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Some works of fiction are named after professional terms. The terms used may have only tangential relation to the actual content of the work and be there courtesy of Rule of Cool, or be major plot points. This type of title tells the audience that the makers of the film know what they're talking about (whether or not this is actually the case).

Compare Mad Lib Thriller Title, which often invokes the same effect, and Literary Allusion Title, which takes another approach to sounding intelligent. Ominous Legal Phrase Title is a law-based subtrope.


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    Fan Works 
  • Hyperemesis Gravidarum'' by A.A. Pessimal is named for the medical term describing morning sickness in pregnant women. Several examples of the Action Mom discover they have an interesting nine months ahead of them.
  • The Elemental Chess Trilogy, a series of Fullmetal Alchemist fics, runs on this trope. Each major installment and its chapters follow a titling theme of this nature, and each chapter opens with a definition of the title. Some are just used because they sound neat, but others actually have some connection to the action of the chapter in question.
    • Flowers of Antimony: A compound used in paints and flameproofing; also formerly used as an expectorant and emetic. Also called antimony oxide.
    • Brilliancy: A spectacular and beautiful game of chess, generally featuring sacrificial attacks and unexpected moves.
    • The Game of Three Generals: A variant of shoginote  in which each player has three Generals, which command different sections of the 'army.'
    • Triumvirate: A group of three people who work together, especially when they are in charge of something.
    • Chronology: The science of measuring time.
  • The My Hero Academia fanfic Parallax receives its name from an optical distortion —the apparent offset of a foreground object against the background when your perspective changes.

    Films — Animation 
  • SubZero: Means "beneath zero". As such, it is usually used for negative numbers, especially with regards to temperature.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • π: A mathematical constant whose value is the ratio of any circle's circumference to its diameter in the Euclidean plane.
  • 9 Month Stretch: A legal expression which means a prison sentence of nine months, without suspension. Also a reference to the duration of pregnancy.
  • Advise & Consent: The power of the United States Senate to be consulted on and approve treaties signed and appointments made by the president of the United States to public positions, including Cabinet secretaries, federal judges, Officers of the Armed Forces, United States attorneys, ambassadors, and other smaller offices.
  • The Black Hole: A region of space from which nothing, not even light, can escape.
  • Boiler Room: Financial-services industry term for a brokerage firm that specializes in defrauding unwitting customers.
  • The Carriers Are Waiting: An expression used in pigeon racing, meaning that the people who carry the pigeons have to wait before releasing them because of the bad weather.
  • Chill Factor: The felt air temperature on exposed skin due to wind.
  • Day for Night: Terms used in the cinematographic industry to refer to a technique used to shoot night scenes in broad daylight.
  • Drop Zone: The area above and around a location where a parachutist jumps and expects to land.
  • Event Horizon: A boundary in spacetime beyond which events cannot affect an outside observer.
  • Extreme Prejudice: Supposedly CIA code completing "to be terminated with ..." indicating that said person is to be killed.
  • Full Metal Jacket: A shell of a harder material around the lead in a bullet.
  • Irreconcilable Differences: A reason cited to dissolve a legally formalized relationship (usually a marriage, but in the film a parent-child relationship).
  • Intolerable Cruelty is another term denoting specific grounds for divorce.
  • Rollover: Reinvesting profits from an investment into another one instead of taking them.
  • Last Known Address: A legal expression used when the present address of someone is unknown.
  • Pitch Perfect: Sensitive to or having exactly the right tone or style.
  • Run Hide Fight: The recommended course of action to be taken during an active shooting. First you should run away; if you cannot run away, then hide; and if you can't hide, then fight the shooter.
  • Supernova: A stellar explosion that is more energetic than a nova, primarily because it is the death of a massive star.
  • Source Code: Text written in computer programming language.
  • Terminal Velocity: The maximum speed a falling object can attain.
  • The Theory of Everything: A putative theory of theoretical physics that fully explains and links together all known physical phenomena, and predicts the outcome of any experiment that could be carried out in principle.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Arrested Development: An inability to mature, physically or mentally/emotionally.note 
  • The Big Bang Theory: The theory of the start of the universe.
  • CSI: Several episode titles refer to things involved in specific cases or the series as a whole.
    • "Fahrenheit 932": The temperature at which flashover, or the simultaneous eruption into flame of multiple objects, occurs. This happens in the home of a firefighter accused of murder by arson.
    • "Chaos Theory": The study of random, unpredictable behavior or occurrences. A victim's death is determined to be the accidental result of a series of unfortunate events. Her parents, however, refuse to accept this conclusion.
    • "Primum Non Nocere": Latin for first (or above all), do no harm. Commonly referred to as the Hippocratic Oath taken by doctors upon entering the medical profession. A doctor is suspected of murder.
    • "Cross Jurisdictions": Term for an investigation spreading past one department's legal territory into another's. This episode is the Back Door Pilot for CSI: Miami, whose team gets involved when a kidnapper takes his victims from Las Vegas to Nevada.
    • "All for Our Country": The Nevada state motto. The series is set in Las Vegas.
    • "Mea Culpa": Latin for "through my fault" used as an admission of guilt. Someone eventually admits to a crime that a family member is being tried for. They'd kept quiet, trusting the system to not punish an innocent person.
    • "Post Mortem": Latin for "after death," used to refer to autopsies.
    • "Coup de Grace": French for "shot of mercy," often used to describe killing someone to end their suffering. A police officer fatally shoots a former partner, and it's up to the team to determine if it was intentional or not.
    • "418/427": LVPD codes for missing person and kidnapping, respectively. The episode involves both.
    • "The CSI Effect": After the original series began, this term was coined to describe the expectation of jurors that life would imitate television in that forensics evidence would be obtained very quickly and be presented at trial in such a way that a defendant's guilt or innocence would be obvious.
  • CSI: Miami episodes that fit this trope:
    • "MIA/NYC Nonstop": Airline terminology for a direct flight from Miami to New York City. This is the Back Door Pilot for CSI: NY in which Horatio Caine enlists the help of Mac Taylor to apprehend a killer operating in both their cities.
    • "Pro Per": Legal shorthand for the Latin phrase, "in propria persona," used to describe a defendant representing himself at trial. A former inmate who spent his incarceration studying law does just this after being arrested for another crime.
    • "10-7": Police code for being "out of service" or otherwise unavailable. One undercover officer surfaces, only to disappear again, and two others leave the team.
    • "Double Jeopardy": Legal term meaning that once someone has been tried and found innocent, they cannot be retried for the same offense. After a man whose wife has been missing for years is acquitted of her murder, her body turns up and evidence now points to his guilt. What's the team to do?
    • "Collateral Damage": Originally a military term, but it's use has expanded into other fields; meaning unintentional injury, death, etc. to individuals or property not specifically involved in a conflict. A hand grenade is used in a crowded restaurant, killing and maiming more than its user's target.
    • "F-T-F": Internet-speak for a face-to-face meeting between people who, up until then, have never met in person. An underage girl sets up such a meeting with a person she believes to be a boy her age, but who is actually a grown man.
    • "Mayday": Internationally recognized radio distress call. Horatio and Frank are returning an escaped prisoner back to Miami but discover mid-light that their plane has been hijacked.
    • "Friendly Fire": Term for being fired upon by someone on your own side. An inventor is killed by one of his own creations.
    • "Terminal Velocity": The maximum speed reached by a falling object. A skydiver dies after his parachute lines snap mid-air.
  • CSI: NY: As a science-based Police Procedural with a military protagonist, it has a number of episodes with these titles referring to those things (as well as others):
    • "On the Job": Police terminology to let fellow officers know one is working undercover. One such officer is killed in the line of duty during the episode.
    • "Necrophilia Americana": The scientific term for the flesh eating beetles found devouring a victim.
    • "Charge of This Post": Taken from the first of the 11 Marine Corps General Orders, "To take charge of this post and all government property in view." Det. Mac Taylor is a former Marine; the perp has delusions of being a member of the Corps.
    • "Personal Foul": Basketball term for illegal personal contact. The first victim is killed at a basketball game.
    • "Turbulence": Term for unstable conditions during flight. The first victim is killed on board a plane bound from NYC to Washington, D.C.
    • "Yahrzeit": Hebrew ceremony marking the anniversary of a loved one's death; one is held at the end of the episode.
    • "Manhattanhenge": Term coined by astrophysicist Neil Degrasse Tyson for sunrises and sunsets aligning with Manhattan's street grid twice a year. The episode's events take place on the winter occurrence of the phenomena.
    • "Hide Sight": Term for a sniper's hideout. A sniper kills two random people in downtown NYC.
    • "Officer Involved": Police term for an officer firing their weapon, often with fatal results. Happens in the episode.
    • "The Ripple Effect": Ripple Effect Theory explains a series of consequences resulting from a single action, much like ripples flowing outward when a stone is dropped into a pond. Here, a series of crimes and deaths occur as the result of one stolen bicycle.
    • "Kill Screen": Gaming term for a bug or other malfunction preventing game play. A murder occurs at a Gears of War 3 convention.
    • "Command+P": Keyboard shortcut for printing. Someone manages to 3-D print a handgun which is then used in two murders.
  • Game of Thrones: In-universe term for a power struggle between certain groups or/and individuals for a very powerful position.
  • H₂O: Just Add Water: H2O is the scientific representation of water molecules.
  • Manifest: Every episode, and the show itself, is named after a term used in aviation or the airline industry.
  • Quantum Leap: Atomic electron transition or similar transitions between quantum states, which are scientific phenomena.
  • Star Trek: Voyager episodes:
    • "Persistence of Vision": The phenomenon by which an image is retained on the human retina for approximately 1/24th of a second after we see it (which makes movies possible).
    • "Coda": The concluding passage of a piece of music, typically forming an addition to the basic structure.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episodes:
    • "Probable Cause": What law enforcement in the U.S. must demonstrate to legally search something under most circumstances, per the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution.
    • "Rules of Engagement": The conditions under which military forces may use force towards the enemy, and what degree of force they may use.
  • As a Government Procedural, The West Wing has several such episode titles:
    • The series' name itself, referring to the section of the White House that holds the offices of the President and aides and, less literally, refers to the top of the executive branch of the United States government. The eastern part is where the First Family lives.
    • "Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc": Latin for "after it, therefore because of it", it's the formal term for the logical fallacy of False Cause. CJ makes this mistake in thinking Bartlet had lost Texas in their previous presidential campaign because he made fun of cowboy hats.
    • "He Shall, From Time To Time": Taken from Article II, Section 3 of the US Constitution which requires the President to give a State of the Union update to Congress.
    • "Take Out the Trash Day": Refers to a White House practice of releasing as many otherwise unrelated or unremarkable stories as possible on Fridays in order to release unfavorable news with as little fanfare as possible.
    • "Mandatory Minimums": Legally-required minimum sentences for those convicted of using crack cocaine, which are higher than that for regular cocaine users.
    • "The Lame Duck Congress": A lame duck refers to any situation where the current office holder (or holders, in the case of much of Congress) still convenes and does business when their successor(s) have already been selected and will enter office at a set future date. In the case of Congress, this time period will be approximately seven weeks between elections in early November and the first working day of next January when the newly elected members of Congress are sworn into office.
    • "Shibboleth": a word or phrase that acts like a Trust Password or Something Only They Would Say that provides proof that the person speaking it is indeed who they claim to be.
    • "The Stackhouse Filibuster": Refers to the act of a senator (in this case, Senator Stackhouse of Minnesota) to talk and talk and talk to indefinitely delay any and all proceedings in the US Senate as long as they can continue to talk about anything, in opposition to a bill that otherwise seems certain to pass. (Note that this procedure has been changed since the episode was released in 2000 so that actually talking for hours is no longer required.)
    • "Ways and Means": Refers to the United States House Committee on Ways and Means, the House committee responsible for reviewing and making changes to the federal budget. It is considered one of if not the most powerful and prestigious House committee to be on.
    • "H. Con-172": The in-universe name of the joint Congressional resolution censuring President Bartlet for the MS scandal and him lying about it.
    • "Posse Comitatus": Refers to the Posse Comitatus Act, which limits the ability of the federal government to use Yanks with Tanks in enacting and enforcing domestic policies within the United States.
    • "The Red Mass": a Catholic mass specifically for those in the legal profession.
    • "Swiss Diplomacy": Shorthand for the protecting power system in place when two countries that don't have formal diplomatic relations with one another for political reasons can use a third country as an intermediary to send messages. Switzerland's long-standing neutrality in global affairs makes it a popular choice to be such an intermediary, such as for the Ayatollah of Iran wanting to send his son to the United States for a life-saving surgery.
    • "Guns Not Butter": refers to the simplified macroeconomic model that governments facing in what to spend on.
    • "Twenty Five": Refers to the 25th Amendment of the US Constitution which specifies what happens if the President is incapacitated or otherwise unable to carry out his job. It's necessitated here when Zoey Bartlet is kidnapped and leaves the President distraught, whereupon he invokes the amendment and steps out of power until the crisis is resolved. With the Vice Presidency vacant due to resignation, Republican House Speaker Walken becomes Acting President.
    • "7A WF 83429": Not a term in itself, but the case file number of a kidnapping. CJ uses it to downplay the fact that this particular case is the kidnapping of Zoey Bartlet.
    • "Separation of Powers": Refers to the concept in political science that the branches of government (legislative, executive, judicial) ought to be kept separate with their respective powers.
    • "The Benign Prerogative": Term used by Alexander Hamilton in the Federalist Papers to describe what the powers of the President ought to be.
    • "NSF Thurmont": Official military name of the presidential retreat at Camp David.
    • "The Hubbert Peak": the point in which oil production of a given region (or the world as a whole) will reach its all-time high, after which it will gradually decline from and never reach again.
    • "The Dover Test": Informal term for gauging how strong the American public's support for an overseas military action is when American soldiers start dying and returning home in flag-draped caskets — the vast majority have historically arrived back in the United States at Dover Air Force Base to media cameras, as the US military's main mortuary is located there.
    • "Impact Winter": A hypothesized period of extreme cold across the Earth caused by the kick up of dust and other debris due to a strike by a comet or asteroid.
    • "Opposition Research": Research performed on an opponent, often in a campaign for political office, to find negative or otherwise politically damaging details to attack them with.
    • "King Corn": Short description of how important corn production is to Iowa, a state traditionally one of the first to hold presidential caucuses and as such highly important for potential candidates to win a major party's nomination.
    • "Internal Displacement": Refers to the forced movement of people within the borders of their own country in order to escape a calamity of some kind like a war — they'd be refugees if it weren't for the fact that they have not crossed into another country.
    • "Institutional Memory": Refers to the collective ability of an organization or subsection of it to retain the skills and knowledge of prior times that would be helpful in the present. Institutional memory is naturally lost gradually as the people who were in them move out and take their skills and knowledge with them, whether by retirement, death, new employment elsewhere, or other reasons.

  • Blast Radius by Pepper Coyote: The distance in a circle affected by the explosion of a bomb. Serves as a Shout-Out to the below mentioned Fallout series.
  • The Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd: Refers literally to the hemisphere of the Moon that is not currently lit by the sun, or figuratively to the "far side": the hemisphere that is permanently turned away from Earth.
  • Albedo 0.39: Percentage of light the Earth reflects into space.
  • Synchronicity by The Police: In Jungian psychoanalysis, the possibility that two apparently coincident contemporaneous occurrences can hold some deeper meaning.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Eclipse Phase: The period between when a virus enters a cell, and when the cell is completely taken over by the virus.
  • Shadowrun adventure Total Eclipse: An astronomical event that occurs when a celestial object is temporarily obscured, either by passing into the shadow of another body or by having another body pass between it and the viewer.

    Video Games 
  • Code 7 is not itself a terminology title, instead being named after something in the game. However, the titles of the episodes do follow this trope, since they're all terms used in computing: Allocation, Threading, Memory, Backdoor and Permutation.
  • Dead Space: Air that is inhaled by the body in breathing, but does not take part in gas exchange.
  • Fallout: The residual radiation hazard from a nuclear explosion.
  • Half-Life: The amount of time it takes for half of a given substance with a limited lifespan to decay (typically used for radioactive decay).
    The original Half-Life also uses this for its expansions specifically with physics related terms, although it does manage to make a Multiple Reference Pun out of them sometimes;
    • Blue Shift: Both a reference to the effect the Doppler shift has on light being emitted from objects approaching you, and the name of the work shift that falls under Barney's duties.
    • Opposing Force is a two-fer: a reference to Newton's laws, and to an "opposing force" used in military simulations.
    • Half-Life 2's soundtrack titles also contain a few instances: "CP Violation" (also a reference to the in-game Civil Protection police force), "Calabi-Yau Model", "Broken Symmetry", "Kaon", "LG Orbifold", "Dark Energy".
  • Mass Effect. Though the scientific term is fictional, the tone is unmistakable, especially since said term is named after a real though largely unrelated one ("mass defect", the incredibly small loss of mass lost when a process converts some of a mass to energy).
  • Singularity: A point at which a given mathematical object is not defined or not well-behaved, for example infinite or not differentiable.
  • Grand Theft Auto: The legal term for the theft of a motor vehicle in some jurisdictions (also used as a film title).

    Real Life 
  • Several brands of cars are named after scientific terms: the Laser, the Proton, Nissan Pulsar etc.