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Busman's Vocabulary
When a character in a certain profession isn't on the job, he's going to still use jargon from that profession, supposedly to let us know what he does for a living. Mafia guys will use "whacked" and the like, chefs will use culinary language, and so forth.

Contrast with Spy Speak. TV Tropes Will Ruin Your Vocabulary could be considered a subtrope.

Examples

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    Anime & Manga 
  • Sanji of One Piece frequently uses allusions to food when he's calling his attacks. This is more obvious in the English dub, but the Japanese has a few food phrases too.
    • In the Viz translation of the manga, people tend to use pirate slang like "swabbie" fairly often.
  • Tyranno in the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX refers to his friends by army ranks, the school as a base of operations, and his dorm room as HQ. He also uses military slang at every opportunity. (In the original Japanese, he was a dinosaur-themed duelist with a Verbal Tic).
  • In the Keroro Gunso manga (at least in the English version), Keroro refers to Aki Hinata as "General Mom" frequently in early chapters.
  • In Ranma ½, professional chef Ukyo Kuonji uses — in the English version — "sugar", "honey", and other food names as intimacy markers. Not a very noticeable trait, but the fact remains that she (almost) never used "dear" or other such markers.
    • In Portuguese, she used "Você tá frito comigo" once - this would literally mean "You're fried with (by fighting against) me". "You're toast!" would be a more natural (thus better) translation, though.
  • Dr. Minoru Kamiya has a penchant for this in YuYu Hakusho - In English, he says "Pronounced dead!" when attacking Yusuke from behind. In Portuguese, during the fight with Yusuke, he says "Não vou usar nenhum instrumento para te fazer uma autópsia!" - In English, "I will use no instruments to dissect you!".

    Comics 
  • Deadpool supporting character Fenway managed to work a baseball metaphor into practically every sentence he spoke.
  • Batman villains the Trigger Twins talk almost exclusively like characters from a Western movie.
  • In the Superman: Man of Steel Annual #5, (a "Legends of the Dead Earth" {{Elseworld}) the main character comes from an ocean planet, where he's a fisherman. Once he develops Superman-powers and starts flying through space and destroying Imperial starships single-handedly, he refers to himself as a minnow overpowering sharks.

    Film 
  • Combined with Trouble Entendre: Near the start of Pulp Fiction, Professional Killers Vincent and Jules are talking before a job, and Vincent casually mentions that their boss Marcellus asked Vincent to take care of Marcellus' wife while Marcellus was out of town. Jules reacts with shock and assumes that Marcellus meant to kill the wife, Vincent has to clarify.
  • Used as a plot point in The Taking Of Pelham 123 remake: Garber notices Ryder isn't a regular hijacker due to his use of financial terminology (such as referring to the hostages as "assets"). Turns out his goal isn't taking the ransom money itself but profiting from the market crash caused by the suspicions of terrorism behind the hijacking.

    Literature 
  • Older Than Radio: Charles Dickens' character Mr. Lilyvick, in Nicholas Nickleby, a water-rate collector who uses references to pipes, taps etc. in his "normal" conversation.
  • Siuan Sanche in The Wheel of Time grew up a fisherwoman before becoming Aes Sedai, so she always uses fishing jargon and metaphors.
  • In The Fifth Elephant, we're told that Commander Vimes studies geography as though it were a crime scene ("Would you recognise that glacier if you saw it again?") Mostly though, he talks to people as though he was conducting an investigation because he always is.
    • Even off-duty Assassins will talk about inhumation rather than murder.

    Live Action TV 
  • Near the end of an episode of The Sopranos, Tony tells a guy that a job might involve "getting messy. Real wet work." The FBI agents listening prick up their ears, only to realize a few seconds later he's asking someone to fix his burst water heater.
  • In an episode of The Wire, a gangbanger talks on the phone about "capping his dawg's ass". The police bring him in on murder charges, only to realize that he was talking about putting down an actual dog.
  • In Spin City, after it's revealed that one of the mayor's associates is, in fact, a mafioso, he mentions that he first suspected something when said associate invited the mayor to go fishing with, "Let's go whack some fish."
  • In Season 19 of The Amazing Race, former NFL player Marcus could always be counted on to pull out a football metaphor.
  • In the first episode of The Troop, a student's vocational test suggested he'd become an accountant. The student used accounting terms while voicing his objections to this.
  • The Big Bang Theory gang always manages to work scientific metaphors into life, to the constant frustration of the token cast member of normal intellect, Penny. One notable one is Schrödinger's Cat, which becomes a recurring theme and is the only scientific principle Penny can ever remember.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Video Games 
  • Nate Logan from the SSX series, a cornfed ranch hand from Colorado, often says things like "Durn horse threw a shoe!" after a wipeout.

    Web Animation 
  • Prior to his Flanderization into creepiness incarnate, Coach Z from Homestar Runner would overuse sports metaphors to the point that other characters started calling him out on it. From "The Best Decemberween Ever":
    Coach Z: Well, Homestar, I'll tell ya. Buying a Decemberween present for Strong Bad is like a great sports play.
    Homestar: Let me guess. I can't just rush into the score zone.
    Coach Z: Hey, that's right!
    Homestar: Coach! That's your answer for everything!
    • Later inverted in "No Hands On Deck!" Bubs suggests that once Homestar's deck is complete, they can hang out on it drinking melonade.
      Homestar: Hey, yeah, melonade! We haven't talked about that in a while! And maybe we can eat some marshmellows, too!
      Bubs: And I like to dance!

    Web Comics 
  • Pick an xkcd strip. If it's not part of the joke, odds are Randall is doing it without fully realizing.

    Western Animation 
  • The Mafia men of The Simpsons embody this trope. Fat Tony went so far as to say his wife was "whacked by natural causes". There was also a subversion in the same episode, as Tony asked Legs to "hot-sync" his PalmPilot, and Legs thought he meant to shoot it.
    Legs: I thought you meant *gcck* hot-sync it. You know how it is with us, everything means kill.
    • And the Sea Captain puts everything into nautical terms.
  • Hermes Conrad of Futurama infuses his everyday language with references to bureaucracy. He also throws in semi-fabricated Jamaican idioms.
    Hermes: Requisition me a beat!
  • This is rather endemic in Wakfu. Amalia uses metaphors and expressions based on plants all the time (later episodes show us that most Sadida are doing this). Likewise, Ruel's speech often alludes to money or wealth. Minor characters are also on it; Xav the Baker and his father Ratafouine are constantly referencing bread and baking. Even Nox isn't above making a few clocks or time-related quips.
  • Tom Tucker in Family Guy still speaks like a news reporter even while not reporting the news.
  • In Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Ronnie Raymond is a chemistry teacher who uses sports lingo in his classes, greatly confusing the students.

    Real Life 
  • One of the main reasons Tv Tropes Will Ruin Your Life.
  • Engineers are known to use highly technical jargon and verbiage outside of their work environment.
  • Anytime people from the same profession get together (even if they are retired), they're going to talk shop. Listening to such conversations can be an education in itself. Talking shop with someone not in your profession can also be quite illuminating, as you struggle to find ways to describe terms that, to you, are self describing in and of themselves.
  • Very true in the military. It's not the bathroom, it's the "latrine" or "head." It's not the floor, it's the "deck."
  • The old saying "swear like a sailor" is completely true. Some retired Navy personnel retain and use some very, ah, colorful and inventive profanities when injured, angry, or frustrated.
  • Anyone who works with children for a living can find it very hard to leave their "teacher voice" at work.


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