The other day, I was hunting for a word to describe someone I know. The trait denoted by this word is the tendency to rapidly spot--as though unconsciously seeking out--double meanings, especially of the racier sort, in messages whose intent was probably innocuous.

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    Sounds like this person might be innuendal [for innuendo], polysemic [polysemy], coloring, casuistic, paronomasic [paronomasia], calembouric [calembour], equivocacious. Or something even more jury rigged like innuendo-seeking. If you are not looking for anything flashy, perhaps try wry. =)
    – dang
    Mar 12, 2015 at 17:21
  • Rick, try putting a bounty on the original question and putting your request in the custom comment. That may add some energy to your request.
    – Good A.M.
    Mar 12, 2015 at 18:05
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    @GoodA.M. - no one can put a bounty on a new question; I believe the waiting period is 48 hours. Also, the question is closed... Mar 12, 2015 at 19:13
  • I agree with medica. This question is NOT a duplicate request and should not have been closed. Mar 12, 2015 at 21:04
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    "Normal male" comes to mind.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 13, 2015 at 1:13

3 Answers 3


I think such a person would often be called dirty-minded:

tending to have vulgar, obscene, or lewd thoughts, interpretations, etc.

(from Dictionary.com, based on the Random House Dictionary Unabridged)

  • Other than the culturally referent examples above, I'd support the idea of dirty-mindedness. This term will be more readily recognized than those examples. Mar 17, 2015 at 23:00

Should you fail to find a common word that fits the bill you might want to consider Finbarresque.

Finbarr Saunders is a character in Viz comic-magazine http://viz.co.uk/category/finbarr-saunders/ noted for his ability to spot double-entendres in any conversation.

On the left, the Viz Finbarr Saunders. On the right, a different Finbarr Saunders from Knoxville, Tennessee; probably best not to confuse the two should you do an internet search.

Viz Finbarr Saunders Knoxville Finbarr Saunders

His character is described in the Wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Viz_comic_strips#F_-_J as

a boy with a good ear for homophones. The strip almost always revolves around his liaisons with his neighbour, Mr Gimlet, whose manner of speech is always interpreted by Finbarr as graphically sexual in nature (in fact, it is deliberately scripted this way), usually when Gimlet is reminiscing about everyday situations with Saunder's mother. However, at the end of each strip, Mr Gimlet and Finbarr's mother invariably do end up having sex and make blatantly obvious verbal references to their doing so, but Finbarr interprets these as being nothing untoward. Finbarr's creator, Simon Thorp, described the character as a cross between a small boy and Sid Boggle (Sid James) from Carry On Camping.

A few examples from Finbarr's own comic strip.

Computer repair man talking to Finbarr's mother about turning on the computer. "Unless you know where it is you can be fiddling about for ages without getting anywhere but once you find it you just have to flick it with your finger to get the juice flowing"

Mr Gimlett tells Finbarr "I'm taking your mother on a tour of the north-west, first I'm going to Oldham, then I'm going to Bangor."

When talking of his wife's antique camera, a man says "I've spent many a hot afternoon with my face under her hood, flicking away at that button, trying to make those leathery old flaps to open up."

And some other examples of phrases used on TV/Radio which would be suitable material for Finbarr Saunders (note that this page has Finbar Saunders as it's sub-heading).

Pat Glenn, weightlifting commentator - "And this is Gregoriava from Bulgaria. I saw her snatch this morning and it was amazing!"

Harry Carpenter at the Oxford-Cambridge boat race 1977 - "Ah, isn't that nice. The wife of the Cambridge President is kissing the Cox of the Oxford crew."

Mike Hallett discussing missed snooker shots on Sky Sports: "Stephen Hendry jumps on Steve Davis's misses every chance he gets."

Ken Brown commentating on golfer Nick Faldo and his caddie Fanny Sunneson lining-up shots at the Scottish Open: "Some weeks Nick likes to use Fanny, other weeks he prefers to do it by himself."

While Finbarr Saunders may not be a terribly well-known comic strip character adding the -esque suffix to his forename is not without precedent.

2008 JOHN SAUNDERS UK Rivers Guide Book
[In response to a comment Bloody hell, what size beavers do you have around there???] - Forgot to add that with my surname all Finbarr-esque comments are naturally appreciated (+ old enough to have gone out with a girl from The Strawberry when Viz still referred to locals).

2015 DEJALU JustTheTalk.com
I'm sure I've told this story on here before, but I was in a meeting once with senior managers (and lowly me) and top boss, an American, decided to call another American colleague into the room for another opinion. "Let's all get Randy in here", she suggested. Cue me, convulsed with Finbarr-esque fnurks and snortles, while the rest of my colleagues (traitors!) looked on in pity.

Sadly, you probably won't find Finbarresque in a dictionary any time soon but you will find Finbarr Saunders in the OED.

The OED entry for fnarr fnarr was added in 2013 and the first citation for the use of fnarr fnarr is given to Finbarr Saunders (via Simon Thorp).

[OED] fnarr fnarr Representing lecherous or half-suppressed laughter. Freq. used to indicate sexual innuendo;
1987 S. THORP Finbarr Saunders Aug. in Viz: Big Pink Stiff One (1990) 115
‘It's a very big one, you see...’ ‘Fnar!’

I'm sure lots of people will have no idea what Finbarresque means, but then lots of people don't know what lots of words mean anyway; they'll just have to suck it up (fnarr fnarr).

Wikipedia contributors, "List of Viz comic strips," Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=List_of_Viz_comic_strips&oldid=649839190 (accessed March 13, 2015).

Finbarr Saunders image (courtesy of Viz) from The Sydney Morning Herald - http://www.smh.com.au/sport/super-bowl-xlix-new-england-patriots-defeat-seattle-seahawks-2824-20150202-133jej.html

Finbarr Saunders image (courtesy of cityofknoxville.org) - http://www.cityofknoxville.org/citycouncil/members/fsaunders.asp

Finbarr examples taken from http://subbuteoz.hubpages.com/hub/Finbarr-Saunders

Other examples taken from http://www.visordown.com/forum/crap-jokes/finbar-saunders/281141.html

Finbarr-esque 2008 citation from UK Rivers Guide Book http://www.ukriversguidebook.co.uk/forum/viewtopic.php?p=343522

Finbarr-esque 2015 citation from JustTheTalk.com http://justthetalk.com/family/29930/are_they_still_being_unreasonable_/7229

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    Finbarresque a word you just coined on the spur. You're right, it isn't in any dictionary, in fact, it's barely anywhere on the entire Internet! There are three instances cited, something tells me it will be some time before we see its entry in any dictionary.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 18, 2015 at 23:49
  • @Mari-LouA The 2008 citation is not my coinage but it's that kind of word where multiple independent coinage is very possible. It's not even in Roger's Profanisaurus never mind a real dictionary and I did point out the possible issues of using Finbarresque in my answer. I could also have offered McGillesque after Donald McGill but felt he was perhaps too old to have many internet references to cite.
    – Frank
    Mar 19, 2015 at 3:49
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    There are three instances of "Finbarresque" on the Internet. You didn't mention that did you? And I wonder how many British speakers actually know who Finbarr Saunders is? Let alone an American or any other European. Its creator Simon Thorp barely gets a mention on Wikipedia.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Mar 19, 2015 at 5:02

If your acquaintance is quick with the old welleresque cliché “That’s what s/he said” you could call them the “Duke/Duchess of Wellerisms” or just welleresque, wellerian, or maybe even welleristic for short.

Granted, not all wellerisms are racy, but they all seem to involve double meanings.

  • Wellerism (and variants). I was not familiar with this. It has potential. Thanks.
    – Rick
    Mar 13, 2015 at 18:30
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    It might be worth considering variations of the innocuous expression "so to speak" (abbreviated as STS) as it's apparently used in the US Air Force to identify double entendres. Maybe you could call him/her a "so-to-speaker" or an "STS-er or an "STS-spotter." You could even use "-spotter" to come up with your own double entendre to denote this lovely trait, i.e., "a G-spotter," although that might already have other "official" meanings to contend with! @Rick
    – Papa Poule
    Mar 13, 2015 at 19:06

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