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Buffy Speak

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"Whedon's voice is so distinct that 'Buffy Speak' has become a mode of language unto its own - one codified by a jumbling of nouniness and adjectiviage into languagey-bits that sound like your brain forgot words before spontaneously re-remembering them."
Kyle Kallgren, on the subject of Joss Whedon's production of Much Ado About Nothing... while using Buffy Speak

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.


We also use Buffy Speak to name some of our tropes:

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 things:

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    The Advertising Things that Sell You Stuff 
  • 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.

    The Animated Japanese Drawing Things 
  • 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 Axis Powers Hetalia, 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?"

    The Cool or Funny Comic Thingies 
  • Molly Hayes in Runaways. Especially when written by Joss himself:
    Molly: Why aren't you awesomed by me!?
    • Another example by her:
    Molly: Put the thing in the thing!
  • In an issue of The Avengers, when they raid an A.I.M. facility:
    Spider-Woman: Watch out! They've got guns and stuff!
  • In the first issue of Babe, a comic book by John Byrne, the narrator talks like this in acknowledged homage to Blackadder.
  • In the hilariously over the top Doom comic Doomguy utters this immortal line when he sees some Cacodemons.
    Doomguy: Sweet Christmas! Big-Mouthed Floating Thingies! It's always something!
    • The very quotable
    Doomguy: You are huge! That means you have huge guts!
  • Ultimate Spider-Man, as most of its main characters are teenagers, is prone to this.
    Mary Jane: And thus ends the tyrannical tyranny that was my life.
    Peter: What kind of goofy goofball lunatic thing are you doing now, you goofball goofy goofnut??
  • Seen a bunch with the third Blue Beetle.
    Eclipso: You stink of science, not magic!
    Blue Beetle: And you stink of... evil stink? Evilosity? Banter. Sucks. So much.
  • The sort-of pixie-like Preservers in ElfQuest apparently can't help but replace even simple words with ones smashed together from others. The silk they spit is "wrapstuff", elves are "highthings", humans are "bigthings", someone who's sleeping is "stillquiet"... This extends to the names of anyone who's not a Preserver, e.g. Dewshine, a blonde elf, becomes "Sunnygold Highthing" (despite the name being not that different from Preserver-names like "Petalwing" or "Berrybuzz"). Often they don't even use those names consistently, but make up a new one every time they refer to the same character. Preservers are also Third Person Persons. In short, they sound extremely ditzy.
  • Mainly from Empowered in the Meta breaks — and occasionally in the main story as well.
  • The Scott Pilgrim series is chock-full of this. "There's a thingy over there." "A thingy?" "A door.", "You're not going to the thing"?, "Scott, look out! It's that guy!", etc.
  • Sweetie Belle to Queen Chrysalis in #4 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic (IDW):
    Sweetie Belle: And you'll never be able to take away Twilight's magic, she's a bajillion times the... magical... pony... thing... you are!
  • In My Little Pony Micro Series Issue #3 Rarity refers to a hammer as a "whack-a-nail-into-the-wall thingy".
    • The Hippie Ponies refer to their all-natural health and beauty products as "Goops for Stuff".
  • In an issue of X-Men, Angel’s healing blood is being transfused to some of his teammates who have been crucified. Nurse Annie expresses her worries during the process noting, "Your healing thingie isn’t replacing your blood as fast as I’m draining it.”
  • King Shark from Secret Six:
    King Shark: Enough talk! I'm a shark, not a... talking guy!
  • Ms. Marvel (2014) in Infinity Wars (2018)
    I've got her — uh, the purple one!note 

    Those Comics On the Newspaper Things 
  • 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.

    The Fan-Made Thingies 
  • Advice and Trust: Touji is guilty of this. In chapter 8 he tries to talk about his friend and Asuka behaving as a couple:
    "You two. It's too weird, watching you and the Red De-... er, Soryu-san be all... couple-y.
  • Child of the Storm vacillates between this, Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness and Sophisticated as Hell on a regular basis, partly because the author was a (very well educated) teenager in the first couple of years of writing it, and partly because he's a self-admitted massive Buffy fan. Harry, the main character, is somewhat prone to it, while the Deuteragonist, Carol, is definitely prone to it. Especially first thing in the morning.
  • Doing It Right This Time: In chapter 2 Touji is explaining how he and Hikari got together: "It was a few days before everything got weird and explody and..."
  • Scar Tissue: In chapter 11 Touji thinks that Kensuke is better than him in "all that talky-feely stuff".
  • My Immortal. "Voldemort got a dude-ur-so-retarded look on his face."
  • In Forward, Jayne has a moment like this when he worried Simon will unleash his wrath on him.
    Jayne: He's gonna... gonna doctor at me.
  • King Superman: Both the characters and author seem to use these from time to time, particularly the word "scorpiony".
  • At one moment in the Mass Effect RP, "The Council Era", krogan Overlord Tikrog Kurvok makes use of buffy speak when referring to coffee, saying, "Give me a stimulant drink, to go. With extra energizer thingies." Kurvok repeatedly talks this way throughout the storyline.
  • In the fanfic "Princess", Julien describes female lemurs as having a "thing that looks like a... thing". According to Word of God, there are very few ways that are both in-character and PG-rated to describe an enlarged clitoris. He goes on to say that they "don't have the... other things, and they do have the... girl things".
  • The four are occasionally prone to this in With Strings Attached, either because of vocabulary failure, deliberate humor, or simple laziness.
    • In a Shout-Out to Help!, Ringo calls the Vasyn “the thingy.” (George calls it “the Big Pink Job,” hence the subtitle.)
  • In the fic Presidential Initiation, America tries to explain who he is to the president... and does a really bad job of it as he says things like "I'm a national aromatherapy persecution or whatever the hell it's called!" Also used is the term "people/nation thingies."
  • The Doctor's Doctor has the Thirteenth Doctor rather wryly resorting to Buffy Speak to explain something to John, which also constitutes as a Call-Back:
  • Calvin and Hobbes: The Series: When the Book Transporter returns in a Batman crossover, it shows a paint job and the words "bat-thingy" on its side.
    "Prepare to succumb to my awesome power, you... not genius person!"
  • In A Kingdom Divided, Rainbow Dash lapses into this when drunk:
    I’ve… never… like… told her… stuff… you know, that stuff I should’ve told her…
  • Characters in Twillight Sparkle's awesome adventure frequently lapse into it when attempting to describe something that the author doesn't know the proper word for.
  • Shows up fairly frequently in Game Theory. Mostly Vesta, but Fate and Arf get in on it occasionally as well.
  • From Overlady:
    Louise: That was... ah, the thing. The thing that did the thing with... with the stuff.
  • The World of the Creatures has the trope namer herself as a character. At one point Buffy berates her Diplodocus as a, "stupid dinosaur, with its...dinosaur-ness."
  • In scuttlebuggy crash victim, Karkat not only forgets that bins exist, but what they are called.
    "Jesus, fuck. I need some kind of receptacle for this shit. Some sort of implement for containing things you don't want all over your floor. Why hasn't something like that been invented yet."
  • Stephanie Brown in Angel Of The Bat is a Methodist, and as a result has some trouble describing Catholic concepts to Cassandra when she's the only one willing to teach her about religion.
  • In the Jeeves and Bertie Wooster fanfic "Slippery Fingers", Bertie refers to Jeeves' duties as "valet-ing".
  • In Harry Potter and the Marauders of the Mind Draco and Snape claim that if Harry screws up a particular ritual it could start a Zombie Apocalypse.
    Harry: Why does everyone keep saying that? I never had any plan to turn anyone into a zombie or an inferi or any other kind of lurching dead thingy.
  • In The Snow Has Stopped The Rain, this exchange happens:
    Rukia: Is this your inner world?
    Ichigo: Yes, but it isn't usually this...naturey.
  • Since Yang in Soul Hunter doesn't have any context for what to call a shihakusho, she ends up calling Ichigo's outfit a black...robe thing...
  • In the Naruto/RWBY crossover Veritas Aequitas, some characters have a new way to refers to their stealth skills.
    Naruto: I am a ninja! Fear my ninja-tude!
  • In the Empath: The Luckiest Smurf story adaptation "A Haunted Christmas", Duncan McSmurf chides with his friend Tapper that he would rather see Tapper alone with Smurfette in the tavern doing...well, "intimate things."
  • In the Legacy Series, the new Green Arrow, Jon, has a moment of this when he mangles his Badass Creed:
    “I am the shadow that stalks the night. The danger that haunts the whatever from deep within the thing."
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Izuku is flying by the seat of his pants when asked to give a speech to his entire first year class, resulting in this line:
    Izuku: All of us can show off Wisdom, Wonder, Mystery, and Entropy if we just put our minds to it. A-And if you ever think that justice isn’t working, then all you have to do is… is justice harder!
  • In The Web Of The Spider Man, Peter is a Hero-Worshipper for Tony Stark. Learning that Tony was now a superhero just made things even better.
    Peter: The fact that Tony Stark was now a literal super hero? That just made it ten times better! He was like that old WWII Hero, Captain America, but just... science-ier!
  • The hero of Freakin Gensokyo has raised Buffy Speak to an art form. Half of everything that comes out of his mouth is a some form of Buffy Speak. Referring to nodding as a "wobbly head response" is the least of it.
  • In My Master Ed, because Hohenheim has lived in a desert his whole life, he calls Ed's gloves white slim hand-shaped cloth-sacks.

    The Animated Movie Things 
  • 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:
    Sparks: Neither are you, Chunk.
  • The Little Mermaid 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 ..."
  • 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."

    The Real-ish Movie Things 
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    Bruce Banner: ...thanks.
    • In Avengers: Age of Ultron, Ultron's big speech about people creating the things they fear most gets a trademark Whedon mood-breaking moment when he forgets the word "children", instead calling them "smaller people" until he recalls the right word.
  • Forrest Gump's general Verbal Tic. This leads to a nice Historical In-Joke when he ends up being a shareholder in "some sort of fruit company" (Apple Computers).
  • Valentine from MirrorMask: "I will slip unnoticeable through the darkness like a dark, unnoticeable slippy thing." Notice that he doesn't hesitate at any point in the sentence. That's what he meant to say.
    "We will do what rich people do! We will bathe in... fish! Eat our weight in... chocolate buttons! Learn to play the concertina!"
  • Men in Black also had this little exchange.
    Jay: Hey, Kay. When do I get one of those... flashy-thingy-memory-messer-uppers?
    Kay: When you grow up.
    • or:
      Jay: "Have you ever flashy-thinged me?"
      Kay: "No."
      Jay: "I ain't playing with you, Kay! Have you ever flashy-thinged me?!"
      Kay: "No."
  • A Cinderella Story has this as Brianna makes Sam write her papers for her.
    Brianna: Can you make it sound more like ME this time?, I'm so sick and tired of having to explain why I sound so smart on paper and so... not smart... not on paper
  • In Bad Boys II, Det. Marcus Burnett is accidentally high on ecstasy when he and his partner go to ask their captain for a warrant. He is so out of it that his partner tries to send him on a fool's errand - call another detective and tell him... something...
    Mike Lowrey: Tell Vargas... tell him... that thing we said to tell him...
  • The titular character of Juno has a most idiosyncratic syntax. "Prom is for weenises."
  • The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good. note 
  • In Help!, George Harrison realizes that the curling stone he just threw is actually a bomb, and exclaims, "Hey, it's a thingy! A fiendish thingy!"
  • Jurassic Park
    Nedry: First I'm going to get this thing and then I'm going to hook it up to that thing over there...
  • The Lost World: Jurassic Park: Roland Tembo has quite a bit of trouble with the pronunciation of the dinosaurs' names.
    (chasing dinosaurs on the game trail)
    Tembo: You're coming up on a...
    (flips through his dinosaur guide)
    Tembo: A Pachy... a pachy... oh, hell. Uh, the fathead with the bald spot. Friar Tuck!
    • And later it seems like his team is having fun with his explanations:
    Hunter: Say again, Roland, a what?
    Tembo: The one with the big red horn. Pompadour. Elvis!
  • The Princess Bride: Vizzini gives this gem of a line when trying to outrun the man in black.
    Vizzini: Move the thing! And... that other thing! Move it!
  • "Safety Not Guaranteed": Darius describing her weapon of choice, the morning star, to Kenneth at the grocery store.
  • Galaxy Quest: Red... thingy... moving toward the green... thingy. I think we're the green thingy.
  • The Commander in Sky High (2005): "Whatever you're teaching them, keep teaching them... it."
  • At the climax of an "insult contest" against Peter Pan in Hook, Rufio is reduced to spluttering "You... man! You... stupid... stupid... man!"
  • Night at the Museum: Ricky Gervais' character (the curator) has this as his main defining characteristic.
    "Do you think I'm here just to be a... a... (trails off into nothing)"
    • The protagonist is guilty of this too, at one point referring to dummies in a diorama as "weird, faceless puppet people."
  • In Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls:
    Ace: I will be as a fly on the wall. A grain of salt in the ocean. I shall slip amongst them like a transparent... thing.
  • Characters in Burn After Reading do this constantly, especially Linda and Chad as they attempt to act like real spies. Some of the best moments are sentences of Chad's that he loses control of ("Looks can be... deceptive"), sometimes resorting to his go-to word ("I thought you might be worried... about the security... of your shit.")
  • From the McHale's Navy movie:
    Vladikov: "What do you think of my stealth boat, David?"
    David: "Very stealthy, sir."
  • From The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring:
    Pippin: You need people of intelligence on this sort of mission... quest... thing.
    Merry: Well, that rules you out, Pip.
  • In She's the Man, when Olivia's mere presence renders Duke practically speechless:
    Viola as Sebastian: What about the thing that we talked about that you were gonna do later?
    Duke: What thing? I'm... I'm thingless.
  • This is a Running Gag with the mayor in the sixth Police Academy movie. The first example.
    Mayor: These folks are making us look like a bunch of... Oh, the ones who are very funny, kings have them... Send in my... Fool! They're making us look like a bunch of fools!
    • And he does something similar to this several times over the course of the movie.
  • In Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland, the Mad Hatter says to Alice, "You used to be much more... muchier. You've lost your muchness." Which is a reference to the book, where the Dormouse asks if Alice has ever seen a drawing of a muchness.
  • Boogie Nights. "Gimme one of those sprinkly Christmas things".
  • In The Wizard of Oz, the Wizard stumbles over the word "philanthropists", eventually calling them "good-deed doers".
  • A character in Hackers tells another that the MacGuffin has been put "in that place where I put that thing that time". Subverted because it was intentionally done by an intelligent character to sound vague. He was in jail at the time accused of federal hacking breaches, telling his friend where the evidence is over the phone.
  • In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, when Diz asks Saunders where a particular drink is, she says, "It's in the thing... behind the thing."
  • In Spider-Man, when the "Human Spider" finds out he'll be in an impromptu cage match with "Bonesaw McGraw" (alerted by said cage lowering around the ring, the crowd chanting "CAGE!" repeatedly, and the guards complying with the announcer's request to "PLEEEASE LOCK THE CAGE DOOOOOOOOOOOOORS AT THIS TIIIIIIIME..."
    Spidey: Hey! Unlock the thing! Take the chain off!!!
  • The Thing (1982): Unable to come up with a better term for them, the characters refer to the alien species as "Things". The subtitles capitalize this as the proper name for the creatures.
    • 29 years later, most fans of the film still refer to them as "Things".
  • The Alien movies. Both "Alien" and "Xenomorph" are terms applied to the species, but it seems that no one in-universe has come up with a proper name for them over the course of a few hundred years since their discovery.
    • In Alien: Resurrection, Call actually refers to the Aliens as "Aliens", over the PA system, talking to the Aliens as if this were their real species name.
    • According to Ash : "According to Mother, he's a primitive form of encephlepod..."
  • In Predator 2, the alien species is referred to by Gary Busey's character as "Predators".
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World has a couple of these, mostly by Pilgrim.
    Scott: "Can you do a thingy... on that rail?"
    2nd Evil Ex: "It's called a grind, bro."
    Scott: "Well, can you do a grindy thingy now?"
  • The remake of The Longest Yard gives us this gem:
    "He's so fast, he makes fast people look . . . not as fast."
    Coach Klein: Bobby, can you do that for me every game?
    Bobby Boucher: Coach, not only will I do it for you, I... I... I... yes, yes, I'll do it for you.
  • Lampshaded in Star Trek: The Motion Picture
    Kirk: Bones, there's a... thing... out there.
    McCoy: Why is any object we don't understand always called "a thing"?
  • In Hancock:
    Bank robber: (holds up a deadman switch detonator) You know what this is?
    Hancock: I'm guessing it's some sort of detonator-type deal.
  • Monsters Crash the Pajama Party. As part of the Credits Gag. In the opening credits, which are spoken rather than shown with Big G the Gorilla demonstrating the various actions, the camera is referred to as the "picture-taking machine."
  • Patchi from the Walking with Dinosaurs film calls the Chirostenotes "skinny-necked pecky things".
  • David (King Edward VIII) calls ruling the British Empire "king-ing" in The King's Speech. No wonder he ends up having to abdicate.
    • According to The Windsors: A Royal Family, a PBS documentary from the 1990s, this may actually be a case of Truth in Television. The term is used by a historian who is directly quoting the former King.
  • April in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014), when she complains about doing "froth" journalism. Oddly enough, there are actually proper terms for what April is describing: puff pieces or fluff pieces.
  • Groundhog Day: The National Weather Service is calling for a big blizzard thing.

    The Things You Read 
  • Pops up occasionally in Discworld. There was something similar to "Its eyes were as big as very big eyes"; lampshaded, in that the creature's eyes were traditionally described as being "as big as soup plates", but Tiffany had measured a soup plate and determined that they weren't. A substitute description was needed.
    • Pratchett really likes these "what's-that-thing" quips. Sourcery has several.
      "What's dat fing? Dey goes all crumbly when you eat dem?"
      "... could be a lawyer."
      "Dey goes soggy if you dips them in somefing?"
      "More likely to be a biscuit, then?"
    • (Some trolls have the full "intelligent but cannot properly express ideas" Buffy Speak trope, though others... don't.)
      "Limited wossname. Doodah. Thingy. You know. It's got words in it."
      "Yeah, probably."
    • "The thing that went 'parp' went parp."
    • Dwarfs, who are too literal to understand simile or metaphor, do this all the time.
      Carrot (speaking about his dwarf girlfriend): "She's got a beard as soft as a very soft thing."
    "She was as thin as a very thin thing."
    • There was also law passed by a former Patrician about metaphor and the like. If you're going to say a girl has "a face that launched a thousand ships" she'd damn well better have a champagne bottle for a head.
    • Granny Weatherwax offers this fine example, which is actually an excellent observation, in Wyrd Sisters: "Things that try to look like things often do look more like things than things." (She's talking about stage-prop crowns versus a real crown; It Makes Sense in Context.)
    • In Men at Arms, Gaspode demonstrates how a large vocabulary doesn't always mean you can come up with the right word (he's trying to say that dogs don't care about clothes):
    [']Clothing has never been what you might call a thingy of dog wossname.' Gaspode scratched his ear. 'Two metasyntactic variables there. Sorry.'
  • The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series uses this trope constantly: "as fine as two fine things on a fine day out in Fineland", "staring like a staring thing", "as mad as two very mad things", "loony as a loon on loon pills."
    • The Georgia Nicolson books often refer to "snognosity". Not classic Buffy Speak, but definitely related.
  • From Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens:
    Crowley: Suspicion will slide off of him like, like… whatever it is water slides off of.
    • And later in the conversation, something along the lines of:
    "'A duck!' Crowley exclaimed. 'What are you talking about?' Aziraphale asked. 'A duck is what water slides off of!'"
  • From Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere:
    "He abused my hospitality," booomed the earl. "I swore that if he ever again entered my domain I would have him gutted and dried like, like something that had been gutted."
  • Bertie Wooster (in both books and film/TV adaptations) frequently finds himself in the middle of an aphorism he can't complete without Jeeves' help. (The books are almost always narrated by Bertie but with a brilliant, effortless prose that a goof like Bertie would never be able to manage in real life and yet nonetheless seems plausible while you're reading it.)
    Bertie: Let me tell you that a man without music in him is fit for... excuse me a moment. Jeeves, what was it Shakespeare said a man without music in him was fit for?
    Jeeves: Treasons, stratagems, and spoils, sir.

    Bertie: Jeeves, have you seen that play called I-forget-its-dashed-name?
    Jeeves: No, sir.
    Bertie: It's on at the What-d'you-call-it.
  • From The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy: "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."
  • The hero of H. P. Lovecraft's "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" is a man whose doctor recognizes as being possessed by some cosmic entity of superhuman intelligence who is struggling to express its metahuman thoughts and ideas through the man's stupid and backwoods brain and vocabulary.
    "Big, big cabin with brightness in the roof and walls and floor, and the loud queer music far away..."
  • In That Hideous Strength, women are described as being able to "speak a language without nouns" when there are no men around and still be understood:
    "If two men are doing a bit of work, one will say to the other, 'Put this bowl inside the bigger bowl which you'll find on the top shelf of the green cupboard.' The female for this is, 'Put that in the other one in there.' And then if you ask them, 'in where?' they say, 'in there, of course.'"
  • In The Warlock by Michael Scott, Virginia Dare saves Billy the Kid from a 'raggedy lion-monster-thingy'. It's a sphinx.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Hermione describes Harry's hero complex as his "saving-people thing."
    • Voldemort is also called "Lord Thingy" by Cornelius Fudge at one point.
    • This trope had already been there from chapter 1, book 1; Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone refers to the Deluminator as a "put-outer".
  • Guess what Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon is about.
  • Roswell High certainly uses this. For instance, from the first chapter of the first book "Guys. I'm so tired of their... guyness." Also, this series sort of becomes an interesting example of Buffy Speak, as it even uses the word "wiggins" a few times.
  • This footnote in the Harry Harrison Space Opera spoof, Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers:
    Collapsium is an artificial material made of atoms with their binding energy reduced so they sort of collapse in upon themselves and are binding and heavy and that sort of thing.
  • Judging by this quote from Dracula, this must be a vampire-hunter thing:
    Dr. Seward: [Renfield] seems so mixed up with the Count in an indexy kind of way...
  • The kids in Percy Jackson and the Olympians and its sequel series The Heroes of Olympus.
  • Don Quixote: Sancho doesn’t really understand that the insula he was promised as a Standard Hero Reward means an isle, as we see at Chapter II of the Second part:
    "May evil insulas [islands] choke thee, thou detestable Sancho," said the niece; "What are insulas [islands]? Is it something to eat, glutton and gormandiser that thou art?"
    "It is not something to eat," replied Sancho, "but something to govern and rule, and better than four cities or four judgeships at court."
  • The first official description for the Warrior Cats book The Ultimate Guide describes the book as having an "oversized, gift-y trim", whatever that means.
  • A Ramona Quimby book acknowledges this trope from Ramona's point of view, when she's told not to keep using the word "stuff" and can't see what's wrong with it:
    Stuff was a perfectly good, handy, multipurpose word and easy to spell, too.
  • Harry Dresden does not do this. He explains himself fully, and if he brings up a word that people don't understand, he takes the time to explain it in simple language. His apprentice, on the other hand...
    • Not completely true. In Fool Moon he uses the phrase "Don't mess with a wizard when he's wizarding!" Though given the circumstances, it's forgivable.
  • Even Charles Dickens gets in on this a bit: In A Tale of Two Cities, the narrator informs us that Charles Darnay has been accused of revealing information to the French "wickedly, falsely, traitorously, and otherwise evil-adverbiously."
  • Dave Barry Slept Here has a Sophisticated as Hell use of the anti-simile:
    Now the United States was no longer an infant nation, but a mighty young colossus, bestriding the continent—in the words of Mark Twain—"like some kind of mighty young colossus or something."
  • Lemony Snicket, i.e. Daniel Handler, uses dissimiles in this fashion; for example, in Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography, a letter quotes a diary entry that reads:
    "Today was a very cold and bitter day, as cold and bitter as a cup of hot chocolate, if the cup of hot chocolate had vinegar added to it and were placed in a refrigerator for several hours...The stranger was a woman, at least as tall as a small chair and probably as old as someone who attended nursery school many years ago."
  • Rose Hathaway from Vampire Academy, regularly employs this. She names "Rose-logic" her method of finding "loopholes in everything in order to rationalize doing something unreasonable".
  • This Lyttle Lytton Contest winner: "The general, one might have said, had a sly, sneering-smile expression upon his face."
  • Randall Monroe, creator of xkcd, has written a non-fiction book "Thing Explainer" which explains complex things (like helicopters) using only the 1000 most common words in English. This makes it a non-fiction book written entirely in Buffy Speak. (See xkcd entry in Webcomics section for the original inspiration for this book.)

    The Song Thingies 
  • They Might Be Giants have a song called "They'll Need a Crane" consisting of this sort of thing. It tells the tale of a dysfunctional relationship in strange metaphor, while referring to the two people only as "Gal" and "Lad".
    Lad looks at other gals.
    Gal thinks Jim Beam is handsomer than Lad.
    He isn't bad.
    • Or in "No One Knows My Plan:"
    They're like the people chained up in the cave
    In the allegory of the people in the cave by the Greek guy
    • They do this a lot. In an interview, they were asked what the song "Don't Let's Start" was about. They said, "It's about not let's starting."
    • Nanobots gives us "Stuff Is Way", which is entirely devoted to examining this trope ("You say stuff is way / Way to go, go away..."). And then there's "Insect Hospital":
    Walking down to the insect hospital to set the insects free / 'Cause we are like, literally, literally
  • Barenaked Ladies have "There's a Word For That" in which they lament not knowing the proper word to describe a certain thingy that's right on the tip of their tongue.
  • In "O'Malley's Bar", Nick Cave sings about killing one of his victims "with an ashtray big as a really fucking big brick."
  • From an interview with Frank Zappa:
    Zappa: ... then it goes into a song called "The Torture Never Stops".
    Interviewer: Which is about what?
    Zappa: Er, it's about torture not stopping.
  • Strapping Young Lad named their first album Heavy as a really heavy thing.
  • It just hit me like a two ton... heavy... thing...
    Answering machine voice: Next message: saved Saturday at 9/24 p.m.
    Caller: Sorry, I'm just ... it's starting to hit me like a um ... um ... two-ton heavy thing.
  • From Pam Tillis' "Spilled Perfume:" "Girl, if I ever saw one, that's an 'I can't believe I did that' look."
  • From the fictional 1960s pop band The Wonders, stars of That Thing You Do!: "And if I know you, you're doing that thing/Ev'ry day, just doing that thing/I can't take you doing that thing you do!"
  • Carrie Underwood's "Undo It": "You stole my happy, you made me cry/Took the lonely and took it for a ride".
  • America's "A Horse With No Name": "There were plants and birds and rocks and things..."
  • Phil Vassar's "Everywhere I Go" has a real gem: "I was living in that happy-to-be-right-where-I-am space/And God knows that's a hard-to-get-to kind of place".
  • From Parry Gripp's song "Black Hamster":
    Evildoers, you will cower in fear when he arrives on the scene, as you will be... in big trouble!
  • "Love Type Thing" from Tegan & Sara's So Jealous album.
  • "Sex Type Thing" by Stone Temple Pilots is a subversion, in which the Buffy Speak is left on the title. The "thing" in question is rape.
  • When Lindsey Stirling is explaining the process of making her music, she describes how she will just do away with dictionary words altogether when trying to express what she wants to do. This is followed with a rather amusing demonstration.
  • Deep Purple rented the Rolling Stones Mobile Studio to record their album Machine Head. Their misadventures are recalled in the classic "Smoke on the Water," and the studio is dubbed "the Rolling truck Stones thing just outside."
  • This was how the Slint album Spiderland got its name: Singer Brian McMahan's younger brother said that the album sounded "spidery". Within the album itself, the song "Breadcrumb Trail":
    I pulled back the drape-thing on the tent
  • The God Help the Girl song "I Dumped You First" contains the line "I'm gonna run like a deer/swim like a swimmy thing"
  • In the song "More Than Just The Spare", an outtake from the Frozen soundtrack, Anna describes herself as "Like a button, like a horseshoe, like a girl who's bad at metaphors".
  • Ian Anderson often refers to the accordion as the "squeezy thing."
  • Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant Massacree" has some of that, like "all kinds of nasty and ugly things" and stuff, sprawled throughout the song.
    • And "the cop equipment" at the police station.

    The Things With Ads, Comics and the Article Things 
  • 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".

    The Things Where People Talk Online 
  • 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.
  • 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!

    The Wrestling Fights and Stuff 

    The Live Music and Talk Things 

    The Games With the Cards and Stuff 
  • 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 the Tabletop RPG 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."

    Those Things You See on Broadway 

    The Thing Where Someone Talks and Makes People Laugh 
  • 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!

    The Games That Go "Beep Boop, Beep Beep Boop Beep!" 
  • Right before inadvertently causing the destruction of his home universe, Zetta, main character of Makai Kingdom, exclaims, "Sacred Tome? Ha! More like... sucky... dumb... thing!" It's the first of many indications that, crazy freakin' overlord or not, he's not the sharpest tool in the shed.
  • Armed and Dangerous, an obscure but fun shooter for the X-Box and PC, had this... like... a lot. Perhaps the worst offender is the Emperor's retarded son, and I mean actually retarded, who has trouble stringing syllables together. Don't get him started on whole sentences.
  • The Scout in Team Fortress 2, being the youngest and most hyperactive of the nine classes, has this in a bunch of his domination lines. For example, to the Heavy Weapons Guy: "I am owning you, you fat bald fatty fat... fat-fat!" or to the Sniper: "You'll never hit me! You'll never hit my tiny head! It's so tiny, I've got a frickin'... such a tiny little head!".
  • Travis from Silent Hill: Origins, getting more and more peeved about being dragged around Silent Hill by Alessa, holds up a piece of the Flauros he found and yells out: "I got your... your thing for you!"
  • When Monkey Island got voices, Dominic Armato added this trait to protagonist Guybrush Threepwood.
    "There are ants crawling all over it."
    "There are other ants crawling all over it."
  • In Discworld, Rincewind describes a strange, distant shape as being "fraught with... with... shapeness". Then he concludes that it has to be a plot element because otherwise it'd have a better label than just "Shape".
  • Alistair from Dragon Age: Origins is guilty of this and gets teased about it by Morrigan. According to Word of God, quite fitting for this expy of Buffy's Xander.
    • In the sequel, Hawke sometimes falls into Buffy Speak if s/he tries to lie. Telling Ser Roderick that Hawke saw Conrad sacrifice a goat leads to Hawke stammering "He was talking about how he wanted to do all kinds of... demony things!"
    • Also when Hawke first learns of Anders ability to Hulk Out into Justice;
    Hawke: Not that part, the Angry Glowing Fade bit?
  • In Crash Tag Team Racing, a Park Drone in the Tyrannosaurus Wrecks area, frustrated with Crash for not getting him enough money to leave the park, will exclaim "Again, you come back to haunt me?! Like some kind of haunting thing?! Haunting... and coming back?!"
  • Super Mario Sunshine: ("A shiny came out of the yucky".)
  • Mass Effect: Even Commander Shepard is not immune to this... after three hits of the strongest drink on the Citadel, followed by under the counter batarian ale, the bartender offers a krogan drink known as Ryncol.
    • Grunt, being essentially a krogan teenager, often speaks like this, while trying to either puzzle through his tank-imprints or simply talking outside of combat. On Korlus, the squad will also encounter another tank-bred krogan who is even less experienced and articulate than Grunt, who speaks this way. Though he's also intelligent enough that he switches between this and Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness quite often.
      Grunt: We should get behind... stuff.
    • Jack, at one point, defines the Collectors as "fucked up...bug thing[s]". She's not wrong, exactly...
  • In Beyond Good & Evil, Pey'j, when he's being attacked by a crochax:
    Get off me! Stupid... whatever you are!
    • And when repairing the lift in the Factory:
    As for the piston, did what I could. Just put the thingamajig back in the whatchamacallit.
  • Portal's "Aperture Science Thing That We Don't Know What It Does"
  • Portal 2 has some as well.
    Wheatley: All right, fatty? Adopted… fatty! Fatty-fatty-no-parents! [...] What’s wrong with being adopted? Um, well, uh… Lack of parents?.
    • "Holmes versus Moriarty, Aristotle vs MASHY-SPIKE-PLATE!"
  • In World of Warcraft, when Mimiron activates the V-07-TR-0N he shouts "Bask in its glorious... um, glory!"
    • The wolvar race does this enough to be verging on the point of a Verbal Tic.
    • The Gnomish Army Knife is being update in Mists of Pandaria to include a "Whirly Thing".
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door:
    • "You're the absolute best star-getting guy!"
    • The Power Punch item description: "Boosts your partner's Attack power by adding buffness".
  • In Super Paper Mario, the villain Mimi constantly uses childish phrases, referring to the heroes as "meanies".
  • In the 2010 Medal of Honor, Tier 1 operators look and sound a lot less professional than the soldiers in the normal army, though obviously they're much more deadly. In Running With Wolves you're told to "stay stealthy."
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age: At one point, Kraden amusingly refers to a ship-powering crystal as "the thingie... that makes it go." Proving that the Lemurians' Magitek is exotic to him despite his lifelong studies of such.
  • One item-of-the-month in Kingdom of Loathing allows you to temporarily turn into a vampire, at which point one option during exploration lets you meet an obvious Buffy parody, who calls you "Broody Von Stoicpants", and states that she's "a sucker for a brooder. Broodie? One who broods."
  • In F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, Snake Fist's attempt to describe Alma's motivations.
    She covets you. She's a... coveter...
  • In Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, when you go to Dropstone and tap one of the benches, Luke says that the bench sure is... benchy.
  • Tales of Graces has one character who is exceptionally prone to this in Pascal. Every other technologically savvy character is prone to just keeping the language simple enough that Asbel and crew can keep up. Pascal, on the other hand, gets an example of this every hour or two.
  • I Miss the Sunrise has a single instance: Marie refers to the FOCS construct as a "big spinny ring thing" at one point when talking to someone who didn't know its actual name.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy text adventure has an inventory item called thing your aunt gave you which you don't know what it is.
  • Etrian Odyssey Untold has this gem from Child Mage Arthur:
    Arthur: I just go "Zoom!" and it goes "Whoosh!" and then "Bam!" and the enemies are like "Noooooo!" and I'm all "Hahaha!"
  • Surprisingly, the normally fustian Asura of Guild Wars 2 has one of these for the female characters. When attacking an enemy, occasionally she'll blurt out: "You're dumb. You'll die and leave a dumb corpse."
  • League Of Light, an unreleased Activision game for the Intellivision, is described by a reviewer of Digital Press as being "some sort of 3D perspective tunnel-traveling thingus."
  • In Anna's Quest the title character, who's somewhere around five years old, talks like this from time to time, from referring to a cut-up ball as "half a rubber thingy" to finding a "glowing orb thing" in a drawer.
  • In Evolve, Val slips into this on occasion while trying to warn the team about Shear's rather bizarre wildlife. She has particular difficulty with the mammoth birds, calling them "glowing... squid things" and muttering about whether they're birds if they don't fly.
  • Rippers from Metroid have also been affectionately dubbed "That one bug that looks like a croissant that you can freeze and use as a platform", with the name sticking due to the sheer audacity and specificness of it.
  • Granté from The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild often refers to armor he is searching for with this. For example, he calls the Climbing Gear the "climbing...something" when he lists it out.
  • An optional cut-scene in Atelier Lydie & Suelle: The Alchemists and the Mysterious Paintings with Lydie and Sue involves Sue entering the atelier to discover that Lydie has synthesized a bomb. She calls it a "burning boom boom" and then Lydie shows her an ice bomb which she says should be called a "Freezy McFreezeboom," and a lightning bomb a "Shocking Blasto." Lydie says that she's losing her, as there's not even a logic to her naming conventions. She worries that Sue is taking after their father, but Roger says that's wrong, and there's a flashback of Honnete suggesting to Roger that a bomb should be named a "Hottie Boomster" and a craft an "Uni Buster." After the flashback ends, Sue pulls out a craft and suggests the exact same name. Lydie actually likes that one, and Roger realizes that Honnete's spirit lives on his daughters. "Some of the weirdest parts of it, anyway."

    The Interactive Things With the Cute Anime Girls 
  • 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."

    Those Toons On the Web 
  • Homestar Runner does this a lot:
    Strong Bad: My internet's crawling along like... something... funny... that crawls along.
    • "What the sense make?!"
    • Also Reynold from the Cheat Commandos.
      "I never get to go on any missions! I'd be a good mission... guy."'
    • Also the name "Gunhaver" itself, and sentences like "who will have gun?"
    • "Hey Stinkoman! Everybody says you're the guy! I Wanna Be the Guy too!"
    • "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 
    • "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.
    Xigbar: What?
    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?
    Xigbar: What?
    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.'"

    The Comic Things You See On Your PC 
  • In SwordCat Princess, Erica clumsily lies about how she obtained Kathryn's phone number, offering "Detective-ing?" as her clearly false answer (on the first page of issue #5).
  • Jules from Supernormal Step is quite fond of these.
    Jules: Come along then. You can be my apprentice... or squire... or... whatever.
    Van: What does a squire do, Jules?
    Jules: I don't know; he squires. We'll look it up in the dictionary later.
  • Red from Gunnerkrigg Court lapses into this when describing such esoteric concepts like rooms and chairs. "Sitty-downy things," indeed. This is implied to be a function of serious gaps inherent in the education process prior to becoming human, because while chairs are a foreign concept she jabbers off about some seriously advanced nonsense.
  • Eddie from Emergency Exit has a particularly amusing (especially if you haven't read the story) example here.
    • Saya also uses this trope on this page while referring to the previous example.
  • In this strip of Loserz: "You'll be defeated like... like... like... like some easily defeated thing!"
  • Scary Go Round does this all the time, especially Shelley.
    • Example:
      Amy: I think it's a vampire! Stab it with a stake!
      Shelley: We can't do murders on it!
    • Another, laced with sarcasm:
      Amy: I've not been this surprised since I discovered... something desperately unsurprising.
  • In Sequential Art, Scarlet, among others.
    Scarlet: A bad, floaty, shooty, tinny thing is being bad upstairs!
  • Mab's gut feeling in Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures.
  • Parodied in the "Muffin the Vampire Baker" story of Sluggy Freelance. "I'm going to do my best to distortify the English languagism thingies." When Muffin hears that vampires can be killed by staking instead of baking, she declares she's now "Muffy the girl who sticks wooden thingies into vampires".
  • Antihero for Hire
    Dechs: You want to catch me, like the spider caught the fly, huh? Well now the spider has become the spided!
  • At one point in Goblins, huge lizard-man K'Seliss says, "... There is battle happening right now all around me and I'm stuck in this pathetic hut like some... hut... stucky... thing!
  • 8-Bit Theater: Fighter's true power:
    Red Mage: We'd be better off using harsh language than the pathetic wooden pieces of... pathetic... weapons that these people call... weapons.
    Black Mage: Um...
    Red Mage: Shut up. I've been hanging out with Fighter all day. I could literally feel him sucking away at my... brain-thinky score thing.
    Black Mage: You mean intelligence?
    Red Mage: By Mordekainen's + 5/+ 5 wand of sorcery, he's lowered my INT score just by being near me!
  • Adventurers! gets some mileage out of this.
  • Kris Straub's comics use this. In Starslip Crisis, sometimes this is future slang, and sometimes it's just "Fooly-fools!"
  • The Non-Adventures of Wonderella: Wonderella and her sidekick Wonderita.
  • In You Damn Kid, the narrator's parents get into an argument because Dad is looking for "the thing for cutting the things" and is angry that Mother doesn't know what he's talking about. "Imagine your parents not speaking for two weeks because Dad can't remember the words for 'toenail clipper'."
    "Go ask your mother where that other thing is."
    "Other thing?"
  • In a MegaTokyo strip (link) where Largo tries to explain Leet Speak to Junpei, the best he can do is:
    Junpei: What is this "ownz'ed"? You must show me, master from a foreign land!
    Largo: It's like this, you know, this l33t thing, that you do when you, like, ownz someone.
  • The Order of the Stick: There are those who consider the Monster in the Darkness to be "as dumb as things that are really dumb."
  • This The Way of the Metagamer comic.
  • The page image is from this Schlock Mercenary strip.
  • An issue of Life Sketch had the title of Buffy Speak, though the content itself had nothing to do with the trope.
  • Occasionally used for effect in Bittersweet Candy Bowl.
    English I Student: Like there's this word in the English dictionary for how I'm feeling right now towards you...
    David: Mad?
    English I Student: Like oh ma gawd, yess!
  • In Gai Gin, Foxy shows Gin some novelty taiyaki: "It's cakes! Shaped like penises! Man penises!"
  • Surprisingly, Dr. Schtein of String Theory speaks like this.
  • In El Goonish Shive, "Heidi", AKA Elliot's party girl alter ego, tends to talk like this along with being generally hyperactive.
  • A small example in Octopus Pie where Eve was taken aback by certain luxuries present.
  • In The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, Bob does this periodically. Elaborate high tech devices tend to get designated as "thingies."
  • Happens frequently in Homestuck, since most of the characters are thirteen years old. Especially with John, whose Heir of Breath powers are consistently referred to as "the windy thing". Lampshaded:
    EB: i'm going upstairs to the big platformy thing.
    TT: The alchemiter?
    EB: ??
    TT: Try to learn the lingo.
    • It's a Running Gag that nobody knows what to call the "flappy doodad" that exists on a mailbox and has some trouble coming up with a description that someone else can understand. (The technical term seems to be 'signal flag', by the way, but somehow that's not very satisfying)
  • The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage mixes this with Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking, as Isambard Kingdom Brunel tries to convince Lovelace to go back to Babbage.
    Brunel: Where would science be without the Engine? Archaic! Puny! Boring! It doesn't bear thinking about! I'd be able to build gigantic iron ships, certainly - but could they fly?
    Lovelace: It would indeed be difficult...
    Brunel: Would Darwin be able to mess around with his, uh... barnacles he won't talk about?
    Lovelace: Um, that one I'm not sure about...
    Brunel: Would Faraday be able to that whatsis with the thingamajig??
    Lovelace: No! No he would not!
    Brunel: Now get out there and do whatever the hell it is that you do!!
  • xkcd presents the Saturn V rocket with Apollo and LEM spacecraft, explained using only the ten hundred most commonly used English words.
  • In MS Paint Masterpieces, DisgruntledFerret likes to play around with grammar and tenses.
  • Sunstone has Ally describing her first S&M movie as having "porny exaggeration" and "costumey visual side."
  • Wapsi Square has Castela, currently in kindergarten at the paranormal school, who slips back and forth between a five-year-old version of this and an occasionally startlingly-sophisticated and insightful, "mature", speech pattern.
  • In Girl Genius Zeetha is guilty of this at one point. It's put down to her spending too much time with Jaegers, which just shows that the Jaegers have too many examples of this trope to list.
    Zeetha: You've got the brains, I've got the muscle, Violetta's got the sneaky! We can do anything!
    Violetta: The "sneaky"? You've been hanging around Jaegers too long.
  • Schtein from String Theory is quite prone to this when excited or upset.
  • Guilded Age: Frigg in general. Highlighted in her daydream during her attempts at diplomacy (without violence) with the gnomes.
    Frigg: Sorry Ardaic! I tried my best, but someone accidentally killed them to death.
    * Boy and Dog:
    • When Rowan has a stuffy nose, he claims that his "sniffer's full of stuff".
    • Rowan once gets an award for being the "goodest" eater.
    • One of Rowan's parents offers him a "fruit pouch thingy".
    • When Rowan the electricity is down, Rowan and Murphy claim that the "zappy stuff isn't zapping".

    The Video Things You See Online 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog features this prominently, unsurprisingly since it's a Joss Whedon production.
    • Dr. Horrible:
      "Moist! My evil... moisture... buddy!"
      "I would never turn my back on a fellow... laundry-person..."
    • Captain Hammer does it too, though he's not exactly intelligent:
      "She turned me on to this whole homeless... thing..."
      (quoted on the news) "I hope to set an example, for, you know, children and stuff."
      "Oh, momma! Someone maternal!"
  • Kickassia: "WELL I'M SCIENCIER!"
  • Cracked's video "If Nature Documentaries Didn't Let Science Get in the Way":
    This treestump is a perfect example of our universe. It's covered in bits and stuff, just like all the other bits and stuff covered in bits and stuff in our universe... What is this part that's not those things I just said?
    Over the last few decades, food allergies and intolerance have been skyrocketing like a rocket that's going up into the sky really really fast.
  • Very often done by the Let's Player raocow, who will often say "Well, that was a thing" or any of a million similar sentences. Some of it Justified by him being French Canadian and French in Quebec having many different ways to say "thing" (see the Real Life section of this page) that just don't translate well into English. The rest is him just playing up his Talkative Loon nature.
    • Another Let's Play, for Baldur's Gate II, had Minsc proclaim that the Mace of Disruption was "very disrupty". Minsc isn't too good at the thing with the wordy things at the best of times (unless they involve hilariously over-the-top descriptions of what he's going to do to the bad guys), so it fits.
  • In the web cartoon Irving, the Socially Awkward Bee, the bees that Irving attempts to hang around with want to leave his presence by saying they have to do "the thing with the thing".
  • Most of the main cast of Red vs. Blue falls into this at one point or another, but Caboose seems particularly prone due to his status as The Ditz.
    Tucker: "My sword? Fuck yeah, I know how to use that! What's to understand about "swish, swish, stab"!?"
  • Ray William Johnson does this from time to time on =3, mainly because he tries to come up with a joke against your mom but fails.
    Ray: ... in a... mom... throwing-contest. Shut up!
  • In one Vlogbrothers video:
    Hank Green: I shot down that like a... like a...
    John Green: Like a shooter down a shoot thing!
    (Caption: I'm a writer.)
  • A significant portion of the hilarity of My Drunk Kitchen is thanks to this trope.
  • In Echo Chamber's Trope Of The Week Dumbass Has a Point Zack trying to explain "After Effects".
    Zack: It's... the thing with the things!
  • Happens in a couple of Two Best Friends Play videos; "Sneaky-stab mode" and "You're science-ing right now!"
  • The Deus Ex: Human Revolution-inspired Unreal Revolution modification for the first Deus Ex (re-read the sentence if you need, we swear it makes sense) makes large use of this trope. "Use this to turn off the sparky hurt light", indeed.
  • This episode of Mr. Mendo's Hack Attack: "But really, that was a good movie, and this film and a good one are as dissimilar as two completely dissimilar things... in a bag."
  • The name of the website
  • Stuff You Like's Sursum Ursa does this in her Moriarty episode:
    Sursum Ursa: ... and he has mood swings like... a very... swingy... thing!
  • From Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    Kaiba: Duel me, you... uh, weird, cyborg, kind of... burn victim... person.
  • Friendship is Witchcraft
    Rarity: Why would I spend my afternoon with a bunch of war criminals and their... war... crimes?
  • Skippy's List has examples:
    177. I am not to refer to a formation as "the boxy rectangle thingie".
  • Most of the Whateley Universe stories are centered around teens at the Superhero School Whateley Academy, so it's inevitable. Solange has a tendency to slip into this whenever she's upset. Aquerna sometimes does when she's busy being a Motor Mouth.
  • Kube from AJCO is a repeat offender. As they're also Sir Swears-a-Lot it can make their speech rather hard to listen to - for example, when explaining a date to their girlfriend, who has never been on one:
    <Kube> You just do stuff… but it’s like. Special stuff. Like holding hands and junk.
  • In the Opinionated Reviews of one SF Debris, Chuck will often point out when something is on the list of things that are as bad as a very bad thing. God help you if you pull something from the list of things that are worse than a very bad thing.
  • Rainbow Dash often resorts to this when new Homestuck stuff comes up.
  • Doug Walker, while discussing the worst movies he watched for The Nostalgia Critic, describes Inspector Gadget like so:
    ...this was trying to mimic a cartoon world that was already a cartoon world but make it more cartoony because it's in reality, and...I don't...this movie has made me not make word senses that I can complete formally in this period.
    • After giving a negative review of the toy Teddy Ruxpin, the toy somehow comes to life and, in a plot out of The Twilight Zone, goes on the warpath against the Critic for the review. When the Critic sees that Teddy has somehow come alive, he exclaims disbelievingly, "You're not real! You're just... a thing... that's not very real!"
  • Atop the Fourth Wall: Linkara proclaims, after something very stupid in Battle for Bludhaven, that he broke something in his "thinking thing".
  • Mitch and Mary Morpotzner from Database Rangers Power Reviews tend to speak this way at times. While watching a choreographed fight scene during the review episode of "The Wild Wipeout" from Power Rangers Ninja Storm, Mitch describes the Rangers doing "punchy flippy kicky things."
  • Not Always Right: Problem: Thing is blue and blue on the thing.
  • Not Always Friendly: This story has a missionary in El Salvador trying and failing to convince a local plumber that she is from the area. He's finally convinced when she loses a ring in the drainpipe and resorts to the Salvadorian word for "thingamajig" to explain it to him.
  • PBS Idea Channel combines this with Take That! while the host briefly makes a comparison between Breaking Bad and Lost.
    "Breaking Bad is up there with Lost on the list of shows encouraging fan theory about what will happen next, the major difference being that on Breaking Bad, unlike Lost, there is actually a return on your thinking investment since stuff...actually...MEANS...things."
  • Third Rate Gamer says that in the old commercials, Cool Spot "would walk around and stuff."
  • MrBtongue of Tasteful, Understated Nerdrage combines this trope with Sophisticated as Hell, especially when he coins the terms "reverse complaining" and "talky and techy sci-fi".
  • "End Times" uses this a lot, since most of the characters are college-aged kids way out of their realm of experience.
  • Lewis Brindley frequently indulges in this, to the point that his fandom has devoted an entire subreddit to it.
  • Christopher Odd does this a lot, as he frequently forgets the actual names of enemies in games and just calls them by their physical description.
  • Hobo Bros: In "Squidella gears up for SPLATOON 2", Luke decides to make the protagonist Squidella a very popular fighter, but he can't think of the right words, leading him to describe her as "one of the most championship people".
  • Andrew Rea, the host of Binging With Babish, occasionally forgets the names of ingredients or utensils, and refers to them by their description instead.
  • Lindsay Ellis describes Brother Bear as "taking the concept of spirit animal to a very literal...literal...ness".
  • TB Skyen, while playing Dark Souls I, having encountered a suspicious-seeming character in a cell in this video:
    Skyen: I'm just gonna...I'm just gonna not with him.
  • Luke Westaway of Outside Xbox, being confronted with a picture of Isaac Caldiero:
    Luke: Is this a wrestling?

    The Cartoon Things You See on TV 
  • Abis Mal from Aladdin: The Series: "I'll rule [Agrabah] like some... big... ruler guy!"
  • Adventure Time does this a lot:
    Jake: Watch this everybody! A cooler! With... stuff for the thing!
    • Another one:
      Finn: Let's just give him some purple-whatevers.
      Jake: ... You mean the grapes?
      Finn: ... Yeah, whatever.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "The Boy Who Knew Too Much" Principal Skinner is searching for Bart, who cut school on the same day of an accident in the Quimby mansion. Bart escapes across a rope bridge and cuts it, thinking that Skinner won't walk into the raging river that separates the two. In Terminator-like fashion, Skinner walks under the water, barely changing his facial expression, at which point Bart quips, "He's like some sort of... Non-Giving-Up School Guy!" According to the writers, this was written after a long session in which they couldn't come up with anything clever for Bart to call Skinner.
    • Also:
      Homer: Marge, where's that... metal dealy... you use to... dig... food...?
      Marge: You mean a spoon?
      Homer: Yeah, yeah!
    • Also also:
      Homer: Oh Lisa, you and your stories! Bart is a vampire! Beer kills brain cells! Now let's go back to that... building... thingy... where our beds and TV... is."
    • Also also also:
      Nelson: Way to breathe, no-breath.
    • And:
      Lionel Hutz: I move for a bad court-thingy.
      Judge Snyder: You mean a mistrial?
      Hutz: Yeah! That's why you're the judge, and I'm the... law-talking-guy.
    • Homer, upon meeting the editor of Reader's Digest:
      "I especially love the Build Your Vocabulary section! That thing is really, really, really... good."
    • Homer enters a superstore:
      "So many things, and so many things of each thing!"
    • Homer instructing Marge on flying a hot air balloon:
      Homer: I want you to pull on the thing, that's near the other thing.
      Marge: This thing? (a burst of flame shoots down onto Homer's head)
      Homer: Ahh! that was not the thing.
    • Homer in "Dead Putting Society"
      Homer: That putter is to you what a bat is to a baseball player, what a violin is... to the—the guy that—the violin guy!
    • In the episode "Yokel Chords":
      Yokel Girl: Hey, ain't you one of them funny, big-nosed showbiz people?
      Krusty: Oh, you mean a clown?
      Yokel Girl: No, a J-
      Krusty: (quickly and nervously) -oker! Yeah! And I'm not a practicing joker, so I'm not offended! Heh, heh, heh!
    • Professor Frink's theme song? "He'll run around, and then he'll do… the thing… with the person…"
    • In "Homer the Smithers", after listening to Mr. Burns' orders.
    Homer: Uh huh. Uh huh. Okay. Um, can you repeat the part of the stuff where you said all about the… things. Uh… the things?
    • Spoofed in Homer's description of the Apollo astronauts:
    Homer: They had the right, um, uh, you know ... stuff.
    • Mr. Burns as a vampire confronting Bart, in Treehouse of Horror IV:
    Mr. Burns: Well, if it isn't little... boy!
  • In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko gets angry at his broken old vacuum cleaner: "You're useless and pathetic, like a useless and pathetic thing!"
  • Futurama: Fry occasionally lapses into this.
    Fry: But, but, Bender need brain... for smart making.
    • And in the episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before"...
      Leela: It's not working! He's gaining strength from our weapons!
      Fry: Like a balloon and... something bad happens!
    • Or alternatively...
      Fry: Hey, wait! I'm having one of those things! You know, a headache with pictures.
      Leela: An idea?
      Fry: (gesturing madly) Mmm! Mm!
    • From the episode "Bendless Love"
      Fry: [to Bender, watching surveillance tape] Wait! There on the screen. It's that guy you are.
    • And again...
      Fry: I'm good at video games and bad at everything else. That's why I wish life were more like a video game
      Farnsworth: Can you put that in the form of a question?
      Fry: Uh, what if that thing I said?
    • Sometimes combined with Technobabble:
      Bender: I'm done recomfoobulating the energy-motron... or whatever.
    • Hattie's entire schtick is based around this, often referring to everything as a "kajigger" or a "whatchacallit".
  • Invader Zim. As in, every single character. This includes Zim ("I might as well make your entire brain... nn-not smart no more."), The Almighty Tallest ("Our big... space ship... gang!"), and Dib ("Score nothing for the Zim... thingy... race."), to name a few.
    • "I now leave you to your... Moosey fate."
    • Also created by Jhonen Vasquez is Johnny the Homicidal Maniac, home of "Crazy! Like some crazy thing that's all . . . crazy!"
    • "I can't let him get away with his... his... things-he-do!"
  • The Spectacular Spiderman: "I got the thing on the thing!"
  • In Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends The boarding house is visited by what Frankie believes to be just a normal human boy wearing a clown nose. He constantly refers to the house as "Foster's home for Makeemupthings" and upon his first visit says "So take me in, give me food and take care of me and stuff.".
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers: In the episode "Gadget Goes Hawaiian," Lawhinie (Gadget's Evil Twin / Evil Counterpart) can't remember the names of Gadget's tools when disguised as the Ranger.
  • Suki, in the Avatar: The Last Airbender finale. It's even lampshaded a bit:
    Sokka: Well look at you, Buster. Now that your firebending is gone, I guess we should call you The Loser Lord!
    Ozai: I am the Phoenix King! Uh... (falls over)
    Toph: Oh sorry. Didn't mean to offend you, Phoenix King-of-getting-his-butt-whooped!
    Suki: Yeah! Or how bout King of the... guys who... don't win?
    Toph: Leave the nicknames to us, honey.
    • Actually used quite a bit by Sokka. For one, his first name for Combustion Man, Sparky Sparky Boom Man. Another (albeit drug fueled): "Cactus juice, it's the quenchiest!"
    • Korra from the Sequel Series The Legend of Korra is prone to this sometimes. One part even has her say "I hate this being patient stuff!"
    • Varrick is also prone to this: "Zhu Li, do the thing!"
  • Both of The Angry Beavers used the word "thingy" repeatedly. Really, the series was full of this trope. One episode is actually titled "Big Round Sticky Fish Thingy".
    Daggett: Desperate times call for desperate desperate-ness...!
  • Storm Hawks, while Junko is portrayed as quite smart for his species, he's not quite a genius. "The Beacon! It's stopped... beaconing!"
    • Junko mentions that as a child, he was picked on for being more intellectual than your average Wallop; he's the only Wallop that plays a major role in the series, though, so we really have no baseline for where your average Wallop falls on the scale of thinking versus hitting things.
  • Monique Speak in Kim Possible, as well as slang outside of the show's trope namer.
    • Ron Stoppable frequently is guilty of this.
      "Oh, that's right, Sensei can do that weird floaty thing!"
      "You've got the doors that go whoosh!
      "This goes beyond Sick and Wrong, it's wrongsick!"
    • Ten reference points for nailing the Sarah Michelle Gellar voice.
    Kim: "We have to time this so that hovery guardy thing doesn't see us."
  • Earthworm Jim used this trope a lot. For example, in one episode Jim takes a Doppelganger -creating gun and Evil Jim says "Give that back you... Thing-taker guy!"
    • "I will crush you like... some easily-crushed thing!"
    • "Come back and face me like a... big... worm-thingy!"
    • "Now I'll freeze you as solid as... uh... a solid freezy frozen thing." "Oook oook eeek!" "Oh right. Thank you! A block of ice!"
  • Starfire from Teen Titans sometimes does this. She has a better excuse than most, as she's an alien and English is not her native language. Even without the language issues, though, she's still definitely the Team Ditz.
  • In Dave the Barbarian, Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy taunted Dave with, "You shall perish beneath the might of my... mighty... mightiness!"
  • Skeeter's father in Doug initially suffers from this because the room is so noisy he can't hear himself think. Later he's Flanderized into doing this all the time.
  • Frisky Dingo — "And I would not call that making love. I would call that... the Shame Spear... of... Hurt..."
  • Home Movies "It's Shannon! You can tell by his... thing."
  • From Batman: The Brave and the Bold: "You're flirting, aren't you? Flirterers!" (courtesy of Green Arrow)
  • Dexter's Laboratory
    • In "Mom and Jerry", Dexter accidentally switches brains with a mouse. He runs after the mouse in his body, shouting "Give that back! I need it for things and stuff!"
    • "Dexter's Lab: A Story" involved Dexter giving a dog he found the ability to speak, which resulted in the dog repeatedly referring to one of Dexter's machines as "the thing."
  • Mr. Director, the Jerry Lewis look-alike on Animaniacs lapses into this from time to time, as well as gibbering pseudo-Yiddish nonsense.
  • Toad Patrol actually incorporated this as a regular form of speech for the toadlet characters known as "toad speak." Since they didn't know all the words for things, concepts such as nighttime were expressed in manners such as "the deep deep blue has turned to black." Rain was "falling wet."
  • Used in an episode of Robot Chicken when George W. Bush awakens the ghost of Abraham Lincoln.
    Bush: Who dares question my... daring... of his... dare... jerk!
  • In the Family Guy parody of Star Wars called "Blue Harvest", Grand Moff Tarkin (Adam West) threatens to use the Death Star's "planet-blower-upper-gun" on Alderaan. After Leia's (Lois) Big "NO!", he hesitates.
  • In The Fairly OddParents! Timmy proudly described himself as "fast . . . as a really strong animal, and as strong . . . as a really strong animal!"
    • And he also doesn't like his cops being flung around on a big spatula thingy.
    • The theme song: Wands and wings! Floaty, crowny things!
  • Used in Rugrats, when the baby Chucky keeps a lucky... object in his pocket that all the babies are familiar with, but none have a word for. (It's a bottlecap.) It is simple referred to as "Chucky's lucky... thing", complete with the pause while the babies search for the word.
  • In Archer, "It's an art that can't be taught, like a poet's... mind for the... to make... the perfect word."
  • In an episode of Total Drama World Tour the cast has to find some barrels of oil buried in Drumheller's badlands as a challenge. Cody complains that "There must be twenty miles of badlands. It's like looking for a needle in... twenty miles of badlands!" Actually a needle would be way smaller than a barrel...
  • King Julien in The Penguins of Madagascar
    • Done out of guilt in the episode "Nighty Night Ninja". The penguins had been staying up late and watching this ninja program, and hours later all of them are up on the top of their hideout, dead tired and discussing their predicament. Kowalski is asleep on his feet. All of a sudden, in the middle of the discussion, he wakes up shouting a Waking Non Sequitur that sounds sort of like, "I want my binky!!" He notices the other three staring at him and he sheepishly says, "Sp... I-I mean... something... sciencey..." (Nervous laugh)
  • Frequently used on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic.
    • From "Suited for Success", after Rarity believes her career is ruined by a disastrous fashion show:
      Rarity: (throwing herself down on her bed) Leave me ALOOOOONE! I vant to be alone! I want to wallow in... whatever it is that ponies are supposed to wallow in!
    • In "Applebuck Season", a sleep-deprived Applejack shows up to receive a trophy:
      Applejack: Thank you kindly for this here... award thingy.
    • And in "Look Before You Sleep":
      Rarity: Fortunately, I can get along with anypony, no matter how rude she may be.
      Applejack: Oh, yeah? Well, I'm the get-alongingest pony you're ever gonna meet!
      Rarity: That's not even a word.
    • In "Green Isn't Your Color", Photo Finish interrupts Fluttershy's conversation with Rarity to remind her they have to go to "the thing at the place".
    • In "The Return of Harmony, Part 2", Twilight Sparkle lapses into this while distributing the Elements of Harmony, after being extremely frustrated with her brainwashed friends:
      Necklace, necklace, necklace, necklace, and... big crown thingy!
    • In "Sweet and Elite", Rarity is stuck jumping between a fancy garden party and Twilight Sparkle's birthday party, and comes up with various wild excuses to leave each party. Her excuses eventually reach the point where she mutters, exhausted, "I have to... go do the thing... with the stuff, you know..."
    • In ''May The Best Pet Win'' When Rainbow Dash is trapped in a gorge.
      Rainbow Dash: *panicking* Forever is way too long to be trapped in Ghastly Gorge, I mean, it's like... FOREVER!
    • In ''The Crystal Empire'' Twilight gets another one. Surprising that she of all ponies wouldn't know the word "crystalline".
      Twilight Sparkle: King Sombra's spell must be why their coats aren't... crystally!
  • Done in Wild Grinders in which Chip Fligginton (cheesy jingle: CHIP FLIGGINGTON!) describes how Lil' Rob did his trick.
  • Phineas and Ferb: "The Swiss Family Phineas":
    Buford: (to Perry the Platypus) "Don't worry, little ducky thing..."
    • Also by Vanessa in "Candace Disconnected":
    Vanessa: Ugh, what is this? Curse you, unknown rocket helmet transportation thing! Oh, sweet! I'm home. Never mind, unknown rocket helmet transportation thing!
  • Joseph of King of the Hill tends to speak in Buffy Speak from time to time:
  • In the second episode of Sym-Bionic Titan, while furniture shopping, Ilana convinces Lance to sit on a couch, describing it as "smooshy."
  • South Park
    • In "Red Man's Greed" Randy says that there is more to life than money like "slurpees and stuff."
    • In "The Return of Chef", Stan tells the psychiatrist that Chef was brainwashed with a little thing that goes whrrrrrr.
  • In Gravity Falls, when Mabel explains the hole in Wax Stan's shoe.
    "All the wax guys have that. It's where the pole thingy attaches to their stand dealies."
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures: How I Spent My Vacation, Babs disguises herself as a fireworks salesman to rescue Buster from some love-sick alligator sisters. She describes her wares as including "them Roman candles, yucky curly snake-y things, and that little spinny whirlibob that never works."
  • Winnie-the-Pooh, being a bear of very little brain, resorts to this at times. On accidentally wiping out part of a massive equation that was written on a chalkboard: "It did make Grandpappy Gopher's equation a bit more... less."
  • Happens quite a bit in Littlest Pet Shop (2012). Occasionally done by the pets, though mostly by the Biskit Twins, who seem to do this with even the simplest of words, e.g. they call a nurse a "medicine-lady" and an idea a "brain-thingy".
  • In the Quack Pack episode, "The Return of the T Squad," There was an alien who, according to Dewey, could REALLY use a thesaurus:
    Overlord: Face the wrath of like wrath-like . . . . wrath!
    Overlord: Surrender, or be squished into squishy . . . . squish!
    Overlord: I tremble in dread before his powerful . . . . power!
  • Used occasionally in China, IL, such as in "Prank Week:"
    Pony: Yes, Frank, you have to do bad people stuff, but for good.
  • The kid protagonists of Over the Garden Wall speak in the familiar contemporary version, despite the old-fashioned setting. Somewhat justified where Greg and Wirt are concerned—they're actually two kids from our world who ended up in the Unknown by accident. Less so with Beatrice, who says things like "Here you're like a hero and stuff, right?" despite dressing like she's from the regency era.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "The Bare Facts", Blossom doesn't know what nunchucks are called, and describes them as "ninja thingys".
  • In Voltron: Legendary Defender, Lance is prone to this.
    Keith: We aren't some soldiers for you to toy around with, like, like...
    Lance: Like a bunch of toy soldiers!
  • Hey Arnold!: Helga's description of Ruth in "Arnold's Valentine".
    Helga: She's nothing but a stuck-up, sixth grade-y, training bra wearing, brace-y faced, sixth grade-y...sixth grader!
  • In "Super Cluepers' Case of the Missing School Bell" from Franklin and Friends, the Super Cluepers discover that the part of the bell that actually causes it to ring is missing. However, even after being told by Mr. Owl that this is called the "clapper," it ends up being referred to several times as the "ringy thingy."
  • The Propulsions from Ready Jet Go! talk like this sometimes, such as calling the humans "Earthies".
    • In "My Fair Jet", Sydney refers to Jet's robotic arm backpack as a "tool-armed backpack thingy".

    The Things That Happen in the Real World 
  • 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."
  • 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".
  • 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".
  • Languages
    • 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 heist er", which means "what is it called" 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.
  • The 19th century brought English such expressions as "doohickey" and "thingamabob"/"thingamajig". They were popular enough to have entries in the English dictionary.
  • 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.
  • While on the subject of Republicans, 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."
  • Again with the Republicans: 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!
  • 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".
  • 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."
  • 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 Sergent Nasty. For best results, use an empty magazine, or your E-Tool.
  • 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 coming from osteo- meaning bone arthro- meaning joint and -itis meaning inflammation causing it to translate to bone joint inflammation

What about the thing where you click here if it ends?

Alternative Title(s): Buffy Talk, Buffy Speak Talk


Example of: