Follow TV Tropes

Following

Fun with Homophones

Go To

https://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ypbnq73x.png

Alexander: Could they be the miners?
Fred: Oh, sure. They're, like, three years old.
Alexander: Miners, not minors!
Fred: You lost me.
Advertisement:

A homophone is a word or phrase that sounds like, or very similar, to something different when spoken. (Technically, only ones that sound exactly alike are homophones, but Tropes Are Flexible.) It is a case of Double Meaning, but even easier to miss, especially when read and not heard.

Naturally, this can be mined for laughs. The result is a type of Pun, but one that relies on sound instead of written language. But homophones can be used for many purposes and thus overlap with various other tropes:

Also very frequently found in the context of prank phone calls, where the full name is a homophone for a dirty phrase.

Japanese works love this kind of wordplay, since one certain reading (furigana) can refer to many things at once. Contrast Alternate Character Reading where gags are made with a set of kanji with multiple readings.

Advertisement:

Compare Fun with Acronyms and Fun with Palindromes. Also see Heh Heh, You Said "X".


Examples:

    open/close all folders 
     Advertising 
  • A GEICO commercial involves a couple who loves their new home, except for the fact that it has "aunts."

    Anime & Manga 
  • Azumanga Daioh:
    • The girls at one point make jokes about Bruce Lee acting in a hypothetical movie called "Blue Three" (both are pronounced "Buruu Surii" in Japanese).
    • In the English dub, Mr. Kimura drops the Yule/you'll pun on Yukari.
  • Eien no With: Hitomi raises a puppy to be a seeing guide dog who she named Eye, which is actually an elaborate bilingual pun: Eye is a Labrador, "lab" is pronounced "rabu" in Japanese; "rabu" is how the English word "love" is pronounced; "love" in Japanese is "ai" which sounds like "eye"; "Hitomi" also means "eye". Shy Hitomi feels a connection with Eye, the runt of the litter so there's another layer: "mi" means eye, "mi" sounds like "me" ("he reminds me of me").
  • The first season of I Can't Understand What My Husband Is Saying ends on a pun. Both Kaoru and Hajime say sankyu, although one of them meant "thank you" and the other meant "maternity leave".
  • Doraemon has a few episodes where a gadget is based on this trope:
    • One gadget can turn an object into another object whose name is a homophone, for example turning a spider into a cloud which in Japanese share the same pronunciation くも kumo.
    • Another episode has a gadget that can conjure something out of scratch, with a catch: it is notoriously bad at interpreting homophones. When Suneo plays a prank to make it rain in Nobita's room, it causes candies to rain instead. (Both "rain" and "candy" are called ame in Japanese.)
    • Once, Nobita asked if alcohol can reproduce, which Doraemon says yes. Unfortunately, Doraemon was talking about salmon, which also happened to be pronounced sake in Japanese. Presumably why Japanese borrowed the word "salmon". Hilariously though, Doraemon then proceeds to reproduce alcohol like how salmon reproduce.
  • Kindaichi Case Files relies on this as a clue to solve a series of murder in a mansion linked to a deceased musician's poem. During the second murder, the culprit mistakenly put a spinning top instead of something related to horse like chess piece, due to them sounding similar pronunciation wise (koma). Kindaichi then deduced that the culprit was one of those who came late to the mansion thus not knowing how the poem was written in kanji.
  • Ranma ½: Early on, when Genma (in panda form) is handed a loaf of bread, Dr. Tofu makes a dumb joke regarding the fact that "panda" and "pan da" ("It/That is bread") are homophones in Japanese. The English translation had to rewrite the joke to being "the breadwinner".
  • Many names and speeches in One Piece are playing with homophones, reflecting Oda's love of such gags. Case in point, many of Zoro's sword techniques are badass sounding names that happen to be homophonic with something silly or unrelated, such as how "Tatsumaki" is written with the kanji for "Dragon Wave", but it can also mean "Tornado".
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX: Manjoume got his nickname "Manjoume Thunder" because it sounds like his Catchphrase "Manjoume-san da!" (basically "That's Mister Manjoume!").
  • Ayakashi Triangle:
    • The spell that turned Matsuri female is written "性・醒・流・転". The punctuation indicates each kanji is a separate word, thus it's pronounced "Sei Sei Ru Ten (Sex Awakening Exile Alteration)". This sounds nearly the same as "Seisei Ruten (生々流転)", a phrase for the flow of souls in a cycle of reincarnation, playing on how Matsuri assumes a new identity as a girl.
    • Before her Important Haircut, Suzu considered her hair's length a sign of spiritual power, saying "Hair (kami) leads to the gods (kami)."

    Comic Book 
  • The Adventure Time comic introduced a character named Desert Princess, who rules over a desert, whose body is made of various Candy Kingdom citizens' bodies all mashed together, specifically ones who were desserts. She can sculpt sand into sweets, or rather make desserts out of the desert (though they'll still taste like sand to anyone else but her).

    Comic Strips 

    Fan Works 
  • Dragonball Z Abridged uses this in one of the Episode Breakdowns. Bulma's just asked if Mr. Gohan would like to stay for dinner:
    Gohan: Mr. Gohan would.
The episode commentary reveals they had made an (ultimately-scrapped) alternate scene where Gohan takes Bulma up on her offer to stay the night, interested as she is in his, uh...
  • The First Saniwa sequel: Shuten-dōji calls Onigiri (Higekiri in Onigiri's body) Yorimitsu's wakashū. Higekiri thinks he's calling him a poetry collection (和歌集) rather than a good-looking receptive partner in a male-male relationship (若衆).
  • Pokémon × Nimja: Play the Game: "Squirrels are cannibals. They eat acorns." Explanation 
  • In "Operation Bear Hunt" of The AFR Universe, Hanami hears her aunt Futaba comment about her mother Makoto destroying someone "with her bare hands". Hanami doesn't know the expression and thinks Futaba said her mother has "bear hands". She's confused at first but then sees someone in a tv show shapeshift their hand into an actual bear. Seeing this, Hanami thinks Makoto's hands can turn into bears too and goes about trying to get the transformation to happen.
  • In the Facing the Future Series, while fighting a ghost bee, Sam cries out "Honey!". Danny think she's calling him a pet name, but it turns out she was trying to warn him of the bee's incoming projectile.

    Films — Animation 
  • Megamind names his protege "Titan" while handing him a set of tights. It's not until he writes his own super-name across the city, in 20-meter-long letters of flaming destruction that the viewers learn he thought his new name was Tighten.
  • Flushed Away has a phonetic pun across two different speakers:
    Roddie St. James: What the ...
    Sid the Sewer Rat: Hello!
  • In The Curse of the Were-Rabbit, when Wallace and Gromit's Bun-Vac accidentally sucks up Victor's hairpiece, it leads to a funny exchange between him and Wallace:
    Victor: I want... toupee, please.
    Wallace: Oh, grand! We take check or cash.
    Victor: Toupee, you idiot! My hair is in your machine!
    Wallace: Oh, no, it's only rabbits in there. The hare, I think you'll find, is a much larger mammal.
  • In Cars 2, when Mater was cornered by the Lemons, we have this exchange:
    Mater: Dadgum!
    Mater's Computer: Gatling Gun. Request acknowledge.
    [Mater's Gatling gun is deployed]
    Mater: Shoot, I didn't mean...!
    Mater's Computer: Request acknowledged. Firing.
    [Mater's guns fire, pinning the Lemons down]
    Mater: Wait, Wait! I didn't mean that kind of "shoot"!
    Mater's Computer: Correction acknowledged. Deploying chute.
    [Mater's parachute pops out and he goes flying]
  • All Dogs Go to Heaven 2: Carface Carruthers makes a Deal with the Devil with the demon Red. Red straight up tells him he'll have to pay with his soul, but Carface thinks he said sole and agrees, thinking he's outsmarting Red because he doesn't wear shoes. At the end of the film, Red clarifies the mistake, collects on his bargain, and Carface is Dragged Off to Hell.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • My Favorite Year: Alan Swann (played by Peter O'Toole) advised Benjy Stone (Mark Linn-Baker) on his romantic pursuit of K.C. Downing (Jessica Harper). Swann restrained Stone from pursuing Downing just long enough to advise "Always let her think she is being chaste/chased."
  • Moneypenny [Samantha Bond]'s "You always were a cunning linguist (cunnilinguist), James" to James Bond in Tomorrow Never Dies.
  • In Marx Brothers films, Groucho Marx uses phonetic puns and double-entendres as one of his signature traits:
    • A Night at the Opera. When Groucho is told a certain singer is paid a thousand dollars a night, Groucho responds, "A thousand dollars a nacht?!" If you speak German, like Groucho did, you'll hear "a nacht" (a night). If you don't speak German you'll hear "an act". Both make the same amount of sense. Making this a bi-lingual Meaningful Homophone.
  • In Galaxy Quest, the similar-sounding words "minor" and "miner" lead to a confusion:
    Alex: Could they be the miners?
    Fred: Sure, they're like, three years old.
    Alex: Miners, not minors!
By Lucky Translation, it works even better in the French version, where the two words ("mineur") are identical.
  • In Captain Ron, Martin decides to take a walk on an island - Ron warns him to stay on a marked path and look out for gorillas, but Martin scoffs that gorillas aren't native to the area, and strays from the path to prove his point... Only to be ambushed by a rag-tag group of armed men in camouflage - Guerillas. Martin blames Ron for the confusion, claiming he enunciated poorly on purpose:
    Martin: He said "gorillas", not "guerrillas!" Guer, Go! Huge difference, kids!
  • The Action Prologue of Deathstalker II: Duel of the Titans ends with this one-liner by The Dragon, providing what one of the most on-the-nose Title Drops in movie history:
    Sultana: I'll have my revenge, and Deathstalker too! [cue title sequence]
  • A serious example occurs in The Dry. When Aaron is returning Karen's library books, he discovers a newspaper article about himself—with his phone number written at the top—shoved in one of the books. Along with the article, he finds the borrowing receipt from the library with the word "GRANT?" written on the back. Aaron assumes that this refers to Grant Dow and that Karen had been suspecting him of something a week before she was murdered. It is only later when he sees some paperwork from the school that he realises that "GRANT" refers to an educational grant and Karen suspected that Scott was embezzling money that should have been going to the school.
  • George of the Jungle uses a sound-alike for a gag:
    Narrator: And they responded with awe.
    Cast: [adoringly] Awwwww...
    Narrator: I said "awe". A-W-E.
    Cast: [impressed] Oooooh...
    Narrator: That's better.

    Jokes 
  • A joke: Why will you never go hungry in the desert? Because of all the sandwiches (= "sand which is") there!
  • A lot of Stirlitz jokes, from Russian Humour, are based on this. It's often difficult to translate them.
  • The joke name for a law firm: "Dewey, Cheatham, and Howe".
  • The joke name for a divorce firm: "Ditcher, Quicke and Hyde"
  • The joke name for a funeral home: "Amigone Funeral Home".
  • Q: Why is Six afraid of Seven? A: Because Seven ate Nine.Explanation 
  • Q: Two cats have a swimming race: One cat is from England and is named One-Two-Three. The other is from France and is named Un-Deux-Trois. Who won? A: One-Two-Three wins, of course. Because the Un-Deux-Trois cat sank.Explanation 

    Literature 
  • Halfway through Bunnicula: A Rabbit-Tale of Mystery, Chester reads that vampires can be slain by jabbing them with a stake...and tries to use the steak the Monroe family was going to have for dinner to defeat Bunnicula.
  • In Dodie Smith's The Hundred and One Dalmatians. Missy, seeing Pongo covered in soot, declares "Suit soots you!"
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix:
    • Rita Skeeter says, "The Prophet exists to sell itself, you silly girl." Thus hinting that the reader should have known all along that The Daily Prophet wasn't concerned with anything but its own profit.
    • There's also the Yule/you'll Ball/bawl.
  • Discworld:
    • In Reaper Man, the wizards try to cure Windle Poons of his sudden undead nature by burying him at a crossroads with a stake through his heart. The wizards get a bit confused and think they have to bury him with a steak through his heart. Then the Bursar sheepishly admits he couldn't find any steak on such short notice and brought a bundle of slightly wilted celery instead.
    • Invoked and lampshaded in Feet of Clay: When Dragon King of Arms (an ancient vampire) tells Vimes "Pray, enter", Vimes (who hates vampires) thinks to himself that he hears it as "Prey, enter." Quite fittingly, since the old bloodsucker is obsessed with puns.
    • Reacher Gilt makes a prophet/profit joke in Going Postal which goes over the head of the other Corrupt Corporate Executives. Lampshaded when he notes it'd be clearer in writing.
    • The below joke also appears in The Discworld Companion which describes Nanny Ogg's early years as "always chaste, often caught".
    • There are a couple of occasions when characters confuse the expression "Olé!" (Spanish cheer) with "au lait" (French for "with milk").
  • Gunpowder God in the Lord Kalvan of Otherwhen series. A commander visits his wounded troops in the hospital and comments on the attractiveness of their nurse. "She has been most marvelously chaste," replies one of the men mischievously. "Of course she has [been chased]," roars the commander, "but has she been caught?"
  • In one Ramona Quimby novel where, on her first day in class, Ramona caused a minor ruckus because when the teacher said "you can sit here for the present", Ramona didn't realize the teacher was meaning "the present time" instead of "a gift".
  • Hiro is the hero of Snow Crash. Very deliberate, as he chose the name 'Hiro Protagonist', and his actual birth name is never revealed.
  • Piers Anthony's Xanth series is fond of this trope:
    • "Isle of View" being confused with "I love you."
    • The title of Crewel Lye: A Caustic Yarn is ambiguous on four counts:
      • Crewel is a form of embroidery using wool, and a homophone for "cruel".
      • Lye is a caustic (i.e. chemically active creating burns) liquid, and a homophone for "lie".
      • Caustic can be caustic chemical, or just an adjective meaning bitter.
      • Yarn is a tale, except when it's used for knitting.
  • Encyclopedia Brown:
    • "The Case of the Flower Can". A thief accidentally drops a valuable Confederate coin into a can filled with flowers. Encyclopedia knows he'll try to get it back, so he sets a trap. When a man comes to the door claiming to be selling magazines, a woman hands him a can of flour and says she put the coin in "the flour can". Instead of dumping out the flour to look for the coin, he searches until he finds the can filled with flowers, thus proving that he's the thief. Only the thief would think that she was talking about a "flower" can.
    • Another mystery has a diamond theft solved by the detective announcing the diamond is "an arrow flight away" (it was taken out of its case, attached to an arrow, and shot out the window). The guilty person was the only one who thought to look outside because he knew a bow and arrow were involved, everyone else assumed the diamond was upstairs, i.e. "a narrow flight" of stairs away.
  • Riddley Walker, which is completely written in a first-person Funetik Aksent, takes advantage of the ambiguity to have double meanings all over the place. One of the main ones is "hart of the wud", which variously means "hart (deer) of the wood", "heart of the wood", and "heart of the would" (as in, the will). Usually, it means more than one of those at the same time.
  • The English poet Thomas Hood used this (and identical rhymes) to extremely comical effect in his poem "Copy".
  • The O. Henry short story 'Sound and Fury' is the 'fun' variety of this. An author is dictating a story to his stenographer, and her comments indicate she keeps getting it wrong. Their names are respectively Mr. Penne and Miss Lore, so they also have punny names.
    Mr. Penne: [dictates] "...Cortland, with his arm firmly entwined about her waist, knew nothing of her sighs—"
    Miss Lore: Goodness! If he couldn't tell her size with his arm around—
  • The classic SF short story Placet is a Crazy Place starts with the situation getting so bad that the main character tenders his resignation by orally instructing the comms officer send two words to headquarters, "I quit." Later, through a series of miraculous contrivances, all becomes well. Except that due to the resignation message the hero will be unable to reap the rewards of his labors. The day is saved (for the final time) when it turns out that the comms officer sent the two words "Ike Witt," a person know to both HQ and the hero. Headquarters had duly transferred Ike Witt to the hero's command.
  • In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, Ford Prefect describes going through hyperspace as "unpleasantly like being drunk"; Arthur Dent asks what's unpleasant about being drunk (as in intoxicated) and Ford responds "Ask a glass of water" (revealing that he meant it as in imbibed).
  • The Plague Dogs by Richard Adams features the celebrated firm of architects, Sir Conham Goode, Son, and Howe, who designed the new buildings for Animal Research (Scientific and Experimental).
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • "The Last Trump": The angel (who is made of Pure Energy) Etheriel's name sounds like ethereal, which means "extremely delicate and light in a way that seems too perfect for this world".
    • "The Watery Place": The words Venice and Venus sound similar, causing Sheriff Cameron to confuse the 'foreigners' for people from Italy.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire: The infamous "Rains of Castamere" was named after an incident in which Tywin Lannister exterminated House Reyne of Castamere by drowning them with water diverted from a river.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Game of Thrones: House Lannister's song and go-to implied threat, "The Rains of Castamere", is about the destruction of House Reyne of Castamere.
  • On an episode of Workaholics, Adam Demamp walks into the boss' office and says "Alice, I Demamp to know what is going on!"
    • Also, while chewing tobacco (a brand of which is Skoal) Adam says 'Skoal!' instead of the guy's more usual call to depart, 'S'go!'
  • In BlackAdder:
    • In series 1, a horse is being questioned on the witness stand in Black Adder's trial for being a witch. Upon answering with a neighing sound, the prosecutor asks for clarification, "Was that a 'neigh' or a 'nay'?" (The subtitles spell this out.)
    • In the episode "Captain Cook" of Blackadder Goes Forth, Baldrick believes his father was a nun.
      Baldrick: The funny thing is, my father was a nun.
      Blackadder: (with great authority) No, he wasn't.
      Baldrick: (with equal authority) He was so, sir, because when he was up in court, and the judge said "occupation", he'd say "nun".
  • In Home Improvement, Tim's son is talking to him via videotape, and claims "There is greatness in my genes/jeans."
  • In an episode of Lois & Clark, Tempus, who became the President, addresses Superman on television and states:
    Tempus: I hope we can find a place for you in the Doe administration... I hope you can understand that... and if you, Kent... I mean can't...
  • The Benny Hill Show:
    • A doctor comes on a serious TV talk show to discuss euthanasia. Unfortunately, the talk show's topic of the day was "Youth in Asia".
    • Two army officers are sitting around smoking pipes and reading the paper. One calls for his batman note , and an actor obviously confused about his part comes in dressed as Batman. At this point it's revealed that what we're watching is the production of a film.
  • Sze U Tonight is very fond of this trope. For instance, its Chinese name is 今晚睇李, but 李 is host Johnson Lee's surname, and is a pun on 你, the word for you.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit has fun with this in the episode "Sugar", when the detectives are looking for a witness to a murder known online as the "Master Baiter", who works in a store.
    Stabler: [over the store PA] Attention employees, will the Master Baiter please report to Register 1. Master Baiter, Register 1.
    [a nerdy-looking stock boy hangs his head in shame and walks forlornly to the front]
    Benson: [over the store PA] Not a "masturbator", the Master Baiter.
  • One of the most famous British sketches, Four Candles from The Two Ronnies relies heavily on this as a Running Gag.
  • On The Red Green Show, the Lodge makes a 50-foot long of sausage link for a cook-off, and are trying to figure out how to actually get it there.
    Red: I got an idea! Take a couple of boat trailers, put 'em end-to-end behind the Possum Van, and just lay the sausage right over the whole deal there.
    Dalton: But what if the cops stop us?
    Red: Well, we'll tell 'em it's a biodegradable telephone pole.
    Dalton: Oh! Oh! Y'know what you could say?
    Red: What?
    Dalton: [laughing] "I bet you never sausagenote  a thing!"
    Red: ...Don't make me kill you, Dalton.
  • Fargo Season Two: Mike Milligan reminisces in one episode about how the word "revolution" has two meanings: either as an overthrow of another power, or a planet making a complete orbit around another celestial object. He fails to realize the irony of his storyline: he thinks his revolution against the Gerhardts is the "overthrow" kind, when in reality it's the "full-circle" kind. His success against them just leave him back where he started: as an underappreciated employee for the Kansas City Mafia that's stuck doing a job he hates.
  • On the Monday midnight edition of ESPN's SportsCenter with Scott Van Pelt, the "Bad Beats" segment (where SVP and his broadcast partner "Stanford Steve" Coughlin watch games that narrowly cause them to lose the spread they bet on) opens with Steve at a restaurant that serves up nothing but poorly-prepared beets.
  • The Good Place:
    • Jason has a special room in his house where he can be alone or hang out with his buddies without being disturbed. Everyone's noticeably thrown when he calls it his "bud hole".
    Would you like to see my bud hole?
    • While staying in Sydney, socialite Tahani mentions she got a house through Airbnb. The rest of the Brainy Bunch is shocked when they visit it and discovers it's a lavish mansion. Tahani quickly clarifies that she meant Heirbnb, where heirs and heiresses can trade off mansions, yachts, blimp hangars, that sort of thing.
  • A clever dramatic twist in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Bread and Circuses". Kirk and crew encounter a world that resembled the Roman Empire with contemporary (1960s) technology, and also met a group of slaves who claimed to worship the Sun and preached a message of love and brotherhood. At the end of the episode, Spock admitted to being puzzled by these sun-worshipers, since most sun-worshiping tribes tended to be superstitious and primitive. Uhura realized that these "sun-worshipers" were in fact analogous to Christians. "It's not the sun up in the sky, it's the Son of God."
  • In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Riddles", Neelix tells Tuvok a riddle about an ensign who gets stranded on an L-class planet with nothing but a calendar, yet survives for a full year. How? By eating the dates from the calendar. Tuvok dismisses this as mere wordplay, but at the end of the episode, he realizes that the ensign could have also eaten the Sundays/sundaes.
  • Kaamelott:
    • A bit of fun is to expect every time the Huns are discussed (since in French, it sounds like "un", i.e. "a/an" or "one").
    • Angles are another barbarian tribe trying to invade Britannia... not the angles of the map. Surprisingly, Perceval is the one to point this out... which leads Arthur to point out that yes, they are, but in this case they aren't.
    • A conversation with Karadoc goes in circles after it turns out he gets confused by the use of rams and scorpions on the battlefield.
    • Degrees, being used for both angles and temperatures, also confuse Perceval.
    • Averted, however, with the Moors (which in French is "Maures", sounding like "Morts" i.e. dead people). Arthur expects Perceval to be confused about the term, but he actually knows it refers to North-African people.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • In "Fair Game", the Goa'uld Yu led to this confusion. Often referred to as "Lord Yu" (the heroes never refer to any other Goa'uld by their title) to avoid confusion. And in a later episode, as newcomer Weir is being briefed:
      Dr. Weir: Yu?
      Daniel Jackson: Don't. Every joke, every pun, done to death. Seriously.
    • Then in later seasons, the main enemy is named "Ba'al" (which the characters pronounced identical to the word "ball"). Who cloned himself repeatedly. Then they had to go capture all the Ba'als.
      Cameron Mitchell: Chief, got a full count. Two strikes, three Ba'als.
  • What We Do in the Shadows: The episode "Gail" does the classic minors/miners joke, with Laszlo telling us his car was taken away from him because he was transporting miners across state lines.
  • Janda Kembang: Episode 16 twice makes a joke based on Indonesian word for insect (serangga) sounding similar with "si Rangga", the name of a missing child.

    Music 
  • Rammstein's song "Du Hast". In German, "du hast" means "you have," and "du haßt" means "you hate," and they're pronounced almost identically. So the lines, "Du. Du hast. Du hast mich," are commonly heard as, "You. You hate. You hate me." (The sentence fully sung is, "Du hast mich gefragt, und ich hab nichts gesagt," meaning, "You have asked me, and I have said nothing.")
  • "Funky But Chic" by David Johansen - the chorus words, run together, become "funky butt cheek."
  • The Metallica songs "The Unforgiven" and "The Unforgiven II" technically have Non Appearing Titles, but both have lines that are near-homophones for Title Drops ("I dub thee unforgiven" and "Are you unforgiven, too?).
  • Kids Praise: It takes them until the ninth album to do this, but they finally make a pun about Psalty tasting terrible because he's got too much salt. The context is that there are cannibals who only eat books who want to eat Psalty.
  • In P.D.Q. Bach's cantata "Iphigenia in Brooklyn," the second recitative culminates in the anguished cry of Orestes (as he was being chased by the Amenities): "Oh ye gods, who knows what it is to be running? Only he who is running knows." The text of the ensuing aria merely repeats the last two words. "Running nose," get it?
  • The title of the Beatles album Rubber Soul is a pun and intentionally sounds like "rubber sole".
  • Liz Phair's song "And He Slayed Her" is a jab at Capitol record exec Andy Slater.
  • Four Tet followed up the album Pause with a remix EP titled Paws.
  • Mercury Rev's "Goddess On A Hiway" uses wordplay which hinges on "I got us" sounding like "a goddess". The first verse starts with the lines "I got us on a highway, I got us in a car...", and in the last verse this becomes "she's a goddess a highway, a goddess in a car..."

    Puppet Shows 
  • In The Sooty Show episode "Hair Today", Matthew and Sweep have to get a hair from a completely bald man in order to cure their current state of baldness. Meeting Duncan Goodhew, they explain their plight, and he gives them a hare (as in a toy which vaguely resembles Bugs Bunny).

    Radio 
  • Car Talk would always sign off with a Credits Gag where the hosts would list off fake crew members whose names were a Hurricane of Puns, such as their Russian chauffeur Pikup Andropov, their makeup artist Bud Tugly, their PR manager Haywood U. Buzoff...

    Theatre 
  • Discussed and spelled out in Elaine May's one-act play Adaptation (no relation to the film of the same name):
    Norma: Last year I read "The Prophet" aloud at my parents' seder. My mother cried. She didn't understand. I wanted them to hear "The Prophet" so they could understand love — but too many people spell it f-i-t.
    Phil: F-i-t?
    Norma: Yes, ironic, isn't it? That's how they spell everything.
    Phil: F-i-t spells "fit".
    Norma: I know. That's why "The Prophet" is meaningless to them.
    Phil: Oh, they spell Prophet f-i-t.
Phil then misses the point Norma was making, discussing illiteracy.
  • In The Pirates of Penzance, the Major-General and Pirate King get very frustrated with each other, when the Major-General asks the pirates who have sworn to never molest an orphan (and word has gotten around), "Do you know what it means to be an orphan?", to which the Pirate King answers, "Often!" In proper British English, the words sound identical.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: When Sansa tells Sandor he's a good knight:
    Dontos: Good night to you too!

    Video Games 
  • The characters of Namu Amida Butsu! -UTENA- are not called jinbutsu 人物 like normal. Instead, a homophone that reads 神仏 ("deities and Buddhas") is used.
  • In Portal, GlaDOS tells Chell, "When the testing is over, you will be... missed/mist." The subtitles only state "will be missed", as expected. Subtitles have difficulty properly rendering an ambiguous spoken homonym. Considering the flames at the end of the testing course, most of Chell will be mist, and pretty quickly too. In the event, Chell is fine because she used portals so that the flames missed her. So GlaDOS was literally telling the truth!
  • At the beginning of Sakura Wars (1996), Ichiro Ogami receives orders to transfer to the Imperial Assault Troop, a clandestine combat unit, only to later find out that he is actually now a part of the Imperial Assault Troupe, a theater company. As it turns out, however, the Troupe is a cover for the Troop. The pun works both in English and in Japanese, as the group's Japanese name, "Teikoku Kagekidan", can be translated either as "Imperial Combat Revue" or "Imperial Opera Revue", depending on the kanji used.
  • In Colossal Cave Adventure, when trying to kill the bear:
    With what? Your bare hands? Against his bear hands?
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day: Conker sounds like "conquer".
  • Used several times in BloodRayne with character names: Blood Rayne = "blood rain", Ferril = "feral".
  • Planescape: Torment: Ravel has trouble remembering which word to use in some places, by first saying the correct word (e.g. "not"), stumbling, and replacing them with an identical sounding word ("knot"). This word choice is only presented in the game's text dialog, and wouldn't be noticed if it were simply spoken dialog.
  • Uncharted has Sully, who sullies everything he comes in contact with.
  • Tales of Rebirth: Solving the "Mystery of the Iron Factory" sidequest nets Annie and Veigue the "Great Detective"note  title, while Tytree gets "Sloppy Detective."note  The words used are pronounced exactly the same, even though their meanings are entirely opposite.
  • Team Fortress 2: The Soldier's woefully inaccurate knowledge about Sun Tzu includes the belief that he herded two of every kind of animal in the world onto a boat and then beat them all up with his awesome fighting skills, and that it is for this reason that whenever a bunch of different kinds of animals are gathered together in one place, it's called a "Tzu" (zoo).note 
  • Toon Link's weapon type in Hyrule Warriors is called "Light Sword". Its description says it's a lightweight sword meant for younger adventurers, and... well, just guess what its element is.
  • Pokémon:
    • The move "Poison Jab" can be learned not only by Pokémon of the Poison type or who have fangs/stingers/spines to inject their poison with, but also Fighting Pokémon.note 
    • The Grass/Dragon Pokémon Applin (and to a lesser extent its evolutions) is a wyrm (dragon) in an apple.
  • During the 16 More Ways bonus game in 16 Ways to Kill a Vampire at McDonalds, one of the ways the hunters kill a vampire is by steaking it... with the steak from a steak, egg, and cheese bagel. They end up having to explain the pun to the confused vampire, who dies as soon as he understands it.
  • In the Animal Crossing games, white turnips are bought on Sunday at a random cost, then can be sold to the shop within the next week for a price that fluctuates each day. Like the stock market, the goal is to buy low and sell high. This is a play on the fact that the Japanese words for turnip (蕪) and stock (株) are both pronounced "kabu". The English localizations maintain the spirit of the joke by calling this trade the "Stalk Market".
  • Rhythm Heaven Fever: The Japanese version of the game has the "Manzai" endless minigame, where the boke bird Kosuke rattles off various Japanese puns involving homophones, like "Ume wa umei" ("The plum was delicious") and "Mikan ga mikkannai" ("I can't find the orange").
  • Nord and Bert Couldn't Make Head or Tail of It: The puzzles in "Shopping Bizarre" revolve around homophones, like having to wrangle a chocolate moose by turning it into a chocolate mousse. Among other things, you can remove a jamb in a door by turning it into jam, and turn a tax into some tacks.
  • Counterfeit Monkey: The homonym paddle in the bar lets turn an item into another that sounds the same, but has a different meaning. You can try it out by ordering some drinks: a Rusty Nail and a Screwdriver will turn into the genuine article. Items you find elsewhere are allowed, too; the "jigsaw" (a puzzle piece) will turn into an industrial saw once the paddle hits it.
  • C14 Dating: If Melissa chooses to protect Joan while gathering vines for the festival, which is the option that will lock the player in Joan's romantic route, Rosemarie and Chantal will suspect something happened while Melissa and Joan were alone. Since Melissa is embarrassed to have protected Joan from a threat that turned out to be a bear-shaped cutout being moved by Augustin, Joan only goes as far as mentioning the word "bear" with little context. Rosemarie and Chantal understand the word "bare", which just makes Rosemarie ask what, exactly was bared.

    Web Animation 
  • DEATH BATTLE!: In "Blake vs. Mikasa", Wiz describes Blake Belladonna as a guerilla fighter. Boomstick scolds him and says Blake is not a gorilla.
  • Yahtzee Croshaw will use these in his Zero Punctuation series. Illustrating the dialog with alternate words with the same pronunciation. "Butt Weight" was used to subtitle "But Wait!" Adding confusion for the sake of humor.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The Moment of Awesome for Hulk Speak delivered by Thog: it's mind-blowingly accurate while utterly incomprehensible when spoken. Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo etc.
      Thog: not nale, not-nale. thog help nale nail not-nale, not nale. and thog knot not-nale while nale nail not-nale. nale, not not-nale, now nail not-nale by leaving not-nale, not nale, in jail.
    • "It's a Type of Boat"
      Lien: This is your junk.
      Hinjo: But why aren't there any citizens aboard it yet?
      Lien: Your uncle was a very private person, sir. He forbade anyone from touching his junk.
      Hinjo: Well, that end now. My uncle may have kept his junk to himself, but my junk will be for the people!
      Are there still evacuees waiting to board a ship?
      Lien: Oh, yes, sir, I imagine I'll have no trouble finding people willing to get aboard your junk.
      It should be able to hold many passengers.
      Hinjo: I agree, my junk appears to be quite long...
      Roy: Wider than I would have expected, too.
      Hinjo: Very well, Lien, you hold my junk here until it is fully loaded.
      Lien: That could take some time, Lord Hinjo...
      Hinjo: I don't care how long it takes, I don't want my junk to launch prematurely.
    • Inverted: In "The Name of the Windy", Durkon neglected to prepare Control Winds although they were going to the WINDY Canyon, because he thought it was called the "Windy" Canyon, as in full of winding passages. Vaarsuvius lampshades the fact that it shouldn't have happened because the words are homographs (spelled the same, but with different pronunciations), not homophones.
    • In "Hearing Is Believing", a character assumes the weird prayer he's hearing is directed to Thor and goes "Hell no, Thor won't go!" Actually, the priest in question is secretly following Hel and is chanting "Go, Hel! Know? Thor won't!"
    • In "He Assumed It Was a Cholesterol Thing", Belkar is trying to make wooden stakes to fight a vampire, and mentions he had difficulty trying to do it earlier. Cue flashback of him making steaks and talking to a cook, who evidently just called it out or lampshaded it:
  • In Ozy and Millie, Millie spends quite a few strips trying to set up a situation where she asks Ozy "Do you want your palm read?", he says yes, and she gets to paint his palm with the bucket of red paint she's been carrying around. It never quite works out; Ozy figures out what's going on almost immediately but is perfectly willing to watch her continue to try.
  • The title of every The Non-Adventures of Wonderella strip is one of these.
  • The strip called "Gnome Ann" in xkcd. Gnome Ann is a formidable character who does things that it is said "no man" does. So, time and tide wait for Gnome Ann, Gnome Ann was born wise, and the wicked flee when Gnome Ann pursues. She also qualifies for Gnome Ann of Woman Born, as it were, and the Star Trek guys are only following in her footsteps.
  • Sluggy Freelance: In "The Heroic Adventures of Binky and Clyde", the protagonists mess up a Virgin Sacrifice to dragons because they choose the most "chased" woman in the village instead of "chaste".
  • Sam & Fuzzy has the titular Sam being interrogated by the Ninja Mafia elders as a candidate for Emperor in a You Kill It, You Bought It scenario. At one point one of the elders disbelievingly questions Sam's statement that he killed his predecessor with his "bare hands," and Sam, realizing how unlikely that sounds, says that he meant he used his secret martial arts technique of "bear hands".
  • In Yokoka's Quest, Yfa mentions "the sea". Yokoka doesn't know what this is, and thinks he's talking about "the see" (which she later misremembers as "the look" and "the sight"). The French version has her mistake "la mer" for the homophone "l'amer" note , with the ensuing dialogue and illustrations adapted to fit.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal
    • One a strip is about how to cover up for accidentally saying "You too" in response to "Have a good trip" — mostly using homophones.
    "I'm hopeful a man named Mr. Yu also had a good trip."
    • In a strip possible called "Cog", this is invoked sadistically by the invention of the word "hoamuhphone", which is a synonym for "homonym" and, of course, homophone for "homophone". Just try to explain all those terms understandably now.
  • The written heteronym form is used in Bob and George. In Mega Man 2, Bubble Man's weapon is called Bubble Lead because it leads the way for Mega Man, but the author misread it as a weapon that shoots bubbles made out of the heavy metal lead. Cue Mega Man crushing Flash Man under a pile of toxic lead bubbles.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Katara demands that King Bumi release them by saying, "Let us leave", Bumi responds with, "Lettuce Leaf?".
  • Superman: The Animated Series twice made a joke of someone talking about Superman's "S": once when Lois first sees a picture and says he has a "nice S", and when Lobo threatens to kick his "big red S".
  • Robot Chicken:
    Girl: 'Cause there are words that sound the same/Like "dam", and "pecker", and "gay"/And then some words are spelled the same/Like "knockers", and "cock", and "snatch"!
    • In a sketch where the Peanuts gang got various countries for a Geography assignment Charlie Brown states "I got Iraq."
  • In the Fractured Fairy Tales cartoon "Snow White Inc", upon being told by her mirror that Snow White is the fairest in the land, the Queen gave her a poison apple. Afterwards she went back to her mirror who told her he meant Snow White was the fairest in that she never lied, cheated, or stole. The Queen was the prettiest.
  • Kaeloo: In the episode "Let's Play Golf", Kaeloo tells Stumpy that he needs to use a tee. He mistakes it for "tea" and asks why he can't have coffee.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "The Great Snail Race", Squidward boasts that his pet snail is a purebred. Patrick thinks he's saying his snail is made of bread.
    • "The Whole Tooth" played with the legend of the tooth fairy by revealing in the end that SpongeBob was actually talking about a tooth ferry.
  • The Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Affairweather Friends" had Berry attempt to get Bloo's attention by pretending to be a rich kid named Barry Bling, which eventually leads to Mac unsuccessfully trying to get it through to Bloo that Barry and Berry are one and the same.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In the episode "Sadie Killer", Sadie starts making up a song about how much she hates her job, with at one point the lyrics going into how she can't be in mourning in regards to Lars being stranded on an alien planet because she has to work yet another shift in the morning due to currently being the only employee at her store.
      I really ought to be in mourning/but I've got another shift this morning.
    • In "Made of Honor", Bismuth is told she could be maid of honor at a wedding, but misunderstanding it as the titular line because she doesn't know what a wedding is.
  • One episode of Futurama had Fry become emperor of an alien race made of liquid. Leela tries to warn him that he'll be assassinated, and that half of the former emperors had been drunk at their own coronation. Fry retorts that he was already planning on having a few beers before the ceremony.
  • In "Think or Swim" from Goldie & Bear, Humpty Dumpty shouts "high," trying to warn Goldie and Bear that they're filling the Giant's bathtub too high. Unfortunately, they think he's just saying "Hi."
  • A fake commercial in The Critic has Orson Welles promoting frozen peas "full of country goodness and green pea-ness", then immediately walking out when he realizes what he just said.
    Welles: Wait that's terrible. I quit!
  • The Simpsons episode "Rednecks and Broomsticks" had Lisa befriend a group of Wiccan girls. One day, she discovers that she has a witch-like substitute teacher filling in for Ms. Hoover, who claimed that she couldn't teach today because of "a spell of stomach flu". Paranoid that her new friends had Ms. Hoover indisposed as some kind of twisted favor, she panics when the substitute teacher then asks "Lisa, which craft?", the joke being that "which craft" sounds like "witchcraft".
  • Tangled: The Series:
    • Eugene thought King Frederic wanted his help to prank King Trevor by stealing a document known as the Royal Seal of Equis. It turns out to be King Trevor's pet seal, Trevor Jr., instead.
    • Throughout Season 1, there are multiple references to what seems to be a Noodle Incident involving Eugene getting on the Baron's bad side by stealing his prized stallion. Come Season 2, Rapunzel learns that Stalyan is actually the name of the Baron's daughter, whom Eugene dated and then left at the altar.
  • A plot point of the Mickey MouseWorks short "Mickey's April Fools" is Mickey having an inheritance of one million bucks. By the end of the short, it turns out that the bucks are male deer rather than dollars.
  • What A Cartoon! Show: In "Larry & Steve", Steve the dog tries to convince Larry to adopt him.
    Steve: Listen. If you don't get me out of here, I will be put to sleep, do you understand me?! You will be indirectly responsible for the resulting euthanasia!
    Larry: Oh, boy, they got enough kids over there as it is.
  • Ready Jet Go!: In "Constellation Prize":
    Jet: No way! A dog star? You can't be serious.
    Dr. Rafferty: Actually, it is Sirius.
    Jet: I get that it's serious, but I wonder what the star is called.
    Dr. Rafferty: It's Sirius.
    Jet: What's serious? I just want to know what the dog star's name is.
    Dr. Rafferty: It's seriously called Sirius.
    Jet: Whoa! Slow down...
  • Jackie Chan Adventures: In "Armor of the Gods", Uncle teaches Jade the spell to seal the demon Dai Gui. He says one of the ingredients is hair of ewe, but she thinks he said "hair of you" and uses some of her own hair, which doesn't work. Uncle has to clarify that a ewe is a female sheep.
  • In Hercules: The Animated Series, Hercules confuses the words "gyro" and "hero" on career day, thinking he's going to be working at "Hero World" when he's actually been assigned to a food cart called "Gyro World."
  • In He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021), Kronis grouses that he was about to eat a sandwich before Skeletor removed his jaw brace to empower it with Havoc. As he walks off, Evelyn muses to herself that she once knew a sand witch.
  • The Gravity Falls episode "Headhunters" has a scene where Mabel and Dipper attempt to sneak into a bar to interrogate one of their suspects for a mystery they're trying to solve. After making fake IDs, the scene cuts to a bouncer looking at an ID and saying "Sorry, we don't serve minors", before revealing that he's actually talking to a miner who storms off.
  • The Fairly OddParents: The Oh Yeah! Cartoons short "Party of Three" has an example combined with Joke of the Butt where Vicky stammers "but" in response to a photograph she took of Timmy Turner fooling around without adult supervision being changed by Cosmo and Wanda's magic into a photo of Mr. Turner in boxer shorts as well as Timmy doing the same in response to his parents deciding to continue hiring Vicky as his babysitter after all. Both occasions have Mr. Turner misinterpret them as talking about his rear end.
    Mr. Turner: What is this fascination with my fanny?
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Molt Down", Smolder explains to Spike that young dragons have to worry about being eaten by hydras, tatzlwurms, and rocs. Spike gets confused and thinks she is talking about rocks, so she clarifies she meant Roc Birds
  • In an episode of South Park, then-spokesman Jared makes the town upset to the point of a lynch mob by apparently repeating he'd like to give all the kids what helped him lose weight: "AIDS", but he was actually saying 'aides'; people to aid them.

 
Feedback

Video Example(s):

Top

"Set"

Specifically fun with homonyms: Dawn writes a ballad that manages to fit all the multiple meanings of the word "set" ("tea set set for one". It's very long and even shifts into science fiction ("set to stun") at one point.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / FunWithHomophones

Media sources:

Report