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These works have titles which are puns of some sort. The creators are probably slightly less proud of themselves than the creators of works with Double Meaning Titles. Or at least they should be. Like with the Double Meaning Title, it's usually stubbornly resistant to translation to other languages, resulting in the need for a Completely Different Title.

See Epunymous Title for a common subtrope; also compare Justified Title. Idiosyncratic Episode Naming sometimes employs this.

Examples of Pun-Based Title include:


Anime and Manga Edit

  • Tokyo Mew Mew. "Mew" is both a homophone of "mu" (a Greek letter and biological term, fitting with the Biological Mashup cast) and an onomatopoeia for a cat (the main character is a Catgirl).
  • Yakitate!! Japan refers to the main character's signature "Japan" baked goods. ("Pan" means "bread" in both Japanese and Spanish.)
    • This troper likes how the title was adapted into Portuguese, "Amassando Ja-pão", which not only keeps the pun, but does so in a single language.
  • Gintama; the word on its own means "silver soul" and revolves around the main character Gintoki, but is a homophone for the word "kintama" which means "testicles".
  • The title of Urusei Yatsura literally translates to "People from the Planet Uru", although the word "Urusei" (which comes from "urusai", meaning annoying) is also a Japanese colloquialism to tell someone to "shut up" and the title can be interpreted as "Hey guys, shut up!" Animeigo attempted to translate the pun by changing the title to Those Obnoxious Aliens for the short-lived English dub of the anime.
  • The episode titles in Ichigo Mashimaro, at least in English, vary between rhymes, alliteration, and this. For examples of this: "Violent Night", "The Hat's Meow", "Attack of the Killer [ZZZs]", "Into Hot Water", "Sick Jokes", "The Matsuri" (a borderline example: a matsuri is a festival as well as the name of a main character), "Schooled", and "Heart Attacks". Parts of the "An Amusing Stew (Using Miu)" episodes have titles as well: "Lack of Acute Judgment", "Thumb War", "Thrown By the Goat", "Phony", "What Possesses Her", and "Sketchy".
  • The title of "Porco Rosso" (The Red Pig) is a pun on The Red Baron, of course.
  • The Street Fighter video games had a TV anime series titled Street Fighter II V (that's a roman numeral "two" and the letter "vee"). The title doesn't seem to mean much by itself at first, but "two vee" is pronounced almost similarly to "tee vee", as in a Street Fighter TV series. The "V" also stands for "Victory" and since "two" can be a homophone for "to", the title can also be read as Street Fighter To Victory.
  • Kidou Tenshi Angelic Layer puns on Kidou Senshi Gundam. Note that both of these titles were changed in English (to just Angelic Layer and Mobile Suit Gundam respectively).
  • Tegami Bachi translates to "Letter Bee," which sounds like "letter 'B.'" Considering that the author bothered to use the translation as a subtitle, it could have been an intentional pun.
  • Pokémon episodes are often a pun on the featured Pokémon, such as "To Master the Onix-pected" and "Turning Over a Nuzleaf".
    • Pokémon 3: Spell of the Unown refers to two things: 1) the fact that Unown are Pokémon based on the alphabet, and 2) their powers.
    • Done away with as with Best Wishes, however.
  • Haré+Guu: its original title, "Janguru wa Itsumo Hare Nochi Guu", is usually translated as "The Jungle was always nice, then came Guu". However, the last three words are regularly used in Japanese weather forecast, and can be interpreted as something like "clear with a chance of showers". Thus, the title's underlying meaning would be "The jungle is always clear with a chance of showers."
  • A.I. Love You: "ai" is the Japanese word for "to love," it is pronounced like the letter I, and the second letter being "I" just completes the phrase "I love you."


Comic Books Edit

  • The Deadpool storyline "Enema of the State" was named in parody of the then-recent "Enemy of the State" storyline in Wolverine's book.
  • DC Comics seems to like to make use of the title "Apokolips Now" (a pun on the movie Apocalypse Now) for stories involving Darkseid/Apokolips.
  • DC also seems to like making pun-titles involving Batman's nicknames "The Bat" or "The Dark Knight" (the latter itself already a pun).


Fan Works Edit


Film - Animated Edit


Film - Live-Action Edit

  • The 1981 and 2009 movie title My Bloody Valentine is a pun on the famous song 'My Funny Valentine'.
  • The title of the 1974 and 2006 movies Black Christmas, despite some accusations of racism (directed more towards the remake), is a pun on the ultrafamous Christmas song ' White Christmas'.
  • Blades of Glory = blaze of glory.
  • Legally Blonde is a pun on "legally blind," as well as "legally bound."
  • The Santa Clause is a pun on the word "clause", something that Bernard had to make clear to Scott while explaining the titular clause.
  • Alvin and The Chipmunks: The Squeakquel = The Sequel.
  • Grosse Pointe Blank: the city of Grosse Point + point blank (also, the protagonist's surname is Blank).
  • Shaun of the Dead = Dawn of the Dead
  • The Three Stooges films were heavy with punny titles, sometimes riffing off songs - "Beer Barrel Polecats", "I'll Never Heil Again" - sometimes movies, as the tear-jerker "Valiant is the Word for Carrie" becomes "Violent is the Word for Curly".
  • Shanghai Noon based on High Noon.
  • Your Highness: The main character is both a prince and a stoner.
  • Chopping Mall
  • Die-ner (Get It?)


Literature Edit

  • So many novels in the Mystery genre do this; there are far too many examples to list here.
  • Every book in Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures series.
    • He was going to call the first book Another Fine Mess; the editor's wife came up with the pun. Little did she know what she started...
  • Every title in The Clique series of books (except for the first one) is a pun or punny reference to something else: "Bratfest at Tiffany's" "Dial L for Loser" "Invasion of the Boy Snatchers".
  • The book/TV series Time Warp Trio does this for the book/episode titles. Examples: Me Oh Maya, My Big Fat Greek Olympics, You Can't, But Genghis Khan.
  • Several Discworld novels, including Equal Rites, Sourcery, Maskerade and The Fifth Elephant.
    • The French translation of Maskerade has an interesting aversion of the usual Completely Different Title: The French for "mask" is "masque" and the French for "masquerade" is "mascarade". So the French for Maskerade is ... Masquarade.
  • The Dresden Files novels tend to this when they're not Double Meaning Titles (and sometimes when they are). Most obvious is the second book, Fool Moon.
  • All of the titles of the Savannah Reid mysteries are puns relating to food. For example... Just Desserts, Killer Calories, Cooked Goose, Corpse Suzette, Death by Chocolate, Cereal Killer....
  • According to Orson Scott Card, Ender's Game has one of these--in the original short story, the character was named "Ender" solely so he could use that title, a pun on "endgame".
  • The even numbered Honor Harrington Books are a pun on Honor.
  • Many of the books in the Xanth series are like this. Currant Events, Faun and Games, Cube Route (Book 27, the end of the first 'trilogy'), Crewel Lye, Swell Foop, Two to the Fifth (Book 32)...


Live Action TV Edit

  • Miss Match, the short-lived show about Kate Fox -- divorce attorney by day, matchmaker by night.
  • Every episode of Gossip Girl is titled with a pun on a movie title (eg. Pret-A-Poor J, The Serena Also Rises, The Goodbye Gossip Girl...)
  • One of the cutaways on Scrubs featured the resident lawyer and janitor teaming up to take care of a young boy, portraying the situation as a TV sitcom called "Legal Custodians" (get it?)
  • Most episode titles of Charmed are puns, especially puns that involve the words "witch," "charmed," etc., or the names of the characters.
  • Ideal: About a drug dealer.
  • The IT Crowd: About a bunch of IT workers.
  • Seacht is Irish for 'seven', referring to the fact that it has seven main characters, but also sounds like the English word 'shocked'.
  • Fáilte Towers: pun on Fawlty Towers and the Irish word "Fáilte", meaning "welcome".
    • There was also a documentary about an inept tour company. The documentary was called Faulty Tours.
  • You're A Star: picked a Eurovision Song Contest contestant; the name suggests "Euro Star".
  • In the Name of the Fada: comedian Des Bishop learns to speak Irish, "fada" is an orthographic term. "In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit" is a Christian blessing.
  • Sex & Sensibility: about the history of sex in Ireland; puns on Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.
  • Arrested Development has several layers - the overall plot is about the head of a development company who's been arrested, the characters themselves are in various states of arrested development, and (initially at least) the company's development work is pretty much on hold, because of the arrests.
    • Almost all the episode titles are pun-based, eg. "Key Decisions", "Pier Pressure", "Marta Complex", "Shock and Aww".
  • Blind Justice- a reference to the principle of objectivity in law and the incredibly hard to guess disability of the lead character, Det. Jim Dunbar.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody is about Zack and Cody's life living in a hotel suite. A number of episodes of both the show and its Spin-Off The Suite Life On Deck also have pun-based titles.
  • The Wizards of Waverly Place episode "Future Harper" features a number of books by "H.J. Darling", one of which is "Charmed and Dangerous".
  • The fourth Blackadder series is called - what else? - Blackadder Goes Forth.
  • Several Lost episodes have pun-based titles, such as "Lockdown," which features John Locke pinned under a blast door. Michael Giacchino's score is riddled with groan-worthy puns, such as "Thinking Clairely," "Keamy Away From Him," and many, many more.
  • The Australian TV series Packed to the Rafters is about the Rafter family, whose house is "packed" (after all the parents' adult children moved back in with them).
  • Full House
  • Rules of Engagement.
  • A short-lived Australian TV series titled Above the Law was set in an apartment complex situated above a police station.
  • Referenced in an episode of Jonathan Creek, "Ghosts Forge", in which a book called The Grave Digger turns out to be about a serious-minded Australian.
  • Star Trek episode titles usually don't go here, but of twelve episodes featuring Q, eight make a pun on "Q". Star Trek: Deep Space Nine also has groaner of an episode title with "Trials and Tribble-ations".
  • Get Smart was quite fond of these, especially late in the series when the title was shown in the opening credits, giving us the likes of "Widow Often Annie", "How Green was my Valet", "Smartacus"...
  • A lot Home Improvement episodes have this type of title. Many of them are Epunymous Titles, such as "It Was the Best of Tims, It Was the Worst of Tims" and "Al's Fair in Love and War".
  • Alien Nation.
  • Boy Meets World is a pun on the expression "Boy Meets Girl". Also, several episodes have this type of title, such as "No Guts, No Cory".
  • Some 90% of Corner Gas episodes are titled with puns combining two or more of the episode's storylines. (I.e. "American Resolution", which focuses on New Year's resolutions and a character fighting a perceived American identity.)
  • The Not-Pictionary-honest game show Win, Lose or Draw. The Gaelic-language version was given the Completely Different Title De Tha Seo ("What's This?")
  • Rosemary And Thyme: Their names are Rosemary Boxer and Laura Thyme, they run a nursery and they solve crimes.


Music Edit

  • The Beatles, surely the most famous band with a pun-based name.
    • Also "Rubber Soul," a pun on rubber soles in shoes and another song called Rubber Soul.
  • Led Zeppelin (kind of a pun on "lead" as in "you'll go down like a lead balloon"; actually it was changed to make the pronunciation unambiguous.
    • Their reggae parody "D'Yer Maker 'Er" is a pun on "Jamaica", but ultimately it's based on an old joke:

 My wife's gone to the West Indies.

Jamaica?

No, she went of her own accord.

      • And speaking of reggae, let's not forget the parody band Dread Zeppelin.
  • The rock group Slade has an album called Slayed. This was a reference to their frequent use of misspelt titles, eg "Take Me Bak 'Ome" and "Gudbuy T'Jane".
  • The Nirvana records Hormoaning and Incesticide
  • Rasputina's "Dwarf Star" is a pun on the celestial body

 He said he was a dwarfstar

'Cause he was small

And he was... famous

  • Silverstein's song "My Heroine" refers to both the sarcastically named female, and the drug.
  • The Genesis album Selling England By The Pound.
    • Also the alum Nursery Cryme.
  • The Iron Maiden album Piece of Mind, and their song "Public Enema Number One".
  • The Megadeth album and song Rust in Peace.
  • The Rush album Moving Pictures might be considered one twice over, since on the surface one would think it refers to movies, but the cover shows people carrying paintings out of a museum, as well as people crying or appearing otherwise emotionally affected--that is, moving the pictures out of the building, and also moved by the pictures.
  • The VAGIANT album Public Display Of Infection.
  • The Greg Kihn Band apparently really like making puns on Greg Kihn's last name. Their discography includes albums called Next of Kihn, Rockihnroll, Kihntinued, Kihnspiracy, Kihntagious and Citizen Kihn. Only three of their studio albums don't involve a freakihn' pun of some kind.
  • This Heat's album Made Available: It's a collection of sessions they recorded for the BBC at Maida Vale Studios. They also punned on their own band name by calling another album Deceit.
  • The one-hit wonder band Lipps Inc. of "Funky Town" has a slightly self deprecating punny name if said aloud.
  • Evile is a portmanteau of Evil and Vile
  • The Cranberries were originally The Cranberry Saw Us (you know, like "the cranberry sauce"). Once vocalist Dolores OÂ’Riordan joined, she convinced the others it was a particularly groanworthy pun and they shortened it to just The Cranberries.
  • David Bowie's album and song Aladdin Sane.
  • Jean Michel Jarre's Les Chants Magn étiques: literal translation = "The Magnetic Songs", a pun on "champs magnétiques" = "magnetic fields". The album was released as Magnetic Fields in anglophone countries.
  • Kristin Hersh punned on her own name with the song title "Christian Hearse".
  • John Wilkes Booze, a pun on Abraham Lincoln's assassin John Wilkes Booth. Better yet, they were originally called The John Wilkes Booze Explosion, a pun on both John Wilkes Booth and The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion.
  • Neil Young's Le Noise, a pun on the album's producer, Daniel Lanois.
  • Sting's Ten Summoner's Tales initially just seems like a reference to The Canterbury Tales, but it's also a pun on his real name, Gordon Sumner.
  • The Miller's Tale, a Tom Verlaine anthology, is based on the same pun as the Sting example.
  • Gratuitous Sax and Senseless Violins by Sparks.
  • A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Taste by Ministry.


Theater Edit

  • In Shakespeare's day, "nothing" and "noting" were pronounced identically. The Hero/Claudio plot in Much Ado About Nothing is in large part about the importance of reputation (i.e., of how you are "noted".)
  • The Chicago-based improv comedy troupe Second City was fond of giving their shows titles such as "We Made A Mesopotamia, Now You Clean It Up".
  • Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, in which people are lying about the identity and it is important to some of them that they find a certain person called, well, take a guess...


Video Games Edit

  • Nearly Departed, about family members who had died but remained hanging around the house as ghosts after the funeral.
  • Cyberia = Siberia
  • Contra: Hard Corps. The French loanword "Corps" sounds a lot like "core", hence "Hard Corps" is meant to be pronounced like "hardcore", but a lot of people mangle the pronunciation of "Corps" and they end up pronouncing the title as "hard corpse".
  • Castlevania = "Transylvania"
  • The third Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game for the NES was subtitled The Manhattan Project and involved Shredder's plot to turn Manhattan into a floating island.
  • In Japan, Street Fighter II′: Champion Edition is officially called Street Fighter II Dash. The word "Dash" is represented by a prime symbol, which is used in math to indicate the derivative of a function. In other words, Street Fighter II Dash is really " Street Fighter II: The Derivative".
  • Rush N Attack = "Russian Attack"
  • The fighting game Battle Stadium DON is a manga-based pun. DON stands for the three games represented in the game, Dragon Ball, One Piece, and Naruto. It also refers to the sound effect "DON," which is used for "dramatic impacts" in manga (similar to "dun dun DUNNN!" or "dun-dunnnnnn!") and anime. The three of these shows also tended to use "don" heavily, considering their genre.
  • Ufouria is a pun on the word "euphoria", also u have to control four different characters. And when you look at some of the bosses...there's also the UFO pun as well.
  • They Hunger 2: Rest in Pieces. The Zombies eat people. Fast forward nine years, and now it´s a one-liner in upcoming Duke Nukem Forever.
  • Private Eye Dol, a graphic adventure game for the PC Engine, is about an idol singer who is also a detective.
  • The sequels to the Puyo Puyo games.
    • The "Tsu" in Puyo Puyo Tsu means "communication", but it's also pronounced the same way the Japanese pronounce the English word "two".
    • The "Sun" in Puyo Puyo Sun is a homophone for san, Japanese for three.
    • Puyo Puyon, the fourth game in the series, ends with a portmanteau between the words puyo and yon (four).
  • Donkey Kong Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest
  • The Wii game Kiki Trick, the gameplay of which largely revolves around identifying audio cues, is a play on kikitori, a Japanese phrase meaning "listening comprehension".
  • Castlevania Rondo of Blood is known as Akumajō Dracula X: Chi no Rondo in Japan. The "X" is meant to represent the fact that it's the first Castlevania game set after Simon Belmont's era (most of the previous games were remakes and prequels), but it doubles as a Stealth Pun since it's the tenth Dracula game released by Konami in Japan following the three Famicom games (3), the MSX2 version (4), the arcade game (5), the first two Game Boy games (7), the Super Famicom version (8) and the X68000 version (9).


Web Comics Edit


Western Animation Edit

  • Two Animated Series from Disney, DuckTales and Tale Spin, have punny series titles and plenty of punny episode titles.
  • Looney Tunes, anyone? Chances are, for example, if Bugs Bunny is in it, the toon's title will often make a pun with the word "hare", "rabbit" or "bunny". Famous titles include Hare Trigger, Rabbit Fire or Ali Baba Bunny.
    • Same for Road Runner shorts, which usually have titles that're puns involving either the Road Runner's superspeed (or uttering of "Beep! Beep!") or Wile E. Coyote's tendency to get maimed (Fast and Furry-ous, Zoom At the Top, Wild About Hurry, To Beep or Not To Beep, Boulder Wham!, Scrambled Aches).
  • SpongeBob SquarePants is also fond of punny titles. One of which, "Dying for Pie", averts Never Say "Die" in a major way.
  • From Sunbow's G.I. Joe cartoon, we have "The Viper Is Coming". Which is 20 minutes of dreadful setup for the horrible pun: the "Viper" in question is a foreignese-accented "Vindow Viper".
  • Taz-Mania = Tasmania.
  • The king of Western animation pun-titles is likely the Jay Ward shows, particularly Rocky and Bullwinkle. Each R&B story ended in a cliffhanger ending, with the narrator giving two possible episode titles, both of them usually puns. Example (when Rocky's strapped to a runaway missile): "'The Squirrel Next Door', or 'High, Neighbor'!"
  • Especially in later seasons, most of The Simpsons episode titles are puns such as "Mobile Homer," "Moaning Lisa," or "The Bart of War."
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic has a few, like "The Stare Master" (a pun on the StairMaster exercise device), "Griffon The Brush-Off" ("Given the Brush-off"), "Owl's Well That Ends Well" (All's well that ends well) and "Lesson Zero" (less than zero).
  • 1973-74 Superfriends episode "The Shamon U". The title device was a U-shaped giant gold-attracting magnet owned by the Villain. Its title was a pun based on the phrase "Shame on you".

Notes

  1. Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy