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Have a Gay Old Time

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How was this an accident, you ask?
Time, good friends. Time.

"'Cock' is not dirty all the time, that's one of those words that's only partly filthy. 'Cock', if you're talking about the animal, it's perfectly all right! They used to read that to us from the Bible in third grade; and we would laugh... 'Cock' is in the Bible!"

A cross between Accidental Innuendo and Unusual Euphemism, as a result of Language Drift — natural changes in the common vocabulary — causes a word or phrase originally intended as wholly innocuous to be potentially taken as startling, confusing, or just plain funny in a different time or place. Usually relates to sexual euphemisms, but can also involve other sensitive concepts.

Even very slight changes in usage can produce this effect; until recently, for example, a man might speak of his attraction to a "young girl", and everyone would understand he meant a woman in her 20s. Nowadays, she'd be young, or a girl, but not both. Sometimes the expression still has an innocent meaning that is at least as valid as the naughty one,note  but now there are just too many people with their minds in the gutter.

Compare with Hilarious in Hindsight, of which this is arguably a Sub-Trope. See also Double Entendre or Intentionally Awkward Title for when this trope is invoked entirely intentionally, Separated by a Common Language for the spatial analogue, and Get Thee to a Nunnery for the reverse process.

Keep in mind that some of these words actually did have their modern meaning at the time they were used, but only within certain sections of the populace. The meaning of the word 'gay', for instance, began to change as early as 1870 among the criminal classes of New York, where it originally meant "prostitute" (yes, before The Gay '90s); around 1900 the meaning changed to "homosexual prostitute" and within five years of that to simply "homosexual". This means that, for longer than you might think, writers have been employing that word deliberately in order to get crap past the radar.

Some of these examples result from the euphemism treadmill, whereby terms are repeatedly replaced as the previous word falls into such a state of misuse that it cannot be recovered. The words "idiot", "moron", and "imbecile" started as clinical terms, referring to people with IQs below 75, 50, and 25, respectively. As these terms fell into common use as insults, they were replaced by a kinder and gentler term: "mentally retarded". After decades of that being used as an insult, "retarded" is now considered so offensive that some people want it classified as hate speech. The term used to describe people with life-changing diseases or injuries followed a similar path, from "crippled" to "handicapped" to "disabled" to "physically challenged"; when terms like "handi-capable" and "differently abled" were proposed, it came across as too clunky and people generally agreed to stop messing with it. As of the mid-2010s, the treadmill turned again, and "disabled" is again the preferred term.

Racist terminology is also a prime example of this. The infamous 'nigger' (which is so virulent it cannot be even used clinically in many places anymore) used to be common language, even without racist overtones. For example, "nigger babies" used to be a name for a popular candy, while Agatha Christie even used the title Ten Little Niggers for her arguably most famous work; even back then nigger was considered risky so it was retitled Ten Little Indians for US publication, which annoyed another group of people, so they eventually settled on And Then There Were None. Use of 'nigger' by productions in which it is specifically used as a criticism/condemnation of racism (e.g. All in the Family, Blazing Saddles, and the Racist Word Association Interview sketch in Saturday Night Live's first season) is often misunderstood by modern audiences. Nowadays, even shows specifically about historic racism will avoid the word due to its baggage and triggering nature.

Words changed meaning less frequently before the advent of radio and television, and when they did change, the transformation could be slow (as seen with 'gay' above). It took over a hundred years for the primary meaning of the verb 'want' to change from "lack" to "desire". Television sped things up: it took only a few weeks in the '70s for the meaning of "boob" to change from "dummy" to "breast" among the general public. And nowadays with Internet trends, words can change meaning almost overnight.

Compare Values Dissonance, Harsher in Hindsight, and You Keep Using That Word (a common cause of this if it happens enough); see also Unfortunate Names, which sometimes result from this. Get Thee to a Nunnery is the inverse for historical slang whose meaning has been forgotten today, causing modern audiences to take the word at face value. Non-Nazi Swastika refers to when the trope is applied to Western culture (it was seen as a good luck symbol prior to World War II).

When an instance affected one of two related languages in the past, or affected both but with different new meanings, the result is a pair of false cognates.


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  • This trailer for Gentleman Jim, a 1942 film about the boxer James J. Corbett raves that the title character "made old San Francisco gayer" and "always did his best work in the clinches". After all, he was "the most fabulous figure of old San Francisco" and this is the "gayest picture" of the decade. He's also got "blarney on his lips" and "can lick any man in the world", apparently.
  • A trailer for The Great Race called the film "the gayest comedy in the world". This ended up being a source of bemusement for film buffs years later, given the changing of the word's meaning.
  • "Weird" has changed its meaning a bit through overuse of the word in advertising media. Originally, it meant something more along the lines of "scary" and "supernatural", and has since been watered down to "sort of generically eccentric". That's why you occasionally see old comics and pulps with names like Weird Tales or Weird Mystery. As in "the weird and haunted shores of World's End" (Pirates of the Caribbean). Ironically, it's now taken the spot in the language originally occupied by 'queer'.
  • The Golden Gaytime is an ice cream that was first released in Australia in the late fifties. It's still proudly sold in Australia with the connotations of its name (with "gay" being used in it's original meaning of "happy") being an integral part of its branding, though it remains a source of bemusement to tourists. The jingle, which is still played in ads today, states "It's so hard to have a Gaytime on your own!" The front of the box features the words "4 chances to have a gay time!" It is, however, renamed to "Cookie Crumble" in New Zealand.
  • The trailer for Broadway Melody of 1940: "It's BIG as BROADWAY and TWICE AS GAY!"
  • From a 1947 Jester Wools advertisement for colorful wool sweaters: "I've robbed the Rainbow to make you GAY".
  • At one point in the 1960s, the UK amusement park Battersea Funfair advertised itself as "London's Gay Resort".
  • Gay Boy Boot Polish.
  • There used to be a London coach-hire firm called Gaytime Travel.
  • The 1941 musical comedy film All-American Co-Ed was billed as "the season's gayest musical". It probably doesn't help matters that the movie's plot centers around a young man who infiltrates an all-girls school Disguised in Drag.
  • AYDS. "Why take a diet pill, when you can enjoy AYDS." The product came out in the 70's, so things became awkward for the company once the Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome and its abbreviation rose to prominence in the 1980's. The company tried changing its name a few times, but was ultimately discontinued.
  • This commercial exemplifies how people used to refer to being "retarded" in the clinical sense before the word became a common insult.
  • Cockburns is not pronounced the way it's spelt, and is not the kind of product one might think it to be if it were pronounced that way. (What that kind of product it might be shall now be left to your imagination, where it may be infinitely worse.)
  • "Those FTD florists really get around!"
  • A Kool-Aid commercial from the 1950s has a mother saying, "You can give your youngsters a lot of pleasure with Kool-Aid." Needless to say, "giving someone pleasure" has a very different meaning nowadays...
  • This commercial for a boat brand called Johnson tries to make it sound like the boat is part of the family. That still gets across, but it occurs to one that "Johnson" may have just been a name at the time...
  • One designer posting at Clients From Hell had to deal with a client who wanted a new sign for the restaurant owned by his family. It would proudly bear the slogan his grandfather created back in the day: 'You'll love the taste of our wieners.'
  • As this review points out, Mr. Bucket was poorly advertised. That said, it seems like everyone misremembers it as containing the line "You put the balls in my mouth", which would be a million times worse.
  • This film from Nestle's anthology promoting wellness features a Filipino student participating in a declamation contest using "The Owl and the Pussycat" by Edward Lear. Wait until around 5:50, where the adults are coaching him over and over again on the proper way to say "Pussy", or rather, "What a beautiful Pussy you are!".
  • There's Bigg's Yellow Label Shag from the days when a 'shag' was a tobacco product. Lasts and satisfies, indeed.
  • This reissue trailer from 1970 for The Wizard of Oz refers to the Wizard as "A Wizard that Whizzes." Today, "whizz" is slang for urination.
  • Although now a homophobic slur in most contexts, there is a type of Welsh meatball called faggots. One particular brand had some fun with this in their ad campaigns.
  • The ad for The Wunder Boner, a fish boning device, gained memetic status at one point in the 2000s due to the unintentional innuendos.
    "My wife would like that!"
  • "Nothing sucks like an Electrolux"-brand vacuum cleaner. Apparently the innuendo was intentional but it was nice having this trope to hide behind.
  • During the 8-bit computer era, one British software house was called "Application Software Specialists" (although it never did application software, it only did games). To eliminate any idea that the initialism may have been accidental, their logo was a donkey — with its rear end facing the viewer.

    Anime & Manga 
  • One Piece referred to a geyser-like water stream that sends ships up to Skypiea as the "Knock-up Stream" (in those exact words, even in the Japanese version). One Piece: Grand Adventure, which had its dub made by 4Kids, referred to it as the "water spout", but Pirates Carnival called it the Knock-Up Stream.
  • Fairy Tail having the main characters be part of a guild the same name is finenote , but then you get some weirdness in the times when someone calls a member of said guild "a fairy".
  • In the first episode of Haruhi Suzumiya, two other students tell Kyon about Haruhi and say "Her queerness takes a path unlike anything you've seen." Though given some of her behaviour, maybe they didn't just mean to call her weird.
  • In the Scramble For The Throne arc of Kinnikuman, one of the five impostor Kinnikumen is a Mexican wrestler named Mariposa (Butterfly). It's supposed to be a reference to his graceful, high-flying techniques, but in an anime with muscular, scantily-clad men grappling...
  • In general "XXX" in Japanese just means "(blank/variable thing)", but in English speaking language generally means something to do with pornography or moonshine. One work that could suffer from this trope is ×××HOLiC.
  • The Big O is also a name for The Immodest Orgasm, among other more tame things.
  • Panda and the Magic Serpent, Japan's first color feature animated film, has an English dub that sounds quite liberated for the 1950s: "There was a gay festival in the village. Everybody was celebrating."
  • In the school arc for Black Butler younger students who act as servants for older students are referred to as "fags". Which is probably where the association with homosexual men came from in real life as this system was practiced in all-male boarding schools in England (see main page).
  • The English dub of Chrono Crusade uses accurate 1920s slang which causes this to occur. Among the most jarring is when a thug attacking the protagonists is called a "bimbo", which is an accurate term for Dumb Muscle for the 1920s, and didn't start meaning Dumb Blonde until significantly later.
  • The Cures' first magical attack in Futari wa Pretty Cure is Pretty Cure Marble Screw.
  • Voltes V, being from The '70s, is no exception:
    • Gohl's father, the younger brother of the 123rd Boazanian Emperor, is called "Oral".
    • Modern audiences may giggle at hearing the word "Sodom"note . To make it even better, in the anime it refers to one half of two balls.note 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean: In the manga, there's this line from Jolyne.
    Jolyne: "You look like a queer!"
  • Done intentionally in Full Metal Panic!, where Sosuke nearly drowns in the school pool and Tessa, a submarine captain and his commanding officer, comes to his rescue. Tessa says she's got experience in "the water business", which is Japanese slang for prostitution (in the English dub she says she's got experience "getting wet"). Kaname mutters "That's kind of a poor choice of words..." under her breath.
  • Gigantor was a mecha anime from the 1960s that was localized in America during the same time period. Part of the localization was giving the Japanese characters "white" sounding names, and amongst these is Kenji Murasame, who was renamed "Dick Strong". This leads to lines like this:
    "Dick Strong penetrates deep into the mighty fortress!"
  • In Goodbye, My Rose Garden, Hanako hears about how Oscar Wilde was imprisoned for "laying hands on a nobleman." She asks if he was a violent man, but is told that it's an euphemism for an affair.
  • In one La Seine No Hoshi episode, Danton is tasked with preventing an Assassination Attempt on THE Marie Antoinette. How does he do this? By disguising himself as a jolly old girl named Cocklico, of course!
  • Tranzor Z, the American dub of Mazinger Z, referred to Baron Ashura as a "she-male", which would become a slur for a transgender person.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix:
    • In the English translation of Asterix in Spain, Asterix and Obelix rescue a small Hispanic boy from his Roman captors. They are quickly dealt with and Obelix exclaims in disgust, "Molesting a child! I've a good mind to straighten them out some more!" Let's think (and hope) that he meant the old meaning...
    • The Romans from the Asterix books frequently have "orgies", in the old sense of "rowdy indulgent party".
    • In the French version of Asterix and the Goths, Getafix asks for "un druide débile". "Débile" used to mean weak and feeble, but nowadays is used almost exclusively to mean "dumbass" or even "retard".
  • Tintin:
    • The English translation of The Red Sea Sharks: Tintin, Haddock and a shot-down (male) Estonian pilot are adrift on a raft in the middle of the Red Sea. They eventually are sighted by some passengers in a cruise ship, after which a woman immediately shouts to the ship's millionaire owner, "Look! Shipwrecks! How madly gay!" The series in general also used "queer" to mean "strange" quite often.
      • Also, the references to "coke". At the time it was widely used to refer to as a derivative of coal, but nowadays "coke" usually refers to either Coca-Cola or cocaine. The latter interpretation makes Haddock's shocked reaction to Tintin's question if their ship is carrying any coke look particularly hilarious.
    • In The Broken Ear, a South American artifact is repeatedly called a "fetish", with the word's older meaning of "idol" rather than the modern meaning of a sexual fixation.
  • Batman:
    • In the 1950s, "boner" was just a slang term for mistake (e.g., the Merkle Boner in baseball). Thus, it didn't raise anyone's eyebrows when Batman #66: "The Joker's Comedy of Errors" had the Joker start a crime wave based on "boners". The result was dialogue like "Laugh at my boner, will they? I'll show them! I'll show them how many boners the Joker can make!", "This emphasis on boners has given me an idea for a new adventure in crime!" and "I'm worried about the boner he's readying for you!" The Joker takes inspiration from a picture that "shows a big boner of modern vintage!". And to top it all off, the cover portrays the Joker as a giant totem pole. Not surprisingly, this story became an Internet meme. It was also drawn by Dick Sprang.
    • And because it seems there's not a single word on this page that hasn't appeared in at least one vintage Batman comic, here is: Batman's leather thong.
    • In one comic, Batman is carrying Robin out of a hospital, saying "I've got news for you, Robin! Wait till you hear what Gordon has up his sleeve" and Robin is thinking "Batman's doing his best to sound gay. But I can tell his heart isn't in it!"
    • A comic featuring the Joker set at Christmas ended with the Joker back in jail and receiving a mocking, rhyming Christmas card from the Dynamic Duo that ended with, "Accept these greetings gay/From Batman and from Robin".
    • Then there's that issue called "Rainbow Batman" which has Bats fitting a pink batsuit on the cover.
    • In the Batman & Robin newspaper comic strip for Sunday 18th Feb 1945, Bats congratulates some firefighters, finishing with "You're the hot boys... and I do mean hot!
    • There's a line in Catman's Who's Who entry about "the cat fetish he acquired in Africa". In proper context, it's easy to tell that the subject is a totem carving of a cat that he picked up while he was in Africa. Outside of that context or to the casual reader is another story. (The original meaning comes from Portuguese, meaning that in Portugal, Brazil or Angola the reference wouldn't be quite so naughty.)
  • In DC Comics, Speedy (Green Arrow's Ward) once points out "Y'see, my straight friends and I no longer had anything in common." He means "Y'see, my non-drug-taking friends and I no longer had anything in common." The sentence can be converted to modern vernacular, though, if you tack "-edge" onto the end of "straight"; maybe future printings will take advantage of this. His name didn't escape many people, either.
  • Gay Comics ran as a generic title in The '40s and The '50s and were a conventional look at innocent heterosexual teen romance. note  Today, the red-over-yellow title panel advertising GAY COMICS can provoke a double-take.
  • The Incredible Hulk:
    • Similarly to the above, Jim Wilson in 1972's The Incredible Hulk #157, thinking about Maj. Glenn Talbot: "The Major isn't a bad guy... just so awfully straight, it makes your backbone ache!".
    • One of the Hulk's recurring enemies is the two-headed android known as the Bi-Beast. Sure, "bi" as an adjective is used to refer to things that come in twos, much like his heads, but when it's used to describe a noun, it sure sounds like it has more to do with this beast's sexual orientation.
  • Sensation Comics: In 1942, Gardner Fox and Howard Purcell created a swashbuckling hero who battled evil from beyond the grave. His name: the Gay Ghost. He reappeared in Grant Morrison's Animal Man as a resident of Comic-Book Limbo, where he said he didn't want to be brought back because of the redefining of the word "gay". He was later brought back anyway, but as The GRIM Ghost. In his inaugural story, the word "queer" comes up several times, and his ability to possess the bodies of the living is described as "the power to enter men's bodies". (Via Cracked's The 5 Most Absurd Superhero Names of All-Time.)
  • Superman:
    • In Superman #7 (December 1940), Superman visits Gay City.
    • At the end of the 1964 storyline The Untold Story of Argo City, Allura remarks that her daughter Supergirl "misses the gay times she had as Linda Danvers".
    • The title of Supergirl's Three Super Girl-Friends was chosen in the early 1960s, when "girlfriend" was still widely used to describe "female acquaintance" rather than almost exclusively "female lover", making the instances of Supergirl wishing for a girlfriend and deciding she is allowed to have three girlfriends sound...awkward.
  • Spider-Man:
    • The "boner" example listed under Batman also shows up in a contemporary Spider-Man comic — after Spider-Man embarrasses himself by breaking up an apparently villainous act by the Human Torch that turns out to be You Just Ruined the Shot, a bystander comments "I guess anyone can pull a boner".
    • Mary Jane, first debuting in the sixties, shares the name of a euphemism for marijuana. Stan Lee later clarified that this was unintentional. In early issues, she also sometimes refers to being "turned on" by things that please her.
    • One member of Spidey's Rogues Gallery is named Shocker (because he uses a weapon that creates shockwaves), a name that has since come to be associated with a hand gesture with a rather crude meaning.
  • An early issue of The Invincible Iron Man includes the gem: "Little did she realize that Tony Stark had to leave the gay party for a most unusual date — with an electric cord!"
  • The title character of this comic.
  • In decades past, "tranny" was British slang for a transistor radio. This makes comics like "Tilly's Magic Tranny" and "Danny's Tranny" funnier — or more offensive — than intended.
    • Also, U.S. slang for an automobile transmission, which can make for awkward moments when telling non-gearhead friends about one's "blown tranny".
  • An infamous cover for Betty and Me featured a questionable choice in terminology about how to fend off other suitors. The meaning the average troper would be most familiar with for these terms came about around the same time this comic was made, though, so it probably still counts due to that writer-reader age gap.
  • Girls Love was the name of a romance comic put out by DC Comics in the '70s. This cover is especially famous for bringing the unintentional subtext. (Also, the heavy Fashion Dissonance.)
  • This website includes a collection of vintage comics that fit this trope.
  • Shazam!:
    • Captain Marvel debuted (and frequently starred) in Fawcett Comics' Whiz Comics, and Billy Batson was a contributor to radio station WHIZ. Fun fact: both of these were named for an older Fawcett publication with an unfortunate name, Captain Billy's Whiz Bang.
    • "Holy Moley! A thug molesting that baby!" To quote Chris Sims: "It meant a different thing back then!"
  • There are old The Beano comic strips called Little Dead-Eye Dick and Cocky Dick. Also, in an old Bash Street Kids strip, Smiffy points at a stuffed lion which Danny has stuffed his head into and says "What a big pussy!"
  • Issue #16 of Fantastic Four has Johnny exclaim that he finds fixing his car the most fun activity " to flaming on."
  • Similar to the "bisexual" example on the main page for this trope, a mid-1970s X-Men comic describes a space crew with both male and female members as being "inter-sexual", by analogy with "interracial".
  • Comic letterers often used shortened versions of words in order to save space in word balloons, such as using "thru" instead of "through". A once-popular example of this was "howcum" instead of "how come". This isn't used anymore for obvious reasons.
  • In Flick Falcon (1939), Flick mentions that he "ha[s] never felt so queer". (Via Cracked'''s The 5 Most Absurd Superhero Names of All-Time.)
  • The very early days of The '50s saw the creation of School-Day Romances (later renamed Popular Teen-agers), a romcom comic series. These days it's mostly remembered for one of their lead couples, who went by the incredible names of... Toni Gay and Butch Dykeman. (Those words were already changing to mean what most people today think of at the time, but it was really recent.)
  • Wonder Woman (1942):
    • Wonder Woman #1 describes Mercury as "gay", meaning joyous. It was published in 1942.
    • In one Golden Age story, Diana calls her boss to ask for the day off because "last night's party was — er — strenuous!" He responds: "Certainly, my dear! You must have had a gay time!" It's even funnier now that Wonder Woman is officially bi.
  • Stardust the Super Wizard: Stardust has a device called a "retarding ray". No, it doesn't make people stupid; it hinders momentum.
  • In The Golden Age of Comic Books, Marvel Comics introduced a hero with Super-Speed... known as "The Whizzer". It was meant to be a reference to his incredible speed, but these days — with "whiz" becoming a slang term for "urinate" — it's definitely an Atrocious Alias. Not helping matters is the fact that the Whizzer's costume is — of all the colors they could have chosen — yellow. Of course, all this is frequently lampshaded nowadays, and he's been mocked in-universe for the new connotations of his name since at least The '70s.
  • The short-lived Anthology Comic that introduced Spider-Man in its last issue changed its name a couple times. For its first 6 issues, it was titled Amazing Adventures. The aforementioned last issue was actually the only one with the famous title Amazing Fantasy. Between them? From #7 to #14, the name of the book was Amazing Adult Fantasy. No, it was never a dirty mag.
  • The language of the Greyfriars series is parodied shamelessly in a story from the old Brain Damage comic where girls are allowed into the world of Boys' School stories and are being very assertive. Poor old Cherry just has time to ejaculate "Hello, hello, hello," cheerily when he's shot dead by a girl with a cry of "He'll not ejaculate cheerily again, I'll wager!"
  • Played for Laughs in a Cable & Deadpool issue:
    Deadpool: My name is Wilson. Wade Wilson. I'm a dick. A private dick. A DETECTIVE! Never mind...
  • Lampshaded in this example. Though it made it onto the "Seduction of the Innocent Page" (a collection of examples of this trope), the last panel winks at the audience.
  • Humorously inverted in an issue of Midnighter's solo series. In the 96th century, when Everyone Is Bi and the entire concept of only being attracted to one sex has been completely forgotten, "gay" has managed to regain its former meaning of "happy". Fish out of Temporal Water Midnighter has some difficulty explaining to a woman hitting on him why him being gay means he's not interested.
  • In a Superman comic, a retired super-villain announces that he was once known as the Molester. The reactions of his friends force him to point out that back in the day, "molest" meant "to bother". ("Joker" and "Prankster" were already taken, you see.)

    Comic Strips 
  • Mickey Mouse:
    • March 8, 1934, in "The Captive Castaways": "He was makin' love to Minnie!"
    • December 25, 1937, in "The Monarch of Medioka": "Listen Phylline -- I wasn't makin' love to her -- honest!"
    • 1939: In "Mickey Mouse Outwits the Phantom Blot", Mickey asks if the Phantom Blot has "molested" a stock of cameras.
  • Garfield:
    • The June 3, 1983 strip is either this or an intentional Double Entendre.
    • In this strip, Garfield keeps hearing a "Ding", but it's not until the end that he finds out a man from Ed's Dong Repair was testing their doorbell.
  • Krazy Kat:
    • "Making love" shows up at times , in what is probably the original sweet-talk sense, as opposed to the down-and-dirty one.
    • A strip in which Ignatz's ancestor, in love with Krazy's ancestor (a queen), is apprehended by her guards: "How dare he get gay with our sainted "Kat"!" Since Krazy is not consistently female, well...
  • Lance Lawson: In the December 9, 1948 strip (reproduced here), the culprit who killed his wife remarks: "That silly boner is going to cost me my life!" ("boner" meaning "silly mistake").
  • Prince Valiant also uses the phrase "making love" quite frequently.
  • There was a comic strip in the early 1900s called Foxy Grandpa, "foxy" in this case meant tricky and cunning, as it was about a grandfather outwitting his mischievous grandkids. Nowadays, the phrase "foxy grandpa" brings to mind something else entirely.
  • Many early Broons and Oor Wullie comics had characters using the word "Gey" (pronounced like "guy", but when written down...), a now-obsolete eastern Scottish word for "Very". It wasn't unusual for characters to remark: "That's gey queer" when something odd was up! Another strip in particular had Horace refer to Gran'paw as a "Deif auld faggot", "faggot" at the time in Scotland meaning something tired and/or useless.
  • Jennie and Jack, also the Little Dog Jap: The eponymous dog has a name that would be considered an anti-Japanese slur these days. "Jap" back then was a moderately common name, a variant on "Jaap", a diminutive Dutch form of Jacob.
  • The main character of Boner's Ark is named "Boner", which just referred to a silly mistake in the early 20th century, but always means "erect penis" today.
  • L. Frank Baum had a newspaper strip for a time called Queer Visitors From The Marvelous Road to Oz.
  • Popeye: The titular character identical father shaves his beard and courts Olive. Later, she says: "Blast that Poopdeck Pappy for making love to me!"
  • The protagonist of the 1925/ 1926 comic The Adventures of Prudence Prim hangs out with a crowd of modern, stylish peers who are often referred to as "gay", in the vivacious and joyful manner.
    Miss Prudy Prim grew friendly with a gay and festive crowd;
    Their manners were quite noisy and their laughter was quite loud.
  • In Life in Hell, gay characters Akbar and Jeff are confronted by an angry hulk who asks them "How come you guys took a perfectly good word - 'gay' - and ruined it for the rest of us?" Their response is "We call ourselves gay because we are gay." as they push him over, in a merry, carefree way.

    Eastern European Animation 
  • Hungarian Folk Tales: Though produced in 2008, "Pepper Pot Peter" kept the original story's terminology. Köcsög traditionally means jug or pot and is used in the story to denote the hero's diminutive size. But the word is more commonly used as a rude synonym of "jerk". The narrator doubling down on calling him a "little köcsög" in a cheeky tone brings this close to an intentional example. The English dub of course stays clear of all this.
  • The Blue Puppy, a 1976 Soviet cartoon, suffered possibly the most extreme case of this, enough to be the Russian Trope Namer. The cartoon is about the titular puppy getting bullied for his fur color, who then gets captured by the Evil Pirate and the Cunning Cat. He is then rescued by the Kind Sailor with whom he bonds with and they together defeat the Pirate after which the Puppy is accepted by everyone. The problem is that the word used to describe the Puppy's color (голубой) has later became a euphemism for a gay man, changing the message completely. The Kind Sailor's effeminate design and his flower motif don't help.

    Fan Works 
  • Fallout: Equestria, in a fandom rife with Rule 34, insists on calling all of its zebra-related magical artifacts 'fetishes' every time. An 'invisibility fetish' even plays a heavy role in the book's backstory by being repurposed by Rarity into the Stealth-Buck. Somehow, despite a heavy dosing of raunchy material in the fic, no character ever comments on this or makes the obvious joke.
  • Used intentionally in the Slash Fic Land Of Oz one-shot The Royal Wedding of Oz. Dorothy and Ozma's relationship is described as "queer". It uses the old-fashioned usage but it also works because their relationship is a Queer Romance in the modern definition.
  • In The Queen of Sunshine and Bright Things, there are several usages of "queer" as a synonym for "unusual".
  • An Obligatory Joke in the Slash Fic Giggles Bags The Borg, which riffs on this trope occurring in the Biggles books.
    "I'm coming!" Tom ejaculated, tugging at the powerful weapon tucked into his trousers.
  • Rocketship Voyager is a Star Trek: Voyager fanfic written In the Style of a 1950's sci-fi magazine pulp.
    Carey smirked at his gay outfit. "If you're wearing that to impress the ladies, Paris, you might as well go back to Voyager."
    • And the line: 'Even with the legendary mental disciplines of his race, the Martian was fagged.'
  • Discussed in the Downton Abbey/The Avengers (2012) crossover Tony Stark Meets an Extremely Unimpressed Time Traveler, or, Thomas Barrow Makes a Surprisingly Good 21st Century Butler when Thomas makes a careful pass at a guest by asking if he's "having a gay time", not realizing that homosexuality is widely accepted in the 21st century. Kingsley is actually a doctor of history with a personal interest in LGBTQ+ issues, and understands what he means immediately, but Tony has no idea Thomas is gay and is worried Kingsley might upset him by flirting with him. Later when everything comes out, Kingsley has to explain the innuendo to Tony.
    Tony: There are 20’s gay pickup lines?
    Kingsley: You never read my book, did you.
    Tony: I might’ve, if you’d said it had pickup lines in it! No offense, but it looked like kind of a snooze.
    Kingsley: Goodness, I can’t imagine why I’d be offended by that.
    Tony: So what was it?
    Kingsley: What was what?
    Tony: The pickup line.
    Kingsley: He asked if I was having a 'gay time'.
    Tony: Didn’t that just mean 'happy,' back in the day?
    Kingsley: It began to acquire its modern meaning in the late teens and early twenties. As you’d know, if you had read my book. Since the meaning was not widely known, asking about a gay time was a way of identifying a fellow homosexual while maintaining plausible deniability.

  • In ye olde times, "rape" referred to kidnapping or assault, and not necessarily sexual violence (though that was often the implication, which gave rise to the word's modern meaning). Hence the Rape of Persephone, the Rape of the Sabine Women, and The Rape of the Lock. "Rape" was used for willing elopements too. From the perspective of the woman's family, she'd been stolen from them whether or not she consented. There was also an assumption that if she was recovered by her family, she'd claim sexual violence to preserve her reputation even if she had consented. Values Dissonance also plays a role here, since according to the patriarchal paradigms common to some (but not all!) eras of Ancient Greece, the only consent that mattered was that of a woman's male authority figure, typically her father or husband.
  • In order to impregnate Danae, Zeus took the form of a "shower of gold". In American English, the phrase "golden shower" refers to a sex act involving urination.
  • The fable of the little Dutch boy who saved the Netherlands by "sticking his finger in the dyke," meaning he plugged a hole in a dam directing water away. "Dyke" is one of many slang terms for a lesbian (particularly used in the phrase "bull dyke" to describe a lesbian woman who looks like a man). And the less said about the "sticking his finger" part, the better...
  • One particularly recent and non-sexual example is the word "troll". For most of the word's history, its primary meaning was a mythological creature. But in the age of the Internet, even though the old meaning is still used regularly, "troll" has also come to mean someone who enjoys stirring up conflict in online communities. (Eventually it came to mean any sort of troublemaker.) Nowadays, many young people snicker at stories about trolls like they would snicker about the word "gay" being used to mean "happy."
    • Trolling is also a fishing method; in fact, the act of posting Flame Bait or bizarre statements to get a reaction was called "trolling" from the fishing term but people began associating it with the mythical creature as well, giving us two previous meanings displaced.
    • "Troll" can also mean "to sing loudly" or "to celebrate in song", a notable example of this is the lyric "Troll the ancient yuletide carol" from Deck the Halls.
  • The King James Version (along with other old fashioned versions like the Douay-Rheims and Young's Literal) of The Bible suffers from a lot of this, due to being written about 400 years ago.
    • The story of Balaam from The Bible (Numbers 22) is chock full of unintentionally amusing lines regarding Balaam's ass. Mention is made of how Balaam "smote the ass with his staff" (22:27). In 22:30, it asks him "Am not I thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day?" Because of this the story has on occasion been jokingly summarized as "God visited Balaam and talked out of his ass."
    • Some translations of the Bible (like the NAB) refer to sacrifices as "holocausts". Yeeeeeeeeaaaaaaaah, doesn't exactly have the same ring to it today... For context, the original meaning of 'Holocaust' is a type of Greek sacrificial ritual where goods were burnt to present them to the gods, the word originating from the Greek 'holokaustos', meaning 'completely burnt'. Jewish communities are also hesitant to refer to Germany's genocide of their people as "the Holocaust" because of the term's prior association with holy sacrifice; consequently, ever since the end of World War II, they've referred to it as "the Shoah" (from the Hebrew word for "catastrophe") instead.
    • In James 2:2-4 [KJV]: "For if there come into your assembly a man with a gold ring, in goodly apparel, and there come in also a poor man in vile raiment, and ye have respect to him that weareth the gay clothing, and say unto him, Sit thou there in a good place; and say to the poor, Stand thou there, or sit here under my footstool: are ye not then partial in yourselves, and are become judges of evil thoughts?" The original Greek word ''lampros'', translated as "gay" in the context of the 17th century English vocabulary of the time, can mean "splendid, magnificent, brilliant", or "shining, clear, transparent".
    • Another non-sexual example is the former name of the Holy Spirit in Christianity (particularly, but not solely, Catholicism), the Holy Ghost. It's still used sometimes, but was phased out in favor of "Holy Spirit" because the meaning of "ghost" narrowed to specifically mean the spirit of a person who'd died, and use of it, especially in instruction to children, was bringing up the wrong images, either too scary or funny ones like a Bedsheet Ghost or similar.
    • Jeremiah 24:2 refers to two baskets, one of which has good figs and the other of which has naughty figs, which sounds like nonsense unless you know that naughty originally meant "worthless" (as in the saying "all for naught").
    • A lot of old-fashioned Bible translations call God "terrible" (in the sense of being fearsome), as highlighted in Deuteronomy 7:21 KJV which calls God " a mighty God and terrible". Some of the instances of this which stick out the most are in the Book of Psalms, which praise God by declaring "the LORD most high is terrible" (Psalm 47:2 KJV) and "How terrible art thou in thy works!" (Psalm 66:3 KJV). Similarly for the word "awful" and, for opposite reasons, "awesome."

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Back in the days when pro wrestling was switching from competitive to choreographed, "hooker" was used to describe wrestlers who had legitimate wrestling backgrounds (because they "hooked" their opponents in holds). The term is still used, although hookers have become relatively rare in wrestling these days, with the Godfather being retired, after all.
    • When Lou Thesz became NWA World Heavyweight Champion in the late 1940s, his status as a "hooker" was just as much a reason for him being given that position as his overall talent, especially considering that he subsequently wrestled in matches to unify the NWA title with other regional "world championships". The assumption was that Thesz would be able to legitimately win a match against an opponent who (for whatever reason) attempted to go against the planned finish.
  • Similarly, a cancelled storyline in wrestling used to be known as an "abortion." Of course, the sense of "terminated pregnancy" was around before the twentieth century, but was hardly ever used due to the practice being universally illegal and so offensive it was best not discussed.
    • More of a reference to anything in wrestling that did not go as planned to the extent of it being embarrassing or possibly exposing the business as a work.
  • A major one is Monday Night Raw. Vince McMahon has gone on the record to say that he meant "raw" to mean "uncooked", but the alternate meaning of "naked" was certainly there from the beginning - such as on one early episode where a ring girl in a bikini held up a sign saying "Honk if you're RAW!"
  • There's the wrestling move 'small package', which may have been named with the double entendre in mind or maybe it wasn't. Said move is now referred to as an "inside cradle".
    • During the Millionaires' Club-New Blood feud in WCW in 2000, Billy Kidman called Lex Luger, whose Red Baron was "The Total Package," "small package," and he was not calling him an inside cradle.
  • Cactus Jack invoked the Trope Namer in a post-match promo on the January 15, 1994 WCW Saturday Night, in the service of a Shout-Out.
    MEAN GENE OKERLUND: "Can I talk about The Nasty Boys with you?"
    CACTUS: "I'd like to talk about something else first. The Flintstones, Gene. I love The Flintstones. But you answer me this: [screaming] How many times does Fred have to buy the ribs before he realizes the car's gonna tip over? [laughing]"
    MEAN GENE OKERLUND: "[laughing] I know that story! Give me a break!"
    CACTUS JACK: "Well let's check back into reality. The fact is that Fred Flintstone's a cartoon character and Cactus Jack is just a mortal man. But not when it comes to the Nasty Boys! I'm not mortal anymore! I'm Cactus Jack! and this is Maxx Payne. Which means January 27, Clash of the Champions, on live national TV! We're going to take those gold belts from around your disgusting, fat, putrid waists and put 'em on our fat putrid waists! Gene, trust me, it'll be a do time, a dabba do time, we'll have a gay old time! BANG BANG!"note 
    MEAN GENE OKERLUND: "All right gentlemen. Coming up in a week and a half on TBS, the 27th of January, these two men will meet the Nasty Boys on the Clash of the Champions."
    CACTUS JACK: "[Interrupting] We'll have a gay old time! BANG BANG!"
    • The theme from The Flintstones started playing as the show went into a commercial break.
  • And, to give a chronologically inverted example (and one sociopolitical rather than sexual in tone), in the 2000s all WWE television programs opened with a Progressive Era Montage that ended with a shot of Triple H and a commentator screaming, "The whole world is watching!" Apparently, neither that commentator nor whoever edited the montage realized that "The whole world is watching!" is most closely associated with the notorious 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. note 

  • In one Bob & Ray episode — circa about 1959 — book reviewer Webley Webster discusses the 'coming-out party' he's throwing at the Waldorf-Astoria. When Bob tells him that those are only 'for young ladies',note  Webley is insistent: "No, no, I come out fr'm behind the curtain, an' then I'm officially out!" It sure doesn't help that this character is portrayed generally as an affected dandy.
  • There's the incident from a 1949 show in which a station staffer walks in with some junk he wants the guys to try and sell for him on-air. "Ooh, a vibrator!" Ray exclaims with what can only be described as childlike eagerness. "I'd love to have one!" Turns out it's a barbershop gadget for foaming up shaving cream, but for a second there... A hundred years ago, a vibrator was also a massage device to relax, cure headaches, etc. Novels from that period refer to, for instance, a woman "having the vibrator used on her head".
  • In Hancock's Half Hour, in 'A Sunday Afternoon At Home', Tony once contrasts Sunday afternoon in continental Europe, where 'everything's gay' compared to Britain 'not over here'. All he meant was that in the 1950s Europeans had a wider variety of activities available to them in the weekend than British people did...
  • My Favorite Husband:
    • Lucille Ball's old radio show was full of this:
      Bob LeMond: "Yes, it's the gay family comedy series starring Lucille Ball with Richard Denning and is brought to you by the Jell-O family of Red-Letter Desserts."
    • One episode featured Liz and her friend hiring a flirtatious French tutor. Her friend's husband described the first encounter like so:
      "As soon as he entered the door, he began making violent love to my wife."
  • In The Adventures of Superman, during a story arc in which Superman teamed up with Batman and Robin, Jimmy is responding to Lois' invitation to cover the opening of a new amusement park - he's meeting Dick Grayson at the Y for a swim, after which they're having dinner. But, he tells her, she can join them as their guest. To which Lois says, "You get Dick and meet me downstairs in fifteen minutes..."
    • Just to make sure that the more obscure of the two Double Entendres doesn't go over your head, "dining at the Y" is a modern euphemism for cunnilingus, "the Y" being...
    • This is aside from the fact that, post - Village People, two young men spending an evening together swimming and dining at the Y carries rather different connotations.
  • Discussed in an episode of I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue. Humph mentions his time at Eton, and Barry innocently asks "Were you a fag?" Humph replied "I was Lord Carrington's fag. I mentioned this to an interviewer...American television, coast-to-coast...and the late Liberace was on the phone before I'd left the studio."
  • George Carlin told that the nickname of his neighborhood was "White Harlem." It was actually Morningside Heights but he said that name was "too faggy." He went on to note that back then "fag" had nothing to do with sex, it was just a term for a sissy. "In fact the difference between a fag and a queer was that a fag wouldn't go downtown with you to beat up queers."
  • In Herbert Morrison's live audio recording of the Hindenburg tragedy (1937), he describes "a terrific explosion" and "a terrific crash". At the time, terrific meant 'very strong' or 'frightening', rather than its current meaning of 'very good'. So no, Morrison was not a Nightmare Fetishist.
  • An episode of The Jack Benny Program, "The Cast Visits Jack at Warner Bros.", has Jack rehearsing for an upcoming scene with his leading lady, with Rochester reading her part. It's a scene rife with Ho Yay even before the word "gay" became antiquated:
    Jack: Now, start here on page 23. You're Connie, and I'm Bill. I'll speak first; you're seated on the patio wearing a white organdy gown, and sipping a lemonade.
    Rochester: Lemonade?
    Jack: Yes, and you're in a very gay mood.
  • In one John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme Storyteller sketch, the Storyteller asks the woman he loves if they can engage in intercourse, "which, As You Know, is an old-fashioned term for conversation". She explains that she's seeing someone else, and they often engage in intercourse, "which is a new-fangled term for..."
    • In the second Storyteller sketch, he says he ejaculated, then sternly adds "which is an old-fashioned word for "said", as you well know."

  • In 2008, baseball historians commemorated the 100th anniversary of "Merkle's Boner". To everyone's relief, there was no sponsorship tie-in from Viagra or Cialis.
  • There is also Fred Snodgrass's "$30,000 Muff" in the 1912 World Series. It simply refers to a dropped fly ball in the bottom of the 10th inning by the New York Giants outfielder in the deciding game of the Series that eventually allowed the Boston Red Sox to win the game 3-2 and the series 4-3. $30,000 was the approximate difference between the shares given to the winners and losers of the Series that year.
    • "Muff" is still used today in football to described a mishandled kick or punt return.
  • The University of South Carolina's sports teams were originally called the Fighting Gamecocks, after South Carolina war hero Thomas "the Fighting Gamecock" Sumter. Over time, though, it's been shortened officially to "Gamecocks," and unofficially to fans and detractors alike as "Cocks." However, they appear to have wholly embraced the Double Entendre, as you can get shirts for the swimming/dive team that say "Wet Cocks Go Deeper," and see old ladies with bumper stickers saying "You Can't Beat Our Cocks!"
  • Americans, if you ever go to Australia, don't say you "root" for a sports team. Down here, "root" is slang for having sex. We barrack for sports teams.
  • NBC hockey analyst Pierre McGuire has become the embodiment of this trope for NHL fans.
  • Speaking of ice hockey, the position "defenceman" gets abbreviated to "D", with a team's group of defencemen being referred to collectively as "the D". Now that "D" has become a euphemism for "penis", statements like "The team desperately needs a good D" become Double Entendres.
  • The Butte County High School (Butte County, Idaho) has a football team named the "Butte Pirates". That can't be on purpose... can it?
  • Rugby has a position called "Hooker", so named because it's the player that "Hooks" the ball with his feet and pushes it back to his teammates. Former hooker Brian Moore joked that it makes it difficult to travel when he tells the airport officials he is a professional hooker.
    • And we all snigger when the commentators say who is acting as first receiver.
  • New York Yankees relief pitcher Joe Page, who was by all accounts heterosexual, was dubbed "The Gay Reliever" during his heyday in the 1940s.
  • Longtime Seattle Mariners pitcher Randy Johnson had the nickname "The Big Unit". He might as well have the most phallic name in baseball history (although Dick Pole might argue the point).
  • Lester Conner, who played point guard for several NBA teams in the '80s and '90s, had the unfortunate nickname "The Molester," because a) it rhymes with his name, and b) he played tough defense.
  • The University of Virginia's unofficial alma mater, "The Good Old Song" has been played for years at school football games after the team scores a touchdown. One of the lyrics is "We come from old Virginia/Where all is bright and gay", which means something very different now than when it was written in 1895. In recent years, students began yelling "not gay!" after this line until other students started protesting the obvious homophobia. So now they'll chant "Fuck Tech", a reference to their in-state rival, Virginia Tech, which apparently is supposed to be better.
  • English Football League side Shrewsbury Town played home matches at Gay Meadow for 97 years until leaving for the newly-built, aptly-named New Meadow in 2007.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The card game Illuminati uses Straight to mean normal, everyday, ordinary, i.e. the opposite of Weirdnote . In the contemporary era, we speak of mainstream and fringe subcultures. In the CCG version, Illuminati: New World Order, this is kept, but the rulebook and a couple of cards crack a few jokes at it. In the digital adaptation Illuminati Confirmed, they briefly considered changing it to "Straight-Laced" to avert this, but it proved too clunky.
  • The term Ego was less strongly associated with an overdeveloped sense of self when it became a stat in Champions. The numerical characteristic (or CHA) has more to do with willpower than either pride or the Freudian combined conscience of the id and superego.
  • The classic board game Cape Horn is absolutely full of this. As Mike Mozart pointed out, it's a game where you play as a crew of seamen collecting windcocks to sail around Cape Horn note  and get to San Francisco. Prepare for a lot of Heh Heh, You Said "X" if you try to play it with someone particularly immature.
  • There were rules for "orgies" in Dungeons & Dragons at one point. As stated above, it used to mean any large indulgence. Note that this is separate from the infamous harlot encounter table in the 1e Dungeon Masters Guide.
  • One of the AD&D-compatible modules produced by Judges Guild in the early 1980s was titled Glory Hole Dwarven Mine – of course, a "glory hole" is a term for a surface-level depression left by underground mining, but that may not be the first thing that comes to mind.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • For a while, the Grey Knights had a power called Holocaust, which would destroy daemons within its area of effect. Possibly knowing the unfortunate implications of the word's association and the actual in-game effect (basically obliterating the hell out of one specific type of troops) this power was dropped in the newest edition. While it was still around the game introduced a "Deny the Witch" mechanic to counter spells, meaning the Knight player's opponent had to attempt to Deny the Holocaust.
    • The 3.5 Edition of the Chaos Space Marine codex did not shy away from using terminologies such as "orgy" and "fetish" in their non-sexual meanings (although it did not shy away from using the sexual connotations either, considering there was a god of sex and lust in the book too). Nowadays such terms are almost exclusively in sections referring to Slaanesh (the aforementioned god of sex and lust).
  • A very strange and somewhat more recent example than most is Twinkees and Trolls, a board game invented by the proprietors of "Buddies" which was a gay bar in Boston. It plays something like a homosexual-themed version of Monopoly, in which the objective is to pick up as many "Twinkees" (handsome young men) as possible and avoid being picked up by "Trolls" (ugly old men) while haunting various cities known for having gay cruising strips and hangouts. While a "Twinkee" is still something one hears referenced in the subculture these days in a slightly abbreviated form, a "Troll" has come to mean something quite different in all cultures since the advent of the internet. (Granted, probably no self-respecting fellow of any sexual inclination would want to pick up that kind of a troll either...)

  • Would anyone today even think of naming a kit full of miniature girders, bolts, and platforms, to be marketed to young boys, an "Erector Set"? Worse yet, an ad for it said, "Boys today... men tomorrow!"note 
  • We have the Autobot Erector, who only fights when provoked.
  • This toy dog called Gaylord. He comes with a bone of his own.
  • There was a plastic toy company called "Gay Toys, Inc".
  • The writer of a 1980s promotional jingle for the Hackey-Sack doesn't seem to have considered how this line would scan to the toy's teenage target audience:
    Flip it like this, flip it like that, I can keep it up for days, I'm a Sack aristocrat!
  • The G1 My Little Pony series had a slumber party-loving pony named Pillow Talk. Granted, the intimate act of pillow talk itself can be platonic, but still.

    Video Games 
  • In Banjo-Kazooie, during the board game challenge, Gruntilda calls Banjo a "furry geek". Neither word is by itself ambiguous, but put them together...
  • Code:Realize has a part where Cardia "turns [her] back on the gay scene".
  • Dark Seed II has this line, about the two characters behind the game's Knights and Knaves puzzle:
    Mike: I don't think Ik and Uk are going to molest me anymore.
  • The egregious use of Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe in Dragon's Dogma leads to plenty of this, expect to hear a lot about stuff and places being queer.
  • Ensemble Stars! has a cross-cultural version: in one story someone steals one of Keito's doujinshi, but because he's a Closet Geek he's too embarrassed to openly speak of it in public. So instead, he refers decides to refer to it in code, as 'my D.' In Japanese that's just some harmless Gratuitous English, but in English...
    Hold it! Don't you dare run away! You truly are the root of all evil! I told you to stop playing around with my D like that!
  • Fable: The protagonist's first Hero name is Chicken Chaser — presumably a reference to the chickens near his hometown, not to the outdated slang term for a womanizer, given that he's a Chaste Hero if not played otherwise.
  • One of Wolfgang Krauser's quotes before you fight him in Fatal Fury Special is, "Challenge me, ya hot spunky kid. I hate spunk."
  • Fear & Hunger: Termina: If you play as Daan, the intro may result in Karin calling you a "Queer eyepatched foreigner". "Queer" is clearly being used in the original meaning of "Weird" (since the setting is an Alternate Universe of the real 1942), but it does get a few players confused due to the term's modern associations with LGBT.
  • Final Fantasy XIV uses 'queer' in its original meaning of 'strange' more than once; one early boss will trap one member of the party in a Queer Bubble, and one early quest deals with retrieving a Queer Leaflet, which has provoked many a gay agenda joke.
  • Grand Kingdom uses the original definition of "fetish", an object with supernatural power, for the Shaman class's weapon of choice.
  • Often, mistranslations of the older games have reintroduced the words in their archaic meanings. For an example, Masami Tabata is listed in the credits of the NES [Famicom] game Hi no Tori: Gaou no Bouken as "Nice Gay Masami".
  • In Legacy of Kain: Soul Reaver 2, the Elder God at one point warns Raziel that Kain will "seduce and deceive" him. Raziel also has a habit of describing the Reaver's overcharge as it "becoming aroused."
  • LEGO Island: The lyrics to the song "Brick by Brick" contain the made-up word "trannieverse", which is a portmanteau of "trannie" and "universe". In context, the word is being used in the sense of a vehicle's transmission (the verse is about building vehicles), not as an anti-transgender slur.
  • Mario Party 8 infamously had to be recalled in the United Kingdom on the first week of its release there, due to a case of this and Separated by a Common Language. During the Perplex Express level, Kamek utters the line "Magikoopa magic! Turn the train spastic! Make this ticket tragic!" The issue starts with the word 'spastic'; in the United Kingdom, this word is often used as a harsh slur for mentally disabled people in the same vein as the word 'Retarded', but in the United States it's typically used to mean 'jittery and uncoordinated' with no further negative connotations. Following the recall, the word was changed to 'erratic' for the UK release, a much more acceptable word that still matches the meaning the US iteration was going for.
  • Mortal Kombat character Noob Saibot, created long before the term "noob" was even invented. (It's supposed to be Boon and Tobias written backwards).
  • In Plok, the eponymous protagonist says "I've been diddled again!" at the end of one level when the flag is not there. While an innocuous word in 1993, "diddle" is now usually associated with sex abuse.
  • Quake has an enemy called "Vore". Nowadays, the word refers to a fetish involving characters swallowing each other whole.
  • Rome: Total War has "Lesbian Rebels". As in, they're rebels from Lesbos, not... well, you know.
  • Recettear: An Item Shop's Tale has the cheerful catchphrase "Capitalism, ho!"
  • In Paper Mario 64, Peach's star friend is named "Twink". The name itself is supposed to be derived from the word "twinkle", but nowadays it's a slang term for young or young-looking gay men, which is probably not what the developers and various localization teams had in mind back in the early 2000s.
  • There's the title of an old space strategy game, Spaceward Ho!.
  • Tales of Vesperia has a robotic enemy called "Trans Murder" (part of a whole line of "Murder" robots that also includes Blade Murder, Guilty Murder, and Perfect Murder). In the 11 years between the release of the original version and the Definitive Edition, it's gone from a cool name for a robot to sounding more like the description of a hate crime.
  • The English translation of Terranigma consistently uses the word 'arouse' instead of the various forms of 'awake/awaken'. While this usage is technically correct, 'arouse' is these days most often used to refer to sexual arousal, which leads to some double entendres, such as Dr. Beruga's "I thank you for arousing me."
  • One target in Assassin's Creed IV: Black Flag tells his minions to leave no bush unmolested. He basically means "leave no stone unturned" but one suspects Abstergo will censor that part.
  • In the first Baldur's Gate game, one of Imoen's selection quotes is "You're a queer fellow".
  • Very early in BioShock Infinite, you will come across a barbershop quartet giving a performance of "God Only Knows". There are signs nearby that proclaim the group as, among other things, "Columbia's Gayest Quartet".
  • Done quite deliberately in the ZX Spectrum text adventure Bored of the Rings (which may or may not have had some connection with the book of that name), which at one point had Fordo (the protagonist) meet up with a few "manly" (that was exactly how it was put, quotes and all) pop stars of the day. Stick around there too long, and you got "Fordo felt a queer sensation" followed by his accidentally dying of AIDS a few turns later.
  • The description for the homosexual trait in Crusader Kings II says "this character is a bit queer..."
  • Moraff's Dungeons of the Unforgiven (a 3D but turn-based graphic adventure, which didn't do very well because it had the misfortune to come out at about the same time as Wolfenstein 3-D) had "Lesdidian" warriors. Yes, they were female.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • The remake of Fire Emblem Gaiden has Mae call Boey a "stupid boob".
    • In the "Harvest Scramble" DLC for Fire Emblem: Awakening, a character (who is also a boss in a side-mission in the game) directly references and says that they're "Having a gay old time".
  • Jimmy and the Pulsating Mass: One of the bosses fought in the arena is the High-Level Goon, as in a petty criminal, who claims he has "Acheived the peak of gooning." The word "gooning" started to mean a specific method of masturbation during the early 2020s.
  • In one scene in L.A. Noire, the main characters comment on an item related to the movie "Gay Cowboys". This may be a reference to Brokeback Mountain, though in the game's time period the title is perfectly innocuous.
  • When confronted by a giant pink cat boss in Shadow Hearts: Covenant, protagonist Yuri exclaims "That's one big pussy!"
  • Spiritfarer: When Stella tells Francis about Daria's peculiar demand, he remarks on how "queer" it is. Since he's an old monkey-onion hybrid spirit, he meant it as "strange", not as the umbrella term for LGBTQ+ people.
  • In the description of the legalize gay marriage edict for Tropico, your advisor uses the old definition of gay, thinking that the new law would allow happy people to get married.
  • Deliberately lampshaded in Two Worlds II: Modern English is the language of all characters except for one, who goes for extremely exaggerated Middle English, leaving the game's hero wondering what exactly he'd just heard. At one point, the odd character starts talking about his experiences with leading a "gay life" - i.e., having a happy existence. Shown in about 70th second of this video.

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • The Cheese Family:
    "It's such a lovely day today. Let's go to the Zoo!" exclaimed a vaguely aroused Carren.
    "Why, that's a fantastic idea" ejaculated Eddy. "I shall awaken our baby children Belle and Bill".
  • This site gives a list of common mistranslations used by women on Russian dating agencies, often caused by using outdated dictionaries for translation — among them are "gay" (used in the old sense), "intercourse" (not what you think) and "intercourse agency" (a dating agency).
  • Invisible Dick The linked page is full of these.
  • Looking up 'spunk' at the Urban Dictionary will net you references to Australian slang for a really hot guy (supposedly a contraction of "sexy punk"), and American slang for marijuana. It's even more fun to look it up on—not only does the word "punk" appear again (in an even more obscure meaning involving wood—no, not that kind of wood, the kind you light fireworks with!)—but it brings up ads for sperm banks. Kinda puts a whole new spin on this classic exchange between nervous new employee Mary and her irascible boss, from The Mary Tyler Moore Show (circa 1970):
    Lou: You've got spunk...
    Mary: Wh- why, thank you.
    Lou: ...I hate spunk!
  • An aversion of this was mentioned in Zero Punctuation: Everyone in Britain stops snickering at the name "Spotted Dick" by the time they turn twelve.
  • The Happy Spacemen, by rathergoodstuff.
  • Invoked by the SCP Foundation with the gayest man alive.
  • The Runaway Guys reference the trope namer during the New Super Mario Bros. U Let's Play, as part of the "Timstones" song.
  • The Register does this quite a lot. One article (about The BBC website's supposed obsession with the bird species Parus major) was headlined "BBC continues to milk great tits".
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged episode 43, after the Androids' stolen van has broken down:
    Android 18: Hey 16, how's that tranny coming along?
    Android 16: I do not believe the car identifies as either male or female.
    [18 and 17 go back to their conversation after a Beat, until 16 makes a realization]
    Android 16: Wait, did you mean the transmission? Because it's fixed. (cranks the motor)
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd remarks, during the third Bible Games review, with a laugh that it says 'dumbass' in the Bible. Which is true, but it's 'dumb ass' as in 'stupid donkey' and not the insult. He then dryly remarks he's going to Hell for that.
  • Game Grumps: During their playthrough of Mega Man V, Arin is in the endgame Boss Rush and equips the Napalm Bomb to fight Stone Man. Immediately afterward, Danny suddenly realizes that the game's abbreviated name for the weapon, innocuous enough at the time the game was made, is nowadays a slang term for a racial slur.
    Danny: Is that called the N. Bomb?! (Arin starts laughing) Oh my God! (both laugh) That... that should have been thought about!
  • Neopets: The Petpet now known as a Chatter used to be known as a Diddler from when it was introduced in October 2000, and stayed that way until, in March 2023, it was pointed out to the staff that the word "Diddler" gained a new, sinister meaning in the late 2010s. Once they were made aware of that, they were VERY quick to change it.
  • The Pop Arena: While covering Spartakus and the Sun Beneath the Sea, Greg cracks up upon seeing there's a monster named "Thot". To clarify, he acknowledges that the name also produced differently in this case. Still, we also learn that the mother's name is "Mama Thot".
  • Inverted with a popular Anti-Humor meme: "If gay means 'happy', then I'm extremely straight." Both terms are meant in the sexual orientation sense, with the joke being that the speaker made a Converse Error (i.e. "gay" means "homosexual", but is also used to mean "happy", so Homosexual = Happy) and self-deprecatingly relates the two to their own miserable state.
  • Unskippable had some good laughs about Two Worlds' description of its medieval fantasy world being "infested with the Taint". This was a game from 2007, mind you, and calling something "tainted" in that sense is still a common term, but "taint" specifically as a noun is rapidly falling out of practice.
  • On Escape from Vault Disney!, everyone has a ton of fun poking fun of the euphemisms present in The Cat from Outer Space because of its many uses of the term "pussy", including the phrase "Playing with your pussycat."

    Western Animation 
  • In one episode of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, upon hearing that an island was full of "booby traps", Grounder responds with "Booby traps? What does he think we are, boobs?"
  • In the Adventures of the Gummi Bears episode "Girls Night Out", Calla is pulling a Sweet Polly Oliver. Sunni asks if she's worried about being caught. Calla replies, "would you rather one of those boobs won and became my protector?"
  • In Archer, episode "Double Deuce", it's already been established that Woodhouse is attracted to Reggie Thistleton. Both characters are British and fighting in The Great War when this happens:
    Woodhouse: I'm a —
    Reggie: Fag?
    Woodhouse: Excuse me, sir?
    Reggie: Have you got one? Dying for a smoke.
  • Beavis And Butthead:
    Principal McVicker: Mr. Sherman the history teacher says he's completely given up on trying to teach your class about The Gay '90s.
  • Granddad in The Boondocks isn't up to date with the lingo, and when he hears about the R. Kelly case, he comments "I wish someone gave me a golden shower" to the amusement of Riley.
  • The 2023 revival of Clone High has some fun with this combined with Deliberate Values Dissonance and Get Thee to a Nunnery, with Abe having not caught up with the connotations of words such as "gay", "retarded", and phrases like "all lives matter" having had significant shifts in connotations since the early 2000s.
  • Dexter's Laboratory:
    • One of the characters in the Justice Friends segment is Krunk, a parody of The Incredible Hulk. It's a homophone of "crunk", a term developed about a half decade after the show began meaning being drunk and high on cannabis at the same time.
    • In "Dexter is Dirty", Dexter collides with a giant container full of green stuff labeled "waste spooge". "Spooge" generally referred to any liquid waste, but since then has almost only been used as obscene slang for ejaculation.
    • The episode "Aye Aye Eyes" has a creepy-eyed girl coax Dexter into becoming her boyfriend, much to Dexter's chagrin. The (not) Falling-in-Love Montage song features the lyrics "Your eyes are the kind that make me feel gay". Considering it's a psychedelic 60s-styles song, it sounds appropriate.
  • The 1954 Donald Duck cartoon "Grin and Bear It" has Donald go to Brownstone National Park. The park ranger quickly reads out a Long List of rules to the guests, and then puts special emphasis on one final rule which is on a big sign next to him; Don't molest the bears. It then cuts to Donald with a slightly annoyed look on his face, as if he had been planning to molest some bears.
  • Doug's best friend is named "Skeeter" around when "skeet" became slang for "ejaculate".
    Roger: Yeah, what do you know Skeet-face?
  • Family Guy:
    • The term "badass" is used as an insult in an early episode, referring to someone that's very gruff and unpleasant.
    • Another episode features an in-universe example involving a restaurant named "Cream Queen", with a sign reading "We came up with this name in the 40's before everything got dirty."
  • The 1936 Felix the Cat cartoon "Bold King Cole" had Felix singing this lyric.
    ''We laugh and play, it keeps us gay".
    • The Joe Oriolo Felix right away tells how Felix is "happy, gay, carefree." Another has Rock Bottom noting the "queer" birds Felix is raising while another has Felix telling how "something queer is going on" at a strange house to a policeman.
    • The very first Felix short, "Feline Follies", takes place in the town of "Pussyville". Yeah, that name doesn't sound as innocent as it did in 1919.
  • The trope name itself comes from the last line of The Flintstones theme song from 1962 to 1966.
    • Two of the spinoffs from the Flintstones modified that line. "The Flintstones Comedy Hour/Show" proclaimed "We'll have a groovy time" (this was early-1970s), while "The New Fred and Barney Show" sang "We'll have a great old time".
    • The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson mentioned this in a Funny Moment. "Well, back then, 'gay' meant fun. Not like now, when it means 'really fun.'"
    • In an episode of Drawn Together, the cast drives by a devastated Bedrock, and Princess Clara snidely comments "well that's what they get for having a gay old time."
  • The 1954 black and white Frosty the Snowman short has a line "Happy and gay was he". It still airs on TV occasionally.
  • In the 1951 Goofy short "No Smoking", Goofy, suffering from tobacco withdrawal, begs another man for a cigarette. He does so by listing off various slangs for tobacco, like snuff, rube...and weed. While the phrase's meaning of marijuana had been around since The Roaring '20s, it was also a common slang for tobacco well into The '50s. It wasn't until The '60s that it became fully supplanted to mean "cannabis".
    • In the same cartoon, Goofy uses the term "fag," which at the time was simply a slang term for cigarette.
  • The Bully in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy is named "Sperg" (named after a friend of one of the show's writers), which would later become an insulting internet term for Asperger's syndrome/autism. Coincidentally, series creator Maxwell Atoms revealed he has Asperger's syndrome in 2021.
  • Prince Adam from He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (1983) has "fabulous secret powers".
  • Jellystone!: In "Cats Don't Dance", The King calls Top Cat and his gang 'simps'. Due to Production Lead Time, the episode was produced before 'simp' as a slang term meaning 'a man who foolishly overvalues and defers to a woman' became more common knowledge, but aired afterwards, so it may have been intentional. The King and his crew are patterned after '50s greasers, and the archaic meaning of 'simp' is 'simpleton'.
  • Jem features a song called "Who Is He Kissing?" about Jerrica's Two-Person Love Triangle troubles. It features the lyrics "Who is he kissing/Is it me/Or is he making love to a fantasy?" By the mid 1980s "making love" had its modern meaning however, it's likely the only reason it was allowed was due to the fact the lyrics say "Who is he kissing?" and the video shows them kissing several times. In-series there are no implications Jem and Rio have done anything besides kiss either.
  • Johnny Bravo: In the Schoolhouse Rock! parody episode, Jack Sheldon's character sings "Show that girl that you really give a D!", with him handing a large letter D to a smiling woman. Needless to say, this image became quite popular after the phrase "give her the D" entered common usage.
  • In the British cartoon King Arthur's Disasters Lancelot's catchphrase when something happens that he doesn't like is "Oh Blow!"
  • King of the Hill: In "My Own Private Rodeo", Hank, Bill, and Boomhauer find Dale's estranged father Bug performing in a gay rodeo, but they don't put two and two together till they hear an announcer say so, after which, Bill jokes "Boomhauer, you wanna get some cotton candy? That would make me happy, or should I say, gay.".
  • Used as Ship Tease in the Season 3 premiere of The Legend of Korra, where Korra tells Asami that she's "never had a girlfriend before." Contextually, she's using the outdated sense of "platonic female friend", but as the finale makes those two the Official Couple, it's a clear Double Entendre.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Some classic shorts have titles that make you look twice nowadays:
      • "Puss 'N' Booty" (1943)
      • "Angel Puss" (1944)
      • "Booby Hatched" (1944)
      • "The Gay Anties" (1947)
      • "Bone, Sweet Bone" (1948)
      • "Boobs in the Woods" (1950)
    • "Easter Yeggs" (1947) had Bugs encountering a weeping Easter Bunny who explains to him that his job delivering Easter eggs has made his feet sore and thus is unable to continue the job unless another rabbit does it for him (unbeknown to him, the Easter Bunny tricks other rabbits by guilt tripping them to doing the job for him while he doesn't have to do anything). During his sob story, he briefly mentions himself being "happy and gay" before hurting his feet. This can be taken both ways.
    • An example in reverse: in cartoons where Bugs Bunny usually says "What a maroon!" in reference to hapless antagonists such as Elmer Fudd, "maroon" was intended and taken as Bugs's Brooklyn-ese mispronunciation of "moron" (along with "embezzle" for "imbecile"). It was later discovered that there was an obscure historical definition of "maroon": African-American settlers who escaped from slavery and probably settled with the indigenous natives, which nowadays might cause viewers to wonder if Bugs was aware that he wasn't just insulting Elmer's intelligence when he called him a "maroon"...
    • From Duck Amuck:
      Daffy Duck: [to second Daffy] Listen bud, if you wasn't me, I'd smack you right in the puss.
    • Here's an IMDb review by a user named "oscaralbert" of the short "I Wanna Play House", talking about the featured song "I Gotta Sing Because I'm Gay", hilariously unaware of what the word meant back in that time period.
    • Remember the 'making love' explanation earlier? Does that explain how Pepé Le Pew got away with saying he'd love to do this all night and all day with an obviously non-consenting non-skunk he happened to grab without everyone and their senator screaming to bleach out the soundtrack?
  • The Magic School Bus:
    • In "Ups and Downs", which is about buoyancy, Keesha talks about turning their "floaters into sinkers".
    • In "Revving Up," as the class floats around in the bus' carburetor, Wanda says "Now I know what a tossed salad feels like!"
    • The name of the show itself can also be this. Especially since there are theories that Mrs Frizzle does actually drug the kids!
  • Mega Man (Ruby-Spears) has a few infamous lines of this nature.
    Protoman: [challenging his younger brother to a fight] I'll take you any way you want!
    Protoman: (While pretending to reform) Geez, I try to go straight and you still don't trust me?
    • "Whatever turns you on, Doc..."
  • In the Mickey Mouse short The Mad Doctor, the titular Mad Scientist is named Dr. XXX. The cartoon predates the first use of the X classification rating for pornographic films by about 35 years; back in the '30s, "XXX" was instead used as shorthand for alcohol, most often moonshine. As a result, Dr. XXX's name tends to get changed to The Mad Doctor in modern appearances like Epic Mickey.
  • Phineas and Ferb has a musical number called "Squirrels in my Pants" or... "S.I.M.P.". When the episode was released in the late 2000s, "simp" was understood to mean stupid or dumb (as short for "simpleton"), though in the late 2010s the slang term "simp", meaning "someone who tries way too hard to win another person's attention or affection" became much more well-known, giving the song's title new meaning to many people.
  • Rainbow Brite's companion is named "Twink". In the show's context, it's presumed to be short for "Twinkle", but in recent years "twink" has been used as slang for a gay man. Two out of the four modern-day attempts at Continuity Reboots renamed him to avoid this trope, the 2009 reboot renamed him "Twinkle" and the 2014 miniseries reboot renamed him "Mister Glitters". However, more recent Rainbow Brite merchandise has renamed him back to "Twink".
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle: A "Fractured Fairy Tales" segment had the Big Bad Wolf as a lazy bum, reading a popular upscale girlie mag with the slightly altered title "Gay Boy".
  • During the Five-Episode Pilot of She-Ra: Princess of Power, Skeletor kidnapped Adora to hold her for ransom. When contacting King Randor, Skeletor calls him a "royal boob." For bonus points, She-Ra enters the room shortly after the line.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Early on, the show occasionally used the older definition of "boner" meaning a mistake or blunder, most memorably in "The Telltale Head."
    • In "Dancin' Homer," Burns mishears Smithers' whispered reminder of who Homer is and greets the family as "the Simps."
    • Played for laughs with Mr. Burns (who, according to the show's ever-shifting canon, came of age sometime between the turn of the twentieth century and The Roaring '20s) is apparently completely unaware of the latter-day definition of the word "gay". In "Monty Can't Buy Me Love", when he's interviewed on a shock-jock radio show, he recalls his father taking him to a picnic when he was a child, saying "That certainly was a gay experience. I ate my share of wieners that day!"
    • In "The Springfield Files", Mr. Burns asks Smithers what he's doing this weekend, "Something gay, no doubt." Smithers is momentarily taken aback, but Burns continues, "You know, light-hearted, fancy free, mothers, lock up your daughters, Smithers is on the town!" Smithers is visibly relieved.
    • In "Little Big Girl", Smithers is set on fire, and runs by Mr. Burns, who is watering the lawn. Screaming, "Help me, Mr. Burns! I'm flaming!". Cue an Aside Glance that shatters the Fourth Wall.
    • In "Homer vs. Dignity", Mr Burns tells Homer "You're much more fun than Smithers. He doesn't even know the meaning of the word gay!" Cue Gilligan Cut that demonstrates that, yeah, he kinda does.
    • In "Two Dozen and One Greyhounds" Bart derisively refers to the new mate of Santa's Little Helper as a bitch. Marge is furious with him but Bart correctly says that's the term for a female dog and that he looked it up, causing Marge to grumble that she's going to call the dictionary people and complain that they must have made a mistake.
    • The season 22 episode "Flaming Moe" turns this up to eleven; one of Smithers' "friends" comments upon meeting Burns that he didn't know Smithers was into "lemon parties"note , and Burns obliviously insists that he gets "first squeeze".
    • In "The Haw-Hawed Couple", Martin Prince "Individually, we are weak like a single twig; but as a bundle, we form a mighty faggot!" Subtitles: "Faggot: A bundle of sticks for fuel. [Fr. fagot, a bundle of sticks]"
    • In "Dial 'N' For Nerder", Martin refers to a humanoid skeleton as "one of the major Homos." Bart was about to let Martin have it for that one, but Lisa stopped him.
    • In "A Tale Of Two Springfields", Kent Brockman thanks New Springfield for making them rich: "From now on, we'll be taking golden showers!" Which is followed by off-screen laughter from the crew as Brockman asks "What!?"
    • Unlike when it was aired, "The Telltale Head" may make your kids giggle with Homer's line: "You know, Bart, when I was your age, I pulled a few boners."
    • In "Lisa's Date With Density", Dewey Largo, the music teacher, asks one of the students:
    Mr. Largo: Do you find something funny about the word "trom - boner" ?
    • In "How the Test Was Won", Principal Seymour Skinner is haplessly unaware that he's making an unintentional Double Entendre in talking about pencils when the students in the auditorium are being briefed on the test:
    Skinner [holding a big prop pencil]: When you take the practice test, be sure to use a number two pencil.
    Bart: What kind of pencil do we use?
    Skinner: Number two. Take a number two. [The students start erupting into laughter at the mention of "number 2"]
    Bart: Looks like you took a big number two!
    Skinner [oblivious to the unintentional double entendre]: Yes, as you can see, I have a big number two in my hands, enjoying the weight and feel of it.
    [Chalmers looks at Skinner with embarrassment as the students laugh at Skinner]
    • The Simpson innuendo for the ages, with a bit of Hypocritical Humor on Ned Flanders's part in "Bart The Lover": "Homer, all of us pull a few boners now and then, go off half-cocked, make asses of ourselves. So I'm not trying to be hard on you, but I just wish you wouldn't curse in front of my boys."
    • In "Lisa's First Word", a flashback to 1984 references AYDS (See the Advertising folder):
      Woman 1: Marge, I see you've lost weight. Have you been dieting?
      Marge: [Smiling] No, I have AYDS!
    • In "Homie the Clown", Homer, as a Krusty impersonator, attempts to make a balloon animal for Ralph Wiggum at a birthday party. He tells Ralph "Here's your giraffe, little girl!", to which Ralph responds with "I'm a boy!" The joke is that Homer is using "girl" in it's old meaning as a term for a little kid regardless of gender.
    • In "Large Marge", Homer tries to emulate Bart's habit of spraypainting "El Barto" by spraypainting "El Homo" on a wall, and it doesn't occur to him what that suggests till a gay man walks over and says "If only I had your courage, señor".
  • Sky Dancers had an episode where one of the main characters had choreographed a new dance, and her companions urged her to demonstrate at a public event. Cue cries of "We want The 'D'! Show us The 'D'!"
  • South Park lampshades this in their version of Great Expectations.
    Matthew Pocket: Oh, what a gay time we shall have, and I do mean gay as in festive, not as in penetration of the bum.
    • Also lampshaded: "Chef's Chocolate Salty Balls", which Eric Cartman likes to eat.
    • "Rainforest Schmainforest" put all three definitions of "gay" to use in various ways. The Getting Gay With Kids choir is all about children spreading cheer and not at all about going pederastic, though one jungle geurilla does rather indignantly declare that "I'm not getting gay with any kids!" Then too, the Getting Gay With Kids choir's original theme is indeed as "totally gay" as it claims to be. (Their revised theme at the end, however, wasn't so gay in any sense of the word.)
  • Spider-Man: The Animated Series:
    • In one episode, a young boy interrupts a crime by shouting "Your gangbanging days are over!" at the perpetrators. In modern parlance "gangbanger" pretty much always means "someone in a street gang", while "gang bang" pretty much always means "group sex". Some derivatives (such as "gangbanging") could go either way, though it's usually pretty clear from context which is meant.
    • Discussed in-universe when Peter is bemused at the idea of a WWII-era hero in a yellow costume called The Whizzer — because of his speed. As Omar Mosely explains, it was a different time.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants': Given that Mr. Krabs' entire manner of speech is intentionally archaic, this trope is pretty in-line with his character.
    • The episode "The Lost Mattress" has Krabs use "queer" in its "strange, unusual" meaning.
    • The episode "The Krusty Sponge" has Krabs refer to a little boy as a girl. "Girl" once used to mean a little kid, regardless of gender.
    • In "F.U.N.", Krabs watches SpongeBob and Plankton having fun, suggesting that he's stopped being evil.
      Krabs: So, maybe he has gone straight... Or maybe scallops will fly out of me pants!
  • In an episode of Super Mario World, Mario jokes about having invented the tossed salad. While in context it's referring to a literal salad, the phrase "tossed salad" can also refer to an act of anilingus.
  • In the Team Umizoomi episode "Umi Knights", the bard sings that "the Umi Knights are gay for saving the day". Given that the episode takes place in a medieval time period, when "gay" meant happy and not homosexual, this is justified, though this episode aired in 2014 and probably prompted some funny looks from parents watching with their kids.
  • Several old Tom and Jerry shorts have "Puss" or "Pussy" in the title. In one, Spike the bulldog threatened Tom with "I'll poke you in the puss!" Puss has always meant face though, even if it's uncommon nowadays. PussY on the other hand... Try to watch Tuffy repeat the word calling for Tom with a straight face.
    • A later Gene Deitch short is titled "Dicky Moe". Given what the inspiration for its plot is, it's not surprising.
  • One episode of The Transformers had Optimus Prime express amazement at "a booby trap that actually catches boobies".
  • The Venture Brothers: In "Everybody Comes to Hank's", a Film Noir homage, Hank starts talking like a Hardboiled Detective whenever he puts on his fedora. He uses so much obsolete slang that even his partner can barely understand him. One of his monologues, about a failed attempt to canvas the neighborhood for leads, is delivered without irony but has Shoreleave sniggering.
    Hank: Your basic boob ain't too keen on dicks. When a bum sees a dick coming, he don't stick around for the credits.
  • One episode of Wacky Races depicts Penelope Pitstop's car as having a vibrating seat. At the time this was played as some crank medical gadget, but nowadays there's a different reason for the audience laughing when a young woman presses a button on her car dashboard labelled "vibrator".
  • Woody Woodpecker:
    • A 1960 short is titled Billion Dollar Boner ("boner" being outdated slang for a screwup or a mistake).
    • And for crying out loud, the name Woody.
    • Lampshaded in a T-shirt making the rounds at shops. It's a picture of a circa-1947 Woody in a bathrobe and slippers looking groggy, as if he had just woken up. The caption reads "Morning Woody."
    • Also, the Brazilian adapted name of Woody, "Pica-Pau",note  became weird later. The two parts of his name ("Pica" and "Pau") became common euphemism for penis in later years.
    • Another Walter Lantz cartoon features Andy Panda doing battle with a garden weed. Title: The Wacky Weed.
    • In the same vein as Woody himself is Chilly Willy, although that's more for the British.
  • An episode of X-Men: Evolution has Juggernaut boasting that he's raw power. Cyclops responds, "You want it raw, tough guy? Then take it raw!" before ripping off his protective barrier. 'Raw' is becoming more and more recognized as a term for condomless sex.
  • A Yogi Bear cartoon from the 1960s featured a troop of boy scouts camping at Jellystone Park, and Yogi scheming to get them to "share" their food with him. Ranger Smith sternly reprimands Yogi for this, saying, "Those boy scouts would never molest a bear, and I'm going to make sure that no bear molests them." "Molest" had a meaning closer to "harass" or "upset" back then, but nowadays that line just comes out wrong, and the whole boy scout thing makes it even wronger.
    • Similarly, the 1942 Porky Pig/Daffy Duck short My Favorite Duck has a scene where Daffy points out a sign reading: "Season closed - No duck shooting - Don't even molest a duck".
      • The Polish translator went with the word "molestowac", which means exclusively "to sexually harass" in modern Polish. Apparently, the translator missed something there. Also, the translator omitted the word "even", which quite clearly points to the fact that "molests" means something mild in this context.
    • Also, from Yogi's Gang (a sort of team-up of all the Hanna-Barbera talking animals up to that point) theme song, "If those big goons were out of the way / the world would be so bright and gay".
    • Yogi's In-Series Nickname for Boo-Boo is "Boob". This gets pretty funny in the Yogi's Treasure Hunt episode "Merlin's Lost Book of Magic", where Boo-Boo is knighted as "Sir Boo-Boo of Boobs".


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Having A Gay Old Time, Euphemism Treadmill


Smithers' gay weekend

Mr Burns suggests Smithers will get up to something gay this weekend. Smithers, who is the type of gay Mr. Burns isn't thinking of, laughs nervously.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (10 votes)

Example of:

Main / HaveAGayOldTime

Media sources: