This Index Is Not an Example

Usually, the Trope Namer for a trope provides the one codifying example to define them all. Sometimes, however, a trope is named after something that isn't itself a good example of the trope — or isn't an instance of the trope at all. Sometimes the quote sounds nice but it in the wrong context. Oftentimes the trope is a variation on another trope and receives a name based on it.

Be particularly careful when linking to such trope pages, because they might not be what they sound like at first glance. (Obviously, any YMMV entry with a specific Trope Namer could be an example in the eyes of some viewers but not others; and some have actually been renamed because of it.)

Not to be confused with Just for Pun or Snowclone titles. Also not to be confused with works that seem like the Trope Namer, but aren't really (Fur and Loathing was not named after the CSI episode, nor was Determinator named from one of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters's Endings).

Then there are the tropes named after lines of dialogue that the Trope Namer never actually said.

Contrast Self Demonstrating Articles and This Trope Name References Itself. Compare Defied Trope and Non-Indicative Name.

Oh, and don't bother listing this page itself, as that will create a paradox (specifically, Russell's paradox).


  • The Scourge of God — Trope is serial killers who kill sinners; Trope Namer is a nickname attributed to Attila the Hun.
  • Shock and Awe — Destroying an enemy's will to fight with massive, overwhelming force doesn't have anything to do with electrical Elemental Powers.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal! — No one ever tells off Dr. Lecter that way; if they did, he would eat them. "Discourtesy is unspeakably ugly to me."
  • So Happy Together — The song gives no indication that the relationship will end badly, and it may not even have begun yet.
  • Something Completely DifferentMonty Python's Flying Circus rarely deviated from the formula, since the show didn't really have a formula to deviate from.
  • Spell My Name with an "S" — The trope is about frequently misspelled names. This was the reason Isaac Asimov wrote the short story of the same name, but the story itself exemplifies For Want of a Nail and My Nayme Is instead.
  • Starfish Language: Named so as to be a Snowclone of "Starfish Aliens". However, as noted on the trope page, Real Life starfish don't actually engage in any particularly strange forms of communication; in fact, they don't seem to engage in any observable forms of communication at all.
  • “Stop Having Fun” Guys — The trope namer is an xkcd strip where someone tells a bunch of Rock Band players to "stop having fun" because they are playing an instrument simulation game rather than real instruments. However, the trope itself refers to people who do play video games, but insult those who don't play as competitively as they do.
  • Strong Flesh, Weak Steel — Trope is named after a metaphor used by villain Thulsa Doom from Conan The Barbarian in refence to his subjects' devotion, but he doesn't believe in literal flesh being stronger than steel.
  • Sympathy for the Devil — The trope is about a hero who has sympathy for a villain. The song by The Rolling Stones with that name only has a villain, and he's a completely un-sympathetic Satan joyfully singing about what a Jerkass he is.
  • Team Rocket Wins — In the Pokémon anime and video games it was based on, Team Rocket or its corresponding Expy is always defeated, no exceptions.
  • ¡Three Amigos!The film is about a group of three adult guys, not a high school group with one member of an opposite gender to the others.
  • Tier-Induced ScrappyScrappy-Doo is not in any tier-related games nor is he hated for being too overpowered or underpowered.
  • Timey-Wimey Ball — The actual episode of Doctor Who from which this phrase emerged ends in a perfectly reasonable Stable Time Loop. But the series as a whole is all over the place in explaining the perils and practice of time travel.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery — There are two kinds, of which Harriet Beecher Stowe's hero is neither (presumably the name comes from how the character is often lumped into said categories through Common Knowledge).
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born — "For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." The fulfillment of this was not part of a set of twins, much less fraternal twins.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty — The line comes from Grand Theft Auto IV regarding Niko killing Darko. However, it is implied that "empty" feeling isn't from vengeance in general but from taking the wrong kind of vengeance—specifically, he wanted to die, so letting him live made him suffer more.
  • Voice of the Legion — While the Gerasene demon certainly inspired many of the examples, there is no indication that he spoke with a reverb.
  • The Walls Are Closing In — The trope name was inspired by lyrics lifted from the pre-chorus to the Linkin Park song "Crawling;" however, the phrase's use in the song is intended to be metaphorical and describe the narrator's nervous breakdown—not to convey that he's caught in a Death Trap where the walls literally close in and threaten to crush a character.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye — The trope refers to a character who is killed off or otherwise removed from the continuity of a series before the audience can get to know them properly. The trope namer is the old Irish folk song Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye, which is about a soldier who returns home alive, but so maimed and disfigured that he is virtually unrecognisable.
  • Whale Egg — The trope namer is an incident from The Simpsons where Ralph Wiggum mistakes a large white isolation tank for said "whale egg"; it didn't involve an actual whale egg or any other egg from an animal that doesn't reproduce that way.
  • With This Herring — Trope namer is a movie's Impossible Task. Trope is a video game habit of giving starting characters no equipment but a quest to save the world.
  • Xenafication — Xena never had Xenafication, because she is already Xena. Trope is about other characters becoming more like Xena.
  • X Makes Anything CoolBender was referring to the word "extortion" (a normal word that's naturally spelled with an "x"), not to a title or phrase with "X" gratuitously added for Rule of Cool.
  • You Can't Go Home Again — The trope is about somebody being actually unable to return home, due to physical, legal or other reasons. Trope namer is a proverb that describes a similar, but distinct trope Stranger in a Familiar Land - you can technically go home, it just doesn't feel like home anymore.
  • You Have to Burn the Web — There are no webs in You Have to Burn the Rope.
  • Zerg Rush — While the Zerg in StarCraft are often used to win through force of number, the term "Zerg Rush" refers to the tactic of quickly making a small number of units at the beginning of the game to seize enemy resources before they set up defenses.
  • Zettai Ryouiki means "absolute territory" in Japanese, and originally referred to the AT fields in Neon Genesis Evangelion. This wiki's definition of the term was adopted from otaku slang, which is not standard Japanese usage. Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Evangelion doesn't actually have any examples of young girls who wear knee socks.

Tropes that were renamed off this list:

Partial Credit (including cases where the trope happens but not the way the name implies):
  • And I Must Scream — The narrator's fate at the end of I Have No Mouth and I Must Scream (when he utters the trope-naming line) fits every aspect of this trope but the immobility. He ends up immortal, blind, voiceless, trapped in a giant computer, and unable to commit suicide, but capable of limited movement.
  • Bigger Than JesusJohn Lennon didn't say this. He actually said they were "more popular than Jesus", and he insisted that it was a lamentation rather than a boast (he found it ridiculous that the public got more enthusiastic about singing groups than about religion).
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows — Named after one of Strong Bad's hypothetical designs for potential new looks Strong Mad could sport. Nobody in the work actually has large eyebrows.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: The Stinger of Portal shows that the cake that Chell is promised actually exists.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto — The real life Ford Pinto did explode when collided, but it was only one model of Pinto that was affected, and later models fixed the issue.
  • I Am Not Shazam — Captain Marvel, the protagonist of the DC Comics series Shazam, was originally a rather infamous example of this trope note . As of DC's New 52 Continuity Reboot in 2011, though, he actually is named "Shazam".
  • My Future Self and Me — Originally in South Park where Stan meets with his future self. This is not actually the case; it turns out that he was an actor hired by Stan's parents to keep him off of drugs. However, at the end of the episode, Cartman actually does meet his future self.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, HeroPortal does have an example of this trope when Chell incinerates GLaDOS's Morality Core, causing her to release a deadly neurotoxin on Chell. However, the trope-naming line is a lie that GLaDOS tells Chell afterwards in a feeble attempt to make her feel bad about destroying the core by claiming that it was a machine that made shoes for orphans.
  • Some Call Me Tim — Trope is about someone with a very hard to pronounced name going by a shorter nickname. In-universe, we're not told why the enchanter from Monty Python and the Holy Grail goes by the name Tim, or if it's even a nickname in the first place. Out-of-universe, John Cleese ad-libbed the line when he couldn't remember the name he was supposed to use, but we don't know if difficulty in pronouncement is why he did so.
  • Sprint Shoes — The Bunny Hood in Zelda was supposed to be this - but rolling is faster - but rolling too much made you dizzy in one game. In honor of being technically correct, just overshadowed, it remains an alt title.
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill — A more accurate translation would be "Thou shalt not commit premeditated murder". For example, The Bible does not condemn soldiers who are Just Following Orders, whereas the Thou Shalt Not Kill trope does.
  • Timmy in a Well — While Lassie often saves Timmy and the other human characters from danger, those dangers never involve wells.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong? — no specific Trope Namer, but whenever the phrase is actually said, Tempting Fate usually applies, and not this trope.

Mix of the last two:

Alternative Title(s):

Trope Namer Is Not An Example