Magic Franchise Word


Something will come out that uses a slightly-less-than-common word in the dialog. It's a perfectly good word, but the fact that it's not in peoples' everyday vocabulary makes it stick out. This has two effects:

  1. The fans use it over and over again until everyone else is sick of hearing it.
  2. The word becomes associated with the franchise itself, and people will commonly think of the franchise after hearing the word in conversation, similar to One Mario Limit.

Very likely to become subject to Memetic Mutation. The shortest type of Catch Phrase.

See also Author Catch Phrase. Author Vocabulary Calendar may be the cause of this.


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  • "Daijoubu" (Hikari (Dawn) from the original version of Pokémon).
  • "Desu" will forever be associated with Suiseiseki of Rozen Maiden, to the point that it's her Fan Nickname.
  • Durarara!! fans certainly have a thing for vending machines.
  • Tiger & Bunny fans appear to have commandeered the phrase "princess carry" thanks to Barnaby's tendency to employ these — usually on Kotetsu
  • Mention Axis Powers Hetalia to any fan, and you will probably hear several "Pasta!"s
  • Digimon has Izzy's catchphrase, "Prodigious!"
    • Also "momentai" (Cantonese for "relax"/"take it easy"/"not a problem"), used by Terriermon in Digimon Tamers (both original and dub versions).
  • Higurashi: When They Cry has "USODA!"
  • Hear someone 'rejoice' about finding 'joy' or 'yuetsu', or maybe just find things really 'COOL!'? They've probably read or watched Fate/Zero.
  • Yu Gi Oh ZEXAL has "kattobingu", a made-up word that serves as Yuma's catchphrase.

    Comic Books 
  • Teen Titans fans can be easily spotted in a crowd by their willingness to use of 'glorious' in day to day speech without a trace of irony.


  • There's a bit of a shibboleth effect going in Sherlock Holmes fandom. Milder fans or subjects of Popcultural Osmosis will say "elementary", while the harder fans will say "singular".
  • "Phony" is the favorite word of Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye.
  • "Humbug" has long vanished from common English usage, and is now only remembered exclusively for its usage in A Christmas Carol.
    • Although it's still the name of a stripy mint in the UK. Said mints are commonly sold in the Houses of Parliament, because of an old tradition that impolite language was not permitted - so instead of swearing, they would call one another humbug. Still, A Christmas Carol is the first thing anyone thinks of when buying them.
  • Many words man was probably never meant to know, such as "Eldritch", "Cyclopean", "Squamous", and "Rugose", have crawled from the depths of HP Lovecraft's works and the the expanded Cthulhu Mythos universe.
    • Parodied in Munchkin Cthulhu, where Squamous and Rugose are modifiers that can be played on monsters, and the artwork is the investigator looking in the dictionary.
  • "Leverage" from Battlefield Earth.
  • Twilight:
    • So much "chagrin".
    • "Dazzle". "Chagrining my dazzle" has become a somewhat popular phrase among the hatedom and the guilty-pleasuredom.
    • "Sparkle". If you know only one thing about Twilight, it's probably the sparkling vampires.
      • Although "Twilight Sparkle" might be on its way to being a multiple reference word (see below).
  • God's "ineffable" plans in Good Omens, which even the angels and demons aren't completely informed of.
  • The Discworld has something of a Magic Franchise Mis-spelling in "pune, or play on words". Also "bugger", while an almost universally-known if not all that common minor swearword, is sometimes associated with Discworld since it gets used more often than pretty-much any other swear throughout the series.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land has the Martian word 'grok' which generally means 'understand' but with a deeper connotation, 'to become one with'
  • Breakfast of Champions has "bad chemicals."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Battlestar Galactica with "frak". Not the first time it was used as a science-fiction swear-word, but the most popular and most closely associated.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus has helped permanently modify the meaning of "Spam."
  • "Awesome" and "Legendary" for How I Met Your Mother.
  • 'Shiny' from Joss Whedon's Firefly. Some fans use it extensively, to the point that their friends say it regularly as well. Also, "ruttin'" and "gorram".
  • Star Trek:
    • The Vulcans want things to be "logical" (captain), or else "Fascinating". Continued as a generational thing by The Next Generation's Data.
    • The Borg have assimilated the word "assimilate".
  • Doctor Who:
    • There may be no-one in Britain who doesn't associate the word "EXTERMINATE!" with the Daleks.
    • The Ninth Doctor introduced the term "Fantastic!" into some non-British fans' lexicons.
    • And the Tenth Doctor has been determined to do the same with "Allons-y!"
    • Let's not leave out the Eleventh Doctor, who has been known to let loose with "GERONIMO!"
    • Fans of the older actors, particularly Tom Baker, will be particularly fond of the word "indomitable".
  • Father Ted, though, can "feck" off.
  • Juken Sentai Gekiranger fans will think of Gou-san (GekiViolet) at the mention of "Maitaze" and Ken-san (GekiChopper) for "Ossu!"
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers claimed the word "morph", except in the minds of British audiences old enough to think of it as a Plasticine stop-motion character. The first year also introduced the word "morphenominal," but that one faded out pretty quickly.
  • Wayne's World averted this trope. NOT!! "Schwing!"
  • Similarly, Red Dwarf's "smeg" and "smeghead".
  • For a time, this applied to the "Danger Island" segments in The Banana Splits Adventure Hour with "Uh, oh! Chongo!"
  • Gavin and Stacey: "Tidy", "Lush" "[What's] occurring?".
  • For Kamen Rider, it's "Henshin!"
  • There are "particulates" all over the place in Bones, especially when Hodgins is involved. Semi-justified, since Hodgins is the particulate expert (and the other members of the team probably picked the word up from him, or possibly just talk about particulates more on account of having a particulate expert on the team), but its kinda weird when one-off local law enforcement characters who have never met him talk about finding them.

  • "Ecch!" in MAD.

  • Trope, from an obscure wiki dedicated to the conventions and devices in narrative of all forms. And the profusion of lampshades mean that editors might think of the site before home decor; it's so widely used that it's in the logo. To add more to this example would be egregious.

    Tabletop Games 


    Video Games 
  • Portal, and its fandom, makes a lot of hay out of "neurotoxin", "euthanised" and "aperture". Don't even start with the cake.
  • NBA Jam: "BOOM-shakalaka!"
  • Courtesy of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, "Objection!" has become the signature phrase for Courtroom Dramas, along with the reply, "Overruled!". Like this.
    • Also, "Sidebar."
  • "Dood" to anyone who ever played Disgaea.
  • "Absurd!" was abused in Soul Calibur 3 (and only 3), possibly because the localizers lost their thesaurus.
  • In Fire Emblem fan fic, especially post-Awakening, there seems to be a common occurrence of "dastard" and "gods!".

    Web Comics 
  • Homestuck involves a lot of made-up words, many of which go on to become very popular with the fandom, but probably the most common is "Fuckass".
    • There's also the frequent use of certain uncommon words such as "abscond" and "strife".
  • El Goonish Shive has "sexy awesome", originally a Forced Meme by the creator but still used within the fanbase and on the forums.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Futurama has "boned" as a catchphrase of the three central characters.
  • "D'oh!" in The Simpsons. The word existed before Homer used it, but it has since spread around the world as a universal expression of messing up.
  • South Park's memetic "Derp".
  • Ending sentences with the word "yesss", like Beast Wars Megatron.
  • Pinky and the Brain briefly popularized Pinky's favorite Verbal Tics "narf!", "zort!" and "poit!"
  • Stephen Colbert thought that his second character in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law wouldn't be very important, til "HA! HA! Dangly parts!" appeared on T-shirts and made him and [adult swim] famous.
  • Reboot attempted to convert a wide variety of computer-related terms into magic franchise words, generally through misapplying them in conversation as false cognates feasible enough to warrant suspension of disbelief. Perhaps the most ostentatious of these was Enzo Matrix's exultant "Alphanumeric!" - a catchphrase that was later lampshaded shortly after Enzo underwent his Time Skip.
    • Less straightforward are the magic franchise words "Megabyte" and "Hexadecimal"; also computer terms, but applied as names of characters. However, since the characters in question were for the most part the show's two main villains, the words did come up often in conversation, frequently delivered alone with obvious implications left unsaid.

Multiple reference words

The same word is sometimes picked up by a series of different works, sometimes as a reference to earlier uses, sometimes because they're inherently appealing, sometimes just by coincidence.