Tom Swifties

Bad Tom Swifties:

  • “These propulsion systems were used by NASA on moon rockets,” said Tom apologetically.
  • “I’ve only enough carpet for the hall and landing,” said Tom with a blank stare.
  • “We’re off to Scotland,” said Tom clandestinely.
  • “The prisoner escaped down a rope,” said Tom condescendingly.
  • “I dropped the toothpaste,” said Tom, crestfallen.
  • “Aha! Here’s someone who can’t speak!” exclaimed Tom dumbfoundedly.
  • “There’s nothing wrong with demons,” Tom said implicitly.
  • “I’ve borrowed my sister’s camping gear,” said Tom insistently.
  • “I want a motorized bicycle,” Tom moped.
  • “Crosby is my favourite singer. Who is yours?” asked Tom probingly.
  • “It’s time for the second funeral,” Tom rehearsed.
  • “So only one person arrived at the party before I did?” Tom second-guessed.
  • “I was adopted,” said Tom transparently.
  • “It’s homemade soup,” said Tom uncannily.
  • “Henry the Eighth!” said Tom unthinkingly.

Are there any good ones?

Please RSVP

“ATM machine” is an example of a redundant acronym — the M already stands for machine, so this phrase means “automatic teller machine machine.” Other examples:

  • PIN number = personal identification number number
  • GUI interface = graphical user interface interface
  • ISBN number = International Standard Book Number number
  • SAM missile = surface-to-air missile missile
  • LCD display = liquid crystal display display
  • CRT tube = cathode-ray tube tube
  • HIV virus = human immunodeficiency virus virus
  • SCSI interface = Small Computer System Interface interface
  • AC current = alternating current current
  • RPG games = role-playing games games

This goes for people, too. Jeb Bush’s nickname derives from his initials (J.E.B., for John Ellis Bush). So “J.E.B. Bush” stands for “John Ellis Bush Bush”.


The most difficult word in the world to translate is ilunga, according to a 2004 survey of 1,000 linguists.

The word comes from the Tshiluba language spoken in the southeastern Congo. It means “a person who is ready to forgive any abuse for the first time and to tolerate it a second time, but never a third time.”

Image Problem

Actual names of politicians in the state of Meghalaya, India:

  • Adolf Lu Hitler Marak
  • Lenin R. Marak
  • Stalin L. Nangmin
  • Frankenstein W. Momin
  • Tony Curtis Lyngdoh

Hitler Marak told the Hindustan Times: “Maybe my parents liked the name and hence christened me Hitler. … I am happy with my name, although I don’t have any dictatorial tendencies.”


Dog barks around the world:

  • English: woof, woof
  • Albanian: ham, ham
  • Arabic: haw, haw
  • Bulgarian: bau, bau
  • Danish: vov, vov
  • Estonian: auh, auh
  • Farsi: vogh, vogh
  • Finnish: hau, hau
  • French: ouaf, ouaf
  • German: wau, wau
  • Greek: gav, gav
  • Hindi: bho, bho
  • Icelandic: voff, voff
  • Italian: bau, bau
  • Japanese: wan, wan
  • Korean: mung, mung
  • Latvian: vau, vau
  • Mandarin Chinese: wang, wang
  • Norwegian: voff, voff
  • Polish: hau, hau
  • Romanian: ham, ham
  • Russian: gav, gav
  • Spanish: guau, guau
  • Swedish: voff, voff
  • Thai: hoang, hoang

Robert Benchley wrote, “A boy can learn a lot from a dog: obedience, loyalty, and the importance of turning around three times before lying down.”

“Dedicated to the Art of Mocking Public Works”

What does this mean? Who knows? Here are some guesses, from the readers at Swanksigns:

  • The happy, smiling sun will kill your puppy.
  • Don’t let your puppy drive in the sunshine.
  • This combo may turn dog into looming castle.
  • Do not let your dog drive into the sun, or they will be killed with green fire.
  • Attention! Dogs will drive to the beach on sunny days.
  • Car-driving dogs make the sun happy and then they die.
  • Warning: Car-driving dogs in sunlight may cause harmful power plant exposure.