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Offing the Mouth

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"Still the same irritating quips. I'm going to relish in every moment of my silencing you."

When people don't like being mocked by others, and sometimes this results in said people doing the mocking getting very, very badly hurt. It can be the end result of being the victim of a long period of this until hitting a Rage-Breaking Point, a slip of the tongue around somebody with a Hair-Trigger Temper, or an attempt to annoy an opponent into blindly charging at you gone bad. Regardless, the snarker can and will end up dead because of this, whether killed later or mid-sentence.


Any kind of mocking will do. A Deadpan Snarker could be a victim, but usually those who are loud and/or obnoxious with their joking will suffer this.

This usually happens with villains to their mooks (because the Big Bad is a Bad Boss), or between a Big Bad Ensemble (one character mocking another, or a heated Snark-to-Snark Combat), but anyone who is familiar to a villain is a possible candidate and is occasionally is Truth in Television, though in real life it usually takes a lot. One of the reasons that a villain might hate and try to kill the hero is because of this trope, though they rarely succeed.

Note that attempted murder of the mocking person still counts as an example, but any other kind of punishment does not.

A Sub-Trope of Offing the Annoyance (which can have broader causes than mocking), Death by Mocking (which can have deaths other than murder).


Compare Do Not Taunt Cthulhu (which overlaps if the taunter is killed by the taunted), Bullying a Dragon (which also can overlap), Rage-Breaking Point.

See also Killed to Uphold the Masquerade (when a person talks and dies, just from squealing instead of mocking).

Not to be confused with Attack the Mouth or Wipe That Smile Off Your Face (which are quite a bit more literal than this trope usually entails).



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Digimon Tamers: Beelzebumon does this to Makuramon.
    Makuramon: What are you doing? If you continue this fight, not only will this domain of our gods be destroyed, but the whole world!
    Beelzebumon: Shut up...
    Makuramon: Foolish Chatsuramon... Why did he allow you to evolve?
    Beelzebumon: I said shut up! [grabs Makuramon's head and crushes it]

    Comic Books 
  • Batman: The number of times that Gotham City mooks have been killed by their bosses precisely for this reason could fill up a page in and of itself.
  • Spider-Man, being a Deadpan Snarker extraordinaire, invokes this trope deliberately when he fights his enemies, to make them so pissed off they don't notice whatever plan he's setting them up for.

  • In Goodfellas Tommy beats Billy Batts to death because Billy "breaks his balls" over being a former shoeshine boy. He also shoots Spider to death for being brave and/or stupid enough to tell him to go fuck himself even after Tommy had shot him in the foot for his own amusement. The other gangsters are still congratulating Spider on his nerve when he dies.
  • The James Bond movie, Licence to Kill: The drug kingpin Big Bad has an accountant as a helper that gets more and more snarky about the money loss that the typical Bond-brand Roaring Rampage of Revenge is giving them (Supervillain Lair-slash-drug lab blown up sky-high, Evil Minions killed, secret stolen MacGuffin military weapons that they were going to sell on the black market wasted on trying to kill Bond, etc.) as the movie goes on. The Big Bad eventually has had enough during the final action sequence, and with a proper Pre-Mortem One-Liner, shoots him dead with an Uzi.
  • Faust: Love of the Damned: M kills the corrupt police commissioner he's allied with for getting far too uppity about M's failure to control Faustian superhero John Jaspers by eating him alive.
  • Mean Guns: After Moon finishes his monologue clearly explaining the situation to the criminals, a biker guy in the back complains that he's not making any sense, so Moon immediately shoots him to prove he's not kidding.
  • In Cold Pursuit, Dexter is a smartass who is always cracking wise. When Viking is having a particularly bad day, Dexter makes one wisecrack too many and Viking shoots him and then has his head sent as a peace offering to White Bull.
  • Judgment Night is about four civilians traveling on the road to an event, but take a wrong turn into a crime-ridden area and witness a murder. The Big Bad, played by Dennis Leary, decides to hunt them down and kill them so there won't be any witnesses. While doing so, one of his goons constantly complains about it until Leary gets fed up and kills him. While doing so he goes on a rant Lampshading this trope, until another goon played by House of Pain's Everlast points out how the goon is already dead.
  • In Cherry 2000, Snappy Tom's girlfriend, Randa is a bit on the obnoxious side. This gets her killed, when she says the wrong thing to Lester.
    Lester: (sticks gun in Randa's face)You need to work on your personality.(Boom, Headshot!)
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King has the Mouth of Sauron who keeps gloating and taunting the heroes while claiming that Froda has been tortured to death. Aragorn silences him for good.

  • It: Richie Tozier is known as "Trashmouth" for his largely involuntary Deadpan Snarker streak, to the point where he must mock others whenever he notices something he can mock people for, and this is the reason Henry Bowers is out to get him, and along with the others of the Losers, out to kill him.
  • Discworld
    • Unseen Academicals, the intellectual but totally unstreetwise Orc Mr. Nutt gets this treatment from a gang of proto-football hooligans. His mistake was to try to engage them in a debate on mob psychology and the sociopathology of overcrowded juvenile male rats. Nutt gets stabbed and left for dead by the gang.
    • In Thief of Time, an In-Universe version of the classic The Emperor's New Clothes tale is described. This is what happens to the kid who points out the emperor has no clothes (because the kid may be innocent enough to say what comes to mind, but the rest of the crowd knows that the king, naked or not, is still surrounded by his heavily-armed guards).
  • The Stormlight Archive: Any Alethi noble can legally kill the King's Wit (a professional Deadpan Snarker), but he who does so forfeits all his titles and lands. The current Wit actually took the position in an attempt to Invoke this from the Arc Villain Brightlord Sadeas: by goading Sadeas into killing him (he'd get better), the Wit could solve half the problems facing Brightlord Dalinar in the first two books.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Community's second season Christmas Episode, "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas," Planet Christmas has the "humbugs," a swarm of Christmas insects that devour anyone who's sarcastic. Jeff, who is incapable of not being snarky, is quickly eaten up by the bugs, leaving behind only a skeleton.
  • Near the end of the first season of Boardwalk Empire, Lucien and Matteo D'Alessio, two members of a gang made up of several more brothers, fall victim to this. After they're captured by Chalky White, Nucky Thompson and Jimmy Darmody come over to decide what to do with them. Lucien, who is very much The Runt at the End and tends to overcompensate for it, mouths off until Jimmy shuts him up by putting a bullet in his brain. Matteo — perhaps deciding he's probably dead no matter what — throws out some racist insults at Chalky, The Don of Atlantic City's black underworld. Chalky promptly strangles him to death in response. Some other guy with them by the name of Meyer Lansky is allowed to live in part because he doesn't mouth off. Scene
    Lucien: (under his breath) Huh, tough talk when he ain't in the room, right?
    Jimmy: [To Lucien] What'd you say?
    Lucien: Oh, I'm sorry, I thought you heard me. What I said was that you, Mr. Thompson, and this coon here could all go fuck each other.
    Jimmy: [Gives him a Death Glare, begins taking out his gun]
    Lucien: Oh, a fuckin' tough guy. You gonna shoot me for mouthing off?
    Jimmy: I wasn't going to, but you kinda talked me into it. [Boom, Headshot!]
  • Sherlock: After Sherlock identifies and corners Vivian Norberry in "The Six Thatchers", he delivers a mix of self-congratulation and taunts until his antagonist, having nothing more to lose, pulls a gun and takes a shot at him killing Mary instead.
  • The Sopranos: In "Armour Foul", while Jackie and two accomplices are robbing the Pontecorvo poker game at gunpoint, dealer Sunshine heckles them in an attempt to make them leave. Jackie shoots him, which mostly seems to be an act of panic.

    Tabletop Games 

    Video Games 
  • In Fallout: New Vegas, you can sell companion Arcade Gannon into slavery as Caesar's personal physician and then arrange for him to die in the quest Et Tumor Brute. Should the Legion win at the Battle of Hoover Dam, Legate Lanius, Caesar's successor, gets tired of Arcade's witty remarks and has him crucified.
  • In the Banjo-Kazooie games, quite a few of the boss battles in the game happen because Kazooie is completely incapable of NOT snarking at everybody and everything, which tends to piss various monsters off so they try and kill the duo when they otherwise wouldn't.
  • Since the new implementation of opening fight dialogue in Mortal Kombat X, this is one of the many variations of opening dialogue between kombatants depending on who you're fighting as and who you're fighting against. Unsurprisingly, the character that gets told this the most out of all the other kombantants is Johnny Cage.
  • Morte can invoke this trope in Planescape: Torment thanks to his Litany of Curses ability. Using it causes him to insult a selected enemy. If they fail their saving through against it, they're forced to rush him and make melee attacks, taking a penalty on their armor class, attack rolls, and damage rolls at the same time. As Morte only takes 25% damage from physical attacks, this is very useful for letting him tank a major threat while everyone else beats the hell out of it.

  • Erfworld: King Scrofula utterly loathes his Fool for his Brutal Honesty and (well-earned) abuse, but is bound by protocol not to retaliate... until he has an excuse to name the Fool disloyal and execute him on the spot.
    "You have performed your duties all too well. You have vexed and belittled me and made me despise you... So you've given me what I always wanted, fool: cause to be rid of you."

    Web Original 
  • In Dragon Ball Z Abridged, this is why King Vegeta killed his messenger Butarega. There's a flashback scene that shows King Vegeta (Vegeta's father) getting a message. When the messenger gives a Mathematician's Answer to a question, King Vegeta promptly blasts the messenger, mumbling "Freakin' smartass" afterward.
    Butarega: King Vegeta, I have urgent news!
    King Vegeta: Speak, Butarega.
    Butarega: Bardock has gone absolutely mad, Sire!
    Bardock: (off in the distance) FREEZA!!
    King Vegeta: What's all the commotion about?
    Butarega: He's been telling everyone that Freeza plans to destroy Vegeta!
    King Vegeta: Wait, my son, the planet, or me?
    Butarega: ...Yes.
    (Butarega is blasted by King Vegeta)
    King Vegeta: Freakin' smartass.
  • In If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device, Ahriman eventually gets fed up with one of his minions insulting him outright and offs him with a doombolt to the face. Eliphas the Inheritor did the same thing to two Word Bearers who wouldn't shut up about mocking him when their Primarch Lorgar blew him off during the Horus Heresy.

    Western Animation 
  • A non-lethal variant pops up in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Shanghaied" when Squidward snarks one too many times at the Flying Dutchman. Eventually, he gets so sick of it that he simply decides to send Squidward to the "Fly of Despair".
    Squidward (as he's about to be thrown in): Oh, what, is this some sort of magic act?

    Real Life 
  • Socrates called himself a "Social Gadfly" for precisely this reason. He'd say outrageous or taboo things simply to bring them into conversation, while knowing full well he was putting himself in danger by saying them and, like a gadfly, could be "swatted" at any time. Indeed, he was eventually executed on (false) charges of "corrupting the youth" with his words. (The actual reason was that he couldn't keep his mouth shut for five seconds.)