There's a joke, written in my native language, where a blind man in a grocery store starts tapping (or patting) on a child's head, asking about the price of this watermelon, thinking it is an actual watermelon fruit.

If it was in real life, someone might correct him by saying something like: "Excuse me, sir. This is not a watermelon but a human's head."

Another scenario where two sisters want to mimic that joke by using their little brother's head. Their father happened to pass by, not knowing of what was all that about, he came to the conclusion that they are mocking their brother's (big) head by declaring its emptiness (since the watermelon is big and 90% water).

1- Is it possible in English for coming to such an understanding/conclusion?

2- If the answer is "yes", then can he possibly say:

This is not a watermelon, but a brain.

With conveying (by "brain") the opposite indication of the watermelon?

I found an idiom which is similar to the watermelon assumed-meaning / figurative-usage: "melon's head". But the joke is not in that way for the idiom to fit in and be a suitable alternative.

  • 2
    Why "brain"? One's brain is inside one's head. Are you asking if it is ok to replace the word "head" with "brain" when explaining that someone's head is not a watermelon? I am confused by what is being asked.
    – Mixolydian
    Commented May 9, 2019 at 17:21
  • It is supposed to describe the person's head by its brain to indicate that that head is full of intelligence or any other valuable thing that negates the emptiness property of the watermelon for example. But if that doesn't make sense, it would be because it is all translated from my native language. Commented May 9, 2019 at 17:57

1 Answer 1


Certainly any similarly-shaped object can be used to metaphorically refer to the human head, as long as it makes sense to your intended audience. While many watermelons are relatively small and spherical, in the United States (and possibly elsewhere) many are large and oblong, and don't really look like a head at all:

enter image description here

An avid bicyclist once tell me to always wear a helmet when riding because it, "protects your coconut". Coconuts are hard and round, like the human skull, and also somewhat hairy. Moreover, this also suggests the vivid image of a coconut cracking open from a hard impact, a nice visual warning against riding unprotected.

Using "brain" for the human head doesn't really make sense, but you could say something like "brain-box", since the skull is a container for the brain. Plus you get the nice alliteration of the "b" sound, which suggests other possibilities:





Anyway, it would not be difficult to modify the joke to work in English, as the joke doesn't rely on some kind of pun. The physical properties of a watermelon are the same in any language ... although the second one might work better with a coconut, since coconuts are hollow.

  • 1
    That's right. Fruits take different shapes based on the climate of the region they are planted in. I totally agree with the coconut suggestion, it may be a bit small to describe people's heads, but if it is used for such cases in English, then it makes a great alternative. Also, the brain suggestions didn't really alter what I was looking for. Thank you so much, Andrew! Commented May 9, 2019 at 18:32

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