Any of a variety of speech patterns used to indicate that a character, while intelligent, is perhaps too young, too inexperienced, and/or insufficiently educated (or simply talks too fast) to properly express the complex ideas and thoughts that they clearly possess.
One of the most obvious elements is a lack of relevant vocabulary, leading to both unconventional adjectival-noun structures like "shooty-gun thing", and incomplete, floundering similes that turn back on themselves in frustration: "That idea went over like... like... like a thing that doesn't go over very well." Metaphorgotten is frequently a side effect. Often includes Oh God, with the Verbing! or similar. And sometimes Name McAdjective is employed.
When properly handled, Buffy Speak can give the sense of a teenaged group's special jargon or argot without necessarily imitating anything actually found in the real world. Slang language, especially for the younger set, tends to change at warp speed. Buffy Speak allows a level of timelessness that helps avoid Totally Radical tropes. Improperly handled, it can sound ludicrously fake and may damage Willing Suspension of Disbelief.
In linguistics, this is typically referred to as a "nonce" — a term or figure of speech created for a single occasion, typically to quickly move along conversation or direction.
We also use Buffy Speak to name some of our tropes:
- Bald Black Leader Guy
- Non-Giving-Up School Guy
- Proud Warrior Race Guy
- Swirly Energy Thingy
- That Russian Squat Dance (Cossack Dancing)
- The Thing That Goes "Doink" (Shishi-Odoshi)
- Tragic Ice Character
For some reason, this trope is named for the speech patterns of the teenage characters in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which ran from 1997–2003. The show's creator, Joss Whedon, is often credited with "creating" this form of writing (also called Whedonspeak). However, there are instances of this type of language from writers like William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, H. P. Lovecraft, and P. G. Wodehouse, making this trope significantly Older Than They Think. This type of speech has existed for as long as language itself, and is actually Older Than Dirt.
Contrast with Totally Radical or Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness. Compare Person as Verb. See also Shaped Like Itself, Department of Redundancy Department, Layman's Terms, Realistic Diction Is Unrealistic and Deadpan Snarker.
Examply branchy things:
- The Book Thingies With Drawings Inside Squares and Circles
- The Thingies Made By People Who Love Thingies
- The Really Long Thingies With The Photos That Move
- The Book Thingies, But With Words Instead Of Drawings
- The Thingies Like The Moving Photo Thingies, But Shorter And On TV
- The Thingies That Go "Dun, Dun Dun, Dun Dun Dun Dun"
- The Thingies That Go "Beep Boop", and You Control Italian Plumbers
- The Thingies With Drawings Inside Squares And Circles, But On The Internet
- Thingies On The Internet, But Made By Creative People
- The Thingies With Drawings That Move, From America and Stuff
Other examply things
- Snapple's slogan is "Made from the best stuff on Earth". They had a commercial where an employee finds better stuff. Everyone refers to it as simply "stuff". "We've got better stuff." "What stuff?" "This stuff." "I like that stuff."
- Played for laughs with this commercial for Fruit String Thing.
- Arby's ran an ad for its gyros, referring to them as "Mediterranean tacos!"
- In Haikyuu!! Hinata likes to describe movements, tosses, and attacks with words like "bwah!" "oomph!" "gwah!" when he gets excited (which is always). Tsukishima points out that none of what he says makes sense on more than one occasion.
- Team's libero Nishinoya uses similar sound effects when he tries to explain how he receives perfectly. His teammates point out that he sucks at explaining because it's all instinct to him.
- In the YuYu Hakusho dub, on the way to Sensui's hideout, Yuusuke asks Kurama what the seeds he's spreading around are for, and our favorite red-haired Bishōnen goes into an explanation about lighting their way, trailing off into phosphorus and bread crumbs. In that case, it sounded more like Kurama (who is a Really 700 Years Old Chessmaster) was trying to Buffy-Speak so that Yusuke would understand him.
- From the Excel Saga dub: "I have built this wooden underling-like puppet with an optional soy sauce puffy thingy!"
- In Fate/Zero, Rider calls stealth bombers 'big black B-2 thingies,' and he describes the Gate of Babylon as 'showing off with a lot of shiny-goldy things.'
- Ali Al-Saachez from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 uses this trope to refer to his enemies, "Celestial-Whatchamacallit!". Not like "Being" is a hard word to say or remember, but try telling that to his face.
- In the dub, Simon from Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann refers to the multiple universes created through a Lotus-Eater Machine as multi-dimensional whatevers.
- In the dub of Hetalia: Axis Powers, when a soldier saw a painting that Holy Roman Empire had done of young Italy and asked, "Is this your boyfriend or girlfriend or gender-neutral chibi thing?"
- In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba,Tanjiro is a well meaning guy and definitely not stupid, but he is quite terrible at explaining technical aspects of his sword and martial arts abilities, he earnestly tries to explain to his friends his experiences with it was pow wow, the I was like boom, boom, said events occur when Tanjiro tried to explain his Full Focus Breathing training to Zenitsu and Inosuke, and later when he tries to explain how his body achieved the Demon Slayer Mark. Later it is also shown the freakishly strong swordswoman Kanroji Mitsuri is just as bad as Tanjiro in explaining the technical aspects of her abilties, using the same "boom, boom" terms.
- Comic actor Steve Martin's stand-up routines frequently employ this trope.
- "Because a day without sunshine is like, you know, night."
- "Some people have a way with words... and some people... uh... not have way, I guess."
- Stand-up comedian Eddie Izzard described his playing of the clarinet as sounding like "a foghorn being dragged through... uh, a place where a foghorn should not be dragged."
- And, in a bit about toasters, said that "they have a turny-button thing... it's called a 'turny-button thing.'"
- Honey is "in your morning, on your breakfasty toasty, in a jar, kind of."
- In fact, a large number of his jokes, as a consequence of his very train-of-thought style of comedy.
- On George Carlin's half-sketch, half stand-up album, A Place For My Stuff:
(Radio Ad): "Consolidated International! People making things so people have things to do things to other people with! And thinking up more things to do with the stuff we have!
- This Candorville strip: "I'm as bad with analogies as... something else is bad at a thing."
- Gary Larson's The Far Side: Some mobsters are interrogating a little man tied up in a chair. "Well," says their leader, "we've tried every device and you still won't talk—every device, that is, except for the one we simply call 'Mr. Thingy.' " The hoodlum then holds up a weird contraption that looks like a cross between a bomb and a Swiss army knife.
- Ratatouille's Linguini, tired of the marionette treatment, tells Remy: "I am not your puppet! And you are not my puppet... controller... guy!"
- Toy Story: "Your helmet does that... that... that whoosh thing!"
- Toy Story 3:
Chunk (referring to Buzz): "He's not the sharpest knife in the... place where they keep knives."Sparks: Neither are you, Chunk.
- The Little Mermaid (1989) has most of the song "Part of Your World" based on this when Ariel sings about her collection of land... gizmos, gadgets, whoosits, whatzits, and thingamabobs. She apparently improves her vocabulary as the song progresses, though. Probably justified, since she gets all her information about the names and functions of human artifacts from Scuttle, so it's likely she thinks those are the actual names for those objects.
- The President from Monsters vs. Aliens: "General... I propose we go forward with your Monsters vs. Aliens idea... thingie."
- Madagascar has an I Resemble That Remark! example: "No, no, no
you don't talk now, okay? You're not so good with the putting the words together and their coming out good thing."
- Also, Julien. "After much deep and profound brain things inside my head ..."
- Heather from Over the Hedge: We, like, worked our tails off, y'know? Like a lot! And the food we gathered was totally... you know! And you're, you're all whatever!
- In TMNT, Raphael says "The thing about you immortal stone guys is you know you're immortal and made of stone. I sound like Mikey!"
- Kuzco in The Emperor's New Groove: "What is he babbling about? He's like the thing that wouldn't shut up!"
- Used to spoof Techno Babble in the Star Trek: The Next Generation parody Sev Trek: Pus in Boots.
"Here's the status report on the warp coil thing-a-ma-giggies, Captain."
- What do we call this one? From Fantastic Mr. Fox... "If what I think is happening, is happening, it better not be."
- A parody of Antiques Roadshow in MAD had a few of the appraisers inspecting the "antiques" with a jeweler's loupe, or as they call it, a "thingamajig that jewelers use".
- In Aztec Mythology, the ahuizotl's name literally translates as "spiny aquatic thing."
- Plumbing the Death Star:
- Professor Xavier's Telepathy is referred to as his "boop-boop-boop powers" because at least one of the three hosts makes sure to accompany discussion of his powers with noises that are supposed to resemble a computer.
- The cast stops in the middle of "If You Were a James Bond Villain What Would Your Scheme Be?" to make sure everyone knows that "sinkholing" is not an actual word and that anyone who uses it will be laughed at.
- The title of "Would You Prefer to be Suddenly 30 or 17'd again?" used 17 Again as a verb to describe suddenly becoming young again. The rest of the episode similarly uses 13 Going on 30 and Big to describe being suddenly turned into an adult.
- Rusty Quill Gaming: During a sci-fi one-shot, Alex's character attempts to discreetly scan his colleagues to see if they're infectious, but fails his roll. Ben, who's running the game, provides an In-Universe explanation as follows:
Ben: Any infection would be very subtle. You can't just, like, widdly-weep them and it'll be like, "Bad! There's badness!"Jonny: I'm sorry, you can't just what?Ben: Widdly-weep. Sorry, it's a reference to like, the Star Trek widdly-weep machine that Spock has that does everything. He just widdly-weeps it.
- In Wolf 359, Officer Eiffel's speech patterns often end up here, especially when it comes to describing the more technical or complicated parts of the space station where the show takes place.
Minkowski: Connect two tethers together, then attach them to the restraint. That should be enough slack for me to reach him with my propulsion maneuvering unit.Eiffel: Is that your jetpack thingy?Minkowski: Yes, Eiffel, that's my jetpack thingy!
- "Stone Cold" Steve Austin, to Faarooq: "It's not a black thing, it's not a white thing—it's a me-kicking-your-ass thing!"
- Edge and Christian are reeking of awesomeness.
- On the Tropical Pleasures DVD from 2002, Ivory is talking about which WWE guys she finds sexy, and says that Billy Gunn has "confidence and cuteness and funness."
- There was Kurt Angle trying (and failing) to get fans to boo him during his 2005 feud with John Cena by announcing that he did not like "the black people."
- PGWA initially dubbed Nikki Roxx's finishing move a "sit down bear hug atomic drop thingy"
- The efforts of Funny Foreigner Santino Marella to speak coherent English often result in this.
- Matt Striker loves pulling this type of speech off, one time even declaring that Layla El was "hellacious Lay-lacious".
- With The Bob & Tom Show's Joe Jefferson Vocabulary Builder-Upper, you can learn yourself many big and good words, or my name isn't Jim Johannsen. From Jack Johnson, the creator of the Jake Jackson Memory System.
- In Cabin Pressure, as an Actor Allusion to Benedict Cumberbatch's role in Sherlock, Martin gets to cite a famous Sherlock Holmes quote... somewhat less articulately.
Martin: The thing is, we've taken away all the things that can't possibly have happened, so I suppose the only thing that's left, even though it seems really weird, must be the thing that did happen in fact!Douglas: ...Snappily put.
- The Goon Show has a fair few of Bluebottle's lines.
Bluebottle: I used his large-type front and posh-type talking to work my way to a position of importance in the BBC!
Seagoon: Silly lad! There are no positions of importance in the BBC!
- Psionics: The Next Stage in Human Evolution ventures into this territory. Justified, since the characters are discussing things that they didn't know existed until very recently and don't have actual names for.
- Warhammer 40,000: Orks have a very direct aproach to naming things, applied both to their own gear and their enemy's: any cutting implement (sword, axe, knife...) is a choppa, guns are shootaz, any Titan-sized combat walker is a stompa, etc.
- In Cosmopol, the character Keller speaks like this to the point that others call his distinct speech pattern "Keller Speak". Justified in that he is not a native English speaker, though sometimes he speaks like that in his native German, too.
- Yu-Gi-Oh! has a monster called Interplanetarypurplythorny Dragon.
- Magic: The Gathering: Krark-Clan Engineers. "Well, I jammed the whatsit into the whackdoodle, but I think I broke the thingamajigger."
- Mouse Trap: In the original version of the game, there's a piece named "thing-a-ma-jig" above the bathtub. It's been renamed the "short ramp" in newer versions.
- In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Antonio faces off against Claudio and Don Pedro, and he is too angry (or, in some productions, too drunk) to properly articulate his rage. The result is quite entertaining.
"Come boy, come sir boy, come follow me sir boy!"
- Franziska von Karma from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney TO AN EXTREME.
"You huffy, puffy, loosey-goosey excuse for a whimpering whining wuss of a witness.""Don't be foolish you foolish fool wearing the foolishly foolish clothes."
- A feature of Skaltic speech in Seven Kingdoms: The Princess Problem, apparently due to language barriers. Princess Anaele, for example, refers to your guardian butler Jasper as a "watchy-watchy-starey-starey shadow man."
- Homestar Runner does this a lot:
Strong Bad: My internet's crawling along like... something... funny... that crawls along.
- "What the sense make?!"
- Reynold of the Cheat Commandos speaks this way.
"I never get to go on any missions! I'd be a good mission... guy."'
- Also from Cheat Commandos: the name "Gunhaver" itself, and sentences like "who will have gun?"
- "Hey Stinkoman! Everybody says you're the Guy, but I wanna be the Guy too!"note
- "Ixnay on the... cut it out throwing roses at me... may."
- "If you can't stand the heat, get out of... y'know, that aforementioned heaty place."
- "I'm gonna go... place."note
- "I think I've got a... food... in the oven."
- "Here he is, the man that's about to do a thing!"
- "Just a single congraturation they had lying around the... video game... make... place...?!"
- Coach Z was glad to be offered free ice cream because he "can't afford the money-cost variety".
- Parodied in Kingdumb Hearts
Xemnas: Gentlemen, thanks for coming. I'm here to talk about IT.
Xemnas: Yes... it has done IT. And now she well do THE THING, and now what I told you about will happen to him, and then will happen to HER, when IT is done. Then WE need to do... THE THING.
Xigbar: The who the what and the when?
Xemnas:' Saix, is IT done? THE THING?
Saix: Yes, sir.
Xemnas: And Xigbar, is IT ready to do IT?
Xemnas: IS "IT" READY TO DO "IT"?
Xigbar: "sigh" Yeah, yeah, HE is doing IT and IT is HER doing something... whatever you say.
Xemnas: What?!?! She did THE SOMETHING?!? We must take action at once!!!!
- The Demented Cartoon Movie has "Evil Blah's Evil Lair Type House Thing!", inside of which are the "Evil device thingy!" the generic damsel is chained to and the "Weird evil Machine thing o` doom".
- "What was that? Some kind of... kamikaze, type, person?"
- The title character of I Am Baby Cakes has a surprising way of expressing the great paradoxes of life and love in simple, childish terms.
- DSBT InsaniT: Kayla talks like this sometimes, like saying 'ramp truck thingy'.
- This tends not to make it into episodes of No Evil, but pops up now and then in the outtakes. Sushijustask, the voice actress for Paula, has a particular line in this; as early as the first outtakes video, she delivers the line "these are my noises of me knowing what is going on. 'Ahh.'"
- It's common for little kids (or adults who have suffered temporary word fail—or, more seriously, a stroke) to speak like this.
- In a way, kennings are a form of this. One of the more famous ones, Beowulf, translated as "bee-hunter", is an Old English kenning for bear.
- These euphemisms were formed because it was considered bad luck to speak the bear's true name. Most European cultures have various different names for the same animal—"honey-eater" (medved), "brown thing" (bruin). The ones nowadays accepted as its real name ("bear", for instance) are actually euphemisms used so widely that the original name was forgotten. Bears are Serious Business.
- John F. Kennedy, an otherwise brilliant speaker, once did this: "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade, and do the other things." This was a common mid-20th century expression indicating, "There are many examples, but I don't feel like naming them all right now." Many middle-aged Americans were still using the idiom as the 1990s drew to a close. It all makes sense in context:
- But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard!
- "The other things" in context was "beat the Ruskies".
- An more straightforward interpretation is that "the other things" are "that stuff I already mentioned but don't feel like repeating, to wit, climbing the highest mountain, flying the Atlantic, etc."
- George H. W. Bush became so widely known for this ("The Vision Thing" "The Women Thing") that the term "Bushism" was coined to describe it. It's a trait he passed down to his oldest son, George W. Bush, who arguably leans even harder into it than his father ("They misunderestimated me").
- The French spoken in Quebec has a wide, wide range of words that mean "thing" (chose, patente, truc, cossin, bidule, and the list goes on), although sometimes with a slightly different connotation. They are frequently used in non-formal conversation, with context and non-verbal communication helping interpretation of the word.
- Combining them is perfectly valid too: "Passe-moi le truc-machin-chouette-bidule," would easily translate as "Pass me the thing-thingy-stuff-thing."
- This also works for metropolitan French, except the order of the words is different. A non-exhaustive list of words for "thing" would go: truc, machin, bidule, trucmuche, chose, machin-chouette...
- Also in Swedish, with a small selection being: Sak; apparat; apparatur; grej; mojäng; mackapär; grunka.
- German and Japanese are languages that both make heavy use of compound words by just sticking two words together. The words "Zeug" and "mono" both mean "things" and are used in combination with all kinds of word. (The German "Zeug" originally meant "gear" as in "equipment", but has come to be a generic term for "stuff" when used alone).
- German: "Flugzeug" (fly-stuff/airplane), "Werkzeug" (working-stuff/tools), "Spielzeug" (play-stuff/toys), "Fahrzeug" (drive-stuff/vehicle). Zeughaus (stuff-house/arsenal).
- Japanese: "Tabemono" (eat-stuff/food), "kaimono" (buy-stuff/things you bought), "Kimono" (dress stuff/clothing). The same applies to words with "butsu", such as "doubutsu" or "hakubutsu".
- Esperanto: The suffix -aĵ- means essentially "the physical substance associated with". "Bovo" (cow) + "-aĵ-" = "bovaĵo" (beef). "Segi" (to saw) + "-aĵ-" = "segaĵo" (sawdust). "Aĵo" by itself just means "stuff".
- Turkish: The suffixes -cı,-ci,-cu,-cü,-çı,-çi,-çu and -çü mean "- person". It's mainly used to define professions: "dişçi" (tooth-person/dentist), "demirci" (iron-person/smith), "yolcu" = (way-person/traveler).
- Kneadatite, a self-hardening paste that is used extensively used in miniature sculpting, is almost universally known as "green stuff". (It's an epoxy whose resin is yellow and whose hardener is blue, so when you mix it together to set, it's green).
- People with anomic/dysnomic forms of the mental disorder aphasia often have difficulty retrieving words from memory and come up with awkward circumlocutions to describe something that they cannot name. A person with this condition might know what an apple is and how it tastes, but might be unable to name it, instead calling it something like "that crunchy fruit that grows on trees".
- English speakers who want to describe something they don't have a word for sometimes employ the French "je ne sais quoi", usually to mean something like "unique character", as in, "He has a certain je ne sais quoi." It literally means, "I don't know what" which has the same meaning in English.
- The Polish word "wichajster" means a thing that either has no name or a thing whose name the speaker doesn't recall (it usually refers to a machine or part thereof, or some sort of gadget, but anything can be described by the word). And "wichajster" is pronounced exactly like "Wie heißt er", which means "what's his name" in German.
- Could an anglicization of that be the origin of "widget"?
- German knows "das gewisse Etwas", which means "the certain something", which is just as vague and is used in the same way.
- Italian, meanwhile, has aggeggio, a close equivalent to the above in that it generally refers to gadgets. Coso also exists (as an informal version of cosa, thing), translated exactly as thingy.
- The 19th century brought English such expressions as "doohickey" and "thingamabob"/"thingamajig". They were popular enough to have entries in the English dictionary.
- Buffy speak from Republicans:
- When Sarah Palin asked, "How's that hopey, changey thing working out for ya?" at the first-ever national Tea Party Convention, many wondered if Joss Whedon had suddenly, inexplicably been employed as her speech writer. For those who haven't paid attention to American politics lately, or have just had their heads under a rock, this was an allusion to Barack Obama's campaign slogans of "hope and change." Which she was making fun of.
- Some of old No.43's bushisms would qualify. "Tribal sovereignty means just that; it's sovereign. You're a—you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity."
- Congressman Kevin McCarthy, then House Majority leader and the number one choice as replacement for Speaker John Boehner after the latter retired, gave a press release of such strange coherence that the next day, political pages in major newspapers like the Wall Street Journal actually explicitly compared it to this trope.
- As stated above, Joss Whedon himself—in interviews, one can practically see the Buffy script flowing forth as he speaks. Also, Jim Butcher has fallen into this a couple of times, perhaps.
- Many teenagers do this. Although they are often quite intelligent, many of them aren't quite familiar with technical terms and jargon, so use Buffy Speak when the right words don't come to mind.
- Some very studious teens, especially those cramming for standardized tests, will have an immense vocabulary but no clue how to use those words properly, thus leading to a strange mix of Buffy Speak and Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
- If you ever work in technical support, expect to see this a lot. Many peoples are completely unable to properly describe a technical problem.
- If you work in a home and garden or domestic supply store, such as Bed, Bath & Beyond, you will encounter this trope on a daily basis. No exceptions.
"Do you carry that rectangular inflatable dealie that you put ice in?"
- L33t is a form of this trope although some circles consider it an actual language.
- Dialect or jargon perhaps, but not a language. And only applicable through writing.
- L33t would be an alternate writing system of the Latin alphabet since it's just written, with some jargon thrown in for good measure.
- This trope is sadly common when speaking foreign languages you're relatively new to. Whatever education the speaker had was probably only focused on general, common vocabulary (exceptions being "medical Spanish" courses, etc.) so the speaker is limited to a very unspecialized vocabulary and has to get creative when trying to explain to a confused ER patient that the doctors are going to put in an IV to keep them from dehydrating.
- Modern linguists incidentally consider it an important skill to know how to speak around a word that you don't know, and there are several scientific studies on the subject.
- Speaking of speaking around a word you don't know, the word for this (in English) is "circumlocution". Useful stuff.note
- Wow, we just went something-that-is-about-itself!
- Modern linguists incidentally consider it an important skill to know how to speak around a word that you don't know, and there are several scientific studies on the subject.
- In Chile, the word 'wea' and its derivates can mean absolutely anything and anyone. It can get very confusing for a non-chilean to understand which thing is the 'wea' we are referring to.
- It's actually very much a Smurfing kind of thing.
- The same in Colombia with the word 'vaina', except it's never used on people, hence being translated as a very localized version of "thing", and being one of the few words used by everyone regardless of region/accent.
- In the immortal words of the Danish Prime minister Lars Løkke "Those who earn more, and pay a lot, and now pay a little less. Well they pay more-less, than those who earn a little less, and pay less, thus paying less-less"
- Accidentally used in here.
- This shirt.
- Britney Spears tends to talk like this.
- In Norwegian, the standard formal term for motor vehicles is fartøy, essentially "driving things".
- The ending "-tøy" in general. "Leketøy2 is "playing things" or toys, and "spisetøy" means "eating things" (although most people say "bestikk"). Tøy on its own, on the other hand, means clothes or fabric.
- Primates learning human sign language typically string together monosyllabic English words in order to express relatively complex concepts. Koko the gorilla, for one, famously referred to a mask (in ASL) as an "eye hat."
- Much of the Chinese language is constructed this way. Since everything is in abstract characters, it's only considered natural to keep tacking simple words onto a chain until you've got a fully developed concept. Examples: The Chinese word for "love" is ai. Aiguo means "patriotic" ("love country"). Airen gives us "husband" or "wife" ("love person"); and aizibing translates to "AIDS" ("love disease"), though the last one can also be viewed as transcription.
- Japanese is also big on Buffy Speak from a grammatical standpoint. All demonstratives, and also mono and koto often only serve to exacerbate confusion in a world that is elusive as it is. Exhibit A (at 13.). This is compounded by throngs of Chinese loanwords (see above) that a speaker has to live with.
- A Conlang called Toki Pona has this as its basic premise. It has only hundred-something roots, and words are formed from them exactly this way.
- And its Evil Twin, Russian mat that has only six or seven roots that are all Cluster F Bombs. In mat, you can compose complex, perfectly legitimate and meaningful (in context) sentences completely out of swear words, sometimes even working with one word base per sentence. This phenomenon is depicted in Russian humour; for example, in jokes about construction workers or engineers forced by the new superior (or a foreign consultant) to stick to decent language. This results in their inability to communicate and complete their tasks.
- A toaster manufactured by Breville has an "A Bit More" button.
- Literal translations from polysynthetic languages, many of them Native American, can sound like this. E.g. the Navajo for tank (when they don't just say "tank" in the middle of a Navajo sentence), chidí naaʼnaʼí beeʼeldǫǫhtsoh bikááʼ dah naaznilígíí is "cart that crawls around with a big-boom-maker sitting on top".note Note that in speech that whole beast is rattled off as one huge word.
- In Nahuatl, it's especially noticeable when comparing modern colloquial Nahuatl to Classical Nahuatl, because Classical had a style rule that limited compounds to two elements plus endings, while modern Nahuatl will just stack on strings of elements. Modern Nahuatl would probably sound very rambling to the pre-Columbian Aztecs, who probably instituted the "two element" limit precisely to avoid that (as in most cultures, rhetoric was an important part of their conception of statecraft, and rambling tends to make for bad speeches).
- In 2006, U. S. Senator Ted Stevens (R-AK) criticized a "Net neutrality" amendment to a committee bill...but the only problem was, his vehement eleven-minute speech had a good deal of buffy speak and revealed that he had very little idea how the Internet works. Here's the most infamous bit:
"And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes."
- In Inukitut, the Inuit language, new words are formed this way. For example, the word for computer literally means "little artificial brain."
- The way the Meal, Ready-to-Eat (MRE) flameless ration heater works, it needs to be set at an incline for it to work properly. The instructions◊ for it quite literally suggest to lay the open end on a "rock or something".
- A quick word of advice for those about to go to US Army/Marine Corps training, the 'something' does not include your helmet, or your rifle. Doing so will incur the wrath of your local Drill Sergeant Nasty. For best results, use an empty magazine, or your E-Tool.
- In the movie "Fat Man and Little Boy," John Cusak plays a young physicist working on the Manhattan Project. His character was based on Canadian physicist and chemist Louis Slotin. After the war, Slotin expressed growing disdain for his personal involvement in the project, wanting to resuming teaching and research into biophysics and radiobiology. He wrote in a letter to a friend:
"I have become involved in the Navy tests, much to my disgust. The reason for this is that I am one of the few people left here who are experienced bomb putter-togetherers."
- If you were unlucky enough to fall into a black hole, the strong gravity would pull on your feet (or whatever is pointed toward the singularity) more strongly than it would on your head. This would increase, and the gravity would begin to stretch you out, eventually ripping you in half (hopefully killing you quickly). The process would continue, stretching you and tearing you apart, until all that was left of you would be a long, thin strand of particles. The scientific word for this process: spaghettification. No one has been able to come up with a better word to describe what happens.
- Most medical conditions have names derived from Greek or Latin roots, often causing direct translations to fall under this trope; for example, osteoarthritis comes from "osteo-", meaning bone, "arthro-", meaning joint, and "-itis" meaning inflammation, causing it to translate to "bone joint inflammation". A particularly fun one is Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy, colloquially known as Mad Cow Disease, which literally just means "cow spongy brain disease".
- Have you ever found yourself speaking like this because you're all of a sudden unable to recall what something was called? This is a psychological phenomenon called 'Tip of the tongue', or 'lethologica'.
- People on PlayStation consoles who go for trophies usually use "platinum" or "plat" (the highest ranking of trophy, typically awarded for earning every other base-game trophy) as a verb. playstationtrophies.org says "Approximate amount of time to Platinum" when estimating the expected amount of time to earn one of these from a fresh file, and things like "I'm platinuming this game" when beginning a game or in the process of playing it, or "platinumed" when referring to platinum trophies obtained in the past, are common sayings.
- B Traits can slip into this at times.
"I just love the happy vibe of this tune. I just picture all these little... uh... elfy things... doing like, little toe dances, y'know?!"