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
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 Fake.com 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
. Also see This Image Is Not An Example
Oh, and don't bother listing this page itself, as that will create a paradox
(specifically, Russell's paradox
- Acquitted Too Late — The Trope Namer is Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, which doesn't actually contain an example of a character who is executed and then found to be not guilty after the fact.
- Alas, Poor Scrappy — Scrappy-Doo has never been killed off in any incarnation of Scooby-Doo. Well, except for the 2002 live-action film, but since he was the villain there, his death wasn't meant to be mourned.
- Aliens of London — In the trope-naming episode of Doctor Who, the Slitheen only speak with British accents because they're disguised as British government officials as part of an Evil Plan. In their actual alien forms, they don't speak at all.
- And Some Other Stuff — The Trope Namer is Burn Notice, which typically does include the full recipes for all the dangerous stuff they use. The line itself cut out the ingredient simply because it would not have produced as big an explosion as was shown.
- Another Side, Another Story — The trope is named after a secret movie that plays after beating Kingdom Hearts I with certain criteria fulfilled, having nothing to do showing an alternate perspective due to being a Sequel Hook.
- Bat out of Hell — The Trope Namer is an album by Meat Loaf, where the music has nothing to do with giant demonic bats, aside from an analogy in the lyrics of one of them.
- Bits of Me Keep Passing Out — Arthur Dent may have felt like crap, but he doesn't seem to have had any random body parts going to sleep. He did, however, have them disappearing at one point. Make of that what you will.
- Black Dude Dies First — In Evolution, the black dude doesn't even die.
- Black Metal — While the song by Venom contains many elements of Black Metal, the music and vocals are much closer to the style of Thrash Metal they would invariably influence.
- "Blackmail" is Such an Ugly Word — Being a Heroic Comedic Sociopath, Futurama's Bender doesn't bother with euphemisms for any of his heinous acts, and he has absolutely no problem admitting when he's blackmailing somebody. He just prefers to call it "extortion" because he thinks it sounds cooler.
- Blinded by the Light — Trope is specifically about blinding an opponent with bright lights for a combative advantage, which is irrelevant to anything in the original song by Bruce Springsteen (and, later, Manfred Mann's Earth Band).
- Blithe Spirit — Trope is an inspiring force upsetting the stuffy old status quo for the better. Neither the Noël Coward play, nor the movie remake, nor Shelley's 'To A Skylark' provide examples.
- Bears Are Bad News — The name of the Trope was inspired by The Bad News Bears, but no bears are in the movie, which is about a little league team.
- Boom Stick — A staff that shoots stuff, named after This Is My Boomstick (which was originally referring to a shotgun), though one could say "boom stick" is a literal name for it.
- Brawn Hilda — Brünnhilde has traditionally been described as very attractive, but due to the ending song requiring very strong lungs, she's usually played by rather large women, leading to inverse Hollywood Pudgy.
- Breakaway Pop Hit — The Trope Namer is the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where Anya specifically notes her song was an aversion of the trope.
- Brilliant, but Lazy — Spider-Man is anything but lazy, he just appears to be as Peter Parker because he's spending too much time superheroing for his regular life to be anything but a shambles.
- Brooklyn Rage — The Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series version of Joey Wheeler is explicitly not from New York. He just has a Brooklyn accent because his counterpart from the original anime did (plus Rule of Funny).
- Brought to You by the Letter "S" — Has nothing to do with the closing announcement on Sesame Street.
- Carry a Big Stick: The famous quote by Theodore Roosevelt ("Speak softly, and carry a big stick; you will go far.") that the trope name is derived from was a metaphor for Gunboat Diplomacy. The trope is more or less literal, actually being about wielding clubs and related weapons.
- Catapult to Glory — Trope is named after a Darwin Award nominated Tree Buchet accident.
- Caught Up in the Rapture — has nothing to do with Anita Baker's song, which is a traditional love song.
- Chained Heat — The movie the trope takes its name from has nothing to do with diametrically opposed characters shackled together. The film is actually just a Les Yay-filled Exploitation Film about a women's prison.
- A Child Shall Lead Them — The Bible passage in question doesn't refer to a child monarch.
- Church Militant — The Catholic Church defines the Church Militant as the Church on Earth, which is engaged in spiritual warfare, not physical warfare.
- Clothes Make the Superman — Superman doesn't get his powers from his clothes.
- Complete Monster — The trope was named by Stephen King in his 1981 Book on Trope Danse Macabre to describe the character Herbie Satten from the EC Comics strip "Foul Play!", a conceited baseball player who poisons a member of the opposing team to win a game. However, the character only commits one act of murder that would simply place him beyond the Moral Event Horizon, whereas the Complete Monster displays a pattern of such villainous acts. Additionally, the manner in which Herbie is himself murdered by the members of the opposing team in a Vigilante Execution and then has his body parts used for a grotesque ball game means his heinousness doesn't even stand out by the standards of the story.
- Cue the Sun — When the line is spoken in the The Truman Show, there is no intended symbolism behind it. Chistof is literally telling the crew to cue the sun to start the day in the artificial town.
- Daydream Believer — Has no connection to The Monkees' song.
- Days of Future Past — About a type of future, not avoiding a Bad Future.
- Deliver Us from Evil — About a Heel–Face Turn caused by having a baby, not in any way related to the Lord's Prayer.
- Dem Bones — Only the connecting bones are mentioned in the folk song Trope Namer, but in source, Ezekiel 37, the bones are covered in flesh. They're also not Mooks, they're the resurrected and restored nation of Israel.
- Died in Your Arms Tonight — The song by Cutting Crew is referring to death as a metaphor for an orgasm, not literally dying.
- Different for Girls — The trope is about a gender-bent protagonist finding out that things are...well, different for girls, while the Joe Jackson song of the same title is about how dating and love is, well, different for girls.
- Do They Know It's Christmas Time? — The original song was a painfully provincial song by Band Aid about the then-contemporary famine in Ethiopia. The trope, eh, not so much.
- Ethnic Scrappy: Scrappy-Doo is not based on any ethnic group.
- Everybody Must Get Stoned — Bob Dylan's song "Rainy Day Woman #12 and #35" is not actually about mind-altering substances, despite a huge Misaimed Fandom thinking so.
- Evil Eye Shadow — Trope namer is Wyrd Sisters in which a guard upon seeing Magrat "makes a sign to ward off the evil eyeshadow." Magrat isn't a bad person, but is an example of the different trope Uncanny Valley Makeup in the scene.
- Evil Is One Big Happy Family — Cedrik was making a sarcastic quip at an underling when he uttered the Trope Namer line in The Order of the Stick. Outside of the 3 members of the Inter-Fiend Cooperation Commission working together for a common cause, the webcomic's big villains tend to exploit or backstab each other for their own conflicting agendas.
- Excessive Evil Eyeshadow — It's named after Wyrd Sisters. Magrat is a kind-hearted witch whose personal aesthetic is something of a Discworld hippie. But when she wants to look scary and "witchy," the cosmetics come out and take action.
- Eye of Newt — All the ingredients in the witches' brew at the beginning of Macbeth are folk names for herbs. "Eye of newt" itself refers to mustard seed.
- Fingerpoke Of Doom — The trope is about an attack that looks weak but is actually incredibly powerful. The trope namer is the Fan Nickname for the WCW Monday Nitro incident when a match between Hollywood Hogan and Kevin Nash consisted entirely of Hogan poking Nash, then pinning him for the win. Within the confines of Kayfabe it could theoretically be a straight example, but no one's disbelief remained suspended and it was obvious the poke did nothing to Nash — he was just Throwing the Fight and didn't care who knew it.
- Fisher Kingdom — Named after Fisher King, but this trope's kingdom changes all its residents, not just its ruler. The original fisher-kingdom (in the tales of King Arthur) is an example of that trope, not this one.
- Flash Sideways — Lost named and, along with Sliding Doors, co-codified the trope with its extensive use of parallel timelines in the final season. But the "alternate timeline" turned out to be the afterlife instead.
- Florence Nightingale Effect — Florence Nightingale is a famous nurse, but there are no examples of romance between her and anyone under her care.
- Foregone Conclusion — Iago was using the term to mean "something that had already happened"; what he was describing had nothing to do with stories where the audience knows how it's going to end from the beginning.
- Future Imperfect — The trope-naming episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation has nothing to do with people from the future having incorrect ideas about the past; it's about Riker winding up in an illusory vision of his own future life (his future is "imperfect" in the sense that it's not real, and it's not convincing enough to fool him).
- Game Over Man — A video game trope named after a quote from a movie.
- Girl Friday — This trope is Always Female, but is named after a male character.
- Goddamned Bats — Raoul Duke never had to deal with difficult video game enemies, thankfully.
- Goggles Do Nothing — Ranier Wolfcastle was wearing safety goggles for their intended purpose; they just weren't enough to protect his eyes from a flood of acid, hence his exclamation that they did nothing for him. The goggles were not being kept on his forehead as a fundamentally useless or unnecessary clothing accessory.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress — The trope is about gravity not working the way it's supposed to. The Tick was complaining about gravity working all too well, on him. Luckily he is Nigh Invulnerable.
- Great Balls of Fire — Nothing to do with the song, fireballs or balls on fire.
- Grimmification — The Brothers Grimm actually Bowdlerised the stories they wrote down in their collection. It's just that the originals were so ripe with sex and violence, that even the new versions were still quite, well, grim.
- Half the Man He Used to Be: The trope namer is taken from The Beatles song "Yesterday", which has nothing to do with people being cut in half.
- Heads I Win, Tails You Lose: The trope namer is #35 on the The Grand List of Console Role Playing Game Clichés, but the wording of that implied defeat would not result in a Game Over, so the trope described is actually The Battle Didn't Count.
- Heal Thyself — The quote in The Bible is a reference to how doctors can't heal themselves, or at least not very well.
- He-Man Woman Hater — The Little Rascals are too young to qualify under the trope, instead being an example of Girls Have Cooties.
- Horse of a Different Color: The one in The Wizard of Oz is a Literal Metaphor, and still a horse, so it technically does not fit.
- Humanity Is Superior — Crichton doesn't really believe that (indeed, humans aren't special at much of anything other than heat tolerance in Farscape). But he was crazy at the time he said that line.
- Hyde Plays Jekyll — This never happened with the original Jekyll & Hyde.
- I Am Not Leonard Nimoy — Named so as to be the inverse of I Am Not Spock. However, actor Leonard Nimoy was not known for having a public image or personality which overshadowed the characters he played; it was very much always a case of the opposite.
- Insane Troll Logic — The Trope Namer, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, referred to "insane troll logic" three times: first, a hero said it to an actual troll cruelly asking if he wanted his girlfriend or best friend to die; second, it was that same troll mocking the idea of altruism; and third, Buffy said it in disbelief to a vampire-ifed classmate psychoanalyzing her. All three of these usages are warped logic by twisted minds, but they are logical, not the kind of absurd and clearly erroneous leaps of illogic that Insane Troll Logic now refers to.
- I Reject Your Reality — The trope is named for a line from The Dungeonmaster (later famously quoted by Adam Savage). In the actual scene it's a response to the villain saying "In a future reality, I shall destroy you!" and has nothing to do with the trope. Adam Savage definitely was using it in the sense of the trope when he popularized the phrase, though.
- Isn't It Ironic? — Trope is using a song because one missed the irony in the lyrics. Trope Namer cannot be an example because it does not actually contain verbal irony. The title refers to ironic juxtapositions of events.
- It's Raining Men — Paratroopers have nothing to do with that song.
- It's the Only Way to Be Sure — While Ripley suggests nuking the site from orbit for this very reason during the scene that made Aliens the Trope Namer, it doesn't actually happen (or at least, not the way she probably intended).
- Jerkass — The word "jerkass" was first used in the episode "The Joy of Sect" by Homer when he was driving towards the cultists saying "Outta my way, jerkass!". Homer himself started out as a mostly likable, well-meaning husband/father, and it was not until fans of the The Simpsons nicknamed his Flanderized self, "Jerkass Homer", did this adjective come to denote a jerkish character.
- Kaleidoscope Eyes — We really don't know what The Beatles meant by that line.
- Kill It with Fire — The meme is about deletion of files, images, or articles, which never involves literal fire.
- Knight of Cerebus — This is not how Cerebus the Aardvark did Cerebus Syndrome. It drifted in more gradually.
- Knight Templar — The Knights Templar were actually very tolerant of the Arabs, but propaganda and conspiracy theory said otherwise.
- Know-Nothing Know-It-All — The name of this trope comes from an insult that Homer used to describe Lisa after she wrecked his barbecue in the episode, "Lisa the Vegetarian". While Lisa can definitely be a bit insistent with an "ideas above people" mentality, she is usually characterized as an authentic Insufferable Genius. Rarely, if ever, does she actually wrongly believe herself to be intelligent.
- The Living Dead — The trope namer is any number of films about zombies, but the trope has nothing to do with them or any other undead monsters. It's about Special Effect Failure revealing that a corpse is actually being played by a live person.
- Lucky Charms Title — The cereal is written with ordinary letters. It's just that the marshmallow shapes called out in the ads could be used for this kind of title.
- Ludicrous Speed — Speed that is so fast it drives you ludicrous, while the trope namer heavily implies that you'd already have to be ludicrous just to want to go that fast.
- Machine Empathy — The trope makes it clear that it's not about Technopathy, but Paranoia is.
- Magic Bus — The bus in the song by The Who for which this trope is named is not itself actually magical—it's just an ordinary bus.
- Magnificent Bastard — Rommel was fighting for the Axis, but he doesn't really fit the trope.
- Man, I Feel Like a Woman — Shania Twain's song is about female independence, not men feeling themselves up after discovering that they've somehow become women.
- Mary Sue — The Trope Namer is the protagonist of the Star Trek fanfic A Trekkie's Tale, which is actually a parody of the Mary Sue Classic. The original Mary Sue is actually what would now be considered a Parody Sue.
- Mexican Standoff — The term originated in a 19th century newspaper as a metaphor to describe a political struggle for power in Mexico.
- Missed Him by That Much — A riff on one of Maxwell Smart's many catch phrases, but he never actually engaged in the trope himself.
- Mister Big — The villain of that name in Live and Let Die isn't a particularly small man. The version from the original novel is both an inversion and an aversion - he's very much Large and in Charge, but his street name actually comes from the initials of his real name.
- Money for Nothing — The Dire Straits song is about the life of a rock star from the view of a lower-class worker, not about earning money that can't actually be used for anything.
- Most Annoying Sound — The scene from Dumb and Dumber doesn't qualify because it's not a video game or toy.
- My Death Is Just the Beginning — Named after the line spoken by Pious Augustus from Eternal Darkness. He dies a very final death immediately after uttering the eponymous phrase.
- My Hero Zero — The singer in Schoolhouse Rock is referring to the number zero itself, not a fictional character named "Zero".
- My Horse Is a Motorbike — The meme from Sengoku Basara is just a regular horse that's been outfitted with handlebars and tailpipes.
- My Own Grampa — The titular song is about a man who is his own step-grandfather by marriage. The trope is far more literal.
- The Napoleon — The real Napoleon Bonaparte was of average height for his time. He appears comparatively short in paintings because he stocked his Imperial Guard with tall men.
- Next Sunday A.D. — Mystery Science Theater 3000 was inexplicit regarding the date and demanded too much suspension of disbelief for a few years one way or the other to cover up.
- Nice Job Breaking It, Herod! — Even though Harod was trying to kill Jesus to prevent losing his power, his eventual death was not caused (directly or indirectly) by Jesus.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed — The end credits of The Critic used the phrase after announcing out that celebrity voices were impersonated, not to note that characters based on Real Life celebrities have different names on the show.
- Not His Sled — Citizen Kane has not been adapted to change the famous twist ending.
- A Nuclear Error — The phrase's appearance in The Clash's "London Calling" is a reference to the partial nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island—not common factual inaccuracies about nuclear weapons appearing in fiction.
- Obvious Judas — Within the context given by The Four Gospels, Judas Iscariot being the traitor is not obvious; he's only seen as such because Everybody Knows That thanks to 2000 years of It Was His Sled. When Jesus reveals that he knows one of the disciples will betray Him, they are all shocked and ask, "Lord, is it I?" There are a few tiny hints in the narrative itself (Matthew mentions that Judas was Stealing from the Till), but it essentially comes out of the blue.
- Oedipus Complex — Though he did kill his father and marry his mother, Oedipus had no clue that he was related to either of them when he met them, and was thoroughly disgusted with himself when he found out. He killed his father in a chance encounter with him, and he was offered his mother's hand in marriage as a reward for saving Thebes from the Sphinx — he didn't hate his father, and he wasn't in love with his mother. Its Distaff Counterpart, the Electra Complex, is even less of an example. Electra killed her mother purely in revenge for killing her father, eight years after he had died. She didn't kill her mother to have her father for herself, and her brother helped her with the murder to boot.
- Officer and a Gentleman — Richard Gere's character in An Officer and a Gentleman is most decidedly not an example of the trope.
- Off with His Head! — Many know the trope name from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, in which the Queen of Hearts shouts "Off with his head!" and "Off with her head!" and "Off with their heads!" to order the execution of almost everyone at the croquet game. It isn't until the Tim Burton version that the Queen is actually seen to have gone through it, though. Every other time, victims were pardoned behind her back by the King.
- One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other — Sesame Street never featured a maze that could be navigated only by observing subtle hints.
- Only a Model — Camelot Castle in Monty Python and the Holy Grail is never actually depicted as a scale model, and we never see its true size in relation to the characters. Patsy just claims that it's a model when he attempts to break the fourth wall, only to be promptly shut up by King Arthur.
- Open the Iris — Namer was a shield for the Stargate, not anything about someone's eye.
- Orwellian Retcon — Trope is about editing republished/recut versions of a work to put them in-line with a Retcon made after the original version. Characters in Nineteen Eighty-Four did this in-universe, but George Orwell never did this himself.
- Pac Man Fever — The song is about liking the game, not about getting video game facts wrong.
- Paint It Black — The trope is about a character's costume changing when they turn evil. The song by The Rolling Stones is about a man overcome by grief after his lover's death who wants to paint everything black.
- The Pennyfarthing Effect — The Trope-naming bicycle was legitimately seen as the better of two inefficiencies until 1890.
- Pronoun Trouble — Daffy's trouble was with person, not gender.
- Rasputinian Death — The circumstances surrounding the death of the Real Life Rasputin were largely fabricated to paint him as demonic. He actually died after only being shot three times, with the third killing him instantly.
- Red Right Hand — The trope refers to some odd physical trait that indicates someone is evil. The line from Paradise Lost is speaking metaphorically, and about God (specifically his punishments), who is not evil.
- Rescued from the Scrappy Heap — Scrappy-Doo was never redeemed in the eyes of the fanbase, partially because he (mostly) stayed absent from the franchise after its initial cancellation. His only other appearance was in the 2002 live-action film, which didn't improve his reputation.
- Restored My Faith in Humanity — Akara means that her faith in the future of humanity (which is understandable to doubt with the demons running around everywhere) is helped by your actions.
- Revenge of the Nerd — None of the Revenge of the Nerds movies feature a formerly nebbish high school character growing up attractive and then sticking it to the opposite sex character who previously rejected them.
- Rock Me, Amadeus! — The song is about Mozart, but does not have any Sampling from him.
- Scandalgate — "Watergate" was just the name of the hotel where the famous US political scandal mainly took place. While it inspired the use of the "-gate" suffix in almost all future political and media scandals, the Watergate scandal itself did not follow this convention and, thus, is not an example of the trope.
- The Scourge of God — Trope is serial killers who kill sinners; Trope Namer is a nickname attributed to Attila the Hun.
- The Shadow Knows: This Trope is about a disguised person's shadow revealing his or her true self. It has nothing to do with The Shadow, who used the name as his Catchphrase.
- Thinking Up Portals — Named after the memetic "Thinking With Portals" tagline of the Portal series, but the portals in that series don't count because Chell uses a portal gun rather than an inate ability.
- Screw the Money, I Have Rules! — The Trope Namer was a Spoonerism by Kaiba in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series; he was trying to say "Screw the rules, I have money!"
- 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 Different — Monty 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 reference 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 successor 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 Scrappy — Scrappy-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, albiet one containing a bootstrap paradox. 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 was an Action Girl from the get-go. The Trope is about other characters becoming more like Xena.
- "X" Makes Anything Cool — Bender from Futurama 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 — The phrase 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:
- Actor/Role Confusion — Originally "Your Secret's Safe With Me, Superman", after a line from The Simpsons that does not involve Superman or someone who played the character (which the trope is about).
- Anger Born of Worry — Originally "Fear Leads To Anger", Yoda never felt fear for Anakin's safety that presented as anger at his return.
- Badass Decay — Originally "Spikeification", after the Buffy the Vampire Slayer character. As with Xenification, there was never a time when Spike wasn't being Spike. Also, the trope is usually invoked for the writers gradually writing the character differently, whereas Spike was subjected to behavior modification treatment that left him literally unable to be badass, making his case closer to Brainwashing for the Greater Good or Heel–Face Brainwashing.
- Bigger Is Better in Bed — Originally "Biggus Dickus". The mentioned character in Monty Python's Life of Brian engages in no sexual activity, and his anatomy is never discussed — it's just his Punny Name which is highlighted.
- Breakup Breakout — Originally "The Jannetty", referring to Shawn Michaels's tag team partner Marty Jannetty, who was actually a Lesser Star.
- Bystander Syndrome — Originally "Someone Else's Problem", referring to a Weirdness Censor in Life, the Universe and Everything that invokes this trope via Applied Phlebotinum.
- Coincidental Dodge — Originally "Gardener Contract". It was named after Chance, the gardener from Being There and the former Trope Namer of Seemingly Profound Fool, who never escaped an assassination attempt by coincidence. note
- Creator's Apathy — Originally "They Just Didn't Care". The trope was named by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 crew's response to the lack of quality in Attack of the Eye Creatures. This trope is not about an audience reaction, but the creators explicitly admitting that they didn't care.
- Impersonating the Evil Twin — Originally "I Am He As You Are He", after the opening lyrics of "I Am The Walrus" by The Beatles, in which the context of Lennon's words don't appear to be about this trope.
- Informed Equipment — Originally "Fight In The Nude", a game challenge in Diablo to fight without armor, not a failure to render acquired equipment owing to cheap graphics which is the trope.
- Intentional Engrish for Funny — Originally "Zero Wingrish", after the memetic intro of Zero Wing, which was the result of a "Blind Idiot" Translation and most likely not an intentional choice.
- Lesser Star — Used to define a group member (usually in bands and music outfits) who is superfluous. It was originally named "Garfunkel", but the duo of Simon & Garfunkel was well-known for their harmonies, and Art Garfunkel sang some of their most beautiful melodies, even if Paul Simon had a more successful solo career.
- Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow — Originally "Me Love You Long Time"; however, the prostitute in Full Metal Jacket was responding to purely economic forces rather than the soldiers' ethnicity.
- No Delays for the Wicked — Originally "The Trains Run On Time", a term used about Mussolini for whom it was never true.
- Ordered to Cheat — Originally "Sweep The Leg". In The Karate Kid, not only was "sweeping the leg" not cheating (and thus a viable strategy), there was a better example in the match before, where the same guy ordered another student to take Daniel out of commission, which he does by wrecking his knee...despite not wanting to cheat in the first place.
- Playing a Tree — Originally "You Are A Tree Charlie Brown", who had never been cast as a tree.
- Person as Verb — Originally "I Pulled a "Weird Al"". "Weird Al" Yankovic never used the trope in his music, nor did any character in any other work use his name as a verb.
- Resignations Not Accepted — Originally "You Can Never Leave", a reference to lyrics from The Eagles song "Hotel California," which in the context of the song were about not being able to leave a place, rather than an organization.
- Skyward Scream — Originally "The Khan", referring to an infamous scene from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, which didn't involve a scream using that precise presentation. Instead look for The Scream.
- Status Quo Game Show — Originally "You Can't Win", after an in-universe game show from Stay Tuned. The protagonists of the movie actually won on the game show, or at least survived it.
- Suddenly Always Knew That — Originally "I Know Kung Fu", refers to a character suddenly using an advanced skill that he/she has apparently always knew but never mentioned it before. The original trope namer, Neo from The Matrix, had to get an Upgrade Artifact installed.
- Translation Train Wreck — Originally "Do Not Want", which, while the bootleg the line came from is mostly an example, is merely inaccurate (an infamous translation of Darth Vader's Big "NO!"), not flat-out gibberish.
- Urban Legend of Zelda — Trope is false rumors of Easter Eggs, former trope namer ("Schala Lives" referring to Chrono Trigger) was about plot development and turned out to be true.
- Verbal Tic — Originally "Spoon Speaker", which The Tick's odd battlecry was not really.
- Wedding Smashers — Originally "Wedding Crashers", but the film version was non-violent.
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.
- Beware the Superman: The original book that Superman was based on had the character become evil. However, most versions of Superman are truly heroic.
- Bigger Than Jesus — John 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 Blasphemous Boast (he found it ridiculous that the public got more enthusiastic about singing groups than about religion).
- Big Lipped Alligator Moment — The Trope Namer is a musical number in All Dogs Go to Heaven — an animated musical about Funny Animals set in New Orleans, where a singing alligator isn't out-of-place at all. And King Gator, the big-lipped alligator in question, reappears towards the end to take out the film's villain, thus having a profound impact on the plot. The musical number itself that is the trope namer, however, is a different story.
- 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 last scene of Portal shows that the cake promised to test subjects actually exists, it's just that GLaDOS never intends to let them eat it.
- Do a Barrel Roll — The "barrel roll" in Star Fox 64 isn't an actual barrel roll, it's an alieron roll.
- 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.
- General Ripper — General Jack D. Ripper of Doctor Strangelove is indeed insane, and he does indeed concoct a scheme to start a nuclear war between the United States and Russia, but he has almost none of the classic markers of the trope. Rather than being a loud, brash, jingoistic madman who gleefully sends his troops to die in battle, he's a quiet, soft-spoken man who successfully manages to hide his mental instability from everyone else in the military, and he spends most of the movie keeping his troops safely fortified in a military base.
- Golden Snitch — J. K. Rowling has stated that it's common in professional Quidditch for a team to catch the Golden Snitch and still lose despite the point bonus, like what happens at the Quidditch World Cup in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. It's just that the version Hogwarts uses has simplified rules and is significantly faster, thus the points won from catching the Snitch have much more weight.
- 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".
- I Just Shot Marvin in the Face — The trope refers to serious instances of damage being done by crass gun safety violations. The Pulp Fiction scene strictly speaking fits, but is clearly Played for Laughs, making it a much better example of Juggling Loaded Guns.
- Leeroy Jenkins — The original Leeroy Jenkins did indeed rush in without listening to his team's plans, but that plan was so inherently flawed that it wouldn't have worked even if he followed it.
- 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, Hero — Portal 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.
- Right Man in the Wrong Place — Gordon Freeman is an example in the original Half-Life, in which he's an ordinary scientist who fights an alien invasion. In Half-Life 2 however, where the trope-naming line comes from, he's been deliberately dropped off by the G-Man at a specific time and place to achieve the G-Man's goals.
- Rookie Red Ranger — The Power Rangers franchise includes quite a few Red Rangers who do indeed fit the trope to a T, but it should be noted that not all of the Red Rangers are actually the leaders of their respective teams (even if they are rookies). Standout examples include the second half of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers (where the leader is Tommy the White Ranger) and Power Rangers Time Force (where the leader is Jen the Pink Ranger). note
- Screw the Rules, I Have Money! — While Seto Kaiba is fond of using his wealth to buy himself out of situations in both Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series and the original Yu-Gi-Oh!, when he actually said this in the abridged series, he was just straight-up cheating in his Duel Monsters game against Yugi.
- 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 The Legend of Zelda was supposed to be this, but rolling is faster. 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:
- Cute and Psycho — Originally "Yangire", a term that was coined by fans to describe some unusual behavior of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, though this was ultimately not the case.
- Damsel Scrappy — originally "The Kimberly", referring to a character from 24, who Took a Level in Badass during the season that followed the trope renaming and got Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
- Hypercompetent Sidekick — originally "The Radar", referring to a character from Mash, who was this until Flanderization.
- Replacement Flat Character — Originally "The Niles", referring to a character from Frasier, who was such until Character Development.
- Romantic Plot Tumor — Originally "George Lucas Love Story", changed because most romance stories in Lucas films are not poorly written and absorbing most of the film, and his famous example was just a Never Live It Down moment.