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Truth In Television: A-C
Visit entries from: You are here/D to F/G to I/J to L/M to O/P to R/S to U/V to Z


  • A-Cup Angst: There are some women that feel this way over small breasts, and many transgender women see gaining breasts as one of the most important points of their transition. It is not universal though, for either...
  • Abandon Shipping: Particularly nasty divorces or breakups (especially those where abuse or something else squicky was involved) can result in this, in that not only the parties involved no longer want to be involved with each other, but no one wants them to get back together or looks back on the "good old days" of when they were.
  • Abandoned Warehouse: At least one or two can be found in any larger town or a city. It's not unusual for any warehouse to be vacant for part of the year as supply and demand shift.
  • Abdicate the Throne: Britain's Edward VIII, Sweden's Queen Christina, recent Dutch monarchs, the Pope.
  • AB Negative: AB- really is the rarest common blood type with between .2% and 1% of any given population having it. However, there are LOTS of really rare types.
    • The whole aspect of the trope in that AB- can only take AB- blood is false. The positive variant (i.e. AB+) is considered a universal receiver of Red Blood Cells (O- is the universal donor), which makes life much easier for the blood bankers, in that they can usually just grab a bag of any old blood type and they won't reject it. AB- (the Trope Namer) is only slightly more limited; they can receive any negative red cells but not positive red cells (as opposed to how the inverse is possible and is why AB+ is the universal receiver).
    • The "universal donor/receiver" angle only works with components. Whole blood is uncommonly used in transfusion medicine at present; most blood products consist of specific processed components such as red blood cells, plasma, or platelets. O- is the universal donor for red cells; AB+ is the universal recipient for red cells. With plasma it’s reversed: O is the universal recipient, AB is the universal donor (Rh+/- doesn’t matter much in plasma). If you had to give someone whole blood it really ought to be exact match.
    • You can usually get away with giving Rh+ red cells to an Rh- patient ONCE without ill effects. Most people don’t have Rh antibodies unless they’ve been transfused with Rh incompatible blood (you can get them from pregnancy too). Once a person makes Rh antibodies giving them Rh positive blood can kill them.
    • Regardless of the above, it is standard practice to give patients only their own blood type. Even if one is a universal recipient, using another type is done only if you have no choice. Rarity isn't really an issue either, because if one has a common blood type meaning there are plenty of donors, that also means there are plenty of recipients to split it between.
  • Abnormal Ammo: Dragon's Breath pyrotechnic shotgun rounds. Actually most of shotgun ammunition types could be considered "abnormal".
    • Name any episode of MythBusters. Chances are you will see this trope in action with a gun or cannon.
    • The blunderbuss will use anything you can stuff down the barrel as ammo.
    • The British rather ingeniously use (or used) tungsten rounds for cave fighting to prevent ricochet. There was a side effect of the bullets acting like explosive rounds in human tissue.
    • 40mm grenade launchers, such as the Mikhor MGL, are often marketed with a wide variety of ammunition types, ranging from the standard high explosive to smoke grenades and 40mm Buckshot. One episode of Futureweapons showcased 40mm canisters that fired small reconnaissance cameras.
  • Above the Influence: Refusing to have sex with someone whose consent may be compromised is a sign of integrity, maturity, and not being a rapist. Refusing to have sex with someone who is wanting to do it for reasons that severely conflict with your own values or desires (e.g. you want love and they want money) is a sign of being a mature adult with a healthy approach to sex.
  • Absent Aliens: At least to the date of this writing, no sentient alien species from non-Earth planets have been documented and observed on Earth. Nor have living humans from Earth physically arrived on other planets aside from the Moon, being aliens to those planets.
  • Absurdly Long Limousine: They exist, and are arguably a safety hazard to their passengers and other drivers.
  • Absurdly Powerful Student Council: Public colleges in Mexico often have an Absurdly Powerful Student Association, capable of granting all sorts of suspicious favors to those who have the appropriate connections.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: They exist. Surgical blades, for example, need to be this because sharpness equals precision.
    • Obsidian stone blades take it a step further, being sharper than surgical blades (other tool-grade rocks, like slate, still can be made sharper than even professional kitchen knives). Being crystalline, not metallic, they're less reliable and harder to precisely manufacture, though.
  • Absurdly Spacious Sewer: The gruyere of Paris. It has a whole underground community due to their delicate catacombs and sewers. There are illegal shops and theatres under there.
  • Abuse Mistake: Quite often happens to adults in places where BDSM is not a recognized sexual expression/practice. Also, sometimes happens with children who are accident-prone and/or have some physical or mental illnesses, or whose single parent is male or whose parent(s) are in an alternative subculture or religion or similar.
  • Abusive Parents: Unfortunately.
  • Accentuate the Negative: Many publications online and offline exist solely for this reason. Quite a few people have devoted their lives to picking out the smallest flaws in art, literature, music, and often other human beings. Sometimes this is useful - if they can encourage improvement or the like - other times, it's simply just to be sanctimonious or uphold something or someone one likes more than the thing or person upon which one is raining vitriol.
  • Accidental Art: "Found art" is an example. Another example would be architecture or design considered utilitarian at the time but which is later appreciated as artistic. Street photography also relies on this - framing everyday people and things to be a work of art.
  • Accidental Hero: More of them than you can count, and you may end up becoming one yourself someday. Sometimes, all that is required of heroism is being in the right place at the right time (or the wrong place at the wrong time yet knowing what to do!), or even simply doing a seemingly mundane action can make you the person who saves a life or many lives or prevented major injury or whatever.
  • Accidental Murder: In the US legal system alone, there is:
    • Second-degree murder, which is defined as callous, depraved indifference to whether anyone lives or dies note 
    • "Felony murder," which is defined as killing someone accidentally while committing a felony crime in some US states, though some states have dropped it and others are considering dropping it, reclassifying cases as voluntary or involuntary manslaughter instead. note 
    • Voluntary manslaughter, which is defined as killing someone willingly, but as a result of rapid escalation/impulsive sudden rage/being triggered as opposed to wanting and planning to kill them specifically (first-degree murder) or wanting to just kill anyone/not caring if anyone dies while doing a lethal activity (second-degree murder). note 
    • Involuntary manslaughter, which is accidentally killing someone, while being so negligent that death could be expected. Differed from second-degree murder or voluntary manslaughter in that there is no intent to kill at all, but there is an intent to do something absolutely stupid where someone could easily get hurt or killed, and someone was killed. note 
    • Vehicular manslaughter, which rides a middle ground between voluntary and involuntary (as in, it's a voluntary decision to drive a vehicle recklessly and/or drunk/high/compromised, but it's also true that most people doing so aren't doing it with any intent of "let's go out and KILL PEOPLE!") and has been created in some locales as a way of properly categorizing/punishing those who kill others while driving dangerously/recklessly or drunk.
  • Accidental Pervert: Sometimes happens as a result of Asperger's syndrome or autism, cultural differences, or social isolation - someone doesn't understand that their words or actions could be taken as sexual or sexual invitations, or worse, as sexist or sexual harassment.
  • Accidental Truth: Frequently happens - quite often with gossip and rumors and speculation, where it is often easy to accidentally hit on the truth even with some of the wildest guesses, especially with people who are in The Tyson Zone.
  • Accomplice by Inaction: As far as judiciary system goes, one can be prosecuted for not taking any action to help someone in peril, which is known as "the duty to rescue".
  • Accuser of the Brethren: Why, in many cases, it is so hard for criminals (or even some victims - this has a nasty tendency to overlap with Defiled Forever for rape or abuse victims) to escape the past: there are plenty of people that for one reason or another want to force them to stay in it and repeat criminal behavior/be repeatedly victimized.
  • Ace Pilot: In both military and civilian flight. Some in civilian flight have saved lives with their skill and professionalism. (The "Gimli Glider" and "Miracle on the Hudson" emergency landings were both done by pilots who could be considered a part of this category precisely because they were such good manual pilots that they could keep control of jets as gliders after sudden power losses - due to running out of fuel and a bird strike, respectively - enough to make a proper emergency landing rather than an uncontrolled crash.)
  • Achievements in Ignorance: Because sometimes, ignoring or not knowing the common wisdom can actually allow someone to think and act in ways that are better than said common wisdom.
  • Acme Products: Acme was a fairly common name for companies at one time, as it would put them at or near the beginning of the listings in the phone book. It helped that the word means "the best".
  • Acquired Situational Narcissism: An actual DSM defined personality disorder that develops in some people who acquire fame or notoriety.
  • Acrofatic: Sumo wrestlers. Many technical pro-wrestlers qualify too. Also many olympic weightlifters and strongmen, both of whom need agility and coordination.
  • Action Mom: Because motherhood isn't the end of life for most women in modern society. Firefighters, paramedics, police, and some militaries all include some mothers among their ranks, and sometimes they end up defending their own or others' children. Historically truth as well.
    • Played straight with deadly results with samurai-class women. They trained with various weapons ("inferior" naginata and tanto particularly) specifically to be this trope and defend the home and family while the men were off making war.
  • Action Survivor: Often overlaps with Accidental Hero above. It is actually common for bystanders in crimes, disasters, or other emergencies to not suffer from Bystander Syndrome, and to instead act with incredible bravery to save property and/or lives.
  • Actually Four Mooks: At long range radar has a tendency to read multiple objects in close formation as single objects, a fact that has been exploited by multiple air forces to hide their numbers or lure enemies into tangling with fighters when they thought it was an unescorted bomber instead.
  • Actually, I Am Him: When people don't have a physical description (or have a wrong or very limited one) of who they are looking to find, this is a frequent occurrence. Also can happen when someone appears very different offstage/out of costume or uniform/similar.
  • Actual Pacifist: Quakers/Society of Friends. Jains. Others who, due to religion or personal morals or experience, find killing or violence or war absolutely repugnant and an affront to humanity.
  • Adaptational Badass: Due to historical revisionism, propaganda reasons, and many other causes, some people are seen as more badass than they were or are, especially over time and in different recountings of their actions or words.
  • Adaptational Heroism: See above. Historical revisionism, propaganda, the invocation of Fair for Its Day, and many, many other causes can lead to different retellings of someone's words, actions, or life being more "heroic" than it once was.
  • Adaptational Villainy: The other side of the coin of the above tropes. Sometimes historical revisionism, propaganda, new information coming to light, and many other causes can lead to someone who was once seen as good or heroic being seen as much less so. Often a cause or result of Broken Pedestal.
  • Adaptational Wimp: This one happens due to varying gender politics, varying standards of what is "badass" or "wimp" over time and culture, and many other reasons. A good example here is the perception of Visual Kei rock musicians among their fans versus among society at large.
  • A Darker Me: The internet can cause this, and before the internet (and before identity became something as important as it is), someone could become this by moving to another place and entirely changing their identity and persona. While it's still possible to start a whole new life, it's pretty damn difficult.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: Humans are one of the species that masturbates for pleasure, making this trope almost universal Truth in Television.
  • Admiring the Abomination: A common reaction among observers of everything from weapons in action (especially nuclear weapons to the way anything from a computer virus to a real virus or cancer works.
  • Adminisphere: Administrators and upper management of anything tend to either be or become separate from the rank and file, which means decision making may well be affected badly. Averted by policies and by keeping communication open, and subverted when the education or better information of higher-ups makes for better decisions.
  • A Dog Ate My Homework: Excuses for homework not being done are common anywhere there is education. That said, the more common excuses now are related to computer crashes, misplacement, "was there an assignment?" and similar - "the dog ate it" is such an obvious case of Blatant Lies that even if true, it is pointless to try it. The world's most common excuse, according to teachers, is blaming the parents for accidentally throwing it out.
  • Adventurer Archaeologist: Yes; though it's very exaggerated nowadays, there really used to be rough-and-tumble cowboy archaeologists. Roy Chapman Andrews is said to be the inspiration for Indiana Jones. He led expeditions through the Arctic and China, but most famously through the Gobi Desert. He was frequently attacked by bandits and survived by his wits. Yes, he was a real person. Go look him up. His biography reads like a pulp fiction novel, but unlike L. Ron Hubbard, it's all true.
  • Affably Evil: For the given value of "evil," many serial killers, rapists, pedophiles, thieves and other law breakers/criminals don't seem that different from anyone else. John Wayne Gacy is a famous example, who even took a picture with Jimmy Carter. Which is scary to think about.
  • Afraid of Blood: Hemophobia.
  • Afraid of Needles: Trypanophobia, the plague of Big Damn Heroes for years.
  • After-Action Healing Drama: Because for anything "action," especially involving combat or violence, there often will be people whose injuries demand immediate attention. The point of triage in most emergency situations is determining these from the people who can wait for care or who can do without care/without professional care.
  • After-Action Patchup: And sometimes (even with lesser combat/violence such as a Bar Brawl with no landed gut punches or major head injuries) all everyone involved will need is minor first aid care or very simple professional care like wound cleaning/stitches/tetanus shot.
  • Against My Religion: There are people that sincerely do not wish to take part in a given action due to their religion, and who are not The Fundamentalist about it. The difference between them is that the person who sincerely believes in this will say no - The Fundamentalist will berate you for not saying no.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst: Teenagers and early 20s people have many hormonal changes and environmental pressures even if their lives are relatively "easy." Middle-aged people have to cope with death, divorces, physically and hormonally changing bodies, and financial pressures. Elderly people have to cope with death and the realization of their own being near, illness, and loneliness.
  • Agent Peacock: Glam Rock, Hair Metal, and Visual Kei all provide examples. Lots and lots of examples.
  • The Aggressive Drug Dealer: Happens, but only in very competitive environments and never to the extent in fiction. Drug dealers are above all else salesmen and marketers (albeit of a highly illegal product in most places they operate) and if people are already sold on the product and there are few other people selling it/they have steady customers there's no reason for aggressive sales tactics - which is why street dealers tend more toward this stereotype, because they often lack an existing steady customer base and are in active competition over prices and amounts against other dealers. That said, the aggression tends to be toward assuming anyone not in police uniform is a potential client and offering dope at a low price regardless of their feelings toward it or that they need to be somewhere else, not offering freebies to kids or the like.
  • Aggressive Negotiations: Preventing this is why most people entering a space for nonviolent negotiations (anything from the floor of the UN to a courthouse) are usually disarmed, and why carrying weapons into such a space is usually a crime itself. It is also why some people fear or distrust negotiations unless they are held on neutral territory preferably with the negotiators being either disarmed or equally armed.
  • Agony of the Feet: Much to our sore toes.
  • Air Guitar: Serious Business for those who take part in the official air guitar championships. Also, rhythm games like Guitar Hero made this an acceptable form of entertainment.
  • Air Hugging: Homophobic men can have this down to an art... as can some religious people who believe touching is in essence sexual.
  • Air Jousting: This is what dogfights were like back when they had more maneuverability (WWI, for those playing at home).
  • Air-Vent Passageway: Frank Morris and the Anglin brothers escaped Alcatraz using this method, but it requires very special circumstances to work effectively. Jason Grimsley used this trick to steal a corked bat to help a fellow MLB baseball player.
  • A Lady on Each Arm: Many people of both genders have done a pose like this as a joke at some point. Some people do it unironically. Those people are usually what we call "douchebags."
  • The Alcatraz: Where do you think the trope title comes from?
  • The Alcoholic: A list of Real Life examples would be too exhaustive and gossipy, but alcoholism is one of the most common serious drug addictions in the world, especially when you include those who fall under Functional Addict along with the less functional. And susceptability to alcoholism is something few people know they have before they become alcoholics...
  • Alcohol Hic: That said, it's not the surest way to tell if someone is drunk - sober people can get hiccups just as easily. Better to check for other symptoms instead.
  • Alcohol-Induced Idiocy: Alcohol is well known for its ability to decrease intellectual capacity while lowering inhibitions.
  • The Alleged Car: Chances are, you've either owned one, or you're too young to drive (or live in a country with no universal automobile tradition).
  • The Alleged Computer: Most of us can name one or more that we've owned or had to use or had to advise someone on fixing at some point or another. Generally, "budget" computers in general tend to be this - the reason for the low price is that something is obsolete or broken or otherwise not optimal.
  • All Issues Are Political Issues: For the people that make them such, they are.
  • All-Natural Snake Oil: "All natural" can refer to many things, from the beneficial to the deadly, and is a form of the Appeal to Nature fallacy.
  • All Part of the Show: Has happened, specifically with deaths and injuries and near-misses per Fatal Method Acting.
    • Also why attacks on venues and theaters, for example, are so dangerous - they are seen as a part of the show.
  • All Take and No Give: A common form of Domestic Abuse relationships and/or generally unhealthy relationships and friendships.
  • Almighty Janitor: Plenty of people are far more dangerous/competent than their low station would give reason to believe. Generally speaking, pissing off a secretary is a very bad idea for those seeking employmentnote .
  • Alpha Bitch: The stuck-up spoiled popular kid who won't invite you to parties unless you're "cool" enough... there's one in every crowd.
  • Altar the Speed: Hurried weddings exist for a variety of reasons, among them pregnancy and military deployments.
  • Alternative Calendar: The Lunar Calendar. Very confusing and annoying when it comes to planning for Jews and Muslims. And Buddhists.
  • Always Female / Always Male: For a long time throughout history, there were many professions which either women or men were locked out of, for various reasons. Some styles of dress or appearance are seen as traditional for one gender only. While this is beginning to change (and has changed in the past) with the progress of society to recognize gender equality, the open existences of transgender and androgynous people, and advancements in science and technology among many other factors, there's still unfortunately some fields and some careers that shut out people who would do well in them solely on the basis of gender, and some countries that restrict the rights of women or transgender people solely on the basis of who they are.
  • Always on Duty: Some people really are on duty 24-7 even if not active duty. For example, the leaders of nations are generally expected to be capable of responding to any crisis at any time (even if sleeping or doing something else at the time). Some doctors (specifically trauma surgeons and other emergency care doctors and surgeons with very specific skills for emergency surgery, and transplant surgeons because the time a viable organ may arrive is often unknown) are "on call" even if off duty - as in, if their skills are needed or there is an emergency, they must drop everything they are doing (short of patient care itself) to help. In very small or overstretched organizations (e.g. a small town sheriff's department or a volunteer fire department) all people involved are always on call even when technically off duty.
  • Always Second Best: For many of us, much to our eternal chagrin.
  • Always Someone Better: Ditto.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Parents are almost always embarrassing, at least to teenagers.
  • Ambiguous Gender: Truly ambiguous gender is not common but is possible, depending on body type lacking specifically gendered features (e.g. no broad shoulders, no wide hips, no specifically masculine or feminine face or one where the features of either can successfully be disguised via makeup).
  • Ambiguously Brown: Many, many, MANY human beings in many places around the world. In fact, it's been argued in some places that by the 2100s, humanity itself will tend toward being Ambiguously Brown as a near-universal majority appearance due to, among other things, globalization and that the lightest shades of skin and blue/blue green eyes all tend to be from recessive genes from smaller populations, and climate change/other environmental damage leading to more tanning from even brief sun exposure.
  • Ambulance Chaser: Yiddish even has a word for them. They're called "shysters". Hey, it's a living.
  • Amicable Exes: Many divorced couples report that they get along with their ex just fine once the pressure of being married is removed.
  • A Million Is a Statistic: It's called the Identifiable Victim Bias. Some people in Real Life have believed this - and unfortunately, acted on it. One reason is that when you hear about one person dying, you can put yourself in that situation and imagine how your family would feel. Trying to feel the sadness and empathy for each of those millions of people and their families is just not physically possible, so we repress it.
    • In some very unfortunate situations (where lots of people are going to die anyway), the Identifiable Victim Bias can actually lead to logical decision-making that leads to the "less people dying in vain" option. A good example of this can be found in World War II - in the decision to fight the Nazis or surrender to them. Either way, lots of people died - but those who successfully fought lost far fewer civilians and, combined, prevented a full Nazi takeover of Europe and possibly the rest of the known world.
  • Amoral Attorney: The word "shyster" comes to mind.
  • Analogy Backfire: As illustrated by anyone citing Romeo and Juliet as happy lovers.
  • And Ninety Nine Cents: See the trope page for theories of its Real Life origin.
  • Ambiguously Bi and Ambiguously Gay: Not everyone who is bisexual or gay comes out of the closet. Ambiguity is required in more homophobic cultures and societies, and some people who grew up in more repressive times or have many other reasons may just hint at their sexuality with no obvious statements. There's also metrosexuals.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Because not all physical and mental disorders are diagnosable per exact symptoms. There is a category, the "not otherwise specified" that is a catchall for, say, something that kind of looks like autism but where the patient has turned social engagement and social expression into his or her perserverations.
  • Amnesiac Resonance: People suffering memory loss often can remember some things. Skills are particularly common, because of the way memory works.
  • Ancient Tradition: They exist, though not so many as there once was, because Time Marches On.
  • And I Must Scream: Locked-in syndrome and lacunar strokes. Brain and spinal cord tumors. ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease. Some semi-comatose states. Quadriplegic paralysis. Quite a few other diseases and conditions that can leave one suffering a fate far worse than immediate death and at least semi-aware of doing so.
  • And Now for Someone Completely Different: Those who believe in reincarnation believe this played straight.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing: Real Life examples are not allowed for the trope, due to obvious reasons, but it is definitely Truth in Television.
  • And Your Reward Is Edible: Food is often offered as a reward or payment, and has been from Older Than Dirt times right up until the present.
  • Angel Unaware: Sects of almost every religion and many people believe that some people are actually aliens/angels/demons/similar beings. Other sects and people (and even the same ones) believe all humans/living beings are "angels unaware" or "gods unaware."
  • Anger Born of Worry: This is why many relationships with one partner being moderately to severely physically or mentally ill and the other in perfect/near perfect health (or the partners having different or diametrically opposed conditions so understanding isn't possible) fail - the healthy partner will often develop this, especially when the unhealthy partner makes what they see as a "bad" decision. It's also why many families cannot accept a black sheep member, especially one who does something like abandon the family's religion or whose career or relationship choices are viewed as bad/inferior. Finally, it compounds both major depression and generalized anxiety disorder - someone suffering from these already feels worthless, very self-critical, and worried about what others think, and will often either feel unfairly hurt and insulted or, more commonly, feel guilty and worthless for making the person worried and angry.
  • Angrish: Because anger and annoyance and frustration compromise higher intellectual functions such as language. Not speaking in full sentences, incoherent sputtering/stuttering, and language mixing (e.g. speaking in parts of the different languages one knows) are common. Bilingual or multilingual people may also lose their ability to use anything but their first language in the heat of the moment.
  • Angry Black Man: Exists, and often for very, very good reason as opposed to being some sort of innate difference as racists would have you think. The sheer amount of microaggressions (to say nothing about far more blatant racism and abuse) dark-skinned men in pretty much any country or region where they are not the majority/where lighter-skinned people are seen as "better," is enough to make anyone at least slightly annoyed, if not a total misanthrope Enraged By Idiocy. Is often averted too, with some dark-skinned men not wanting to be seen as the Angry Black Man or Scary Black Man and going out of their way not to be perceived as angry.
  • Angst Dissonance: Because some seemingly minor tragedies impact people more personally than major ones, and because what causes a particular person to feel overwhelming grief may be different than what makes another do so.
  • Angst? What Angst?: Because some people in Real Life are truly The Stoic, have been through so much pain and tragedy that instead of it being cumulatively worse, they become inured to it, and/or they suffer from mental illnesses or alternately are on medications that make them suffer less/feel less. Also happens as a result of "tragedy fatigue," which is a legitimate coping mechanism in the modern world - if you felt the same level of ongoing pain over every tragedy you ever heard about happening somewhere in the world, you would lose the ability to function.
  • Animal Reaction Shot: Youtube and the Cheezburger network have plenty of them, as does any collection of funny or cute animal photos or macros.
  • Animal Testing: Definitely true. Has pros and cons and that's all we'll say about it.
  • Animal Wrongs Group: Unfortunately as well.
  • Annoying Younger Sibling: This is how younger siblings are, in fact, perceived by their older siblings.
  • Antimatter: Is real, albeit in very small quantities.
  • Ant War: Ants (along with bees, wasps, and termites) are one of the few species other than humans that have wars. (Most non-hunting violence in most species is comparable to interpersonal or gang violence rather than war)
  • Anti-Air: Most militaries began to develop this as soon as aircraft began to be used as a weapon of war.
  • Anti-Armor: The race between making attacks/weapons effective and defending against them/making them useless has existed ever since ants and termites went to war for the first time, and humans, once they began to wage war beyond interpersonal conflict, were no different.
  • Anti-Cavalry: Horses were a huge advantage for militaries that had them (before the introduction of motorized vehicles) - anyone who didn't or did but not as many had to invent ways to remove them from battle or take mounted soldiers off of them.
  • Anti-Infantry: Because attrition of the invading force (e.g. killing or incapacitating all the people on the ground, or successfully doing so to enough of it, or merely showing that your country ''can'' do so in a display of overwhelming force that any sane commander calls off the attack or the invading force says Screw This, I'm Outta Here! and deserts/retreats, hence repelling it) is how wars have been won for a very long time.
  • Anti-Vehicle: Once horses became obsolete and vehicles became the preferred means for moving around a battlefield or war zone, militaries began to come up with ways to destroy or disable them and capture or kill their inhabitants. Both Western Terrorists (the Irish Republican Army became notorious for the practice), middle eastern terrorists, and organized crime (specifically The Mafia and The Mafiya) would adapt such techniques as well to use against civilians - specifically in regard to External Combustion.
  • Anxiety Dreams: Most people have a few nightmares like these. Some have many of them.
  • Anyone Can Die: Because anyone can die, at any time, for the most stupid of reasons.
  • Anything That Moves: The combination of pansexuality/omnisexuality and extreme levels of sexual desire can lead to this. "Sex addiction" is a pathological form where the behavior is addictive and harmful to one or both parties. Situational Sexuality is a variant created out of the lack of the usual outlets for one's normal sexual behavior. There's also pathological hypersexuality (aka nymphomania), which can be caused by a stroke.
  • A Party Also Known as an Orgy: Swingers parties, some (usually less well-maintained) fetish parties, and some parties of the rich and famous.
  • Apathetic Citizens: One of the most pressing modern problems, and a problem that has existed since Older Than Dirt times. Getting people to deal with the tragedy of the commons and with problems that only affect marginalized populations has always been difficult if not impossible - which is why environmental damage that eventually harms everyone and institutionalized discrimination, for example, happen. Tragedy fatigue can cause this, especially in the modern world where there's always a marginalized population and always some kind of tragedy happening.
  • Apologizes a Lot: Submissives and passive people in general. Can sometimes be the sign of a mental disorder such as anxiety, or a red flag that someone is being abused.
  • Appeal To Authority: Frequently used in real life. Doctors, lawyers, politicians, pundits, and other assorted Very Serious People are seen as infallible sources by some - even if they are a part of Astro Turf, The Shill, or outright lying.
  • Appeal to Force: Engaged in by everyone from dictators of failed states making nuclear threats to that guy in the alley with a gun or knife who really wants your wallet and phone.
  • Appeal to Nature: The attempt to convince people that "natural" is somehow "better" or "healthier." While true sometimes, it is definitely not true all the time. For example, hemlock is all natural and will kill you painfully if eaten because it is also a deadly poison, while drinking a bottle of artificial vanilla flavoring will give you a bad taste and at the very worst give you diarrhea (from the polyethylene glycol used in most artificial vanillas) but will have no other ill effects. Arsenic is also as natural as it gets, being an element. But it will kill you.
  • Appeal To Tradition: "We've always done it this way," and sadly, one of the biggest drivers of bigotry and discrimination of all forms, as well as also being a huge contributor to many other problems. Commonly overlaps with Apathetic Citizens in its "don't rock the boat" variant.
  • Appeal To Wealth: Very much Truth in Television and one root of the 1% vs 99% controversy. Should the Appeal To Wealth be seen as the right of those who are wealthy to manage society as they have earned it, or should it be seen as a crass attempt of the wealthy and corporations to override, disenfranchise, and silence anyone who isn't rich?
  • Appeal To Worse Problems: Happens every single day. How dare you read this page when people have no internet access in Appalachia? Another contributor to tragedy fatigue.
  • Apocalypse Cult: While no real life examples are allowed on the article, they have existed in Real Life. Jonestown, Heaven's Gate, and the Aum Shinrikyo are some of the more nightmarish examples.
  • Apocalyptic Log: To a lesser degree, "black boxes" for crashed planes and the cameras recording various horrific disasters.
  • Appliance Defenestration: Sometimes happens, either for reasons of anger or reasons of wanting to dispose of a broken appliance or gadget.
  • Arab Oil Sheikh: Not as many as there once was because Time Marches On, but Saudi Arabia, Oman, Qatar, and the United Arab Emirates are run/highly populated by people who would at least loosely fit the stereotype. That said, outside of Saudi Arabia most who would fit this description are divesting from oil and diversifying for many reasons, and the "traditional" thawb and kaffiyeh is usually replaced with more Westernized expensive clothes.
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Because not all skeptics are total skeptics, and not all religious/spiritual/occult/etc believers are credulous and stupid or take everything on faith.
  • Archaic Weapon for an Advanced Age: Any number of examples from the British Empire in World War II when tech left over from World War I proved surprisingly effective, and colonial troops used native weapons to fight the Japanese.
  • Archnemesis Dad: An extremely emotionally and/or physically abusive father can qualify (especially if the abuse has created obstacles that the victim has had to overcome), and fathers and their children have historically been on opposite sides of everything from feuds and wars to criminal cases and civil lawsuits.
  • Armor Is Useless: Has been at points throughout history, at least in regard to specific types of armor.
  • Armor-Piercing Attack: What makes Armor Is Useless an invoked trope. Some of the more common ones have been specialized edged weapons or bullets, poisons/chemicals/gases before they could be reasonably defended against, and arguably nukes are the biggest example - creating something capable of standing up to a direct nuclear strike is nearly impossible, and the few things that could, other than roaches, by the nature of how they would be armored, cannot be mobile.
  • Armor-Piercing Slap: Very common when dealing with the more hot-headed ladies.
  • Armoured Closet Gay: Here's a top 10 list of Republicans caught in, heheh, "compromising positions".
  • Arms Dealer: All varieties exist all over the world, from the legal gun shop to the corporate lobbyist to people running weapons for wars to ex-soldiers and gangsters illegally selling weapons that aren't legal for civilians or for anyone in their countries.
  • Arms Fair: Gun shows in the US and other firearms-friendly countries. The upscaled variant is the type marketing military and spy hardware to militaries and intelligence agencies. The illegal variant is when the gangland or ex-soldier with illegal weapons variant of the Arms Dealer arrives with a fresh supply of hardware.
  • Arranged Marriage: Believe it or not, there are still places where this is common. As much as 30% of all marriages in Japan are arranged.
  • Arrogant Kung-Fu Guy: Martial arts, personal training, bodybuilding, and other physical disciplines occasionally draw douchebags who would rather show off and brag about their skills and prowess than actually develop themselves in a healthy way.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Lists of accusations against people in Real Life (whether as criminal charges or just someone's angry rant) do occasionally end on the weakest point or include every potential accusation possible.
    • This is known as "kitchen sink approach" in some criminal prosecutions where the goal isn't necessarily to prove the worst charges, but just to put the criminal in jail/prison, hopefully for a long time. This is where the term "throw the book at him" came from, as a judge would try to throw every possible charge against someone in the book. After all, one million charges of jaywalking can accomplish that goal...
  • Arson Murder And Life Saving: To some people in Real Life, The End Justifies The Means.
  • Art Evolution: Look at a series of pictures of how cities looked in the 1900 s, 1920 s, 1930 s, 1940 s, 1950 s, 1960 s, 1970 s, 1980 s, 1990 s, 2000 s, and 2010 s. As a more literal example, any style of art will usually change into something else unless it disappears entirely.
  • Artifact of Death: Strongly radioactive sources or items, items contaminated with a disease-causing bacteria or virus, or contaminated with/containing poison. Marie Curie's journal is still dangerously radioactive.
  • Artificial Limbs: Existed long before it became a trope. Götz von Berlichingen being the Most Triumphant Example.
  • Artistic License - Gun Safety: Incredibly common in Real Life, especially in the United States, where there are no laws requiring even basic safety training before acquiring a firearm of any sort.
  • Artistic Stimulation: The stereotype of artists (specifically actors, musicians, and writers) using, abusing, or being addicted to alcohol or various other recreational drugs is not an unfounded one, especially in specific scenes and specific places.
  • The Art Of Bra Removal: Bound to happen for virgins who don't practice or pay attention.
  • Asbestos-Free Cereal: An incredibly common marketing gimmick in Real Life, often riding on the back of All-Natural Snake Oil.
  • Ascended Extra: People who aren't well-known sometimes become well-known later on, and then people look for their first appearances...
  • Asexuality: There are plenty of people who just have no interest in sex, sometimes there's a cause, and sometimes they just don't care.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: Some people often ask questions that are too obvious and non-specific, and those who answer won't hesitate to respond with a barbaric snark or an angry rebuke.
    • This is common with children asking their parents or even adults why they aren't allowed to do certain things, with adults telling them that they're just children and are too young to understand.
  • As Long as It Sounds Foreign: Known in business as "foreign branding", and in everyday life as "Häagen-Dazs" Also, Engrish. Seriously, they couldn't find an gaijin expatriate somewhere around Tokyo? And some Chinese tattoos look cool until a Chinese person tells you what it really means. Also: Even in Japan, the way to make a restaurant sound posh is to name it in French or Italian.
  • Assassin Outclassin': Rare but has happened as the page's Real Life section shows. Fidel Castro is probably the ultimate one in Real Life, having survived at least over 638 assassination attempts and those just being the ones the American CIA brought. Hitler is another famous case, having survived four separate attempts by his own men.
  • Asshole Victim: Not a lot of people would mourn of those who are unlikable to them. However, it can be problematic if the person who falls into this had gone through some trauma which may be the cause of his/her bad behavior. It can be even more problematic whether or not is it justified to rejoice in the death on those who wronged them.
  • Ass in Ambassador: Some ambassadors, diplomats, and members of said staff have made major cultural faux pas, not done their jobs properly or at all, or have committed crimes against the country where they are staying. Like the famous Qatari diplomat who ''intentionally'' dismantled a smoke detector on an airplane and promptly started smoking his pipe in there. He invoked diplomatic immunity.
  • Asskicking Equals Authority: For much of human history and even today in many, many contexts.
  • Ass Shove: Enemas (and the various substances used within them) are Older Than Dirt, with the first example being from Egyptian Mythology, and anal sexuality and sexual assault are as well (from the notations forbidding anal sexuality in religious cleanliness codes and the like, and describing the rape of men as early as The Bible). Concealment is likely a newer development.
  • Assumed Win: Much to the embarrassment of whoever stands up.
  • A-Team Firing: Random firing generally discourages people from taking the time to aim when they fire back. This is known as suppression fire, and has been a standard tactic going back to the first World War.
  • Ate His Gun: Unfortunately - a headshot from a firearm is, in the United States and in some other countries, one of the most common suicide methods, and the most lethal suicide method, with the most irreversible damage if you do survive. If you're thinking of doing this, please put down the gun. There is help available for you.
  • Attention Whore: Interior Semiotics. There's one in every crowd.
  • Atomic F-Bomb: You will hear one of these at one point or another, even if you assiduously avoid all forms of media that could possibly contain one. Lost or obviously stolen property, sudden vehicle breakdowns, and the realization a disaster is happening are often frequent sources.
  • The Atoner: Quite a few people have done Very Bad Things (or even slightly less harmful things like minor shoplifting or ending a relationship for selfish reasons or the like) and want to make up for them either to the people they victimized or to society in general.
  • Attractive Bent-Gender: Miyavi and Andrej Pejic are some great modern examples, David Bowie and Yoshiki Hayashi some of past times.
  • Attractiveness Isolation: Happens for both men and women, as people convince themselves that attractive or rich people only deserve other attractive or rich people.
  • Auction: They happen every day on websites such as Ebay and Yahoo Auctions, and many days in auction houses. Charity auctions are also a common way of fundraising.
  • Auto Erotica: Having sex in cars still happens, though most post 1980s mass-market non-truck vehicles being too small/cramped/uncomfortable for sex (and that sex in a car is illegal in some areas) somewhat restricts the practice after that time to either the very desperate with no other private space or those rich enough to afford limousines, spacious SUVs or trucks, tour buses/party buses, or luxury cars with some space in the front or back seat. A hatchback with fold-down back seats works great, though.
  • Awesome Anachronistic Apparel: Quite a lot of it exists. Everything from steampunk clothes to 1980s fashion.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Quite a lot of things in Real Life, beginning with manned space travel...
  • Awesome McCoolname: Ladies and gentlemen, I present Staff Sgt. Max Fightmaster. Yes, he is a real person. Oh, and he got a promotion. So now he's Sergeant First Class.
  • Awful Wedded Life: More common in the past when it was less easy/more socially stigmatizing to get a divorce. Still happens now - usually in religious contexts or cultural contexts that frown heavily upon divorce, or a couple wanting to stay together "for the children" even if their relationship is so abusive or dysfunctional that divorce would actually be better for everyone involved.
  • Ax-Crazy: To the great dismay of many, there are people who are dangerous to others out of their mental illnesses.
  • Axes at School: Unfortunately, the school massacre has become Truth In Televsion too many times.
  • Baby Talk: Also called "parentese." Enunciating vowels and slowing things down helps babies get a grasp on how to physically imitate verbal speech.
  • The Baby Trap: Because Mama's Baby, Papa's Maybe is a trope, and some women really do think that if they can have a rich/famous (or even just financially stable) man's child (and/or persuade him or society that the child is his), they can force him to pay for their and the kid's expenses either via Blackmail or courts. It has, unfortunately, happened a few times.
  • Backseat Driver: Sometimes helpful, other times just annoying.
  • Backtracking: Who hasn't done this to try to find something they have lost?
  • Badass Adorable: Being cute does not negate being badass. This is especially interesting when you consider animals who are examples of this, though, as plenty of animal species considered cute also tend to have behaviour that would be considered tremendously badass.
  • Badass Biker: More common in the past, but they do exist. Some examples of some using their badass facade for good are the Patriot Guard (which blocks Westboro Baptist Church protests at soldiers' funerals from being seen by the grieving family members) and at least one group that surrounds the homes of abused children that are testifying in trials against their abusers to prevent the abuser from returning.
  • Badass Bookworm: Doctors, lawyers, and others who have used knowledge to save lives, defeat threats to life and property, overcome diseases and injuries, construct fair laws, and more. Scholars and teachers who preserve knowledge and encourage learning, even if learning puts one at risk or teaching does. Journalists (especially of the Intrepid Reporter variant) can qualify as this as well - they are bookworms and writers - but at their best are also providing a vital service to society by increasing knowledge, even of things some people might not want known.
  • Badass Boast: Samurais in feudal Japan started their duels by telling their own and their ancestors' achievements. Among other places.
  • Badass Decay: Happens in many, many ways. Age, Money, Dear Boy, and So My Kids Can Watch are among them, but there's many many ways.
  • Badass Driver: The dashcam videos of quite a few Russian drivers show them to be this trope. Some police officers/highway patrol officers also qualify quite handily - as do ice road truckers, delivery drivers carrying time-sensitive organs or medications, and anyone who volunteers to be a designated driver.
  • Badass Family: Sometimes happens when a family features a lot of family members who are involved in military work/police work or firefighting or other high-danger "badass" jobs.
  • Badass Israeli: Too many to name.
  • Badass Normal: Quite a lot of Real Life badasses per Badass Of The Week and other sources: not everyone necessarily has to be in the military or the emergency services to be a true badass.
  • Bad Boss: Quite a few examples. If you've ever had a job, you've probably had one. Especially prominent examples during ancient and middle ages.
  • Bad Dreams: Everyone has them, some more than others. Sometimes can be a symptom of anxiety or PTSD or a similar illness, if too frequent and/or the repetition of real-life events.
  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: In some of the more corrupt regions of the world, and sometimes elsewhere. Let's leave it at that.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Very common in history and world events, as sometimes, the ethical and legal and reasonable ways to win are easily trumped (at least in the short term) by violence, paranoia, bigotry of various forms, psychological manipulation, and other tactics.
  • Bad Mood as an Excuse: Yes, some people will take out their personal issues on others.
  • Bad News, Irrelevant News: As any browse of the news ticker on any of the 24-Hour News Networks or the news on your ISP homepage will provide.
  • Balance of Power: A major part of any nation that wishes to maintain hegemony or empire doing so. The results have made life miserable for a lot of people in Real Life.
  • Bald Women: Chemotherapy and other causes of hair loss, and there are some women who choose shaved heads/baldness as a fashion statement.
  • Balloon Belly: Sometimes a result of insulin sensitivity, metabolic syndrome, and the resulting obesity. Alternately, can be a result of the malnutrition/starvation disorder kwashikor. Can also be the result of overwhelming intestinal worm infection, or just of having too much of a love for beer.
  • Banana Peel: Yes, discarded banana peels can be slippery - though fresh ones rarely are, and they need to be on a smooth surface such as tile or a smoothed stone walk - a rough surface will likely give them or your other foot enough traction to avoid a fall.
  • Bank Robbery: Happens, though the incidence of them has been greatly reduced by surveillance cameras, greater penalties, tracking of cash, and similar moves to reduce their popularity as a crime. After The Nineties, generally only committed by Stupid Crooks who are caught very fast. Post The Noughties and in The New Tens, the trope became inverted in a few instances, with major banks robbing society at large and individuals via foreclosures.
  • Banned in China: Banning by region is the most common form of censorship in Real Life.
  • Bara Genre / The Bear / Manly Gay: A case of truth becoming trope - a fixture in gay-directed media, and once mainstream media began to portray a wider range of gay men, Manly Gay men including bears began to be depicted more often in it as well. Contrast Camp Gay and compare both Armored Closet Gay, Macho Camp, and Straight Gay.
  • Bar Brawl: The consumption of alcohol can lead to some people getting violent over the stupidest of reasons. If you have a large group of people consuming alcohol, you are bound to have a couple of these people. Usually, this trope is less fun to watch in real life.
  • Basement-Dweller: Hikikomori and extreme agoraphobics at the most extreme (who do not want to leave their parents' homes), slackers or the broke (who stay there either for lack of desire to work and pay rent, or who have no money) at the least. Cellar dwellers, on the other hand, are homeowners who set up their computers in the basement and refuse to leave for any reason other than to pay for electricity.
  • Bastard Boyfriend: Unfortunately so, especially due to the popularity of pickup artist subculture and cultural memes rooted in gender stereotypes that insist all women and all gay men want a Bastard Boyfriend.
  • Bathroom Break-Out: Burglars have used the excuse of a restroom visit to get into places. People under arrest/custody and kidnapping victims have used the excuse to escape.
  • *batteries not included: Children's toys eat batteries the way kids eat candy after Halloween. Which is why Nintendo started making GameBoys rechargeable in the 2000s. And There Was Much Rejoicing.
  • Battle Cry: Some have hypothesized they came into existence as warning or intimidation, but common through the history of warfare.
    • Remember The Alamo: A quite common casus belli in warfare is remembering a Last Stand conducted in fighting against or defending against the enemy.
  • Bavarian Fire Drill: People generally do what they're told, and this can be used against them. "Spearphishing" and other social engineering scams feed off of this quality of human beings.
  • The Beard: Common in history and in modern societies that don't accept homosexuality, bisexuality, or asexuality, especially in powerful or famous men (especially) or unmarried women. Some frequently common arrangements were bisexual man/bisexual woman in an open relationship, gay man/lesbian who privately lived as friends but presented as husband and wife, and gay or bisexual man/Gold Digger (which provided the benefit of looking "manly" enough to have the expensive arm candy, but the risk of blackmail if the Gold Digger sees more money to be made that way)
  • Beard of Sorrow: While not as common as in Hollywood, lack of attention to personal care can be a sign of quite a few mental illnesses, abuse, addiction, and/or poverty. Someone who's always prided themselves in being clean-shaven suddenly no longer caring about it is one example, though obviously it could have other causes.
  • Bears Are Bad News: Bears are extremely dangerous. Especially grizzlies and polar bears, which have been known to hunt and kill humans.
  • The Beautiful Elite: Celebrities, supermodels, the rich in general, because they have the money to remain beautiful via optimal diets, plastic surgery, and other options - and to get in in the first place, you have to be more thin and beautiful than average and aggressively interested in maintaining said appearance.
  • Because I Said So: Used by adults to children on many occasions. Sometimes used by adults to other adults, and often combined in those cases with an Appeal To Authority ("I'm a doctor, trust me"), or an Appeal to Force (a threat of arrest or violence).
  • The Bechdel Test: Passed and failed both many, many times over and over in the world daily, as conversations between women that both pass and fail happen every second of every day.
  • Becoming the Boast: Some people who brag want to be what they present themselves to be, and eventually do become what they present themselves as.
  • Becoming the Mask: Very easy to do in some contexts - in fact, some forms of psychotherapy encourage people to do this to feel better.
  • Bedouin Rescue Service: In the modern era, this is mandatory. In ages past... not so much.
  • Beeping Computers: They used to do that in the days of blinkenlights. Now not so much.
  • Beginner's Luck: In entirely random events or games of entirely random chance, since beginners/new players have just as much chance as anyone else, can easily happen. A variant overlapping with Achievements in Ignorance happens when, as in the case of some carnival games and borderline scams where the way to fleece the marks is to make the way the game is normally played unwinnable, the beginner doesn't know the "right" way to try to play and wins as a result of the tilted table or other "trap" not catching their play style.
  • The B Grade: Yes, there are perfectionists out there who will become suicidal because of this. Somewhat justified if they're trying to get into MIT, University of Tokyo, an Ivy League school (and they aren't a Legacy), or either Oxbridge university in the UK. If you've been in a classroom for any period of time, you've seen it happen - maybe to you.
  • Being Evil Sucks: Having the reputation of a criminal or even a jerkass restricts one's social opportunities, work prospects, and future. Having an actual criminal record is even more restrictive and limiting. Most criminals and other "evil" people, unless they are politicians or otherwise "normal" as well as "evil," tend to live short and difficult lives.
  • Being Good Sucks: Unfortunately, is true sometimes as well - people who report crimes are occasionally investigated as suspects, people who return lost money or jewelry aren't rewarded, people die saving the lives or property of others, and more.
  • Beleaguered Bureaucrat: Especially in the civil service sector, where "too much work, not enough time" seems to be status quo.
  • Belly Dancer: They exist, even in competitive tournaments, and it is a form of exercise for some people.
  • Benevolent Boss: They exist.
  • "Be Quiet!" Nudge: Who hasn't been on the giving or receiving end of one of these?
  • Berserk Button: Almost everyone has at least one. Some people have far more than that. And some subjects (politics and wars being big ones) are almost always guaranteed to be them. Here's a great way to have fun: Mention abortion at a party and watch the sparks fly.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Most societies tend to see it as such, or at the very least, an act of the absolutely immature and deprived of all legitimate sexual outlets.
  • Beware My Stinger Tail: Scorpions, various insects like bees, stingrays...
  • Beware the Nice Ones: The nicer someone is, the worse can be his or her anger when triggered. Or at least it stands out more.
  • Beware the Silly Ones: Sometimes "silliness" is a symptom of mental illness, and other times someone may seem silly but be employing Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Bewildering Punishment: Very common in abusive relationships and in dictatorships both, where punishing people without telling them what they are being punished for keeps them in fear of punishment and allows punishment with no proof of wrongdoing. This happens all the time in North Korea, where only after years of being imprisoned are you told what you actually did. People raised in the detention camps don't even know what they did until they're much older, and it's usually because of something their grandfather did or said.
  • BFG: There are some huge guns in Real Life.
  • BFS: Zweihanders. No-dachi. Many swords used in iaido fencing qualify, as the point is to show off skill in handling a sword, and larger swords are difficult to precisely handle, meaning the longer the sword, the more skilled the fencer wielding it.
  • Big Applesauce: New York City exists, but it is not the stereotype.
  • Big Bad Wannabe: Copycats of dictators, Serial Killers, and the like unfortunately exist.
  • Big Brother Is Watching: Every nation, government, corporation, and some private individuals run surveillance and monitoring operations to varying degrees. Spy agencies, police, and private detectives count as well. No Real Life examples are allowed due to controversy and ubiquity, but definite Truth in Television.
  • Big Eater: Competitive eating contests, Binge Eating Disorder, super sizes...
  • Big Bulky Bomb: Some bombs require a lot of C4 to get the required blast.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Last minute rescues do happen in Real Life.
  • Big Friendly Dog: St. Bernards, Mastiffs, Pit Bulls, and Newfoundlands, along with many of the larger herding dogs, like Komondors, Great Pyrenees and Old English Sheep Dogs. They've been bred for decades to have calm natures and strong loyalty to their owners.
    • Beware Of Vicious Dog: On the flip side, you have many dogs (including of the above mentioned breeds) that are... less than friendly, whether naturally so or trained that way by their owners. Or they get that way as a result of rabies.
  • Bigger Is Better: Depends on what thing is bigger. A very confounding version happens in the US where smaller portions of food are often considered being cheated/ripped off, yet larger people (who become so from eating the larger portions) are often considered to be the Fat Idiot, Fat Bastard, and Fat Slob.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed: To some women, and to some gay and bisexual men, but not to all. Definitely a personal preference, based on very individual aesthetics and anatomy.
  • Big Red Button: Some exist, but not all dangerous buttons/levers/etc are so clearly marked.
  • Big Screwed-Up Family: Yes, they exist, and you may even be a part of one!
  • Bikini Bar: They're called "Go-Go Bars", actually, and they're quite popular in some places. And a few self-proclaimed strip clubs actually do end up exemplifying this trope when they try to open in places that don't allow public nudity, thus forcing the dancers to remain clothed (albeit scantily).
  • Billions of Buttons: Many more complex vehicles and control panels of industrial buildings have them. Ever been in the cockpit of a plane?
  • Billy Elliot Plot: Unfortunately happens when fathers wish to apply gendered stereotypes to their sons.
  • Bitter Almonds: But if you can smell it, you're in trouble.
  • Bi the Way: Too many to list in real life, but most Real Life bisexuals are this - their sexuality just is.
  • Black Box: Many examples exist in real life, from computer programming (where the example came from) to your own body and brain and how it entirely works.
  • Black Widow: The Distaff Counterpart of The Bluebeard.
  • Blame Game: In officespeak, they call it "blamestorming".
  • Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce: Naga jolokia peppers. They exist in real life, with shops devoted to selling them. Some are so hot that they must be served with eyedroppers.
  • Bling Bling Bang: There are quite a few examples of firearms crafted for visual appeal over utility, specifically for collectible firearms and some sport shooting applications. Gold plating or gold on parts of the gun, diamonds being affixed to the gun, and more similar modifications exist.
  • Bling of War: Generally only limited to officers and ceremonial dress rather than combat gear itself in modern militaries, though there were some exceptions as you go further back in time. Samurai were one such exception: being aristocrats as well as warriors, their combat gear was supposed to show off their wealth as well as have battle utility.
  • Block Puzzle: The Rubik's Cube is the most famous, but many others exist.
  • The Bluebeard: He was a real person. He wasn't the only one.
  • Blunt Yes: Offer to give almost anyone a sizable amount of money, no strings attached, and this is a likely reply.
  • Body-Count Competition: Features heavily in war crimes and similar atrocities. Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan both did it as sport, as have other forces serving genocidal regimes or acting on their own initiative to commit war crimes.
  • Body Horror: Gruesome deaths from various accidental and intentional causes result in this, along with medical malpractice, some congenital birth defects, and quite a few other causes of an absolutely terrifying appearance.
  • Bold Explorer: Too many examples to list, but they have existed. Humanity as a species is one.
  • Bondage Is Bad: Though the popularity of such things as 50 Shades of Gray and its sequels have helped reduce the stigma, there is still some stigma toward BDSM sexuality in some corners and in regard to some aspects. For example, male submission is still seen in many cultures as "unmanly," no matter how badass the submissive male is outside of the bedroom.
  • Book Burning: Happens too often, along with other forms of censorship and disinformation. That said, is nearing Discredited Trope status, with how easy replicating information is in The New Tens and onward.
  • Boomerang Bigot: Though most in Real Life tend to hate people of their own race/sexuality/gender/etc for behavior they see as stereotypical or personally offensive or attention whoring, wanting everyone to behave in "normal" ways. Many of these can be found, for example, telling African-Americans to change their names and "not sound black," or telling same-sex couples that they need to adopt traditional heterosexual gender roles and aspirations if they want to be accepted as married.
  • Boot Camp Episode: People becoming soldiers or going to a legitimate military academy is one version that (unless they are wounded/injured/killed in war) usually turns out somewhat well for the people involved. Juvenile detention/"troubled teen" boot camps, on the other hand, are another example that turns out less well - they don't place the person involved as a military noncommissioned officer upon graduation - which legit military academies and ROTC/other countries' equivalents often do, - they occasionally use procedures and torture banned in most of the actual militaries of most First World countries, and whether they even rehabilitate the teens involved is highly questionable.
  • Born Unlucky: The apparent lot of some people, though all is not as it seems. Institutionalized racism/sexism/other discrimination and instutionalized poverty are some huge contributors to this - statistically, someone born as female and African-American to a poor family in a culture where white, male, and rich people have higher social status and privilege is far less likely to become financially successful or even reach a level of post high school education.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: Why Black and White Morality often becomes useless or dangerous in Real Life. Often, both sides of any given issue have some kind of legitimate point, even if they are misguided in how they express it.
  • Bound and Gagged: Part of some BDSM scenes. Occasionally done in the course of crimes such as kidnapping and home invasion.
  • Bowdlerise: While the internet (and the ability to find the uncensored version of anything) is pushing this toward Discredited Trope status, a lot of things such as publicly displayed advertising, news and sports broadcast at earlier hours, and some other things at least face token bowdlerization (e.g. censorship so paper-thin it's obvious what the actual word or body part is supposed to be), and in some cultures and countries a lot more things get the treatment and far more harshly than token forms.
  • Boxed Crook: Informants. They're criminals themselves, but given immunity in order to catch/testify against bigger criminals in their orbit. In the past law enforcement was itself this - hire the biggest Badass that can be found to stop the others.
  • Boyish Short Hair: A popular haircut for some.
  • Bragging Rights Reward: Too many to name, but anything where the only award is immediately consumed or is an unusable certificate or trophy (or worse, the temporary acclaim of one's current peers.)
  • Brainwashed: Rare, but it can happen, though NOT by hypnosis or subliminal suggestion. (See More Than Mind Control below for how it does.) Ongoing situations of Domestic Abuse and other forms of abuse and exploitation like gaslighting tend to have some element of this.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Nazi Germany. North Korea. Cults that attack, perpetrate crimes against, sue people in the outside world, or commit mass suicide. Abused spouses or family members that (sometimes violently) defend their abusers. Often specific to charismatic cults centred around an individual and or specific set of beliefs (including atheistic, religious, and political). These cults can control whole countries but are usually very small and insular. Usually far too self-destructive, insular, unstable, and paranoid to survive long.
  • Brake Angrily: People do this while driving, especially those who have a short temper or are in a bad mood.
  • Bread and Circuses: Offering small sops and small rewards to an oppressed population to make them overlook their repression and conditions has been a longtime favorite trick of politicians.
  • Break the Cutie: A lot of people have gone through trauma at some point, and it isn't taken well at all.
  • Break the Haughty: Some people go through a lot of humiliating situations, whether they're being too overconfident at best or unpleasantly arrogant at worst.
  • Breast Expansion: Breast implants are probably one of the most common forms of plastic surgery in the Western world after around The Eighties, because of media portrayals convincing women that a flat chest was something unwomanly over which to be very, very worried and ashamed.
  • Bridezilla: In some places, because weddings are often seen as the best moment of any woman's life, and therefore they have to be perfect, expensive events that are fantasy made reality. Averted for people and cultures where weddings/partnerships are seen more as a legal formality or something to do in private.
  • Briefcase Blaster: Heckler and Koch makes a special briefcase for their MP5K. Here's a video.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Some people urinate and/or defecate when faced with extreme fright. It is possibly connected to the fight-or-flight response, to allow the body to flee faster.
  • Bring My Red Jacket: Colors on the red spectrum are some of the most attention-getting and eye-catching for both humans and other animals, especially because even for something color-blind, red is not invisible even if not visible as red. Wearing red will cause you to be targeted by predators or seen first by someone or something blinded by anger - why bullfighters use red capes. On the other hand, throwing the red item away from oneself is a powerful visual distraction, as human and animal eyes track red-spectrum colors.
  • Bring Help Back: Requests for emergency responses, more soldiers, food, and the like. More modern (post late 19th-early 20th century) variants use telegraphs, radios, telephones, and other means - before that it was messengers.
  • Bring News Back: Less common in post late 19th-early 20th century events, unless communications means are entirely cut off or monitored and the news can't be heard by Big Brother.
  • British Stuffiness: (see National Stereotypes) Brits are more private and reserved with people other than their close friends than Americans are, but this should not be interpreted as being arrogance; likewise the reverse with American bluster.
  • Broken Bridge: Sometimes, the things that bar one from accomplishing something in Real Life seem almost as arbitrary and pointless. You ended up marrying your high school sweetheart - 40 years later, because it took that long for you to accept yourself, him to accept himself, and society to accept both of you?
  • Broken Pedestal: Discovering someone or an organization you respected and looked up to (or even someone you loved) was actually an awful human being, a criminal, or similar has happened to a lot of people.
  • Brother-Sister Incest: Unfortunately happens, but is a lot rarer than porn and fanfiction would make you think. Usually, usually, prevented by the Westermarck effect, but there are always exceptions.
  • Broke the Rating Scale: The first use probably was by a band who claimed that they were so loud that their speakers had to Go To Eleven (versus the usual 1-10 volume control).
  • Broke Your Arm Punching Out Cthulhu: Trying to go against a powerful person, animal or a powerful company can go awry and rarely works out in favors on those who do so. That, and punching something barehanded can give you broken knuckles.
  • Brutal Honesty: Can be found among people on the autistic spectrum, abusive jerkasses, and others who for some reason or other don't care about how the message is received as long as it is received. Also a tactic used in interventions/therapy with addicts as well, though its effectiveness is very individualized and entirely reliant on true denial being a huge part of the addiction - such confrontational approaches can do far more harm than good with someone who is telling the truth (e.g. they really don't have a problem) or someone who already acknowledges and understands the depth of their problems.
  • The Brute: Physical size is often intimidating and why guards/bouncers/police officers/hired thugs often happen to have an imposing size.
  • Bug War: Farmers vs. locusts has been one almost since the dawn of agriculture. Sometimes smaller-scale ones have involved destructive/invasive/harmful/potentially lethal insect pest species (disease-carrying mosquitoes and roaches, fire ants/bullet ants, spiders, hornets, killer bees...) Many examples can be seen in the reality/documentary shows "Infested" and "The Exterminators," if you wish to see them.
  • Bull Seeing Red: Actually does work because red, even to color-blind humans and animals, often shows up as something eye-catching if not red itself - sometimes as green or dark grey or black - all of which are also eyecatching colors. Combine eyecatching capability with motion and you have something that even a colorblind animal will chase.
  • Bullying a Dragon: Because people (and nations) really do sometimes think that picking on something with the capacity to kill or severely injure them or with the capacity to make their life hell is a good idea. See North Korea vs. the US.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: There are a few very rare persons that are just so good at what they do (and rich enough to no longer have to worry about currying favor or about what anyone could do short of physical assault or legal action) that they don't have to play by the "unwritten" rules and standards for appearance, attitude, behavior, jargon, etc, at least to some degree. They might also be in The Tyson Zone.
    • For a very technical definition, jailhouse lawyers/prison lawyers. Convicts/inmates who study law and in some cases know it better than actual lawyers, especially in regard to law in practice as opposed to legal theory. Some who've studied enough may even have degrees in law. Unfortunately, except in some very rare cases, their criminal background bars them from actually taking the bar exam and using their knowledge of law to become actual lawyers.
    • In another technical definition, there are very rare lawyers that are self-taught or taught via apprenticeship as opposed to a traditional law school path. These often need a political waiver to take the bar exam, but given one and passing the exam, can become real lawyers.
  • Buried Alive: Used to happen extremely frequently because of primitive medicine. (Well, with varying frequency, depending on who you ask.) Now, it's rare. People still have this fear and request bells installed in their coffin just in case.
  • Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie: Specific instructions for the final handling of a body or ashes are far from uncommon. That's what wills are for.
  • Bury Your Gays: Unfortunately truth for many periods of human history, and in some places of the world even as others become more accepting. There are still, unfortunately, too many places on Earth where being GLBTQIA can lead to death even if death is not prescribed by law.
  • Busman's Holiday: Carpenters spend their time off fixing the house, IT staff spend their time at home on a PC, musicians tend to spend time off going to others' shows and listening to music, mechanics can be found on the weekends restoring a car or building a hot rod, and pilots and flight attendants do hitch rides on their airlines, obviously.
  • Butch Lesbian: Truth in Television before it became a trope. Once lesbians began to be depicted in various forms in media, the Butch Lesbian stereotype actually became shorthand for "we are trying to show that this character is a lesbian," similar to how Camp Gay became the first gay male role to be shown - because both are so obvious shorthand, yet deniable if need be.
  • But He Sounds Handsome: The internet has enabled this form of turd polish quite well - it is easy for people to create accounts to shill for themselves or for other people, and some trolls do this when spearphishing: if they can get you to add or trust their "friend," they have access to your account and identity...
  • But Not Too Gay: Unfortunately truth for a lot of time, and has even become a point of contention in GLBTQIA circles itself - with some Straight Gay, Lipstick Lesbian, and stealth transgender people telling others to Stop Being Stereotypical and be more "normal" and try to gain more societal acceptance, and with some Camp Gay, Butch Lesbian, and androgynous/nonstealth trans people accusing them of being the Boomerang Bigot and Category Traitor.
  • But I Play One on TV: Actors, musicians, and others are often recognized for role played or stage persona.
  • But We Used a Condom: To the sorrow of many, and the existence of quite a few.
    • If our product doesn't work, Happy Father's Day!
  • Buy Them Off: A very, very common tactic by those rich enough to say Screw the Rules, I Have Money!. In a less cynical variant, the purpose of car insurance - to keep minor to moderate non-injury accidents out of court by effectively buying the cost of repairing the vehicle(s) or property involved. Citations and fines also can be considered this - the person is fined instead of arrested/jailed, and effectively "buys off" the government/state/whatever issuing them for their freedom. With certain companies, paying the fines for safety and environmental violations is actually cheaper than fixing the problem.
  • By-the-Book Cop: They exist. Most don't become known because their less law-abiding and more violent counterparts tend to gain either laudatory or condemnatory media attention, while they do the everyday business of good police work.
  • Bystander Syndrome: Fascinating to sociologists, not so much for the victims. Most notably the case of Kitty Genovese.
  • Caffeine Bullet Time: From the stimulant consumer's POV, time does often seem to move faster after a stimulant dose (or alternately, painfully slower as they feel faster - like driving a fast sports car in a miserable traffic jam). That said, unless someone is very sensitive to caffeine, it usually takes stronger stimulants such as amphetamine-class drugs or cocaine to achieve this effect.
  • The Cake Is a Lie: A very, very common cause of lawsuits - people not paid as they promised they would be paid, not given a deposit back despite not damaging property, and similar. Even if no lawsuit results, more than quite a few bitter disputes, ends of associations and friendships, and similar have over promised rewards not being there.
  • Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit": European naturalists named some animals, such as the koala bear, after other animals that kind of looked similar but weren't at all related. Example: The Tasmanian tiger, aka the thylacine.
  • Calling Card: Some serial killers and terrorists (and other criminals who want attention for their crimes) do this. Organized criminals occasionally do it to send a message and provoke fear. The serial killer/terrorist variant is usually claiming responsibility or taunting the police/military/etc - the organized criminal variant is making the crime itself the Calling Card but with the message sent to other criminals/potential victims as opposed to the police or the military.
  • Calling Your Attacks: Martial arts practitioners believe that expressing certain phrases or vocalization help build up chi or ensure proper breathing.
  • Camera Abuse: In many, many, MANY ways. There is a reason photographers (especially those in war zones or other dangerous areas) heavily insure their gear often more than their own lives - camera gear and cameras are expensive and yet very fragile things that are often subjected to everything from dust storms to gunfire to accidental drops. In another way, there is a movement to destroy or deface surveillance cameras in public areas.
  • Camp Gay / The Twink: Although to a far lesser extent (and a far more self-aware extent) usually than TV depictions of gay men would have you believe. Contrast Bara Genre, The Bear, Straight Gay. Macho Camp is when this is intentionally subverted, and Armored Closet Gay is arguably when it is unintentionally Double Subverted.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Happens. There's also selective mutism. A very alarming (to those who experience it) variant is the nightmare where one cannot scream or one's words can't get to the tip of their tongue.
  • Cannot Tell Fiction from Reality: Some of the more severely afflicted of The Mentally Disturbed tend toward this direction. To a lesser degree, you have those who insist All Myths Are True in regard to fictional stories.
  • Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest: "Courtship" or other religious relationship models, more conservative cultures in general, and in situations where it is considered disrespectful or inappropriate to express sexual interest in someone in ways people other than them know, in public, or before a close, documented mutual relationship exists.
  • Can't Get Away with Nuthin' : Childhood, in strict disciplinarian families. Obtaining security clearances in some occasions - people are actually advised to lie on the illegal drugs questions if they are not present addicts, because an honest answer will often disqualify someone, even if it would be more preferable to have someone who admitted to smoking a joint in college than a liar in the position.
  • Can't Get In Trouble For Nuthin': Childhood, in overly permissive families. Being rich or a celebrity.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Some religious commitments impose this - priests and nuns within Catholic and Orthodox Christianity, and some Buddhist monks for example. Some health conditions that could invoke Out with a Bang if the patient has sex. Profound mental retardation (e.g. generally below an IQ of 50) where the person cannot ever have the mental status to give meaningful consent to sex with a partner. Persons who are "wired" to only desire sexual activity that causes harm (e.g. pedophiles and zoophiles who have no attraction to adults or to humans, respectively, and obviously can't have sex without harming a victim.)
  • Can't Hold His Liquor: Actually a good sign: someone who is uncomfortably drunk/passed out after less than three drinks doesn't yet have tolerance to alcohol, and with increasing alcohol tolerance, is increasing risk of alcoholism. Someone who can drink three full bottles of wine and still not pass out, for example, is most likely an alcoholic - someone who is sleeping after two glasses is likely not.
  • Can't Live with Them, Can't Live without Them: Some Real Life relationships are like this. They don't tend to last very long, at least in times and places where people can move freely, can choose their friends, can get divorces, etcetera - most people eventually realize they can live without them and doing so is far less drama and stress.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Some people don't take it well when being pointed on their wrongs.
  • The Captain: On every naval ship that exists, and private sailors and pilots also have the title.
  • Cardboard Prison: Some prisons and jails are rather easy to escape. Tended more to happen in the pre-camera past or in the Third World. In modern times (at least in the US) there's a few "low-security" prisons that are dormitories that criminals may be able to transfer to for the later parts of their sentences as an incentive for good behavior, or to which white-collar criminals, some petty financial criminals, and the occasional low-level drunk drivers (the ones who didn't kill anyone and earn a vehicular homicide charge, but who also didn't have a good enough lawyer to keep them at fine and driving ban) or drug offenders (some possession cases) are sent. The thing keeping them from escaping is that if caught, they're back to high-security prison with even more time tacked on.
  • Careful With That Axe: Heavy metal, screamo, and deathcore vocalists are made of this trope, as are some opera singers. Also can be invoked when someone is frightened or extremely angry and screams far out of their normal voice.
  • Cats Hate Water: Varies in some cases, but most of the time it's well advised not to get your cat wet on purpose, unless it is a Turkish Van - a breed known for swimming and enjoying water.
  • Cell Phones Are Useless: Became a trope because it was (and still to some degree is) Truth in Television, especially with mobile phones on one or both sides of the conversation, though landlines are not immune, especially with background noise, quiet or confusing speech, and similar.
  • Career Building Blunder: In the creative arts most often, in business and politics sometimes. Most common in the latter two fields when what was a "blunder" at the time was actually ahead of its time or Fair for Its Day.
  • Career Versus Man: Some women are still told this in some parts of society and in some cultures. The codification of this in Japan in women's employment into "career track" and "marriage track" makes it very, very difficult for women to have high-level careers, especially once they marry.
  • Cargo Ship: People who get a little too attached to love dolls or to sex toys. An extreme example is "object-relationality" or "object-sexuality" where you have people seriously, unironically professing romantic love for their car or for the Berlin Wall or Eiffel Tower, for example - and sometimes even trying to have sex with the object.
  • Car Meets House: Mechanical failure and alcohol are the most common causes, with driver medical problems close behind. Tends to happen to businesses more than houses, especially those with drive-up/drive-through areas or parking spaces next to glass fronts such as gas stations or convenience stores.
  • Carpet of Virility: Robin Williams, for one. Hairy men exist in Real Life, and for most brown or darker-haired men who aren't East Asian this is the default state - one needs to shave near-constantly to look like this and not look like Bigfoot.
  • Casanova Wannabe: They exist in many places in many forms. "Pickup artist" subculture is what happens when they counsel each other on getting laid with a heavy dose of He-Man Woman Hater. How well it works tends to vary heavily from person to person.
  • Cassandra Truth: Sadly enough, a lot of disasters have been foreseen and explicitly warned about by someone with knowledge of the problem that leads to the disaster. A hurricane flooding New Orleans? Yeah, people were predicting it for 10 years or more. A nuclear power plant in an earthquake and tsunami zone? People were predicting trouble and protesting the plant over five years before the Tohoku quake made it a reality.
  • Casting Couch: Real Life examples abound from film to fashion and music (where it's more common now). Somewhat subverted in that unlike in fiction, where complying may well benefit the victim, in reality, the victim may very well get nowhere at all for his or her trouble, or end up destroying his or her career doing this for real. There's also porn staged around the idea with fully willing participants...
  • Cast from Lifespan: While obviously not truth in television in the magical sense, living itself is this: every day you live you become a day older, and some of the choices you may make within that day or over time will shorten your lifespan in exchange for everything from necessity to convenience.
  • Casual Kink: In some places far, far more than others. If you're in such a place, you probably either are very aware of it, or don't even recognize it as unusual.
  • The Catfish: The "wels catfish", also called a "sheatfish". They can be up to 10 ft long (3m) and weigh 330lbs (150kg). They eat ducks.
  • Cats Are Mean: Yes, some are. Whether as a result of poor training, bad temperament, mental illness, or some combination thereof, there are some cats that will happily fight with other cats until they're near death, and angrily attack even the humans feeding them and trying to engage with them. Ferals can seem this way, but are more "wild" than "mean" per se. Averted, though, just as often as it's played straight in Real Life - quite a lot of cats are cuddly, sweet, intelligent, and not mean. Males neutered at an early age, especially of the colored shorthair/tabby or Siamese breeds, are highly reputed for calm temperament and being good with people and other cats.
  • Cat Scare: Anyone who's owned a cat can tell you this is Truth in Television. Especially alarming when a cat does something that breaks glass AND makes a lot of noise, which has likely led to more than a few frantic police calls. Can also cause a freakout when you hear the piano seemingly playing itself when the cat is just walking on the keys.
  • C.A.T. Trap: New so-called "open" CT scanners are now designed specifically for claustrophobes in mind.
  • Caught with Your Pants Down: Because some people don't remember to lock the door, and others are exhibitionists.
  • Ceiling Banger: If you've ever lived in an apartment, you've experienced this.
  • The City Narrows: Most large cities have what is euphemistically called a "bad area" or two. The larger the city, the more likely. It probably won't be all alleys, though.
  • The Chains of Commanding: It can be tough to be a political leader, and sometimes political leaders are restricted by politics or the lack of cooperation from others from accomplishing even important or needed goals.
  • Charm Point: Jewelry or pieces of clothing with symbolic or spiritual meaning to their owner. Common in some parts of pagan, neopagan, shamanistic, and occult belief where, for example, a ring with an amethyst may mean something entirely different than one with an aventurine or ruby - and mainstream religions have some things that could be considered as such (rosaries in Catholic Christianity for example, the hijab in some forms of Islam)
  • Chekhov's Gun: The amount of times something actually turns out to be really important later is almost innumerable in Real Life.
    • Chekhov's Classroom: If something in class seems really emphasized, try to remember it. If nothing else, it may be in a pop quiz or standardized test.
    • Chekhov's Gunman: Many, many times someone who seems entirely unimportant or useless or a sideline player isn't. Overlaps with such tropes as Almighty Janitor, Ascended Extra, and Bullying a Dragon.
    • Chekhov's News: Paying attention to weather reports, in some areas of the world and some times of the year, can save your life. It's always good to know, for example, if in three days you're going to be snowed in or in a hurricane, or if later in the day there's a high risk of tornadoes.
    • Chekhov's Skill: That weird little bit of knowledge or unusual skill you have can do anything from make you famous to earn someone's trust to save a life. The reason it's very important to learn all you can learn how to do and keep up with knowledge (or at least, on how to use search functions)
  • Cherry Tapping: Killer bees. Their venom actually has the same amount and potency of European bees, but the difference is the whole hive goes after you, meaning your system is getting a much bigger jolt.
  • Chewbacca Defense: If the defense does not make sense, you must acquit. Still a logical fallacy, but it works. Sometimes in a roundabout way - quite a few legal systems demand a mistrial be declared if the prosecution or defense has failed its duties.
  • Child by Rape: Unfortunately.
  • Childhood Friend Romance: Happens on occasion, especially when there aren't many options other than the childhood friend, or if the childhood friend returned after their friend had been widowed or divorced and was suddenly the best option available.
  • Child Prodigy: They exist. Quite a few in music and the arts, others in the sciences or mathematics. Unfortunately, the trope can be forced by Abusive Parents who turn a normal or gifted/genius child into a prodigy - but at the expense of mental health, social life, and more.
  • Children in Tow: Some animal species do this, ducks and dogs/canines in particular. Bears also do it, which is why if you see a baby bear, you should run for safe cover such as a vehicle or building (and not your tent) because the mama is likely nearby.
    • Running may not be the best idea unless the mama bear is already charging you, at which point it's probably too late. A better idea if you stumble upon a mama bear with her cubs is to back away slowly, as running may activate the chase instinct present in most predators. If you are charged, playing dead may be your best bet, as you want to show you are not a threat to the bear or her cubs.
  • Child Soldiers: Uganda, Sierra Leone, Congo, Somalia, Darfur, the Iranian militia during the Iran-Iraq war, and the Hitler Jugend. Among far too many others.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Real Life examples are too controversial for this, but yes, there are some people who are exactly like this, and that is why you should be very wary of someone who brags about repeatedly betraying others or worse, who uses you to betray someone else - because the odds are, you too will be betrayed.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: Some people have this in real life. In some cases they become rescuers/emergency service personnel because they feel called to the work and rewarded by saving people. But sadder cases sometimes involve codependency or even the lack of care for one's own life.
  • Chubby Chaser: Yes, they exist in real life, and are an issue of contention among fat people. Some don't mind them, others (whether out of not wanting to be fat or out of disgust with being reduced to their weight as a fetish among other reasons) find being admired by them offensive. There's also a couple of real life subtypes: one is respectful of fat people and admires them (and may be fat themselves), the other sees fat people as desperate and easily degraded and used. And then there's feeders, who not only encourage their SO to be fat through enabling behavior like food addiction, but will intentionally feed high-fat high-calorie foods to their SO to make them fat.
  • Church Militant: Christianity and Islam both during the Crusades. Both Western Terrorists and Middle Eastern terrorists when they claim Christianity, Islam, or any sect thereof as their raison d'etre. Various groups throughout history outside of either - for example, priests active within The Cartel or favelas may be just as armed to the teeth as anyone else.
  • Church of Happyology: We'd say more but they'll sue us.
  • Circumcision Angst: Is beginning to disappear with the increasing globalization of the world and the increasing acknowledgement that routine circumcision in healthy boys, at least as it is usually practiced, is damaging. Unfortunately, still likely to happen among some US parents, who will still decide for circumcision for their sons just to "look normal" or "be healthy."
  • City of Weirdos: Los Angeles, San Francisco, Venice Beach, and Berkeley in California all have this reputation. Portland, Oregon and Austin, Texas also do in the US. Worldwide, Amsterdam, Tokyo, and Bangkok have it.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: The placebo effect, and the way prayer/meditation/etc "work" aside from the existence of anything they are directed toward. Assuming good faith and treating people with respect can fit in here too in a combination with the Self-Fulfilling Prophecy - sometimes, offering respect and assuming good faith can actually make someone act in a more noble or responsible manner, and the reverse is even more true: shunning people and treating them as if they are evil or untrustworthy often results in them becoming just that, and the "nocebo" effect can induce actual physical symptoms from the belief that one is consuming poison or has been cursed or is terminally ill when one is not.
  • Clean Up The Town: Sometimes happens, though rare, via various methods. The darker inversion is unfortunately more common - a dictator takes power by promising to do this, and/or his idea of doing it is killing what is seen as undesirable. Adolf Hitler gained power in that way. Among many others.
  • Close-Knit Community: Some small towns or neighborhoods, quite a few internet communities or fandom communities, and some subcultures and subculture locations.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Quite a few people like this exist in Real Life, on a spectrum from "slightly eccentric" to "The Mentally Disturbed and clinically insane."
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Most people (except for the extremely religious or extremely young) have issued one of these, usually when hammer meets thumb, toe meets chair leg/bedframe/wall, or a vehicle or computer will not start up when needed (or alternately, when said vehicle or computer stalls/emits smoke or flames/has obviously been stolen). Some people drop them far, far more frequently - see those groups under Obligatory Swearing further down.
  • Cock Fight: Sometimes happens, but the Distaff Counterpart of females viciously competing for males is more often seen.
  • Coitus Uninterruptus: Apparently, a means of showing dominance or control... or of, again, being an exhibitionist.
  • Cold Cash: To the point that many burglars make a point of checking the freezer for stashed valuables.
  • Cold Sniper: Both out of necessity and self-selection for many military snipers.
  • Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere: What you'll suffer the day you'll fail to pay the power bill, causing the power company to leave you unplugged for 3 working days with no access to TV Tropes. Or hell, just a power outage. Like what happened to the Eastern Seaboard after the 2012 Derecho.
  • Colonel Kilgore: Some people do join or stay in the military because they enjoy violence and killing.
  • Color-Coded Patrician: Uniforms in general are this. Police uniforms especially, but medical uniforms and judges' robes as well, and highly formal professional dress also qualifies: it's far more likely that you'll assume, in most Western or Westernized societies, the guy in a three piece suit and tightly cut short hair to be in charge of something as compared to the guy in a ripped t-shirt and jeans with long hair - unless you're at a concert and maybe even then.
  • Combat Medic: Quite a few have existed, both obviously in various military forces and wars, and there have also been cases of police officers acting as medics, paramedics having to rescue someone in a dangerous situation or subdue someone threatening, and doctors and nurses having to deal with violent emergency situations in hospitals.
  • Compassionate Critic: There are some critics that point out others' flaws only for the sole purpose of seeing others improve them. Of course, some of them are hard to come across considering that they can come across as harsh when criticizing.
  • Compensating for Something: Examples are both too numerous and too Flame Bait to mention.
  • Come to Gawk: We are very curious primates, we humans.
  • Comfort Food: Unfortunately, and more unfortunately, marketers know how to make high-fat, high-sugar, and high-salt foods be seen as comfort food. Which is one component of the obesity problem of the first world.
  • Complaining about Complaining: This is pretty much one of the ways to ignite many Flame Wars. In fact, this is one of the basis of nasty arguments in general.
  • Complaining About Things You Haven't Paid For: In the Digital Age, people who torrent music, movies, games, software, etc. for free can be just as critical of a product as someone who bought it through legal means, if not more critical because someone who buys a product would be more willing to get some value out of it, seeing that he would have given up money for it.
  • Condescending Compassion: You poor thing, wasting your pathetic little hopeless life on reading this page. (As you can obviously tell, examples centering around race or gender or sexuality or culture or similar can get very nasty.)
  • Congruent Memory: Hey, it works. Seriously, try it.
  • Conjunction Interruption: Your dad has used it.
  • Con Men Hate Guns: It varies. Some fraud criminals do carry guns and wouldn't hesitate to kill. This is particularly prevalent under "Three Strikes" laws, for those criminals who already have two—any crime they end up getting busted for would end up with the same sentence as murder. Others, if they are the Corrupt Corporate Executive type, their guards/security handles the violence. Others commit petty crimes and don't want to take the risk of additional charges/worse charges (e.g. someone who commits petty retail fraud or scalps fake event tickets may face six months in jail if caught, but if they are armed at the time, the crime could become armed burglary or armed robbery with over five years and something far harder to explain away.) Still others commit their fraud via the phone or internet, meaning they have no need to be armed.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: Bystander Syndrome can be overruled by empathy and what one has been taught to do.
  • Conspicuous Consumption: Those who have money often feel the need to display their riches.
  • Conspiracy Kitchen Sink: In the zigzagged sense. While many conspiracies and conspiracy theories aren't true (at least in any empirically verifiable sense that can't be explained using Occam's Razor and Hanlon's Razor), there's quite a lot that are. Most of the ones that are are not grand unified global theories but are large-scale business and political conspiracies with the goal of furthering the business or the politicians' careers, promoting the use of one product or resource over another, silencing negative information, and the like. Then there's large-scale government conspiracies (e.g. Watergate), more moderate-scale conspiracies involving government, business, and both combined (to loosen regulations, to evade taxes, to cover up product injuries or incompetence or Police Brutality etcetera), and criminal conspiracies of various sorts.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: There are lots of them, everywhere on the Internet, and in some places in Real Life, and there are entire organizations and movements devoted to various conspiracy theories.
  • Constantly Curious: Toddlers are naturally precocious, some more than others. They want to learn about the world around them.
  • Consummate Liar: Sociopaths and various fraud criminals/scammers. PR, politics, and the corporate business world also draw a lot of them, as do the shadier parts of the arts, media, and music industries.
  • Continuing Is Painful: In Real Life, it is. Very few people survive near-fatal injuries without some ongoing disorder or disability, for example, and if one is ever arrested and imprisoned, trying to become a part of normal society again is very difficult. Trying to survive after being put in extreme personal debt (especially debt that cannot be completely discharged in bankruptcy), losing one's residence, or in some cases after having one's reputation or credibility ruined (whether for things you actually did or things someone made up or some combination thereof) is very difficult, as is starting over in a new career after one's 20s or 30s.
  • Contractual Purity: Unfortunately so. Disney and other "child" stars in the US, those who act or participate in children's media as well in many places in the world. Miley Cyrus's recent downfall is a great example. In Japan, any Idol Singer is usually this - look at the Minami Minegishi scandal from AKB48. Sometimes, impressed on non-famous people who live at home or live in situations with demanding rules. Has a very devastating effect on personal lives.
  • Convenience Store Gift Shopping: What you do when you realize that there is a holiday or anniversary or some other similar event - and nothing better is open or nearby, or you are broke. Or the person really does want a couple packs of cigarettes and a six pack of beer and a lottery ticket.
  • Conveniently Common Kink: Two words: Doorknob licking. Because a fair amount of kinks are fairly common among sexual humans (especially at the lighter end of BDSM, for example), and in settings where people can be open, they may be quite surprised at how many people share their deepest, darkest desire.
  • Converting for Love: Yes, it happens. Enough that some religious sects will use the promise of a loving relationship to recruit people. This was a tactic used by the Puritans, since it was religiously mandated by their sect to sexually please your wife.
  • Convicted by Public Opinion: Cultural hegemony, trial by jury.
  • Cool Bike: Quite a few people have them.
  • Cool, but Inefficient: The Tsar Tank. You could walk faster than it could move at top speed.
  • Cool Chair: Thrones. Executive chairs can get pretty fancy shmancy in real life. And someone based a 15K chair off of the one Blofeld had.
  • Cool Loser: This is sometimes possible to achieve via a combination of artistic or musical merit with little else redeeming in one's life and a lack of responsibility that is read as being a "bad boy" rather than helpless or pathetic. That said, it doesn't work for most people because they won't be seen as cool bad but rather irresponsible and deserving of shame.
  • Cordon Bleugh Chef: Chefs trying to be artistic or edgy rather than simply cook food, or make use of an oversupply of an ingredient. Molecular gastronomy.
  • The Coroner Doth Protest Too Much: Official coverups of the actual causes of deaths (or of investigations too rushed/sloppy to find out the actual cause/all of the people or things involved) happen, one of the most frequent types being "suicide" being too easy to be declared, even in the face of potential evidence of homicide or gross negligence. Quite a few murderers and people who've contributed to the deaths of others walk free for this very reason.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: There are so many examples to list that this is considered standard procedure for any CEO. One good example is American bank execs spending bailout money (which was supposed to be spent on failing businesses and bank loans) on multi-million dollar bonuses for high-ranking bankers.
  • The Corruption: Methamphetamine and similar drugs (generally the stimulants and PCP) can bring on euphoria, capacity beyond normal human range in regard to strength and endurance, lack of desire for food - and meanwhile are rearranging your brain chemicals so you can't sleep/can't feel happy or alive without the drug/are actually becoming psychotic.
  • Cosmetic Award: Many awards in Real Life are this, even "resume-padding" awards like being on the dean's list at college - no one after your first employer (possibly) really cares. Often overlaps with the Bragging Rights Reward. If it's a paper or trophy and does not actively get you any advancement - it's almost always this.
  • Cosplay: More common in reality than fiction. Just go to a fan convention.
  • Costume Porn: Halloween. There's a slutty version of everything. Visual Kei subculture also.
  • Could Say It But: We could say this is an example, but we didn't.
  • Country Cousin: Many people have relatives in more rural areas.
  • Courtly Love: Became a trope because it was once Truth in Television. Still is in some sectors of society, although in most of those aside it's more due to impossibility of consummation than not wanting to consummate the relationship. The Groupie Brigade once it reaches a certain size is a fairly good modern example - only a select few or lucky few will actually even have a one night stand, but the rest are there, even if they know their appearance (e.g. fat, over 25) or Incompatible Orientation, or the sheer number of other groupies etc makes them very unlikely candidates.
  • Cowboy Cop: They exist, and are often found in Police Brutality cases or overlapping with Corrupt Cop.
  • Coy, Girlish Flirt Pose: Happens, and used by men as well.
  • Crack is Cheaper: College education, especially postgraduate or some majors. Getting the "proper" (read: most expensive and elite) gear as a musician or a photographer, among other professions or hobbies where the person who's spent the most is seen as the best.
  • Crazy Cat Lady: Animal hoarders exist, although animal hoarding in Real Life is not limited to gender: men can be animal hoarders as well as women, and while cats are one of the more easily hoardable animals, everything from rats to horses can be hoarded.
  • Crazy Homeless People: Some due to deinstitutionalization or addictions, others simply due to how others perceive their behavior (e.g. to most normal people, bathing in a sink or fountain may seem crazy, but if one has no shower...) or due to the mental strain that homelessness and social isolation itself provides. One survey showed that over 50% of the homeless have mental illness.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Survivalists and the "prepper" community. Also known to happen among ex-soldiers and those who have had difficult lives or experienced traumatic events. Preparing is seen as a way to gain control over life.
  • Creepy Basement: All kids are afraid of their basement/attic. The only kids who aren't don't have one, or live in it themselves.
  • Crime of Self-Defense: Sometimes when people think they did what they had to do to save their own or someone else's life, the law sees it differently. note 
  • Criminal Mind Games: The Zodiac Killer and other serial killers.
  • Crisis of Faith: If you're having one, you're not alone. And people have resolved them in many ways: leaving their faith if they realize it doesn't fit them, is abusive or fraudulent in their eyes, or is otherwise causing them more harm than good to become atheists or agnostics or to join a different faith, or in cases where they want to stay in their faith but want to find a different expression of it, seeking out a different branch or interpretation.
  • Cross-Dressing Voices: Happens to people early in gender transition for obvious reasons. Also happens with some cisgender people that have voices out of their normal range for a variety of reasons from injury to smoking to hormonal problems. Although now surgery exists to correct the problem in men.
  • Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Plenty of people, again, are far more capable or intelligent (or dangerous) than they might look. This trope is yet another reason why trying to take things from people without their permission or trying to assault people is often a very bad idea.
  • Cruella to Animals: Some people do profit off of or wear or display trophies of their animal cruelty and take pride in it.
  • Cruel Mercy: Often the purview of the Technical Pacifist, from Buddhist monks who would drop people who they wished would die in pits with scorpions, to prison guards or officials who make sure pedophiles or child killers end up in general population where they will likely be raped and killed.
  • Cruel Twist Ending: Dying under the age of 55 or 65 or so, in any way it can happen in most Western or Westernized societies. Particularly cruel are sudden deaths, such as accidents, being a crime victim, suicides...
    • Similarly, losing a parent, your lover, or someone else very close to you suddenly and arbitrarily.
    • Being molested or raped, especially by someone you trusted. It's an end to life as you knew it, to that relationship as you knew it...
    • Developing a severely disabling or terminal illness, especially one that robs you of your mind or bodily control.
    • A career-ending injury or illness, if you loved what you did that, due to the injury, you can no longer do or do and not risk death or serious injury.
    • Going to prison for a long sentence or to be put on death row, particularly if you are innocent of the charges.
  • Crying Wolf: Happens all the time, and due to its ability to induce "warning fatigue," the bane of emergency managers, meteorologists, and others who need people to pay attention to their warnings this time. No, those tornado sirens aren't just a test and yes, they are for real... When they actually need to use those Emergency Broadcast Systems on the radio and tv, no one will pay attention.
  • Cucumber Facial: The cucumbers function to help with puffiness around the eyes because they're cool and soothing.
  • Cultural Posturing: A cause of many a Flame War. And many a real war. And more arguments, fights, and drama than can be counted, especially if one brings in subcultures, parts of subcultures, and similar as well.
  • Cultural Rebel: Many of them exist.
  • Culture Police: No Real Life examples are allowed, because there are too many and too depressing.
  • Curious Qualms of Conscience: Because sometimes, even if one thinks one has made the right decision or done what one was required to do, it may not have been the right decision or it may have had too high of a cost.
  • Curse Cut Short: Especially if one is in a setting where one could get in a lot of trouble for using the word(s), or is around one's parents, children, more conservative religious types, or parrots. Sometimes done when someone realizes they are being Sir Swears-a-Lot or could be offending someone and then cuts off after they've dropped half the Cluster F-Bomb, which sometimes has an effect that is more hilarious than anything else.
  • Curtains Match the Window: Can be accomplished with contacts, or alternately, with dying one's hair to match one's eye color.
  • Cuteness Proximity: The presence of something cute or beautiful in a photograph will increase the aesthetic value of all nearby. Models make a living off of this trope, as do animal and child stars.
  • Cuteness Overload: Admit it, you've been through this a lot of times in your life.
  • Cut Himself Shaving: Yes, people do this to explain away injuries from abuse or Self Harm. The inverse also happens - suspicious injuries or overdoses or whatnot that look like Self Harm or suicidal, or like someone else did it, can be true accidents.
  • Cut Lex Luthor a Check: This is actually one of the strongest arguments for drug legalization - that were drugs legalized and those currently illegally manufacturing and selling were brought into a regulated, legalized system, their business acumen could be directed somewhere more legitimate than violence and warfare, the insane profits they make could be taxed the hell out of much like alcohol and tobacco currently are, and the tax proceeds could be used to manage the regulation of the substances, and to provide treatment and care and paths back into society for those who became addicts.
  • Cutting the Electronic Leash: Happens sometimes but usually more of the "turning the phone off" variant than throwing it away, unless the person is trying to show off how rich they are that they can discard a $500 smartphone without as much as a care.
  • Cutting the Knot: Favored tactic of the military and the police alike when faced with something tricky or troublesome. Unfortunately, this is also often applied to people, which results in a lot of war crimes and Police Brutality, and which is also why you should only call the police on a suicidal person as a very last resort, because some officers, especially if they feel in personal danger, have no qualms about shooting or tazing someone who seems to be acting out.
  • Cynicism Catalyst: There's quite a lot of these in Real Life - and trying to avoid creating them is important for some. For example, one Rabid Cop engaging in Police Brutality can make people hate and fear (and possibly violently lash out toward) police officers. One Obstructive Bureaucrat can make people afraid to seek services or bring complaints they need to do, or even vote. A bad experience with an Obstructive Bureaucrat or Dr. Jerk can make people refuse to get checkups or otherwise seek even needed care. And so on...

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