I'm trying to remember where I saw a Twilight Zone-like show about a man who hears increasing percentages of words swapped out for other words, until everything becomes incomprehensible to him.

It started with his wife saying that they should name their soon-to-be-born baby "Bumper". He is incredulous, and asks her what she's thinking, while she's insisting it's a perfectly normal name. He is then at work, and his co-workers ask if he wants to go out for "dinosaur" (instead of lunch). He tries to correct them, and they don't understand what he's saying. At the end, he's trying to relearn language by looking at a children's book, where the pages and pictures (to our eyes and his) don't match up at all.

Saw this a long time ago, and can't remember where...new Twilight Zone? Tales From the Crypt? Tales from the Darkside? Somewhere else?

  • The Deep Space Nine episode Babel features a virus that has the same effect. Commented Nov 10, 2013 at 9:28

1 Answer 1


The episode you're thinking of is "Wordplay" from the first season of The Twilight Zone (1985). From the Wikipedia page for "Wordplay":

A subordinate asks him about a good place to go for "dinosaur." Bill tries to find out why the co-worker is not using the correct word, but the co-worker walks away annoyed.

Bill goes home for lunch. His wife Kathy says their son is feeling ill, and didn't eat his "dinosaur". This makes Bill realize the bizarre neologisms he has been hearing are not just a practical joke.


That night, following a quiet but content meal with Kathy, Bill sits down in his son's bedroom and picks up one of his ABC books. He uses it to begin studying the vocabulary of the language that he now needs to re-learn.

  • 1
    Just as a side note, that particular Twilight Zone series is now being re-run on Chiller in the US.
    – Tango
    Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 19:40
  • Really? Holy cats! There's no way I thought I'd get an answer to this...I figured it was a real longshot. Okay, I've got to check it out, but I've voted you up already. If this verifies (which seems very likely), you get the check!
    – Beska
    Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 19:57
  • Sure enough! That was it!
    – Beska
    Commented Nov 15, 2011 at 20:09
  • I loved it when his neighbor tells him that his dog had a litter of puppies. 11 puppies, that is a rather large litter for an encyclopedia.
    – John S.
    Commented Jan 2, 2014 at 17:45

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