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Playing With: Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word
Basic Trope: A character prefers not to use a specific word, and instead prefers a softer alternative.
  • Straight: When Alice accuses Bob of blackmailing her, he insists she doesn't call it blackmailing.
  • Exagerated: Alice accuses Bob of blackmailing her. He threatens to tell everyone every single one of her secrets if she ever says that word again.
  • Downplayed: By the way Bob uses words such as "Influence" and "Leverage", it's clear he's referring to blackmail even though he avoids that specific word.
  • Justified:
    • Bob is a Knight Templar who does not view his actions as crimes.
    • Bob has always disliked the word blackmail, because he finds it offensive to people who send their mail in black paper.
    • Bob hates the word blackmail because he finds it phonetically unpleasant.
    • Bob is worried someone might overhear the conversation.
  • Inverted: When Alice accuses Bob of blackmailing her, he asks her to say it again, because he likes the sound of the word.
  • Subverted: "Blackmail is such a dirty word. But yes, that is what I'm doing."
  • Double Subverted:..."But still, don't call it blackmail.
  • Parodied: Upon accusal, Bob pulls out a thesaurus and lists better words than blackmail.
  • Zig Zagged: When Alice accuses Bob of blackmailing her, he insists she doesn't call it blackmailing. Later she calls it blackmailing anyway and he doesn't notice.
  • Averted: Bob has no problems with the accusatory term.
  • Enforced: ???
  • Lampshaded: "Honestly? My word choice is the biggest issue here?"
  • Invoked: ???
  • Exploited: ???
  • Defied: ???
  • Discussed: ???
  • Conversed: ???
  • Deconstructed:
    • Bob is on trial, and he insists the person suing him not use the word blackmail. They eventually sue him for something much worse and he gets a much worse punishment than if he had just been sued for blackmail.
    • Alice accuses Bob ob blackmailing her. Bob sues Alice for libel.


The back button is just an ugly word. I'd rather you use previous.

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