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    A 
  • Absurdly High Level Cap refers to a level cap that is way higher than what is needed for or can be reached by the endgame, not simply level caps with high numbers — a level cap of 20 would be absurdly high if you only need to be level 4 or 5 to beat the main story. Conversely, an Absurdly Low Level Cap is not a level cap with a low order of magnitude, but rather a cap that can be reached well before the endgame even without any intentional and prolonged Level Grinding — a cap of 99 would be absurdly low if you reach it halfway through the game, even without sidequests and the like. Not helping matters is that, for a very long time, the articles' descriptions denied that the two tropes were mutually exclusive, despite everything else proving you can't have both at the same time.
  • Accent Adaptation is for a character with a specific accent/dialect in the original language who gets an equivalent accent/dialect in the translated language. The trope is constantly and mistakenly used for characters who are actually accent-free in the original language, but get accents in the translation.
  • An Accidental Aesop is when a work that's meant to have no moral actually has a pretty good moral. However, many examples are more a case of Broken Aesop (in which the moral the work is trying to teach is contradicted by the work itself), Clueless Aesop (in which a moral's effectiveness is botched by poor presentation), Alternate Aesop Interpretation (where a moral is presented but fans see a different one), Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory (where people see religious symbolism, but not necessarily morals, in works where there is none), Warp That Aesop (where people draw absurd conclusions to the work), or just plain Fan Dumbinvoked.
  • Accidental Innuendo is when something was not intended as a Double Entendre, but is seen as such by viewers. It is often mistaken for Innocent Innuendo, where something is taken out of context within the work to sound dirty, and Heh Heh, You Said "X", where something innocuous is viewed as dirty In-Universe. When it's neither of those but was still meant deliberately, it is just a Double Entendre.
  • Despite Accidental Nightmare Fuel being a Definition-Only Page, with said page telling people to list examples under Nightmare Fuel instead, that doesn't stop people from making entries about it anyway, to the point where there are cases where both Accidental Nightmare Fuel and Nightmare Fuel subpages in the same subpage mention the same moment.
  • An Actor Allusion has to be intentional. Two characters in different shows played by the same actor coincidentally being in an (arguably) similar situation does not count — it has to be established, either through the show making a reference or even just someone behind the production saying that it's an actual allusion.
  • Adaptation Decay is supposed to be when certain elements of a show are simplified or modified so it can translate to whichever medium it's translating to. It's not supposed to mean "adaptation that I think is worse than the original." The misuse was bad enough that its page now no longer allows examples that are not In-Universe.
  • It seems that the amount of times Adaptation Distillation gets used as this for gushing about adaptations someone likes outnumbers the times it is actually used correctly on this wiki. For the record, it's about works which manage to capture the essence of a Long Runner in a brief adaptation without resulting in Continuity Lockout.
  • Adaptational Self-Defense was once "The Dog Shot First" and before that "Han Shot First", but because it was named after a meme from A New Hope, people kept using it to refer to the meme rather than the trope itself.
  • Adorkable is supposed to describe a character whose particular quirks make them cute or endearing to the audience, it's not meant to describe any character that you find cute. There's another trope for that, Moe. While it's true that being adorkable is a trait found in many moe characters, the two tropes aren't the same thing.
  • For Aesop Amnesia, sometimes people mistakenly use Forgotten Aesop, a redirect to Lost Aesop which is about An Aesop that the work forgot, not the character.
  • Age-Appropriate Angst is meant to be about examples where a character's angst is justified by their youth. Half the examples listed are just various characters who have traumatic backstories.
  • Agony of the Feet was originally about characters hurting their feet and then hopping comedically while clutching their hurt foot. Then, it began to be used for foot injury in general, even without the hopping. The hopping part was eventually spun off into its own trope, Hurt Foot Hop, while Agony of the Feet was reworked to be about feet being hurt in general.
  • A.K.A.-47 is about weaponry in video games being given a different name for trademark reasons. Every now and then a page that ends up mentioning the AK-47 assault rifle will have its name potholed to the trope because, hey, it's only missing one letter, that's gotta count, right?note 
  • Alas, Poor Villain is when the narrative tries to present a villain's death as eliciting sympathy. Cases of the audience feeling sympathy for the villain go under Cry for the Devil.
  • All Animation Is Disney is about an animation being mistaken for a Disney/Pixar/DreamWorks Animation production, not necessarily something that uses Disney's animation style, which is Disneyesque. While these two tropes may overlap, they're not the same thing.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation was about subtext that leads one to believe there is more (or less) to a character than meets the eye. Now it is often used to describe characters that have wildly different characterizations between adaptations or even hidden personalities one could rule out right off the bat. Another common misuse is to promote borderline WMG material, often along the lines of, "Was the villain telling the truth when he said he murdered the hero's hamster in cold blood, or did he really adopt the hamster himself because he couldn't bear to harm a living thing?"
  • Aluminum Christmas Trees is supposed to be about something that actually exists, but is obscure enough that people think it's fake - such as in the Trope Namer, where most people think aluminum Christmas trees are fake because the first thing they see that references them, A Charlie Brown Christmas, actually destroyed their popularity decades before most people who've seen the movie nowadays were even born. Alas, most instances forget the obscurity requirement and end up looking like someone trying to get around the removal of I Am Not Making This Up, attaching the trope to something that sounds slightly, vaguely improbable if you're not familiar with it, which in most such uses, a good percentage of the population actually is.
  • Ambiguously Absent Parent is defined as when one or both parents are absent without explanation, leaving the audience to assume there was either death or divorce. However, it's often misinterpreted as simply one parent not being brought up or shown, which is closer to Invisible Parents.
  • Ambiguously Bi gets misused a lot mostly as "this character is part of a heterosexual Official Couple but has Ho Yay with someone else", since it's supposed to be used for characters who are implied to be bisexual without explicit confirmation.
  • Ambiguously Brown is meant to refer to a character whose skin is noticeably darker than the rest of the cast, but their ethnicity is never touched upon. It now tends to refer to any character whose skin isn't milky white, even if their ethnicity is clearly stated.
  • An Ambiguous Situation is one where one mystery has many possible solutions that are offered to the viewers, but which one is the true answer is never explained. Many tropers rush to add this trope as soon as an episode ends in a cliffhanger or introduces any kind of question, even if it's practically guaranteed that the situation will be resolved eventually, sometimes as soon as the next episode. Hell, sometimes they add it based on a trailer which raises a question that will almost undoubtedly be answered in the full work. If Bob has a Disappeared Dad, and ends up meeting several candidates for who his lost father is, an Ambiguous Situation would occur only if we never learn which one is his father.
  • Americans Hate Tingle is when something popular or well-liked in its home country is hated, not simply unpopular, in another country. Unpopularity and hatedom are not the same thing. Perhaps even stranger, the page has examples of things that are hated in their home country, without any indication of how people feel about it in other countries.
  • Anachronism Stew is when a work is set in a specific time period, but contains several different things from different time periods. People tend to add this trope whenever a single out-of-place element appears, which would go under one of the subtropes, if anywhere at all.
  • And I Must Scream is an endless Fate Worse than Death that cannot be escaped by any means whatsoever, not a catch-all term for things that would make someone scream in terror. "Any means whatsoever" includes dying, so any situation where someone could die of thirst, starvation, or from whatever injury is keeping them trapped in the first place does not count.
  • And the Fandom Rejoiced is meant to be about people who were initially uninterested in a new work in a favorite series of theirs, or a new adaptation of a familiar story, suddenly getting excited about it due to a bit of preproduction news that shows that the creators care. It tends to get used for any good preproduction news in general, and for especially anticipated works the subpages can essentially consist of every new detail about the work that emerges.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing means a death is celebrated by the characters, not the audience. And it's only the celebration of the death and misfortune of characters, not just celebration in general.
  • Animation Bump does not mean "any kind of good animation," only good animation from a scene in a movie or episode that doesn't consistently have animation that good.
  • The Anti-Hero is meant for characters who remain on the good side, but have character flaws to balance it out, such as cynicism, selfishness and revenge. However, they don't have to be selfish, rude, or precisely criminal all the time, as they can be polite, and good-natured, due to the part they're not completely evil, but in between the two alignments. The notorious example is that one thing these heroes have in common, however, is that they live by the philosophy "the ends justify the means", meaning they employ harsh methods in order to reach their goals.
  • Anyone Can Die does not mean "My favorite show once had a character die."; it means that no character is safe from dying in any way, hence the trope name.
  • Arcade Games are a platform of video games, not a genre — they can include all sorts of genres aside from certain long-form styles such as the Role-Playing Game. Yet, whenever a video game trope has examples folderized by genre, "Arcade Games" sometimes shows up as a genre folder.
  • Arc Words are a cryptic recurring statement whose true significance is a mystery until a big reveal. It's not just any important phrase, and it's certainly not recurring themes that use similar words when brought up.
  • The Archer Archetype is about how bow-using characters tend to be analytical, independent, and not overly emotional. It's often misused for any archer, regardless of whether they fit the personality type. Such examples may be more fitting under The Straight and Arrow Path (a character who wields a bow even though guns are available in the setting) or Master Archer (an extremely skilled archer).
  • Art Shift is when a work has a temporary change in art style than the one usually used, typically for a scene or segment. Misuse results in the trope being called when the art style gradually changes over the course of the work, which is Art Evolution.
  • Ascended Meme is a meme spawned by a work that was put into the work later because it became a popular meme. It is often misused as a Shout-Out to any meme, whether it came from the work or not. If it's acknowledged by, say, someone involved in the production as opposed to characters in the work, see Meme Acknowledgment.
  • Not every villain who gets killed is an Asshole Victim. Sure, they may be an Asshole of the highest degree, but the Victim part of the trope name is just as important. If the Big Bad is killed to prevent him from taking over the world or killing lots of innocents, they're not considered a "victim". At the same time, many folks consider any Jerkass character who gets killed as this, but truth is the victim doesn't always have to die, just simply be a victim of something beyond their control.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever refers to when a character grows to giant size against their will with no way to return to normal. It is often misused to describe creatures who are already giant to begin with, characters who can change their size at will (which is Sizeshifter), or even normal-sized characters who are only giant in comparison to something miniature-sized, such as a model city. In addition, some tropers even invert Square Peg, Round Trope by taking the "Attack" part of the trope's name too literally and deleting examples where the "50-Foot Whatever" doesn't run amok, which it doesn't need to do to qualify for the trope.
  • Audience-Alienating Premise is for works with a premise that deters so many it fails commercially. Some use it to say "this is very bad, no one would like it". Others use it to say "this work was awesome and it's a shame not enough people checked it out". All examples must have proof the work failed commercially. Many will frequently stretch the definition of "failure", or make the premise sound worse than it was and ignore other factors in its failure. Anything that's successful despite this goes under And You Thought It Would Fail instead. Niche works can alienate most but still have enough fans to be successful, while fanworks are exempt because they can be so niche that there's no metric to measure their failure.
  • Author's Saving Throw happens when an author makes a change in the work based on an Audience Reaction. Thus it only applies when there is official confirmation, or at least Word of St. Paul, that it was made in response to audience complaints. This is more than just "listening to fans complain". Since it is about changes after the fact, anything written before the work reaches the audience is exempt even if it addresses potential complaints.
  • Died During Production was once called "Author Existence Failure", but it was constantly used to refer to any creator who died regardless of whether they died before or after the work finished production, rather than specifically the former. The trope was renamed to clarify that it is about creators who kicked the bucket before the work was released, and not after.
  • Author Tract is an entire work designed to preach to the audience. A specific rant during the story goes under Character Filibuster if delivered by a character within the story, or Author Filibuster if delivered by the work itself.
  • Avoid the Dreaded G Rating is for something completely pointless and easy to edit out (like a brief swear) that was added to bump the film's rating, not important plot points.
  • Awesome, but Impractical refers to skills, units or items that are powerful, but rendered useless by exorbitant requirements. The impracticality must be shown or discussed in-work, things that should be impractical but not portrayed as such don't count. A lot of examples are just Cool, but Inefficient. In retrospect, this was probably inevitable with "Awesome Yet Practical", which frequently received examples that were awesome yet practical. Its initial purpose was to be a counterpart to What Do You Mean, It's Not Awesome?, describing cases where that trope should have applied but the thing in question was somehow awesome anyway. It was eventually cut.
  • Ax-Crazy is often used to refer to violent use of axes. Ax-Crazy does not specifically have anything to do with axes; the focus is on "Crazy".

    B 
  • Backed by the Pentagon does not literally require support from the actual Pentagon or U.S. Armed Forces to be present. Production support from any country's military is a straight example, but quite often examples that involve backing from non-U.S. nations are listed as aversions or subversions.
  • Badass is defined as "a character who pulls off outlandish, gutsy stunts that would (almost) never work in real life". Now it apparently means "a character that I, the editor, like". This is why the page was turned into a list of its many possible definitions and its wicks purged.
  • Badass Decay refers to a character who was once incredibly badass but is now largely ineffective and perhaps even comical. It's gotten to where if they lose one fight, they've gone through decay. When that happens, the appropriate trope is The Worf Effect.
  • Badass Normal describes a character without superpowers who manages to be badass in a setting where other characters do have superpowers, particularly against said superpowers. The second, crucial aspect is frequently ignored. And occasionally they forget the first, believing human automatically counts as being "Normal," even if said humans can fly under their own power and shoot energy beams out of their hands. And even that gets ignored, with aliens with not super-impressive superpowers getting labelled as such.

    If you're looking for a trope for heroes with lame powers that manage to be awesome, you have a couple of choices. Heart Is an Awesome Power for seemingly lame powers that turn out to have genuinely awesome applications and This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman for when the plot contrives to make the lamely powered character useful. Might possibly be an Empowered Badass Normal.
  • Bad "Bad Acting" is a form of Stylistic Suck, when a character in-universe acts very poorly, played for laughs. It often gets potholed to any kind of Bad Acting in general.
  • Bad Boss is often incorrectly used in place of the trope Mean Boss. A Bad Boss is an outright villain who will kill or maim his minions for the slightest of motives, or no reason at all. A Mean Boss is a Jerkass who only insults and bullies his employees, far more common in a normal work setting.
  • The Bad Guy Wins is about the work ending with the villains victorious, not any time the villains win at first only to lose in the end, which is You Can't Thwart Stage One.
  • Balloon Belly is a trope where a character overeats and ends up having a huge, round belly as a result. Tropers occasionally confuse this with a character being inflated, which is Inflating Body Gag. The confusion may come from the fact that when a character inflates, their belly expands like a balloon.
  • Base-Breaking Character means a character that divides the fanbase (i.e., some love it and some hate it). It is not a character that the overwhelming majority of the fanbase hates. If that's the case, consider looking in the Scrappy Index for a more fitting reaction. Base-Breaking Character also requires a roughly equal amount of fans and detractors; it isn't for characters that are mostly well-liked but hated by a Vocal Minority. Base-Breaking Character had to be renamed from "Base Breaker" because people were using it to mean any base-breaking thing, which should just be listed under Broken Base.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space is meant to be used for when a character who should not be able to breathe in space without a space suit can breathe just fine. If the character has powers that enable them to breathe in space, it's not an example. Also, for video games, it doesn't count if the character can only go out into space due to a glitch, since they're not intended to be there anyway.
  • Batman Gambit has suffered from the same decay as Xanatos Gambit. It's supposed to refer to a plan which relies on predicting how people will behave when confronted with certain situations. But as with Xanatos Gambit, tropers have gotten it into their heads that it means "any clever, convoluted plan."
  • Be as Unhelpful as Possible is a trope that mostly appears in Police Procedurals, about unhelpful witnesses making an investigation needlessly difficult. It is frequently misused for any person being unhelpful in any context.
  • Berserk Button is misused a lot as "something that pisses off anyone, for any reason", but it isn't a hot button issue (that's Soapbox Sadie), it isn't something that annoyed someone when they were in a bad mood or something done until the person snaps (that's Rage-Breaking Point), it isn't a laundry list of things that annoy them (that's Hair-Trigger Temper), and it's certainly not something that would make a hostile response an entirely reasonable reaction (that's just normal!). That last one in particular often comes up when a character starts getting much more on edge when their family is threatened — you're looking for Relative Button. If it really is a radical change, but they are still reasonable it could fall under Let's Get Dangerous!. It's also misused for things that annoyed somebody only once, when the requirement is to be something specific to a person that pisses him off every time, hence the word "button". Also, if the worst thing somebody does is to frown or be mildly upset, it's probably not this trope. It also isn't meant to be used for stuff that is a personal Berserk Button to you, so you shouldn't be listing something like "Any Take That! to my favorite work" as an example.
  • Better Than Canon is only applicable for Fan Works. Official or licensed works, even if they're Alternate Continuity, adaptations, or Canon Discontinuity, are exempt due to having some canon status.
  • Beyond the Impossible used to be about a series repeatedly topping itself, such that escalation (not continuation) continues even after you're certain it's peaked in whatever area. Many of the potholes seem to use it as a "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer. It has since been redefined to be Exactly What It Says on the Tin with its original definition going to Serial Escalation.
  • Big Bad is meant to describe the villain/antagonist who is causing the main or one of the main conflicts in the story. However, it's often mistakenly used as "main villain" instead of "conflict causer". Big Bad is a smaller subset, and just villain is an Omnipresent Trope, so listing all examples of it would be pointless. Arc Villain and Monster of the Week are sub-tropes that cover the lower tiers of primary conflict causes.
  • Big Good is meant to describe the hero/protagonist who is the cornerstone that unites the heroic forces during the conflict in the story, but tends to be misused as "main hero" instead of "powerful leader/cornerstone". Arc Hero and Mentor Archetype are sub-tropes that cover the lower tiers of primary cornerstone of any organization.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment is very often used as a term describing any example of Mood Whiplash, Padding or mild strangeness. For it to be an example, a scene has to be completely unforeshadowed and out of nowhere, irrelevant to the plot, bizarre even in context, and never mentioned again afterwards. If a scene doesn't fulfil all of those requirements, it's not an example.
  • Bilingual Bonus refers to jokes, bits of information or similar that are conveyed through another language that the audience would only understand if they are fluent in the other language. It does not apply if it is directly translated so there is no difference if the audience is bilingual or not. It is often used for anytime a foreign language is spoken even if there is no "bonus" like extras chatting about banal things in the background to provide atmosphere.
  • Black Blood is for cases where blood is portrayed in an unusual color as a form of censorship. If the character literally has black blood, it's Alien Blood.
  • Black Sheep is for family members who don't fit in with the rest of their family. If a work is different from the rest of its series, that's Oddball in the Series.
  • Blatant Lies happen when a character tells an implausible lie to others. If the viewer knows it's a lie but the other characters don't find the explanation outright unlikely, it's not an example, no matter what those know-it-alls say.
  • Blessed with Suck and its inverse Cursed with Awesome only happens if there's an actual blessing gone wrong or curse gone right. If a character is cursed with suck, it's a plain old Curse. A blessing that works the way it was intended is a regular blessing.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation is a translation that is overly literal, awkward, grammatically incorrect, and/or missing the main point of the original reading, while still being somewhat sensical. It's frequently misused or confused with its sister trope Translation Train Wreck, which refers to a translation that is total gibberish and impossible to derive any of the original meaning from.
  • Blue Blood has nothing to do with literal blood, it's about aristocrats. Some tropers don't get this and use it for characters who literally have blue blood, which is covered under Alien Blood.
  • Body Horror is "any form of Horror or Squickiness involving body parts, parasitism, disfigurement, mutation, or unsettling bodily configuration, not induced by immediate violence". However, it's often misused for anything horrific that happens to a human body, even when this is simply the result of a brutal attack or violent death. This trope is often also used to refer to any unpleasant transformation, which would apply more to the less frequently used sub-trope Transformation Horror.
  • Bragging Rights Reward is a reward that could have been useful if the player didn't have to do everything else to get it. If it isn't useful to begin with, it's a Cosmetic Award.
  • Brain Bleach is when something is so Squicky, a character in-story makes reference to 'bleaching my brain' or something similar. It's not just a catchall term for anything that the troper wants to forget.
  • Breakout Character and Breakout Villain refers to characters who get expanded roles in later works in response to their unexpected popularity, not just those that prove popular or get expanded roles. Characters that were "intended" for their major future roles before their popularity are exempt, unless they get bigger roles than originally intended.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory is a game trope in which one can pay real-world money for an in-game advantage. It is an explicit and intended function of the game, and does not refer to actual bribery, the crime of giving someone money or gifts in exchange for something they shouldn't be selling you at all — misuse as such is thankfully not too common, yet.
  • Brick Joke is a funny event which is set up early, but the punchline doesn't come until later. It's not a reference to something that happened before that just so happened to be funny. It also isn't a funny joke that gets used again later unexpectedly, which is either a Call-Back or a Chekhov's Gag. It's also not (necessarily) a joke about bricks.
  • Broken Aesop is meant for morals contradicted by the work itself, but it's often instead used for "bad" morals.
  • A Broken Base is a fanbase that has a sustained, acrimonious split between two or more distinct factions over a particular issue, and is not to be used for the reception of a work as a whole. Those who dislike a work are obviously not part of the "Base". Additionally, Broken Base tends to be used for rivalries between different fandoms, rather than (just) rivalries within fandoms. It's also not "any disagreement among the fanbase, no matter how small," it's not "something the fanbase overwhelmingly disliked," and it's certainly not "something the fanbase was afraid they might not like based on pre-release information". This also requires the conflict be big enough to stay sustained, so anything prior to the release of a work is exempt as too soon to judge.
  • Bullet Hell refers to Shoot 'Em Ups with a lot of (usually at least 100) bullets on the screen at once; enough to cover a good fraction of the screen, and which make up intricate, deliberate patterns. It is not a catch-all term for the shoot-'em-up genre, nor does it mean just any shmup that just so happens to be difficult. A rule of thumb: If you can, with a very quick glance, accurately count how many bullets there are on the screen at any given point, it's not an example.note  Bullet Hell also does not refer to just anybody or anything firing a massive number of projectiles; you're probably thinking of More Dakka, Alpha Strike, Beam Spam, or Macross Missile Massacre.
  • Bury Your Gays is often used for any time an LGBT character dies, when it is supposed to refer to them being singled out to die due to their sexuality. If a work has high death tolls or many LGBT characters that don't die, this trope is not in effect.
  • The Bus Came Back is when a formerly-main character who was written out of the show (i.e., Put on a Bus) makes another appearance. It doesn't apply to a character who reappears for the first time in a while just because they're a minor character who appears infrequently.
  • Butt-Monkey means simply a character who things hardly ever work out for, and nothing more. This is an inversion of Square Peg, Round Trope where people refuse to use it even when it fits, because they mistakenly believe that it is required to be Played for Laughs. There is a specific type of Butt-Monkey that is required to be Played for Laughs, which is The Chew Toy.
  • But Not Too Black: Posters tend to use this trope's page merely to list all the light-skinned people in Hollywood rather than make any attempt to relate their appearance to a particular work or storyline. Some attempt should be made to explain why skin, hair, features, behavior, etc are relevant in a given situation. And some features can be subjective.

    C 
  • A Call-Back brings back an element from an earlier event in a series that is actually relevant again for the plot. Not only is it confused with Continuity Nod (when the reference has no impact on the plot) but is often used when a scenario or a situation is mildly similar to another even when there's no connection between them.
  • Canon Character All Along is about a Canon Foreigner who is revealed to be an actual canon character. A few of the examples are either characters from sequels that are revealed to be pre-existing characters, or actually cases of Composite Characters.
  • Card-Carrying Villain has a tendency for being misused for villains who are perceived as simply being cartoonish or overt in their evil actions. While one tends to go with the other, the trope only requires that a bad guy labels themselves as evil or villainous. It does not apply to everyone who's Obviously Evil and vice versa.
  • Cerebus Syndrome is about a work shifting from comedy to dramedy or drama. It is not simply about becoming Darker and Edgier over time. If a work doesn't start off with comedic elements, it doesn't qualify for this trope. Neither does a comedic work shifting towards Black Comedy while still staying in the genre of comedy overall.
  • Cessation of Existence is specifically about a lack of an afterlife, where a dead character "experiences" something akin to an endless sleep without dreams. It has been misused for just about anything which could be described as "a person ceases to exist", from Ret-Gone to Fading Away.
  • Character Derailmentinvoked is about characters who change throughout the show or story without any rhyme or reason. Some examples are just minor examples of Flanderization, and there are even some that do have logical explanation to character change within the context of the story. The Character Derailment page has also been used for character bashing even though there is an obvious difference between the two. It is also not for characters from an original material who have a different personality in an adaptation or in a different continuity, (that's Adaptational Personality Change), nor is it the inversion of Rescued from the Scrappy Heap.
  • Charles Atlas Superpower is a Badass Normal that's exaggerated after he or she undergoes Training from Hell to match against those who have supernatural or enhanced powers. The training is definitely important.
  • Chocolate Baby is when a child has physical traits they could not have possibly inherited from either of their ostensible parents because the mother was either unfaithful or raped, and their ostensible father is not in fact their biological father. It is not just an aversion of Strong Family Resemblance. That would be Hollywood Genetics.
  • Chickification refers to when an Action Girl becomes a wimp with no in-universe explanation. The same goes for its inversion, Xenafication.
  • Christmas Rushed refers to instances where a work is rushed out the door in order to meet a specific deadline (i.e. a Milestone Celebration or a holiday such as Christmas). It is not simply "any work that is rushed or incomplete", the deadline part is necessary.
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome is when a character is removed from an ongoing work, and later entries in the work behave as if they had never existed in the first place — as in the Trope Namer Happy Days, where Richie's older brother "leaves for college," but in future seasons, Richie's father states he only has one son and one daughter. A common misuse is the trope being listed when a character simply doesn't show up in a sequel or later episode, or gets confused with Put on a Bus.
  • A Cliché Storm, while an Audience Reaction, generally describes the reaction to a work that noticeably uses well-worn formulas for its genre. On YMMV pages, it's used as a complaint magnet for works that are regarded as trite or boring due to their use of clichés, despite the reaction being neutral. Troperrific is a trope where many clichés and tropes are intentionally being screwed around with, not a Cliché Storm "done right".
  • Cliffhanger does not constitute a Bolivian Army Ending. A Bolivian Army Ending is an ending (meaning that there are no more installments) in which a character is stuck in a situation that is extraordinarily likely to end in their death or capture, but the work ends before this comes to pass. Therefore, it is theoretically possible that the character escaped and made it out alive. The key point, though, is that we never see this. A cliffhanger, on the other hand, is the ending of one installment of a serial whose unresolved plot points, including but not limited to the fate of a character in mortal peril, are resolved in the immediately succeeding installment. If the later installments are canceled before they are made, itís still not a Bolivian Army Ending, but Cut Short.
  • A Cloudcuckoolander is a strange character who is ultimately harmless despite their quirks; dangerous characters with quirks go under Ax-Crazy or Insane Equals Violent.
  • Clueless Aesop is often misapplied to any poorly handled but not outright broken Aesop. It only applies when the poor handling is due to the subject being too mature, complex, or at odds with the tone/conventions of the work for it to effectively portray.
  • "Completely Missing The Point" was misused as a Take That! against anything, instead of the in-character use. Eventually, the misuse forced the trope to be renamed to Comically Missing the Point, but even after the rename, misuse persists.
  • Complete Monster is a trope with very strictly defined criteria: "The most heinous characters played seriously with no redeeming or altruistic qualities." The operative word in there is Complete Monster, not "Mostly Monstrous", which would fit almost every villain. Groups cannot qualify by definition, nor can something which can't help its nature or actions. There should also be continuity in their portrayal, as the villain must be consistently characterized as pure evil. It sometimes but doesn't always overlap with You Monster!, while I Am a Monster would usually be a rejection of Complete Monsterdom. Further, there's a common misconception that such character are innately good or bad for a story; Tropes Are Tools. Despite these strict criteria, the trope saw huge amounts of misuse as "villain I really hate" or "any villain who crosses the Moral Event Horizon", leading to it becoming one of the only tropes on the wiki where every single example must be approved by a perpetual cleanup thread.
  • "Conspicuous CG" referred to when "a Computer-Generated image stands out considerably compared to that of the traditional animation style". However, a lot of people seem to misuse it as "bad-looking CG", when in fact that's a type of Special Effects Failure. It's perfectly plausible for Conspicuous CG to be conspicuously better-looking than the rest of the animation. This is why the trope got renamed to 2D Visuals, 3D Effects.
  • A Continuity Snarl is when the continuity of a work gets muddled after multiple plotlines start to contradict each other, most likely due to writers not communicating or forgetting things. The trope is more often used to list minor continuity errors and mistakes, which is another trope: Series Continuity Error. This has gotten to the point where the two tropes are sometimes used interchangeably, and many examples of the latter trope often have identical entries on the Continuity Snarl page.
  • Convenient Miscarriage does not cover just any miscarriage. It is a situation where the characters do not want a baby and/or adding one to the cast would alter the plot. A miscarriage that is convenient to neither the plot nor the characters is likely a Double Subversion of the Law of Inverse Fertility.
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot is when a situation is caused by a person that didn't ask for help from the others. It is not necessarily a case where "Scenario X from Show Y could have been avoided if the main character didn't do a certain action that causes the events in the first place". Most importantly, it has to be acknowledged in an in-universe conversation. A former page image was replaced due to this misuse.
  • Covered Up means that a Cover Version eclipsed the original song. It does not simply mean "any popular cover", nor does it mean "this song has a lot of covers."
  • A Crapsaccharine World is a world which appears bright and cheerful or some kind of utopia on the surface, but holds a very dark secret that makes it almost as bad as a true Crapsack World, or depending on your interpretation, just as bad if not worse. Essentially a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing or a Stepford Smiler as the setting. It's not simply a world with positive elements that are contrasted with serious problems and harsh reality. That's A World Half Full. However, a Crapsaccharine World can become A World Half Full, and from there usually evolves into a Sugar Bowl.
  • "Crazy Awesome," we hardly knew ye. You have been besieged by people who only know crazy as a superlative adverb rather than a descriptive adjective. The trope is for characters who are mentally unbalanced (in a good way) and this imbalance is the primary part of his/her effectiveness. It's not So Crazy It's Awesome, nor does it simply refer to anything that's really, really, awesome, especially because the proper definition is about characters specifically. This caused the trope to be split between Success Through Insanity for the original definition and Crazy Is Cool for the misuse.
  • Creator's Apathy replaced They Just Didn't Care since many failed to realized it was redefined to be about the creators admitting to not caring, as opposed to anything that feels like the creator didn't care. There's still those who forget that it needs official word on their not caring, and that reviewers accusing them of not caring (including the former Trope Namer) does not qualify. Strangely, the rename has also lead to a few inverted examples, where cleanup attempts for the old trope name seem to forget that it was renamed and not deleted outright, and will even remove examples where the creators in question did, in fact, admit to not caring about something.
  • Creator's Pet (formerly The Wesley) is ironically a case of an Audience Reaction that's gotten more misuse after a general rename. Now people will use it for characters that the author simply admits is their favorite (which is covered by Creator's Favorite), or they'll use it when they feel the narrative is favoring one character too much (that's just Character Focus, which doesn't require the creators to like them). The original definition still applies. It's only about characters that are widely hated by the fanbase, adored by the creators, and put in the spotlight more than other characters.
  • Critical Dissonance is for works where the consensus of the work's quality between critics and audiences differs. It is not about works that were critically acclaimed but sold poorly (which fall under Acclaimed Flop), nor is it for works that were critically trashed but sold very well (which fall under Critic-Proof).
  • Crosshair Aware: This is a video game mechanic wherein, solely for the player's benefit, crosshairs visibly mark the location of an incoming enemy attack. It doesn't mean "aware of crosshairs"; an NPC who reliably moves away from where you're aiming even when they shouldn't know that in the first place is The All-Seeing A.I..
  • Cruel and Unusual Death doesn't merely describe any violent or painful way to die. It's when not only the cause of death, but also the circumstances surrounding it, are extremely gruesome, unpleasant, and ugly. If you have to die, these are the causes of death that you'd rather avoid. If the character dies in a Heroic Sacrifice, or with a smile on their face, it's very unlikely to be this trope.

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  • The Danza is about characters who are explicitly named after the actor who plays them. Unfortunately, many people have forgotten the "named after" part and will declare any character/actor combination that shares some part of their names an example, even if the character existed long before an actor was cast for them.
  • Dark Age of Supernames is about superhero names that are dark, edgy, and sometimes misspelled; such as Bloodwulf or Deathblow. Several examples don't sound dark and edgy, just intentionally misspelled; like Bugg or Gloo.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy is for works that are so dark that there's no meaningful conflict anymore, or the resolution of the conflict is meaningless (like a child molester vs. a genocidal slave trader), and large parts of the audience lose interest. However, tropers just keep adding any work that is in the least way dark/depressing/cynical and ignore that the conflict might arise from some other source than just character A vs. character B and has meaning for huge parts of the audience. Endings do not count toward this, as audiences have to lose interest before the ending. Single dark episodes from non-dark series don't count either, as the darkness doesn't last long enough for apathy to set in. Also, many examples are just "works I personally think are too dark". The misuse got so out-of-hand that the trope was renamed to "So Bleak, It's Boring", but that name proved to be just as misleading since there's a difference between being bored by something and being apathetic towards drama. To clarify that the point is that the audience stops caring due to the darkness making things too depressing and miserable rather than simply boring, it was renamed again to Too Bleak, Stopped Caring.
  • Deadpan Snarker refers to a character who distinguishes himself by having a snarky remark for every occasion. It far too often gets Potholed for any sarcastic remark made by anybody. If an otherwise polite character is sarcastic once or twice, it's just sarcasm. And if all or most characters in a work talk like this, there's no need to single any character out; use World of Snark.
  • Death Glare is not supposed to be a scary, dangerous glare or a face a character makes before or while going on a rampage. It is a glare a character delivers to make someone, a Deadpan Snarker especially, shut up, similar to a "Be Quiet!" Nudge or a "Shut Up" Kiss.
  • Death Is Cheap does not refer to any one character coming Back from the Dead. It means that it's common to do so.
  • Deconstruction refers to fiction that takes an established genre or work, and adds a layer of realism by establishing why its associated tropes are used, and how they would affect the real world. It is not Darker and Edgier applied to an entire genre, nor is it merely just any story with an overly cynical tone. We have a whole page on that topic.
  • A Decoy Protagonist is treated like the main character early in a work, but then gets killed off or otherwise permanently removed from anything resembling a protagonistic role. But this is not the trope to use if the character remains the focus, even if other characters seem to be driving the plot more.
  • Defcon Five is when media gets the order of DEFCON ratings backwards (e.g. referring to DEFCON 1 as the lowest state of alert and DEFCON 5 as the highest, when these are the opposite in reality); occasionally it just gets referred to any time DEFCON ratings are shown or otherwise mentioned, regardless of if they're in the wrong order or not.
  • A Defied Trope is when a character is aware of the possibility of a trope happening and takes steps to avoid this. A trope can't be defied by the work's creator, only by the characters. Yes, it happens that creators are aware of certain tropes and try to avoid them, but it's not a Defied Trope when they do that.
  • Denser and Wackier is about a crazier Tone Shift in a single work (such as a series getting crazier in its second season than its first), meaning examples that involve spin-offs or reboots that are crazier from the get-go do not count.
  • Deus ex Machina is an unrealistic or out-of-place plot device which shows up out of nowhere to resolve the plot. It is not a Pretentious Latin Motto meaning "plot points I think are stupid." Of course, the term gets thrown around a lot in this manner outside the wiki too, making its misuse Truth in Television.
  • Deus Sex Machina is not any sex that's a plot point. It's an ability or item that only works if someone has sex.
  • Developer's Foresight is about a rare game instance that can happen which the developers acknowledge and put special content in for that matter, like a special trick or sequence break. If it is something that happens often or the developers set the player up for that instance, it's not an example of this trope. For this reason, the trope was renamed from The Dev Team Thinks of Everything, with the hope that having a name that sounds less like praising the developers for their cleverness would cut down on people trying to boost their favorite game by including it, though misuse continued even after the rename.
  • Did Not Do the Bloody Research is about the dissonance of cultural slang and cuss words used in different countries, with their meanings often misinterpreted or completely lost when brought over to an audience not familiar with them (for example, "bloody" has more negative connotations to British people as a cuss word than to Americans). Unfortunately, the trope name is misleading enough to be taken literally at face value, causing some tropers to confuse it with the now-defunct "Critical Research Failure" and misuse it in a way to refer to factual errors within the work that has nothing to do with slang/cuss dissonance at all. In other words, the focus of this trope is on "Bloody".
  • In the early days of this wiki, there was an index called "Did Not Do The Research" that collected tropes about things that were often portrayed inaccurately in fiction, but looking at how it was used, you could have sworn it was actually a trope that amounted to "complaining about inaccuracies the person writing the example didn't like". The index is now Artistic License and is about intentional inaccuracies made for the sake of having a more interesting story. Of course, many tropers still misuse the Artistic License tropes to complain about the author making accidental factual errors, while ignoring to "to make the story better" part of the definition.
  • Disappeared Dad, Missing Mom and Parental Abandonment are often used to parents whose absence lacks an In-Universe explanation. They are supposed to cover only parents that are clearly absent or deceased. The former examples should go to Ambiguously Absent Parent, which was specially created for this reason.
  • Disappointing Last Level in a video game means a drop in quality and a rushed-in-development feel in the last parts of the game. An increase in difficulty by itself is not an example of this; such a difficulty spike needs to feel out of nowhere and lazily implemented - as if the spike is less an intentional move from the developers and more of the game not being designed for you to do what it expects you to do for the finale - for it to qualify.
  • Disney Death is where a character is believed to be dead, only for them to be revealed to have survived. This trope is occasionally used mistakenly to refer to when a character does die, yet shows up alive later on, which is Back from the Dead. What makes this particularly bad is that for a Disney Death, the character doesn't even die.
  • Disneyesque refers to a work that adopts an art style used in Disney's animated works (usually for homage or parody purposes), similar to how Animesque is about a non-Japanese work adopting an anime/manga style. It is not about something that Follows the Leader to the Disney Animated Canon (e.g., Anastasia or Thumbelina), borrows Disney's fairy dust trademark, or uses Disney Creatures of the Farce.
  • Disproportionate Retribution gets misused for any time audiences see it as excessive. It is not subjective and is intended to be portrayed as unfair and excessive by the narrative. Karmic Overkill is for moments the narrative treats as fair but audiences view as excessive.
  • Don't Explain the Joke. In regard to in-universe examples, the trope is almost always used properly. In Pot Holes, people tend to mistake "Explaining the scene or the character in question for people who aren't familiar with the series" as "explaining a joke", as if they think everyone who'll ever read the example already knows what they're talking about and they're only explaining in detail because they like explaining things everybody already knows in detail.
  • Some links to "Do Not Want" were people saying that they "do not want" something to happen. The trope was actually about humorous bootleg subtitles. This resulted in a rename to Translation Train Wreck to end the confusion.
  • Doomed Hometown is not just about "any settlement destroyed by a disaster where a character doesn't have a home to go back to". It needs to be very significant to the plot to work, and it has to tie into the reason why said character is going on an adventure in the first place. For this reason, only The Hero, Big Bad, or similar major characters can qualify for the trope. Minor background characters (or NPCs in the case of video games) do not count unless they provide some lore and exposition regarding the town's demise, which may be relevant to a major character's Dark and Troubled Past.
  • Double Standard Rape (M/M, F/M, F/F, Sci-Fi): If it's not portrayed as "okay" or "funny" in the work, it's not an example. And if other kinds of rape are also portrayed the same way, it's not an example because these tropes are about double standards; then it's just Romanticized Abuse or Black Comedy Rape in general.
  • Down to the Last Play refers to any sporting event which is decided in dramatic fashion at the very last minute. Though it does not matter which team wins, many assume it to mean that the protagonist team always has to win. If the protagonist team doesn't win, tropers will label it as a subversion or an aversion. A true subversion would be a game that ends anticlimactically. A true inversion would be a game decided on the very first play.
  • Draco in Leather Pants refers to any villainous or in extreme cases unsympathetic character who is made out to be "not that bad" by the fandom, by either downplaying or outright ignoring their actions. While this could be used to make the character more attractive to ship them with the rest of the cast, simply making a character look hotter is Self-Fanservice. And then there are those who consider any character who is made out to be more sympathetic by the fandom to be a DILP, when the trope requires a villain or otherwise antagonistic character to be deliberately unsympathetic.
  • The Dragon drifted over time and is now the right hand of the Big Bad, sometimes being the Evil Counterpart of the heroic Number Two as well. It was originally intended to mean something like a "penultimate threat," or an antagonist that's a more physical challenge for the protagonist before they face the Big Bad as a mental challenge. The redefining reflects the trope's visibility and the various sub-tropes that regard The Dragon as evil's #2.
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him is for when a significant character dies in an anticlimactic or inconsequential way, not simply whenever someone dies because something fell on them.
  • Dual Wielding, for using two one-handed weapons at the same time with one in each hand, is mostly used properly except in the context of firearms, which many tropers don't seem to realize has a more specific subtrope.
  • Dude, Not Funny! is In-Universe Examples Only, meaning examples where a reviewer finds a particular joke in a work tasteless should not be listed there.
  • Dueling Works is often shoehorned to any similar works. If they are intended for different fandoms or release months or more apart, they aren't competing with each other and thus don't count.
  • Dummied Out pertains to situations where work was started on content that was never completed or ultimately replaced, but traces of it remain and are left intentionally inaccessible through normal means. The page lists several examples of content that was changed between various stages of a work's development, only known to outsiders thanks to photos or videos of preview builds. While these exhaustive lists of known changes during the creation of a game or other work are interesting for similar reasons and make for just as good a read, they aren't examples of the trope unless some artifact of them still exists buried within the final product; however, such cases could still be examples of What Could Have Been.
  • Dyeing for Your Art is a Trivia item about when an actor makes heavy, long-lasting changes to their physical appearance for a role (e.g.: becoming overweight, or very skinny, or packing a lot of muscles...). The trope is often used for less long-lasting physical changes, like a change of haircut or a dye, two things which are specifically mentioned as misuse in the description on the page (they respectively fall under Real Life Writes the Hairstyle and Dye Hard), or sometimes is evenly more blatantly misused as "actor did something disgusting/physically intensive while shooting some of their scenes".


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