Main Call A Rabbit A Smeerp Discussion

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09:07:01 PM Apr 27th 2013
In the examples for Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time, Zemai for corn is given as it being an anagram of maize. I believe the more likely linguistic explanation is that corn (maize) is the species Zea mays.
01:20:56 AM Jan 26th 2013
edited by sienihemmo
I'm not sure if the trope is just for flora and fauna or for everything in general, if the latter then I'd suggest a real life addition: The paintball community in the USA has recently started calling paintball guns "markers" for some unexplicable reason, probably to skirt around gun laws or something. Before that fad everyone just called them guns so it's not like they were originally "markers" or anything.

Well, "recently". I think it started in 2011 or something. But still, I think it might be a good addition.
05:52:55 PM Apr 22nd 2011
One of the examples lists Larry Niven's 'Ringworld Throne' as a direct reference to this trope. Considering that the book was published before TV Tropes, wouldn't it be the other way around? From what I can tell, that even seems to be the trope namer.
06:54:16 AM Sep 12th 2011
edited by DaibhidC
A direct reference to the trope doesn't mean a direct reference to TV Tropes - the page is named after an entry in the Turkey City Lexicon, which dates from 1988, and attributes it to James Blish (although Vonda N. Mcintyre's "Pitfalls of Writing SF and Fantasy" attributes it to Damon Knight, who was also involved in the Lexicon). Whoever coined it, the phrase was well-known by SF writers before Niven wrote Ringworld Throne.
05:34:16 AM Aug 13th 2010
The translators who created the King James Version of the Bible apparently did this with a number of Hebrew words: "wild ox" -> "unicorn"; "jackal" -> "dragon"; making this trope Older Than Steam.
05:43:26 PM Apr 26th 2011
I figured the trope involved calling animals names that are totally made up, but I see your point.

01:00:42 PM Aug 4th 2010
Suggestion : Call A Rabbit A Smeerp needs a special subtrope for the Alternate History genre. Logically, in a world with a different history than ours (especially one that diverged long ago), there would be lots of alternate names for many things, both mundane and specialised (for instance, cars being "Locomobiles", "Motocarriages", etc.). This trope pops up in the genre very often (all the time, really), so it's not just some flight of fancy of a particular author. On the other hand, a pure "smeerp" implies laziness or bad writing on part of the author. "A smeerp" is a "smeerp" even though there's virtually no reason to call it like that, while "kineto-tube" instead of "television" is pretty reasonable if the story is set in a world, which diverged from our history before television as we know it was invented and named. A true alternate term meerly adds flavour to a particular alternate history, while a "smeerp" is just that - a "smeerp". Think about it.
05:58:37 PM Aug 4th 2010
That's really more of a YKTTW topic.
03:48:27 AM Jul 22nd 2010
Would it be inappropriate to list "real life" examples based on words or phrases that a person from a couple of centuries earlier would call examples of this trope? Like "why call Reichsmarks 'Euros'? If it's meant to be generic to the whole continent, they would just be marks." or "for some reason, half the time they talk about something particularly oversized, they say 'jumbo', instead of just extra-large."
03:22:10 PM Mar 25th 2010
edited by TwilightVulpine
I'm not sure the Mimigas from Cave Story should be here. They are not common rabbits, they are human-sized sentient rabbit-like creatures. I think the difference warrants their different name. This complaint was made before in the archived discussion.
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