1 Days Left to Support a Troper-Created Project : Personal Space (discuss)

Insistent Terminology


Soap: What sort of pub is this then?
Barkeep: It's a Samoan pub.
Bacon: ...What's that?
Barkeep: It's a cocktail. You asked for a cocktail.
Bacon: No, I asked you to give me a refreshing drink. I wasn't expecting a fucking rainforest. You could fall in love with an orangutan in that.
Barkeep: You want a pint, go to the pub.
Bacon: (Beat) ...I thought this was a pub.
Barkeep: It's a Samoan pub.

Hey, we aren't "describing" Insistent Terminology, we are "articulating" it!

A character constantly corrects a word (fine, if you say it's called a term, then it's called a term) used in their introduction or any speech that otherwise refers to them, but never seems to stop (all right, keep) anyone else from using it. Sometimes this is because they could be called something people see as unflattering or a poor choice of words.

Occasionally this extends into a species joke, where an alien or funny animal corrects others about some stereotypical aspect. Can also be done with a person whose name has an unusual pronunciation — see It Is Pronounced Tro PAY.

Compare with Don't Call Me Sir, They Call Me Mister Tibbs, and Do Not Call Me Paul; compare and contrast with Less Embarrassing Term. Spell My Name with a "The", It Is Pronounced Tro PAY, I Am Big Boned, Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word, No, Except Yes, Not Using the Z Word and I Am Not Weasel are specific subtropes of this. See also She Is Not My Girlfriend. For the equivalent in any given community of aficionados (all right, the fandom), see Fandom Berserk Button. For the "adult" version, see It's Not Porn, It's Art.

Example Subpages, Not Sections on Where This Trope Pops up in Assorted Media

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    This is not Advertising. This is Marketing Communication. 
  • An M&Ms ad featured a PSA on how people insist what their jobs should be called:
    Girl: I'm not a babysitter; I'm a domestic caregiver.
    Man: I'm not a clown; I'm a child entertainer.
    Red: I'm not a plain M&M; I am a milk chocolate M&M.

    Fan fiction is so last year. They are Emulative Works. 
  • Wizard Lenin asserts on multiple occasions that he has a name. It is Tom Riddle. Or Lord Voldemort if you feel like groveling a bit. But, no, Lily knows that it doesn't fit his sense of gravitas- he is Wizard Lenin and Wizard Lenin he shall be.
  • In Vapors Aiko Uzumaki refers to Kakashi as "shishou," and only Kakashi. When Jiraiya tries to make him call her that, she snaps at him and only uses "sensei".
  • Pretty Cure Perfume Preppy:
    Chiara: I'm not flat! Just in development!
    • And in episode 15...
    Ayameko: IT! WASN'T! A! DATE! Just a stupid fancy dinner! Nothing else!
  • It’s Portunes! In the Worm fanfic ASkitteringHeart the hero Assault forgets Taylor’s cape name (Portunes) when giving a TV interview after meeting her and he calls her Keynote. Everyone subsequently calls Taylor Keynote despite her constant attempts to correct them.

    "Folklore" Carries Fewer Negative Connotations than "Tales Common to One People" 
  • In one folk tale, it's said that the Chinese used to give extravagant names to their firstborn sons but very plain names to their younger children. So when Chang, the second-born, sees his brother, Tikki-tikki-tembo-no-sa-rembo-chari-bari-ruchi-pip-peri-pembo, fall into the well, he tries to tell his mother... only to be repeatedly told to give his brother the proper respect by saying his name properly. In the aftermath (the kid was alive, but suffered a terrible cold), the Chinese culture changed to where even firstborns had short, sensible names... like Chang.
    • "Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo" was the first child's name, according to The Other Wiki. While claimed to be Chinese, about the only thing anybody agrees on about the tale's origins is the impossibility of it being Chinese.
    • In the original version of the story, Tikki-Tikki-Tembo died because his brother kept running out of breath trying to say the absurdly long name and had to start all over again each time he tried to say it.
    • It may originate from the Japanese folktale/comedy piece of Jugemu... short for Jugemu Jugemu Gokō-no surikire Kaijarisuigyo-no Suigyōmatsu Unraimatsu Fūraimatsu Kuunerutokoro-ni Sumutokoro Yaburakōji-no burakōji Paipopaipo Paipo-no-shūringan Shūringan-no Gūrindai Gūrindai-no Ponpokopī-no Ponpokonā-no Chōkyūmei-no Chōsuke.
    • The story has been retold numerous times, both by word of mouth and in published form, and has acquired a large number of variations because of it. Versions differ on whether the child lives or dies, and the specific manner in which his rescue is delayed varies as well (though it is always due to multiple repetitions of the very long name). The various names attributed to the unfortunate kid include Nikki Nikki Tembo No So Rembo Oo Ma Moochi Gamma Gamma Goochi, Sticky Sticky Stumbo Nos E Rumbo E Pro Pennyo Hara Bara Brisko Nicky Prom Po Nish No Menyo Dumbricko, and Ikky Bikky Stumbo Nozo Rumbo Addy Baddy Basco Tana Rama Tasco, among others. There are even non-Chinese versions, which in retrospect show their roots a bit, such as "Eddie Coochie Catchie Cama Toka Nera Toka Noka Sama Kama Wacky Brown".

    They Are Newspaper Comics, Not Funny Pages 

    They're not Puppet Shows. They're programs featuring life-like figures attached to strings. 
  • On "Rabbit's Happy Birthday Party" from The Book of Pooh, Pooh and Piglet get lost while trying to get to Rabbit's house. Pooh, however, assures Piglet that they're not lost. They just have no idea where they are.
    Piglet: (sighs with relief) At least we're not lost. ... But, uh, what will we do?

    It's Called Stand-Up Comedy. Only an Uneducated Buffoon Would Refer to It as Idiots on Stage Complaining About Airline Food. 
  • Scottish comedian Danny Bhoy once ran into a renowned Bollywood director at a bar, and wondered if he could ask him a question about Bollywood. The director became very angry and said that he considers "Bollywood" an offensive term, and that the proper term is "Indian Cinema". Danny profusely apologized, saying he had no idea, and wondered if he could still ask his question. The director gives him permission, so Danny asks "Why is... Indian Cinema... shit?". Needless to say, the director wasn't any happier now that Danny was using the proper term.

    They Are Tabletop Games, NOT Things Which Use Boards, Cards and Dice 
  • Rampant in Mage: The Ascension. First, you have the terminology split between the Council of Nine Traditions and the Technocratic Union — "Enlightened Science" versus "Magic," "Reality Deviant" versus "Mage," and so on. Then, you get into the hairsplitting between a given Tradition or Convention over specific items — there are four different terms for Paradox amongst the Technocrats (only Iteration X and the NWO use the same term), each group has its own specific term for an Avatar, and so on.
  • In the prodigious backstory of Warhammer, there was once a great war between the elves and the dwarfs. While the war was inevitable due to deep social, economic and cultural differences, an overly arrogant elven king and some too-stubborn dwarf lords, helped with a dark elven False Flag Operation, the straw that broke the camel's back was when said elven king had the dwarven emissary to his court shaved for his own amusement. The subsequent war is known as "the War of Vengeance" to the dwarfs, who do not take kindly to use of the more common elven term, "the War of the Beard".

    This Is the Theater. This Is Not an Aggregation of Stories Being Acted Out on Stage. 
  • Les Misérables: In response to being addressed by his prison number (24601), Valjean says "My name is Jean Valjean."
    • Conversely, Inspector Javert makes a point of calling Valjean "24601" on several occasions.
  • In the musical version of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Englishman Sir Percy Blakeney (a.k.a. the Scarlet Pimpernel) continually refers to his rival, the Frenchman Chauvelin, as "Mr. Shovelin".
  • The25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee: William Barfee constantly reminds Panch and Peretti that his name is always pronounced Bar-FAY. There's an acute accent.
  • An old Vaudeville joke involves a man who thinks he's found his long-lost friend. The straight man says nothing except "I'm not Rappaport", thereby giving the joke its name. It also inspired a successful play in The '80s as well as a film starring Walter Matthau.
    Joker: Hey, Rappaport! I haven't seen you in ages. How have you been?
    Straight man: I'm not Rappaport.
    Joker: Rappaport, what happened to you? You used to be a short fat guy, and now you're a tall skinny guy.
    Straight man: I'm not Rappaport.
    Joker: Rappaport, you used to be a young guy with a beard, and now you're an old guy with a mustache.
    Straight man: I'm not Rappaport.
    Joker: Rappaport, how has this happened? You used to be a cowardly little white guy, and now you're a big imposing black guy.
    Straight man: I'm not Rappaport.
    Joker: And you changed your name, too!
    • This act was then turned on its head by French Canadian absurdist comedy duo Les Denis Drolet, where one of the two would insist the other is named "Jacques" despite the other's protestations that his name is "Jean", and they would argue back and forth like this for a couple minutes until "Jean" finally realizes he'd been mistaken and his name was indeed "Jacques".

    They're Toys, Not Action Figures 
  • Berix in BIONICLE: The Legend Reborn isn't a thief; he's a "collector"!
    • Real-life Bionicle example, no longer in effect: the Toa carried tools, not weapons. LEGO was very cautious about this, because the word "weapon" apparently carries a less family-friendly meaning. When their violence-policy changed around 2006, it became free to use, and, just as well, the storyline suddenly became a lot more gorier.
  • Toys such as G.I. Joe and the Transformers, which are marketed for boys, are not dolls. They are ACTION FIGURES. Dolls are toys that girls play with, such as Barbie or Polly Pocket.
  • You don't have Legos; you have LEGO® Bricks or LEGO® toys. This is a little bit of Stuck on Band-Aid Brand.

    Call It Web Animation, Not Internet Cartoons 
  • Due to Vexusdylan's original channel being inaccessible, DSBT InsaniT, from episode 3 onward, refers to the creator as 'Vexusdylan DA SECOND' (his current account name). This rule is usually enforced by Andy.
  • Fucking Rachel Tice.
  • Donut of Red vs. Blue insists that his armor is not pink; it is lightish red.
  • The "Só Levando" series.
    • In a season, a hospital was illegally recycling gauze. The employee in charge of collecting the used gauze insisted on describing his job as a "gauze collector" but everybody else called him a garbageman.
  • Ultra Fast Pony. The episode "Gelatin Swingsets" has a running gag with Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo arguing over the proper shortened form of "gelatin": "jelly" or "jello".
  • RWBY:
    • Bartholomew Oobleck is to be addressed as Doctor, not Professor. He worked hard for his PhD.
    • Neptune's not a nerd, he's an intellectual.
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device: When dealing with the Emperor, it's never just Horus; it's always Fucking Horus. He has good reasons to be mad even to this day, however.
    • Marneus Calgar, the Chapter Master of Ultramarines, is not Marneus Calgar - he's Papa Smurf.