WikEd fancyquotesQuotesBug-silkHeadscratchersIcons-mini-icon extensionPlaying WithUseful NotesMagnifierAnalysisPhoto linkImage LinksHaiku-wide-iconHaikuLaconic

Dialogue coach: Up and ATOM!

Rainer Wolfcastle: Up and AT THEM!

The verbal equivalent of Exactly What I Aimed At, this is when a character deliberately says one thing, and is mistaken for having meant to say another thing. Cue another character wrongfully "correcting" them.

A sub-variety of this is things that are mistaken for misspellings or mispronounciations, but these aren't the only cases.

Examples of Exactly What I Meant to Say include:

Comic Books

  • In Batman: Legends Of The Dark Knight #128 (collected in The Ring, the Arrow and the Bat), the Goo-Goo Godlike religious leader of a Fictional Country tells a treacherous general that he will be "safed". The general corrects his pronounciation of "saved", but the boy insists that's what he meant. Five minutes later, the general is hit by a falling safe.


  • In the novel Freaky Friday, Annabel's friend Boris has problems breathing through his nose, and when he offers to "bake a beetloaf" for dinner, she assumes he means "make a meatloaf". He doesn't. (Also, his name is actually Morris, but that's a case of Annabel failing to correct for his pronunciation.)

Live Action TV

  • Mr. Rumbold from Are You Being Served would sometimes get the wrong idea of a word. For example the sales staff had the verb "to knee" meaning "press one's knee in the armhole of a suit to loosen a few threads so as to make it fit the customer better." Thus creating this exchange:

 Mr. Lucas: You see, it was like this, you see, Sir. Erm, Mr. Humphries kneed the jacket.

Mr. Rumbold: Ah! You mean, Mr. Humphries needed the jacket. Let's get our tenses right.

Mr. Humphries: No, no, you don't understand, Sir. You see, I kneed the jacket.

Mr. Rumbold: You need it now?

Mr. Humphries: No, I kneed it then.

Mr. Rumbold: You mean, you needed it then.

Captain Peacock: If I might clarify the situation, Sir.

Mr. Rumbold: Thank you, Captain Peacock. It does seem to have got rather out of hand.

Captain Peacock: Yes. It's a matter of spelling, Sir.

Mr. Rumbold: Spelling?

Captain Peacock: Yes Sir. You spelled kneed with an N. Mr. Humphries was using a K.

Mr. Rumbold: Oh, you mean like kneading dough? Is that it, Mr. Lucas?

Mr. Lucas: Yes, that's it. I needed the dough, but he didn't want the jacket because it was too tight.

Mr. Rumbold: So you kneaded it to make it more supple, which was why you needed the jacket, you may recall Captain Peacock. That is what I said in the first place.

Captain Peacock: Nearly right, Sir, yes. But what they're trying to explain, Sir, is that, erm... and coming from Hardware, you would not be aware of this, but there is a method used, and I disapprove of it myself, Sir. There is a method used to enlarge the arm holes of jackets, and the method used is to knee the jacket... with a K.

Mr. Rumbold: I am aware of how you spell jacket, Captain Peacock.

  • There is a Monty Python's Flying Circus sketch invoving a man who cannot pronounce the letter 'C' (his 'C's coming out as 'B's) that includes this exchange:

 Tourist: Yes I'm sorry I can't say the letter 'B'

Bounder: C?

Tourist: Yes that's right. It's all due to a trauma I suffered when I was a spoolboy. I was attacked by a bat.

Bounder: A cat?

Tourist: No, a bat.

    • Another Monty Python example is a sketch about a person who sometimes ends his sentences with the wrong fusebox.

 Burrows: It's so embarrassing when my wife and I go to an orgy.

Thripshaw: A party?

Burrows: No, an orgy. We live in Esher.

Thripshaw: Quite.

 Norm: Cliffy had himself the "Ton O' T-Bone". For less than four bucks you get 24 ounces of USDA Choice bef.

Cliff: Bef? No, you mean beef.

Norm: Beef? Don't be ridiculous, Cliffy. That stuff is bef. You see it's a Hungry Heifer trademark for a processed, synthetic, meat-like substance.

Cliff: Ah, no.

Norm: What do you expect for four bucks? You see me complainin' about the loobster?

Video Games

  • When you talk about the "magick" in the game Eternal Darkness people who aren't familiar with it will often attempt to correct you, or edit you.

Web Comics

  • This issue of Xkcd comics, when someone "pleads the third."

 Interrogator: You mean the fifth?

Black Hat Guy: No, the third.

Interrogator: You refuse to quarter troops in your house?

 Roy: I don't care how strong you are, thug.

Thog: thog's name is thog.

Roy: I didn't misspeak.

Western Animation

  • Another Simpsons one:

 Bart: I'd be happy to do this one pro-boner.

Skinner: You mean, "pro bono".

Bart: I know what I said.

    • Another yet:

 Homer: Nucular. It's pronounced nucular.

 Colonel K: Danger Mouse! Wales is being devastated by a giant fire-breathing dragon!

Penfold: No, no, Colonel, it's "whales are being devastated."

Real Life

  • Real life: Tell someone that an anime was macekered and sometimes they'll say, "Don't you mean massacred?"
  • Stage critic George Jean Nathan belittled Tallulah Bankhead for her playing in what he called Queen of the Nil: "no e, please, Mr. Printer; don't make something out of nothing."
Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.