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Little "No"

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"This city is afraid of me. I have seen its true face. The streets are extended gutters and the gutters are full of blood and when the drains finally scab over, all the vermin will drown. The accumulated filth of all their sex and murder will foam up about their waists and all the whores and politicians will look up and shout 'Save us!' ...and I'll look down and whisper 'No.'"
Rorschach's Journal, October 12, 1985, Watchmen

The polar opposite of Big "NO!". The Little "No" is a "no" that is very soft-spoken, yet extremely powerful and defiant. A character who uses it is indicating complete certainty. They do not view whatever is happening in front of them as any sort of serious threat or challenge. It is a threat to be swatted like a fly, or a plea to be dismissed like the trash, an expectation of submission that is met with absolute refusal. May be used as an Armor-Piercing Response.

An alternative use of the Little "No" is used by characters who aren't quite as badass as the first type who have just realized something really bad is about to happen, and say a soft 'no', their voice being a single syllable of clarity right before something blows up.

Third use, and the little brother of the Big "NO!": a tiny, pathetic "No", almost as if begging for the reality in front of the speaker's eyes to not be real. Disbelief and denial, with a blank or horrified look on their own face. When being hammed up, this little "No" will often be followed by the usual hysterics and a resounding Big "NO!". Done effectively, conveys utter and complete vulnerability from characters who are too badass to break down weeping and screaming. The Stoic will be the one to use this "No", in a moment of Not So Stoic. Also found in the midst of many a Tranquil Fury, or at the beginning of a Rapid-Fire "No!".

A subtrope of Dramatic Deadpan. Compare Blunt "No", Stage Whisper or Blunt "Yes". Compare and contrast the Precision F-Strike — for a character who swears a lot, this can have the same effect.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa: In the opening scene, Al is listening to an egotistical physicist go on about his discovery of nuclear fission, and saying, "Please accept this gift of a uranium-bomb as a token of my willingness to help your land's military in the achievements of its goals." Al responds curtly with a polite, soft, but extremely defiant, "No."
  • Played for horror during the eclipse in Berserk when Casca is being raped by Femto. At this point, she's so delirious and weak from the effects of her Brand and her previous assault by the Apostles that all she can do in protest is whimper "no" and "stop" as Femto rapes her in front of Guts.
  • Bleach: Orihime gives a "no" when she discovers the Espada Grimmjow only wanted Ichigo healed so he could fight him.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • Asuka after Shinji desperately tries to connect to her during Instrumentality. Unfortunately for that time she has become so frustrated with him (due to Shinji never getting her hints that she liked him, never helping her when SHE needed HIM, leaving her alone during and after her Mind Rape, masturbating over her comatose body, and letting the MP-Evas chop her into pieces and eat her alive) that her reply was a simple "No". It is the last push that causes him to finally break down.
    • In episode 23 as Armisael is attempting to become one with Shinji and merge Rei's heart with his, Rei's response to this is a defiant quiet "No".
  • In episode 21 of Outlaw Star (Japanese version) Melfina says "no" after Harry orders her to forget about Gene.
  • Misty in Pokémon: The First Movie, upon seeing Ash turning to stone whispers, "Please, no..."
  • Reborn! (2004): Tsuna in the future arc after Byakuran asks him if he curses his fate of being forced into the mafia world when he dislikes fighting and getting hurt.
  • Utena of Revolutionary Girl Utena in episode 38 says no in response to Anthy saying she betrayed her.
  • In chapter 52 of Rosario + Vampire II Akuha says no in retaliation to hearing Kurumu say she and Mizore are going to rescue Moka.
  • Betrayal Knows My Name: Yuki gives one upon finding out that his best friend Kanata is actually the Big Bad Reiga.
  • YuYu Hakusho: Kurama uses this on Roto after the latter threatens the life of Kurama's mother, and later begs for mercy when he finds out that Kurama planted the Death Seed in him.
  • In the serialization meeting for Perfect Crime Party in Bakuman。, the editor in chief says this just as it seems to be smooth sailing for PCP to get serialized, and then reminds everyone that the condition was PCP being able to compete with Eiji's work. He repeats this as the deciding vote for the serialization, but several other editors change their votes because they don't want to end Mashiro and Takagi's career at Jump by such a narrow margin.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Homura utters one of these when the ribbons holding her melt away, revealing that Mami has died.
  • A variant is observed in the forty-fourth chapter of Asteroid in Love. The Earth Sciences club are brainstroming ideas for the upcoming School Festival. Mira provides many plans, although all of them rejected by Ao, by a small but firm "Denied." This is in contrast with similar scenes a year before in-universe, when Mikage, who has the Sanity Ball at the time, yelled the same word at Mira.

    Comic Books 
  • Duma, the Angel of Silence in Lucifer. It has some of the effect of a Big "NO!" in that it's the first thing he ever says and the mere fact that he speaks at all shuts everyone right up.
  • Rorschach of Watchmen is extremely well-known for this line, though he utters it only in the hypothetical tense. He does this as he imagines a world so torn apart in chaos that it begs him, at last, to help — and he doesn't want to anymore.
  • V for Vendetta: At the end of some serious psychological torture complete with a life changing letter from a woman who's already dead, this is Evey Hammond's only response to being asked to submit herself as having been coerced into her actions by V.
  • Ex Machina: Mitchell Hundred's response to Suzanne when she tries to convince him to help her conquer the Earth.
  • In ElfQuest, a Little No of horrified denial is Treestump's immediate reaction to seeing his daughter Dewshine lying unconscious in Leetah's arms. Redlance's pained "High ones no" when he finds the rock shaper who had over the centuries been deprived of her limbs and her mind by the trolls.
  • The Punisher's response to a group of misguided vigilantes' offer to make him their leader? No.
  • In The Day After The Death Star, Luke Skywalker almost beats a semiconscious TIE pilot to death with a club until he finally sees his enemy's face. He then uses this trope and quietly resolves not to kill when it can be avoided, never mind that no one on his side would mind.
  • In Supergirl story Young Love, Linda Danvers -alias Kara Zor-El, the titular heroine- utters one when Dick Malverne reveals he is dying.
    Dick: And I'm sorry I never made it back to see you a couple weeks ago. The doctor's appointment left me pretty shook up. I'm dying.
    Linda: No.
  • In The Untold Legend of the Batman, Joe Chill says it in horrified disbelief when Batman reveals his secret identity to him.
  • A couple from Batwoman:
    • Kate Kane answers with a quiet, certain "No" after her father discovers she's been operating as a vigilante and demands she stop.
    • Batwoman gives this answer repeatedly when Director Bones tries to convince her to take down Batman. She eventually makes it to a Big "NO!" after getting frustrated with him.
  • A type 2 or 3 can be seen in The Amazing Spider-Man #230, the climax of Spidey's first encounter with the Juggernaut. Having just crashed a full gasoline tanker truck into Juggernaut, Spidey is initially lambasting himself for having killed his opponent, only to cut himself off with a single quiet no as he spots movement amongst the inferno. He then starts shouting that it's not possible as The Juggernaut reveals he's completely unscathed.
  • Transmetropolitan: Spider Jerusalem can only mutter this when the first fatal shot is fired that kicks off the massacre of students by government troops at Dick Cavett University during the story's climax.
  • Doctor Who: Supremacy of the Cybermen: The Seventh Doctor's reaction when he realises that a Cyberman that has spotted him is revealed to be Ace, his companion.
  • In Legion of Super-Heroes storyline The Great Darkness Saga, Darkseid, ditches his usual hamminess and utters a weak "No" when he hears a Mother Box ticking after his Servant has leaped into Shadow Lass' darkness sphere bubble to fetch Child Izaya. Suddenly frightened, Darkseid shreds Shadow Lass' force field and finds a fully grown Izaya and a restored Orion standing in front of him.
  • During The Punisher: Suicide Run, Rosalie utters a soft but firm "No" when her men urge her to send assassins after Frank during a rare period where she's trying to avoid making him angry at her. When they persist, she repeats the word much louder and throws a wet sponge at them.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon):
    • Mariko gives a brief no in Chapter 3 when she realizes Monster X has Vivienne Graham's facial structure.
    • Alan Jonah gives a no to Vivienne when refuting her warning about the decapitated Ghidorah-head's Psychic Powers in Chapter 6, fuelled by his arrogance and possibly Sanity Slippage.
    • Vivienne gives a string of Little No's of the first type when she's refuting Ghidorah (specifically Ichi's head) with a Not So Similar speech in Chapter 15.
  • Advice and Trust:
    • Shinji utters one when he wrongly thinks that Asuka has changed her mind on getting together before she can explain that was not what she meant.
      Shinji's face fell. "No..." he said, his voice hollow.
    • When Kaji caughts Shinji and Asuka about to have sex, he tries to talk them into stopping. Asuka's answer is a final, inexorable "No."
  • Resident Evil Abridged: It's clear that Jill has never gotten over the "Jill sandwich" meme, because she absolutely refuses to let Barry say it again. EVER.
    Barry: That was too close. You were almost a—
    Jill: Ba~RYY!
    Barry: Aww c'mon! Let me say it!
    Jill: [firmly] No.
  • In Supergirl story Hellsister Trilogy, Mordu utters a soft "No" when he's about to die.
    <No!> sent Mordru. It was a small thing to say, a common thing to say, but it seemed to sum everything up.
  • Shinji And Warhammer 40 K: After hearing that they had been unable to prevent Sahaquiel from strafing Berlin-2, Asuka utters one:
    Asuka: "no..." [...] "It can't be... please, it can't be..."
  • The Second Try: Asuka to Shinji in chapter 3: "HATE ME! LEAVE ME! KILL ME!". Shinji's answer? "No..."
    • This actually mirrors their scene during instrumentality (you know, that scene), with their positions swapped. However, this time it ends with a heartwarming moment.
  • In Naruto: the Secret Songs of the Ninja Hinata does this twice.
    • At the end of chapter 3, her father tells her that, as she's been relieved of her position as heir to the Hyuuga clan, she no longer has to persevere with trying to be a ninja for the sake of her family. Hinata, having made a promise with Naruto to never give up again, tells him in no uncertain terms that she has no intention of quitting and intends to go on being a ninja "for myself and for... my friends. I made a promise."
    • Later when she's being held prisoner by Orochimaru who intends to take her Byakugan from her, he attempts to intimidate her into cooperating. Again, she remembers her promise and flatly tells him "No."
  • Thousand Shinji has two examples:
    • Shinji utters one when the Keeper of Secrets demands an Eldar soul back.
    • Rei speaks another when Gendo ordered her to take him with Yui.
  • Cullen and Varric both react this way when the Inquisitors and some of their companions fall into the Fade in All This Sh*t is Twice as Weird. Varric can barely stand, he's so grief-stricken, while Cullen has to put on a brave face for his troops. But they both express their feelings with "No..."
  • Escape from the Moon: In the sequel The Mare From the Moon, Spliced Genome utters one at the end of chapter 29, when she realizes she's back on the moon.
  • In Earth-27, it's frequently used by Batgirl, when people give ideas like renaming the "Birds of Prey" into "Girl Power".
  • Used by Captain America in A Prize for Three Empires when Carol Danvers wants to take part in a mission right after being voted out of The Avengers.
    "I've been on this from the start," she said. "And I know the battleground. You can't mean to—"
    "No, Warbird." He said it firmly. His face was stone.
  • In Peggy Sue fanfiction Warp, Victoria Dallon is approached by a member of Cauldron wanting to bargain for information. Nonetheless, Vicky reminds herself Cauldron is responsible for her friend Sveta becoming a tentacle monster, so her initial answer is a quiet but firm "No."
  • Otis gives two of these in succession in My Dream Is Yours when Olympia asks him about what dreams he's been having as a victim of the Dream-Transfer-itis epidemic.
    Olympia: So who do they belong to? Maybe if you'd tell us about them...
    Otis: No.
    Olympia: I won't tell anyone! Look, have I ever embarrassed you before?
    [pause as Otis looks at her]
    Olympia: I mean on purpose? [whispers] It's...not duck-related, is it?
    Otis: No.

    Films — Animation 
  • WALL•E: Twice, both times with EVE thinking that WALL•E is Killed Off for Real. AUTO scores a third example when he sees WALL•E trying to hold the acceptor mechanism open to take the plant.
  • In Brother Bear, this is how Koda reacts when he learns that Kenai killed his mother.
    • Kenai also reacts this way upon seeing that Denahi has caught up to him and Koda while they're trying to cross a lava field to get to the Salmon Run.
  • In Cars 3, Lightning McQueen utters a few of these as he struggles to catch up to Jackson Storm in the Los Angeles 500, moments from his horrible, near-fatal crash.
  • In Meet the Robinsons, Wilbur mouths 'no' in horror when he sees that Lewis has decided to help Bowler Hat Guy.
  • Mulan gives one when her family name is called to go away to war, meaning her elderly and injured father must go and will probably die.
    • Her father says one when he finds out that Mulan ran away from home to take his place in the army.
  • Mother Gothel of Tangled gives a few after Flynn/Eugene cuts Rapunzel's hair.
    • Rapunzel does a defiant no during "Mother Knows Best (reprise)", resisting Mother Gothel's demand to leave Flynn. This also interrupts a part in which Mother Gothel claims to "know best".
  • Happens to Scar at the end of The Lion King (1994), as he is about to be ripped apart by the hyenas.
    • In the sequel, Kovu does this when Zira and the Outsiders come out to ambush Simba just as the two were starting to connect.
  • In Coraline after Coraline and Wybie throw the Other Mother's smashed hand and the key inside the well, if you listen closely, you can hear the Other Mother whispering 'No'.
  • In Kung Fu Panda 2 this is the Wolf Boss' response to Shen demanding him to fire on the heroes, because it would result in his own men being killed in the crossfire. Also doubles as Defiant to the End, as Shen kills him in retribution.
  • During the climatic chase scene in Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, Spirit and Little Creek go up onto a ledge to escape the colonel and his men, but find that the deep canyon prevents them from making their way to freedom.
    Little Creek: "Oh no."
    Spirit: (Thinking) "Oh YES."
  • An almost whispered "No", after Elsa accidentally reveals her powers on the party and before she flounces out of the hall.
  • In The LEGO Movie, Wyldstyle/Lucy does this several times when Emmet is about to sacrifice himself to save her, his friends, and the Master Builders.
    • Another Little "No" happens in a similar context - situated in the Think Tank, the entire group experience the murder of Vitruvius by Lord Business whilst straight after Vitruvius explains he made the prophecy up. With Lord Business gloating at his suffering and Emmet's friends' being led away, Emmet stands perfectly still, his voice pathetically murmuring 'no' as he tries to force himself to believe that everything that did just happen didn't happen, and that it's all in his mind.
  • In Peter Pan, Captain Hook says this nervously when, at Skull Rock, as he hears the Crocodile coming toward him, Peter teasingly says to him, "I say, Captain, do you hear something?" He then lets out a Big "NO!" when he finally does see the Crocodile.
  • In Sleeping Beauty, Maleficent says this when she catches Prince Phillip escaping from her grasp and tries at every turn to stop him. She says this once again when he breaks through the thorns that she set up to stop him, just before she cries, "It cannot be!" and which triggers her transformation into a dragon.
  • In Zootopia, Bogo's attempt to take Judy's badge is interrupted when Nick quietly interrupts with an 'Ahh, no'. Pretty impressive considering Nick is a small fox con-artist standing up to the buffalo chief of police.
  • In The Little Mermaid, King Triton says this after Ariel openly tells him that she loves Eric, who is a human, which triggers the sea king into a destructive rage.
  • Lilo & Stitch:
    • The Grand Councilwoman lets out one when seeing Stitch will crash-land on Kauai rather than in the ocean (and thus succumb to Super Drowning Skills).
    • Nani, when she sees the fire truck turn left towards her house after begging for it not to. Lilo is still inside.
  • In The Super Mario Bros. Movie, the penguin king gives a little "no" in response to Bowser causing the destruction of the penguins' Ice Palace at the beginning of the movie.
  • In Turning Red, Helen gasps and quietly says no when she sees Ming has fallen outside of the ritual circle.

    Films — Live Action 
  • The Matrix series
    • The Matrix
      • Right before Neo shoots the floor on which Morpheus is being held with his chopper machine gun, Smith gives out his little no.
  • Sara of A Little Princess can't even bring herself to say 'no', all she does is shake her head when Miss Minchin tells her about her father's death.
  • In Batman, after Vicki Vale asks Batman that people will die because the entire shipments have poisoned, and Batman replies to her with a Little No, because the chemicals have to be mixed.
  • At the very end of The Godfather, Kay asks Michael if he is responsible for orchestrating the deaths of the heads of the five families and his brother-in-law Carlo. Michael looks her straight in the eye and quietly says "No." Kay actually seems to accept this, at least until the other goons kiss his hand and address him as "Don Corleone".
  • In the 1981 film of Gorky Park, Chief Investigator Renko recreates the crime with Irina standing in for her murdered friend Valeria. We cut back and forth between Renko and Irina, who refuses to believe her friends are dead and not free in America, and Osborne committing the murders, until...
    Irina: No...
    Cut to Osbourne: Yes. (covers Valeria's eyes and shoots her)
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • This happens when Isildur refuses to destroy the Ring in the prologue to The Fellowship of the Ring. Elrond is urging him to cast it into the fire, but Isildur whispers "no" and turns away.
    • In The Two Towers during the final charge of the Helm's Deep defenders, Gandalf and Éomer appear on the ridge and have the following exchange:
      Gandalf: Théoden King stands alone.
      Éomer: No. Not alone.
  • In the remake of The Poseidon Adventure, the Captain gives one of these when he looks through his binoculars and sees a giant wave bearing down on the ship. A wave so big that it's starting to blot out the moon on the horizon. What really sells the scene is the quietness of his No combined with the Oh, Crap! expression on his face.
  • Star Trek:
  • Run Lola Run: At the end of her first run, Lola is shot in the chest by a nervous police officer and lies in the street dying. After a flashback to a bedtime conversation between her and her boyfriend, she quietly says "stop", which restarts her "Groundhog Day" Loop.
  • Star Wars:
  • Leia uses the little no in A New Hope when Tarkin orders the destruction of planet Alderaan.
  • In The Last Jedi, Captain Peavey of the First Order flagship Supremacy lets out a horrified "No..." when he sees the Resistance cruiser about to ram them at hyperspeed.
  • V for Vendetta:
    • Evey Hammond is the queen of the Little "No". At the end, she replies to Finch with one when he orders her not to blow up Parliament.
    • Also, V himself replies with a Little "No" when he faces down Creedy, and Creedy demands that he take off the mask. When he kills the two Mooks that try to carry out Creedy's will, it's very clear that when V says "No", he means NO.
  • The Fifth Element has Zorg do this. After disarming his own bomb five seconds from detonation, the Proud Warrior Race arms their own bomb.
    Zorg: Oh, no.
  • Maria in West Side Story (1961) does this after news spreads that her Caucasian boyfriend, Tony, killed her brother, Bernardo. She also does this after the subsequent murder of Tony causes her to break down and threaten to start her own killing spree.
  • Back to the Future Part II has Marty say this after coming across his father's grave in the alternate 1985.
  • In Escape from the Planet of the Apes, the third movie in the 60s Planet of the Apes franchise, Cornelius recounts the legend of the rise of the apes. According to this telling the turning point came when an intelligent ape first said "no" to its master. In Conquest of the Planet of the Apes, this does happen, sort of, but only when Caesar's forces are about to beat a human to death and Caesar's love interest plaintively whispers, "n-no..."
  • Tommy DeVito says this in Goodfellas after realizing he's going to be whacked in retribution for murdering Billy Batts. It comes across as pretty powerful considering Tommy's normal disposition.
  • In Home Alone 2: Lost in New York, Harry gives a sad, pathetic whimper of a "no" upon seeing that a heavy metal pipe (which sent him flying down the stairs a few seconds earlier) is now about to fall on his chest.
  • In Les Miserables, Javert responds this way when Valjean tells him his parole means he's now free. (The "No" is also in the play, but usually louder instead.)
  • X-Men Film Series:
    • X-Men: First Class: To avert World War III, Charles forces the Russians to fire on their own transport ship; neither side knows that the crew is already dead. Azazel is at the helm and lets out a short "nyet" before teleporting away just before the missile hits.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse:
      • When Charles senses Peter's and Raven's imminent executions at Apocalypse's hands, and especially the latter's suffocation, he sobs one when Moira tells him he can't sacrifice himself for them without dooming the world as well.
      • Erik also murmurs several of these in shock and grief while holding his wife and daughter after they are accidentally killed by a Polish policeman.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Happens twice in Thor. Early on in the film, when Loki, Thor, and their friends are fighting the Frost Giants in Jotunheim, one of the giants grabs Loki's exposed forearm. Instead of suffering instant frostbite, Loki's skin instead turns blue, revealing his Frost Giant heritage, upon which he whispers a horrified "No". Later, near the end, when Loki is yelling at Odin about how he was going to destroy Jotunheim to prove himself, Odin just responds with a quiet "No, Loki", causing Loki to let go of Odin's spear Gungnir and fall into the abyss, seemingly to his death.
    • In Doctor Strange (2016), after the skeptical and arrogant Stephen Strange is shown the truth of reality by the Ancient One, he looks up at her from his knees and quietly begs her "Teach me." Just as quietly she looks down on him and replies "No", before having him chucked out of Kamar-Taj.
    • In Thor: Ragnarok, Hela, for the first time in the film lets out a single, horrified, No when she sees that Loki has released Surtur to destroy Asgard.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): When Diana tells Steve that men are indispensable for reproduction, but unnecessary for pleasure. His response is a hesitant "...No."

  • Discworld novel
    • At the start of Sourcery, Death interrupts a ranting wizard with a "No."
    • We get another one in I Shall Wear Midnight: After being accused of all sorts of evil acts, Tiffany (the local witch) sarcastically asks her main accuser (Roland's future mother-in-law) if she was going to "start going on about spinning wheels next." The Duchess takes this at face value and orders all the spinning wheels in the castle destroyed. Roland mentions one of his late mother's favorite things was a ornate spinning wheel. When The Duchess doesn't take the hint and reiterates her order of all the spinning wheels, Roland shuts her and her personal guard down with a firm "no." It's the first time we see Roland stand up to The Duchess and a sign he's starting to lose his grip on the (partially magic-induced) Idiot Ball he'd been carrying for most of the book.
  • At the climax of Farworld: Land Keep, Marcus is about to "save" Farworld, but will really end up destroying it. Unable to see past his own glory, he prepares to use the whole world's magic — and Kyja whispers "no" before passing out from blood loss.
  • Dumbledore gives Harry a few of these in Order of the Phoenix when he's furiously demanding to be let out of his office. Dumbledore forces him to hear him out and explains basically the entire motivation of the story, so it's a good thing he listens.
  • In the Warrior Cats novel Sunrise, when Tigerstar asks Lionblaze if he is going to kill him, Lionblaze replies, "No. You're already dead." Lionblaze then leaves the Dark Forest forever, proving to Tigerstar that he wasn't going to let himself fall to the level of the villains.
  • When Ysanne Isard is cornered by New Republic officer Iella Wessiri, she attempts to provoke the woman into a pained, furious Big "NO!" by talking about Wessiri's late husband, whom Isard had turned into a Manchurian Agent. Iella's unexpected Little No is every bit as effective as a Shut Up, Hannibal! and makes Isard realize that she doesn't have the least bit of control in this situation—something she is not used to.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, the High Sparrow using this on Cersei Lannister in A Feast for Crows is enough to break nearly an entire book of haughty arrogance with an Oh, Crap! moment by making it apparent the newly resurrected Faith Militant is not going to simply be her puppet.
    It was only a word, one little word, but to Cersei it felt like a splash of icy water in the face. She blinked, and her certainty flickered, just a little.
  • During the first book in Journey to Chaos, speaking of Basilard Bladi's previous team was a taboo in the Dragon's Lair. The reason why is revealed in the second book when his Evil Uncle calls in an army cloned from the team, the three mercenaries he killed years earlier. When faced such a sight, Basilard can only make a soft "no" sound before falling into a silent berserker rage.
  • In Spinning Silver, young Stepon thinks about this at length and defines it as the "no" you say when you can't be terrified into obedience because the outcome of obedience would feel worse than whatever you're being threatened with. It's the type of "no" that he said when their father tried to beat Wanda to death with a poker, it's the type of "no" that Wanda says when the king of The Fair Folk wants to take Miryem away to his world forever, and it's also the type of no that the king says when the demon Chernobog demands his name (and with it, power over The Fair Folk).

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5:
    • Sheridan does this in "Intersections in Real Time", when after a prolonged period of torture and interrogation, he is asked to sign a False Confession, and warned that his captors are tired of Sheridan's refusal to confess and are willing to kill him and use manipulated footage to make it appear that Sheridan did confess.
      Sheridan: It's funny, I was thinking about what you said. That the preeminent truth of this age is that you cannot fight the system. But if, as you say, the truth is subjective, then maybe you can fight the system. As long as one person refuses to be broken, refuses to bow down...
      Interrogator: But can you win?
      Sheridan: Every time I say, "no".
      Interrogator: [formally] Captain John Sheridan, will you or will you not sign a confession and endorse it before a public hearing?
      Sheridan: [just barely above a whisper] No.
  • Less badass and more creeped-out, but The Daily Show's Jon Stewart does this before suggesting getting a restraining order for CNN here.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "Rose": This is the Doctor's response when he realizes that Jackie Tyler is trying to come on to him.
    • "Bad Wolf": The Ninth Doctor delivers one to the Daleks. He defies the Daleks' plans to kill Rose, after almost losing her to one in "Dalek" earlier. The Daleks cannot comprehend the "meaning of this negative".
      Dalek: You will obey or she will be exterminated!
      The Doctor: No.
      Dalek: Explain yourself!
      The Doctor: I said "no".
      Dalek: What is the meaning of this negative?
      The Doctor: It means no.
      Dalek: But she will be destroyed!
      The Doctor: No! 'Cause this is what I'm going to do: I'm going to rescue her. I'm going to save Rose Tyler from the middle of the Dalek fleet! And then I'm going to save the Earth! And then, just to finish off, I'm going to wipe every last stinking Dalek out of the sky!
      Dalek: But you have no weapons! No defences! No plan!
      The Doctor: Yeah! And doesn't that just scare you to death?
    • "The Waters of Mars" ends on one of these from the Doctor, in response to the Cloister Bell ringing due to both his recent actions and events yet to come, because he's not ready to die yet.
    • "Amy's Choice": Amy gives two of these when Rory starts dissolving after being hit with the green mist.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • After Viserys is condemned to death, Jorah asks Daenerys to look away and spare her feelings. She says no.
    • During the battle of the Loot Train in the Reach, Tyrion can only beg Jaime from afar to turn on his heels and flee the battle instead of making his suicide attack on a downed Drogon and Daenerys.
  • In the Heroes episode 1961, Angela is served a fine one by sister when she tries to gain forgiveness for her lies.
  • Sherlock: "A Scandal in Belgravia". It's a precursor to Sherlock revealing a fatal flaw in the villain's plan that causes everything to unravel around them. When he's done, the receiver is well and truly broken.
    Mycroft: And here you are, the dominatrix who brought a nation to its knees. Nicely played.
    Sherlock: No.
    Irene Adler: Sorry?
    Sherlock: I said no. Very, very close, but no.
  • One of the most powerful moments in The Sopranos occurs in "Employee of the Month" when Dr. Melfi tells Tony "No" when he asks her if there's anything he can do when she starts crying in a therapy session. It's powerful, because she'd been raped earlier in the episode, and had seriously contemplated telling Tony and using her connection to him to have the rapist killed.
  • In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise", Guinan gives one of these not long before the Enterprise-C appears and alters history.
  • Stranger Things: Eleven does several of these, but does an especially badass one in Episode 2 when she telekinetically slams the door shut as Lucas tries to leave.
  • Done heartbreakingly in the Season 2 finale of Supernatural, when Sam starts to lose consciousness and Dean realises that despite getting out of all their previous close calls unharmed, Sam is actually going to die this time and there's nothing he can do to stop it.
  • Vikings: Athelstan lets out a series of little 'no's as he's being tied to the cross. And then the first nail goes in and the screaming starts.
  • In Wolf Hall, Anne Boleyn orders Thomas Cromwell to contrive the seduction of Mary Tudor in order to ruin her chances of a good marriage. That would further cement Elizabeth's position, but Cromwell replies simply "No." Those are not his aimsnote  and those are not his methods, either. Legal ruination, yes, humiliation of young women he has no personal rancor towards, no. Anne is pissed, but she can't do anything about it.
  • In an episode of NCIS: New Orleans, Sebastian is kidnapped. Dwayne Pride lets out several of these upon reaching the kidnapper's hideout and finding a charred body (it isn't his, mercifully).
  • Odd Squad:
    • In "No Ifs, Ands or Robots", Otto's response to his sarcasm flying over Oscar's head, followed by Oscar catching himself and realizing that he was being sarcastic, is a small, pointed "No."
    • In "Undercover Olive", Olive's facade is undone and she is exposed as an Odd Squad agent to the villains at the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament. Odd Todd begins advancing on her and she attempts to explain that "Olive" is just another disguise underneath the "Kooky Clown" one, but realizes that Odd Todd isn't having it. He responds by giving a small "No" just before Olive decides to make a break for it.
    • In "First Day", Otis asks Olympia if the two of them can be partners again, and as she tears off her agent-in-training uniform to reveal a Junior Girl Troopers outfit (the show's equivalent of the Girl Scouts), she asks him "Does this answer your question?" and he responds with a small "no".
    • This is Oprah's reaction in "Slow Day" when Olympia goes to shake the hands of three clients who are suffering from the "slow-mos" and move in slow motion, combined with a dose of This Is Gonna Suck.
    • In "It Takes Goo to Make a Feud Go Right", after asking if he and Otis are in Toledo instead of Toronto, King Berry asks the question again, which leads Otis to respond with a small, assured "No."
    • At the end of "Into the Odd Woods", Orla states that she'll never understand what makes clowns funny, and when Omar offers her the pie that was the cure for his Clown-itosis, she shoots down the offer with a small deadpan "No" as he begins to chow down on it.


    Video Games 
  • Final Fantasy X
    • Seymour, when defeated for the final time, could only utter a low-pitched "No..." upon defeat.
    • When Tidus begins to fade after the final battle, Yuna only whispers "no" as she desperately shakes her head.
  • In Grim Fandango, after Membrillo jokes about having the heart of a twelve year-old boy and offering to show it to Manny, Manny responds with a deadpan but firm "No."
  • Hitman 3: The end of the "Untouchable" mission has Edwards offer 47 a dose of the memory-wiping serum to return him back to an amnesiac killer-for-hire, unbothered by morality or freedom of choice. 47's response is a quiet but stern "No. Never again."
  • This trope is the exact flavour text of Legends of Runeterra's trademark Counterspell card Deny. Unsurprisingly it's the shortest flavour text in the game. And if you have Karma on board when you play it, she will also say it (or sometimes an alternative "Cease.")
  • Mortal Kombat II: Shao Kahn mutters a little no three times upon defeat before turning to stone and exploding, although in some versions he now gives a larger no when beaten.
  • One of the Playstation Underground Jampacks opened with an Indiana Jones parody. At one point in the sequence, the hero grabs the prize (a PS Underground disc) but the room starts to rumble, and the character merely says, "Oh no." The character looks up to see a giant boulder careening towards him, and he runs out of the room just in time.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Kaoru's ending from Spirit Hunter: NG, she offers to host a seance with Akira. After all the supernatural danger that they and their friends had been put through at Kakuya's hands, his response is a plain but firm 'No'.

    Web Animation 
  • If the Emperor Had a Text-to-Speech Device:
    • Kitten finally says it to the Emperor after yet another attempt at unplugging Guilliman from his life support.
    • Rogal Dorn is quite fond of this as well, owing to his blunt personality and unwillingness to mince words.
  • The Lazer Collection: Randall after finding out he's Dr. Octogonapus's son.
  • RWBY:
    • Volume 3 episode "Destiny", where Ruby learns that her friend Robot Girl Penny and Pyrrha, who has magnetic powers, have been set up to fight each other after she realizes that Emerald can make people hallucinate.
    • Volume 3 episode "Battle For Beacon" has one said by Glynda when the Grimm Dragon shows up.
    • Much earlier, in the first episode of Volume 3, there's Blake's truly piteous "nooooo..." when she has a giant bowl of tuna ramen taken off her because Weiss' credit card bounced. Played for Laughs.

    Web Comics 
  • Played for Laughs in City of Blank, when Finze goes a bit too far with his insults.
    Stella: You don't strike me as the family type.
    Finze: No shit, you ugly, fire-breathing dragon of a woman.
    Stella: (turns around and points a knife at him) Watch it.
    Finze: No.

    Web Videos 
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog: Dr. Horrible does this during Penny's death scene. It looks like he's trying to work up to a Big "NO!", but is too shocked and grief-stricken to manage it. And then his emerging Heel Realization segues into the triumphant dirge Villain Song "Everything You Ever".
  • I'm a Marvel... And I'm a DC:
    • A parody of the Rorschach line features Rorschach completing the line, as well as Wolverine and Sabertooth add their own endings. Wolverine's is "Sorry, darlin", while Sabertooth asks about the quality of the whores.
    • In After Hours, Superman utters this twice, once when Spider-Man disappears from existence and the second time when Batman also disappeared, leaving Superman alone.
  • TedCrusty with the help of his headless dummy friend Joe, has more or less elevated this trope to comedy gold.
  • Rhett & Link: One episode involves the duo looking at a bunch of tech products from Amazon, including a toy called 'Mr. Predicto' (basically a Magic 8 Ball with a voice). At the end of the video, Link grabs the toy and asks, "Mr. Predicto, are we gonna be friends?" A few seconds later, the toy responds with a blunt "No." Cue laughter from Rhett and the crew.

    Western Animation 
  • In the Adventure Time episode "I Remember You", Marceline simply whispers "No..." when she spots the Ice King approaching her house.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Katara gives a Little No at the last second before Jet blows up a village dam.
    • When asked if his anger is directed at the father who hurt him so badly Zuko says "No!" in a startled pleading voice.
  • The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes:
    • Captain America calls this twice after Bucky decides to sacrifice himself in order to prevent the Red Skull's bomb from killing Cap.
    • Enchantress delivers seven consecutive Little No's when ending up in Muspelheim.
    • Ms. Marvel does this when she chases a Skrull spaceship to Wakanda, only to find Skrulls disguised as the Avengers emerge from inside it.
  • Ben Tennyson delivers one to Driscoll in Ben 10: Ultimate Alien, right as he is stabbing just next to his head. He then follows with a Badass Boast.
  • Final Space: During the latter half of the first season, we get a lot of these as the story progresses.
    • In episode 6, Avocato and Gary quietly and fearfully say "no..." seconds apart from each other when they discover a bomb on Avocato's son's back, with Gary realizing the former is about to perform a Heroic Sacrifice.
    • Quinn's reaction to watching Gary re-experiencing the memory of his father's death in episode 8.
      • Two episodes later, Gary ends up saying "No, don't..." when Quinn chooses to do a similar sacrifice to close the breach to Final Space.
    • When the Galaxy One crew stand firm against handing Mooncake aka E-351 over to the Lord Commander in episode 9, Avo's aforementioned son Little Cato leads up with a defiant "Hell, no."
  • During the climax of the "City of Stone" arc in Gargoyles the Weird Sisters ask Macbeth a series of Armor Piercing Questions about his life meant to get him to seriously think about whether death or killing has ever really solved anything, either for himself or the people around him. By the final question, about the death of his son, Macbeth can barely whisper "No", obviously barely holding back tears.
    Weird Sisters: Duncan was afraid your father would make you king. Did your father's death stop you from becoming king?
    Macbeth: [firmly and defiantly] No!
    Weird Sisters: You wanted revenge for your father. Did Gillecomgain's death settle that score?
    Macbeth: [thoughtfully] No.
    Weird Sisters: Did your own death save your son Luach from Canmore?
    Macbeth: [barely able to speak due to grief] No.
  • Batman says this a lot in both Justice League and Justice League Unlimited.
    • In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, also in the DCAU, Batman gives a particularly chilling one in the flashback when he sees what the Joker's brainwashing sessions have done to Robin.
  • Third type in the Looney Tunes "Really Scent", when Pepe looks up "Pew" in a dictionary. "It says here...[hair frazzles, eyes widen]"
  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic Discord gives one when he realizes just too late that the mane six have broken his spell on them and that the Elements of Harmony are now working again. Followed seconds later by a Big "NO!" as he's being turned to stone again.
    • In "Spike At Your Service'', Applejack's response to Pinkie Pie's Zany Scheme to get Spike out of his life-debt to Applejack (which involves shooting AJ out of a cannon into a nest of angry bees while Spike catches her in a butterfly net) is a deadpan "No".
  • Luz says this in the season 2 finale of The Owl House when she realizes that King is about to pull a Heroic Sacrifice to protect her from the Collector and there's nothing she can do to stop him.
  • Buttercup of The Powerpuff Girls gives an absolutely memetic one after receiving a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown from a monster not much taller than her in "Cover Up".
  • ReBoot: Upon discovering that Hexadecimal has given up her immense powers and become a mere sprite, the supervirus Daemon becomes disgusted with her.
    Hexadecimal: Forgive me my lady...
    Daemon: No. (slams Hexadecimal into a wall and leaves her)
    • Let's not forget Dot's use of the third version when Enzo loses the game.
  • In the final episode of Samurai Jack, Aku gives one when Ashi sends herself and Jack into the past, knowing very well that he is doomed. Later, Jack responds with this when Ashi tells him that Aku's death resulted in her never existing.
  • The Secret Saturdays: Zak whispers "No..." when his family is about to be crushed by an army of monsters just because he refuses to help overthrow the human race.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The German dub turns all of Homer's D'ohs into Little No's (Nein!)
    • In the episode "22 Short Films About Springfield", the "Skinner and the Superintendent" skit has Superintendent Chalmers asking to see the "aurora borealis" "localized entirely within your kitchen" (actually a kitchen fire that Skinner has spent the entire episode trying to cover up). Skinner's response is a deadpan "no", in a tone that sounds less like he's frantically trying to deny Chalmers the sight of a burning kitchen and more like the inexplicable kitchen aurora borealis is all his to enjoy.
  • In the Spongebob Squarepants episode "Help Wanted", Spongebob applies for a job at the local fast-food restaurant, and tells the manager Mr. Krabs that Squidward will vouch for him. Mr. Krabs turns to Squidward, who takes a deep breath and gives a deadpan "No."
  • In the season 1 finale of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, when Star is preparing a Charged Attack to destroy Marco's Crystal Prison, the mooks all try to dogpile her. Star simply whispers "no" freezes them all in a force field, then continues walking forward as if nothing happened.
  • Transformers: Animated: Optimus Prime utters a very sorrowful one in the Grand Finale when he discovers that Prowl is dead.
  • Wander over Yonder:
    • In "The Time Bomb", Wander delivers one as he sees Sylvia slip into her Unstoppable Rage state the second time.
    • In "The Greater Hater", Sylvia utters three of them when she first sees Dominator.

    Real Life 
  • A particularly cool real-life example is Ioannis Metaxas, the prime minister of Greece during World War II, who answered the long list demands of Italian ambassador Emmanuelle Grazzi to allow Axis troops into Greece or face war with a simple "όχι" (okhi), or "No". Scholars insist that the actual phrase used was the only slightly less laconic "Alors, c'est la guerre." (French for "Then it is war."), but this didn't stop Greek citizens from gathering in the streets that day and repeatedly chanting the word in response to the arriving Italian troops. October 28th, the anniversary of the incident and that of Greece's entrance into WWII on the Allied side, is celebrated in Greece to this day as the "Day of the 'No'".
  • General Anthony McAuliffe of the The 101st Airborne Division received a demand to surrender from the Germans during the Battle of the Bulge. He gave a one-word reply: "NUTS!"note 


Video Example(s):


Spell of Living Stone

When Conan's father defies Wrath-Amon, the evil wizard of the snake men decides to make an example of him by turning him and the rest of Conan's family to stone.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (6 votes)

Example of:

Main / TakenForGranite

Media sources: