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Is there a word for taking something that's meant tongue in cheek seriously? For example trying to prove someone wrong after they taunt you by saying “You couldn't fight your way out of a paper bag”.

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2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Perhaps something along the lines of being too literal-minded, if you're evaluating their expression at its face value instead of with its idiomatic meaning.

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You might think of this as a visual pun:

visual pun When a phrase which is usually used as a metaphor is instead done, and shown as being performed literally.

For example:

In one of the The Naked Gun films the main character, Frank, says to a bartender "give me the strongest thing you've got", provoking a VERY muscular and oily man in a thong to walk in, flexing his arms. Frank decides against this, and instead asks for a "Black Russian". The bartender just looks at the camera and shakes his head.

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