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Tom Swifties Adverbial Puns

"Were those excruciating adverbial puns known as Tom Swifties invented by the author of Gulliver's Travels?" asks Tom swiftly.

"No, they were originated by Edward Stratemeyer in a series of strip cartoons about a character called Tom Swift. That was in the USA in the 1920s" Ed states decadently.

The collection of Tom Swifties presented here has been built up over many years. It includes contributions from many sources - most are original.

Thanks for additional material are due to: (*1) Jonathan Joshua Englander at NYU, and (*2) Poge (Steve P.)


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W Z

A
  • "I'm wearing my wedding ring," said Tom with abandon.
  • "I'm concerned about the number of people not attending," said Tom absentmindedly.
  • "Who would want to steal modern art?" asked Tom abstractedly.
  • "Now I can chop down that tree," said Tom with a heavy accent.
  • "Let's all play an A, a C sharp, and an E," cried Tom's band with one accord.
  • "I gave the donkey some vinegar," said Tom acidly.
  • "There's room for one more," Tom admitted.
  • "They are not answering - we'd better try the knocker," said Tom adoringly.
  • "I'll eat till I burst," Tom agreed.
  • "Fire!" yelled Tom alarmingly.
  • "I'm halfway up a mountain," Tom alleged.
  • "There's no need for silence," Tom allowed.
  • "It's a unit of electric current," said Tom amply.
  • "These are the propulsion systems used by NASA for the moonshots," said Tom apologetically.
  • "This is a delicious Golden Delicious," said Tom applaudingly.
  • "My investments are worth more every day," said Tom appreciatively.
  • "I'll take that," said Tom appropriately.
  • "2 bdrm furn w c/h," said Tom aptly.
  • "We can't have this and eat it too," said Tom archaically.
  • "It's between my sole and my heel," said Tom archly.
  • "You have the right to remain silent," said Tom arrestingly.
  • "Someday I'll run the CIA" said young Tom aspiringly. (*1)
  • "The cheque is in the post," Tom assented.
  • "Cobblers!" said Tom at last.
  • "I decide which car to purchase after looking at the pictures," said Tom autobiographically.

B       (Top)

  • "This boat is leaking," said Tom balefully.
  • "Give me a haircut," Tom said barbarously.
  • "This is George Bernard Shaw's major work," Tom said barbarously.
  • "Wow!" barked Tom, with a bow.
  • "Dorothy, if you're going to Oz again, I'm going with you," Em barked.
  • "I've been listening to the Brandenberg Concertos," Tom barked.
  • "I've been listening to the Tales of Hoffmann," Tom often barked.
  • "I'm losing my hair," Tom bawled.
  • "I wonder why the hive's still empty," said Tom belatedly.
  • "I have to keep this fire alight," Tom bellowed.
  • "I wouldn't give that a grade of A," Tom said beratingly. (*2)
  • "I've only enough carpet for the hall and landing," said Tom with a blank stare.
  • "" said Tom blankly.
  • "Sure I can climb cliffs!" Tom bluffed. (*2)
  • "I'm a Soviet agent in England," said Tom bluntly.
  • "This wind is awful," blustered Tom.
  • "That was a googly," said Tom boldly.
  • "Are you all governors?" Tom asked, bored.
  • "I still haven't struck oil," said Tom boringly.
  • "This is mutiny!" said Tom bountifully.
  • "I'm the presenter of the South Bank Show," Melvyn bragged.
  • "I fought with Geronimo," said Tom bravely.
  • "I presented my case to the judge," Tom said briefly. (*2)
  • "Use your own toothbrush!" Tom bristled.
  • "Carmen is my favorite opera," said Tom busily.

C       (Top)

  • "I'm a great opera singer," said Tom, being callous.
  • "Do you play the guitar?," Tom asked callously. (*2)
  • "Yes, I have been reading Voltaire," Tom admitted candidly.
  • "I've been to a film festival in the South of France," said Tom cannily.
  • "There's nothing to stop me putting things in tins," said Tom cannily.
  • "It's a bloody lion," said Tom categorically.
  • "Would you like some soda in your whiskey?" asked Tom caustically.
  • "Admittedly it is important to learn the alphabet," Abie ceded.
  • "I love the novels of D. H. Lawrence," said the lady chattily.
  • "Another batch of shells for me!" Tom clamored. (*2)
  • "We're off to Scotland," said Tom clandestinely. (*2)
  • "I was completely exonerated," said Tom clearly.
  • "Skool is grate," said Tom comprehensively.
  • "Don't add too much water," said Tom with great concentration.
  • "The prisoner escaped down a rope," said Tom condescendingly.
  • "I organized that big party for the prisoners," Tom confessed.
  • "I'm mentioned in this book," said Tom contentedly.
  • "Europe needs more self-restraint," said Tom continently.
  • "We've taken over the government," the general cooed.
  • "I'd like to be a Chinese laborer," said Tom coolly.
  • "Those cobs are amazing!" said Tom cornily.
  • "We steal things together," Tom corroborated.
  • "Why is this telephone flex always tangled?" asked Tom coyly.
  • "Give me some pre-packed cheese slices," said Tom craftily.
  • "I admire East End gangsters," said Tom crazily.
  • "I dropped the toothpaste," signaled Tom, crestfallen.
  • "I'm dying," Tom croaked.
  • "Your embroidery is terrible," Mary needled, cruelly.
  • "The situation is grave," Tom said cryptically.

D       (Top)

  • "It's not fair!" said Tom darkly.
  • "A Greek woodland deity is no more," Tom said with a deadpan expression.
  • "I've had these Beardsley prints for ten years," said Tom decadently.
  • "I won't play for this team any longer, " Tom decided.
  • "This country will no longer have an official religion," King Tom decreed.
  • "It's time to play my wild card," Tom deduced.
  • "I prefer unlined gloves," Tom deferred.
  • "I can no longer hear anything," said Tom deftly.
  • "I didn't do well in the test," Tom said degradedly. (*2)
  • "I can no longer see anything," said Tom delightedly.
  • When butchers meet, Tom always delivers a speech - but he hams it up, it has been revealed.
  • "Have I been emasculated?" Tom demanded.
  • "We've just brought gold and frankincense," the Magi demurred.
  • "Don't let me drown in Egypt!" pleaded Tom, deep in denial.
  • "For you I'd even be disenfranchised," said Tom devotedly.
  • "My word is final!" Tom dictated to his secretary.
  • "I was removed from office," said Tom disappointedly.
  • "I want this statue to look like the Venus de Milo," said Tom disarmingly.
  • "I like listening to records at night," said Tom disconsolately.
  • "Out, out, damned spot!" said Lady Macbeth disdainfully.
  • "That certainly took the wind out of my sails!" said Tom disgustedly.
  • "I can't find my reefers!," Tom said disjointedly. (*2)
  • "Dat's de end of April," said Tom in dismay.
  • "Whenever I put on my scuba gear, I get pins and needles," said Tom divertingly.
  • "I'll never give up my hounds!" Tom said doggedly. (*2)
  • "Well I'll be an SOB!" Tom said doggedly. (*2)
  • "I'm on social security," said Tom dolefully.
  • "Can I hail you a taxi?" asked Tom dormantly. (*2)
  • "It's made the grass wet," said Tom after due consideration.
  • "Here's someone who can't speak!" exclaimed Tom dumbfoundedly.

E       (Top)

  • "The radio reception is much better now," said Tom ecstatically.
  • "Emily has put on weight," said Tom emphatically.
  • "I had no luck at all at the races," Tom endorsed.
  • "Let's get married," said Tom engagingly.
  • "I get in through the window after opening it with this crowbar," said Tom enterprisingly.
  • "Time flies," said Tom entomochronometrically.
  • "What a charming doorway!" said Tom, entranced.
  • "Eureka!" said Tom to Archimedes. "I think you ought to take a bath.".
  • "I wouldn't marry you if you were the only woman on earth," said Tom evenly.
  • "I'll tempt Adam tonight," she said evilly. (*2)
  • "I've changed my name to Al," said Hal, exasperated.
  • "I've lost my gold mine!" Tom exclaimed. (*2)
  • "I have no underwear," Tom said expansively.
  • "My former wife is cute," said Tom expertly.
  • "I used to be a paratrooper," Tom explained.
  • "I don't want you delivering my mail any more - it never arrives on time," Tom expostulated.
  • "Elvis is dead," said Tom expressly.
  • "I used to command a battalion of German ants," said Tom exuberantly.

F       (Top)

  • "I'm trying to get some air circulating under the roof," said Tom fanatically.
  • "Get the stick, Rover!" Tom called fetchingly. (*2)
  • "That's OK!" said Tom finally.
  • "This is the Netherlands," Tom stated flatly.
  • "This steamroller really works," said Tom flatteringly.
  • "I'm falling into a void," said Tom flawlessly.
  • "I've joined the navy," Tom said fleetingly.
  • "Watch this insect sail through the air," said Tom flippantly.
  • "I'm about to hit the golf ball," Tom forewarned.
  • "I won't finish in fifth place," Tom held forth.
  • "Ignore the first three turnings," said Tom forthrightly.
  • "I bought myself fifty hamburgers and I've only ten left," said Tom with fortitude.
  • "I have a split personality," said Tom, being frank.
  • "Is your name Frank Lee?" Tom asked frankly.
  • "We have no bananas," Tom said fruitlessly. (*2)
  • "I didn't see that French 'No Smoking' sign," fumed Tom defensively.

G       (Top)

  • "Mmmmmm mmmmmmm," Tom gagged.
  • "That young insect is female," said Tom gallantly.
  • "I'm from a Humberside port," said Tom ghoulishly.
  • "This house is in good taste!" said Hansel and Gretel gingerly.
  • "Look at those tall flowers," said Tom gladly.
  • "I was absolutely vitrified," said Tom with a glazed look.
  • "This food tastes of plutonium," said Tom glowingly.
  • "For what we are about to receive, may the Lord make us truly thankful," said Tom gracefully.
  • "My wife is dead" said Prince Rainier gracelessly.
  • "Would anyone like some Parmesan?" asked Tom gratingly.
  • "Happy Halloween!" Tom said gravely. (*2)
  • "My shins are well protected," Tom grieved.
  • "Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess," Tom began grimly.
  • "I don't like the sand which is in the sandwiches," said Tom grittily.
  • "It's become much bigger," said Tom with a groan.
  • "This game is foul," Tom groused.
  • "I'm three feet taller than I was yesterday," said Tom gruesomely, up the yard.
  • "You must be my host" Tom guessed.
  • "I don't have a boyfriend," said Mary guilelessly.
  • "It's just gold leaf," said Tom guiltily.
  • "I like Germany," was Tom's gut reaction.

H       (Top)

  • "I can't march any more!" the soldier called haltingly. (*2)
  • "I've still got two fingers left," said Tom handsomely.
  • "Oh, stop talking about the Dreyfus case. Don't you like the colour of my eyes?" asked Esther hazily.
  • "I only have diamonds, clubs and spades," said Tom heartlessly.
  • "I've been to San Francisco" said Tom heartlessly. (*1)
  • "Dinna wave that axe aboot, Jimmy!" said Tom heedlessly.
  • "It's my maid's night off," said Tom helplessly.
  • "I was the first to climb Mount Everest," said Tom hilariously.
  • "My extreme emotional instability arises from a psychoneurosis," hissed Eric.
  • "Nay!" said Tom hoarsely.
  • "I have to keep these eggs warm," Tom chirped honestly.
  • "I want to buy that big diamond," Tom said hopefully. (*2)
  • "Have a ride in my new ambulance," said Tom hospitably.
  • "The doctors had to remove a bone from my arm," said Tom humorlessly.
  • "I cut off the bottoms of my levis so they wouldn't drag in the mud," said Tom hygienically.
  • "That's an ugly hippopotamus!" said Tom hypocritically.

I       (Top)

  • "I see," said Tom icily.
  • "This is a sick bird," said Tom illegally.
  • "This bird has no beak," said Tom impeccably.
  • "I brush my teeth ten times a day," said Tom implacably.
  • "That little devil didn't tell the truth," Tom implied.
  • "I want you in the navy," said Tom impressively.
  • "I'm burning aromatic substances," said Tom, incensed.
  • "Happy 4th of July!" said Tom independently. (*2)
  • "He's a boring chap," said Tom indulgently.
  • "May I become a chorister?" Tom inquired.
  • "Don't let me drown in Paris!" pleaded Tom insanely.
  • "I'm not leaving the chapel until I finish this painting," said Michelangelo insistently.
  • "I've borrowed my sister's camping gear," said Tom insistently.
  • "I'm sailing near the Isle of Wight," said Tom insolently.
  • "I like camping," said Tom intently.
  • "I've mixed up my gloves," Tom said intermittently. (*2)
  • "This is my assessment," said Tom irately.
  • "It's my personal magnetism," said Tom ironically.

J       (Top)

  • "His Honor is crazy," Tom admitted judgementally. (*2)
  • "I'd like chicken soup with matzo balls and gefilte fish," said Tom judiciously.

K       (Top)

  • "My parents are called Billy and Nanny," Tom kidded.
  • "I've run out of wool," said Tom, knitting his brow.
  • "I deny everything," said Tom knowingly.

L       (Top)

  • "I have no recollection of the last twenty-four hours," said Tom lackadaisically.
  • "No ellipses, parabolas or hyperbolas," said Tom laconically.
  • "I refuse to make an agenda," Tom said listlessly. (*2)
  • "I never play any music by Hungarian composers," said Tom listlessly.
  • "It's where we store the hay," Tom said loftily. (*2)
  • "I always pray to St. Ignatius," said Tom loyally.
  • "I chop down trees for a living," said Tom lumberingly.

M       (Top)

  • "I'm Scottish," said Tom macabrely.
  • "I'm just going to put these handcuffs on you," said Tom manically.
  • "It's only average," said Tom meanly.
  • "According to this sonograph, the average frequency of my voice is 160 Hz," said Tom in measured tones.
  • "I've got to fix the automobile," said Tom mechanically.
  • "A million thanks, Monsieur," said Tom mercifully.
  • "We in the Conservative Party believe in having a good time," said Tom meritoriously.
  • "Perhaps I will," said Tom with all his might.
  • "It's hard work arresting that girl!" said Tom, laboring under a misapprehension.
  • "Do you call this a musical?" asked Les miserably.
  • "The girl's been kidnapped," said Tom mistakenly.
  • "I'm tired of smiling," moaned Lisa.
  • "My stereo's half-fixed," said Tom monotonously. (*2)
  • "I want a motorized bicycle," Tom moped.
  • "We'll need a higher price at auction," Tom said morbidly. (*2)
  • "The sun is rising," Tom mourned.
  • "Another work week begins," said Tom mundanely. (*2)
  • "Mama is German," Tom muttered.
  • "I didn't mean to have my cheek pierced," said Tom mysteriously.

N       (Top)

  • Naughtily, Tom said nothing.
  • "I haven't developed my photographs yet," said Tom negatively.
  • "This decay wasn't there before," said Tom neurotically.
  • "That just doesn't add up," said Tom, nonplussed.
  • "Can you read music?" the bandleader asked notably. (*2)
  • "What's the value of a dollar bill?" asked Tom noteworthily.

O       (Top)

  • "What's a wide-angle lens?" asked Tom obtusely.
  • "That horse looks like a good bet at 17 to 1," said Tom oddly.
  • "Do you buy and sell stolen goods?" asked Tom offensively.
  • "My wrists are bleeding stumps!" said Tom offhandedly.
  • "I prefer trout to salmon," Tom said officiously.
  • "It's half a score," Tom said often.
  • "My bicycle wheel is damaged," said Tom outspokenly.
  • "I have had too many children," said Mary overbearingly.

P       (Top)

  • "I've swallowed some glass," Tom said painfully. (*2)
  • "I had an accident in the kitchen," said Tom with panache.
  • "I've joined the Airborne Medical Corps," said Tom paradoxically.
  • "Ici nous voyons le tour Eiffel!" Tom parried.
  • "I've deduced that this is the right way," said Tom pathologically.
  • "I'm waiting to see the doctor," said Tom patiently.
  • "I wish I had something to write with," Tom said pensively. (*2)
  • "I can do an excellent impression of Sinatra," said Tom, being perfectly frank.
  • "Has my magazine arrived?" Tom asked periodically.
  • "I need to clear my throat," said Tom phlegmatically.
  • "3.142" Tom enumerated piously.
  • "Who's your favorite operatic tenor?" Tom asked placidly.
  • "I've removed all the feathers from this chicken," said Tom pluckily.
  • "Where shall I plant these water-lilies?" Tom pondered.
  • "I haven't had any tooth decay yet," said Tom precariously.
  • "I'm here - with a gift!" said Tom presently.
  • "I'm just an ordinary soldier," Tom admitted privately.
  • "I teach at a university," Tom professed.
  • "I know where Jack Nicklaus is," said Tom profoundly.
  • "I'm in favor of mechanization," said the promoter.
  • "I've dyed my hair green and stuck a pin through my nose," said Tom punctually.
  • "The cat seems happy now it's been fed," said Tom purposefully.

Q       (Top)

  • "Are you homosexual?" Tom queried gaily.
  • "This is where I keep my arrows," said Tom, quivering.
  • "This is the fastest way to get drunk," said Tom quixotically.

R       (Top)

  • "Have you ever been whitewater rafting?" Tom asked rapidly. (*2)
  • "What are these berries?" Tom rasped.
  • "I'm embarrassed," Tom admitted readily.
  • "I can see naturally," Tom realized.
  • "There it is again!" Tom recited.
  • "I've never had an accident," said Tom recklessly.
  • """Said Tom recursively," said Tom recursively," said Tom recursively" said Tom recursively.
  • "Nice looking glass!" said Tom reflectively.
  • "It's time for the second funeral," Tom rehearsed.
  • "I've gone back to my wife," was Tom's rejoinder.
  • "Superglue!" Tom rejoined.
  • "We did it twice last night," she relayed.
  • "OK, you can borrow it again," Tom relented.
  • "I love hot dogs," said Tom with relish.
  • "I've transferred my money back into my German savings account," Tom remarked with interest.
  • "I've passed the exam this time," Tom remarked.
  • "That is remarkable," remarked Tom.
  • "I've paid my annual subscription," Tom remembered.
  • "I've gone back to using my maiden name", said Mary remissly.
  • "I'd better repeat that SOS message," said Tom remorsefully.
  • "My garden needs another layer of mulch," Tom repeated.
  • "I'm taking this ship back into harbor," Tom reported.
  • "Must I show again why this is true?" asked Tom reprovingly.
  • "I mailed it to you again," Tom said resentfully. (*2)
  • "I suppose I'll have to write my name again." said Tom resignedly.
  • "I'm not a crook," Nixon said resignedly. (*2)
  • "It's a piece of laboratory equipment," Tom retorted.
  • "My oar is broken," said Tom robustly.
  • "Balls!" Tom said roundly.
  • "I can't eat any more of this bitter herb," said Tom ruefully.
  • "What's the name of that street in Paris?" asked Tom ruefully. (*2)
  • "I've an urgent appointment," said Tom in Russian.
  • "I need a home run hitter," Tom said ruthlessly. (*2)

S       (Top)

  • "This fowl has been stuffed," said Tom sagely.
  • "Bring me a large helping of vanilla with chocolate sauce," I screamed.
  • "So only one person arrived at the party before I did?" Tom second-guessed.
  • "I'll use my stopwatch to see how fast it moves," said Tom, seconding the motion.
  • "I won't tell you anything about my salivary glands," said Tom secretively.
  • "Would you like to buy an alarm?" asked Tom self-righteously.
  • "Would you like to buy some cod?" asked Tom selfishly.
  • "You lamb!" said Tom sheepishly.
  • "Ought I to do this?" asked Tom with a shudder.
  • "I'm going to end it all," Sue sighed.
  • "This looks like the fruit of the blackthorn," said Tom slowly.
  • "What are you taking pictures of?" Tom snapped.
  • "I'll do your conveyancing, but I'll be slow and overcharge you," said Tom solicitously.
  • "Rod sure is a spoiled little child," Tom said sparely. (*2)
  • "One of the tires just blew out," Tom said sparingly. (*2)
  • "This ocean is calm," said the sailors specifically. (*2)
  • "The optician probably doesn't have my glasses ready yet," Tom speculated.
  • "Save the whales," spouted Tom. (*2)
  • "You don't see the point, do you?" asked Tom, making a stab in the dark.
  • "Hey, you're standing on my foot!" said Tom standoffishly.
  • "What's this black stain round my mouth?" asked Tom succinctly.
  • "This tuna is excellent," said Tom superficially.
  • "Yes, I have read Gulliver's Travels," said Tom swiftly.

T       (Top)

  • "Please don't sneeze with your mouth full, said Tom to the carpet-layer tactfully.
  • "I'm simply not a nice girl," she whispered tartly. (*2)
  • "I work at a bank," said Tom tellingly.
  • "My bid for this contract aims to please," said Tom tenderly.
  • "I have no idea," said Tom thoughtlessly.
  • "Parsley, sage, rosemary," said Tom timelessly.
  • "You shouldn't be writing elegies, young lady," the curfew told Nell.
  • "I'm going to fix the roof," Tom translated.
  • "I was adopted," said Tom transparently.
  • "I punched him in the stomach three times," said Tom triumphantly.

U       (Top)

  • "The bank doesn't want me as a customer," said Tom unaccountably.
  • "Mmmm, homemade soup," said Tom uncannily. (*2)
  • "There's no bathroom in here," Tom said uncannily. (*2)
  • "I don't know any shanties," said Tom unceasingly.
  • "I'm not sure about Heisenberg," said Tom uncertainly.
  • "I flatly deny this," said Tom under pressure.
  • "I won't stand for painting," said Tom uneasily.
  • "How long will I have to wait for a table?" asked Tom unreservedly.
  • "Your trousers have come apart!" was Tom's unseemly comment, which had us all in stitches.
  • "I want to date other women," said Tom unsteadily.
  • "Henry the Eighth!" said Tom unthinkingly.
  • "I'm going to be intestate," said Tom unwillingly.
  • "This is a good bra," she said upliftingly. (*2)
  • "I just saw a lion fly overhead," Tom said uproariously. (*2)
  • "I was given a shampoo and trim by a Pakistani in Liverpool," said Tom in Urdu.

V       (Top)

  • "I need an injection," Tom pleaded in vain.
  • "So that's the way the wind blows," said Tom vainly.
  • "This is a picture of my new house," said Tom, visibly moved.

W       (Top)

  • "I've caught Moby Dick!" Tom wailed.
  • "I'm single," Tom said wanly.
  • "I'd like some Chinese food," said Tom wantonly.
  • "Do you know the location?" asked Tom warily.
  • "I need to go on a diet," said Tom wastefully.
  • "I'm always exhausted by Friday," said Tom weakly.
  • "I'm not a real man," Tom whimpered.
  • "I hate Chablis," Tom whined. (*2)
  • "I'm glad I passed my EKG," Tom said wholeheartedly. (*2)
  • "I wish I'd said that, Oscar," said Tom wildly.
  • "I've read all Shakespeare's works," said Tom wilfully.
  • "Some you lose," said Tom winsomely.
  • "They have their reasons" said Tom wisely.
  • "I'd like to learn a new card game," Tom said wistfully. (*2)
  • "How do you get this horse to stop?," asked Tom woefully. (*2)
  • "Do salmon wear sweaters?" asked Tom wolfishly.
  • "This is what I have learned off by heart" Tom wrote.
  • "I'm Irish," said Tom wryly.

Z       (Top)

  • "I'd like to be a shopkeeper in Somerset," said Tom zealously.
  • "I can't eat any more lemon peel," said Tom zestfully.
  • "Your fly is undone," was Tom's zippy rejoinder.
  • "It looks like elephant dung," said Tom in Zulu.


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