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"Instructions Unclear" is an expression used as a preface when joking about accidentally performing a dangerous or inappropriate action due to an absurd misunderstanding of directions. The phrase is typically used in comment sections on the social news site Reddit and in titles on the image hosting site Imgur.


On May 1st, 2012, YouTuber kawnra replied to a faux-instructional video demonstrating how to touch an apple to a wall with the following comment: “The instructions weren’t clear enough. I got my dick caught in the ceiling fan.” Within the next year, the comment received over 14,200 up votes.


On July 25th, 2012, Redditor JustAnotherIndie submitted a screenshot of YouTuber kawnra’s comment to the /r/funny[8]subreddit, where it gained more than 26,000 up votes and 520 comments before it was archived. On November 14th, Redditor I_Demand_A_Water replied with an "instructions unclear" joke to a diagram explaining how to use a body pillow to comfortably spoon with a partner in bed (shown below).[4] Prior to being archived, the comment received over 60 up votes.

On February 6th, 2013, Imgur[7] user dcotruta uploaded an image macro titled "Instructions unclear, married cat," which featured a woman and cat with a caption indicating that the feline had delivered an engagement ring (shown below). In the next four months, the post accumulated upwards of 2,400 points and 60 comments.

On April 5th, Cyanide and Happiness artist Rob DenBleyker submitted a post to his Facebook[2] page asking fans to suggest topics for a comic, to which Daniele Latella suggested “And that’s how I got my junk trapped in a ceiling fan.” The same day, DenBleyker posted[3] a comic based on Latella's suggestion about a man who goes to see a doctor after injuring his genitalia in a ceiling fan (shown below).

On April 8th, Redditor GDmofo replied[5] to a comment about preventing a bird from excreting on a car saying "Instructions unclear, got dick stuck in bird." In the first two months, the comment gained more than 950 up votes. On April 10th, Redditor Grammar_Sith responded[6] to a list of instructions for eating a banana by joking that he mistakenly ate his penis (shown below), garnering upwards of 900 up votes in the following month.

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