"Wolf the Quarrelsome only appears in history twice, and both times he's kicking someone's ass. (...) We don't know shit about his childhood, his girlfriend, his favorite color or what he liked to do in his spare time. When you read a history of his life, you only learn one thing - he kicked fucking asses. That's it."The term Badass is primarily used to describe either a type of character or describe the kind of actions that a character performs. However, exactly what a badass person or action is can differ wildly depending on context or the people using the term. This is shown in how it can be used as a noun or an adjective. TV Tropes does not make an attempt to limit what Badass means, only trying to define how it is used. While there is no precise definition, there is a broad consensus on actions or people who could often be called badass. It is lumped very loosely together by words like ability, bravery, appearance and attitude with some emphasizing one trait and others another. This trope is not what you say to a Stubborn Mule. The below is a list of what it could be depending on the person and the situation.
Badass as "Cool, awesome"The word "badass" is quite often used as yet another synonym to "cool, awesome, sweet, rad, etc". The usage can range from contexts overlapping with other uses listed on this page ("that stunt was badass", "this is a badass fight") to absolutely anything ("what a badass guitar solo", "that's a pretty badass car", "bro, your gran's embroidery looks fucking badass, man").
Badass as FighterAny competent warrior; from the best fighter in universe to just any trained fighter. If fighting is required, it's best if you can handle it well enough to avoid embarrassing yourself. A Badass is a character that is known for their ability to fight and carry their own weight. If Alice can defeat three grown men attacking her at once, that's pretty impressive. However, she might be outclassed by the Badass characters who can defeat three hundred grown men at once.
Badass as Escapist CharacterAn idealization of the author or the audience. These characters are exceptionally brave, strong, skilled etc. Some might accuse them of being overpowered. A Gary Stu is basically a hyper badass. Quoting from the page, "He's an unstoppable fighter, a rogue agent, a fearless freedom fighter, a master of disguise." Also, quoted from the page, "devastatingly handsome (or if not, possessed of a strange, saturnine magnetism) and desired by all significant women".
Badass as Tough and Resilient"The character stays strong despite pain and hazards due to strong willpower". This is where the Badass Pacifist comes from. They don't fight back but their opponent can't hurt them anyways. Determinator covers those characters who are renowned for their limitless willpower; Made of Iron for characters who can't be slowed down by physical injury and don't have an ability like Super Toughness.
Badass as Rule of CoolThis was the definition we had in this page for a while. This is a character who does improbable stunts because it is cool. Typically, Badass will come down to presentation. Often, even supposedly "normal" badasses can pull off stunts that would be considered highly unlikely in real life, such as fighting off a dozen soldiers at once or shrugging off what should really be a fatal or incapacitating injury. However, many badasses are not limited to what would be passingly reasonable in real life, allowing all sorts of superpowers to come into the equation as necessary, or perhaps their appearance or role is drastically at odds with their ability, such as a little girl tossing adult men like rag dolls.
Badass as "Character who is formidable: inspiring awe and respect in allies, and fear in enemies".The character gives an influence to the surrounding people which emphasizes how much of a big deal the person is. This can be achieved by being strong in general, being skilled, or achieving something great. See also The Ace, The Dreaded, Famed In-Story, and Living Legend.
Badass as "Character who's very brave; 'got huge balls'".The character, especially if driven with a purpose, will not waver even if facing a very big threat. They'll ignore pressure and stay calm and collected, or better yet, stay as happy-go-lucky as they usually are. See: Brass Balls and Nerves of Steel. If the character is not competent enough to match their daring do, then they are a Darwin Award winner and a Fearless Fool.
Badass as stock characterThe Other Wiki calls this kind of character the "hotshot" archetype. As quoted, this character is "known for taking more risks, action and pain than the other characters in the story." Their characteristics are listed as arrogance, abrasive manners, aggressiveness, a tendency to prefer to be alone even to the point of working alone, sometimes at odds with the group they are part of.
Badass as "Macho, stereotypically manly"Many definitions above are often seen as "macho" as it is considered a good man's quality to behave/be like such. I Want to Be a Real Man is a desire to be seen as this; typically, the character will try to display "badass" qualities in order to qualify. Do note, however, that females are equally likely to display similar qualities. See Rated M for Manly. When it's exaggerated for parody, see Testosterone Poisoning.
Badass as "Character who constantly takes risks and prevails against unlikely odds"The character always finds themselves in dangerous situations and uses all his abilities to come out safely, or even on top. They may draw themselves to it (being a Blood Knight, likes to be In Harm's Way, it is part of your quest or of your day job) or they may be drawn into it (they're being dragged by other people or circumstances). They tend to go beyond expectations. See We Do the Impossible; when this is done when they don't intend to, see Badass Unintentional. If they survive due to their luck, see Born Lucky. For a not so complete list of badasses from both fiction and history, see Badass of the Week.
- Adaptational Badass: Maybe they weren't so badass in the manga or the TV show, but they really started cracking skulls in the anime and movies.
- Ambadassador: They represent their hometown or home country and they plan to export a beating to those who mess with them.
- Badass Arm-Fold: A particularly badass pose.
- Badass Adorable: This character's cute, but don't think that means they need to be protected. They could probably leave you lying in a pool of your own blood.
- Badass and Baby: They kick ass. Doesn't mean they can't go into battle and take care of an infant at the same time.
- Badass and Child Duo: Badass has a child following him around. Woe betide anyone who tries to target that kid.
- Badass Back: When someone is so badass, they drop a foe without even turning around.
- Badass Bandolier: A utilitarian accessory worn so a badass can keep their tools of the trade handy.
- Badass Baritone: Nothing says intimidating like a deep voice.
- Badass Beard: Their facial hair is shorthand for "Don't mess with me."
- Badass Biker: Nothing says badass better than a Cool Bike.
- Badass Boast: A badass talks high about how badass they are.
- Badass Bookworm: Reads the encyclopedia for fun and capable of using it to beat your face in.
- Badass Bureaucrat: Master of paper shuffling and the dreaded red tape. Capable of screwing with your life in many ways.
- Badass Bystander: They were minding their own business until you turned their world upside down. Now they're gonna make you regret that mistake.
- Badass Cape: Long flowing capes are the traditional accessory of certain breeds of badasses.
- Badass Creed: A philosophy that espouses badass as a central tenet.
- Badass Driver: Give them a vehicle and they'll do some hardcore stuff with it.
- Badass Finger Snap: A badass snaps his fingers and something cool happens.
- Badass Gay: Just because they're gay doesn't mean that they're not a bonafide badass.
- Badass Grandpa: He might have grandchildren who see him as a teddy bear, but don't think he won't make you fear him if you cross him.
- Badass in a Nice Suit: A badass needs nice clothes, don't you think?
- Badass Israeli: An Israeli who's a badass.
- Badass Longcoat: A great way to look is to wear an imposing overcoat.
- Badass Long Robe: The wizard version of the Badass Longcoat.
- Badass Mustache: Like Badass Beard, but above the lip.
- Badass Native: When the natives are restless and scrotum-crushingly badass.
- Badass Normal: The non-powered character in a group with superpowers, but who kicks just as much ass.
- Badass Pacifist: Does not kill, not even fight. But when the time comes, they selflessly sacrifice their lives to save others.
- Badass Preacher: He will minister to his flock and break you in half with his shepherd's crook if you think about hurting them.
- Badass Princess: She is not one to get kidnapped. Instead, she breaks kidnappers in half.
- Badass Santa: Santa kicks ass.
- Badass Teacher: Teaches students and brutally schools the fools who take them on.
- Badass Transplant: When someone becomes a badass via a prosthetic of some kind.
- Badass Unintentional: Didn't plan to be a badass.
- Badbutt: As badass as a kid-friendly show will allow.
- Big Badass Rig: A badass truck.
- Brought Down to Badass: Had superpowers, lost them, but even afterwards, they can still kick ass.
- Colonel Badass: Leads their troops in being badass by being one as well.
- Diagnosis from Dr. Badass: Will tell you in deep detail just how badly they're beating you while doing so.
- Cultured Badass: Enjoys the finer things in life and beating the tar out of foes with their fancy cane.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Acts like an idiot or non badass, either on purpose or not, but it's just to hide how capable they are at wreaking their opponents.
- Dare to Be Badass: A challenge for someone to do a badass feat.
- Empowered Badass Normal: When an ordinary, already badass person gains superpowers.
- Four-Star Badass: Has a general's rank and a long list of wrecked faces to their name.
- Future Badass: That goofy, gawky character from the present day? In the Bad Future, that character's a hardcore badass.
- Handicapped Badass: Don't mistake them for a cripple or they will crush you with what limbs they still have.
- Heartbroken Badass: You murdered their lover or family. They can and will do the same to you.
- Historical Badass Upgrade: A historical figure becomes more badass in fiction.
- I Just Want to Be Badass: When a non-badass aspires to be one.
- Little Miss Badass: Short of stature, but not of the ability to make you die horribly for underestimating her.
- Long Dead Badass: This character was the most badass of their time.
- Memetic Badass: While their actual badass credentials may or may not be justified, their reputation as a badass is considered Off The Scale.
- Pop-Cultured Badass: They kick ass while listening to some rock music after having seen their favorite sitcom.
- Pregnant Badass: She's carrying a child. Don't think she can't terminate your ability to create them.
- Retired Badass: They hung up their asskicking credentials. Doesn't mean they forgot how.
- Sealed Badass in a Can: When a badass of some type is temporarily put in some sort of stasis so they can later be unleashed.
- Took a Level in Badass: When a non badass or a minor badass gets better at it.
- Underestimating Badassery: When a badass is underestimated by those who should know better.
- Badass Army: An entire army of badass.
- Back-to-Back Badasses: When two badass characters back each other up. Two badasses are better than one.
- Badass Crew: An entire team of badass.
- Badass Minds Think Alike: Two badasses go into battle together without any plans at all. They somehow survive.
- Badass Family: An entire family of badasses. Because badass is hereditary.
- Retired Badass Roundup: For when the Retired Badasses all team up again for One Last Job/to come out of retirement.
- World of Badass: An entire world of badasses.
- Badass Decay: A badass becomes less so over time.
- Badass in Distress: When a badass is captured somehow. They either really have to be saved, or be able to escape later.
- Badass on Paper: They genuinely did something badass as people said... but it might be not so awesome when you actually witness it. They would agree.
- Break the Badass: When even the Badass break down sobbing upon meeting a particularly dangerous opponent/situation.
- Mistaken for Badass: Inverse of Hidden Badass.
- No Badass to His Valet: No matter how badass the character is, there is always one person who just isn't intimidated.
- What Measure Is a Non-Badass?: When a badass isn't considered badass enough for the setting in question.
- Badassery (bad-ASS-ur-ee)
- Badassness (bad-ASS-ness)
- Badassitude (bad-ASS-ih-tood)
- Badasse (buh-DASS, bih-DASS or bah-DASS)
- There's an old joke reused for every famous Badass, from John Wayne to Chuck Norris: Did you hear they removed [Action Star]'s new toilet paper brand from the market? There were complaints that it was rough and tough and didn't take shit off anybody.
Statler: Would you call that Badass?
Waldorf: No, I would call that bad, ass.
Waldorf: No, I would call that bad, ass.