Purple Rose Puzzles webpages banner


No. of Players: 1+
Type of Game: written or spoken
What you need: pen & paper or nothing


To think of funny explanations for clichés and proverbs.

How to play

Players challenge themselves or others to explain the origins of a cliché, proverb, idiom, or other common saying or phrase. Named after a character in Charles Dicken's novel The Pickwick Papers, the Wellerisms game can be played either verbally or with pen and paper. One player speaks or writes down a cliché, and the second player responds with a single line that explains how that cliché came to be. Players can compete to see who can come up with the most humorous explanation.


A group of players write down common sayings on pieces of paper and pass them to each other for completion. Here are the results of their efforts:

"An apple a day keeps the doctor away," Johnny smiled and thought, "especially if you aim right."

"A stitch in time saves nine," which is why cats have that many lives.

"Actions speak louder than words," said the man as he kicked around pots and pans.

"Head over heels in love," said the smitten breakdancer, as he spun on his head.

"Read between the lines," Bruce said to Tom, as he dropped the newspaper on the railroad tracks.

"Don't judge a book by its cover," said the infantryman, "it may not be able to shoot, but it could be a good read."

"The writing's on the wall," said the graffiti artist.

"Gut-wrenching pain," said the onlookers of the soldier committing harakiri.

"Heart-stopping fear" is what Bob felt just before his triple bypass surgery.

"Kiss and make up" usually ends in a smearing mess.

"The grass is always greener on the other side," said one earthworm to another.

More Word Games