My Favorite Tom Swifties
What are Tom Swifties?
Tom Swifties are a type of pun in which an adverb or adverbial phrase refers to how someone said something. They originated in the series of books first published in 1910 featuring the fictional character Tom Swift.
In the more than 100 Tom Swift books published, author Victor Appleton II took pains not to repeat such adverbs, or the word "said." I hope you enjoy reading this list of some of my favorite Tom Swifties.
Tom Swift Books in the Public Domain
Twenty-five of Victor Appleton's Tom Swift books are in the public domain. They can be downloaded in e-book format from various sources.
Tom Swift and His Motor Cycle; or, Fun and Adventure on the Road
Tom Swift and His Motor Boat; or, The Rivals of Lake Carlopa
Tom Swift and His Airship; or, The Stirring Cruise of the Red Cloud
Tom Swift and His Submarine Boat; or, Under the Ocean for Sunken Treasure
Tom Swift and His Electric Runabout; or, The Speediest Car on the Road
Tom Swift and His Wireless Message; or, The Castaways of Earthquake Island
Tom Swift Among the Diamond Makers; or, The Secret of Phantom Mountain
Tom Swift in the Caves of Ice; or, The Wreck of the Airship
Tom Swift and His Sky Racer; or, The Quickest Flight on Record
Tom Swift and His Electric Rifle; or, Daring Adventures on Elephant Island
Tom Swift in the City of Gold; or, Marvelous Adventures Underground
Tom Swift and His Air Glider; or, Seeking the Platinum Treasure
Tom Swift in Captivity; or, A Daring Escape by Airship
Tom Swift and His Wizard Camera; or, Thrilling Adventures While Taking Moving Pictures
Tom Swift and His Great Searchlight; or, On the Border for Uncle Sam
Tom Swift and His Giant Cannon; or, The Longest Shots on Record
Tom Swift and His Photo Telephone; or, The Picture That Saved a Fortune
Tom Swift and His Aerial Warship; or, The Naval Terror of the Seas
Tom Swift and His Big Tunnel; or, The Hidden City of the Andes
Tom Swift In the Land of Wonders; or, The Underground Search for the Idol of Gold
Tom Swift and His War Tank; or, Doing His Bit for Uncle Sam
Tom Swift and His Air Scout; or, Uncle Sam's Mastery of the Sky
Tom Swift and His Undersea Search; or, The Treasure on the Floor of the Atlantic
Tom Swift Among the Fire Fighters; or, Battling with Flames in the Air
Tom Swift and His Electric Locomotive; or, Two Miles a Minute on the Rails
Examples of Tom Swifties
- "I've got a knife," he said sharply.
- "I need a pencil sharpener," he said bluntly.
- "I've been to a film festival in Southern France," he said cannily.
- "Its twelve noon," he chimed in.
"I dropped the toothpaste," he said, crestfallen.
- "I'm the butcher's assistant," he said cuttingly.
- "I just came in through the door," he said, entranced.
- "I have a split personality," Tom said, being frank.
- "Would anyone like some Parmesan?" he asked gratingly.
- "I forgot my birth control pill,” she said. There was a pregnant pause.
- "Come here, dog" he muttered.
- "There's a blood sucking insect in every outhouse,” he said aloofly.
- "Where's my billiards equipment?" he said accusingly.
- "There's a stop sign," he said haltingly.
- "We need to call a landscaper," he hedged.
- "We can't have this and eat it too," said Tom archaically.
- "Cobblers!" said Tom at last.
- "This boat is leaking," said Tom balefully.
- "Give me a haircut," Tom said barbarously
- "I'm losing my hair," Tom bawled.
- "He's dead, Jim" said Bones gravely.
- "I'm hungry," he said bitingly.
- "The down elevator is over there," he said condescendingly.
- "I really like Picasso," said Tom abstractly.
- "A lot of people didn't show up," said Tom absent-mindedly.
- "You have to fill in this form,” Tom said blankly.
- "Yes, I have been reading Voltaire," Tom admitted candidly.
- "Use your own toothbrush!" Tom bristled.
- "I'm a great opera singer," said Tom, being callous.
- "I've only enough carpet for the hall and landing," said Tom with a blank stare.
- "We're off to Scotland," said Tom clandestinely
- "Don't add too much water," said Tom with great concentration.
- "I'd like to be a Chinese laborer," said Tom coolly.
- "Give me some pre-packed cheese slices," said Tom craftily.
- "We've brought only gold and frankincense," the Magi demurred.
- "I want this statue to look like the Venus de Milo," said Tom disarmingly.
- "Don't let me drown in Egypt!" pleaded Tom, deep in denial.
- "Who turned out the lights?" asked Tom darkly.
- "Let's go to McDonald's" said Tom archly.
- "That's too much pineapple," said Tom dolefully.
- "Pass me the shellfish," said Tom crabbily.
- "You're the son of a female dog!" he sobbed.
- "Here's a person with an IQ of 80!" exclaimed Tom dumbfoundedly.
- "Emily has put on weight," said Tom emphatically.
- "I used to be a paratrooper," Tom explained.
- "Elvis is dead," said Tom expressly.
- "I used to command a battalion of German ants," said Tom exuberantly.
- "Watch this insect sail through the air," said Tom flippantly.
- "I won't finish in fifth place," Tom held forth.
- "The store has no more bananas," Tom said fruitlessly.
- "This food tastes of plutonium," said Tom glowingly.
- "Once upon a time there was a beautiful princess," Tom began grimly.
- "I'll beat you with diamonds, clubs, and spades," said Tom heartlessly.
- "There's a snake in the yard," hissed Tom.
- "The doctors had to remove a bone from my arm," said Tom humorlessly.
- "That's an ugly hippopotamus!" said Tom hypocritically.
Do you have a favorite Tom Swifty? Please post it in the Comments section.