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Person as Verb

"You've been wrong so many times that I'm not even going to say something is wrong anymore. I'm going to say that it's 'Dorian.'"
Dr. Cox, to John Dorian, Scrubs

Pop culture can be an interesting thing. Slang is in a constant state of flux, always changing. But for some things that stand the test of time, it will be adapted into our descriptive terminology.

Person as Verb is the practice of describing an action using a cultural reference — typically by naming a character known for doing the same thing. The name of the show/book/whatever, or the writer/actor/whatever, may also be used. Often the exact usage will be "They just pulled a...(character-name)" or "They did a... (character-name)."

This is best used when it comes to the more universally understood terms. For example, instead of saying "Bob fell down the chimney", someone will say "Bob pulled a Santa Claus". In other times, just to play with this trope, writers will put in the most obscure reference to throw people off. A closely related use of this trope is to acknowledge the actual reference instead of just using it as a substitute, e.g. "So... is Santa Claus your hero?"

This trope is widespread in Real Life, as the Real Life examples would suggest.

It also happens on this wiki itself (such as with "MacGyvering" or "McLeaned") - we call this being a Trope Namer.

Related to Buffy Speak. Compare Popcultural Osmosis, The Catch Phrase Catches On, Malaproper, Memetic Mutation and Weird Al Effect. Stuck on Band-Aid Brand is this trope in real life, applied to brand-name products. Also check out the various Self-Referential Humor tropes.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • The English translation of one of the later volumes of Love Hina has Naru screaming at Keitaro "Don't go all Shinji on me!", when our hero is being mopier than usual.
  • The Lupin III (Red Jacket) English translation would occasionally give some gems in the dialogue. After performing a daring but unnecessary car stunt, Lupin and Goemon looked at Jigen and asked what he was doing. With a sly grin he replied, "I was inspired by the spirit of Steve McQueen."
  • In Azumanga Daioh, Yukari, tired of teaching language (and unable to teach Math), drags everybody out into the cold for some P.E.. The first game? Soccer. When Tomo asks Yukari if she even knows the rules, she says "I'm Pelé" (manga, ADV translation), "I'm Mia Hamm" (anime, ADV translation), or "I'm Nakata" (anime, original). In any case, Tomo doesn't know what Yukari is talking about.
  • One chapter of Katekyo Hitman Reborn! has Tsuna's mother "pulling a Yamamoto". (Which is to cheerily come up with a mundane explanation for the obviously dangerous situation at hand.)
  • In No Matter How I Look at It, It's You Guys' Fault I'm Not Popular the main character, Kuroki, attempts to stand out out more in class by performing so wacky introductions. For her efforts, her name becomes synonymous in her class for doing something exceptionally poorly.

    Art 

    Comic Books 
  • A JLA comic had Green Lantern moan to himself, "Doctor Light pulled a Houdini on me."
  • In one issue of her comic book, Flare says of a script titled The Romance of Venus: "I wouldn't want it to be like Vanna in that TV movie, though."
  • In Booster Gold #1, second series, the title character mentions he "pulled a Pete Ross" when he had to lose a football game on purpose.
  • Batman is known for vanishing abruptly while in the middle of a conversation. So when Nightwing, his first protege, does it to him, he smiles and mutters "Kid pulled a me".
  • The Adventures of Johnny Bunko involves Johnny's surname becoming a verb at his workplace for "to mess up". A little career advice from a helpful fairy later turns it into something positive.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 
  • In Wreck-It Ralph, people who find out about Ralph's game-jumping accuse him of "going turbo". It turns out to refer to a previous video game character named Turbo who once pulled the same stunt and got two games shut down (for being "out of order"- the one Turbo left had lost its Player Character, and the one he entered got a gameplay disrupting glitch) in the process.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Fugitive with Tommy Lee Jones: "He did a Peter Pan right off this dam here." Earlier, of a train driver: "Bet he did a Casey Jones."
  • In The Matrix Reloaded, Neo was "doing his Superman thang."
  • In Twelve Monkeys, Bruce Willis' character is referred to as having "pulled a Houdini." He was a time traveler, and got pulled back out of impossible-to-escape restraints.
  • The two protagonists of Gerry are named Gerry and Jerry. It becomes clear that in the personal argot of their friendship, a "Gerry" has come to mean an incident of getting turned around and hopelessly lost somewhere, and that the film's title actually refers to this term.
  • In Man Of The House, a pair of the cheerleaders are being dragged back to the house after starting to get in a barfight, and complains about being 'rescued' by saying "I was about to go all Buffy on his ass."
  • In It's a Wonderful Life there's a reference to Clarence having "pulled a Brodie" — period slang for jumping off a bridge, after New York bridge-jumper Steve Brodie.
  • In The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Dave spills water on his pants after witnessing the confrontation between Baltazaar and Horvath and everyone believes that he wet himself. Even ten years later, kids in grade school still call having a nervous breakdown "pulling a Dave Stutler."
  • In The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, when Flynn is resurrected, Lodge (the Game Master) notes that "Flynn pulls a Lazarus."

    Literature 
  • At the end of Stephen King's Carrie, it's said that "to rip off a Carrie" passed into teen slang, meaning "to commit arson".
    • Life Imitates Art, but twisted: "Pulling a Carrie," or "going Carrie on [something]," actually did become synonymous with someone acting crazy after being humiliated.
    • This one's become so well-travelled that it even appears in the Kare Kano manga as a visual-only metaphor for someone snapping under the strain of having perfectionist, controlling parents.
    • Oddly enough, to "Carrie someone" usually refers to the act of inflicting such humiliation on the person rather than the act of retaliation. For example, in an episode of 30 Rock, Liz's former high school friends attempt to dump chocolate on her head and refer to it as "Carrie-ing her".
      • This was probably referring to the part in Carrie where they dumped pig's blood on her head to humiliate her.
  • In the Meg Cabot novel How to Be Popular, the phrase "Don't pull a Steph Landry" is the basis for the entire plot.
  • Played with in Dave Barry Slept Here, describing the occasion of the signing of the Declaration of Independence on the first July Fourth (October 8, 1776): "The members took turns lighting sparklers and signing their John Hancocks to the Declaration, with one prankster even going so far as to actually write 'John Hancock.'"
  • The first modern novel, Don Quixote, inspired the adjective "quixotic", which means to be an ordinary person with grandiose or impossible dreams. However, at least one dictionary uses "quixote" as a lower-case noun with the same connotation. "He's such a quixote."
  • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: "One more lesson like that and I just might do a Weasley." (After Fred and George drop out in spectacular fashion.)
  • Done rather cruelly in Flowers for Algernon: Pulling a "Charlie Gordon" is messing up (Charlie himself doesn't get it, since the guy pulling a Charlie dropped a bunch of boxes, which he didn't do).
  • From one of the Dinotopia books, any instance of Ain't No Rule or Loophole Abuse is referred to as "Pulling an Andrew", after said Andrew wins an obstacle course race against a far more athletic dinosaur by simple virtue of ignoring the obstacles and running down the straightaway between the courses.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • Jim Butcher says on this page about writing the middle of a novel: "It lurks between the beginning of your book and the exciting conclusion, and its mission in life is to Atreyu you right down into the yucky, mucky mire in order to prevent you from ever actually finishing." The mire was a swamp in the middle of the book that would suck in and trap anyone like a tar pit unless they had a certain frame of mind.
    • Harry Dresden in the novels, many times. Like the time he tosses a stake to Inari and tells her to "make like Buffy."
    • "To Dresden" means accidentally causing severe property damage, in-universe.
  • Towards the end of Rob Grant's Colony, the main character comes up with a plan to save the ship that everyone comes to know as "The Morton Maneuvre." He however believes that if the plan fails, then the term "Morton Maneuvre" will forever be associated with spectacular failures such as the Charge Of The Light Brigade and the Hindenburg (which he reckons should have been called the Mortonburg).
  • In The View from Saturday, Luke Potter is such a genius that the whole school is convinced he will do something incredible that his name will come to be associated with.
    Half the population of Epiphany is convinced that Luke Potter will become so famous that his name will become a noun like Kleenex or Coke. The other half is convinced that Luke Potter will become a verb like Xerox or fax. And if someday, someone says, "Luke me that information, please," that information will be organized, memorized, and set to music.
  • In Crysis: Legion Colonel Barclay notes that the Ceph are Dangerously Genre Savvy enough to remove both macrofauna (read: humans and animals) and microbes, obviously having got their tentacles on The War of the Worlds sometime. Hilariously, Dr Gould the scientist doesn't get it at first.
  • Little Green Men has a footnote explaining what the neologism "Bobbitting" means.
  • In the Discworld novels, Ankh-Morpork slang for "mad" is "completely Bursar". Also mad, as in angry, is referred to as going Librarian (pun on 'going ape', as he's an orang-utan).
  • In Edgar Allan Poe's short story "Metzengerstein," it is said that the eponymous baron's behavior "out-Heroded Herod," a phrase which, as mentioned above, originated in William Shakespeare's Hamlet.
  • In The Red Badge of Courage, Henry, after running away from a battle, fears that his name will become "a slang phrase" for cowardice.
  • In The Iliad, Apollo, while in the guise of one of Hector's friends, tries to rile him up by accusing him of being "in fight a Paris".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Smallville does this all the time. Clark was beaten up badly after losing his powers and Chloe remarked, "You said it was bad but not Raging Bull bad."
    • This show, and Chloe's character in particular, do this a lot. Lois picked up the habit when she began trying to be a journalist. When the two talk it's crazy.
  • Peep Show has this double whammy:
    Mark's Dad: [spills a bit of his drink] Oh, for fudge's sake!
    Mark: It's OK, Dad, the carpet's seen worse.
    Sarah: You Jezzed the carpet just like you Jezzed the directions, Dad!
    Jez: Erm, Jezzed?
    Mark's Mum: We got it from Mark, didn't we, Mark?
    Jez:Oh, right. So, uh... it's when you...
    Mark's Mum:When you get something wrong - he Jezzed it.
    Mark's Dad: Total balls-up, a real Jezzing.
    Jez:Right. Yeah. Yeah, that is funny. Sort of a bit like being famous.
    [Doorbell rings]
    Jez: I'll go and see who that is. Let's hope I don't Jez it, or do a big Mark in my pants.
  • Community has something similar to the Peep Show example above:
    • When Britta got the group's personality tests back with weird results in the episode "Horror Fiction in Seven Spooky Steps":
      Jeff: You probably just Britta'd the results somehow.
      Britta: No, I double-checked them... wait, are people using my name to mean "make a small mistake"?
      Jeff: (Shifty-eyed) ...yes.
    • Later in the same episode:
      Britta: We learned an important lesson tonight. We should never make the "Britta" of "Britta-ing" each other's feelings.
      Pierce: You're using it wrong!
      Jeff: Wow. You Britta'd "Britta'd".
      Abed: Yeah, way to pull an Abed.
      Shirley: I don't get it.
      Jeff: Shirley, don't Pierce.
      Pierce: I don't get it.
    • Another episode had Jeff feel threatened by a classmate who is taking attention away from him. He starts obsessively researching this new rival, manically spouting his theories to the others, who point out that he's "Goldbluming".
      • Jeff met this rival in pottery class, where the teacher has a rule against "Ghosting" that will get anyone kicked out of the class (because he's seen every variant of it done over and over again and he's just not going to put up with it anymore)
    • Wingering is also used to describe a deep and emotional speech
  • Scrubs
    • When Elliot's sorority sister hit the Jukebox to start it back up: "Hey, I'm the Fonz."
    • J.D. also once tells Turk angrily that he Marcia Brady'd his ass. Amusingly enough, Turk's confusion stems not from his not getting the reference, but rather from disbelief that the clinic would choose J.D. over Turk.
      J.D.: Well, maybe that's because I found out you stole a hundred dollars from me and I Marcia Brady-ied your ass.
      Turk: What?
      JD: You know, when Marcia was working at the ice cream shop and she got Jan a job and they liked Jan better, so they fired Marcia.
      Turk: Yeah, "Marcia Gets Creamed", season 5, episode 3. Don't ever question me on "The Bunch". Besides, there's no way they liked you better than me.
    • They detailed the formation of one of these when Dr. Cox got so frustrated with J.D. that he decided to substitute the word "wrong" with "Dorian." The staff soon caught onto the new phrase, which annoyed J.D. to no end. But later J.D. caught himself saying, "Dorian! ...Oh, great, now I'm saying it!"
    • Doug Murphy is autoreferencial in this: "Upstairs they call that a 'Doug'".
  • Being Human
    • "Sally" is being used as a verb for "don't screw this up" by her old friend Zoe.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • Xander remarked on "People going all Felicity with their hair."
    • "The dummy tells us he's a demon hunter.... He takes off, and now there's a brain. Does anybody else feel like they've been Keyser Sozed?"
    • When Willow is going on her Roaring Rampage of Revenge, Andrew angrily chews out the others for not helping him and Jonathan "before Darth Rosenberg goes Dark Phoenix on our asses!"
    • Then when she goes back to her senses and has a meeting with Giles, we have this bit:
      Willow: When you brought me here I thought it was to kill me, or to lock me in some mystical dungeon for all eternity, or with the torture, but instead you go all Dumbledore on me.
    • "Looks like she pulled a Barry Allen on us. Jay Garrick? Wally We—She moved real fast. Never mind."
    • One entire episode revolved around the idea of Xander being "the Zeppo" - most useless and overlooked - of the gang.
    • In "The Pack", when Giles suggests that Xander's strange behavior may have a mundane explanation, Buffy replies, "I can't believe that you of all people are trying to Scully me!"
    • In "School Hard", when pre-Decayed Spike first confronts Angel about having a soul: "You were my Yoda, man!"
    • In "New Moon Rising", the normally Book Dumb Buffy threatens to "pull a William Burroughs" on somebody. Nobody gets it.
      Buffy: Was I the only one awake in English class that day? I'll. Kill. Him.
    • In a prom episode, Buffy makes a comment about stopping someone from "pulling a Carrie on the prom".
  • Angel:
    • Related to the above example, after Angel has tried to track down a girl with telekinetic powers Cordelia asks him over the phone "Did she Carrie you?". This understandably causes confusion.
    • Lorne was originally known simply as "The Host."
  • The X-Files
    • In "The Erlenmeyer Flask", Mulder snaps at Deep Throat to "just cut the Obi Wan Kenobi crap".
    • In "Hollywood AD", a movie based on Mulder and Scully's case is made, and one Composite Character based on the in-universe villains O'Fallon and Cigarette Smoking Man is known as "Cigarette-Smoking Pontiff". Mulder expresses concern that in Hollywood version of the story, everything becomes oversimplified and trivialized and Cigarette-Smoking-Pontifficized.
  • Sawyer and Hurley on LOST regularly supply such references. In "Eggtown," Kate tricks Hurley into a You Just Told Me revelation, to which Hurley replies, "You just Scooby-Doo'ed me, didn't you?"
  • Supernatural:
    • In the episode "Simon Said", a character uses a mind control on Dean Winchester to take his beloved 1967 Chevy Impala for a spin. Dean then calls Sam and says, "He full-on Obi-Wan-ed Me!"
    • In the second season premiere, Dean is stuck in an out-of-body experience where he can't touch or affect anything around him. So he watches Sam and their father get into an argument, and Dean gets really angry at them for it, so he knocks a glass of water onto the floor. His father and brother stop and stare, and Dean says, with a look of shock on his face, "I full-on Swayze-ed that mother."
  • Frequently lampshaded on Bones. When someone makes a witty line, pop-culture challenged Brennan says "I don't know what that means." It's pretty much a Running Gag—Brennan says it regularly, sometimes other characters will pre-empt her with "We know you don't know what that means", and occasionally subverted when she does get one.
    Booth: Sure, I'm Mulder and you're Scully.
    Brennan: I don't know what that means.
  • Police procedurals in general seem to like to use "pulled a Louganis" as a euphemism for someone taking a suicidal leap; both CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and NCIS have used it, and Veronica Mars used it in reference to the previous season's killer leaping off the roof of the hotel Logan lives at.
  • Farscape. John Crichton does this all the time. Seeing as he's a long way from Earth, naturally no-one understands a word he's talking about, though the crew of Moya seem to get the general gist after a while.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In episode "Darmok", the entire language of the alien race works this way, making communication impossible with those who don't know the references. The example they give is "Juliet on the balcony" representing a declaration of love; unless you know the name and the scene, it means nothing. Picard is able to decipher just one thing — Darmok and Jalad at Tanagra means two former enemies who became friends facing a shared danger.note 
    • There is the Picard Maneuver, a tactic for sneak attacks against ships lacking FTL sensors. Engage your warp drive and pop in right next to them - they'll never see you coming!
      • More accurately, you use the Warp drive to move faster than the light reflected off the ship. Depending on the disparity of distances, it appears as if there are two of the same ship as a result, but this only lasts so long depending on how much distance there is to work with.
    • There's a second Picard Maneuver, named after the aforementioned in-universe one, used by production staff and fans. The sharp tug on the bottom of his uniform shirt was dubbed "The Picard Maneuver".
  • This trope is a defining feature of the main character in Psych, who frequently uses references to obscure 80's pop-culture, possibly in order to keep the show—which could easily become dangerously serious in light of its subject matter—relatively light and humorous.
    • From "Poker? I barely know her!":
      Shawn: That's very Cameron Frye of you.
  • In Heroes, after Claire beats up someone she thought was trying to attack her, the attacker says "don't go all Buffy on us!"
  • Fringe has the following, during a discussion about a man who apparently disappeared into thin air:
    Olivia: The man was clever enough to Star Trek himself out of a maximum security German prison.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond episode where Ray tapes over his wedding video; everyone jokes that this monumental blunder is going to be known as "pulling a Ray Barone".
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • For an episode, people started using "Ted out" (to overthink) and "Ted up" (to overthink with disastrous consequences).
    • A later episode had characters referring to the act of repelling a potential partner with an admission of love as a "Mosby".
    • Marshall once uses the term "Lily all over the place" to refer to making impulsive decisions out of panic.
    • When Marshall is caught inside the ladies room, Carl the bartender talks about "pulling a Marshall Eriksen". Marshall tries to do the same, using Carl's name to mean someone who jumps to conclusions, but is derailed when he doesn't know Carl's last name.
  • On Cheers, Frasier was jilted at the altar during a lavish ceremony in Italy. When he returns, he claims that Italian slang now calls kicking an own-goal (in soccer) "doing a Frasier", but knocking yourself out on the goalpost while doing so is "doing a Frasier Crane".
    • At least once the gang used "Clavin" to mean something bad, as in "Last one there's a Clavin!" [cf Rotten Egg.] Rather than being upset with this Cliff Clavin participated, assuring the others "I'm not going to be the Clavin this time!" (quotes paraphrased)
    • In the episode "What Is… Cliff Clavin?", Cliff competed on Jeopardy! and, despite having an insurmountable lead, lost terribly after wagering everything on a Final Jeopardy! response of "Who are three people that have never been in my kitchen?" Making such a wager is often referred to on Jeopardy! as "pulling a Clavin".
  • During one particular episode of Arrested Development, the term "Michael" becomes used to refer to chickening out (generally regarding something wildly illegal):
    George Sr.: "Hey don't go all Michael on me here."
    GOB: "Hey, nobody's going all Michael on anyone."
  • From Blackadder II:
    Edmund Blackadder: I'm not very popular, am I, Baldrick?
    Baldrick: Well, when someone sets their foot in something a dog leaves on the street, they do tend to say "Whoops, I've trod in an Edmund."
  • Married... with Children. One episode has Al Bundy attempt to put back a way overdue library book without officially returning it so he won't have to pay a late fee. He ends up being exposed in a very public and humiliating way. At the very end of the episode, a kid catches his friend doing the same thing and remarks "Hey, don't Bundy that book!"
  • An in-universe example is found in The Office when Andy tries convincing Michael that the employees describe anyone who screws something up horribly as having "Schruted" it.
  • 30 Rock:
    Jack: I've Lemoned the situation with Nancy!
    Liz: That's not a thing people are saying now, is it? Lemoned. Doing it awesome.
    • 30 Rock also had a episode centered around Jack "Reaganing" or going twenty four hours without making a mistake. Named, of course, after Ronald Reagan.
    • There is also an episode centered around both Jack's and Liz' reactions to extreme hilarity or excitement. Jack "jacks" which refers to getting so excited that you vomit. Liz "lizzes" which is a also a portmanteau of laugh and whiz.
    • Another episode featured a classical example where Jack bases his relationship strategy on Fabius Maximus and at the end of the episode this strategy is countered by one based on Hannibal. Jack says she "Hannibaled" his "Fabius."
    • And yet another episode had a plot to humiliate Liz at her high-school reunion being called an attempt to "Carrie" her.
  • The pilot episode of Stargate SG-1, also an Actor Allusion as Carter is talking to O'Neill at the time:
    Carter: It took us fifteen years and three supercomputers to MacGyver a system for the gate on Earth.
  • referenced in a Stargate Atlantis episode, in which McKay, after one request for an impossible super-sciencey solution too many, protests that he is not MacGyver.
  • In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Charlie does this to his own inventions. A "Charlie One-Two" involves someone throwing himself in front of a car and then blackmailing the driver. A "Grilled Charlie" is a questionable grilled sandwich containing butter, peanut butter, chocolate and cheese.
  • Friends had Monica's mother's use of the phrase "Pulling a Monica" to describe awkward mistakes (such as in the episode mentioned, Monica loses one of her false nails in one of the mini-quiches she made for her mother's party, not knowing which one it is). During the episode Phoebe tries to change the meaning to "completing the job you were hired to do" instead.
  • Apart from "pulling a Louganis", being referenced by Castle's medical examiner Lainie also said the Body of the Week "did a Superman off that roof".
  • In a late 6th season episode of Boy Meets World, Shawn and Angela are attempting to have a simple, no-strings-attached romp in the sack when Shawn suddenly bursts out that he loves her. After realizing what he did he smacks his forehead and groans "I Cory'd it up!", referencing Cory's way of getting over-emotional about such things.
  • A Curb Your Enthusiasm episode has Larry committing a fielding error that loses the game for his softball team, causing the coach to scream that he "Bucknered" it. Bill Buckner himself appears later in the same episode.
  • In Entourage Drama says that Matt Damon "Jason Bourned him".
  • My Name Is Earl Joy at one point says, "Son of a bitch Ferris Bueller'd me!"
  • Generation Kill: "Follow my tracers!"
    "He's got his fuckin bayonet out."
    "Doing his Rambo."
  • On Girls, Hannah threatened her boss that she and her colleagues could sue him for sexual harassment. She used a term "go all Erin Brockovich on one's ass".
  • "Britta'd" on Community is shorthand for screwing something up.
  • Among the fandom of 24, any character who disappears without explanation, often while being in a dangerous situation when they were last seen, is referred to as being "Behroozed," named after a minor character in Season 4 whose fate was only shown in a deleted scene.

    Music 
  • Simon & Garfunkel's "A Simple Desultory Philippic (or How I Was Robert McNamara'd Into Submission)" does this with a whole series of people.
  • Yes, we've got "Weird Al" Yankovic in here again. When he released Dare to Be Stupid, plenty of people said he "out-Devoed Devo". Including Mark Mothersbaugh.
  • "Judas My Heart" by Belly. Yes, "Judas" is a verb in this song.

    New Media 

    Puppet Shows 
  • The French series Les Guignols de l'info turned soccer player Zlatan Ibrahmovic into a Memetic Badass who uses his own name to describe what he's doing (usually a synonym of "kicking ass").

    Sports 
  • In grappling and Mixed Martial Arts, certain moves are named after fighters who popularized them.
    • The kimura is an armlock that is now named after judo master Masahiko Kimura, who famously used it to defeat Brazilian jiu-jitsu founder Helio Gracie.
    • The inverted kimura used by Phil "Mr. Wonderful" Davis to defeat Tim Boetsch has been called a "Mr. Wonderful" and a "Philmura."
    • A Severn choke is any crude choke or neck crank that relies on muscle over technique, used by wrestler and MMA pioneer Dan Severn in some of his earliest fights, before he learned proper technique.
    • The Pace choke, an arcane submission also known as a "pillory choke," was used for the first time in a major competition by UFC fighter Nick Pace to defeat Will Campazano. He claimed to have come up with it on the spot.
    • The D'Arce choke was named after Joe D'Arce, who used it to tap out Jason "Mayhem" Miller in a sparring session.
  • A lot of amateur wrestling moves are named after the wrestler that popularized them (or the country, or the school, etc.)
  • In Cricket, to "Mankad" someone is to run them out while they are in the process of backing up, after a controversial incident where Indian Vinoo Mankad did this to Australian Bill Brown.

    Theatre 
  • "She's No Longer A Gypsy" from the musical Applause:
    You woke up early
    And pulled a Shirley MacLaine!
  • Older Than Steam: As usual, Shakespeare invented this one:
    • "it out-Herods Herod" in Hamlet note 
    • "She Phebes me" in As You Like It.
    • The Taming of the Shrew has "Petruchio is Kated," which in context means both "Petruchio has married Kate (and is now stuck with her)" and "Petruchio's become like Kate."

    Toys 
  • BIONICLE:
    Tahu: We're going to do a Pohatu on him.
    Kopeke: A Pohatu?
    Tahu: Yes, that's right, a Pohatu. "When in doubt, smash everything, and then hope you're somewhere else when it all goes 'boom'".

    Video Games 
  • The strategy game Age of Empires III has a cheat called "Soo good", where every unit kill would be accompanied by a bugle blast and an on-screen message along the lines of "KILLER UNIT'D!!!". So, if one was killed by a rifleman, he would get a message called "MUSKETEER'D!!!" or when the killer was a cavalryman there would be a message like "HUSSAR'D!!!". There are even circumstances where cannons or experienced units are named, with their whole titles; "IMPERIAL HOWITZER'D!!!". It is also awesome.
  • From Kingdom of Loathing, you "pull a Tonya Harding" when you attack people with a club.
    • Technically, you pull a Tonya Harding when you have a club equipped in your main hand by hiring someone to beat up your enemy.
  • At one point, Max Payne says that he "Made like Chow Yun-Fat"
    • The game's film noir-esqe storytelling guarantees plenty of references of this kind. Max "plays it Bogart," and has to deal with "a regular Keyser Soze."
  • By the time of Knights of the Old Republic II, "pulling a Bindo" has come to refer to a Jedi breaking the Jedi Code by marrying, referring to the first game's Jolee Bindo, who did just that. Bad joke, bald guy, long story.
  • Screw Attack recently coined a new one in their Top 10 Zombie Games list: Frank Westing. It means "Grabbing the nearest object and using it to kill zombies"
  • The competitive Pokémon community has a few, usually to describe particular flaws. For example, a Pokemon with an extremely limited movepool suffers from "Flareon syndrome".
  • In My Sims Kingdom, the player needs to gain the ability to make gears, only to find that Princess Butter has preemptively stolen the appropriate scroll.
    Lyndsay: Ugh! Buttered again!
  • The Escape Velocity fandom uses the phrase "pulling a Monty Python" (also called the Monty Python Maneuver) to refer to abusing the AI's Suicidal Overconfidence by flying away from the target, then turning around and drifting backwardsnote  while firing.
  • In Leagueof Legends, a more derogatory term is "Olafing/ed". Basically, Riot took a balanced champion (called Olaf, obviously) that benefited from the current meta,and nerfed him to the ground by making every skill borderline useless, and then left him to rot for over a year until his rework, which initially was an even bigger disaster that made Olaf even more useless. Eventually, Riot received a few buffs to make him semi-viable on 1 specific team composition, and then was nerfed out of existence again.

    Webcomics 
  • 1/0: "Pulling a Ribby" is the practice of removing yourself from the universe of the strip by literally getting lost in your imagination — you create a thought bubble and climb into it.
  • The Order of the Stick: "Who knew all you had to do was break [Roy's] sword and he'd go all Lou Ferrigno."
  • Zebra Girl: Harold's comment on Jack's ascension: "You've pulled a Gandalf! Congratulations, my boy!"
  • Home On The Strange: "I Buffy the door!"
  • Lackadaisy Cats:
    Ivy: Well, where is he, then?
    Viktor: I don't know. Vanished like, ehh - vhat's his name? - who does alvays those tricks.
    Ivy: Houdini?
    Viktor: Ya. Houdini.
    Ivy: Viktor... someone needs to teach you how to tell a decent lie.
  • Sparkling Generation Valkyrie Yuuki: After Yuki put hand in a mouth of giant wolf, Hemrod accused her of "pullin Tyr" in a nice Norse Mythology shout out (not surprising, when you look at a premise...).
  • Wicked Lasers, a side story made by the creator of Sore Thumbs.
    Pulse: "A Snotto: losing one's arms in a careless or idiotic way". Said to Snotto, right after that happens.
  • Dork Tower: "Pulling a Matt", named after the character Matt McLimore, involves failing on a date due to some kind of catastrophic geekdom-related mental breakdown such as mentally blogging the other person.

    Western Animation 
  • In The Simpsons:
    • "Pulling a Homer" means doing something great through accident, luck, or stupidity and, optionally, looking rather stupid at the same time. The Dictionary of Bull*** actually lists "pulling a Homer" with the full definition from the episode, making it a rare valid example in a sea of self-referential jokes that never get notable pop-culture usage. The writers said on a DVD commentary that they were kind of hoping that "pulling a Homer" would catch on and end up in the dictionary for real, alas it was not to be.
  • Max Steel: "When the bad guys are up to no good, they use local lore to scare away the curious. That's the Scooby Way."
  • Go to Duck Season, Rabbit Season and count how many examples refer to it as "being Bugs Bunnied".
    • The term is used in a Johnny Bravo episode by Little Suzy when she does it to Johnny.
  • A Rocket Power ep has a character worried that he's unleashed a curse by taking a small Hawaiian statue saying "I pulled a Bobby Brady."
  • In The Weekenders episode "To Tish", Tish's name becomes a verb meaning to do something egghead-y.
  • In-universe in The Magic School Bus, Tim likes commenting that the class "got Frizzled".
  • Jackie Chan Adventures features both "pulling a Viper" and "pulling a Jade."
  • In an episode of Dilbert, Wally's name used as an all-purpose pejorative.
    "Yeah, you know, as in: 'he's a total Wally,' or, 'I've got to take a Wally.'
  • In the Terrytoons feature The Adventures Of Lariat Sam (a segment of the Captain Kangaroo show), whenever Sam and his horse Tippytoes fell victim to a plot from villain Badlands Meeny, Tippytoes would deadpan "We've been Meenyed again, Sam."
  • On Xiaolin Showdown, Jack Spicer learns that, much to his chagrin, the supervillain community has been using his name in reference to immense failures.
    Vlad: Now when one lose everything, new hip thing to say is, "Oh, I've been jacked!"
  • Happens in Johnny Test, when one of the sisters says "I think we've been Johnnied!"
  • In the sixth episode of Rick and Morty, "Rick Potion #9," both Rick and Morty use the word "Cronenberged" both as a verb and a noun after a love potion mishap causes everyone to mutate into hideous monsters.
    • In '"Something Ricked This Way Comes", when Summer is screwed out of her boss's business after helping him make it successful, she proceeds to say that she's been Zuckerberged.
  • When Jack is convinced to sneak onto the battlefield, his first words upon arriving are "Oh man. I pulled a Miko!"
  • Regular Show has "Pulling a Mordecai", which is described as "The act of never making a move, but at the same time, not knowing what to do with your hands".
  • In Bojack Horseman, Bojack tells a girl he slept with to leave his house. He asks for her name and when she tells him it's Pam he says he doesn't want her "Paming up the place."

     Web Original 
  • Uber Haxor Nova often does a Gay Tony jump in his videos, probably referencing the base-jumping from that add-on.
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged, Goku uses "Yamcha" to describe getting killed by someone who completely outclasses the victim.
  • Northernlion refers to raising an object above your head in a Legend of Zelda-like fashion as "zeldaing". Especially prevalent in his The Binding of Isaac Let's Play.
  • In the Chakona Space 'verse, Neal Foster has been known to work anywhere from 12 to 36 hours straight, often skipping meals or otherwise working through meals. In chapter 6 of "Tales of the Folly", Neal's apprentice engineers try to "pull a Foster" and do the same thing.
  • The Editing Room: The script for Wrath Of The Titans.
    Liam Neeson: Would you please stop reminding daddy about how he tried to Casey Anthony you?

    Repeatedly Used On This Very Wiki 

    Real Life 
  • In the world of film making: Foleying is reproducing everyday sound effects and adding them in post production to enhance the quality of the film. This was created by Jack Foley during the silent movie era.
  • The verb Cantinflear (from Mexican actor Mario Moreno "Cantinflas") is authorized by the Royal Spanish Language Academy to describe nonsensical speaking.
  • In Japan, bush-suru, to mean barfing. (Bush Sr. once got sick at an official dinner and puked in the Japanese Prime Minister's lap.)
  • The term "mesmerize" comes from Franz Anton Mesmer, an 18th century hypnotist.
  • Many writers and filmmakers with a distinct Signature Style may find their names turning into adjectives:
    • Niccolo Machiavelli lends his name to "Machiavellian."
    • George Orwell's name carries on as the term "Orwellian".
    • A story full of long, awkward pauses will often be dubbed Pinteresque.
    • A story about social status with lots of revelations about family and mysterious benefactors, set in Victorian London, may be described as "Dickensian".
      • Which brings up another example: something characteristic of a particular monarch's reign may be described by their name. "Victorian" means the period of Victoria's reign (1837-1901); "Georgian" means 1720-1837 (the reigns of Georges I-IV). "Elizabethan" refers to Liz I (1558-1603), and "Jacobean", while somewhat rarer, refer to the reign of James I (of England) just after that: 1603-1625. You'll note that nearly all of these are English monarchs, because after all, what language is this? There is, however, at least one non-English monarchial adjective that's pretty common: Carolingian, from Charlemagne (Latin Carolus Magnus).
      • Carolingian refers to the time the whole dynasty ruled, not so much to Charlemagne himself (as its named after Charles Martel too). It's common for all dynastic rules : Merovingian, Carolingian, Capetian, Bossinid, Ottonian, Robertian etc.
    • The flowery, poetic style of speaking presented in plays of the 16th and 17th centuries is often called "Shakespearean".
    • A movie with lots of uncomfortable Freudian imagery and Body Horror may be called "Cronenbergian".
    • If you come up with a Surreal Horror story with lots of Dream Sequences and a Drone of Dread, it's Lynchian.
    • Any Cosmic Horror Story at all, as well as any portrayal of tentacled monsters, is probably Lovecraftian.
    • An absurdist sense of humour is often described as "Pythonesque".
    • A film with stylized violence, pop-culture filled dialogue, and plenty of homages to other genre films will be described as "Taratinoesque".
    • A comedy of manners focusing on Upper Class Twits and brilliant servants will end up being called "Wodehousian".
    • A comedy where the emphasis is more on the visuals and not on any dialogue, while showing amusing portrayals of everyday people will be called "Tati-esque".
    • Comics drawn in the "clair ligne" style similar to Hergé of The Adventures of Tintin will be called "Hergéan".
    • Music with quick and abrupt changes in style, mood or genre will be called Zappa-esque.
      • Likewise, any servant with an impressive sense of personal dignity will be compared to Jeeves, one of Wodehouse's most popular characters.
    • A protagonist with no control or understanding of the events surrounding him? How Kafka-esque.
    • A self-absorbed, reclusive protagonist with a sense of vengeance and a Dark and Troubled Past is called a Byronic Hero, after Lord Byron, who not only wrote about these sorts of characters all the time, but practically was one himself. His Dark and Troubled Past was that he impregnated his half-sister, by the way.
    • Epic Fantasy often comes labeled as "Tolkienesque".
  • In Dutch, being a "Tokkie" means being an anti-social, after a family by that name became famous after they were the subject of a couple of documentaries showing some not so model-behavior.
  • Ruben Oskar Auervaara was a Finnish fraud who seduced women in order to get his hands on their fortunes. In Finland, the word "Auervaara" is still occasionally used to describe that kind of a swindler.
  • To Bogart a cigarette or joint (usually a joint...) is to hold it for a long time without passing it, referencing the way that Humphrey Bogart would hold a lit cigarette for long periods of time in films without taking a drag.
    • Bogart has become a more generic verb than just being applied to smoking and will occasionally be used in place of the verb "hog" for just about anything.
  • Gaslighting is based on the movie Gaslight.
  • For a short time during and after World War II, Rommel (as in Erwin Rommel) became a verb in the French language. With the approximate meaning of "crushing one's foes with excessive force."
  • In the 1992 U.S. Presidential election, Vice President Dan Quayle held a debate against Bill Clinton's running mate, Al Gore. At one point in the debate, Quayle said: "You're pulling a Clinton. You say one thing, then you do another."
  • "Ike Turner" is slang in some places for domestic abuse (for example pulling an "Ike Turner" or "Ike and Tina"), based on the real life case of Ike and Tina Turner. Similarly, for a while after Chris Brown was arrested for beating up his then-girlfriend Rihanna, his name was slang for domestic abuse.
  • Swift Boating, named for the "Swift Boat Veterans For Truth" who came out against John Kerry in 2004. The controversy surrounding the group's authenticity made it a byword for Malicious Slander.
  • After "allegedly" performing a certain act on then president Bill Clinton, White House intern Monica Lewinsky's surname became a sexual euphemism.
  • After the Swedish romance scammer Karl Vesterberg used the signature "Sol och Vĺr" ("Sun and Spring") in his 1916 personal ads, the common Swedish verb for performing a romance scam has been "to sun-and-spring" someone, and a romance scammer is called a "sun-and-springer".
  • Though it's used as a noun (or occasionally an adjective) rather than a verb, "Quisling" comes from Vidkun Quisling. There is even a trope named after him with details.
  • After Kanye West infamously interrupted Taylor Swift as she was accepting an award, "to Kanye" has become synonymous with interrupting someone.
  • After the late conservative scholar and jurist Robert Bork had his 1987 nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court (by then-president Ronald Reagan) scuttled by liberal opponents, the verb "bork" entered the political lexicon.
  • Thanks to the Manti Te'o scandal and the publicity it gave to the movie Catfish, "Catfishing" has entered the slang lexicon. Its definition: to create a completely fictitious life online, with or without deceitful intentions, especially when the life is of a member of the opposite sex.
  • The word Spoonerism is a reference to Rev. William Archibald Spooner, who was allegedly prone to doing it frequently, although he personally only admitted to one of the many that are attributed to him.
  • When comic book art is particularly Off Model, it is called Liefeldian.
  • To slashdot a website is to overwhelm the server with (legitimate) hits, in a sort of accidental DDOS attack performed by real humans. Named because a link from Slashdot could often have this effect on smaller sites, especially when web servers weren't as capable as they are now.
  • One possible origin for the French expression "faire le mariole" (clowning around) comes from an instance of Napoleon reviewing his troops. When ordered to present arms, all did so.... with one Big Guy soldier (named Mariole) opting to do so with a small cannon. The Emperor apparently laughed and coined the phrase.


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alternative title(s): Describe An Action With A Cultural Reference; I Pulled A Weird Al; Person As Noun
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