Main Page

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 15:42, 8 August 2012 by Waldir (Talk | contribs)

Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to the explain xkcd wiki! We already have Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". comic explanations!

(But there are still Expression error: Unrecognised punctuation character ",". to go. Come and add yours!)

Latest comic

Go to this comic

En Garde
'Touch!' 'Nope, I sighed and stared at you with resignation, so I regained emotional right-of-way.'
Title text: 'Touch!' 'Nope, I sighed and stared at you with resignation, so I regained emotional right-of-way.'


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: How guarded is Cueball really?
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

The left participant says "en garde!", a fencing call literally meaning "be on your guard" (from French). The call is used to order the participants to take their position, in a similar way to the “on your mark” command in racing (the other two commands are “((tireurs,) êtes-vous) prêts?” (“((combattants,) are you) ready?”) and “allez” (“go”)). The right participant takes this to mean being "guarded" emotionally.

"What are you thinking?" is a common question used to deepen a conversation, typically between close friends or lovers. The person being asked may take a moment to consider what they are thinking and whether or not it would be appropriate to share with the asker. If the person being asked is emotionally comfortable with the asker, they may answer immediately without fear of judgement or ridicule. Such a level of comfort between two people generally takes a long time to develop.

The title text takes this further with the "touch" call, used to indicate to a participant that they have been "touched" by their opponent's blade, and therefore the attacker recieves a point. The right participant counters this claim by saying his emotions have "priority" (or right-of-way). Fencing right-of-way rules can make a move invalid when another move has priority, but generally refer to physical actions on the participant's part.


[Two fencers are standing together as if to fight]

Fencer 1: En Garde!
Fencer 2: Ok.
Fencer 2: No matter how long we know each other, when you ask "What are you thinking," I will always pause before answering.
Fencer 1: Maybe a little less guarded?
Fencer 2: No way. I've been hurt before.

New here?

Feel free to sign up for an account and contribute to the explain xkcd wiki! We need explanations for comics, characters, themes, memes and everything in between. If it is referenced in an xkcd web comic, it should be here.

  • List of all comics contains a complete table of all xkcd comics so far and the corresponding explanations. The red links (like this) are missing explanations. Feel free to help out by creating them!


Don't be a jerk. There are a lot of comics that don't have set in stone explanations, feel free to put multiple interpretations in the wiki page for each comic.

If you want to talk about a specific comic, use its discussion page.

Please only submit material directly related to—and helping everyone better understand—xkcd... and of course only submit material that can legally be posted (and freely edited.) Off-topic or other inappropriate content is subject to removal or modification at admin discretion, and users posting such are at risk of being blocked.

If you need assistance from an admin, feel free to leave a message on their personal discussion page. The list of admins is here.

Explain xkcd logo courtesy of User:Alek2407.

Personal tools


It seems you are using noscript, which is stopping our project wonderful ads from working. Explain xkcd uses ads to pay for bandwidth, and we manually approve all our advertisers, and our ads are restricted to unobtrusive images and slow animated GIFs. If you found this site helpful, please consider whitelisting us.

Want to advertise with us, or donate to us with Paypal or Bitcoin?