->'''The Dragonborn:''' So the Key unlocks any door?\\
'''Karliah:''' Well, yes, but the Key isn't only restricted to ''physical'' barriers. All of us possess untapped abilities; the potential to wield great power securely sealed within our minds. Once you realize the Key can access these traits, the potential becomes limitless.
-->-- ''Videogame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim''

A power that is defined solely by wording, and thus capable of a great deal of stretching what it is capable of. To use an example from ''Manga/OnePiece'', the hypothetical power of "pushing" could be used to "push" people at massive speed in order to fake teleportation, to push away abstract concepts such as pain, or to push away attacks. Can be used to justify HeartIsAnAwesomePower. Done poorly, it comes across as an {{Asspull}} unless it's obviously being PlayedForLaughs.

See also WhenAllYouHaveIsAHammer, ImaginationBasedSuperpower, and SwissArmySuperpower. Compare/contrast the InverseLawOfComplexityToPower. See also LiteralGenie. Not to be confused with superpowers that actually consist of [[MakeMeWannaShout using speech]] or [[WordsCanBreakMyBones specific words]].



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In ''Manga/MakenKi'', this is how Celia's "reverse" power works. Normally, she just uses it to reverse someone's momentum when they attack her, and for a while [[IAmNotLeftHanded everyone assumes that's all she can do]]. However, she can also reverse a fighter's strength (making them weak), reverse the {{Determinator}}'s aggression (turning him into an apathetic mess) and [[spoiler:[[GenderBender reverse her own gender (turning her from her natural male gender into a girl)]]]].
* It's common in ''Manga/OnePiece'' for Devil Fruit users to not have any obvious limits to their powers. It's stated that one of the true marks of a strong fruit user is how much experience they have with their powers and by extension, how many of these uses for their powers they can figure out. A good example is Kuma, alluded to in the trope description, who ate the Paw-Paw Fruit. A paw man, he can push and repel anything with the paws on his hands. While he can repel any attack he can put his hand on, he can do more with it. He can push the air at supersonic speeds as a powerful ranged attack while also pushing himself so fast he seems to be teleporting. He can push the air and concentrate it into a large paw bubble and condense it to make a pressure explosive. He can send someone basically anywhere in the world they can travel to via a straight line (or taking gravity into account, a parabolic curve) at intense speeds. That straight line limitation is only as far as one can guess. He can even ''repel the pain'' out of someone, taking the form of an omnious red bubble that can then be pushed into someone to deal them the damage and fatigue the other person had.
** Another notable case is Trafalgar Law, who has the power to operate on things inside a spherical space. Being a surgeon, the ability to perform operations is fitting, but living things are not the only thing he can operate on and the word "operate" itself is not limited to a medical context. This translates to him being able to literally "work" (i.e. "operate") on anything inside his space, manipulating and modifying everything inside.
* ''Manga/{{Aphorism}}'' is literally this. All the powers of the characters are based on a single kanji. Someone with the character for "flame" can produce flames, for example. [[spoiler: It's even possible to change your power by interpreting that character differently]].
* The "hundred power" possessed by Kotetsu and Barnaby in ''Anime/TigerAndBunny'' is said to increase their abilities a hundredfold. They primarily make use of the considerable boost this gives to their strength, speed, and ability to resist injury, but Kotetsu is also shown using it as a HealingFactor and to enhance his senses when needed.
* In ''{{Tsukihime}}'' and ''LightNovel/KaraNoKyoukai'' there exist the Mystic Eyes of Death Perception which allow you to see the "lines of death" of objects, which cause the object to be destroyed when cut. This has been applied not only to destroy inanimate objects and mortal beings but also numerous immortals, poisons, telekinetic attacks and barriers and even space. The concept of death is stretched to the point where it is said that by the end of ''Kara no Kyoukai'' [[spoiler: Shiki at full power is basically a god.]]
* ''Manga/JoJosBizarreAdventure'':
** Josuke from ''[=JoJolion=]''. His stand, Soft & Wet, has the power to "steal" anything from something, which boils down to removing a certain property from something. He has already used it to remove friction from a floor and the "click" sound from a light switch.
** Yasuho Hirose, with the Stand of [[spoiler:Paisley Park]], from the same part. It possesses the power of "guidance", which has been used to organize internet search and GPS... or to give others a presentiment to push them ''exactly'' where they should be.
** [[spoiler:Gold Experience]] Requiem can return anything to zero. [[spoiler:It's used to set an enemy's death to "zero". Since he can no longer die, he gets caught in a cycle where he constantly "dies" then wakes back up a few moments before "dying" again]]. The character profile suggests that this power can expand to nearly anything, such as a person's motivation.
** [[spoiler:After merging his Stand, Whitesnake, with the Green Baby, Pucci's]] powers gain the motif of the ability to manipulate gravity: C-moon can reverse gravity, but also has the ability to turn things inside out by inverting their ''center'' of gravity. However, since gravity in the [[GravitySucks literal]] and [[YouCantFightFate metaphorical]] senses is a major theme of [=JoJo=] part 6, the ability is also implied to give [[spoiler:Pucci]] PlotArmor.
* The magical girls' individual power in ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' and its spin-offs came from their wishes; some pretty obvious simply from the wish's wording, some do not. More specific the wish is, more dictated the power would be. Sayaka who wished for her crush's hand to be healed has power to heal anyone almost instantly, while Mami who wished to survive a car crash has her power derived from a ''Buddhish philosophy'' of "connecting to life" which then granted her power to create ribbons, which then she can manipulate and shape as she wishes. Those barriers, muskets and cannons she uses? Made from ribbons. And in ''[[Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagicaTheMovieRebellion Rebellion]]'', she makes a ''[[ActuallyADoombot clone]]'', who spent previous 3 minutes fighting Homura in an elaborate GunFu battle, out of those ribbons.
* Sayumi Takanashi of ''LightNovel/WhenSupernaturalBattlesBecameCommonplace'' has Origin Root, the power to restore things back to their original state. In contrast to other powers in the series that are very straightforward, it depends on interpretation and is used from healing damage to the body and fixing clothes, to teleporting backwards (by restoring oneself back to where she originally came from) to [[spoiler:rescuing Hatoko from kidnappers by restoring the literature club back to original state with all its members present]]. This almost certainly includes being able to resurrect the dead, but she swore not to ever try that. Being reliant on interpretation also imposes its limits, as she cannot just [[spoiler:restore people's superpowers away]] even though she wants to, as she does not subconsciously believe that [[spoiler:having superpowers]] is the normal state now.
* In ''Manga/CastleTownDandelion'', [[spoiler:Aoi]]'s RoyaltySuperpower ''Absolute Order'' relies on [[ExactWords how she phrases her speech]] to work. Notice that she politely asks questions to make requests rather than [[CompellingVoice simply telling people to do things]].

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Mirror Master, one of TheFlash's enemies, can do just about whatever the writer can imagine as long as it involves light and/or glass, up to and including creating entire mirror universes.
-->''"I can use a mirror a thousand different ways. Can turn a man inside out. Cut a hole through a seven-foot concrete wall. Make ye see things from yer fantasies--or from yer worst nightmares."'' (''TheFlash'' vol. 2 #212)
* Cypher of ''ComicBook/{{X-Men}},'' whose only power is the ability to understand all languages. After being written as completely useless 99% of the time, writers upgraded his powers to include programming languages and a dozen other things most sane people would never label a language. For example, understanding "body language" lets him know what somebody's going to do in a fight before they make the move. And let's not get into how broken it is to have total understanding of the language of ''magic''.
* Various versions of the villainous android Amazo possess the combined powers of the Franchise/{{Justice League|OfAmerica}}. One version of Amazo turned out to possess the JLA's abilities on a conceptual level to such a degree that he could copy all members present or not and [[spoiler:he was depowered and defeated when the heroes temporarily disbanded the JLA.]]
* ComicBook/DoctorStrange is the Master of ''all'' Mystic Arts, thank you. In an early appearance he saves some bystanders using the Indian rope trick, an old standard from stage magic.
* [[DependingOnTheAuthor Some writers]] of ComicBook/{{Aquaman}} give him power over any living thing that has a connection to the sea. The trick is that it doesn't have to be a ''present'' connection: so long as the creature, or its ancestors, was in the sea at some point in time, he can control it. And guess where virtually ''all life on Earth'' originates from?
* ''ComicBook/TeenTitans'': Beast Boy can take the form of any animal. Do alien life forms count? Mythic animals? [[ContinuitySnarl Depends on writer and/or retcon.]] Various versions of him have also become ''groups'' of animals and a werebeast that combined traits from multiple animals.
* Nico from ''Comicbook/{{Runaways}}'' has the Staff of One, a powerful MagicStaff that can do just about anything. The only limitation is that she can't use the same command twice and expect the same result. However, she can get away with using ''synonyms''. A cursory look at the English language alone (and there's no reason to assume she's limited to English) proves that the Staff's limitation isn't much of a limitation at all.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* ''Fanfic/ChildOfTheStorm'' does this a fair bit, the author showing a penchant for extrapolating the logical potential of a character's abilities. One prime example is [[ComicBook/XMen Sean Cassidy a.k.a. Banshee]], who is canonically a fairly weak X-Man with the power of sound manipulation. This usually means he can fly and scream really loudly and that's about it. [[AdaptationalBadass Here,]] thanks to a little imagination, a little application of physics and a few uses of Cassidy's lesser known abilities, he's now capable of pulling a StealthHiBye that Batman would be proud of by dulling the sound around him (which works on claymore mines, to the misfortune of more than one HYDRA Agent), a sonar that Daredevil would be envious of and the ability to, by hitting the right frequency, resonate and shatter wood, concrete and ''[[BodyHorror bone]].'' Oh, and then there's his CompellingVoice. You ''really'' don't want to know what he can do with that.
* In the WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom fanfiction, ''FanFic/{{Harmless}}'', Jazz thinks the Box Ghost's powers could operate like this. With some flexibility about what he considers "boxes," it could provide him with a lot more versatility.
* Some of the more creative uses of Pokemon abilities in the ''Fanfic/{{Pokeumans}}'' universe have incorporated this. For instance Pain Split, which is normally used to equal out physical damage, has also been used to displace emotional pain as well.


* In Disney's ''Disney/SleepingBeauty'', the fairies can only "do good to bring joy and happiness." This implies that they can't use offensive or martial magic, but there's [[LoopholeAbuse a loophole]]: "good" can be interpreted fairly broadly (killing Maleficent might be considered evil, but they didn't kill her themselves, they helped Phillip to do it), and "to bring joy and happiness" includes what makes ''themselves'' happy (as turning Diablo into a gargoyle made Merryweather happy).

* In ''Literature/InheritanceCycle,'' this is basically how the [[LanguageOfMagic Ancient Language]] works, with skilled/imaginative magicians able to perform feats using words that have no obvious relation. For example, [[spoiler:Selena]] was able to use the word for "heal" to perform a form of PsychicAssistedSuicide by "healing" people of all of their negative emotions, which caused them to just stand there in a state of total bliss while she just walked up to them and calmly murdered them all.
* In the Literature/AlcatrazSeries, the Smedry family have Talents like "being late", "talking nonsense", "getting lost", "tripping and falling," "waking up ugly," "dancing badly" or "breaking things". Doesn't sound like much - until you consider that "being late" to a meeting with a bullet or "breaking" the space-time continuum are fully acceptable uses of these Talents. The guy who gets lost is the group's guide (it acts as a semi-randomized teleport; you'll get to your destination eventually, you'll just get to see a lot of other random locations first), the girl who wakes up ugly is the MasterOfDisguise (she's got a ''really'' broad definition of ugly), and the bad dancer is one of the deadliest martial artists in the world if there's music playing (when he says he's a bad dancer, he ''means'' bad dancer).
* ''Literature/{{Nightside}}'':
** John Taylor has the power to find things. Things include lost people, secret paths, bullets that were just in your gun, air that was just in your lungs, crucial weaknesses, your death or the possibility that you were never born.
** Quite a few characters have powers to "choose and enforce an alternative timeline/reality/possibility." How far removed the new reality will be depends only on the user.
* Sandry in the ''Literature/CircleOfMagic'' series is a stitch witch, having magical powers over thread and anything made of it. This ability extends to things that can be treated as thread. For example, she wove her magic and the magic of her three friends together to save them during an earthquake, and she 'stitched' the soul of her uncle, the Duke of Emelean, to his body and kept him alive during his heart attack until the Healers could get to him. She is the only known stitch witch that can do this, since her teacher Lark, a Great Mage, can't spin or weave magic.
* In the ''Literature/{{Xanth}}'' series, reverse wood has an ability similar to the ''Manga/MakenKi'' example above, and can turn certain lame Talents into very deadly ones. Of course, given the LawOfNarrativeCausality is an actual ''law of physics'' in this world, it's not surprising.
* The major characters of ''Literature/PlayingForKeeps'' apparently have [[WhatKindOfLamePowerIsHeartAnyway lame]] abilities, but several of their powers actually have this function.
** Main character Keepsie inherently protects her belongings by paralyzing anyone who tries to steal something from her. In other words, anything that's hers can't be taken away. She eventually realizes that her ''life'' "belongs" to her, which makes her completely immortal, and begins to extend this skill to several other metaphysical concepts. You know how people tend to call their companions "''my'' friends?"
** Michelle's power is the ability to carry and perfectly balance any tray, regardless of what's on it. She eventually translates this into a form of SuperStrength--if something is technically resting on a tray (regardless of the size of both), she can pick it up.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Once Upon a Time}}'' has the Enchanted Sand, whose power makes anything broken appear fixed. It's first used on the broken blade of Excalibur, making it look like the sword is whole again. Later, it effectively works as a love potion when Arthur uses it on his wife Guinevere to fix their "broken" marriage after finding out about her affair with Lancelot. Then things get weird when he uses it to enslave Snow and David's minds after they find out about his nefarious goals, meaning... it fixed their broken trust or something?

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* Players of ''TabletopGame/DontRestYourHead'' are explicitly encouraged to use their Madness talents in metaphorical ways, especially when [[LetsGetDangerous things are really getting dangerous.]]
* In ''TabletopGame/{{Nobilis}}'', players typically stretch their powers over basic concepts of reality in this way.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'':
** [[{{Chessmaster}} Yukari Yakumo]]'s signature ability is the manipulation of boundaries. According to Yukari herself, this is a SwissArmySuperpower which lets her do [[RealityWarper just about anything she wants]], but Yukari's nature as an UnreliableExpositor makes things less than clear. In {{Canon}} she is capable of creating "gaps" that act as portals, created the "Border of Fantasy and Reality" around Gensokyo,[[note]]A spell which made the valley feel "more fantastic" than the outside world, [[FantasticNatureReserve causing supernatural beings to be drawn to it as their power waned]][[/note]] and later assisted in constructing and [[BarrierMaiden maintaining]] the Great Hakurei Barrier.[[note]]A field of warped space which prevents sentient beings from entering or exiting the valley[[/note]] In FanFic, "Yukari got bored again" might as well be the setting equivalent of AWizardDidIt.
** Suika has the ability to manipulate "density and sparseness". This lets her change size, transform into mist, and create mini-Suikas and black holes. In her debut appearance, she "gathered peoples' sentiments" at the Hakurei Shrine so that they would congregate there for parties.
** Reisen describes her abilities as manipulation of madness, but their true nature is reading and altering waves in her surroundings. She typically uses this to scramble enemy brainwaves to mess up their focus, or bend light and sound to generate illusions, but she has displayed other applications for it as well: shooting EyeBeams, communicating with other {{Moon Rabbit}}s from long distances, judging peoples' personalities, seeing the Three Fairies of Light while they're invisible, and creating ultrasonic pest repellents.
** [[TheHero Reimu]] describes herself as having the ability to [[{{Flight}} float in the sky]], something which just about everyone can do already. But in a tight spot she will start [[TeleportSpam teleporting around]] and turning [[IntangibleMan intangible]], while seemingly unaware that she is doing so. In truth, Reimu [[BornLucky floats through]] ''life'', [[DontThinkFeel instinctively following the path of least resistance to any problem]] (which is also the origin of her signature {{Homing Projectile}}s). The only limit on this ability is that [[CentipedesDilemma her own thoughts cloud her instincts]] - she can become intangible simply by closing her eyes and clearing her mind of distractions.
** [[TheAce Toyosatomimi no Miko]] can "listen to ten voices at once", a feat attributed to her historical counterpart Prince Shoutoku for his great skill at multitasking. In her case, however, she can choose to listen to the [[TitleDrop "Ten Desires"]] within a person's heart, learning their personality as well as their hopes and dreams. This ability also gives her a great affinity with ambient spirits of desire, allowing her to attract and absorb them for power.
* In ''VideoGame/TheSpellcastingSeries'', the UPPSSY spell turns anything into its opposite, broadly speaking. For instance, it will turn a two-by-four into a four-by-two, a jellyfish into a peanut butterfish, a crooked casino into a straight casino, or a flat-chested girl into a big-busted girl. Likewise, the RATANT spell turns a spell into similarly-sounding but vastly different spell, such as turning the "spell of opposites" into "spell of opossums".
* As shown in the page quote, ''[[VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim Skyrim]]'' has a perfect example in [[DarkIsNotEvil Nocturnal's]] Daedric Artifact, the Skeleton Key. It "unlocks" anything, in a very broadly-interpreted sense. This means that anything which is restricted, hidden or not used to its potential can be "unlocked" in this way. In the case of [[spoiler:Mercer Frey]], he uses it to gain SuperStrength. However, [[GameplayAndStorySegregation the player is unable to use it as anything other than an unbreakable lockpick]].
* Not a superpower, but the hero of ''VideoGame/QuestForGlory'' has the potential to raise his lockpicking skill by using his lockpicks to ''pick his nose'' [[YetAnotherStupidDeath (if it doesn't kill him, instead.)]]
* In the ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' series, thieves can steal equipment from enemies, but they can also steal metaphysical concepts like health (rendering the target poisoned), memory (causing the target to forget how to use skills), consciousness (causes target to fall asleep) and even stats (increasing the thief's own, permanently).

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* The titular Keys of the ''TabletopGame/{{Exalted}}'' webcomic ''Webcomic/KeychainOfCreation'' have the simple ability to unlock things, including the seals on the local {{Cosmic Horror}}s. However, according to WordOfGod, obtaining all five Keys grants the wielder omnipotence, as long as they can phrase the desired action as "unlocking." For example, the [[OmnicidalManiac Deathlords]] are immortal, or one might say "locked" to life, and thus can be killed with proper use of the Keys.
* Parodied by ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater''. Red Mage is constantly showing his companions that he can make anything a MinmaxersDelight. Lockpicking can be accomplished, for instance, using the pickpocket skill because it's just removing a lock from a pocket in a door. The interrogation skill is simply emptying pockets of information in people's minds. This being 8-Bit Theater, InsaneTrollLogic is completely applicable [[AchievementsInIgnorance if you're stupid enough to not wonder how it's at all possible.]] ("[[http://www.nuklearpower.com/2008/05/01/episode-986-164/ There is no problem that cannot be overcome by an imaginative and vigorous use of the animal husbandry skill.]]") Likewise, Thief can steal things that are intangible or that ''don't exist'', basically [[ImpossibleThief doing anything as long as can be called "theft"]]. Fighter can block anything, including the ground from a fall. Fighter's "logic" for this is that it's NotTheFallThatKillsYou, it's the ground.
* The Kayoss Royal Family in ''Webcomic/LsEmpire'' are all granted a single word. Any definition of that word is available to them as a power. The current king has the power of sound; so he can control sound waves, [[CompellingVoice make whatever he says perfectly believable]], and put anything into a perfect (sound) state.
* ''Webcomic/{{Erfworld}}'': This is more or less how magic ''works'' in Erfworld, and there are [[{{Whatevermancy}} many different disciplines]]. If you can think of a way to tie the wording of the task you want accomplished to that of your magic discipline, it can probably be done.
** "[[{{Whatevermancy}} Turnamancers]]" have power over [[TurnBasedStrategy turns]], enabling them to reduce the [[RPGMechanicsVerse number of turns required to pop units.]] However, they are also responsible for [[HeelFaceTurn turning]] [[EnemyExchangeProgram enemy units]] to their own side.
** Shockamancy is the magic of both electricity and any sort of surprise, including the [[ShowSomeLeg Flash Mob]] ability the [[AmazonBrigade Archons]] use. Shockamancy is also where most straightforwardly-offensive magic spells come from, [[ShockSite because, well...]]
** Hippiemancy seems unsuited to the [[ForeverWar world of Erf]], being a discipline dedicated to pacifism, peace, and love itself. However, they can force units to avoid fighting each other, or, with sufficient skill, protect ''themselves'' from harm. Also included in the broad discipline of Hippiemancy is command over [[GreenThumb Flower Power,]] making them expert poisoners and dealers of some ''nasty'' drugs if they so choose.
** Thanks to the mechanics of linking casters for a spell, creative use of linking can allow for this. Example? [[spoiler: Parson linking an Earthamancer with a Croakamancer, and uncroaking (reviving) a ''volcano'']].
* In ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' a lot of Sburb class powers seem to depend on how creatively you can reinterpret the meaning of your class/aspect. For example, Roxy is the Rogue of Void. This translates to Thief of Nothing, which sounds useless (not stealing anything) until [[spoiler:Jade explains that she can steal the concept of nothingness from something [[ThePowerOfCreation to create it]].]]
* ''Webcomic/UseSwordOnMonster'':
** Most of the protagonist characters have the ability to wield a weapon and go on "auto-pilot," allowing their body to heroically fight monsters by enchanting their swords and bodies. While most of them use swords, any weapon will do, and as it turns out, ''anything'' will do if you can conceive of it as a "weapon." Humphrey manages to expertly pilot a plane into a monster when Maga helps convince him it's just a really big sword.
--->'''Humphrey:''' OUR WINGS JUST FELL OFF!\\
'''Maga:''' That doesn't really matter.
** From the other direction, it takes them a while to learn how to use their power without killing, because the auto-pilot won't stop until they've won, and defines "winning" as "killing every enemy in sight." Mostly, they disarm opponents by "killing" their weapons. With more practice, they even learn how to use their powers for more mundane things.
--->'''Soldier:''' What did you just do?\\
'''Humphrey:''' Made us an escape route. I just had to convince myself this wall was trying to kill me.
* ''Webcomic/CucumberQuest'': Rosemaster has the power to control (to a limited extent) anyone with a flower-based name. This works great in the Flower Kingdom, where she erases everyone's memories of the princess that the heroes need to complete their quest. But she doesn't just have power over standard flowers; Cucumber, Almond, and Carrot are all susceptible to her power as well. This is why she kidnaps Nautilus and erases their memories of her. [[spoiler:This gets derailed when Rosemaster kidnaps Peridot (her own ally) and erases everyone's memories of her. Peridot is so pissed off that [[ToyShip Almond]] doesn't remember that she destroyed Rosemaster's memory machine]].


[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/TalesOfMU'':
** Fairy gifts. One character is blessed with the gift of "is always the strongest person in the room". When a dragon enters the same room as her, things start going out of hand.
** Another character has the gift "divine laughter", a sparkling laughter which is appreciated by everyone except demonbloods, who react unfavorably to the "divine" part.
* Lightfoot of ''WebOriginal/AcademyOfSuperheroes'' has the power to make anything he's touching go faster. Naturally, this lets him [[SuperSpeed make himself go faster]] but he was also able to make a giant statue that would normally have taken a century to sink into the earth do so in minutes. His power makes things ''happen'' faster, not ''move'' faster.
* On ThisVeryWiki, much of the protagonist of [[http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=13967366270A45619600&page=1 this forum game]]'s power is based on this. At least, until the [[spoiler: AndNowForSomeoneCompletelyDifferent(?).]]


[[folder:Western Animation]]
* On ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold,'' ComicBook/{{Aquaman}} can his use telepathic connection with fish to control silverfish, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silverfish which are (non-aquatic) insects]], annoying [[ComicBook/TheAtom Ryan Choi]] And in the FantasticVoyagePlot episode he controls white blood cells, resulting in him using one as a steed and calling it 'Platelet'.