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Euphemism: a word you use in place of one you can't spell.
—Reggie Mantle, Archie Comics
A character tries to use a big, impressive word or two. Unfortunately, he's having trouble pronunci-pronouncia...er, saying it, whether due to unfamiliarity with the word, or a speech imp-p-p-p... trouble talking. After a couple tries, he'll give up and use an easier word, or just clam up completely.
Contrast Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness, and Spock Speak, this trope's exact opposite. Also Compare Delusions of Eloquence, where the character muddles the big words but ploughs onward anyway. If this doesn't happen ever, it's because Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic.
Not related to Cannot Spit It Out.
- Yotsuba pulls one of these in the chapter where she draws all over her dad's face.
- An old EC Tales from the Crypt comic featured a version of "Sleeping Beauty", with a running gag of characters talking about the impenet- impentr- inpenet- thick wall of thorns surrounding the cursed castle.
- Suberverted in the "Earthquake" storyline of the Batman comics. Robin is examine the broadcasts from "Quakemaster" who claims to have caused the earthquake. When he realizes that the villain is avoiding words that contain the letter B, he deduces that the Quakemaster is actually a known bad guy who has a lisp.
- Richie Rich once told Cadbury of his distinctive difficulty pronouncing the word "ventriloquist". It later proves critical for Cadbury to realize that the Richie with him is an impostor when he says the word correctly.
- From The Wizard of Oz: "There are people who do nothing all day but good deeds! They are called philip-- phila-- philum-- Good Deed Doers!"
- Hot Shots! Part Deux has this one: "On October 15, the President of the United States ordered a covert mission in the Persian Gulf for the purpose of rescuing soldiers taken hostage during Desert Storm. Only a handful of our highest government officials were aware of the operation, as it included an attempt to assasssan... assisss... kill a guy. "
- Bonus points because it was supposed to be an intro word crawl, in which it is completely stupid to have a misspronunciation.
- "You live in what kind of home?" "An an-emone-mone...an am-nem-o-nem-o-mne!"
- Doc from Snow White spoke like this occasionally.
- The second An American Tail movie has Tiger with "
A spy- A spee- A spididid- An arachnid!"
- possibly a subversion, since 'arachnid' is arguably harder to say than what he was originally trying to say: 'spider'.
- In the 2009 Sherlock Holmes movie, Inspector Lestrade has trouble saying that a witness is cata... cata... ("Catatonic, sir.").
- Roscoe, in Tod Browning's Freaks.
- A few characters in O Brother, Where Art Thou? have a hard time pronouncing the word "accompaniment," resulting in this trope.
Everett: Well, we are negroes, sir. All except for our ac-c-c- our ac-c-c- uh, the man who plays the guitar.
- King Albert VI in The King's Speech.
- In The Boondock Saints, when Doc is trying to give them Agent Schmecker's card.
Doc: An FBI agent came by the bar and he left me his c-c-ca-, he left me his c-c-c-c-, oh he f***ing gave me this!
- To be fair, he had Tourette's Syndrome, which is why he has trouble getting his phrases out right.
- Dave Barry In Cyberspace compares reading typewritten documents to "listening to Porky Pig try to complete a sentence" because of all the mistakes that have to be crossed out.
- In the third Artemis Fowl book, one of the Dumb Muscle bodyguards has one of these. "inca-incapci--incap--broken."
- As the host of an edition of World's Greatest Magic, John Ritter deliberately played with this by being "unable" to pronouce "prestidigitation": Presti-presti-MAGIC! The audience loved it, by the way.
- A patient did this in an episode of M*A*S*H, leading to Charles' sympathy and defense of the boy to bullies. At the end of the episode it is revealed that his sister stutters.
- Open All Hours: Arkwright always had a stutter, but a common gag was for him to try repeatedly to say a complex word and then give up and replace it with a much more down-to-earth synonym. "That's f-f-f-f-f-f-f ... that's just right" or something along those lines can often be heard.
- At some point, the show itself decided to start playing with this, so instead of just replacement words you also have scenes like "Granville, come and sp-sp-sp-sp-spray this p-p-p-p-p-p ... oh, never mind, I've done it myself now."
- "Well, what's not in the per-pe-per-pe-pastry, is in the per-pe-per-pe-pie, and what's not in the per-pe-per-pe-pie, is in the per-pe-per-pe- well, you can work it out for yourself...
- "Granville! how do you spell per-per-per-pe-pepper? is it six 'P's or seven?"
- Arkwright: it all started when we had ber-b-b-b-bb-b-bb Granville: so good, you know i can't understand morse code!
- Happens from time to time on Les Luthiers routines.
- Commander Weatherby from The Navy Lark.
"I'd like a return ticket-t-t-t-t-t-ticket-t-t-t-t-t to the Digital-Digital-Digital I-mbrI-mbrI-mbrI-tidley-I-tidley-I, the Digital-mbrDigital-mbr-Digital-mbrI-tidley-tidley-mbro-mbro-mbro to hell with the Digital Islands, I'll go to Jersey".
- The Flying Karamazov Brothers' version of The Comedy of Errors makes a running gag out of doing this to "Epidaminum".
- Some other productions do it to "Ephesus".
- Krupp in The Time of Your Life, to McCarthy:
"You sure can philos-- philosoph-- Boy, you can talk."
- During the end credits of Star Control 2, while the game shows funny fake outtakes of conversations with the aliens, the Khor-Ah tries to give an intimidating speech but ends up failing to spell the word "Annihilate". It then gets REALLY upset and demands to speak to whomever wrote his script.
- Khalid in Baldur's Gate tends to stutter. A lot. As a result he does sound quite a bit like Porky.
- Drowtales: Kiel argues to Naal that "All I did was make you incon...inconspis...WHATEVER, make you less visible!"
- Flintlocke's Guide to Azeroth. Apparently dirigible is difficult enough to say even without a Dwarven/Scottish accent.
- Least I Could Do: Rayne, saving a friend while drunk off his ass.
"Here comes the calvary... The clavary... I'm a horsie!"
- The Nostalgia Critic does this at the start of his 100th episode:
"It's hard to believe that such a handsome man could become even handsomener-- han-- hand-- han-- ner, prettier."
- The Nostalgia Chick find herself unable to get out the word "nice" in her Top Five Least Worst Disney Sequels, so settles for "less mean".
- From a parody of Metal Gear Solid 2, we have a character introduce himself as "Shashalashka! I mean Shalashishka. Lashashaska. Shiska - OCELOT."
- An outtake from The Guild shows Tinkerballa having trouble with the word "women". After about five takes she finally replaces it with "girls".
- Dragon Ball Abridged, when Vegeta must do something anathema to his character:
Vegeta: I need your hehh… I need your heehhHhH…
- Named for the famous Looney Tunes character Porky Pig, for whom this was a huge part of his schtick:
"Hello, Mr. Schles-- Mr. Schles-- Hello Leon!"
- In the early years, his impediment was so bad, his stutter even interferes with his writing!
- with the occasional reversal:
"Look out, he's got a g-g-g-g--revolver!"
"Son of a bi-bi ... son of a bi-bi ... son of a bi-bi-b-er, gun. Hahaha, you thought I was gonna say, er, s-er s-son of a bitch, didn't you?"
- That was apparently a gag reel never intended for public release.
- Daffy Duck did this in one short where he had the hiccups:
"A doc-(hic), a doc-(hic), a doc-(hic)...a physician!"
- The Mighty Ducks does this sometimes with Tanya, the resident Gadgeteer Genius, who has a tendency to think faster than she can speak.
- The Giant in the Disney short Mickey and The Beanstalk can't pronounce "pistachio" right. He eventually settles for "green gravy".
- Ms. Li, from Daria, during loooong negotiations: "Don't think you can intimiate... intermolate... don't think you can scare me with your threat to picket naked!"
- In a recent episode of South Park, one of the handicapped kids was molded after and spoke like Porky Pig.
- Parodied in an episode of The Simpsons when Homer blames Marge for the car accident while intoxicated she says "Oh my god I'm going to be incarc-(hic), incarc-(hic), incarc-(hic), I'm going to jail."
- Boris Badinov once used this:
Boris (disguised in a lab coat):: I'm a physis--physi--phy--I'm a druggist.
- An inversion in Back at the Barnyard:
Freddy: A gh-g-g-gh-g-gh-gh-apparition!"
- Coiffio does this in the first episode of Perfect Hair Forever.
- Disney's Alice in Wonderland, when the Caterpillar asks Alice "exacatically" what her problem is.
Alice: Well it's exactiticly...exacita...well, it's precisely this: I should like to be a little larger, sir.
- Sarah Palin's infamous Katie Couric interview: the Alaskan Governor tried to say "caricatured" but failed, and Couric suggested "Mocked"...you know, reporters?
- In Real Life, this can be a useful skill for people with speech impediments. Supposedly Jonathan Miller, who had a stammer, couldn't say the name of the street where he lived, so he'd get a bus ticket to the nearest one that he could say and walk back. And David Sedaris has an essay about how as a kid he developed a wide vocabulary of words with no S's or soft C's to avoid acknowledging to his speech therapist that he had a lisp.