Fifty (More) Swifties

[see: Wikipedia: Tom Swifties, Tom Swifties Written By An Author Willing To Go To Any Lengths To Make A Tom Swifty Thus Resulting In Constructions That Often Require More Work For Readers Than For The Author, and Fifty Swifties. Previously on Twitter here.]

“This sandwich is gross,” Tom said deliberately.

“My Frisbee is stuck on the roof of that circus building,” Tom said discontently.

“I hate Google,” Tom said probingly.

“Godzilla swallowed a United Nations bunker, but then he threw it back up,” Tom said unfortunately.

“I think Objectivism is stupid,” Tom said randomly.

“It’s so exciting to visit Leonardo’s birthplace,” Tom said invincibly.

“Persephone must marry Hades and live with him half the year,” Zeus said despairingly.

“I now control majority shares of CBS, FOX, and the New York Times,” Tom said immediately.

“Enemy fighters just scored a direct hit on my plane! I’m going down!” Tom said knowingly.

“We were badly injured in the struggle with the Orcs, but luckily the Ents’ medicine restored our health,” Tom said tremendously.

“I took Gollum’s precious trinket in a riddle contest,” Tom said wonderingly.

“I’ve lost this Maxis game ten times in a row on the easiest difficulty setting,” Tom said sympathetically.

“I can commit adultery three more times and still be just under the threshold for damnation,” Tom said syntactically.

“O Lord, why are you punishing me like this?” Jonah said inefficiently.

“Look! Nicaraguan guerillas!” Tom contraindicated.

“I forgot to give up meat before Easter, so I’ll do it before Christmas,” Tom said redolently.

“I’ll see you in court!” Tom said supersonically.

“When I speak Japanese, I think of myself as a young, cute person,” Tom said mechanically.

“Iä Cthulhu! Iä Azathoth!” the man called maniacally.

“Stay away from Stalin,” Tom commissioned.

“It’s one of those old phones, from before wireless and touch-tone,” Tom said cordially.

“She’ll have sex with me for $20 any time I phone her up,” Tom said horrifically.

“I read the Cliff Notes to Dante’s Inferno,” Tom said synergistically.

“I’m going to recover the lunar lander from the surface of the moon and make a fortune,” Tom said apologetically.

“I covered myself in a layer of gold,” Tom said amblingly.

“I covered myself in a layer of pyrite,” Tom said shamblingly.

“I covered myself in the Golden Fleece of Colchis,” Tom said ramblingly.

“The poverty rate has increased 10% recently, but I don’t have any kind of visual presentation of its course,” Tom said pornographically.

“We should perform an autopsy,” Tom said wide-eyed.

“That tree is naked under its bark!” Tom said prudently.

“I can afford either an iPhone or a yacht, but not both,” Tom said on self-ownership.

“The guy who was installing the granite tops in my kitchen had a cardiac arrest,” Tom countermanded.

“We can stop progress by attacking a conference on new ideas with a many-headed monster,” Tom said well-hydrated.

“You’re a bell,” Tom told me.

“The wages of sin is death,” Tom said diurnally.

“Abortion is murder,” Tom said prolifically.

“Can do!” Tom said candidly.

“I have a present for you, Madame,” Vincent said endearingly.

“Arrrrrr,” Tom aspirated.

“My lower social status as part of the new rich prevents me from winning my true love,” Gatsby said lackadaisically.

“The Minoans sucked,” Tom said discretely.

“Well, if you think the Minoans did a bad job with their empire, you should try ruling them yourself,” his teacher said, giving him a B−.

“Ha ha, just kidding,” Tom ingested.

“Sheep can’t have sex changes!” Tom said, heedless of the ramifications.

“I wrote a synoptic Gospel,” Tom remarked.

“People used to lay wires across the country for the telegraph system, an early precursor to the telephone,” Tom said according to protocol.

“My laptop came bundled with malware that causes a serious security flaw,” Tom said superficially.

“We need artillery cover!” Tom said canonically.

“Someday my family will rule the world,” Tom said clandestinely.

“The West’s treatment of Palestine is an example of Orientalism,” Tom said.

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171 Responses to Fifty (More) Swifties

  1. Derelict says:

    There were some that I had to actually work to get, and those ones were the worst.

    There are also a few I still don’t get. Like the B- one, or “diurnally”, or “contraindicated”. Or the last one with nothing at all.

    • another_anonymous says:

      Linear B (This was actually one of the few I got on my first pass…)

      • Scott Alexander says:

        No! It’s “be Minos

      • Deiseach says:

        Ah! I thought it was that, as well! Probably because I don’t pronounce “Minos” as “minus” – what is the correct pronunciation, for those of us who only read and never heard it said?

    • Anonononononymous says:


      I also didn’t get the B- one or the final one.

      • Esquire says:

        The last one is great! It’s not nothing, it’s “said”.

        • Derelict says:

          Ah, yes, I didn’t realize. I knew Said was a sort of Middle Eastern name, but not the specific context about Orientalism.

      • stillnotking says:

        Edward Said was a famous Orientalist.

        Edit: err, Oriental scholar! Really poor word choice there.

        • multiheaded says:

          Nonono, he was an “orientalist” in an old-fashioned sense of the word as in “Scholar of the Orient”, but his actual theory of orientalism is about criticizing the whole mindset of studying an “Orient”.

    • Linch says:

      Said and said are two very different things.

    • Deiseach says:

      (1) Actually, you can fast before Christmas if you want – Advent is also a penitential season, but it’s not mandated to fast. So Tom is making sense here, if being a little scrupulous. Or maybe he’s Eastern Orthodox 🙂

      (2) The Dante one drives me crazy, so here goes yet another vain commanding the tide to stop.


      The “Inferno” is just the first canto of three. Stopping at the “Inferno” is like only watching the first of the original Star Wars trilogy, or the first act of a play, or only listening to the first verse of a song.

      Yes, the “Inferno” is popular because of the potential for horror-scares (EA didn’t make a game based on the first canto of “The Divine Comedy” because they appreciated the poetic beauty of one of the greatest works in the Western Canon. Though even that version is better than a recent BBC radio adaptation, which put in a special anti-gay bit just to have it refuted, which is actually not present in the text of the poem itself, not even in the Sixth Circle of the Violent. And of course they conveniently omitted to match that “I’ve rethought my position on the sinfulness of gay sex” new addition with the original text of the “Purgatorio”, where Dante specifies that both gay and straight offenders against love are amongst the saved who undergo purification. Because we all know that the modern adaptor knew better than Dante what his views were).

      I half-wish when the poem is being taught that they’d skip the “Inferno” or leave it till last, because the popular view that (a) Dante only wrote about Hell and (b) he settled political and personal scores by putting all his enemies in it has me banging my head against the desk. Hell is actually the least important part of the poem; you have to pass through it and leave it behind, but it’s a fixed, frozen, empty and meaningless place ultimately.

      • Jordan D. says:

        Look, I think we can all agree that the popularity of The Inferno is due primarily to a universal desire among modern-day readers to see Gianni Schicchi and Archbishop Ubaldini punished. If a poem hasn’t got Italian politicians suffering in Malebolge, kids just aren’t interested.

        (Actually, the largest complaint I’ve heard about the Purgatorio and Paradiso is that they’re boring. I decline to express any personal opinion on the matter.)

      • Steve Reilly says:

        But the pun on sinner doesn’t work well with the Paradiso.

      • Derelict says:


        Without knowing the definition of “comedy” used back then, people would say: “Hellfire and torture? Doesn’t really seem like much of a comedy, does it?”

        • Deiseach says:


      • Scott Alexander says:

        And yet the Cliff Notes are for the Inferno alone. Tom’s statement that he was reading the Inferno Cliff Notes is accurate;a statement that he was reading the Divine Comedy Cliff Notes would be less so.

        Also, I think I liked the Inferno book the best, although Paradise was also okay.

        • Deiseach says:

          In my day, we didn’t have Cliff Notes 🙂

          Of course, in my day, we didn’t do any Dante in English classes at all, either. I found a version by accident while scouring the dusty bookshelves in a classroom, and fell in love with the poem.

          That’s precisely the problem that I’m complaining about; there are only notes for the “Inferno” because apparently most teaching stops with the “Inferno”.

          That’s like getting one-third of the way through “King Lear” or “The Tempest” and going “Well, you know enough about the play now, no need to go any further!”

          On the other hand, we did do excerpts from Milton’s “Paradise Lost”. I’ll give Milton this much – he was a great user of the English language (primarily by trying to turn it into Latin)*. But I feel about his work as, apparently, most of you on here do about Dante 🙂

          And who here has read “Paradise Regained”? Of their own accord?

          *I’m willing to arm-wrestle anyone over who is the greater poet, Milton or Dante.

      • someone says:

        Actually the first movie of the Star Wars original trilogy stands on its legs pretty well. It wouldn’t be a sin to stop at the first one in that case.

        As for the Divine Comedy, as an Italian I must say that I never saw an English version that remotely makes the poem justice. Translations of Dante into English are just like translations of Shakespeare into Italian. They don’t work, they have little of the beauty of the original, and if you didn’t already know that these authors are supposed to be among the greatest poets ever, you wouldn’t be able to tell from the translations.

        • Deiseach says:

          That of course is the problem – translation. The one I like best (must hunt around and see if there are any more recent translations) has been the Hollander version, which prints their English version on the page facing the Italian. It is also extremely great fun to recite aloud Arnaut’s little speech in Occitan, even if like me you only have crappy secondary school French:

          Tan m’abellis vostre cortes deman,
          qu’ieu no me puesc ni voill a vos cobrire
          Ieu sui Arnaut, que plor e vau cantan
          consiros vei la passada folor,
          e vei jausen lo joi qu’esper, denan
          Ara vos prec, per aquella valor
          que vos guida al som de l’escalina
          sovenha vos a temps de ma dolor!

          I have no scrap of Italian, but comparing verse with verse gives an idea of how different it is. Dorothy Sayers wrote, in her own translation, of how difficult it is to decide which approach works: as faithful and literal to the Italian as possible, or use metres which work better with English?

          Though I fell in love with the poem even when first encountering it in a version done by an early 19th century Anglo-Irish clergyman, which not alone meant stilted English flourishes but also such a determinedly Protestant reading of the text, he footnoted references to “a lady in Heaven” (which, as any fule kno, is the Blessed Virgin Mary) as being an allegorical reference to the Divine Mercy 🙂

      • Slow Learner says:

        I loved the Inferno, found Purgatorio meh, and Paradiso sufficiently boring I forced myself to finish it out of a sense of duty.
        So if I speak of Dante’s Inferno, I mean exactly that; and when I recommend that someone read Dante’s Inferno I am only recommending the Inferno.

        You may feel that the work is only worth looking at if you look at the whole thing, but don’t try to make everyone else do the same, it will only lead to fewer people reading any Dante at all.

        • Deiseach says:

          I’m not saying that everyone should read the whole in one big lump, I am saying I wish people would remember the “Inferno” is only one part of three and is not the whole of the work.

          It took me a while to get the “Paradiso”; reading various translations over a period of years. I think it’s something you may appreciate more as you get older. “Inferno” is all surface full-sensation rush, but it wears off on repeated re-reading.

          I never shed a tear for any of the damned, but Purgatory had me weeping often.

          Tastes differ 🙂

          Also, how can you not love the White Rose of the Blessed? 😀

          • Slow Learner says:

            What’s to love about it?

            (I didn’t remember it, but I have now re-read that part and it still doesn’t appeal).

            Very different tastes, I guess.

    • Winter Shaker says:

      I’m pretty sure the last one was a pun on this.

    • I have listed explanations for almost the whole list in this comment.

  2. Alraune says:

    The simplicity of “No-Wing-Ly” wins this one.

  3. Esquire says:

    “In Church encoding, each number N is represented by a higher order function mapping an arbitrary function f to its N-fold composition. Consider the function mapping f(x) to f(f(f(f(x))))!” Tom said metaphorically.

    “This new-ideas conference has sure gotten effeminately quaint.” Tom tweeted.

  4. Esquire says:

    “The captain can’t stand to be touched,” Tom said semantically.

  5. Renaissance Cascade says:

    “I only buy car parts made in America,” said Tom disingenuously.

    “You’re destroying the marine ecosystem!” Tom wailed.

    “I’m not Harry and I obviously can’t be Hermione, so there’s only one role left,” said Tom Felton ironically.

    “I can’t eat any more of this baguette,” Tom said painfully.
    Or: “I have to foot the entire cost up front!?” Tom said painfully.

    “Everyone’s date of birth is in 2007,” Tom said alternatively.

    “This fishing boat is giving away all its supplies!” Tom said frenetically.

    “Ubuntu is crap,” Tom said archly.

    “I prefer to pronounce it ksylophone,” Tom said explosively.

    Weasley for president! Tom said electronically.

    “I hate Goths,” Tom said emotionally.

    Or: “Tom my brother, I learned telepathy!” sentimentally.

    “I seem to be getting older at the usual rate,” Tom said disparagingly.

    “I text and drive all the time and I’ve never had an accident,” Tom said recklessly.
    Or: “I try to avoid ever leaving my house,” Tom said recklessly.

    “You know why they call him the One? Because there’s only ONE of him,” Tom said extraneously.

    “I like to prune my bushes three at a time,” Tom said trimerously.

    One that doesn’t quite work: “I’ll join whoever gives me the most boxes of mints,” Tom said tactically.

    “I’m not old enough for the real Boy Scouts,” said Tom amicably.

    “I’d like a female masseuse,” said Tom miserably.

    “Let the other guy take the paddle,” said Tom heroically.

    “Those people are stupid, but they sure can run,” Tom said fastidiously.

    “All right, I’ll try to not annoy you so much,” said Tom meticulously.

    “Let’s put a gold statue of me upstairs,” said Tom automatically.

    “This broth is insignificant,” Tom said stupidly.

    “Let’s make a deal – I’ll stop doing sit-ups if you do,” said Tom abstrusely.

    “My garden is blooming,” Tom said morosely.

    “Stop following President Roosevelt’s order, sailor,” said Tom belatedly.

    “My former wife mentioned me in her newest paper,” Tom said excitedly.

    “I’ll trade you for that length of wood,” Tom said idealistically.

    “Ma’am, how old are you?” Tom asked courageously.

    “I’m diabetic,” Tom said insolently.

    “Dismount that mare immediately!” Tom offered.

    “I’ll be wearing a mink coat,” Tom inferred.

    “I’ll replace my hearing organ with one made of tin!” Tom sneered.

    “Criminals are hosting nodes on distributed anonymous networks,” Tom said conspiratorially.

  6. Linch says:

    This hurt my brain…

    • Linch says:

      Let me try:

      “I will never be an A-list celebrity” Tom (Cruise) berated.
      “Chinese cooking isn’t that different from japanese cooking,” Tom equivocated.
      “Jacob, your tardiness is a serious concern to us,” she ejaculated.
      “I retract my previous statement.” Tom exclaimed.
      “Sweetie, I’m a eunuch.” He said ineffably.

  7. blacktrance says:

    “Umph umph umph!” said Tom triumphantly.

  8. a says:

    You have a problem

  9. Tom says:

    ‘“The Minoans sucked,” Tom said discretely.’

    That was good. Also I feel like a few of these are actual quotes by me.

    • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

      “If you were any good you’d have the Ambassador’s job,” Tom said disconsolately.

      “Did the Philharmonic always suck this bad?” Tom asked disconcertingly.

      “If Dad had picked a better custodian I’d be worth billions by now,” Tom said distrustfully.

      “Yo, Hamlet, yo’ mama’s a ho,” Tom said disdainfully.

      • Esquire says:

        “If you were any good, you’d mix faster,” Tom said, dissolute.

        “He looked so dumb saying ‘I do’,” Tom disavowed.

        “A good alphabet would go straight from L to N,” Tom dissembled.

        • Nonternary says:

          “There’s mold everywhere, the headstones are all chipped, and there’s a general sense of impending doom and misery,” Tom said descriptively.

          “I really don’t get what the big deal is about glaciers,” Tom said decisively.

          “Nothing strange or interesting ever happens on March 15th. I think I’ll go watch the gladiators,” Caesar decided.

          “Actually, it’s the second-tallest in Boston. The Hancock Tower is taller, newer, and better-looking,” Tom said disapprovingly.

  10. Toggle says:

    Damn you.

    “I’ll defend this story no matter what!”, said Tom officially.

    …being infectious isn’t always a good thing, you know.

  11. FullMetaRationalist says:

    “Universal love,” said Tom pointedly.

    “Transcendent joy,” said Tom loftily.

  12. mauiaw says:

    “I thought there were seven, not eight” Tom recounted.

    “I changed college at Cambridge Uni” he declared.

    “Banana” he announced.

    “Its how they defended their forts” Tom said pithily.

    “How are you!?” Tom shouted amicably

    “What if the conservatives got back into power?” Tom said rhetorically.

  13. Anonymous says:

    Scott, you may be interested in this article, or at least I’d be interested in hearing your alternate, better explanations.

  14. Dan says:

    “Your bonds are junk,” Tom berated him.

    “Why, I can give you more reasons for raising the inheritance tax than there are eggs in a cup of caviar,” Tom said roguishly.

    “Tom quined,” Tom quined.

    “Even the phone’s rrriiiiiinnng rrriiiiiinnng is like music when she calls,” Tom said with longing.

    “Noah loaded them all two by two: sheep, shinigami, and shrew,” Tom remarked.

    “It would make me look like a bronze god, but I’ll pass,” Tom abstained.

    “Not so welcoming with Baxter’s vomit all over it,” Tom said dogmatically.

    “I’d like some water, por favor,” Tomas said.

  15. Rachael says:

    These are fantastic! *grin*

    I especially love the amblingly/shamblingly/ramblingly series, pornographically, wide-eyed, discretely/B-, countermanded, and the last one.

  16. FullMetaRationalist says:

    “Psychiatry is bunk,” said Tom closed-mindedly.

    “But a shrink might help you!” said Tom belittlingly.

    “My new book is in print,” said Tom authoritatively.

    “There was an earthquake,” said Tom troublingly.

    “My friend died in the avalanche,” said Tom gravely.

    “I’ve traveled outer space,” said Tom seriously.

    “You’re such a pig!” said Tom abhorrently.

    “Try going on a diet,” said Tom emphatically.

    “What a nice evening,” said Tom delightfully.

    “You need a breath mint,” said Tom tactically.

    “The tooth fairy left just enough,” said Tom coincidentally.

    “I love watching The Iron Chef,” said Tom sarcastically.

    “I’ll have another glass of wine,” said Tom divinely.

    “I’d like it cooked medium-well,” said Tom, rarely.

    “They cracked the code…” said Tom remorsefully.

    “We know the password,” said Tom effortlessly.

    “Nothing beats camping,” said Tom intensely.

    “The show must go on!” said Tom violently.

    “Aren’t you a tenor?” Tom inquired.

    “No cheating,” said Tom brightly.

    “How do you feel?” asked Tom curiously.

    “Like an angry bear,” said Tom furiously.

    “You saved my life,” said Tom erroneously.

    “Homosexuality is unnatural,” said Tom adamantly.

    ” … ew,” said Tom sheepishly.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Anyone else with auditory processing issues find these unusually difficult? I had to work to get these and I’m strangely exhausted now. Couldn’t understand it till I realised it’s the exact same kind of exhaustion I feel after a phone call with heavy background noise.

    I suppose it makes sense that these would trigger auditory processing problems, when you think about it. But I never would have thought of it!

    I’m wondering now if puns could be used diagnostically. I have mild hearing impairment, which made it impossible to diagnose separate issues with auditory processing. No one could tell whether there was something going on at the neurological in addition to the physical level. But this seems like it might be a way to distinguish those, if my reaction is at all typical of people with auditory processing problems.

    • Rachael says:

      I have auditory processing issues (find it difficult to pick out conversation over background noise, can’t talk while someone else is talking even if it’s just a machine), but I really enjoy these and similar puns, and am not aware of finding them tiring.
      I wonder if your experience relates to the previous thread (in the context of typical mind fallacy, I think) about how some people find puns literally painful.

    • Harald K says:

      If you count “not being a native speaker” as having an auditory processing issue, yeah.

  18. MawBTS says:

    I think there are still parts of the world where you can get flogged for this sort of thing.

  19. Dan says:

    “Help me stop this trolley from killing those workers!” Tom demanded fatally.

    • Sophie says:

      Or, futilely . . ?

      • Luke Somers says:

        It’s a fatal demand because they CAN stop the trolley, but the one he’s demanding it of must die.

      • Dan says:

        “f(util)”ly is good too, although I’d want to tinker with the sentence to increase the futility and emphasize the decision process, instead of designing it to fit the “fat ally” and “the man did.” Maybe:

        “The runaway trolley is going to kill some of those poor workers, and all I can do is make it kill as few of them as possible,” Tom said futilely.

  20. Peter says:

    “My Frisbee is now stuck on the corpse of that Robert guy that you shot”, said Tom, discombobulated.

  21. “Sorry I’m not on time, I had to perform breast augmentation surgery,” said Tom titilatingly.
    “My life has been ruined by my obsession with hoarding kittens,” said Tom Catholically.
    “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” said Tom promisingly.
    “Your hair looks terrible,” said Tom distressingly.
    “We’re capable of removing all the mythical creatures from the area,” said Tom demonstrably.
    “I’m starting a new religion which fuses Hinduism and Objectivism,” said Tom randomly.
    “Jack Chick is an idiot,” said Tom distractingly.
    “This fossil is from before the evolution of external genitalia,” said Tom predictively. (I sure love lowering the tone.)

  22. Pingback: Interesting Links for 16-06-2015 | Made from Truth and Lies

  23. Brandon Berg says:

    “I’m not going to give that jerk Procrustes the satisfaction,” Tom said self-defeatingly.

  24. anodognosic says:

    I did a bunch the other day for no reason!

    “I like to make this expression when I take a photo of myself,” George said self-effacingly.

    “I’m over here,” Adam said dispositionally.

    “I’m not sure I believe in Zeus or Thor,” said Betty diagnostically.

    “I really like what comes between the subject and the object,” Rita said proverbially.

    “I’m going to sue you again for stealing my spare!” Bill retorted tirelessly.

    “They don’t even try to hide their misdeeds!” said Father George sincerely.

    “I haven’t found a single falsehood in this book!” said Ted altruistically.

    “I’ll give you my John Hancock only I find no other way to come up with the money,” Zoe said significantly.

    “I can carry everything,” said James totally.

    “Pay homage to my superior muscular midriff,” said Larry absolutely.

    “I’m the poorest person here!” Mary said ritually.

    “Don’t forget to carry a directory!” Ron said totalistically.

    “I’m going to give some money to that mind-reader,” said Nora fundamentalistically.

    “Any form of writing other than print lettering totally sucks,” said Loretta discursively.

    “I’m really grooving on this beat!” Donna said intuitively.

    “In this movie, I play a character who can’t hear,” Rob said definitely.

  25. Siahsargus says:

    “This destroyer is obviously sinking!” the helmsman said condescendingly.

    “When we kissed, I felt a spark,” Tom told his former lover ecstatically.

    “I’mma throw this baseball to orbit!” Tom said hyperbolically.

  26. DiscoveredJoys says:

    “I’m a chemist!” Tom retorted.

  27. NZ says:

    “Oi! Oi! Oi!” Tom said punctually.

    • NZ says:

      “This really helps me see at night!” Tom inferred.

      “I have this nagging problem where I use too much toilet paper,” Tom implied.

      “My tongue is who I essentially am,” Tom said languidly.

      “Cliff Huxtable’s son is great at figuring out what makes sense,” Tom said theologically.

      “Ten cherries make an avocado” Tom said barometrically.

      “It is better to light one small darkness than to curse the candle,” said Tom, confused.

      “I can’t remember the last time I could look down and see my penis,” said Tom emphatically.

      “We need to move in a direction of more teaching and learning,” said Edward.

  28. Jacobian says:

    “Termites are just another source of protein”, Tom said antisemitically.

    “Eureka! The Frisbee is right above me!”, Tom discovered.

    “This pick-up belongs to the prisoner”, Tom said constructively.

    “I’ve discovered 50 more states”, Tom said numerically.

    “These oars are heavy”, Tom said robotically.

    “My saliva is on you, so we’re a couple!”, Tom said, liquidating.

  29. mauiaw says:

    “It was the crème brûlée” Tom said gravely.

  30. stillnotking says:

    “That insect is clearly the larger,” Tom said tolerantly.

    “Twenty-eight point three four nine five grams, exactly,” Tom announced.

    “‘It’s do or die; hey, I’ve died twice,'” Buffy rehearsed.

    I try to include a few of these in any fiction I write, just to see if anyone gets them.

  31. wubbles says:

    “Germany should exit the Eurozone” Tom remarked.

  32. Sarah says:

    “That’s not butter — it’s ghee!” Tom clarified.

  33. Bjorn says:

    “I can hear the peeping of tiny birds”, Tom said earnestly.

  34. Shenpen says:

    There was novel series called which was basically a form of a Soviet James Bond stuff, which create a category of similar jokes in the Eastern block. Example:

    Stierlitz, the super-spy, was walking in a forest at night, when far away he saw two small circles of light side by side.

    “A car.” – thought Stierlitz.

    “Idiot.” – thought the owl.

  35. Arthur B. says:

    Anna Netrebko is superb as Leonora, whispered Tom introvertedly

  36. Derelict says:

    “I used to own that car!” Tom exclaimed.
    Or: “She used to be my girlfriend!” Tom exclaimed.

    “I’ve drilled a hole into the ground for the phone cable to go through,” Tom said telepathically.

    “I am your robotic partner in battle,” Tom said metallically.

    “When did we start using increments of 0.000 000 000 000 025 4 metres to measure things?” said Tom in a pinch.

    “Did you remember to send the invoice to my mother’s sister?” asked Tom jubilantly.

    “Noah, what are you building?” Tom asked darkly.

    “I’m changing this positively charged atom!”, Tom said, in an altercation.

    “This stage play with Humpty Dumpty’s family is really good”, said Tom exactly.

  37. pd says:

    “I identify as black” Rachel intimated darkly

    ‘Sudo, make me a sandwich with chicken breast then” Tom substituted

    “I’m only a minor devil” Beelzebub implied

  38. pd says:

    “My visit to the tabernacle replica was inauthentic” Tom said in the past tense.

    “I think Edgar Allen’s interest in hairlessness is more than aesthetic” Tom waxed poetical

  39. pd says:

    “I won’t be your friend, Shlomo, if you don’t pay for lunch” Tom said with jubilation.

  40. J. Quinton says:

    “The only thing we’re up against is the hourglass” Tom said anachronistically

    “Stop hurling insults at each other” Tom said diabolically

    “It might be under the table” Tom said hypothetically

    “Mechanical clocks are like music to my ears” Tom said analogically

  41. Syllabus says:

    “I wrote a synoptic Gospel,” Tom remarked.

    Which works on multiple levels, since Thomas is not a synoptic Gospel.

  42. Alexander Stanislaw says:

    I don’t understand what’s going on. Are these supposed to funny? There are a few puns, am I missing all of the others?

    • Whatever happened to Anonymous says:

      I actually have no idea of what I’m supposed to be looking for.

    • Walter says:

      They are Tom Swifties.

      The last part, which describes how Tom is communicating, also refers to his sentence.

      So (from the article):
      “I have no flowers,” Tom said lackadaisically.
      He is speaking lackadaisically, he also lacks-a-daisy.

      They are an acquired taste, I confess. (Hungrily)

  43. Justin says:

    “How is this estimator?” said Tobias meanly.

  44. Asterix says:

    “… and anybody who would blog this HORRIBLE string of puns needs to be –” whooped Tom. 🙂

  45. Matt A. says:

    Try writing clerihews next. (Or have a contest!)

  46. Jacobian says:

    “Atom bombs can cause precipitation”, Tom said in Ukrainian.

    “You shouldn’t drink tea in a hurry”, Tom said in Chino-Russian.

    “My leg is bound by a rope in the middle”, Tom said in Taiwanese.

    “My friend makes beer”, Tom said in Hebrew.

    “Я смотрю на голых девок”, Том сказал упорно.

    • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

      “He says, ‘I wish I’d gone for the sex change 20 years ago,'” Tom translated.

  47. Thecommexokid says:

    “Instead of stabbing him, I would have used a feather to make Caesar laugh himself to death,” said Tom romantically.

    “Man, people have just started to go nuts over my eBay auctions lately!” Tom said morbidly.

    “I’ve been standing up all day!” Tom lied.

    “We knew we’d get some negative feedback on naming OS 10.9 ‘Mavericks’ — but my god, I’ve never seen so much blood!” the Apple executive said uncategorically.

    “The company that sells the pens is mine!” Tom said iambically.

    “This week only at PetSmart, S is for sale! Buy any betta and get your very own Ms. Grafton absolutely free of charge! Or — three cheers for savings — pick out a guppy and take home a free Coach Sylvester! Still unconvinced? Surely you’ll amend your opinion when we tell you that even our koi each come with their own Ms. B. Anthony!” said Tom superficially.

  48. Noah Siegel says:

    “Everyone should own a copy of Howl,” Tom said adversely.

  49. Jake says:

    “You’d have to be an idiot to challenge Coca-Cola,” Tom said dyspeptically.

  50. Cauê says:

    Fuck medicine, this is your calling.

  51. anon says:

    “I love Paradox Grand Strategy Games, Especially Europa Universalis” Tom said euphorically

    • Cerebral Paul Z. says:

      “I just cloned Bono, The Edge, Adam Clayton, and Larry Mullen!” Tom said euphorically.

  52. CThomas says:

    “That author of Slate Star Codex is a really brilliant guy,” was Tom’s smart-aleck answer.

    • CThomas says:

      (Incidentally, probably obvious and bad form to explain your own joke, but “smart Alexander” = “smart-aleck answer.”)

  53. Sonny DE says:

    “Please, it’s trivial to make up any number of these sentences swiftly; just start with the adverb,” Tom entreated.

  54. Noah Siegel says:

    “In addition to being an accomplished actress, Ms. Hathaway is also known for applying the scientific method to javelin throwing,” Tom said anthropologically.

  55. Derelict says:

    “I’m penniless!” Tom said nocently.

    I first heard this one in the form of “innocently”, but the “in” felt extraneous.

    • Slow Learner says:

      Pennies are a fraction of pounds, cents are a fraction of dollars = how does this work?
      Or do Americans use penny and cent interchangeably?

  56. GCBill says:

    “The Ents are really struggling to march on tempo,” Tom said logarithmically.

    “I just received a message claiming I won a monthly drawing,” Tom said contextually.

    “See no evil,” Tom said synoptically.

    “To rescue the princess, I must transform myself into a fire-breathing dog,” Tom said, embarking on a quest.

    “What the point of teleology?” Tom said metaphorically.

    “We should stop eating vegetables because they can feel pain,” Tom said symptomatically.

    “I brought back the same plate of food a second time,” Tom said undeservingly.

    “There’s a nasty stomach bug making its way around school,” Tom said classically.

    “Tourette’s runs in the maternal side of my family,” Tom said grammatically.

    “She didn’t tell me she had herpes before we messed around,” Tom said pastorally.

    “Hey Attila, fire up the barbecue!” Tom said hungrily.

    “We all refuse to take any blame,” Tom said monotonously.

  57. Dog-sized Spider says:

    “I think the plumber’s work here is done.” – Tom deduced

  58. FullMetaRationalist says:

    “See you in court,”

    — said Tom from the sewer.

    “I didn’t do it!” said Tom heatedly.

    “You’ve paid nothing in child support,” said Tom’s ex, pensively.

    “I can smoke if I want to,” Tom rebutted.

    “Let’s buy a pure bred,” said Tom insistently.

    “I see dead people,” said Tom cryptically.

    “Have we not talked about this enough?” said Tom in disgust.

    “Republicans stand united,” said Tom unbiasedly.

    “I’ll call it ‘duct-tape’,” said Tom inventively.

    “Gastrointestinal Bypass Surgery is actually very simple,” said Tom reductively.

    “Bustrophedon is just better,” said Tom stubbornly.

    “A wheel-chair isn’t so bad,” said Tom personably.

    “I made reservations,” said Tom virtuously.

    “We don’t crash weddings,” said Tom convincingly.

    “His impression of Steve Jobs was flawless,” said Tom astonishingly.

    “STAMPEDE!” heard Tom.

    “Marx was a moron,” said Tom classlessly.

    “Behold, the emperor’s new clothes,” said Tom majestically.

    “Americans use Fahrenheit,” said Tom diametrically.

    “I’ll make it a circle,” Tom decided.

    “Your amusement park failed the safety inspection,” Tom derided.

    “Puppy too small,” said Tom derisively.

    “The candles form a pentacle,” said Tom wickedly.

    “Hit the deck!” Tom bellowed.

    “Make it stop!” said Tom critically.

    “I’m not drunk enough to drive,” Tom whined.

    “We’ll catch frostbite,” Tom scolded.

    “May I fight a weaker dragon?” Tom requested.

    “There’s a brothel down the street,” said Tom honestly.

    “We’ve got binders full of women,” said Tom descriptively.

    “The Common Core simply sets a standard,” Tom protested.

    “AIDS is no joke,” Tom condemned.

    “I win in 10 rounds,” Tom contended.

    “That’s called the Mate on Rank 8” said Tom eloquently.

    “How odd,” said Tom unevenly.

  59. FullMetaRationalist says:

    “Call me Caitlyn,” Tom demanded.

  60. “Is this baby sheep afraid of the 15th letter of the alphabet?” said Tom islamophobically.

  61. jaimeastorga2000 says:

    “I like reading about Earth’s core,” said Tom ironically.

  62. Here is a explanation of how to parse every pun in the list. The only one I couldn’t figure out was “endearingly”.

    1. deliberately – deli-berate – Delis make sandwiches.
    2. discontently – disc-on-tent – Frisbee throwing disc on a circus tent
    3. probingly – pro-bing – in favor of the Bing search engine, a competitor to Google
    4. unfortunately – un-fort-UN – got rid of the fort/bunker of the UN (United Nations)
    5. randomly – Rand-dumb – Ayn Rand developed Objectivism.
    6. invincibly – in-Vinci – in the birthplace of Leonardo Da Vinci
    7. despairingly – (Ha)des-pair – References Greek myth. Zeus pairs up Hades with his wife Persephone.
    8. immediately – I’m-media – Tom can control the media through those media outlets, as if they were a part of him
    9. knowingly – no-wing
    10. tremendously – tree-mend – Ents are a species of sentient trees in Lord of the Rings
    11. wonderingly – won-the-Ring or One-(d)-Ring – in Lord of the Rings, Gollum wagered the One Rings in a riddle contets
    12. sympathetically – Sim-pathetically – Maxis created the video game The Sims. Losing at it ten times is pathetic.
    13. syntactically – sin-tactically – using tactics to choose what sins to commit
    14. inefficiently – in-a-fish – in the Bible, Jonah was swallowed by a whale, which is similar to a fish
    15. contraindicated – contra-indicated – contras are Nicaraguan rebels
    16. redolently – redo-Lent – Lent is a holiday in which you give up eating meat.
    17. supersonically – sue-person – When you sue a person, you take them to a court of law.
    18. mechanically – me-chan – “chan” is a suffix that can be added to the name of a young, cute person in Japanese
    19. maniacally – man-“Ia” – The man is saying “Ia”. (The calls are from H. P. Lovecraft’s works.)
    20. commissioned – Commie-shunned – Stalin was a Commie/Communist
    21. cordially – cord or cord-dial – Before cordless phones, phones had cords.
    22. horrifically – whore – having sex for money makes someone a whore
    23. synergistically – sinner-gist – Tom got the gist of Dante’s Inferno, a book featuring sinners, by reading a Cliff Notes summary.
    24. apologetically – Apollo-get – The lunar lander was deposited on the moon during the the Apollo mission. Tom will “get” it back.
    25. amblingly – am-bling – “bling” means “expensive, ostentatious clothing and jewelry”. Gold clothing fits.
    26. shamblingly – sham-bling – Pyrite is known as “fool’s gold”. It looks like gold but is not – it is a sham.
    27. ramblingly – ram-bling – Fleece comes from a ram. This is a reference to Greek legend.
    28. pornographically – poor-no-graphic – Tom has no graphic that represents the poor (poverty rate).
    29. wide-eyed – why-died
    30. prudently – prude-Ent – Ents are a species of sentient trees in Lord of the Rings
    31. self-ownership – cell-phone-or-ship – An iPhone is a type of cell phone; a yacht is a type of ship.
    32. countermanded – counter-man-dead – “granite tops” refers to countertops. A cardiac arrest (heart attack) leads to death.
    33. well-hydrated – we’ll-hydra-TED – TED is a conference on new ideas. The hydra is a mythological many-headed monster.
    34. told me – tolled me – to “toll” a bell is to ring it
    35. diurnally – die-earn – earn/wages, death/die
    36. prolifically – pro-life – In the abortion debate, one of the two sides is “pro-life”, which has the point of view that Tom quotes.
    37. candidly – can-did – “did” is the past tense of “do”
    38. endearingly – and-a-ring? end-earring? – I don’t understand, probably because I don’t know who Vincent and the “Madame” are a reference to.
    39. aspirated – as-pirate – Tom is talking like/as a pirate.
    40. lackadaisically – lack-(a)-Daisy – in The Great Gatsby, a classic novel about the new rich, Gatsby loves the woman Daisy
    41. discretely – diss-Crete – the Minoans were a civilization that lived on the island of Crete
    42. B− (B-, B minus) – be Minos – Minos was a king of the Minoan empire
    43. ingested – in-jest
    44. heedless of the ramifications – ignoring hypothetical sex changes of sheep from ewes (female) to rams (male)
    45. remarked – re-Mark – The Gospel of Mark is one of the Synoptic Gospels, part of the Bible. Not sure where “re” comes in.
    46. protocol – proto-call – “proto-” means early. “call” refers to telephone calls.
    47. superficially – Superfish – Superfish is malware that Lenovo bundles with some of their laptops, and that was discovered to have a vulnerability this year.
    48. canonically – cannon – cannons are a type of artillery
    49. clandestinely – clan-destiny – his family/clan is destined to rule the world
    50. saidEdward Said wrote an influential work about Orientalism. He defines Orientalism as the West’s perceptions of Eastern societies such as Palestine’s.
    • Brian says:

      Van Gogh cut off his ear and gave it to Madame as a present. He was insane, probably from drinking absinthe.

    • Date Time says:

      This is kind of embarrassing, but an explanation of this one in the comments would be appreciated too.

      “Everyone’s date of birth is in 2007,” Tom said alternatively.

      • Setsize says:


      • Adam says:

        Got me on that one. I thought it was some ridiculous obscure reference to the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 putting the U.S. on the alternative fuel path.

      • Setsize says:

        (accidentally didn’t post as top-level comment, oh well)

        “I will miss the vote because I am spending this morning doing crunches,” Tom wrote in abstention.

        “I’ve assigned Professor Jones to track down that artifact”, Tom said indecently.

        “Mistreatment of the Stars and Stripes makes me so mad!” Tom said flagrantly.

        “You may not use a pencil to mark your answers,” Tom said incontestably.

        “It’s 10:52, Car Talk will be on soon,” Tom said effeminately.

        “Let’s see how Europa likes me in this form,” Zeus ambled.

        “That is how we lost Edward to the Cyclops,” Tom demonstrated.

        “Not as embarrassing as when I lost a finger at the petting zoo,” said his affiliate.

        “Just as we were about to contact my aunt Helen’s spirit, a car crashed through the house! So we had to replace the doors and windows,” Tom reported from his reconnaissance.

        “Helen’s husband showed up on the wrong day,” Tom said unclearly.

    • Eugene Y. Q. Shen says:

      I think you missed some of the finer points, especially with:
      4. unfortunately: Godzilla ‘unate’ the UN fort (which is un-fort-unate)
      22. horrifically: she’s a whore if Tom phones her up (a whore-if-i-call)
      45. remarked: since it’s a synoptic Gospel, Mark already wrote about the events before Tom wrote the same things again (re-Marked)
      I’m sure there’s something more with “heedless of the ramifications” too, but who knows…

      • Anonymous says:

        I read ram-ifi-cations as a type of vacation where ewes are ramified.

        • Anonymous says:

          Nah, it’s simpler than that. X-ification is a general construction meaning to the process of making something be X, closely related to X-ify, the verb. eg, vilify, versification, verbify, objectify, specify, simplify, rectify, purify.

      • Thanks for the additions.

        For “heedless of the ramifications”, there also is the standard meaning of the phrase, meaning “ignoring the consequences”. Is that what you were looking for? I didn’t mention that meaning in my explanation because I thought everyone would already be familiar with the phrase.

    • Sniffnoy says:

      I think the “despairingly” one comes not from “(Ha)des”, but rather from the Roman identification of Dis [Pater] with Hades. So it’s “dis-pairing-ly”, based on the pronunciation.

      Edit: Also, it’s worth noting that the book of Jonah actually states that Jonah was swallowed by a large fish; this is often interpreted as a whale, but “in-a-fish” is actually more true to the source.

  63. Date Time says:

    “I’ve already bought souvenir gifts for the family at the department store” Tom said dutifully.

    “Maria” Tom sung, tritely.

    “I’ve never understood why women like Mr. Darcy so much” Tom said probingly.

    “Journalism is a sound degree major” Tom said proscribingly.

    “I’m auctioning off my comic book collection before we move into our new apartment” Tom said marvelously.

    “This Licentiate in Theology has been entirely useless” Tom said lousily.

  64. “I held a census of the people of Rome,” Augustus empiricised.

    • Date Time says:

      “Classical antiquity tho,” Tom romanticised.

      “What an utter bogan.” Tom ostracised.

  65. Anonymous says:

    “My bubble bath is evoking strange cutaneous sensations,” Tom said masochistically.

  66. Date Time says:

    “According to my flowchart, seeing as I’ve already existed the local pool of potential dates on Tinder and OkCupid, I should contact whichever ex is nearest to me and available.” Tom said ecstatically.

    “It still surprises me that someone wrote a fanfic about me.” Tom said, amused.

    “Note to self: write a letter to the FDA.” Tom prescribed.

    “Down with the NRA! Not to be confused with the MRA, although I’m not a fan of the MRA either!” Tom said disarmingly.

    “No prizes for inferring that I don’t like guns.” Tom said unsurprisingly.

    “The reason I’ve been wearing the same outfit everyday for the past year is because Science shows that in the short term, even small decisions can be costly because they draw upon the same mental reserves used to make more important ones.” Tom said homogenously.

    “Minotaurs tho” Tom said amazingly.

    “Once I’ve been granted immortality and the ability to fly, the only thing left to ask for then is world peace.” Tom said viciously.

    “All of my subjects for the next semester seem dull.” Tom said in unison.

  67. “I´m an orphan” Tom said lackadaisically

  68. Jordan D. says:

    “Did you just make a ‘squeak’ noise?” Tom asked, resoundingly.

    “I’d say Communism got a bad rap,” said Tom internationally.

    “Once again, you’ve done something stupid,” said Tom ridiculously.

    “Well, our campground is thoroughly soaked,” said Tom portentiously.

    “The time has come to recolonize the Americas,” said Tom deliberately.

    “Just say what you’re thinking, honey,” said Tom unintuitively.

    “I’m voting for the fence south of Texas,” said Tom repulsively.

    “I’m voting for the fence north of Texas,” said Tom successfully.

    “I’m voting for the fence in the middle of Texas,” said Tom disjointedly.

    “Well, I’m getting rid of all of your fences,” rejoined Tom.

    “Yeah, how will those fences help California?” asked Tom dissolvently.

    “Wait, are we all in some sort of deliberative body right now?” asked Tom referentially.

    “I’d like to be in a deliberative body with YOU,” said Tom congressionally.

    “We are in a deliberative body, and this body shall come to order once more,” recused Tom.

    “Now, the bill up for debate is Senate Bill 2015-0136, entitled ‘An Act To Reduce The Paperwork Caused By The Affordable Care Act'” said Tom formally.

    “I urge my fellows to vote nay- the CBO has yet to issue a budget statement.” said Tom accountably.

    “I think you have ulterior motives; you just want to skewer Obamacare,” said Tom partisanly.

    “And you just want to replace the family with Big Government,” said Tom deceptively.

    “Who cares about the CBO? If we can improve the healthcare system we should, regardless of cost,” said Tom irrationally.

    “What? What have you got against corvids?!” asked Tom incomprehensably.

    “He said ‘irrationally’, not ‘irraitonally’,” said Tom condescendingly.

    “I don’t like this meta-swifty nonsense. Can we get back to the congressional theme?” remanded Tom.

    “Right. What’s the benefit to having doctors do less paperwork? I’d like to see them sign more stuff!” said Tom recursively.

    “Yeah! Make ’em get through a little bureaucracy before they get home to their lavish mansions and expensive cocktail parties,” said Tom presumtively.

    “Whoa, whoa, whoa. Is this supported by the APA? I wouldn’t want to offend them,” said Tom initally.

    “Well, it is supported by the APA. It is also, somehow, opposed by the APA,” said Tom correctively.

    “Isn’t there a big court case which could change the whole way we interpert this law anyway?” asked Tom decisively.

    “Can… can I vote for a fence between Texas and this law?” asked Tom, federally.

    “Oh my god, get him off the floor,” said Tom defensively.

    “We are not doing any state-specific changes at this late point,” said Tom, constructively.

    “Okay, you know what? Let’s table this bill for now,” said Tom, artesianally.

    “Water under the bridge,” resolved Tom.

    “That would definately help California,” said Tom aridly.

    “I vote for a fence between Texas and California,” said Tom unilaterally.

    “You know what? I can’t deal with this today. This congress is adjourned, let’s go have lunch,” said Tom undemocratically.

    “Vindication!” shouted Tom dicatorially.

  69. commonparlance says:

    “Did you hear the one about Napoleon’s older brother, the monarch of Naples and Sicily?,” Tom said jokingly.

    “I should probably move out of the sun since I’m getting swarthy, but I’m so relaxed here,” Tom said tangentially.

    “You flick me to ignite your cigarettes/But please, do not use me to burn your pets,” Tom said iambically.

    “Wise Japanese teacher rejects Pacino!,” the Tom’s Daily News reported sensationally.

    “The United Nations is powerless,” Tom said undoubtedly.

    “Alas, you’re not a very scary ghost,” Tom said dispiritedly.
    “I’m clumsy because my gold watch is fake,” the ghost said shamblingly.
    “So is my right testicle; I’m a mess” Tom said shambolically

    “I haven’t written a screenplay yet, but I’ve thought up most of our main character’s verbiage already,” Tom said to his co-writer prescriptively.
    “You know, ‘verbiage’ means excessive use of words, right? The word you’re looking for might be ‘wordage,’” the co-writer offered prescriptively.
    “Argh, to hell with it, let’s not even write a screenplay,” Tom said descriptively.
    “We’ll just have them ad-lib. Words don’t have fixed meanings anyway,” the partner replied descriptively.

    “I’m unhappy because the structure of the San Francisco mayor’s speech was okay, but the substance of it was terrible,” Tom said discontentedly.
    “It was almost as if the mayor’s cranium was switched with someone else’s,” he added, wrongheadedly.
    “The most depressing thing was when my PlayStation devoured him after the speech,” Tom went on, disconsolately.
    “Wake up mayor!,” cried the mayor’s aide, rousingly.
    “As laughable as it sounds, I’m capable of getting up,” the mayor answered risibly.

  70. Ty Phon says:

    “Let’s get this outdoors Seaworld camping trip started!” said Tom, for all intents and purposes.

  71. Sam Rosen says:

    “Are you enjoying having sex with one of the most influential philosophers in history?” Immanuel continued.

  72. Herve Villechaize says:

    “I auditioned twice for a solo in Carmina Burana, but didn’t get it,” Tom said, 0-for-2 now.

  73. mobile says:

    “We are never ever ever getting back together” said Tom swiftly.

  74. JRM says:

    “I thought I was going to be president of the Swifties Association, but then they reconsidered and gave the position to Scott,” Tom said disappointedly.

  75. Bryan Hann says:


    You would love Edward Gorey’s adverbial The Glorious Nosebleed.

          “They searched the cellars Fruitlessly”

    (Also not to be missed: The Gashlycrumb Tinies)

  76. Bryan Hann says:

    “I don’t see any point in this at all!” complained the set theorist, categorically.

  77. Bryan Hann says:

    “I know what you mean” Tom said to the taxidermist inferringly.

  78. Bryan Hann says:

    “…and so, at last, we come to the conclusion that, contrary to our initial supposition, no member of our class of functions decreases on the stated interval, thus proving…” droned the lecturer monotonically.

  79. ADifferentAnonymously says:

    “Female pleasure is very important” said Tom heroically.

  80. Anthony says:

    “We’ve converted our weigh-in program to metric”, Tom expounded.

    “I’ve sold the last of my mining holdings to Rio Tinto”, Tom exclaimed.

    “My new quad-copter has a 4 megapixel camera with video, 45 minute flight time, a range of 2 miles, only weighs two pounds …”, Tom droned.

    “My last girlfriend still booty-calls me once in a while because she likes it rough”, Tom expounded.

  81. Tom Davies says:

    “These naughty, energetic games make me giggle”, Tom said synergistically

  82. BeefSnakStikR says:

    “An author should never steal a copy of his own novel,” said Nabokov selfishly.