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->''"Well, you look nervous. Is it the scars? You wanna know how I got them?"''
-->-- '''ComicBook/TheJoker''', ''Film/TheDarkKnight''

Many times, when an author wishes to identify a certain character as a badass, said character will be given some sort of [[RuggedScar horrific permanent disfigurement]]. Most of the time, the disfigurement will stay unnoticed, possibly out of respect for he that is marked, or because the story behind it is [[YouDoNotWantToKnow too horrible for the others to imagine.]] But there always exists the chance that some bystander will [[SchmuckBait ask about the scar]], in which case the Badass is contractually obliged to explain it. When he is, expect the story to be long-winded, fantastical, and involving at least one CrowningMomentOfAwesome. In other words, a RememberWhenYouBlewUpASun moment.

SuperTrope to AScarToRemember, when the ''story'' has the ''scar''. Similar to ScarSurvey, but can occur between any two characters (not just hero/heroine) at any time (not just after sex). Can overlap with RuggedScar. In the case of RuggedScar, the story is not the important part, just the general fact that having the scar makes the character seem tougher.

For further scar-y goodness, see CoveredWithScars; GoodScarsEvilScars; ScarSurvey; and ScarsAreForever.



[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'':
** The character of Gouda Kazunto gets a chance to explain the particular disfigurement of his head, which includes a somewhat iconic pointy shape.
** Then, in Second Gig, Saito tells a group of poker players how he lost his eye.
* ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'':
** Ibiki Morino's scars are the result of being tortured and interrogated by enemy shinobi. The Land of Tea arc in the anime implies that some of his scars were pre-existing at the time of his encounter with Aoi.
** Gaara's "love" scar on his forehead happened when he attacked himself with his sand after an assassination attempt by his uncle.
** Kakashi has a scar over the eye he lost and replaced with a Sharingan. He received it saving Obito from an attack that would have likely killed him.
* ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'' - The titular Manslayer's signature cross scar marks him as who he is and the incidents that caused it made him decide to become a TechnicalPacifist.
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' has [[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Sc]][[NoNameGiven ar]] who received his scar after [[spoiler:his town was blown up by [[MadBomber Kimblee]]]].
* ''Manga/SgtFrog'' has Giroro's noticeable scar across his face, allegedly caused by Keroro
* Kurei in ''Manga/FlameOfRecca'' has his scar as a self inflicted injury as a sort of mark of shame for his failure to protect someone. However, no one has ever actually asked him directly how he got it, [[TakeOurWordforIt for good reason]] and the tale is told by one of his underlings.
* In ''Anime/WolfsRain'', Tsume has an X-shaped scar on his chest. Toboe continually bothers him to know its origin, but Tsume doesn't actually explain until one of the last episodes in the series. [[spoiler:It was a punishment from his former pack for his cowardice.]]
* In ''Manga/OnePiece'', when talking to Whitebeard, Shanks points to the scars over his eye and uses it as an example of how dangerous Marshal D. 'Blackbeard' Teach really is, as he was the one who caused the wound.
* In ''Manga/TheSevenDeadlySins'', the story behind Ban's very prominent scar is that he tried to take Meliodas' sword, a thing that is the latter's BerserkButton.
* ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'': [[BrokenBird Misato]] has a huge scar just below her ribcage, which along with the [[TragicKeepsake cross-shaped pendant left from her father]], is a painful reminder that she was at ground zero of [[ApocalypseHow the Second Impact]], as well as that she's the SoleSurvivor of the scientific expedition that [[UnwittingInstigatorOfDoom unintentionally triggered said disaster]]. In her mind, it is as much of a symbol of how ItsPersonal with [[MobySchtick her drive to kill all the Angels]] as it is an actual blemish on her skin.
* The upper body of ''Manga/BetrayalKnowsMyName''[='s=] Usui Shuusei is covered with nasty burn marks from when he interrupted [[spoiler: Hotsuma's suicide attempt.]] They occasionally pop up during more emotional scenes between the two of them and tend to provoke ItsAllMyFault moments in Hotsuma.
* Tokiko Tsumura of ''Manga/BusouRenkin'', by [[Creator/NobuhiroWatsuki the same mangaka]] as ''Manga/RurouniKenshin'', above, has a horizontal scar across her nose. In the series' DistantEpilogue she explains that it marks when she became an alchemist warrior. The subsequent flashback shows her getting gashed across the face by a humanoid homunculus, right before she instinctively activates her busou renkin in self-defense and juliennes him.
* Bleed Kaga from ''Anime/FutureGPXCyberFormula'' has his trademark crescent-shaped scar on his forehead, which is the product of a car explosion which killed his best friend as a result of the Zero Realm when Kaga failed to save him, and for many years he steered away from the skill.
* Hibiki Tachibana from ''Anime/SenkiZesshouSymphogear'' has a scar right about her breasts in the shape of a forte symbol. This scar is a reminder that Hibiki is the sole survivor of the Noise attack that killed Kanade and made Tsubasa a BrokenBird. It's also where Hibiki was impaled by the Gungnir shards that broke off from Kanade's armor.
* ''Manga/TokyoGhoul'':
** Ken Kaneki from has a large surgical scar on his abdomen, from the surgery that turned him into a HalfHumanHybrid. It stands out since his extreme HealingFactor means he doesn't have any other scars, even from the other injuries he received the night Rize attacked him.
** [[ScaryShinyGlasses Hachikawa]] wears a jacket with a high collar that covers the lower half of his face. When a subordinate confronts him about shooting at a civilian to attack [[RedBaron Black]] [[ArchEnemy Dog]], he yanks down the collar to reveal that he wears it because she once ripped away all the flesh around his mouth.
* ''Manga/{{Trigun}}'' - [[spoiler: Vash the Stampede]] gets walked in on while taking a shower, and the audience gets to see for the first time [[spoiler: the heavy price he pays for being a TechnicalPacifist]]; [[spoiler: he]] is covered in scars from the neck down and one arm turns out to be fake, having been blown off in a traumatic incident years ago.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ComicBook/JonahHex is horribly scarred. Typically, people tend to avoid asking how it happened but sometimes, there is the occasional person who is just too curious for his or her own good.
--> '''Bystander:''' Don't mean to pry, fella but how'd you get that scar?\\
'''Jonah Hex:''' [[DeadpanSnarker Bit my cheek, eat'n.]]
* ''Franchise/{{Batman}}'' has several scars and during the ''[[ComicBook/BatmanHush Hush]]'' storyline ComicBook/{{Catwoman}} sees them. We see that Two-face and ComicBook/TheJoker are tied to particular scars, as is [[DatingCatwoman Catwoman]], which they both treat as a fond memory.
* In ''ComicBook/{{Pouvoirpoint}}'': Quint, the grumpy chief cook of starship Entreprise-2061. The [[EyepatchOfPower one-eyed]] and [[HandicappedBadass one-armed]] sea-dog tells many [[CoveredWithScars dreadful war stories]], although we learn at the end [[spoiler:that he's one-armed from birth, and his scars come from the fact that it is quite difficult to cook with only one arm...]].

[[folder:Comic Strips]]
* ''ComicStrip/TheFarSide'': In one strip, a sailor is telling another of how he got his peg leg. The other sailor, however, has a peg [[FateWorseThanDeath head]].

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* The first quasi-romantic moment between Hanala'Jarva and Joachim Hoch in the ''Franchise/MassEffect'' fanfic ''[[http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8213106/8/Uplifted Uplifted]]''.
* Examples from ''Franchise/{{Naruto}}'' fanfics:
** Kurenai in ''[[https://www.fanfiction.net/s/9285638/3/Leftovers Leftovers]]'' has one on her from a BearTrap. She mentions that it's the reason she started studying traps as a hobby.
** ''FanFic/AGrowingAffection'' has two examples.
*** Due to his HealingFactor, Naruto only has one scar on him. [[spoiler: That is where he nearly stabbed himself through the heart to save Hinata from the Kyuubi. Hinata, understandably, loves this scar, and kisses it whenever she can.]]
*** Keiko Takamichi has some "cool battle scars" on her back, from where [[spoiler: Pein's Animal path hit her after she and her cousin finished off the Naraka path.]]
* In the ''VideoGame/StarTrekOnline'' fanfic ''Fanfic/BaitAndSwitchSTO'', this is the source of Captain Kanril Eleya's facial scars, along with one on her abdomen, is shown in a FlashbackNightmare in the first chapter. While repelling a boarding action she was slashed across the face then stabbed in the right kidney by a KnifeNut Orion matron.
* Subverted in the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic ''FanFic/{{Article 2}}''. Shane is a combat marine, and has a pretty hefty set of scars with stories to go with, but the stories are things like "lost a fistfight with a dumpster", "tried to do a handstand on a grocery cart and missed the dismount" and [[NoodleIncident "steak knife"]].
* We slowly learn the story behind some of Raegdan's multitude of scars in the ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' fanfic ''FanFic/{{The Lunar Guardsman}}''.
** He tells Twilight and her friends of the time he and a dying, giant cat creature fought each other as each was the other's last chance for food. He won but he has its teeth marks on his arm from when it bit him hard enough to break it.
** He has two large circular scars on his chest near his heart. One is from when one of Twilight's kidnappers shoved his horn in his chest. The larger one he got from a horn too, only this one he got from Celestia herself.
** A scar in his cheek is revealed to be from a bullet when he tried to kill himself.
** His missing pinkie finger. He forced Luna to bite it off as punishment.
* In the ''Series/{{Arrow}}'' fanfic ''[[http://archiveofourown.org/works/1768006/chapters/3782848 The Princess and Her Canary]]'', Felicity sees some of Nyssa's scars and asks the origins of them. Several of them came from the same incidents that gave Sara her scars. One came ''from'' Sara, in a sparring match...with real swords.
* Inverted in the ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' fanfic [[http://archiveofourown.org/works/907942 "In the Blood"]]. Sam Vimes [[CoveredInScars has too many scars to keep track of]], which ends up setting up the whole plot because he doesn't realise he's acquired another one during the events of ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant''... [[spoiler: Until he wakes up with twice his usual quota of legs, and eventually figures out he got it from getting scratched by a werewolf's tooth.]]
* The ''WesternAnimation/MiloMurphysLaw'' fanfic "[[https://archiveofourown.org/works/8555944 What Doesn't Kill Him]]" is a more lighthearted example: [[OnlySaneMan Zack]] is shocked to see that [[BornUnlucky Milo]] is CoveredInScars under his shirt, but Milo just thinks of them as reminders of his many "adventures."

[[folder:Films -- Animation]]
* A [[Literature/TheLionKingSixNewAdventures tie-in storybook]] based on Disney's ''Disney/TheLionKing'' actually explained how the villain got his scar in the first place. Scar, then known as "Taka", was jealous of his brother Mufasa and tried to get a wildebeest to attack him. Scar was the one who ended up attacked and was permanently left with a scar of his eye. Afterwards, he renamed himself "Scar".
* In ''Disney/TreasurePlanet'', Jim asks Long John Silver how he became a {{cyborg}}. Silver simply responds, "You give up a few things chasing a dream."
* In ''WesternAnimation/IceAge3DawnOfTheDinosaurs'', Buck tells the story of [[EyeScream how he lost his eye]] during his first encounter with Rudy.
* In ''WesternAnimation/HowToTrainYourDragon'', Gobber regails the Viking kids with stories of how his leg and hand were eaten by dragons.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The page quote, taken from ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', is one of several examples from the film. The Joker being the Joker, however, [[MultipleChoicePast the story changes every time he tells it]].
* In the live-action ''Film/OneHundredAndOneDalmatians'', Jasper tells Horace that Skinner has a horrible scar on his neck from where a dog nearly tore his throat out, rendering him mute, and [[TemptingFate warns Horace not to ask him about it.]] [[IgnoreTheDisability Horace immediately forgets this warning upon seeing the scar,]] and Jasper decks him.
* ''Film/{{Jaws}}''. Quint and Hooper show off their scars and explain how they received them. This leads to Quint telling the story of the ''USS Indianapolis''.
** Meanwhile, Brody surreptitiously checks his appendix scar.
* ''Film/PayItForward'': Mr. Simonetti explains that his face was disfigured [[spoiler:by his father ''freaking lighting him on fire'']].
* At the beginning of ''Film/IndianaJonesAndTheLastCrusade'', young Indy accidentally catches himself in the chin the first time he tries to use the iconic bullwhip, drawing blood and providing an in-universe explanation for actor Creator/HarrisonFord's RealLife scar.
* In the live-action ''Film/JonahHex'' film, when asked about his disfigurement, Jonah explains: [[DeadpanSnarker "Cut myself shavin'."]]
* In ''Film/RockNRolla'', [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Those Two]] [[TheMafiya Russian]] [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Bad Guys]] are introduced talking about their various scars, which come from things like bullet wounds, [[StuffBlowingUp grenades]], barb wire, and even [[SerialEscalation getting caught in tank tracks]]. One quickly gets the idea that they will be more than the misfit criminal protagonists have bargained for.
* Creator/ChuckNorris in a UsefulNotes/HongKong action movie. He's been arrested by the police who are listing his distinguishing marks for their report. In a clipped tone Chuck lists the cause of each scar as it's written down: gunshot, knife, pitchfork...
* ''Film/ShotgunStories'', a 2007 film starring Creator/MichaelShannon, is essentially named after this trope: Shannon's character has prominent scarring on his back from a shotgun blast, and several stories are told throughout the film, explaining them. Each story gives an alternate interpretation for who he is as a person, and for his motivations throughout the film.
* In ''Film/{{Chinatown}}'', Jake's nose is slashed by a gangster. Similar to Jonah Hex above, his answer whenever someone asks is "Cut myself shaving."
* ''Film/BlackCadillac'' has a RunningGag where Robby refuses to give a straight answer when asked where he got the scars on his face. At the end, [[spoiler: Scott reveals that they were the result of an accident they had while playing.]]
* ''Film/TheQuickAndTheDead'': Scars is this trope personified. Every time he shoots someone dead, he takes out a knife and gives himself a scar.
** There's also Spotted Horse, who does this [[BadassBoast to show he is]] ImmuneToBullets. [[spoiler: He's not, but doesn't go down easily.]]
* Invoked in ''Film/DragonTigerGate'' by Turbo Shek who has a scar on his face that he gave to himself in order to seem tougher and make others respect him. He gives several explanations for how he got it over the course of the movie.
* PlayedForLaughs (like everything else) in ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' when Peter Quill boasts of his manly scars, each of them amounting to "one of his flings injured him in a fit of anger."
* Invoked by Captain Jack Sparrow in a deleted scene from ''Film/PiratesOfTheCaribbeanTheCurseOfTheBlackPearl'' where Elizabeth asks him -- having learnt that his grand island escape was more of a three-day rum holiday - if any of the stories about him are even true. He pulls back his shirt to reveal a pirate brand on one arm, a huge scar down the other and two bullet scars on his chest, and replies, "No truth at all."
* In ''Film/PacificRim'', Hannibal Chau has scientist Newt sent to a public {{Kaiju}} shelter while he and his men use a private model. To demonstrate that he fully expects Newt to die, he shows him a scar over his left eye from the one time Hannibal used a public shelter.

* A pirate with a [[SeadogPegLeg peg leg]], a HookHand, and an eyepatch walks into a bar.
-->'''Bartender:''' What happened to your leg?\\
'''Pirate:''' That was the result of a fierce battle with a shark. I managed to fight him off, but he bit off my leg as a parting blow.\\
'''Bartender:''' And what happened to your hand?\\
'''Pirate:''' I lost that in a swordfight. The dread pirate UsefulNotes/{{Blackbeard}} engaged me in combat, and he got in the last move.\\
'''Bartender:''' And your eye?\\
'''Pirate:''' I was looking up and a seagull pooped in my eye.\\
'''Bartender:''' How did ''that'' take your eye out?\\
'''Pirate:''' It was my first day with the hook.
* Some OlderThanPrint historical anecdote tells about two kings (name forgotten) comparing their scars. The one boast about his fight with a lion in the arena. He looks at the even more impressive scars of his colleague and asks: "Lion, arena, too?" "No, Lamia, bed." (Not ''the'' [[Myth/GreekMythology Lamia]] - it was the name of his wife - but that was probably part of the joke too.)
* A Spanish joke: Un policia y un bombero entran en una cantina y se sientan cerca de un borracho. El policia muestra una cicatriz en su brazo y le dice al bombero, "Ves este? UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity." El bombero le muestra al policia una cicatriz en su pierna y le contesta, "Ves este? UsefulNotes/{{Boston}} City." Y el borracho, al ver y escuchar a los otros dos, se les acerca y levanta su camisa para mostrarles una cicatriz en la barriga y les dice, "Miren este - apendi citi."[[labelnote:English translation]]A policeman and a fireman walk into a bar and sit down near a drunk. The cop reveals a scar on his arm and says to the fireman, "See this one? New York City." The fireman shows the cop a scar on his leg and answers him, "See this one? Boston City." And the drunk, after seeing and hearing the other two, approaches them and lifts up his shirt to show them a scar on his belly before saying, "Look at this one - appendicitis."[[/labelnote]]

* Cira in ''Literature/ABrothersPrice'' got her scar(s) from [[spoiler: the incident which killed many members of her family.]] It's her reason for doing what she does, and it is ''also'' why she lost her lover. Jerin thinks it looks cool, though.
* Subverted big time in ''The Man with a Scar'' by Creator/WSomersetMaugham. The narrator notices the title man because of the scar and is told a long-winded, fantastical story about him, complete with a CrowningMomentOfAwesome - which nevertheless has nothing to do with the scar proper. Unlimately, the narrator exclaims: "Yes, but how did he get the scar?!" - "Oh, that was a bottle of ginger ale..."
* In ''Literature/DragonBlood'', [[spoiler: Tisala]] has very ugly scars on her hand from [[spoiler: being tortured, and an ensuing infection.]]
* Captain Ahab in ''Literature/MobyDick'', who lost his leg while grappling with the Great White Whale.
* Every member of the Seablite gang from ''Literature/DarkLife'' has a scar, all with the same story: [[spoiler: they're surgical scars from Doc Hudson cutting them open to see how their Dark Gifts work.]]
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
** The title character is famous for the lightning-bolt shaped scar he got when [[BigBad Voldemort]] tried to kill him as a baby; for [[ThePowerOfLove some reason]] the spell rebounded and "[[OnlyMostlyDead killed]]" Voldemort, leaving Harry with just that scar (which is doubly odd, since it's noted that usually the Killing Curse leaves corpses unmarked). Later in the series he also gets some scars on the back of his hands that read "''I must not tell lies,''" thanks to the wonderful teaching practices of [[TyrantTakesTheHelm Dolores Umbridge]].
** There's also Mad-Eye Moody's scars from his career spent fighting Death Eaters, and Lupin's facial scars (in the movies) are self-inflicted due to his transformations.
** Averted with Dumbledore's scar on his kneecap shaped precisely like UsefulNotes/TheLondonUnderground; it's mentioned offhand in the first chapter of the first book and then never explained or even referenced again.
* Many characters in ''Literature/ASongOfIceAndFire'' bear scars, and probably the most notable "how-I-got-these" story would go to Sandor Clegane, who decides it would be fun to tell Sansa all about how his brother held his face down in a lit brazier when they were kids. Sansa is not enthused.
* Harry Dresden from ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles''. At one point Anastasia sees him topless and touches each scar. He gives a short summary of what gave it to him. Even though he has a (very slow) HealingFactor, he still has lots of them.
** A bit more dramatic than most, because most or all of them weren't just random backstory, but happened in the series where the reader got to see it happen.
* Callie, the protagonist of ''Literature/{{Cut}}'' by Patricia [=McCormick=], has been sent to Sea Pines, a residential treatment facility, to deal with her SelfHarm problem. Callie mainly cuts herself on her arms, leaving scars that she tells the stories of to her therapist at one point in the book.
* Dustfinger from ''Literature/{{Inkheart}}'' may be a subversion. The story behind his facial scars is humiliating rather than awesome: [[spoiler:he was held down by a couple of thugs and carved up by a man who fancied his wife]]. He mentions several times that it was [[TheDragon Basta]] who "decorated" his face, but it's someone else who actually explains what happened.
* ''Literature/DarknessAtNoon'' tells the story of the scar on Gletkin's scull, which is too well-known that it need not be spoken by the characters:
-->When, during the Civil War, Gletkin had fallen into the enemy's hands, they had tied a lighted candlewick onto his shaven skull, to extract from him certain information. A few hours later his own people recaptured the position and found him unconscious. The wick had burnt right to the end; Gletkin had kept silence.
* In ''Literature/DeadWest'', The Porcelain Doctor's scars. He hates his scarred body, both because he thinks is unattractive and because he considers them the remnant of his failures. Gervas has a different opinion, and starts to realize that Niall is not just a fragile doll after seeing them. He is the one who interrogates the doctor about them, and even gets answers. Mostly horrific ones. The great scar on The Porcelain Doctor's hip and thigh is left by [[PantheraAwesome a domesticated tiger]] his cousin sicced on him, the star-shaped one on his shoulder and back was inflicted by a jealous classmate with a javelin, and there are the scars on his forearms, after the bites of their dogs after his brother's failed attempt to help him learn to train their dogs. The Merry Company mistakes the scars as evidence of ParentalAbuse for some reason.
* In the ''Literature/TawnyMan'' trilogy, Fitz is posing as the servant of a very effeminate nobleman. When a rookie soldier tries to make fun of him over the rumors that he's more than just a servant, all the experienced soldiers nearby take one look at his scars and try to talk the rookie down. At one point his injuries, and with it scars, are all magically healed. After taking one look at himself he magically puts the scars all back. Not because he is proud of them, but because he is instantly recognizable as a member of the royal family without them.
* The ''TabletopGame/{{Ironclaw}}'' novel ''Scars'' has some examples of course. Most notably the scars on main character Danica's fingertips from when her father ripped out her claws and cauterized the wounds, after she accidentally scratched her legitimate half-brother. And [[spoiler: Danica realizes that the supposed impostor of prince Fabrizio de Rinaldi is the real one when she recognizes the scars she gave him.]]
* In ''Literature/BillyBudd'', the [[OldSoldier Dansker]] received his scar serving under UsefulNotes/HoratioNelson:
-->As one of the boarding-party from the Agamemnon he had received a cut slantwise along one temple and cheek, leaving a long scar like a streak of dawn's light falling athwart the dark visage. It was on account of that scar and the affair in which it was known that he had received it, as well as from his blue-peppered complexion, that the Dansker went among the Indomitable's crew by the name of "Board-her-in-the-smoke."
* In ''Literature/ChronoHustle'' we don't get to hear the story, but Melinda uses the fact that she knows how Elliot got his scar, in order to get his daughter Mary to trust her.
* In ''Literature/{{Outlander}}'' Jaime bears extensive scars on his back from several bouts of whipping. His story is told several times, by himself and others.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/GameOfThrones'': Beric Dondarrion opens his shirt to show the scars created by his multiple deaths.
** Similarly, Jon Snow is left with big scars on his chest after his death and resurrection.
* A joke version occurs in ''Series/GetSmart'':
-->'''Hans Hunter:''' ''[re: his scar]'' Mr. Smart, have you ever heard of the Great White Rhino?\\
'''Maxwell Smart:''' That was done by the Great White Rhino?\\
'''Hunter:''' No, that was done by a small blue convertible.
:: They used the same joke another time, except it was a wooden leg and "The Great White Whale".
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Blackadder}}'', Redbeard Rum explains how he lost his legs... ''before'' revealing that he doesn't have any legs in the first place.
-->'''Redbeard Rum:''' ''[to Edmund]'' I'll wager those legs have never been sliced clean off by a falling sail, and swept into the sea before your very eyes!\\
'''Edmund Blackadder:''' Well, neither have yours.\\
'''Rum:''' That's where you're wrong!
* In the ''Series/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphia'' episode "[[Recap/ItsAlwaysSunnyInPhiladelphiaS06E03TheGangBuysABoat The Gang Buys a Boat]]", Mac decides to ask a sailor about his hook, thinking it will be a cool or interesting story.
-->'''Mac:''' So, how'd you lose that hand?\\
'''Sailor:''' Diabetes.
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'': Liz Lemon questions her ex-boyfriend how he got his hooks. He explains that he got one of them when he was in Africa working for Doctors Without Borders, by waving at his old high school football coach from a helicopter ("It looked just like a black version of him!"). The second story is unexplained, but involves explosives.
* ''Series/TheJeffersons''. Jennie is writing an article about gangs, and she starts to hang out with one. Each member has at least one scar, which they call "medals," and they are proud to show them to her and tell how they got them (in a knife fight, shot, etc.). One young trainee gang member doesn't have any medals yet but is looking forward to getting one in the next rumble - if he doesn't have a medal he can't become a full member of the gang. He ends up killed in the rumble.
* In an episode of ''Series/InSecurity'', Burt and N'udu compare scars. The causes range from protecting the Ligerian ambassador from a Ganzi assassin's bullet to falling off a roof.
* On ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', Spike has a scar on his eyebrow, mainly because his actor James Marsters received one in a mugging. Still, in "[[Recap/BuffyTheVampireSlayerS5E7FoolForLove Fool For Love]]", while Spike is telling flashback stories, one of them shows the character getting it during his fight with the Chinese Slayer during the Boxer Rebellion. Apparently, it was a magic sword.
* {{Averted}} in ''Series/{{Merlin|2008}}'' with Lancelot. When he shows up for the second time in the series he has a scar across his cheek, one that no-one ever comments on. When he turns up a season later for the third time, the scar is completely gone.
* ''Series/{{Arrow}}'':
** Ollie has horrible scars across his chest when he returns from the island, eventually explained as being the result of Deathstroke torturing him. A lot of the advertising of the series specifically invokes this trope.
*** The writers even go out of their way to show how he got the majority of them throughout the first five seasons through flashbacks (he receives a few more in the present).
** In "[[Recap/ArrowS2E14TimeOfDeath Time of Death]]", Ollie, Diggle, and [[spoiler:Sara]] share the origins of their various scars (IED, grenade, knives, bullets, etc.) Felicity proudly states that she has a scar...from getting her wisdom teeth removed (3 stitches!). Later she gets a real one when she [[TakingTheBullet takes a bullet]] for [[spoiler:Sara]] and seems rather happy about it.
** Oliie gets them all removed between Season 3-4, but they continue to appear in flashbacks until Season 6.
* ''Series/{{Leverage}}'' has this in "[[Recap/LeverageS02E07TheTwoLiveCrewJob The Two Live Crew Job]]", at the end when Eliot is comparing scar stories with his counterpart in the other crew. Turns out she may have given him one of his scars...
* In the ''Series/PersonOfInterest'' episode "[[Recap/PersonOfInterestS04E09 The Devil You Know]]", it turns out that {{Mafia}} boss Carl Elias' NumberTwo, Anthony "Scarface" Marconi, acquired the scar under his right eye in the process of killing his [[AbusiveParents abusive father]] to protect his mother.
* ''Series/BandOfBrothers''. In "The Breaking Point", a sergeant tells the NewMeat about the various injuries accumulated by members of Easy Company, many of which the audience has seen as they were inflicted. First Sergeant Lipton has a rather visible facial scar from the events of "Carentan".

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Traveller}}'', Aslan never fix cosmetic damage (which does not inhibit performance) on warships. They consider it an honorable career to raise its value. This applies even if the ship was purchased from humans and earned its scars in a human navy.
* In ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'', scars are a symbol of glory and honor. A good story can bring more renown if it's got a scar you can show off, and a wicked scar is always cooler if it's got a howl-worthy story behind it.
** And due to their HealingFactor only aggravated damage like fire, silver, or the claws of other werewolves leaves scars, practically guaranteeing a story behind each scar.

* In ''Theatre/HenryV'', Henry V invokes this in his famous St Crispin's Day Speech.
-->This day is call'd the feast of Crispian.\\
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,\\
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam'd,\\
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.\\
He that shall live this day, and see old age,\\
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,\\
And say "To-morrow is Saint Crispian."\\
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,\\\\
And say "These wounds I had on Crispian's day."
* In the musical ''Theatre/{{Violet}}'', we learn the story of the title character's disfigurement through flashbacks.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Evolve}}'' averts this in a TrollingCreator moment. How Hyde lost his eye is a common question among the fanbase, but he dodged the question when asked about it by another character.
* In ''VideoGame/FireEmblemTheSacredStones'', Gerik explains to Tethys that the scar on his nose comes [[spoiler: from his early days as a mercenary, where he arrogantly challenged a mighty badass fighter and was at the receiving end of a CurbStompBattle. The warrior decided to let him live, and Gerik took this as a signal that he was still a rookie and he should train/fight harder.]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheKingOfFighters'', we learn eventually that Clark uses SunglassesAtNight to hide a scar across his left eye. It comes from an incident where his partner Ralf was training with knives [[EyeScream and one of those hit Clark in the eye.]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaBreathOfTheWild'', King Dorephan of the [[FishPeople Zora]] has a prominent scar on his forehead that a stone tablet says he got when he threw a [[MechaMooks Guardian]] off of a cliff to defend Zora's Domain.
* Played for Laughs in a skit in ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheWorld Radiant Mythology'', when [[VideoGame/TalesOfRebirth Annie]] wonders what heroic story must be behind the scar on [[VideoGame/TalesOfLegendia Senel's]] face. After she leaves, Senel admits that he only got the scar [[RuleOfCool to look cool]].
* PlayedForDrama in the ''Citadel'' DLC for ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', as part of a TheReasonYouSuckSpeech towards the BigBad. [[spoiler:The villain is a clone of Shepard, grown by Cerberus as a replacement for the real Shepard. During the final boss fight, Shepard constantly tears apart the clone's attempts at trying to replace them. One of the reasons is the scars; Shepard points out that they got their scars through protecting the galaxy ([[ContinuityNod citing most of the major levels of all the previous games in the process]]), but the clone? "You got yours from a ''petri dish''!"]]
* ''VideoGame/MassEffectAndromeda:'' Nakmor Drack recounts getting a scar on his wrist from an incident in his pirate days, where he performed a complicated space-walking technique followed by taking a ship, even showing the scar to his teammate to prove it.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''WebAnimation/{{RWBY}}'''s Weiss has a small scar across her left eye. When Weiss's VA was asked about it, she dodged the question, replying that '[the fans] will find out.' [[TheLawOfConservationOfDetail This alone implies that it's significant]]. Given the hints in episode 15 [[spoiler:that Weiss's father is abusive]], a [[{{Fanon}} common]] fan theory is that he caused it.

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/HeartCore'' Actually starts off with one of these. It shows how Ame, once a happy and cheerful princess, was forced into a permanently scarring ritual by her father, costing her much of her powers and leaving her with large scars on her face and arms that never healed. [[{{Understatement}} This made her rather bitter against her dad.]]
* Anna from ''Webcomic/{{Sire}}'' has a highly visible scar running across her face. We learn she earned it in an attempt to kill herself with a letter opener after her Hyde-Child "sister" murdered their uncle.
* In ''Webcomic/MysteryBabylon'', Judas has a pair of scars under his eye in the shape of an inverted cross. It's only when he betrays the group that Kick Girl thinks to ask how he got them, and he reveals that they were self-inflicted: a symbol of devotion to Adrian, who is the {{Antichrist}} and whose Mark of the Beast is in the same shape and location.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* [[AntiVillain Zuko's]] scar in ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' came from when he spoke out of turn in a war council, protesting a plan involving sending a green regiment to their deaths for some tactical advantage, and his father the [[BigBad Fire Lord]] challenged him to an Agni Kai (a firebending duel) over it. Zuko refused to fight him, [[AbusiveParents and this was how his father punished him]].
* Lin from ''WesternAnimation/TheLegendOfKorra'' received two scars on her cheek when [[spoiler:she tried to arrest her half-sister, Su, who cut a metal cable connecting them which flew back and cut Lin by accident. It serves as a reminder of their estranged relationship. After we see a flashback of this, Lin and Su fight and reconcile in the present.]]
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
** Bart asks Herman, the gun shop owner, how he lost his arm. He replies, "You know how they tell you to keep your arms inside the bus?" According to the [[WordOfGod commentary]] on the DVD, this was going to be a running gag: Every time the character showed up he would be asked about his arm and [[MultipleChoicePast and he would have a different story everytime]]. However the second time, wherein he lost his arm in a bowling alley ball return, was cut and they never bothered to pursue it further.
** In "[[Recap/TheSimpsonsS22E10MomsIdLikeToForget Moms I'd Like to Forget]]", Bart goes to great lengths to learn the story behind a mysterious scar on his hand.
* The ''Film/{{Jaws}}'' example is spoofed in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/EekTheCat'', where everyone is grossed out by Eek's scar (a paper cut).
* In ''WesternAnimation/ThunderCats2011'', Panthro comments that there's "a lot of history" in the scars on his arms, [[spoiler:which is the part he misses the most after sacrificing them to trap Grune inside the collapsing Astral Plane.]]
* In ''WesternAnimation/StarWarsCloneWars'', Anakin Skywalker receives a scar across his right eye from a lightsaber battle with Asajj Ventress. This carries over into ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'', where Hayden Christensen sports the scar over his right eye.
* Ratchet from ''WesternAnimation/TransformersAnimated'' has a broken crest on his head and a patch of exposed circuitry on his arm due to an old run-in with [[PsychoForHire Lockdown]]. The incident involved [[MyGreatestFailure his greatest failure]].
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'': In "Stew-Roids" Meg tells Connie the story behind how her bullying made her cut herself.
* In ''WesternAnimation/ScoobyDooMysteryIncorporated'', [[BigBad Professor Pericles]] has a scar over his left eye, cementing his creepiness. At the end of the first season, we learn how he got it: [[spoiler:After they worked together to blackmail the original Mystery Inc. for a piece of the Planespheric Disk, [[BewareTheSillyOnes a young Fred Jones Sr.]] betrayed him and beat him up]]. It more or less serves as a reminder that the person who gave him his scar is a MinorMajorCharacter in the show's MythArc.