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Usually, the Trope Namer for a trope provides the one codifying example to define them all. Sometimes, however, a trope is named after something that isn't itself a good example of the trope — or isn't an instance of the trope at all. Sometimes the quote sounds nice but it is in the wrong context. Oftentimes the trope is a variation on another trope and receives a name based on it.

Be particularly careful when linking to such trope pages, because they might not be what they sound like at first glance. (Obviously, any YMMV entry with a specific Trope Namer could be an example in the eyes of some viewers but not others; and some have actually been renamed because of it.)

Not to be confused with Just for Pun or Snowclone titles, although this is often caused by snowcloning the name of another trope. Also not to be confused with works that seem like the Trope Namer, but aren't really (Fur and Loathing was not named after the CSI episode, nor was Determinator named from one of Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film For Theaters' Fake.com Endings).

Then there are the tropes named after lines of dialogue that the Trope Namer never actually said.

Contrast Self-Demonstrating Article and This Trope Name References Itself. Compare Defied Trope and Non-Indicative Name. Also see This Image Is Not an Example. Is similar to Dead Unicorn Trope in the sense that both are about believing a certain trope is more prevalent than it really is, but is distinct in that these tropes have one specific moment that does not follow.

Oh, and don't bother listing this page itself, as then it would no longer belong (due to Russell's paradox).


Tropes:

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    Actual non-example trope namers 
  • Above the Influence — A character refuses to accept the advances of another character who is not fit to consent, such as a state of intoxication. The American campaign of the same name is instead encouraging the viewers to stay off drugs.
  • Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder — A character moves on after being separated from their spouse. The Trope Namer is King's Quest V: Absence Makes the Heart Go Yonder!, in which the protagonist King Graham's family is kidnapped and he's not moving on — "going yonder" for him means setting out to rescue them.
  • Acquitted Too Late — A character is executed and then found to be not guilty after the fact. The Trope Namer is Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None, in which the phrase "acquitted too late" refers not to a character who was executed, but rather one who was murdered — one of the Ten Little Murder Victims must be the killer, so being a victim is an "acquittal" of sorts. And even then, the killer fakes his death to deflect suspicion, hence why "and then there were none".
  • Aliens of London — Aliens who speak English do so with a distinctive accent for no good reason. The Trope Namer is the Doctor Who episode "Aliens of London", where the aliens in question are speaking in distinctive British accents for good reason — they're in Human Disguise as British government officials. Interestingly, this incarnation of the Doctor (as portrayed by Christopher Eccleston) fits the trope himself with his distinctive non-London accent.
  • And Some Other Stuff — A work describes how to make something dangerous, but avoids listing a key ingredient to prevent impressionable viewers from making it themselves. The Trope Namer is Burn Notice, which typically did include full recipes for its dangerous things — in this case, the character is withholding ingredients from another character, and the show did it because there are no ingredients that one could add to create an explosion as big as we saw.
  • Another Side, Another Story — Playing the game from the perspective of the other side, and getting a different story. The Trope Namer is Kingdom Hearts, but it's a secret movie that plays after beating the game with certain criteria fulfilled, so it's not strictly "another story" so much as a Sequel Hook.
  • Art Attacker — Using art as a weapon. The Trope Namer is Art Attack, which was a British children's art show in which nobody weaponized the art; the trope was just a Pun on the show's name.
  • Baby Don't Got Back — A character with a small rear end. The name comes from Sir Mix-A-Lot's smash hit "Baby Got Back", which is about a character with a large rear end — as he famously sang, he likes big butts and he cannot lie.
  • Bat Out of Hell — The Trope Namer is the Meat Loaf album of the same name, which uses the term metaphorically (although it does feature a big bat on the cover). The trope itself uses the term literally to refer to giant demonic bats.
  • Bayonet Ya — The trope is about literal bayonets — a blade attached to the end of a firearm so that you can use it even if you run out to ammunition. The trope's name is a pun on Bayonetta, whose protagonist has a wide range of weapons but not any actual bayonets.
  • Bears Are Bad News — The trope is about dangerous bears. The name is a pun on The Bad News Bears, who are not literal bears but a little league baseball team trying to evoke that imagery.
  • Bits of Me Keep Passing Out — Body parts fall asleep. The Trope Namer is The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, whose protagonist uses the phrase to describe his general sense of feeling like crap after his first space travel experience rather than any specific body part falling asleep (although the use of the Infinite Improbability Drive shortly thereafter does make some of them temporarily disappear or change size).
  • Black Dude Dies First — The trope is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. The Trope Namer is Evolution, in which a black character says this line as a Genre Savvy excuse not to do something dangerous — and this is why he survives.
  • Black Metal — An extreme subgenre of Heavy Metal, named after a song by Venom which certainly was influential on the genre but in itself is much closer to Thrash Metal.
  • Blinded by the Light — The Trope Namer is a song by Bruce Springsteen, which uses the term metaphorically. The trope itself uses the term literally to refer to blinding an opponent with bright lights for a combative advantage.
  • Blithe Spirit — An inspiring force upset the stuffy old status quo for the better. The name comes from a line in Percy Bysshe Shelley's poem "To a Skylark", which later supplied its name to a play by Noël Coward, neither of which are really about the trope.
  • Blow You Away — The trope is about wind-based Elemental Powers, but it draws its name from a common figure of speech referring to being very impressed by something.
  • Breakaway Pop Hit — A song that's hugely popular coming from a movie no one remembers. The Trope Namer is the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, in which Anya notes that her song averted the trope.
  • Brilliant, but Lazy — The trope is about what it says. The Trope Namer is Spider-Man, whose protagonist is described as such by those who note his intelligence and his poor school performance — except his poor grades are not from laziness, but rather from devoting more time to being a superhero than to studying. The exact phrasing comes from the movie Spider-Man 2, and in that case it's the villain Doc Ock seeing Spider-Man unmask himself and giving a wry Ironic Echo of his earlier assessment of Peter.
  • Brooklyn Rage — A violent New Yorker, often from the outer boroughs like Brooklyn. The Trope Namer is Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, which is making fun of the English dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! giving Joey a random Brooklyn accent; while the Abridged version of Joey does exhibit occasional violent tendencies, he's explicitly not from New York and just has an Unexplained Accent for Rule of Funny. (In context, "Brooklyn rage!" is really a Forced Meme based on said accent.)
  • Cannot Tell a Lie — A character is physically incapable of lying. The Trope Namer is Mason Locke Weems' (likely apocryphal) story about a young George Washington, who was perfectly capable of telling a lie but honorably chose not to when confronted about his misbehavior.
  • Carry a Big Stick — A large, blunt objects used as a weapon. The Trope Namer is a quotation from Theodore Roosevelt which was used as a metaphor for Gunboat Diplomacy: "Speak softly, and carry a big stick; you will go far."
  • Catapult to Glory — A character launches from a siege weapon for a surprise attack. The Trope Namer is the Darwin Awards, which is actually describing someone who died in an ill-conceived Tree Buchet attempt.
  • Cat Concerto — Cats singing (or rather yowling) on the back fence. The Trope Namer is the Tom and Jerry cartoon "The Cat Concerto", in which the cat isn't singing at all but rather playing a piano. Which makes sense; in Classical Music, that's what a concerto is — not a sung piece, but an instrumental solo with orchestral accompaniment.
  • Caught Up in the Rapture — The trope is about Christian eschatology, in which The End of the World as We Know It is imminent but the good believers are beamed up to Heaven beforehand. The Trope Namer is a song by Anita Baker, which uses the Christian imagery as a metaphor but is otherwise a traditional love song.
  • Chained Heat — Diametrically opposed characters are shackled together. The Trope Namer is a film of the same name which is actually just a Les Yay-filled Exploitation Film about a women's prison.
  • Charlie Brown from Outta Town — A Wrestling Trope in which a face who has been exiled returns with a Paper-Thin Disguise. The Trope Namer is the Peanuts character Charlie Brown, who otherwise has nothing to do with the trope; the name is just an evocative phrase commonly used among wrestling fans.
  • A Child Shall Lead Them — A minor is in a position of great authority. The Trope Namer is the Bible verse Isaiah 11:6, which uses a small child as a metaphor — it's describing a world so peaceful that it wouldn't fall apart even if led by a small child.
  • Church Militant — A church engages in active warfare, with lots of weapons. It's named after a common phrase used in Catholicism, which is actually about spiritual warfare.
  • Clothes Make the Superman — A superhero derives his powers from his clothes. The Trope Namer is Superman, who doesn't draw his powers this way; "Superman" is just a great poetic shorthand for "superhero".
  • Cloudcuckooland — An odd place, where you might find a Cloudcuckoolander. The Trope Namer is Aristophanes's play The Birds; it's a translation of the term "Nephelokokkygia", and it's not an odd place, but rather a fictional Utopia.
  • Complete Monster — A trope with a strict definition, which its Trope Namer doesn't meet. The term was coined by Stephen King in his 1981 Book on Trope Danse Macabre to describe Herbie Satten, a conceited baseball player from the EC Comics strip "Foul Play!", who poisons an opponent to win a game. However, he fails the strict definition for two reasons: first, this act, while heinous, is a single act, whereas a Complete Monster displays a pattern of such acts (all Herbie does is cross the Moral Event Horizon); and second, his next opponents murder him in a Vigilante Execution and use his body parts for a grotesque ball game, whereas a Complete Monster must be clearly more heinous than every other character. Herbie's not a Complete Monster; he's just a Hate Sink.
  • Crocodile Tears — Feigned crying for the purpose of emotional manipulation. The name is a common idiom that derives from the idea that crocodiles don't cry because they're sad — which is true, but not because they're being emotionally manipulative; that's just the only way they can clean their eyes.
  • Crying a River — Characters cry so hard that they cause flooding. The name is a common idiom for excessive crying which doesn't happen literally.
  • Cue the Sun — A symbolically positive sunrise. The Trope Namer is The Truman Show, in which it's meant literally — as part of the "Truman Show" Plot, the directors have to literally cue the sun to start the day in the artificial town.
  • Daydream Believer — A character believes fictional stories are true. The Trope Namer is a song of that name by The Monkees, which is about a singer trying to cheer up a teenaged girl who once idolized him but now doesn't.
  • Day of the Jackboot — A totalitarian regime takes over. The Trope Namer is The Day of the Jackal, which is about an assassination attempt against French President Charles de Gaulle in revenge for ending the Algerian War — political and anti-democratic, but not necessarily with the aim of installing a totalitarian regime. It's a pun on the work combined with the slang term "jackbooted thugs" coined by Right Wing Militia Fanatics to describe government agents whom they think are trying to install a totalitarian regime.
  • Days of Future Past — A future with historical elements. The Trope Namer is the X-Men comic of the same name (and its subsequent film adaptation), which is actually about travelling to the past to prevent a Bad Future.
  • Death of a Thousand Cuts — A weapon or strategy defeats an opponent with a large number of weak attacks. The term comes from a translation of the Chinese term lingchi, an ancient execution method in which the victim's body is slowly dismembered over a long period of time.
  • Deliver Us from Evil — A Heel–Face Turn caused by having a baby. The name comes from a line in the Lord's Prayer, which is just about being rescued from evil without the pun on "delivering" a baby.
  • Dem Bones — The trope is about animate skeletons. The Trope Namer is a folk song of the same name about the story of the Valley of the Dry Bones in the Biblical Book of Ezekiel, in which the skeletons in question are immediately given flesh and souls once they're reanimated.
  • Died in Your Arms Tonight — A character dies in another character's arms. The Trope Namer is a song by Cutting Crew which is about something completely different — in this case, "died" is an Unusual Euphemism for having an orgasm (although there is a cover version that does use the term in the sense of the trope).
  • Different for Girls — A gender-bent character comes to terms with what's different about being a girl. The Trope Namer is a song of that name by Joe Jackson, which is about how dating and love are different for girls and has nothing to do with gender-bending.
  • Double Reverse Quadruple Agent — A character has multiple conflicting allegiances. The Trope Namer is Team Fortress 2, which uses the term to describe the Spy; but this level of complicated espionage isn't technically possible in the game (where teammates are Friendly Fireproof), and in supplemental material every instance of the Spy is definitely loyal to his own team.
  • Drugs Are Bad — A Stock Aesop in which drugs have no positive use whatsoever. The Trope Namer is South Park, in which it's an occasional Catchphrase and almost always played as a Spoof Aesop; if the show has any real Aesop to tell, it's that drug addiction is caused by external factors and can only be fought by identifying and helping people particularly susceptible to addiction.
  • El Spanish "-o" — English words vaguely changed to make them sound like Spanish. The Trope Namer is the El Producto brand of cigars, which sounds like this trope but is grammatically correct Spanish.
  • Enemy Within — An internal struggle with an evil entity. The Trope Namer is the Star Trek: The Original Series episode of the same name, which is actually about a Literal Split Personality.
  • Everybody Must Get Stoned — Almost all the characters are taking mind-altering substances. The Trope Namer is a lyric from Bob Dylan's song "Rainy Day Woman #12 and #35", which is not actually about mind-altering substances (despite a huge Misaimed Fandom thinking so).
  • Evil Is One Big, Happy Family — All the villains get along with each other. The Trope Namer is The Order of the Stick, where it's spoken sarcastically by a villain who's annoyed at an underling thinking it's true.
  • Excellent Judge of Character — The trope is exactly what it means. The Trope Namer is Aladdin, where the Sultan uses the phrase to describe himself — except he's actually a Horrible Judge of Character.
  • Excessive Evil Eyeshadow — Villains tend to wear obscene amounts of eyeshadow. The Trope Namer is the Discworld book Wyrd Sisters, where the eyeshadow is not worn by a villain but rather by a kind-hearted witch who only wears it when she wants to look scary like a typical witch.
  • Eye of Newt — Unusual ingredients in magical recipes, often involving animal parts. The Trope Namer is Macbeth, where "eye of newt" is indeed one of the ingredients in the witches' brew, which all had names like this — except these were all folk names for common herbs. "Eye of newt" itself refers to mustard seed.
  • Fantastic Foxes — Foxes from mythology. The Trope Namer is Fantastic Mr. Fox, who isn't a mythological fox; just an ordinary Funny Animal.
  • Fearful Symmetry — A battle whose participants are doing the exact same thing, so it looks like a mirror image. The Trope Namer is a line from William Blake's poem "The Tyger", which is much more metaphorical and has nothing to do with the trope.
  • Finger Poke of Doom — An attack that looks weak but is actually incredibly powerful. The Trope Namer is the Fan Nickname for an incident on WCW Monday Nitro in which Hollywood Hogan won a match against Kevin Nash almost entirely by poking him — while it could be a straight example within the confines of Kayfabe, outside of that everyone knew that Nash was basically Throwing the Fight.
  • Flash Sideways — A character has a vision not of the past or the future, but the present in an Alternate Universe. The Trope Namer is a common description of the last season of Lost, which is kind of the Trope Codifier but not actually an example because the "alternate timeline" turned out to be the afterlife.
  • Florence Nightingale Effect — A nurse falls in love with their patient. The Trope Namer is the famous nurse Florence Nightingale, who never did this to anyone; she was just a byword for a nurse. It's not our fault; the psychologists who named the phenomenon had really Small Reference Pools.
  • Foregone Conclusion — The audience knows from the beginning how a story will end. The Trope Namer is Othello, in which Iago uses the term to say You Are Too Late because something has already happened.
  • Free-Range Children — Kids can wander around anywhere with little to no adult supervision. The Trope Namer is The Simpsons, and specifically the "Treehouse Of Horror V" segment "Nightmare Cafeteria", in which "free-range" is used in its meat-eating context; the kids were for eating later.
  • Freudian Excuse — A villain blames their villainy on childhood tragedy. The name comes from psychologist Sigmund Freud, who made a name for himself on analyzing childhood and its effect on adulthood. But he never went so far as to suggest that an unhappy or abusive childhood would turn someone evil, or that anyone would or should use it as an excuse for their actions.
  • Future Imperfect — People from the future have incorrect ideas about the past. The Trope Namer is the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode of the same name, in which Riker winds up in an illusory vision of his future life, which is "imperfect" in the sense that it's not convincing enough to fool him.
  • Game-Over Man — A Video Game Trope in which character acknowledges your death on the Game Over screen. The Trope Namer is Aliens, which uses the line for a character panicking in fear and has nothing to do with video games.
  • Girl Friday — A very competent Always Female assistant. The Trope Namer is the Robinson Crusoe character Friday, who's actually male. (The exact phrase "Girl Friday" is the name of a 1994 TV movie and a song by the Beat Crusaders, but neither of those are examples either.)
  • Goddamned Bats — Weak but annoying video game enemies. The Trope Namer is Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, which discusses Gonzo being attacked by imaginary bats as part of a drug-induced haze and has nothing to do with video games.
  • Goggles Do Nothing — Goggles used only as an accessory, not for protecting the eyes. The Trope Namer is a memetic line from The Simpsons, in which the Rainier Wolfcastle did try to use the goggles for eye protection only to find that they weren't quite enough.
  • Got the Whole World in My Hand — A common logo among villains, depicting a hand holding the world. The Trope Namer is the spiritual children's song "He's Got the Whole World in His Hands", referring to God and how he keeps the world under control.
  • Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress — Gravity isn't working the way it's supposed to. The Trope Namer is The Tick, in which the title character is complaining about gravity working exactly as it's supposed to — just not to his advantage. (Good thing he's Nigh-Invulnerable.)
  • Great Balls of Fire! — Hard rock musicians relying heavily on Impressive Pyrotechnics and other theatrics. The Trope Namer is the Jerry Lee Lewis song of the same name, which is in an entirely different genre. Interestingly, the song also lends its name to a biopic about Lewis which depicts him kind of partaking in the trope by setting his piano on fire, but in real life Lewis claimed he never did that.
  • Grimmification — Taking a Bowdlerised story and going way in the other direction to make it Darker and Edgier. The Trope Namer is The Brothers Grimm, who picked up a reputation over the years for grimdark Fairy Tales — except they actually Bowdlerised their stories themselves, and the originals were even darker (and sexier and more violent).
  • Half the Man He Used to Be — The Trope Namer is a lyric from The Beatles song "Yesterday", which uses the term metaphorically. The trope uses the term literally to refer to people being cut in half.
  • Happy Harlequin Hat — The "coxcomb", or the classic "jester hat" with bells on it. The Trope Namer is the character Harlequin from Commedia dell'Arte, who never actually wore this hat. (Most Tropers are more familiar with Comic Books than Renaissance theatre, so they probably think the Trope Namer is the Batman villain Harley Quinn, who fits the trope perfectly.)
  • Having a Blast — Explosion-based elemental powers. The name is a common idiom that just refers to having a great time.
  • He-Man Woman Hater — Grown men who dislike women. The Trope Namer is The Little Rascals, whose protagonists are little kids; while some of them do hold such opinions, that falls instead under Girls Have Cooties.
  • Heads I Win, Tails You Lose — The Trope Namer is item 35 on The Grand List of Console Role Playing Game Clichés, referring to a boss who doesn't die even though you beat it. The trope itself goes even further; the boss not only doesn't die, but it turns around and defeats the player. Both of these contrast with Hopeless Boss Fight, as losing to the boss in the battle itself still means Game Over.
  • Heal Thyself — Using a Healing Factor on oneself. The name comes from a Biblical quote about how doctors can't heal themselves.
  • Horse of a Different Color — Non-horse animals used as horses. The name comes from an idiom meaning "another matter entirely".
  • Humanity Is Superior — Humanity's Hat is being the best. The Trope Namer is a line from Farscape, spoken by a character who doesn't really believe it (and has no reason to in the setting); he's just taunting someone from another species. (And he was also crazy at the time.)
  • Hyde Plays Jekyll — A Jekyll & Hyde pairing in which one personality pretends to be the other. The trope is named after The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde but never appeared in the book; Jekyll & Hyde are just a longstanding shorthand for this sort of personality split.
  • The Hyena — The trope is not about literal hyenas, but rather a character who laughs at everything. The name comes from a popular conception of a hyena's barking as sounding like laughter, but it's not actually laughter.
  • I Am What I Am — A character learns to accept who they are. The Trope Namer is The Bible, in which God utters these words in the context of giving His name (or something like it).
  • I Believe I Can Fly — The Trope Namer is a song by R. Kelly of the same name which uses it as a metaphor for how it feels to fall in love. The trope itself uses the term literally to describe settings where every superhero seems to know how to fly.
  • The Igor — A Sycophantic Servant to a Mad Scientist, often short, not technically inclined, and a hunchback, often a sendup of the assistant of Dr. Frankenstein, the putative Trope Namer. However, there is no such character in the original book, and while such a character does exist in the 1931 film adaptation (and is pretty much the Trope Maker), his name was "Fritz". The name "Ygor" was used for a assistant (portrayed by Bela Lugosi) from the third sequel Son of Frankenstein, who otherwise didn't fit the trope.
  • In the Hood — Wearing a hood to conceal one's identity. The name comes from a phrase used to describe being in "the 'hood" — "'hood" being short for "neighborhood" and shorthand for the urban ghettoes that lend the name to the Hood Film genre. (Although it might be an example if a gangster is using a hoodie like this.)
  • Insane Troll Logic — An argument uses bizarre and nonsensical reasoning, often done deliberately by a Troll. The Trope Namer is Buffy the Vampire Slayer, which used the term to refer to actual trolls, as a means of mocking them and their diminished capacity for logical reasoning.
  • I Reject Your Reality — A character dismisses facts they don't agree with. The Trope Namer — shortened from the line "I reject your reality and substitute my own!" — is The Dungeonmaster, but in that case it was used legitimately, in response to the villain threatening to destroy the protagonist "in a future reality". However, the phrase was popularized by the Mythbusters' Adam Savage, who was definitely using it in the sense of the trope.
  • Isn't It Ironic? — A work uses a song without realizing the implications of it, often because they weren't paying attention to the lyrics (and missed an Irony therein). The Trope Namer is a song by Alanis Morissette of the same name which is famous for not having any examples of irony in it.
  • Istanbul (Not Constantinople) — An Alternate History work renames Real Life places to reflect changes in the timeline. The Trope Namer is a song by the Four Lads of that name (made famous by They Might Be Giants) which isn't about Alternate History at all; in our own timeline, the city of Constantinople was renamed Istanbul in 1930.
  • It's Raining Men — A large number of people fall from the sky at once, usually paratroopers. The Trope Namer is a song of that name by the Weather Girls, which has a lot more to do with the sudden appearance of a lot of hunky men than the fact that they're coming out of the sky. (The music video has all of two men actually floating down from the sky — on umbrellas.)
  • Jerkass — A character so unpleasant that it's unrealistic for anyone to want to interact with them. The Trope Namer is The Simpsons episode "The Joy of Sect", where the word is coined by Homer to shout at someone in his car's path. Fans would later use the word to describe Homer himself, coining the term "Jerkass Homer" to refer specifically to his increasingly selfish characterization (which, coincidentally enough, started right around that episode).
  • Join or Die — A villainous organizations kills anyone who doesn't join them. The Trope Namer is Benjamin Franklin's political cartoon depicting the individual fledgling United States; in that context, it wasn't that the States would kill those who didn't join, but rather that they would die on their own without joining.
  • Kill It with Fire — The trope is about what the name says. The name comes from an Internet meme which wasn't about literal fire; it referred to deleting computer files, images, or articles.
  • Knight Templar — A villain who thinks they're a hero. The Trope Namer is The Knights Templar, who were never strictly villains; they just got that reputation thanks to propaganda of the time.
  • Know-Nothing Know-It-All — An idiot who thinks they're smart. The Trope Namer is The Simpsons episode "Lisa the Vegetarian", where Homer throws the phrase at Lisa as an insult; she's not an example because while she is pretty full of herself, she's genuinely smart, meaning she's an authentic Insufferable Genius.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen — Combatants lay down ground rules before fighting. The Trope Namer is Street Fighter III character Dudley, who offers this line but no actual ground rules, and very much does not fight like a gentleman.
  • Like a Surgeon — Non-surgery situations treated like surgery for comedic effect. The Trope Namer is "Weird Al" Yankovic's song of the same name, itself a parody of Madonna's "Like a Virgin" and about a real surgeon (but one who probably shouldn't have a medical license).
  • The Living Dead — A Special Effect Failure reveals that a corpse is being played by a live person. The Trope Namer is the Living Dead Series, which uses the term to refer to zombies in general.
  • Lolicon and Shotacon — The trope is about paedophilia in fiction, particularly in Japanese works that themselves seek to sexualise minors. There are two Trope Namers: the title character of Lolita for girls, and Shotaro Kaneda from Gigantor for boys. Neither are strictly speaking examples; Shotaro isn't sexualised at all, while Lolita shouldn't be sexualised because the book is about the Unreliable Narrator-slash-Villain Protagonist's attraction to her. The fact that enough people thought otherwise to use those characters for their Fan Speak terms shows why the trope is so controversial. (If you're wondering, the "con" bit is a Japanese slang term for "complex".)
  • Lucky Charms Title — A work's title uses non-alphanumeric symbols. The Trope Namer is the Lucky Charms cereal brand, whose own name is spelled entirely with letters; it's the cereal's marshmallow shapes that resemble the kind of symbols the trope contemplates.
  • Ludicrous Speed — Speed so fast, it drives you ludicrous. The Trope Namer is Spaceballs, which heavily implies that you'd already have to be ludicrous to want to go that fast, and in which the characters suffer no lasting side effects (aside from some Amusing Injuries).
  • Machine Empathy — Someone with enough technical knowledge to know a machine's problems by feel. The Trope Namer is Paranoia, which uses the term to refer to supernatural control of machines — something we call Technopathy.
  • The Mad Hatter — A madman who acknowledges, accepts, and embraces his madness. The Trope Namer is the character of that name from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, who isn't really an example because while he's plenty mad, he's hardly madder than anyone else in Wonderland. (If the book has an example at all, it's the Cheshire Cat.)
  • Magic Bus — A vehicle (often, but not necessarily, a bus) that can do amazing things for no adequately explained reason. The Trope Namer is a song by that name by The Who, which is about an ordinary bus that's metaphorically magical.
  • Magnificent Bastard — A particularly cunning, dedicated, and charming villain. The Trope Namer is Patton, in which U.S. Army General George S. Patton uses the term to refer to his German counterpart Erwin Rommel. It's not an example because while Patton does consider Rommel a Worthy Opponent, Rommel has so little of a role in the movie that there's no indication that he fits the full character archetype.
  • Man, I Feel Like a Woman — The trope is named after a song by Shania Twain, which is about female independence. The trope itself uses the phrase literally to refer to a male character becoming a woman and reacting by feeling up their new body.
  • Mary Sue — The trope has a fiendishly complex definition (the page lists 14 subtropes and just as many alternative definitions), but at its most basic it's a poorly written Fan Fic character, often a self insert, who is the center of the story's universe and makes the story much worse for it. The Trope Namer is the protagonist of the Star Trek fanfic A Trekkie's Tale, which was a parody written at a time when fans were long familiar with the phenomenon (particularly the variety we call a Mary Sue Classic). Mary Sue herself would thus be an example of a Parody Sue and not strictly a "Mary Sue".
  • The Masochism Tango — Emotional abuse and dysfunction in an unhappy relationship between people ill-suited to each other. The Trope Namer is a song by Tom Lehrer which is about a man being physically tortured by his lover — except they really do love each other and are doing it consensually, they're just into a particularly violent brand of BDSM.
  • Mexican Standoff — Two or more people are pointing weapons at each other such that if one fires, they all die. The name comes from a term coined by a 19th-century newspaper as a metaphor to describe a political struggle for power in Mexico; it originally said nothing about weapons.
  • Missed Him by That Much — Two characters manage to miss meeting each other by an improbably small margin. The Trope Namer is Get Smart, where "Missed it by that much!" was one of the protagonist's Catch Phrases; while he used it in a variety of situations, the sense of the trope never happened to him (although if it did, you can bet he'd say the line).
  • Mister Big — A villain who's short but nonetheless in charge. The Trope Namer is the villain of that name from the James Bond film Live and Let Die, who was never a particularly small man (and his original novel incarnation was straight-up Large and in Charge).
  • Modern Major General: Someone who despite their incompetence at their job, has numerous non-job related skills. The Major General Song from The Pirates of Penzance sounds impressive to the uninitiated, but most of the things that the Major General brags about doing are either flat-out impossible or trivially easy. To "know the Kings of England" involves his period's equivalent of a middle school education, and one can not know "every detail of Caractacus’s uniform" due to him only ever being drawn while nude.
  • Money for Nothing — Getting money but having nothing to spend it on. The Trope Namer is a song by Dire Straits, which is about a working-class man opining on how rock stars earn their income — not "nothing to spend it on", but "did nothing to earn it".
  • Most Annoying Sound — A Darth Wiki trope about particularly grating Video Game sounds. The Trope Namer is the film Dumb and Dumber, which indeed uses the term to refer to a particularly grating sound — but since it's Darth Wiki, the trope has a strict definition, and examples can only come from video games or toys.
  • My Country, Right or Wrong — A character sides with their country regardless of whether they agrees with its actions. The Trope Namer is a quote from U.S. Navy Commander Stephen Decatur — but only part of it. The full quote, which pulls itself out of the sense of the trope, is "My country, right or wrong. If right, to be kept right, and if wrong, to be set right, but always, my country!"
  • My Death Is Just the Beginning — A character, usually a villain, sacrifices themself to initiate a plan. The Trope Namer is Pious Augustus from Eternal Darkness, who's not an example because there's no plan to be had.
  • My Hero, Zero — "Zero" as a cool name for a person or thing. The Trope Namer is a song from Schoolhouse Rock!, which is about the mathematical coolness of the number itself.
  • My Horse Is a Motorbike — A modern-day motorcycle is used as a Cool Horse. The Trope Namer is a meme from Sengoku Basara, which actually refers to the opposite phenomenon — Date Masamune has a horse that he outfitted with handlebars and tailpipes to give himself a Badass Biker aesthetic.
  • My Own Grampa — The trope is named for a 1947 song by Lonzo and Oscar, which is about complicated matrimonial relations leading to a guy becoming his own step-grandfather. The trope is more literal — it's about becoming one's own biological ancestor, usually through Time Travel.
  • My Own Private "I Do" — A wedding with few to no guests, either because the participants rushed to do it or because they want to have the special moment to themselves. The name is a pun on The B-52s song "My Own Private Idaho", which doesn't have anything to do with marriage. Nor does the film that takes its name from the song.
  • The Napoleon — A short person with an equally short temper. The name comes from the psychological term "Napoleon complex" to describe aggressiveness derived from insecurity about one's height. The term in turn comes from Napoléon Bonaparte, but he's not an example because he wasn't that short; perception of his being short comes from Unit Confusion between France and England (and his tendency to surround himself with particularly tall Imperial Guardsmen).
  • Next Sunday A.D. — A story takes place in the future, but so soon that it's practically indistinguishable from the present. The name comes from the Theme Tune of Mystery Science Theater 3000, which was set in a future distant enough to find space travel and sentient robots — it was just a silly way to inexplicitly describe the show's date.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Herod — A villain fails to kill a child who's destined to defeat him. The name is a snowclone of Nice Job Breaking It, Hero with a pun on the Biblical character King Herod, who did see Jesus as a threat to his power and try to kill him as an infant (at least in some accounts), but was not himself defeated by Jesus, dying long before Jesus began his ministry.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed — An Expy or Captain Ersatz of a Real Life celebrity, as a sort of Plausible Deniability in case the celebrity complains about their portrayal. The Trope Namer is The Critic, which used the phrase in the end credits as a pun on the No Animals Were Harmed disclaimer — except the show did happily use celebrities' real names, so it was just a funny way of saying that they were being impersonated.
  • A Nuclear Error — The name comes from The Clash's "London Calling", which uses the phrase as a reference to the partial nuclear meltdown at Three Mile Island. Our use of the name is for inaccurate depiction of nuclear weapons — consider it a punnier way of saying "Artistic License — Nuclear Weapons Policy".
  • Obvious Judas — A character is revealed to be evil, but it was obvious to the audience all along. The name comes from the name "Judas" as a term for a traitor, itself derived from The Four Gospels, in which Judas Iscariot was the disciple who turned in Jesus. Except if you actually read the Gospels, Judas's betrayal is played as something of a surprise, with only minimal foreshadowing in the text. The only reason it seems obvious to us today is 2000 years of It Was His Sled.
  • One of These Doors Is Not Like the Other — A maze that can only be navigated by observing which door is subtly different from the rest. The name is a snowclone of the Sesame Street song "One of These Things Is Not Like the Others", which expressed the broad concept but was never applied to mazes or doors.
  • Only a Model — A miniature model of a structure that exists (or will exist) elsewhere. The Trope Namer is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which Patsy claims the full-sized Camelot Castle is "only a model" — but he's just Breaking the Fourth Wall. (For added irony, the "model" he's referring to is a real castle; the production couldn't afford to build an actual model.)
  • Open the Iris — Aggressively dilated irises to convey a character's emotional state, usually seen in animation. The Trope Namer is Stargate, which was not animated and used the term to refer to a Dilating Door.
  • Orcus on His Throne — A villain doesn't do anything himself to stop the heroes. The Trope Namer is Orcus, lord of the undead from Dungeons & Dragons, who is described as such in the Third Edition "Manual of the Planes". Except in-story, he's usually a very proactive villain; the manual described him this way as a way of allowing the Game Master to use the character to set up the story without him having to interact with the Player Characters.
  • Pac Man Fever — A non-video game depicts video games so shallowly, it's as if they've never advanced since Pac-Man. The Trope Namer is the 1982 music album by Buckner & Garcia, which was contemporary to the original Pac-Man and thus depicted video games as they really were at the time.
  • Paint It Black — The name comes from a song by The Rolling Stones about a man overcome with grief at his lover's death who wants to paint everything black. The trope itself is about a character changing to a black costume when they turn evil, not out of grief.
  • The Pen Is Mightier — A pen is used as an Improvised Weapon. The name comes from the idiom "the pen is mightier than the sword", which is actually about The Power of Language — words can be more powerful than weapons.
  • A Pirate 400 Years Too Late — Swashbuckling pirates operating in modern times. The Trope Namer is the Jimmy Buffett song "A Pirate Looks at 40", which is not about a swashbuckling pirate but a drug dealer who laments that he couldn't be a swashbuckling pirate because he's "200 years too late" (and now he's forty years old and wasted his life).
  • The Power of the Sun — The trope is about harnessing the literal power of the Sun. The Trope Namer is Spider-Man 2, where it doesn't refer to the Sun, but a controlled nuclear fusion reactor which was as if one could harness the Sun's power. (And some Tropers instead linked the name to the tagline of the orange juice product Sunny Delight, which is obviously not an example either.)
  • Playing with Fire — The name is an idiom for doing something risky. The trope itself uses the term literally to refer to pyrokinesis.
  • Pretend We're Dead — Named for the song by L7, the message of which is that ordinary people need to stand up to Moral Guardians and the phrase refers to people not saying anything when censorship happens. The trope is instead about living people blending in with zombies.
  • Rasputinian Death — A character is killed only after several events which should each individually be fatal. The name comes from Rasputin the Mad Monk, who was reputed to have died like this, but was actually killed with just three gunshots, the third instantly fatal. He picked up this reputation in part out of a desire to paint him as demonic.
  • Rated M for Manly — A work advertises itself by emphasizing its masculinity. The Trope Namer is Counter-Strike, and specifically the Parody Commercial for Counter-Strike: Extreme Gore Edition, which is a parody of the trope — which falls under the different trope Testosterone Poisoning.
  • The Real Remington Steele — A mysterious character's identity is revealed to be a disguise, leading the audience to think there is no such person with that identity — except the work then reveals that there is. The Trope Namer is Remington Steele, in which the protagonist — a woman in charge of a detective agency — creates a fictitious male character to be the boss (to manage her customers' chauvanistic expectations), only for a Con Man to install himself as the boss. Except it's not an example because the "boss" was never a real person; there were just two competing impostors.
  • Red Right Hand — An odd physical trait indicates that a character is evil. The Trope Namer is Paradise Lost, which used the phrase metaphorically for God and His divine punishments (which aren't actually evil).
  • Restored My Faith in Humanity — A character re-learns about humanity's inherent goodness. The Trope Namer is Akara from Diablo, who isn't referring to humanity's goodness so much as its chance of survival (what with all those demons running around).
  • Revenge of the Nerd — A nerdy character grows up to be attractive and win the girl in the end (or at least stick it to the girls who rejected him). The Trope Namer is Revenge of the Nerds, which isn't an example because the protagonists never really stop being super-nerdy (nor are they out for revenge, just surviving against an aggressive jock-laden college fraternity).
  • Ride the Lightning — The name comes from the Metallica album of the same name, which is about execution by electrocution. The trope itself takes the name more literally and is about moving with or as electricity.
  • Ring of Fire — The name comes from a song by Johnny Cash, which uses the phrase as a metaphor (in this case the danger of having an affair). The trope itself uses the term for literal rings of fire.
  • Rock Me, Amadeus! — Using a Standard Snippet of classical music, usually in something not very "classical". The Trope Namer is a song by Falco which is about classical composer Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart but doesn't actually sample his work.
  • Scandalgate — Scandals are referred to with the suffix "-gate". The name comes from the Watergate scandal that led to the resignation of Richard Nixon, in turn named after the Watergate Hotel where the minor crime took place that led to the proverbial major plot. While all examples of the trope are judged in comparison to Watergate, the Watergate scandal in itself is not an example because if it were — as That Mitchell and Webb Look would tell you — it would be called "Watergategate".
  • The Scourge of God — A serial killer starts with the guiltiest victims first. The name comes from a nickname attributed to Attila the Hun, who wasn't an example because he wasn't a serial killer, but rather an invader who killed pretty much indiscriminately. Indeed, the contemporary term the Romans used for him wasn't "the Scourge of God", but rather "the Scourge of All Lands".
  • The Scream — A character responds loudly to a situation. The Trope Namer is Edvard Munch's famous painting of the same name, but the figure it depicts isn't screaming (despite its gaping mouth), but rather reacting to someone else screaming (note how it covers its ears). And indeed, that "scream" could well be metaphorical; Munch was inspired by a personal experience of hearing an "infinite scream through nature" while walking through Oslo which gave him a strong feeling of anxiety and despair, and the work's title in German is The Scream of Nature.
  • The Shadow Knows — A disguised person's shadow reveals their true self. The name is a pun on the Catchphrase of the protagonist of The Shadow, which otherwise has nothing to do with the trope.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man — A character in a well-tailored suit. The Trope Namer is the ZZ Top song of the same name, which is about a guy who's dressed far beyond a well-tailored suit, with things like a top hat and gloves.
  • Screw the Money, I Have Rules! — A character with morals so strong, they can't be bribed. The Trope Namer is Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, spoken by the character who named the opposite trope Screw the Rules, I Have Money! — the latter is his catchphrase, he very much fits the latter trope rather than the former, and he only said the former phrase by screwing up the order.
  • Shock and Awe — The name comes from a common idiom for destroying an enemy's will to fight with massive, overwhelming force. The trope itself uses the term literally to refer to electrical Elemental Powers.
  • So Happy Together — A last happy moment between a couple before a relationship's tragic end. The name comes from the song "Happy Together" by The Turtles, which has nothing to do with a relationship ending badly; indeed, while you might hear a snippet of it when the trope is being used, it's probably being done ironically.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear — A video game character leaves the party and takes with them all the gear you equipped them with. The name is a pun on the book So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish, which has nothing to do with video games; the phrase itself is the dolphins' last message to humanity before leaving Earth.
  • Spell My Name with an S — The trope is about frequently misspelled names. The Trope Namer is the Isaac Asimov short story of the same name — while Asimov was inspired to write the story by having the trope happen to him personally, the story itself instead exemplifies For Want of a Nail and My Nayme Is.
  • The Stoic — A character who rarely, if ever, shows emotion. The name comes the Ancient Greek philosophy of stoicism, which wasn't about not showing emotions at all but just having control over them. The trope closest to the philosophy is The Spock (the Trope Namer of which is an example).
  • "Stop Having Fun" Guys — Competitive video game players who insult other players who don't play competitively. The Trope Namer is an xkcd strip where the phrase is directed against a group playing Rock Band, except there the criticism wasn't that they weren't playing competitively, but rather that they weren't playing real instruments.
  • Strong Flesh, Weak Steel — A gaming trope in which squishy organic beings are somehow harder to kill than armored equipment, usually because said squishy organic is a boss of some kind. The Trope Namer is Conan the Barbarian, where the phrase had nothing to do with video games; it was a metaphor the villain used for his subjects' devotion.
  • Suffer the Slings — The name comes from the famous "to be or not to be" soliloquy from Hamlet; it's about the metaphorical "slings and arrows of outrageous fortune". The trope itself refers to literal slings.
  • Sweet Home Alabama — A more positive portrayal than usual of the American Deep South. The Trope Namer is the song of that name by Lynyrd Skynyrd, which doesn't portray Alabama very positively (whether intentionally or not).note 
  • Sympathy for the Devil — A hero has sympathy for a villain. The Trope Namer is the song of that name by The Rolling Stones, in which Satan is completely unsympathetic and sings sarcastically about how evil he is.
  • Taste the Rainbow — A work is designed with such variety that there's something for everyone, playing on the idea of the rainbow encompassing the entire visible spectrum of colors. The name itself comes from an advertising tagline for Skittles candy, so concocted because they're multi-colored.
  • Thinking Up Portals — A character has the power to make usable portals spontaneously appear. The name comes from Portal and its memetic tagline "Thinking with Portals", but the game itself is not an example because portal creation is not an innate ability; it requires technological assistance.
  • This Is Your Premise on Drugs — Describing a work as something familiar on some kind of drug. The Trope Namer is an infamous 1987 anti-drug Public Service Announcement in which the line was "this is your brain on drugs" — and it wasn't weird, it was just a fried egg.
  • ¡Three Amigos! — A Power Trio, usually around school age, where two characters are one gender and the third is the other. The Trope Namer is the film of the same name, which is about a group of three adult guys.
  • Throw the Book at Them — The name comes from an idiom from legal proceedings, referring to prosecuting someone to the fullest possible extent. The trope itself uses the phrase literally to refer to attacking someone with a book.
  • Tom Swifty — Tagging dialogue with an adverb that's a pun on what was said. The Trope Namer is the Tom Swift series of books, which rarely did this and was a lot more famous for the Said Bookism — the phrase was inspired by parodies that took the Said Bookism to a more bizarre extent.
  • Trampled Underfoot — A character or object is crushed underfoot by a much larger character. The Trope Namer is the song of that name by Led Zeppelin, which is actually a series of automotive metaphors for sex.
  • Uncle Tomfoolery — A comically portrayed African American. The Trope Namer is Uncle Tom's Cabin, in which the protagonist is not comically portrayed. The name comes from "Uncle Tom" having entered the American lexicon as a general shorthand for a stereotypically portrayed African American; the trope is one strain, whereas the "passive figure who cooperates with the racists" is the strain that fits the Uncle Tom character more closely. (They may have been mixed up by people who haven't read the book).
  • Under the Sea — An underwater Video Game level. The Trope Namer is the song of that name from The Little Mermaid, which has nothing to do with video games (it's really more Cultural Posturing by sea creatures than anything else).
  • Unto Us a Son and Daughter Are Born — The tendency for twins born in the media to be fraternal and different sexes. The name comes from The Bible talking about The Messiah, where the line is "unto us a child is born, to us a son is given", and there are no twins to be found.
  • Vengeance Feels Empty — The trope is exactly what it means. The Trope Namer is Grand Theft Auto IV, about Niko killing Darko. But it's not really an example because it's not the act of vengeance itself that feels empty; rather, Niko feels he took the wrong kind of vengeance because the victim was a Death Seeker and he would have suffered more by being allowed to live.
  • Voice of the Legion — An evil character with a deep, reverberating voice, as if there were multiple people talking in unison. The name comes from the trope I Am Legion, which in turn comes from The Bible; a man possessed by multiple demons says the phrase to Jesus (before Jesus expels them all). However, there's no indication in the text that the man sounded as if all the demons were talking in unison.
  • The Walls Are Closing In — The name comes from the lyrics to the Linkin Park song "Crawling", a metaphor for the narrator's nervous breakdown. The trope itself uses the phrase literally for a kind of Death Trap.
  • Warp Whistle — A Video Game item that can instantly take you to one of several fixed points on the game world. The Trope Codifier is the "magic whistle" from The Legend of Zelda, but the Trope Namer is the "warp whistle" from Super Mario Bros. 3, which was a reference to the Zelda whistle but operated much more like a Warp Zone.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye — A character is killed off or otherwise removed from the work before the audience can get to know them properly. The Trope Namer is the old Irish folk song "Johnny I Hardly Knew Ye", which is about a soldier who returns home alive but so disfigured as to be virtually unrecognisable.
  • Whale Egg — An animal that does not lay eggs in Real Life does in the work. The Trope Namer is The Simpsons, in which the "whale egg" wasn't an egg at all but was misidentified as such by resident Ditz Ralph Wiggum. (That said, the show did use the trope in another episode, but with a rhino.)
  • Where Were You Last Night? — The Ankie Bagger song is about not knowing how to find an ex-lover with whom you want to reconcile. The trope is about someone who was gone for a night reappearing and garnering suspicion.
  • Who Names Their Kid "Dude"? — A character has a weird legal name, like "Dude". The Trope Namer is The Big Lebowski, in which the Lemony Narrator does muse about how weird the name is, but also knows it's not the character's legal name, which is the non-weird "Jeffrey Lebowski"; he just prefers to be called "the Dude", meaning he's Only Known by Their Nickname.
  • Who Wants to Live Forever? — When an immortal character doesn't like being immortal. The Trope Namer is Flash Gordon (1980), in which Prince Vultan says the line before going into a suicidal battle, but he's not immortal; he just figures it wouldn't be great.
  • With This Herring — A hero is expected to succeed at an adventure while badly under-equipped. The Trope Namer is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which the Knights Who Say "Ni!" challenge King Arthur to cut down the mightiest tree in the forest with a herring, but there's no expectation he will succeed; that falls under Impossible Task.
  • Xenafication — A female character becomes an Action Girl. The Trope Namer is Xena: Warrior Princess, whose title character isn't an example because she was always an Action Girl; she's just the standard by which the others are judged.
  • "X" Makes Anything Cool — Using the letter "X" on a name that normally doesn't have it will make that thing cooler. The Trope Namer is Futurama, but it's referring to the "X" making the word "extortion" cool, when that always has an "X" in it. (That exchange is also the Trope Namer for "Blackmail" Is Such an Ugly Word.)
  • You Bastard! — A character admonishes the audience for enjoying something they shouldn't. The Trope Namer is South Park, where Kyle says it every time Kenny dies; except he's not directing it at the audience, but rather the writers, for causing Kenny's death over and over again.
  • You Can't Go Home Again — The name comes from a proverb about how home can change while you're gone; you can come back, it just doesn't feel like home anymore. The trope itself means the phrase literally to refer to situations where a character can't return home at all for physical, legal, or other reasons.
  • You Have to Burn the Web — Starting a big fire with a spider web. The name is a pun on You Have to Burn the Rope, which doesn't have any spider webs in it.
  • Zettai Ryouiki — an Anime Fanspeak term for a short skirt worn with thigh-high socks, leaving a short patch of visible skin. The Trope Namer is Neon Genesis Evangelion, where the term — which literally translates to "absolute territory" — was used to refer to the AT fields. It was only among otaku culture that the phrase was repurposed to refer to the trope. Evangelion itself doesn't have any examples of the trope (at least, not in the main canon).

    Snowclones 

    Renamed off the list 
Tropes that were renamed off this list:
  • Anger Born of Worry — Originally "Fear Leads to Anger", a character fears so hard for another's safety that they present anger at their return. The former Trope Namer was The Phantom Menace, where the phrase referred to losing control of one's fears and feeling angry at the source of the fear.
  • Authority in Name Only — Originally "The King of Town", about what it means. The former Trope Namer was the King of Town from Homestar Runner, who's estabished on several occasions to have legal authority.
  • Badass Decay — Originally "Spikeification", a character becomes less badass over the course of the show. The former Trope Namer was Spike from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, who wasn't an example because he was never really badass, at least on screen — and his badass degradation had an in-story reason thanks to behavior modification treatment.
  • Bigger Is Better in Bed — Originally "Biggus Dickus", a character has a large penis and knows how to use it. The former Trope Namer was the character of that name from Monty Python's Life of Brian, who wasn't an example because there's no indication of his anatomy; he just had a Punny Name (and a Real Joke Name as it turned out).
  • Breakup Breakout — Originally "The Jannetty", an ensemble breaks up and only one (or a few) former members break out. The former Trope Namer was Marty Jannetty, tag team partner to Shawn Michaels, who wasn't an example because he never actually broke out after splitting from Michaels; it was Michaels who was the one who broke out. Jannetty was more of a Lesser Star.
  • Bystander Syndrome — Originally "Someone Else's Problem", people ignore a problem because it doesn't concern them. The Former Trope namer was Life, the Universe and Everything, where it actually referred to a Cool Ship's Weirdness Censor.
  • Coincidental Dodge — Originally "Gardener Contract", a character dodges a deadly attack they're unaware of by sheer coincidence. The former Trope Namer was Chance the Gardener from Being There, himself the former Trope Namer for Seemingly Profound Fool. He was never subject to an assassination attempt in the film; he was just the type of character to whom this might happen.
  • Creator's Apathy — Originally "They Just Didn't Care", an artist admits they don't care about their work. The former Trope Namer was the Mystery Science Theater 3000 riff of The Eye Creatures — it wasn't the work's creators explicitly admitting that they didn't care, it was the audience accusing them of not caring.
  • Creator's Culture Carryover — Used to be "We All Live in America", a work portrays a country as a lot more like the author's home than as itself. The former Trope Namer was the Rammstein song "Amerika", which was not an example because Rammstein is a German band, so it would only be an example if a non-German country looked more like Germany than itself, and the song is about how even when a country does look like itself, Eagleland Osmosis means it looks more like America all the time.
  • Down to the Last Play — Originally "The Casey Effect", the heroes win a sports game with a dramatic play at the last possible moment. The former Trope Namer was the poem Casey at the Bat, which was a pointed subversion in that the protagonists muster up a chance for their star Casey to win the game with a home run in the final inning, but he strikes out.
  • Dramatic High Perching — Originally "I Have the High Ground", a character looks cool by standing on a tall structure. The former Trope Namer was Revenge of the Sith, which used the phrase to refer to a strategic advantage in a fight from being positioned higher (even metaphorically, it's a metaphor for good triumphing over evil by having the moral high ground).
  • Failed Future Forecast — Originally "Dewey Defeats Truman", a work set 20 Minutes into the Future makes assumptions about real-world events that turn out to be false. The former name came from a famous newspaper headline which came from an early edition of a newspaper trying to predict who won a presidential election hours later and getting it wrong, which is more Assumed Win (and indeed provides the page image for that trope).
  • Formula-Breaking Episode — Originally "Something Completely Different". The former Trope Namer was a recurring line from Monty Python's Flying Circus, which used it as a transition between sketches, not to announce an episode departing from the show's formula.
  • Impersonating the Evil Twin — Originally "I Am He as You Are He", after the opening lyrics of The Beatles' "I Am the Walrus"; insofar as anyone could understand the lyrics, they weren't about impersonating anybody.
  • Informed Equipment — Originally "Fight in the Nude", Video Game equipment is not rendered on the character because of cheap graphics. The former Trope namer was Diablo, which used the term for a Self-Imposed Challenge of fighting without armor; the equipment wasn't rendered because it wasn't there.
  • Intentional Engrish for Funny — Originally "Zero Wingrish", after the memetic intro to Zero Wing, whose garbled script was the result of a "Blind Idiot" Translation and not intentional.
  • Lesser Star — Originally "The Garfunkel", an ensemble member who's superfluous and contributes little of value. The former Trope Namer was Art Garfunkel one half of Simon & Garfunkel, who very much wasn't an example because he was an integral part of the duo's harmonies and sang some of their most iconic melodies. It's just that the other half, Paul Simon, had a more successful solo career after they broke up.
  • Mighty Whitey and Mellow Yellow — Originally "Me Love You Long Time", a stereotypical romantic pairing of a tough white man and a passive Asian woman. The former Trope Namer was Full Metal Jacket, where the line is said by a prostitute propositioning a soldier in The Vietnam War; hardly a long-term relationship, and she's not interested in the soldiers for their ethnicity in any event.
  • No Delays for the Wicked — Originally "The Trains Run on Time", a villain is not affected by logistical issues. The former name came from a common saying about fascist Italian dictator Benito Mussolini, who it was said got the people on his side because he made the trains run on time. That doesn't imply he was an example, though; he had to cut through the bureaucracy. And in any event, he never really made the trains run on time.
  • Ordered to Cheat — Originally "Sweep the Leg". The former Trope Namer was The Karate Kid, in which "sweeping the leg" wasn't cheating, just cheap; in context, it was an order to Attack the Injury. The film is still an example, though, because Daniel's injury was caused by ordering the previous opponent to injure him, in spite of said opponent's protestations that he would be disqualified — and he was right.
  • Playing a Tree — Originally "You Are a Tree, Charlie Brown", after a common naming convention for the Peanuts TV specials. This never happened to Charlie Brown in any incarnation; it was just a gratuitous Trope Namer. (Maybe the association with trees came from how a Peanuts special named Aluminum Christmas Trees, but Charlie Brown never had to play one.)
  • Person as Verb — Originally "I Pulled a 'Weird Al'", but "Weird Al" Yankovic never used the trope in his music, nor did any character in any other work use his name as a verb.
  • Resignations Not Accepted — Originally "You Can Never Leave", after a lyric from The Eagles' "Hotel California". That lyric wasn't about refusing resignations, but meant more literally about physically being unable to leave the eponymous hotel.
  • Skyward Scream — Originally "The Khan", a character looks to the sky and screams while the camera films them from above. The former Trope Namer was Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, in which Kirk screams Khan's name loudly but doesn't do so using that precise presentation. It's just The Scream (and perhaps Say My Name).
  • Slow Laser — Originally "Frickin' Laser Beams", a laser weapon that's slow enough to be seen by the audience, when it should travel at light speed. The former Trope Namer was Austin Powers, which wasn't making a point about how the laser is slow enough to be seen. In fact, the line comes from Dr. Evil wanting sharks with "frickin' laser beams attached to their heads".
  • Status Quo Game Show — Originally "You Can't Win", a character participates in a game show but can't win because Status Quo Is God. The former Trope Namer was Stay Tuned, where it was the name of a Show Within a Show — except the characters are Trapped in TV Land and wound up winning anyway (or at least surviving when it wasn't expected).
  • Suddenly Always Knew That — Originally "I Know Kung Fu", a character suddenly uses an advanced skill that they've apparently always known but never mentioned because You Didn't Ask. The former Trope Namer was The Matrix, which wasn't an example because Neo didn't know Kung Fu before he said the line; he became an Instant Expert thanks to an Upgrade Artifact.
  • Three-Month-Old Newborn — Originally "Dawson Babies", from Dawson Casting, named for Dawson's Creek. Dawson Casting is where adults are cast as teenagers; "Dawson Babies" was where month-olds are cast as day-olds, which didn't happen on Dawson's Creek.
  • Translation Train Wreck — Originally "Do Not Want", a translation so bad as to be unintelligible. The former Trope Namer was Backstroke of the West, a "Blind Idiot" Translation of Revenge of the Sith; while much of the film is an example, the line "Do not want" in particular was not, because it was a translation of a Big "NO!" and at least vaguely intelligible. (That's also not what the phrase means as a meme, where it's used as a synonym for Squick.)
  • Unexplained Recovery — Originally "I Got Better", a chracter is injured or even killed but recovers offscreen for no reason. The former Trope Namer was Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which a peasant accuses a witch of turning him into a newt but sheepishly admits he "got better". It's not an example because more likely than not, the peasant was lying about having been transformed to begin with.
  • Unseen Evil — Originally "Ultimate Evil", an evil which is not shown because Nothing Is Scarier. The former Trope Namer was Star Control II, except the "Ultimate Evil" the Spathis fear is unseen because it doesn't actually exist.
  • Urban Legend of Zelda — Originally "Schala Lives", false rumors of Easter Eggs and other hidden things in Video Games. The former Trope Namer was Chrono Trigger, which wasn't an example because "Schala Lives" turned out to be true.
  • Verbal Tic — Originally "Spoon Speaker", after the odd battlecry of The Tick, which wasn't an example because he didn't randomly insert the phrase outside of a battecry context.
  • Wedding Smashers — Originally "Wedding Crashers", someone shows up to a wedding and smashes it up. The former Trope Namer was the film Wedding Crashers, but there it wasn't violent; they just wandered into weddings they weren't invited to.

    Partial credit 
Partial Credit (including cases where the trope happens, but not the way the name implies):
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore — The tendency for a Japanese work's cover or box art to be changed to be "grittier", with "angrier" characters, for release in North America. The Trope Namer is the Kirby franchise, which did this with its advertising throughout The '90s but only engaged in this with some games' box art (not starting until Kirby: Nightmare in Dream Land and phasing it out after Kirby's Return to Dream Land).
  • And I Must Scream — A character is immobilized in a Fate Worse than Death — where death is impossible. The Trope Namer is I Have No Mouth, and I Must Scream, where the narrator uses the phrase to describe his fate, which fits almost every aspect of the trope — he's immortal, blind, voiceless, trapped in a giant computer, and unable to commit suicide, but capable of limited movement.
  • Beware the Superman — A character's superpowers make the world worse. The Trope Namer is Superman,note  who has long been a benevolent character — but way back in the 1930s, in his very first appearance, he was evil (or at least very morally ambiguous).
  • Bigger Than Jesus — A famous character, often a musician, compares their popularity favorably to a religion or religious figure. The Trope Namer is John Lennon, who kind of did this, but with two twists relative to the trope. First, he actually said that The Beatles were "more popular" than Jesus. And second, it wasn't a Blasphemous Boast, but rather a lament at the zealous nature of the Beatles' massive fandom, which was on the level of a religious fervor.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment — A bizarre and Non Sequiturial scene in an otherwise ordinary work that has no bearing on the rest of the work. The Trope Namer is The Nostalgia Critic, which coined the phrase to describe the trope after a particular moment from All Dogs Go to Heaven in which a singing alligator shows up out of nowhere to perform a musical number. It's a marginal example, as while the scene is out of place and unexpected, (a) it's not that outlandish for the film, which is an animated musical about Funny Animals set in New Orleans; and (b) it gets the barest of references later, when the alligator shows up again and sings a single line from the song.
  • Big Ol' Eyebrows — A character has big eyebrows that make them look tougher, stupider, or (in the words of the Trope Namer) "110% lady-proof". The Trope Namer is the Strong Bad Email "Haircut", which does show Strong Sad wearing said eyebrows for a second (as one of several possible hypothetical "new looks"), but doesn't otherwise have any characters with eyebrows that big.
  • Brawn Hilda — A large, strong, manly, and generally not very attractive woman. The Trope Namer is Brünnhilde from The Ring of the Nibelung, who's written to actually be attractive — it's just that the ending song is so demanding on the lungs that for the most part, only large women could physically perform it, leading to that becoming the archetype for the character.
  • Brought to You by the Letter "S" — A superhero costume with letters on it. The Trope Namer is the "Letter of the Day" segment from Sesame Street, which was not nearly so restrictive and found letters in all sorts of things — but it did occasionally point them out on superhero costumes, most notably Super Grover's prominent "G".
  • The Cake Is a Lie — A reward is promised but not given, nor ever intended to be given. The Trope Namer is Portal, in which the cake is promised, not given, and never intended to be given — but unlike the vast majority of examples, it exists, just not for the player character's benefit.
  • Chameleon Camouflage — A character can seamlessly blend in with the environment as to become invisible. It's named for the popular conception of chameleons' ability to do this, and for the most part they can — but only one species actually does this as a disguise, with the rest using it for communication. (Octopi are actually much better at using "chameleon camouflage").
  • Continuity Snarl — A Shared Universe becomes so convoluted that it's impossible to keep it internally consistent. The Trope Namer is The Order of the Stick, which actually used the trope In-Universe — the Gods' conflicting attempts to create the laws of the universe resulted in the creation of an Eldritch Abomination called "the Snarl". The comic itself has a single author and a well-ordered continuity.
  • Do a Barrel Roll — A certain aerial maneuver, made popular by Star Fox 64. Except what the game calls a "barrel roll" is actually an aileron roll.
  • Do Not Call Me "Paul" — A character hates being called by their given name, usually preferring their own cooler appelation. The Trope Namers are professional wrestlers Paul Wight (better known as "Big Show" and "The Giant") and Paul Levesque (better known as "Triple H"), who are both mostly examples. Paul Wight went as Paul intermittently early in his career, and after a long while switched back to his real name in the ring in 2021. Paul Levesque is stricter, but he did have a very brief (and not well remembered) stint in WCW when he went by Jean-Paul.
  • Dr. Feelgood — A doctor hands out prescription drugs like a drug dealer. The phrase had occasionally been used as a colloquialism for real doctors who did this. However, the Trope Namer (insofar as it's the first work to borrow the term) is the eponymous character of Mötley Crüe's song "Dr. Feelgood", who's actually the opposite — he's a drug dealer who styles himself as a doctor.
  • Every Car Is a Pinto — A car with a tendency to explode at the slightest provocation. The Trope Namer is the Ford Pinto, which had a reputation as an Alleged Car which did this. The first model of the Pinto did explode in collisions, but later models fixed the issue.
  • Face Stealer — A shapeshifter who can steal others' identities and use them as a disguise. The Trope Namer is Koh the Face Stealer from Avatar: The Last Airbender, who indeed had the power to steal faces this way but couldn't actually use them as a disguise because they didn't conceal his enormous, monstrous body — he only kept them as Creepy Souvenirs.
  • From the Mouths of Babes — The Trope Namer is Psalm 8:2, in which even children speak of the glory of God. The trope is generally about children saying something you wouldn't expect, but the vast majority of examples are sexual or violent in nature.
  • General Ripper — A military leader with a burning hatred for a single enemy, which makes him a liability. The Trope Namer is General Jack D. Ripper from Dr. Strangelove, who indeed hates the Dirty Communists so much that he tries to Nuke 'em without the President's knowledge. But he doesn't have most of the other hallmarks of the trope; while most examples are loud, brash, jingoistic firebrands who will throw as many troops as he can at his enemy, General Ripper hides behind a Mask of Sanity (standing in contrast to the eminently reasonable but hilariously frantic General Buck Turgidson) and spends most of the movie keeping his troops safely fortified in a military base.
  • A Glass of Chianti — A villain shows his class with a fine wine. The Trope Namer is Hannibal Lecter from The Silence of the Lambs, who's never seen actually drinking a glass of wine. But he does relate an anecdote in which he did have "a nice Chianti" with fava beans and a guy's liver.
  • Golden Snitch — A single event or target in a competition is worth more than all the others combined, rendering them useless. The Trope Namer is the Quidditch ball from Harry Potter, which in theory is not an example because it is possible to catch the Snitch and still lose the game, and J. K. Rowling says this happens far more often in professional Quidditch than in the simplified version we see at Hogwarts. But we've yet to see a situation in the series where such a scenario is plausible — the one time it happens, in the final of the Quidditch World Cup, the team who lost needed only to score one more goal to force a tie by catching the Snitch, and a professional team who didn't fight to get that goal instead of catching the Snitch ought to be derided as so dumb as to be uncoachable.
  • Hartman Hips — A mature female animated character is drawn with slender shoulders and waist, but wide hips. The Trope Namer is cartoonist Butch Hartman, who did draw many characters in this style, but the Trope Codifier is character designer Stephen Silver.
  • I Am Not Shazam — A character is mistakenly believed to have the same name as the work's title, but it's actually different. The Trope Namer is the DC Comics series Shazam!, whose protagonist is not named "Shazam" but rather "Captain Marvel" — "Shazam" is his transformation phrase. (Indeed, the book couldn't be titled "Captain Marvel" because of a trademark dispute with Marvel Comics.) One line of continuity is not actually an example, though — in the 2011 New 52 Continuity Reboot, his name actually is "Shazam".
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face — Serious harm, perhaps even deadly harm, as a result of Reckless Gun Usage. Most portrayals are Played for Drama. The Trope Namer, Pulp Fiction, is strictly speaking an example, but it's clearly Played for Laughs, making it a better example of Juggling Loaded Guns.
  • Just Here for Godzilla — The fans are into a work for a single element, at the expense of all the rest of the work. The Trope Namer is the Godzilla series, which often has movies where the audience is just there to see Godzilla wreak havoc and doesn't care about anything else. But there are a few installments where the primary draw is something other than Godzilla; for instance, King Kong vs. Godzilla elevates King Kong to the star role; Destroy All Monsters has nine other monsters teaming up with Godzilla; and Godzilla vs. Megalon is most notable for Jet Jaguar.
  • Leeroy JenkinsThe Team's plans are ruined when one of its members recklessly charges into the fray. The Trope Namer is the Leeroy Jenkins Video, in which Leeroy did indeed rush in without listening to his team's plans, but that plan was so inherently flawed that it wouldn't have worked even if he followed it.
  • Long Pants — A character is animated such that there is no distinction between their pants and shoes. The Trope Namer is Homestar Runner, whose title character is certainly drawn that way and insists that he wears long pants, but other characters like Strong Bad dispute whether he's actually wearing pants at all (and the truth is obscured because Rule of Funny).
  • Malcolm Xerox — A militant, hardline, aggressive black Soapbox Sadie, modeled after Malcolm X. Malcolm himself was an example only early in his political activism; his actual political views were much more nuanced and evolved significantly over his lifetime, culminating in an eventual rejection of all racism late in his life. The trope is really The Theme Park Version of his views more than anything else.
  • Marth Debuted in "Smash Bros." — A character's first appearance outside their home country is a sequel or a spin-off. The Trope Namer is Marth from Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon, who did indeed appear in Super Smash Bros. Melee in North America before any Fire Emblem game made it to the Westnote . Except that wasn't his first appearance — that honor goes to a different spin-off, the dubbed Fire Emblem OVA.
  • Mordor — The homeland of evil, a dark and desolate wasteland. The Trope Namer is The Lord of the Rings, where the plateau of Gorgoroth, which Frodo and Sam cross, fits the description well — but the rest of Mordor is quite a fertile country, with a large lake and volcanic soil that make the southern parts of the land good for farming.
  • My Future Self and Me — A character meets their future self thanks to Time Travel. The Trope Namer is an episode of South Park, which at first glance is not an example because Stan does not meet his future self — it's an actor his parents hired to keep him off drugs. But at the end of the episode, this does happen to Cartman (who doesn't believe it).
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero — The hero unwittingly makes things worse. The Trope Namer is a line from Portal, which has plenty of examples in the form of Stupidity Is the Only Option. But when GLaDOS says the actual line, it's not an example because she's trying to guilt you during the final boss battle by claiming that one of the parts of her you destroyed was a machine that made shoes for orphans.
  • No-Respect Guy — The Only Sane Man who doesn't get a break or their peers' respect. The Trope Namer is the Catchphrase of Rodney Dangerfield, except most of the characters he played aren't the Only Sane Man but are bumbling, abrasive, and generally not deserving of respect.
  • One-Winged Angel — The villain undergoes a dramatic Power Makeover when he starts really trying to win the fight. The Trope Namer is Sephiroth from Final Fantasy VII, who does indeed undergo such a transformation during the final boss fight. But said form doesn't have one wing, but seven. The term "One-Winged Angel" actually comes from his Battle Theme Music, which is not a reference to this transformation.
  • Pronoun Trouble — A work wants to disguise a character's gender but runs into problems when using personal pronouns. The Trope Namer is the Looney Tunes short "Rabbit Seasoning", in which Daffy Duck does encounter "pronoun trouble" — but his trouble was with person, not gender.
  • The Red Stapler — A work features a product and affects demand for it in Real Life. The Trope Namer is Office Space, which indeed did this when it featured a red Swingline stapler. Except the product didn't even exist when the film was made (they just took a black stapler and painted it red), and the company only started making them as a result of this demand, so it's really a better example of Defictionalization.note 
  • Right Man in the Wrong Place — A normal person becomes the protagonist because he's the only one around who can fill the role, and he actually does a pretty good job at it. The Trope Namer is Half-Life 2, in which the G-Man uses the term to refer to protagonist Gordon Freeman. And while Gordon is very much an example in Half-Life (and the G-Man recognizes it), he isn't really an example in Half-Life 2 because the G-Man deliberately dropped him into a specific time and place to achieve his own mysterious goals.
  • Rookie Red Ranger — A team's most powerful member is its Naïve Newcomer. The Trope Namer is the Power Rangers franchise, which has quite a few examples of rookie Red Rangers who are the most powerful on the team, but none of them are the leaders — and it's explicitly because they lack the experience to do so, so they're not really the protagonist like most examples.
  • The Scrappy — A character, despite the work's intentions, is consistently hated by the audience for narrative reasons. The Trope Namer is Scrappy-Doo from Scooby-Doo, who's widely seen as an example but doesn't meet the strict definition. He was introduced to appeal to kids and save the show from cancellation, and he achieved both quite well — but the existing fans hated him so vehemently that even after the show was cancelled, renewed, spun off, and everything in between, they became a very loud Vocal Minority who vaulted the character into popular consciousness as "universally hated". If anything, Scrappy is more of a Base-Breaking Character.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money! — A character uses his wealth to do things he shouldn't be allowed to do. The Trope Namer is Seto Kaiba from Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, who frequently uses his wealth to buy himself out of situations (as he does in the source material Yu-Gi-Oh!). But when he says his trope-naming line, he's just straight-up cheating; he's not actually spending any money.
  • Sex, Drugs, and Rock & Roll — The tendency of rock musicians to be The Hedonist. The term originated in The '60s, but as a reference to three distinct characteristics of the entire counterculture, not how sex and drugs overlap with rock and roll specifically.
  • Some Call Me "Tim" — A character has an overly long or unpronounceable name but goes by a short and common nickname. The Trope Namer is Tim the Enchanter from Monty Python and the Holy Grail, who only fits the "short and common nickname" part. He may fit the "long and unpronounceable real name" part, but that's not explicit in the film; it was in the script, but Tim's actor John Cleese couldn't remember it for the life of him, and his claim that "There are those who call me... Tim?" was ad-libbed.
  • Springtime for Hitler — A plot to intentionally fail at something as a means of making money goes awry because the characters don't actually fail. The Trope Namer is The Producers and the play within a film Springtime for Hitler, which is a bit more complicated than most examples contemplate. First, in most cases the characters profit directly from the failure; in the Trope Namer, the character's don't profit from the play's failure directly, but rather from their plan to oversell shares in it to gullible investors — the play's failure is meant to bring it beneath the authorities' suspicion and avoid investigation. Second, in most cases the "failure at failing" would be a disaster in itself; in the Trope Namer, the characters could have made money from the play's success the traditional way had they not cheated their investors.
  • Straw Vulcan — The idea that logic is always better than emotion, expressed through a Straw Man. The Trope Namer is the Vulcan race from Star Trek, for whom logic technically is always better than emotion because of the dangers emotions pose to their Bizarre Alien Biology.
  • Team Rocket Wins — The Goldfish Poop Gang who never wins a battle finally gets a win. The Trope Namer is Team Rocket from Pokémon: The Series, who weren't an example at all when the trope was named — they were just a good byword for the kind of villains the trope contemplates. It was only after the trope was established, over 900 episodes into the series in the Pokémon Sun and Moon adaptation, that they finally won a legitimate fight against the protagonist and became an example.
  • They Killed Kenny Again — A character dies and inexplicably comes back to life as a Running Gag. The Trope Namer is Kenny from South Park, who was indeed an example for the first five seasons. Then the show started to change it up, killing him off for real in Season 5, resurrecting him with an explanation in Season 6, subverting the gag in subsequent appearances, and generally giving the whole thing a Cerebus Retcon. (Well, they wanted to keep the gag fresh.)
  • Thou Shalt Not Kill — A character follows a strict moral code that prevents killing under any circumstances. The Trope Namer is The Bible, where "Thou shalt not kill" is one of the Ten Commandments. And while some schools of Christianity do interpret this as a strict prohibition against killing for any reason, it's widely suggested that "kill" isn't the best translation of the original Hebrew, which uses a word that's more akin to "murder", and that the Commandment allows for killing in certain justifiable situations such as soldiers in wartime.
  • Time Stands Still — Time stops for everyone except a certain character. The Trope Namer is the song "Time Stand Still" by Rush, which is only marginally an example because it doesn't actually happen to the narrator, but he spends a lot of time wishing it could.
  • Timey-Wimey BallTime Travel is portrayed inconsistently. The Trope Namer is Doctor Who, whose rules of time travel are all over the place — but in the episode in which the Doctor uses the trope-naming phrase to describe the timeline, it actually resolves as a fairly reasonable Stable Time Loop (albeit one containing a nice Time Paradox).
  • Timmy in a Well — An animal rescues a child from danger. The Trope Namer is Lassie, and Lassie saved Timmy from all sorts of dangers. But Lassie never saved Timmy from a well; that was just a common joke about the kind of plot the show included which over the years was misunderstood to have been an actual scenario in the show. Interestingly, most of the things Lassie had to save Timmy from were far more dangerous than being stuck in a well.
  • Totally Radical — Unrealistic teenage slang, as envisioned by someone quite a bit older than a teenager. The trope is named for a phrase that certainly fits the trope nowadays, but was genuine teenage slang in The '90s. It does prove the point well, though; many uses of the trope are writers extrapolating the slang from when they were teenagers to the present day.
  • Voodoo Shark — A creator's attempt to explain an unanswered question just raises more questions. The Trope Namer is the novelization of Jaws: The Revenge, which provides an explanation for why the film's Threatening Shark is chasing the Brody family — it's the result of a voodoo curse. But whether that raises more questions than it answers is a matter of debate; for many, it doesn't raise more questions, it's just really stupid.
  • Warts and All — A character who's the stuff of legend is discovered to have been imperfect, but still respected as a legend. The Trope Namer is Oliver Cromwell, who used the term to ask for his portrait to contain all of his physical imperfections so that future generations would recognize that he was imperfect in spite of his accomplishments. While this generally does show symbolically that Cromwell wasn't morally perfect, the phrase itself refers specifcally to physical imperfections.
  • What Could Possibly Go Wrong? — A Stock Phrase with no specific Trope Namer. The phrase itself is a trope, but its use usually heralds the different trope Tempting Fate.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? — A character has an unusual superpower that's basically useless. The Trope Namer is Ma-Ti from Captain Planet and the Planeteers, whose "heart" powers seem quite lame in contrast to his teammates' Elemental Powers. And while he is pretty much useless, it's not because his powers are useless; he's actually a telepath and an empath who can control people's minds, but "heart" also gives him a moral compass so strong that he refuses to use his powers to their full extent.
  • Where da White Women At? — A pairing between a black man and a white woman that society disapproves of. The Trope Namer is Blazing Saddles, in which Bart just says the line as a distraction; he's not in a relationship with a white woman. But he is playing on the racist whites' perception of black men as being out to "steal their women" (so he can lead them into an ambush), so the attitude is prevalent even if the relationship is not. Bart also has a brief fling with the white Lili von Shtupp, but she seduces him only for Bart to prove himself immune to her charms, at which point she genuinely falls for him — but even then, the characters are more angry that she failed to entrap him than that she's actually fallen for a black man.
  • Yoko Oh No — An artist's career is waylaid by their Love Interest. The Trope Namer is Yoko Ono, John Lennon's girlfriend and later wife, who's blamed for breaking up The Beatles. It's not fair to say that she broke up the Beatles, given that they had been drifting apart for years; in many ways, their breakup was inevitable. Nor is it fair to say that she wrecked Lennon's career; he went on to have a successful solo career long after the breakup. But it might be fair to say that she influenced Lennon's style in a way some fans didn't like, making it more experimental and "artsy". And it might be fair to say that she accelerated the Beatles' inevitable breakup, given how Lennon's bandmates didn't like his obsession with her and her sway over him (e.g. how he would bring her to recording sessions). Even fans who don't actually blame Yoko for everything would consider her a good symbol of what went wrong. (In any event, even if she were a complete example, she can't be listed on the page anyway because it doesn't permit real-life examples.)
  • Your Head Asplode — A character's head explodes. The Trope Namer is the Strong Bad Email "video games", in which Strong Bad uses the term "asplode" to describe what happens to the Player Character in a hypothetical video game — except in that case, it wasn't his head that "asploded", but his entire body.
  • Zeerust — Defined in The Meaning of Liff as "[t]he particular kind of datedness which afflicts things that were originally designed to look futuristic." In turn, the Trope Namer borrowed the name from a town in South Africa which otherwise has no relation to the trope.
  • Zerg Rush — Overwhelming an opponent with a huge number of individually weak units. The Trope Namer is StarCraft, in which the Zerg are very commonly used in this way — but the exact phrase "Zerg rush" refers to a specific tactic of using a small number of Zerg units to sneak in and seize enemy resources before they get a chance to set up their defenses.

    Last two lists combined 
  • Actor/Role Confusion — Originally "Your Secret's Safe With Me, Superman", the inability to differentiate between a character and the actor who plays him. The Trope Namer is a line from The Simpsons episode "Mr. Plow", which is technically an example as Barney can't tell Superman from the actor who played him — except in that case, he didn't even get the role right, because he was meeting Adam West, who played Batman in the 1966 TV adaptation.
  • Adaptational Self-Defense — Originally "The Dog Shot First", an edit of a scene in which a character Shoots the Dog so that the character is now shown to be acting in self-defense. The Trope Namer is a play on the phrase "Han shot first", a reference to an infamous edit to the first Star Wars film A New Hope in which Han Solo shoots Greedo in the Mos Eisley Cantina. In the original, Han just shot Greedo (hence "Han shot first"), but the edit has Greedo shoot first (and miss badly and implausibly), giving Han the opportunity to return fire. It was kind of an example in that it gave Han a better justification to shoot Greedo, but even in the original Greedo is pointing a gun at Han and clearly threatening to kill him, so Han was justified enough that he wasn't Shooting the Dog to begin with.
  • Condemned by History — Originally "Deader than Disco", something that was once popular is now viewed with contempt. Disco was once an example given its popularity in The '70s and the very strong backlash against it in the following decades, but its condemnation was undone by the Popularity Polynomial and it's no longer hated as much — especially by younger generations who don't remember the original backlash against it.
  • Cute and Psycho — Originally "Yangire", a Japanese portmanteau of the words yandere and kireru (to snap or lose one's temper). It was originally coined by anime fans to describe the unusual behavior of a character from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, but she didn't really meet the strict definition implied by the portmanteau — "cute and psycho" is a bit broader.
  • Damsel Scrappy — Originally "The Kimberly", a reference to Jack Bauer's daughter from 24. The character in question was an example early on, but she subsequently Took a Level in Badass (incidentally, right after the trope was renamed for being incomprehensible to anyone not familiar with the show), got Rescued from the Scrappy Heap, and stopped being an example.
  • Decapitated Army — Originally "Ding Dong, the Witch Is Dead", the Big Bad is defeated and their armies immediately stand down or disperse. The Trope Namer is the song from The Wizard of Oz, which is sung twice, once for the Wicked Witch of the East and once for the Wicked Witch of the West. The second time is an example, as that resolves a major part of the plot. The first instance is the more famous one and it's not an example; that's just the Munchkins celebrating the death of an oppressor.
  • Driven by Envy — Originally "Salieri Syndrome", after Antonio Salieri in Amadeus, who is indeed deeply envious of Mozart's talent but never successfully undermines him. While he does claim to have murdered him late in his life, that's just his extremely overactive imagination at work.
  • Exaggerated Trope — Originally "Up to Eleven", a reference to This is Spın̈al Tap and how the band uses amplifiers whose dials' top setting is "11" rather than the traditional "10". While Spın̈al Tap is described as the world's loudest band and generally goes above and beyond with its antics, its amps don't actually exceed normal limits; they're just labeled strangely. (Up To Eleven still exists, but as a disambiguation that includes Exaggerated Trope.)
  • Head-Turning Beauty — Originally "Hello Nurse", after a Running Gag from Animaniacs. While the character was indeed stunningly beautiful and routinely got this reaction from Yakko and Wakko, most other characters didn't share in that reaction.
  • Hypercompetent Sidekick — Originally "The Radar", after the character from M*A*S*H. He started out this way, but was Flanderized out of hypercompetence, especially when his commanding officer was changed from Colonel Blake into the much more competent and self-sufficient Colonel Potter.
  • Instant-Win Condition — Originally "The Enemy Gate Is Down", after a scenario from Ender's Game. While Ender does identify (and abuse) an instant-win condition in the Battle School simulations, his use of the phrase isn't about that; it's just a trick he used to orient himself in zero-gravity (which he and his team continued to use while eventually abusing the instant-win condition).
  • Replacement Flat Character — Originally "The Niles", after the character from Frasier. He was an originally an example, as when his brother Frasier got some Character Development Niles was established as sort of what Frasier used to be, but over the years Niles got some Character Development of his own.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor — Originally "George Lucas Love Story", after director George Lucas and his widely derided portrayal of Anakin and Padme's relationship in Attack of the Clones. While that film was definitely an example, that was an isolated example (really a Never Live It Down moment); most of the time, Lucas is capable of writing a romance well enough that it doesn't take over the rest of the film.
  • Sprint Shoes — Originally "Bunny Hood", after the item from The Legend of Zelda: Majora's Mask, which does what the trope contemplates: it increases the character's speed. It doesn't do that in every Zelda game, though, and even in Majora's Mask, the speedrunners found that it was faster to roll than to use the Bunny Hood. (The Bunny Hood most effective in the Super Smash Bros. series.)
  • Unique Enemy — Originally "The Red Snifit", after Super Mario Bros. 2, which had only one Red Snifit. However, other games in the Super Mario Bros. franchise had more than one red Snifit, and indeed in most of them red ones were more common than any other.
  • You Just Told Me — Originally "Rumpelstiltskin Ploy", a character is goaded into a Reflexive Response and tricked into revealing a secret. The Trope Namer is the fairy tale Rumpelstiltskin, where the title character is indeed defeated by speaking his secret out loud, but that wasn't because he was tricked into it in conversation; he just thought no one was listening.

Alternative Title(s): Trope Namer Is Not An Example

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