Due to Pure Awesomeness, the splinters and shrapnel don't touch him.

"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."

Rule of Cool personified.

In more detail, Badass is an adjective used to describe a character who gets away with outright insane stunts (defusing a bomb with their teeth, conning a mob boss, getting into a firefight with the entire army, etc.) that would be very hard to pull off in Real Life, or would get the person trying it killed several times over. A badass is a fantasy figure whom the audience roots for precisely because of how prone they are to awesome moments, to the point where they may stretch or break the Willing Suspension of Disbelief. Of course, Willing Suspension of Disbelief may still be maintained depending on the mechanics of the universe.

It's notable that fans are more likely to tolerate a violent maniac of a "hero" than a befuddled, cowardly Classical Antihero and attempts to parody or deconstruct this trope often give the intended target a Misaimed Fandom — no matter how crazy the character gets (a good example being Rorschach from Watchmen). Fans will sometimes just ignore the character's flaws and instead focus on how badass they are or use the character's badasse to trivialize these flaws. This has led to a new trope: the Sociopathic Hero. Writers beware: Make a character too badass and either God-Mode Sue or Jerk Sue will stride Out of the Inferno of your work.

When Epic Fail combines with an attempt at being trope In-Universe, the result is usually a very simple way to invoke Leeroy Jenkins and/or Too Dumb to Live. For a child-friendly version of the badass whose badasse is somewhat diminished by the limitations of the work, see Badbutt.

For a not so complete list of badasses from both fiction and history, see Badass of the Week.

This trope is not what you say to a Stubborn Mule.

Sub-Super Tropes:



Plural forms:

Playing with a Trope:

If an example can be placed in these previous tropes, please put them there.

For many outstanding examples of badasse, see Moment of Awesome.

Considering almost every hero of ancient myth was Badass Incarnate, this trope is Older Than Dirt.

Contrast Loser Archetype.

Different Words for the Noun Form

Depending on who you are and how you like to say the word, there's unfortunately no universally agreed-upon word for the noun form of the adjective "badass." Fortunately there's this list here:

  • Badassery (bad-ASS-ur-ee)
  • Badassness (bad-ASS-ness)
  • Badassitude (bad-ASS-ih-tood)
  • Badasse (buh-DASS, bih-DASS or bah-DASS)

Now divided into Badass sub-pages:

Statler: Would you call that Badass?
Waldorf: No, I would call that bad, ass.
Both: Do-ho-ho-ho-hoh!

Alternative Title(s):

Badass Furry, Hotshot