Is there a name for word combination structures that embed other words within them (both verbal or written)? (Any less rude example would be appreciated.)

  • "Anyone for coffee?"
    – Hugo
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 8:46
  • 1
    Can you give more detailsnof what you are thinking of? More examples? It is not clear what you mean by 'sofa king'. Two nouns in a row? What is the embedded word or meaning in 'sofa king'? It is not obvious.
    – Mitch
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 16:01
  • 2
    @Mitch: Sofa King -> So f**king Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 16:07
  • 1
    Paul Nurse and Richard Sole, and my fave, the Foo King Twat
    – JMP
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 5:16
  • 1
    Captain Pugwash and Seaman Staines deserve a mention also
    – JMP
    Commented Aug 7, 2016 at 5:20

3 Answers 3


Wikipedia’s definition of a “deliberate mondegreen” matches your example. As Bob says, this is a double entendre. A deliberate mondegreen is a sub-species of double entendre that exploits homophony to get across its second meaning.


This is called a double entendre, wherein a spoken phrase is devised to be understood in more than one way. You’d typically call something like “sofa king” a gag name, a false name meant to elicit humor either through some sort of double entendre or pun.

In many cases (such as your own), it’s a rather vulgar type of humor. For example, it was popular in the naming of “Bond girls” in James Bond films:

  • Bibi Dahl from For Your Eyes Only
  • Holly Goodhead from Moonraker
  • Chu Mei from The Man with the Golden Gun
  • Pussy Galore from Goldenfinger

Even spoofs like the Austin Powers movies caught on with names like Alotta Fagina in Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery.

  • And yes, I am a fan of spy shows and explicit humor.
    – Bob
    Commented Jan 28, 2012 at 3:49
  • 3
    If these punny names are double entendres, they're not the first kind of double entendre most people would think of. A double entendre is a phrase intended to mean one thing, that can be interpreted as another, usually risque, thing. "She was in the workshop looking for a screw, so I gave her one"
    – slim
    Commented Jan 30, 2012 at 19:20
  • "A double entendre is a phrase intended to mean one thing, that can be interpreted as another, usually risque, thing." So for example, "Sofa King."
    – Fattie
    Commented Sep 22, 2014 at 12:21

These are puns. They are a specific kind of pun, but I don't believe there is a special word for that kind of pun alone.

The British satirical magazine Private Eye runs letters with assumed names that can be read as words, and that section is titled Pseudo Names.

... I keep sending you examples of witty names that I keep making up, but you never print them. Am I wasting my time?


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