeBob: My what has a what now?
      Doctor: Your butt's all better.
    • The Krusty Krab Training Video features Mr. Krabs showing off a bunch of common fast-food implements but giving them fancy names to make them sound more high-tech:
      • A spatula is an "advanced patty-control mechanism."
      • The cash register is their "automated money-handling system."
      • Ice cubes are "high-quality beverage temperature devices. Imported."
      • A straw is a "prototype liquid transfer machine."
      • Ketchup packets are "state-of-the-art condiment-dispersal units."
  • Kowalski from The Penguins of Madagascar does this constantly, usually followed by Skipper saying "In English Please?"
    Skipper: What's a Koala?
    Kowalski: An herbivorous nocturnal marsupial
    Skipper: In English, please?
    Kowalski: Uh... They only eat plants, they sleep during the day, and the ladies carry their babies in a pouch.
    Skipper: Oh. A Hippy.
  • Scooby-Doo: Being the token genius of the group, Velma does this pretty regularly. One example would be Dick Van Dyke asking for volunteers for his magic show:
    Velma: I'd love to probe the intricacies of this feat of legerdemain.
    Dyke: What did she say?!?
    Fred: She said she volunteers.
    Dyke: Is that what she said?
  • In Justice League:
    Green Lantern: To halt the process we would need to create an Einstein-Rosen Bridge to drain off the affecting anti-fusion matter.
    Flash: Create a what? Do what?
    Hawkgirl: Create a wormhole to suck away the bad stuff.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    "That guy is such a gluteus maximus."
  • In Pinky and the Brain, when Brain becomes a ski instructor:
    Brain: Today, I will instruct you in the mastery of inertia re-establishment utilizing weight distribution through metatarsal manipulation.
    Student: You mean stopping?
    Brain: Yes. But when I say it, it sounds groovy.
  • Danger Mouse and Penfold are in a tea crate trying to solve the mystery of the world's tea being stolen and the crate they're in is jettisoned into space:
    Penfold: Wish we could see something...
    D.M.: Fortunately, Penfold, there's a missing sectionalized ingrown migniforous basel lateral extension.
    Penfold: 'Cor, chief, they'd never be able to fit one of those in here!
    D.M.: No, it's a knothole, Penfold.
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, Twilight Sparkle has an anemometer, which is for measuring how fast pegasi fly and how strong their wings are. Or as she puts it, "it measures your accelerative velocity and translates it into wing-power, thus gauging your cumulative H2O anti-gravitational potential".
  • Steven Universe: Peridot is prone to describing simple Earth objects with unneccessarily complex language. She does a whole string of them that greatly amuses Amethyst in "Too Far", like calling a screwdriver a "leverage optimizer" and a nose a "scent sponge", which all builds up to the punchline of her calling a butt a "butt."
  • In Episode 5 of Ben 10, Tetrax tells Ben that he can't leave Earth without his hoverboard. At the end of the episode, he lets Ben keep the hoverboard.
    Ben: I thought you said you couldn't get off the planet without it?
    Tetrax: Selective misinformation.
    Ben: Huh?
    Gwen: He lied.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • This exchange from the episode "Day of the Living Gelatin", after the gang finishes making their pool of gelatin:
      Phineas: There's only one thing to do now.
      Baljeet: You mean test the resiliency of our cartilaginous collusion with vigorous application of weight and velocity?
      Phineas: Exactly. Let's jump on it!
    • Spliced with It's Been Done in "Interview With a Platypus," in which Doofenshmirtz invents the Buoyancy Operated Aquatic Transport, or "BO-AT" (pronounced with two syllables).
  • King of the Hill: In "De-Kahnstructing Henry", after Kahn gets fired from his job, he tells Hank he's gotten a new job in the "reprographics imaging industry". We then cut to Kahn working at a photocopying store.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), Donatello distracts a Kraang with one of these. It works because not only is it an insult, but because he's also speaking the same way the Kraang normally do.
    Donatello: Hey Kraang! The one you call your mother wears the boots that were made for combat!

    Real Life 
  • Any list of US Armed Forces slang will include the terms "recto-cranial loopback" or "anal-cranial inversion". If you can't figure it out, both refer to having your head up your ass.
    • In Give War A Chance, P.J. O'Rouke writes that out of everyone in Saudi Arabia preparing for Operation Desert Storm "when it comes to truly not speaking English, it's impossible to top the [US] Department of Defense" which calls a metal nut (which goes on a bolt) a "hexaform rotatable surface compression unit."
    • See also Percussive Maintenance.
    • One from a list of humorous discrepancy maintenance reports has the corrective action as "Removed and replaced flight stick actuator." The flight stick actuator is the pilot.
    • Official Military terminology is full of these. A spade is an "entrenching tool"note , a hat or cap is a "cover", a place to eat is "mess", and a firearm small enough to carry is a "weapon", not a gun.
    • A toothpick is an "interdental stimulator".
    • The oldest military sensor still in use is the "Mark I Mod 0 Eyeball". Those who have had corrective surgery sometimes joke about how they've gotten the "Mod 1" upgrade.
    • This joke works better when spoken, but sometimes equipment fails to work because the "oh en oh eff eff" switch must be in the "oh en" position. That is, the ON-OFF switch must be set to ON.
    • Doubling as a Deadly Euphemism, in military medicine a patient who is obviously dead at a mere glance due to dismemberment, decapitation, immolation, etc. is said to have "a condition incompatible with life".
  • When helicopter pilot Michael Durant was shot down and captured over Mogadishu, he managed to frustrate his captor's attempts to interrogate him by doing exactly what this trope describes.
  • There is a site on the internet dedicated to the dangers of the highly addictive compound Dihydrogen Monoxide.
    • For those do not have basic understanding of chemistry or are simply too thick to get it, dihydrogen monoxide is a chemical nomenclature of the chemical H₂O used by those who do have such understanding to illustrate the ignorance of the attentive populace, and analyse how the usage of language can generate misplaced and irrational fears, for the purpose of amusement. In other words, it's basically another way of saying water, which most people outside science don't hear every day and is only parody science. Part of the reason it tends to work is that the average person only hears "monoxide" in relationship to carbon monoxide, which is both toxic and a common byproduct of pollution. Obviously, this other kind of monoxide has to be just as bad.
    • This even inspired, for a while, another website claiming to defend against the first's libelous claims, created by an organization calling themselves the "Hydrogen Hydroxide Anti-Defamation League", Hydrogen Hydroxide being another excessively technical name for water, following the acid-base naming conventions.
    • Wikipedia lists the official name for water as "water." But also lists dihydrogen monoxide, oxidane, hydrogen hydroxide, and hydroxylic acid.
    • Penn & Teller: Bullshit! used this same trick to convince attendees at an environmentalist rally to sign a petition to ban it to illustrate that as long as they mention something in scientific terminology, environmentalists will automatically assume it's bad and sign petitions to ban it. It didn't work for everyone at the rally, but the majority of the people they showed were happily signing the petition.
      • The Man Show used the same trick to try and put an end to women's suffrage. As in, the ability for women to vote - but since people heard "women sufferage" instead, they eagerly signed.
  • The Plain English Campaign has several examples.
  • The medically alarming term "idiopathic" just means "We have no idea what caused this." As House puts it:
    "Idiopathic, from the Latin idiot meaning we're idiots because this kid's lungs are turning into Swiss cheese and we don't know why." note 
  • The term "idiolect" merely refers to the manner of speaking that is unique to an individual.
  • Also used when people want to hide the true nature of their activities (criminal or not), such as the story described here.
    "Our process is to turn over the data to a team of highly-skilled data insertion analysts who are responsible for importing the data."
    "So, you've got people retyping this directly into the database."
  • Aerospace engineers sometimes jokingly refer to a hypothetical crash/explosion as a RUD (Rapid Unscheduled Disassembly), and Lithobraking, for a spacecraft crashing into a planet. (The term is a joke on aerobraking, in which a spacecraft runs through the atmosphere of a planet to kill its speed.)
    • Similarly, a term that comes up in aircraft accident reports is "Controlled flight into terrain", meaning the aircraft crashed into the ground. There is a good reason for this terminology though, as it is meant to describe crashes caused by pilot error or disorientation, rather than bad weather or a problem with the aircraft.
  • Read some resumes, you'll see some interesting twists:
    • "Director of Vertical Transportation" = Elevator Operator in a luxury hotel
    • "Verified incoming deliveries, Maintained Warehouse facility, Distributed materials to auto repair facilities." for: "I worked at an auto parts store as the one who put stuff on the shelves and drove the delivery van".
    • "Decision-making position at a produce marketing unit": Finding and removing fruit and vegetables that had gone bad at the supermarket. Career counselors actually encourage this, since it can help people get a job they desperately need.
    • Job listings are getting into the act too: "replenishment" is the euphemism for "putting goods on the shelves".
  • One rumored modification of the French school sports curriculum included the notion of "constant-trajectory bouncing referential". Also known as a ball. As for the "randomly bouncing referential", it's a rugby ball.note 
  • In Czech, a common joke (or riddle) is to translate a proverb into scientific-sounding language.
  • A popular phrase in Britain (it's used by Fred Colon in the Discworld novel Men at Arms) is "extracting the urine"; a way of saying "taking the piss" without, well, actually saying "taking the piss". Another British example: as an expression of surprise, "seduce my antique footware!" instead of "fuck my old boots!" Similarly, "are you taking the clear golden liquid?/making off with the Michael?", (which may make more sense to non-Britons if you know that "taking the mickey" is a more polite of saying "taking the piss" ) and "Robert's the avuncular figure in your life!" (or individual variants of it) are fairly common ways of expressing surprise or satisfaction in a deliberately over the top and camp way. Yes, the nights get long and boring in Britain.
  • If a computer technician tells you a laptop isn't working because of "deceleration sickness," he thinks you're an idiot for not realizing someone threw it at a wall. Or, perhaps more commonly, dropped it from a significant height.
    • Or PEBKAC (Problem Exists Between Keyboard And Chair) and ID-Ten-T (ID10T), "Chair-to-Keyboard Interface Malfunction", "Carbon-Based Error", "ESO error" (Equipment Superior to Operator), "wetware problem", "UBNC error" (User's Brain Not Connected) and "Loose nut on keyboard".
    • Layer 8 of the OSI-ISO model is also often identified as the problem. And that's when you're lucky to not get into proposed Layer 9 of the OSI Model.
      • A number of professions have stealth insults for annoying clients. Apparently, doctors will sometimes refer to patients as suffering from "fecal encephalopathy", also known as "coporophagic encephalopathy", AKA "crap for brains". Hysterical patients who just need to be quiet and go away are labelled PRATFO (Patient Reassured And Told to Fuck Off.)
  • This is how many newspapers described Cheney's infamous "Go fuck yourself" to a Senator Patrick Leahy (a Democrat). "Performing an anatomically impossible maneuver", "an illogical sex move", "gave advice on solo/self intercourse", and many others were used in family-oriented magazines to describe his quote without actually outright saying it. Many who had never heard about it and were getting their news from the newspaper were genuinely confused.
  • Many Wikipedia pages were used by some rogue authors to transfer this to articles with risqué topics, e.g. for Baby Got Back the lyrics were summarized this way. It began with expospeaking "I like big butts and I cannot lie" as "In the opening verse, Sir Mix-a-Lot professes his affinity for large buttocks and his inability to disguise this fact from others" and only got better from there.
    • Ditto for an old revision of C is for Cookie.
    • The '90s rap song "Got Your Money" had a similar page: "The song is initially dedicated exclusively to the world's population of attractive females until ODB seems to have pangs of guilt for not including ladies who might be considered 'homely' or 'ugly,'"
    • Especially prone to this treatment are usually rap songs since they usually contain quite a bit of vulgarity or general raunch that even rap fans admit is pretty extreme. Take for example, a version of the page for Lil Kim's song "How Many Licks?"
      In the initial stanza, Kim rhapsodizes over the large, heterogeneous population of men with whom she has engaged in intercourse, and how they have satisfied her sexually and non-sexually. (To translate: Kim starts the song singing "I've been a lot of places, seen a lot of faces. Aw, hell, I've even f***ed with different races.)
    • However, these versions don't last long on the site since this isn't official Wikipedia policy but inserted by contributors trying to intentionally use this trope.
  • In some military forces, Individual Body Maintenance is a euphemism for "taking a nap". This is often used to account for the whereabouts of the troops [to a superior officer] without having to admit that they're on an unscheduled afternoon siesta.
  • In Britain's Parliament, an MP cannot say another is 'lying', as this is 'unparliamentary language'. This has led to some very inventive euphemisms, such as "the honourable gentleman is being economical with the truth" or even "I fear the honourable gentleman is perpetrating a matter of terminological inexactitude". And in the Dutch Parliament, the euphemism for lying is "verkeerd informeren" (inform wrongly).
  • "Tired and emotional" is a well-known stock phrase in the UK media. Due to UK libel law, it's extremely dangerous to imply that a public figure is/was drunk. "Tired and emotional" is how public figures tend to get after a night involving too much alcohol and not enough sleep.
  • The book "Tech Speak, or How To Talk High Tech" (by Edward Tenner) is a humourous application of Expospeak, consisting of an assortment of everyday items described in high-tech terms. The book includes such gems as the Material Sectioning Tool (knife), the Canine Seclusion Habitat (doghouse), the Kinetic Demonstration Device (toy balloon), and the Accreted Crystalline Anthropoid Homologue (snowman); the last of these is described as "a solar-recyclable aqueous transitional-state hominid isomorph assembled as a juvenile peer-bonding mechanism." Sadly, the book is out of print.
  • In a column about what to study in college, Dave Barry suggested that sociology consisted of translating simple observations into scientific-sounding code. His example was the observation that children cry when they fall down: "Methodological observation of the sociometrical behavior tendencies of prematurated isolates indicates that a casual relationship exists between groundward tropism and lachrimatory, or 'crying,' behavior forms."
  • This interview with Stephen Fry includes the following description of his drug use:
    So for many years really I never went out without at least four or five grams of cocaine powder on my person. And I would ingest it intra-nasally, as was the fashion, through the use of some sort of straw or rolled up currency note.
  • The abbreviation "ADR" is a highly scientific veterinary term used in patient charts for decades to describe the owner's complaint, or presenting problem. "ADR" stands for... Ain't Doin' Right.
    • Medical slang and humour tend to be rife with this in general. here is a page demonstrating a large number of such slang terms many falling under this trope.
  • From a site that sells approximations of Klein bottles: Non-metric topological manifolds may be considered ideal elastic objects, able to be bent, stretched, twisted, or deformed as long as nearby points in one space correspond to nearby points in the transformed version. However, Acme's Borosilicate Klein Bottles are physical instantiations of such mathematical concepts. As such, they should not be subject to transformations which substantially increase the material's internal stress tensors. Specifically, please recognize that dihydrogen monoxide has a coefficient of expansion which is negatively correlated with temperature near its freezing point, and thus expands when changing from liquid to solid. This increase in volume can cause stresses within a containing vessel. Borosilicate glass — such as that which Acme uses to manufacture its fine Klein Bottles — has a finite capacity to absorb these stresses and retain a linear stress-strain relationship. When a certain stress is exceeded, the intermolecular silicate bonds will delaminate, resulting in stress-induced fractures. In other words, "freezing water expands and will shatter your Klein Bottle".
  • This trope can be a good way of telling that someone has reached their maximum capacity for fecal matter, especially if they're upset. Since people who are upset generally use shorter words and simpler explanations—often with a lot of swearing in the middle—someone who is upset yet still using a complex explanation is likely either a.) going out of their way to do it, or b.) doesn't really understand what they're describing and therefore can't put it in Layman's Terms. It can be quite amusing to watch someone switch from Cluster F-Bombing to a technical explanation and right back again. Also, if a discussion is using simple terms, and someone uses more complex ways of describing it, then refuses to dumb it down, they're probably also full of it. For example
    If it is argued that people were in location X when A happened to them, and when we see them they are in location Y, not X, then that does not mean A never happened, especially since there's additional non-video evidence to show that it did.
    P ∈ X || A ∼ (Y ∉ X) ≠ A ∃ H ˆ (+ ∃ Nv = ∃)
    Completely illogical.
    Try again...
Please note that this was the second time the simple explanation had been used, yet the "refuting" somehow got even more complex. An explanation here.
  • Government abounds with this kind of language, as politicians and bureaucrats try to find euphemisms for things the public doesn't like.
    • During his term as president, George H. W. Bush promised "no new taxes." Sometime afterwards, he imposed "revenue enhancements." His defenders claimed that taxes and revenue enhancements were not alike.
    • "I'm sending troops to fight in a foreign war" tends not to poll well, so politicians throughout history have invented expospeak terms for war. Examples include "police action" and "kinetic military action".note 
    • Warfare also produces euphemisms like "collateral damage" (killing innocent civilians) and "friendly fire" (killing our own troops).
    • Government agents use expospeak terms like "terminate with extreme prejudice" (assassinate) and "enhanced coercive interrogation technique" (torture).
    • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is a clinical, dispassionate euphemism for a condition once viscerally known as "Shell Shock".
      • It is, however, justified in this case for two reasons. First, it's an accurate description of what the condition is, in that it's a mental disorder that appears after the sufferer suffers intense trauma and/or stress, and therefore can also appear outside of war, which is why another previous term, "combat fatigue" is also not used anymore.note  Second, Shell Shock was a big stigma a long time ago, being seen as a weakness on the soldier's part and something they need to just get over. Rephrasing it as a medical condition helped the public understand what it actually is, a mental condition that the sufferer has no control over, which made them more sympathetic and more likely to seek treatment for it.
      • Third, unless you're George Carlin, it's not a gag but a description of a condition. Fourth, it's a term used and coined by the medical field as a clinical description of a disorder, not a euphemism introduced by the government.
  • A study examining the effects of simulated suffocation on people with amygdala damage included the note that "the heart rate data for AM and BG during the first CO2 inhalation could not be analyzed because of contamination by motion artifacts secondary to the patients' escape behavior." (i. e. patients trying to flee messed up the instruments connected to them)
  • The Nicolas Bourbaki collective was mostly composed of people younger than 50, and with flexible minds. From time to time, in order to prove they qualify for the second part, people had to pass the "coconut test". Basically, it amounted to the member deciphering an Expospeak Gag about mathematics.
  • One obfuscated unit of measure that occasionally appears is "becquerels per dioptre", which uses obscure units (becquerel measures atomic decay while dioptre measures lens-focusing length) but cancels out to metres per second.
  • Up to a certain age, parents of young children often use this sort of speak to discuss things with each other that they don't want the kids to hear.
  • A leak of Donald Trump's personal schedules revealed large blocks of what was labeled "Executive time", which turned out to mean "sitting around watching television and doing nothing in particular", inspiring the use of the term by people goofing off at work or lazing at home. This is a long-standing euphemism used in the US military and government on the schedules of senior officials whose time is in such heavy demand that their entire days are scheduled down to the quarter-hour; "executive time" on their schedules means "leave me alone except for emergencies during this time". Trump's schedule brought public attention to the term due to having an unusually high amount of executive time on it for a president, and by the fact that he didn't realize his schedule was considered a public record until very late in his presidency and his corresponding shock and outrage at its release.
  • A close reading of this aircraft accident report from the US National Transportation Safety Board of a single-engine plane that crashed and killed the pilot and trainee reveals that they died because of an attempt to join the Mile-High Club.



Lisa continually dumbs down her explanation of what she got Marge for Mother's Day.

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