— Vizzini, The Princess Bride
Something will come out that uses a slightly-less-than-common word in the dialog. It's a perfectly good word, but the fact that it's not in people's everyday vocabulary makes it stick out. This has two effects:
- The fans use it over and over again until everyone else is sick of hearing it.
- The word becomes associated with the franchise itself, and people will commonly think of the franchise after hearing the word in conversation, similar to One-Mario Limit.
Very likely to become subject to Memetic Mutation. The shortest type of Catchphrase.
See also Author Catch Phrase. Author Vocabulary Calendar may be the cause of this. Can be a form of The Tetris Effect at work.
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Anime and Manga
- "Daijoubu" (Hikari (Dawn) from the original version of Pokémon).
- "Desu" will forever be associated with Suiseiseki of Rozen Maiden, to the point that it's her Fan Nickname.
- Durarara!! fans certainly have a thing for vending machines.
- Tiger & Bunny fans appear to have commandeered the phrase "princess carry" thanks to Barnaby's tendency to employ these — usually on Kotetsu.
- Mention Hetalia: Axis Powers to any fan, and you will probably hear several "Pasta!"s
- Someone in Valvrave the Liberator did something awesome? "Sasuga" them, and "Sasuga" Sunrise.
- Digimon has Izzy's catchphrase, "Prodigious!"
- Also "momentai" (Cantonese for "relax"/"take it easy"/"not a problem"), used by Terriermon in Digimon Tamers (both original and dub versions).
- Higurashi: When They Cry has "USODA!"
- Hear someone 'rejoice' about finding 'joy' or 'yuetsu', or maybe just find things really 'COOL!'? They've probably read or watched Fate/Zero.
- "Rejoice" started with Fate/stay night and is every bit as associated with that. (Of course, it's the same character saying it in both cases.)
- "Sugoi!"/"Amazing!" has become this for fans of Kemono Friends.
- Expect to hear the word "NEET" a lot more from fans of Osomatsu-san, since everyone and their mother makes note of the sextuplets' situation.
- Speaking of sextuplets, Osomatsu-kun has the sensational "Sheeeh!" scream of anger, which was in itself, a catchphrase of the very character who took over the second and third runs of the manga. Guess who that was.
- Puella Magi Madoka Magica’s Kyubey would really like to make a 'contract' with you. ／人◕‿‿◕人＼
- There’s also the terms ‘entropy,’ ‘heat death,’ and just about anything having to do with thermodynamics, due to the scene where Kyubey uses these terms to explain its plan to save the universe.
- Toriko, of course, has "gourmet".
- Gundam fans, especially Unicorn fans, are very fond of “Even So”/“Soredemo”
- Teen Titans fans can be easily spotted in a crowd by their willingness to use of 'glorious' in day to day speech without a trace of irony.
- Peanuts has the expression "good grief" and the scream sound AAUGH!
Film — Animation
- "Skadoosh!" for the Kung Fu Panda movies, although it's only said once in either movie. Its popularity comes mostly from its use in marketing and merchandise.
- Used a lot in Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness, as well as 'bodacious' and 'awesome'.
- Lilo & Stitch introduced the Hawaiian word for family, ʻohana, to many of those who live outside of the state.
Film — Live-Action
- Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was known for the words "bodacious", and "heinous".
- And the sequel gave us "Station!"
- Bonus points if you use "most" as a prefix to any of those.
- Clueless has two; "As if!" (as stated by Cher) and "Whatever!" (as stated by Amber, complete with the Finger-Tenting forming a "W").
- Evil Dead 2 and Army of Darkness reanimated the word "Groovy!"
- Earthworm Jim, too.
- The word "very" to mean "cool" or "awesome" has gained a bit of popularity in the Heathers fandom. The phrase "How very" in particular has caught on as a way to say, "How incredible" or something of that nature.
- Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey: "Cats rule and dogs drool."
- Marvel Cinematic Universe:
- Since Tom Hiddleston uttered the words "mewling quim" (basically, "whiny cunt") in The Avengers, fangirls have abused it incessantly.
- "Do you, ahh... fondue?" (from Captain America: The First Avenger).
- Mean Girls has Gretchen Wieners' apparently Forced Meme of "Fetch!" (which isn't too forced in pop-culture).
- Pirates of the Caribbean encourages its fans to be "savvy", and to "parley". (Both with roots in French; savoir "to know", parler "to talk".)
- Though if you're editing this, your first thought may be "Genre Savvy".
- Any lummox knows that this was perfectly handsome 18th century slang!
- The Princess Bride: The page quote, Vizzini's Catchphrase "Inconceivable!", is the most prevalent. However, there are a number of others: Wesley's "As you wish", the priest's "Mawwiage... Mawwiage...", Miracle Max's "Have fun storming the castle!", and many more. It's a very quotable movie and the fanbase goes a bit overboard.
- Fans of Sky High (2005) latched onto "alma mater" and bombarded their fanfictions with it.
- Wayne's World averted this trope. NOT! "Schwing!"
- Ghostbusters (1984): Harold Ramis believed that the movie coined use of "slime" as a verb ("He slimed me"), and it sort of stuck in the public vernacular from then on.
- There's a bit of a shibboleth effect going in Sherlock Holmes fandom. Milder fans or subjects of Popcultural Osmosis will say "elementary", while the harder fans will say "singular".
- "Phony" is the favorite word of Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in the Rye.
- "Humbug" has long vanished from common English usage, having been superseded by "bullshit", and is now only remembered exclusively for its usage in A Christmas Carol.
- Although it's still the name of a stripy mint in the UK. Said mints are commonly sold in the Houses of Parliament, because of an old tradition that impolite language was not permitted - so instead of swearing, they would call one another humbug. Still, A Christmas Carol is the first thing anyone thinks of when buying them.
- Many words man was probably never meant to know, such as "Eldritch", "Cyclopean", "Squamous", and "Rugose", have crawled from the depths of H. P. Lovecraft's works and the the expanded Cthulhu Mythos universe.
- Parodied in Munchkin Cthulhu, where Squamous and Rugose are modifiers that can be played on monsters, and the artwork is the investigator looking in the dictionary.
- "Leverage" from Battlefield Earth.
- So much "chagrin".
- "Dazzle". "Chagrining my dazzle" has become a somewhat popular phrase among the hatedom and the guilty-pleasuredom.
- "Sparkle". If you know only one thing about Twilight, it's probably the sparkling vampires.
- Although "Twilight Sparkle" might be on its way to being a multiple reference word (see below).
- God's "ineffable" plans in Good Omens, which even the angels and demons aren't completely informed of.
- The Discworld has something of a Magic Franchise Mis-spelling in "pune, or play on words". Also "bugger", while an almost universally-known if not all that common minor swearword, is sometimes associated with Discworld since it gets used more often than pretty-much any other swear throughout the series.
- Also "wossname".
- "Widdle", for urine.
- Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land has the Martian word 'grok' which generally means 'understand' but with a deeper connotation, 'to become one with'.
- Breakfast of Champions has "bad chemicals."
- The Aubrey-Maturin series - any fan referencing it will probably include the words "debauched sloth", or just the whole line: "Jack, you have debauched my sloth!"
- Animorphs mentions "thermals" Once per Episode, indelibly associating the word with the series in the minds of a generation. "Cinnamon bunzuh" (pronounced like that) is similarly iconic.
- The Written Sound Effects TSEEEEWWW! for Yeerk Dracon beams (not to be confused with TSEEEER! for red-tailed hawk calls), and FWAPP! for Andalite tail-blade strikes.
- Battlestar Galactica with "frak." Not the first time it was used as a science-fiction swear-word, but the most popular and most closely associated.
- There are "particulates" all over the place in Bones, especially when Hodgins is involved. Semi-justified, since Hodgins is the particulate expert (and the other members of the team probably picked the word up from him, or possibly just talk about particulates more on account of having a particulate expert on the team), but it's kinda weird when one-off local law enforcement characters who have never met him talk about finding them.
- Doctor Who:
- There may be no one in Britain who doesn't associate the word "EXTERMINATE!" with the Daleks.
- Fans of the older actors, particularly Tom Baker, will be particularly fond of the word "indomitable".
- Fans of the newer actors may be familiar with the words "Fantastic" and "Geronimo!"
- Donkey Hodie has Donkey's catchphrase "Hee-hawesome!".
- Father Ted, though, can "feck" off.
- "Shiny" from Joss Whedon's Firefly. Some fans use it extensively, to the point that their friends say it regularly as well. Also, "ruttin'" and "gorram."
- Final Fantasy VI fans associate "Shiny" with the character Gau.
- Gavin & Stacey: "Tidy", "Lush" "[What's] occurring?"
- "Awesome" and "Legendary" for How I Met Your Mother.
- Juken Sentai Gekiranger fans will think of Gou-san (GekiViolet) at the mention of "Maitaze" and Ken-san (GekiChopper) for "Ossu!"
- For Kamen Rider, it's "Henshin!"
- Monty Python's Flying Circus has helped permanently modify the meaning of "Spam".
- Nanalan': "(Thassa) Peepo" has become this for this show since it underwent Memetic Mutation.
- Orphan Black has Helena's use of the Ukrainian word for "sister", "sestra".
- Power Rangers:
- Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers claimed the word "morph", except in the minds of British audiences old enough to think of it as a Plasticine stop-motion character, or Animorphs fans.
- For Power Rangers S.P.D., it's "buttery" with a finger wiggle. (Bridge likes his toast.)
- Similarly, Red Dwarf's "smeg" and "smeghead".
- Star Trek:
- The Vulcans want things to be "logical" (Captain), or else "Fascinating." Continued as a generational thing by The Next Generation's Data.
- The Borg have assimilated the word "assimilate".
- "Ecch!" in MAD.
- Trope, from an obscure wiki dedicated to the conventions and devices in narrative of all forms. And the profusion of lampshades mean that editors might think of the site before home decor; it's so widely used that it's in the logo. To add more to this example would be egregious.
- Warhammer 40,000? "HERESY!" (BLAM!)
- Paranoia: The Computer considers the overuse of certain words such as "treason" and "termination" by citizens to be an abuse of language and deems this to be treason, punishable by termination. Citizens avoiding the appropriate words such as "treason" and "termination" will also be terminated, on a charge of treason.
- When it comes to Magic: The Gathering, fans of Phyrexia often talk about "compleation" (not a typo), and call its original leader Yawgmoth "The Ineffable".
- Fans of A Very Potter Musical will often describe an attractive person as "super-mega-foxy-awesome-hot".
- "Et cetera" from The King and I.
- Portal, and its fandom, makes a lot of hay out of "neurotoxin", "euthanised" and "aperture". Don't even start with the cake.
- NBA Jam: "BOOM-shakalaka!"
- Courtesy of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, "Objection!" has become the signature phrase for Courtroom Dramas, along with the reply, "Overruled!". Like this.
- "Dood" to anyone who ever played Disgaea.
- The word "darkness" is said a lot throughout the Kingdom Hearts games, particularly by Ansem in the first game.
- "Absurd!" was abused in Soulcalibur 3 (and only 3), possibly because the localizers lost their thesaurus.
- Tekken has Lee, who has single-handedly either ruined or revolutionized the use of the word "Excellent!" depending on who you ask.
- In Fire Emblem fan fic, especially post-Awakening, there seems to be a common occurrence of "dastard" and "gods!".
- World of Warcraft's fifth expansion, Warlords of Draenor, ended up overusing the word "savage" especially in pre-release materials so badly that many players can't take the word seriously anymore, in any context.
- Undertale fills you with determination.
- Chapter 2
- [BIG SHOT]
- Chapter 2
- Any long time player of the Danganronpa series will have the words "Hope" and "Despair" engraved into their minds.
- "Metal Gearrrrrr?!! It can't be...!"
- The World of Ham Say My Name abuse is also frequently imitated by fans, particularly "SNAAAAAKE!", "BROTHER!" and "LIQUID!!"
- The series' signature Parrot Exposition is mocked pretty much endlessly by everyone who has played the games. ("Mocked pretty much endlessly?")
- Every plot twist in Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots was heavily focused on Nanomachines such that merely mentioning the word around a Metal Gear fan will get a certain reaction from them.
- This especially picked up after the final boss in Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance offers nanomachines (son) as an explanation for why he can summon magma by punching the ground and smack around an otherwise Nigh-Invulnerable cyborg with his bare hands, in a manner that seems to be parodying Guns of the Patriots.
- While not a particular phrase, it's common for Metal Gear fans to become hyper-aware of the particular style of heavy-handed, Anvilicious Author Filibuster chunks of exposition found in the games, to the point where any sufficiently pompous Single-Issue Wonk laying down their manifesto on social media will find themselves being insultingly compared to a Metal Gear boss. This interacted with reality at one point, when a fan noticed that the Mueller Indictment sounded like dialogue from Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, and Paul Eiding responded by reading it in the style of the Colonel.
- While not often repeated by fans, BlazBlue has a very distinctive application/definition of the words "Phenomena" and "Observation".
- Many Among Us fans immediately think of the game when they hear the words "imposter" or "sus"note , or the phrase "among us" itself.
- Homestuck involves a lot of made-up words, many of which go on to become very popular with the fandom, but probably the most common is "Fuckass".
- There's also the frequent use of certain uncommon words such as "abscond" and "strife".
- El Goonish Shive has "sexy awesome", originally a Forced Meme by the creator but still used within the fanbase and on the forums.
- The SCP Foundation has "anomaly/anomalous", "redact", "expunge", "terminate", and "memetic" (as well as the variant "antimemetic").
- Homestar Runner gave us the verb "To burninate".
- "Cockbite" from Red vs. Blue. This phrase became so iconic that once when the creators of the Machinima series went commercial, they called their studio Rooster Teeth.
- For a time, this applied to the "Danger Island" segments in The Banana Splits Adventure Hour with "Uh, oh! Chongo!"
- Futurama has "boned" as a catchphrase of the three central characters.
- "D'oh!" in The Simpsons. The word existed before Homer used it, but it has since spread around the world as a universal expression of messing up.
- South Park's memetic "Derp".
- SpongeBob SquarePants has “barnacles” often uttered by residents of Bikini Bottom.
- Ending sentences with the word "yesss", like Beast Wars Megatron.
- Pinky and the Brain briefly popularized Pinky's favorite Verbal Tics "narf!", "zort!" and "poit!"
- Stephen Colbert thought that his second character in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law wouldn't be very important, til "HA! HA! Dangly parts!" appeared on T-shirts and made him and [adult swim] famous.
- Reboot attempted to convert a wide variety of computer-related terms into magic franchise words, generally through misapplying them in conversation as false cognates feasible enough to warrant suspension of disbelief. Perhaps the most ostentatious of these was Enzo Matrix's exultant "Alphanumeric!" - a catchphrase that was later lampshaded shortly after Enzo underwent his Time Skip.
- Less straightforward are the magic franchise words "Megabyte" and "Hexadecimal"; also computer terms, but applied as names of characters. However, since the characters in question were for the most part the show's two main villains, the words did come up often in conversation, frequently delivered alone with obvious implications left unsaid.
- The My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fandom is known for replacing the -body suffix with -pony. Odds are, when someone says words like "everypony" or "somepony," they're part of this fandom.
- Aqua Teen Hunger Force has "Behold!", thanks to the Dr. Weird Cold Opens in the early seasons (while also sharing "gentlemen" with Team Fortress 2.) Carl also made "freakin'" into a lesser magic word.
Multiple reference words
The same word is sometimes picked up by a series of different works, sometimes as a reference to earlier uses, sometimes because they're inherently appealing, sometimes just by coincidence.
- Those who are old enough will remember the originator of this word, Chief Thunderthud of The Howdy Doody Show.
- Sesame Street fans will think of the Cookie Monster.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are probably the most closely associated to it. If you weren't familiar with the term until you heard it used by the turtles, you probably think of them when you hear it.
- However, by the 200X series, the other Turtles are at pains to stop Mikey saying it.
- Bizarrely, "cowabunga" also becomes connected to Bart Simpson, as one of his typical catchphrases, even though the writers were intentionally invoking the use in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, a show Bart would have been watching. In the episode "Behind The Laughter", he complains that he never said "Cowabunga" in his life.
- 9 fans will tell you it's "smashing!" even although, strangely, it never actually appeared in the film...
- To the British, at least, "smashing" will forever conjure up images of Wallace & Gromit.
- This is also Nigel Thornberry's Catchphrase.
- The Planet Looters from Half-Life 2.
- Older (board) gamers would associate it with OGRE for similar reasons.
- The narrator's internal monologue throughout One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
- A signal in the Splatoon series
- Cyborg's catchphrase from Teen Titans