Sometimes when bad stuff happens in an extremely sudden way, a character can barely react to their fate before it befalls them. Wether it be Dodge This, Death from Above, or Deer in the Headlights, or another sort of sudden or imminent threat, the essence of this trope is that the character is depicted during that split second right before the situation can even register to them, the thoughts expressed by Oh, Crap! or This Is Gonna Suck not having had the time to form in the first place. Bonus points if the scene was entirely serene and relaxed until then and neither the character nor the viewer saw what was coming. In fiction, usually murder victims are depticted wearing this sort of expression, rather than any other they could have been frozen into. This is especially egregious if they died in combat, since, unless they for some reason believed themselves to be immortal, invulnerable or invincible, they are already in a fighting mindset, and while an unexpected blow might be a surprise, it wouldn't lead to the "shocked and appalled" expression usually seen in bodies then. Examples:
- In Billy Bat, a protagonist is enjoying night-life at New Orleaohshi-
- The former Trope Namer is the Meme Divide by Zero ("I divided by zero OH SHI-"), which hypothesizes that in the event that someone accomplished the blatantly impossible with success, even by mistake, such as, archetypicially, dividing by zero, the universe would instantly collapse before the culprit has the time to even register the magnitude of what they've done, ending their existence and that of everything else, hence the evocative and wonderfully concise phrase. [hottip:*:It is vital that the final T is omitted, otherwise it would imply that there was some sort of pause at the end of the sentence, even without a punctuation to indicate it. The lack of a T here demonstrates that there was nothing after that, that the thought was interrupted before it could even complete]]
Hello, Unknown Troper. You'll need to get known to lend a hand here.