Entendre Failure

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Girl #1: Ben's hot, but I think he's gay.
Girl #2: No way. Why?
Girl #1: He asked me if my carpet matches my drapes.
Girl #2: I don't think he's gay.
Girl #1: Oh yeah?
Girl #2: Call him up and tell him he can chew on your carpet!
Girl #1: What?


Person A makes a comment, expecting people to know the real meaning of it. Person B takes the comment literally, and is often unaware that there's more than one meaning to what's being said. Hilarity Ensues... or maybe not.

This trope is the inversion of the Un Entendre.

See also: Comically Missing the Point. Compare to Innuendo Backfire, where Person B thinks Person A's solicitation is an offer for assistance. Can be used for Double Entendres.

No real life examples, please; we'd be here all day.

Examples of Entendre Failure include:


  • A commercial shows a man introducing his son to his boss. After a moment the kid looks at the father and says "Daddy, his nose isn't brown."

Anime and Manga

  • School Rumble. This trope is the reason Eri thinks that Tenma is no longer a virgin.
  • In the first Naruto Shipuuden movie, the plot involves rescuing a hereditary Barrier Maiden (and in the end getting her to accept her role and the need for the position) the movie ends with said girl talking to the protagonist and mentioning that, basically "I'm going to need help fixing someone to succeed my position, mind helping me out with that?". Cue Naruto going "Sure!" and everyone else facepalming...
  • Belldandy in Ah! My Goddess frequently misses the actual meaning of people's comments, in one scene in the anime a construction worker speaking to Keiichi remarks that Keiichi probably doesn't get much sleep living with Belldandy, to which Belldandy asks both of them how living with her would keep Keiichi from sleeping.


  • In The Man Without A Face, Chuck Norstadt is asked by his mother if his mentor "touched him." Being a young kid, he takes her literally, and it's clear to the audience that he doesn't understand what his mother is really asking him. Hilarity does not ensue.
  • Idiocracy. Joe never catches on that Rita is a prostitute, despite the euphemisms she has. She eventually says a Sure, Let's Go with That for painting.
  • A hilarious Running Gag in Baseketball is how Jenny McCarthy's character keeps misinterpreting Baxter Cain's sexual overtures—she ends up literally "laying new carpet" throughout his entire house and "sucks the chrome off of a trailer hitch" among others.
    • Which is odd, considering that you could easily interpret that as her thinking he's doing such innuendo, but he's meaning it literally. After all, laying carpet wearing a tight dress like that probably wasn't intentional.
  • In Mallrats, someone makes a remark that another character likes to have sex with women "in a very uncomfortable place." Several characters misinterpret this and ask if he means the back of a Volkswagen.
  • In the movie Half Baked, Thurgood is telling his friends not to spend any money, as they have to save it. Then:

Scarface: You said you gave Mary Jane a pearl necklace!
Thurgood Jenkins: Obviously you missed the whole point of that story.


Bartholomew: You want to be alone so you can "shake hands with Ben Franklin." *laughs* Y'know, "polish the pewter."
Leslie: Polish the pewter? Why, Jonah does that for me.

    • He gets it a minute later, and is affronted.


  • In Guards Guards, the older, more cynical guards assume that young and innocent Carrot joined the Watch to get away from a bad situation at home. One of them asks him if he "got a girl into trouble", and Carrot, recalling all the times his girlfriend was lectured by her father about how unsuitable he was, says that he did, more than once. He also admitted to staying at "Mrs Palm's" (a notorious brothel) every night, impressing his co-workers, though Carrot was actually under the impression it was a boarding house. His letter home to his family included a line about one of the girls waking him up to ask if he wanted anything "but they had no apples so I said no." Non-sexual Incredibly Lame Pun examples abound throughout the series as well.
  • In The Shining, Danny, who has telepathic powers, catches a female hotel guest checking out a bellhop and thinking, "I'd like to get into his pants." Danny, who is five years old and clueless about things sexual, takes it to mean that the lady wanted the guy's pants and is thoroughly confused. He has to talk to Dick Halloran about it before he's informed that this wasn't what she wanted (though Danny being five, he just tells him that she has a dirty mind).

Live-Action TV

  • This is the entire joke of that Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch. You know, that one. Know what I mean? Know What I mean? Nudge nudge wink wink say no more, eh, eh?
    • Inverted in another sketch, which has the same man walk into a shop and start reading the advertisements on the door. After he finds out that neither "small white pussy cat," "chest of drawers," "pram," "babysitter," nor "be a blood donor" are what he's looking for, the shopkeeper hands him a card, which he reads: "Blond prostitute will indulge in any sexual activity for four quid a week. What does that mean?"
  • Half the jokes on 3rd Rock from the Sun. For example, Sally remarks after her first date that, "Well, he wanted to sleep with me. I wanted sex, but since he was tired I let him go home."
  • In the That '70s Show episode "The Velvet Rope":

Jackie: Michael, we can't go. My parents are gonna be out late tonight, and we have to study.
Kelso: Study? No, what a gyp! I'm going to the club.
Jackie: No! No, no, Michael, you're coming over to my house tonight. And we're gonna "study".
Kelso: Fine! God, I never get to do anything fun.
Hyde: God, you're dumb.
Kelso: I guess that's why I gotta go study.

  • This is Teal'c's main gag in the first few seasons of Stargate SG-1. Not always sexual.
  • A Saturday Night Live skit was built on this premise, as Randy Quaid is trying to explain to Pee-Wee Herman, in euphemisms, that he's thinking about going to a prostitute:

Randy: Well...they wear lots of makeup.
Pee-Wee: A clown!
Randy: ...no, let's just say you wouldn't want to be seen with one.
Pee-Wee: (nods understandingly) A mime!

  • In the All in The Family episode "The Bunkers and the Swingers", Edith answers an ad in a magazine, which was written by swingers, but she doesn't get the innuendo and thinks they're just looking for friends. When they show up, Hilarity Ensues.
  • In an early episode of The War at Home, Dave is concerned that Hillary might have lost her virginity, and tries to find out if Larry knows anything about it. Apparently, he doesn't.

Dave: Listen, I need to ask you a question. What do you, um... know about your, um... sister's relations?
Larry: You mean like cousins and stuff?
Dave: No, no, no... Do you... do you know if your sister is, you know... active?
Larry: Well, she does do pilates and plays tennis sometimes.
Dave: Why do I even bother with you?


Shawn: "Cory, how would you feel if these two waffles got together and made a little waffle?"
Cory: "I think I know what you're getting at, Shawn." *beat* "You'd like seconds. I'll be right back."


"Shall I rub it on my cock"


Will: Well yeah, I had big feet. You know what they say about a guy with big feet...
Ashley: No, what?
(Uncle Phil clears his throat)
Will:...th-they be sayin' "damn he got some big feet."


Amy: Kiss me where I've never been kissed before.
Sheldon: You mean like Salt Lake City?

  • In one episode of Hello Cheeky, John gives the joke "The world's long-distance swimming record is held by Liza Garotti, a very successful callgirl from Venice". Tim stands around blinking for a while, before saying that he fails to see the humor in that—a switchboard operator being a good swimmer.

Barry: ...John didn't say 'a switchboard operator', he said 'a callgirl'.
Tim: It's the same thing, isn't it? ...Isn't it?
John: Tim, a callgirl is someone you...call! When you're lonely!
Tim: Oh...when I'm lonely, I call mummy. Does that mean she's a callgirl?


Video Games

  • Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas: "Does the Pope shit in the woods?" "I keep telling you I don't know, homes, where His Holiness does his business is his business."

The Truth: I never made love to my mother. She wouldn't.

  • During the first few battles with only Yuri and Estelle as your party members you get things like:

Yuri: Yeah, I beat you into next week!
Estelle: Next week? But, can you really--
Yuri: Never mind.

  • In Dragon Age: Origins, the golem Shale will ask Zevran why the Warden spared his life after trying to kill him/her. Zevran will ask Shale in turn how anyone could destroy something as attractive as him. When Shale fails to see the point, the following exchange takes place if Alistair is in the party:

Zevran: Here, take that templar fellow. Rugged good looks, quick wit, manly shoulders. Just getting him to hop borders is a challenge worthy of the great heroes.
Alistair: A challenge? I'd happily hop borders, given the chance. I've never even been close to leaving Ferelden!

    • Becomes a Running Gag in Dragon Age II with Merrill, who periodically will ask if she missed something dirty during conversations with other party members.
  • Assassin's Creed: Brotherhood has Leonardo da Vinci attempt to come out of the closet by declaring that, "Women provide little distraction" (from constructing equipment for the Assassins) and not-very-subtly placing a hand on Ezio Auditore's shoulder. However, after a moment Ezio answers, "Wait, I don't get it..." and looks at him with apparent confusion, leading to an awkward silence for the both of them.
  • Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors has a conversation between Junpei and June in which she's scared of the possibility of drowning and he thinks she's scared of being alone in an elevator with a boy. And then she says "I might get wet down there." Hilarity Ensues.

Web Comics

Web Animation

Web Original

  • Lonelygirl15 contains a couple of examples.
    • From "Lying Bastards":

Jonas: Listen, Mamasitas lock up your daughters, OK, 'cause the Beast here is south of the border, and, uh, not for nothing dude, you put the "ho" in "Mexico".
Bree: There's no "ho" in "Mexico".
[Awkward silence. Bree shrugs.]
Bree: There's no "ho" in "Mexico"!

    • From "Let's Play Doctor":

Jonas: So tell me, uh, what are you doing later?
Sarah: It involves D batteries and makes a lot of noise.
Jonas: Uh... A boombox?

  • A recent episode of Red vs. Blue has Caboose pulling an Entendre Failure on himself, with Tucker's help. When Tucker mentions him and his alien son Junior (long story) being somewhere "in between" human and alien, Caboose replies with "In between two alien... and human... ladies? and later repeatedly wonders aloud "what Tucker's doing in between the two ladies."

Western Animation


Martin: Care to make it a trio, Bart? You can brush and I can blow.
Bart: Well, I agree you blow.
Martin: Then it's a plan!
Bart: A lot of people blow, but no one blows like you.
Martin: High praise indeed!
Bart: When you look up "blow" in the dictionary--
Lisa: Bart, he's not gonna get it.
Bart: Fine.

    • Later on in the episode, when Bart buries a bone for Martin to find...

Martin: *gasp* Maybe it's one of the major homos!
Bart: You're one of the--
Lisa: Bart, he's not gonna get it.


Real Life