Accidental Pun

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
"That wasn't a joke. That was an unfortunate coincidental pairing of words."
Angry factory lady, Drake and Josh

A humorous play on words not intended by the speaker.

The accidental pun is exactly what it sounds like. While it has to be unintentional by the speaker in-story, it can be, and generally is, intended by the author. If the original speaker notices their pun after the fact, they will generally respond with "No pun intended," or something similar. If a Pungeon Master is nearby, they will almost always be pointed out.

Often the closest The Comically Serious will ever come to telling a joke.

Compare Innocent Innuendo, where a double-meaning is invoked by observers but not the speakers and Accidental Innuendo.

Examples of Accidental Pun include:

Anime and Manga

  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Mami Tomoe's name "Mami" means Mommy in Spanish and other languages like German. Considering her mentor role it fits her.
  • In Hidamari Sketch, Sae gives Hiro a poetry collection covered with an embroidered book cover. Shishuu is a homonym for both "poetry collection" and "embroidery", but when Miyako asks if it was a pun, Sae claims it was accidental.
  • In episode 24 of Mythical Detective Loki Ragnarok, Mr. Daidoji sees into Hel kidnapping his daughter, but has no idea who she is. Their first exchange:

Mr. Daidoji: Who the Hell are you?!
Hel: [chuckles]

  • The title of Neko Kissa is either this or a Bilingual Stealth Pun. In Japanese, "Neko" = "Cat" and "Kissa" = "Cafe". So, "Cat Cafe". The title could also be translated as being the word "cat" in two different languages - Japanese and Finnish: Neko (Japanese), Kissa (Finnish).

Comic Books

  • During the Justice League of America event JLApe, Batman is briefing Nightwing on a Gorilla City crimelord who acts like he's in a '30s gangster film:

Batman: Grimm wouldn't be the first hood to ape old movies.
Nightwing: "Ape".
Batman: Sorry. Unintentional.


Fan Fiction


Bella: [I]t may be that you should avoid simultaneously being around me and sharp objects.
Emmett: Edward is a sharp object.
Bella: Point. Uh, no pun intended.



  • The Hudsucker Proxy has the hero surrounded by reporters, excited about his invention of the hula hoop. When he comments on all of the hoopla surrounding it, the reporters laugh at his cleverness and he winds up very confused. After it's explained to him, he uses it all the time in future press conferences with far less stellar results.
  • In DC Showcase: Green Arrow, Perdita comments that "every queen needs a consort," unaware that Green Arrow's real name is Oliver Queen.

Live Action Television


Angry factory lady: Let the sushi roll!
Drake: I get it. Sushi roll.
Angry factory lady: That wasn't a joke. That was an unfortunate coincidental pairing of words.

  • In the QI' segment about lobster-hypnosis, Stephen Fry commits some accidental mussel/muscle punnage, which is immediately jumped on by Phil Jupitus.
  • An early episode of Have I Got News for You, with an Odd One Out round featuring Archbishop Desmond Tutu:

Ian Hislop: Didn't Tutu train in Hull?
Angus Deayton: Tutu train? No, I don't think so...

  • A Super-Match posit on Match Game was "_______ Duty." The cast and crew were looking for other possibilities to fill in the blank ("Do your duty," "Civic duty"), when someone offstage cracked "Howdy duty." Gene Rayburn bought it and then discovered how hard he bit.

Video Games


  • The unfortunately named nük e-reader and the sheet e-reader are running gags in Mike: Bookseller.

Web Original

Western Animation