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Like a lot of things relating to specific fields of knowledge, we have acquired some terms and idioms particular to this site. This page is to give you a quick overview of their meanings.

Compare Tropes of Legend, Canonical List of Subtle Trope Distinctions, What Page Types Mean.

See also Welcome to TV Tropes, Text-Formatting Rules, Page Templates.

Some definitions:


  • The 5P (Place for Purging Porn and Pedo-Pandering): A group of five tropers formerly responsible for reviewing potential violations of The Content Policy, before such reviews were deferred to the general public in 2022.
  • The 5T Incident (The Time when TLP Trolled Terribly): The chain of events involving two Trope Launch Pad drafts in 2020, provoking an unprecedented amount of trollposting. Is considered a black mark for the website and the discussion of it is strictly discouraged. The main point is that it led to mass suspensions, the ban on references to it outside the forums, a complete overhaul of TLP Guidelines, and strict moderation of activities in TLP.


  • Administrivia: Articles concerning the policies and standards of the wiki, providing instructions, or maintaining lists for cleanup efforts.
  • Agenda-based troper: A troper who frequently makes edits to further an agenda, which could be anything from shipping to politics. In extreme cases, they only edit to further this agenda. Being an agenda-based troper is frowned upon, since they tend to violate site policies.
  • Alice and Bob: Two hypothetical characters used to illustrate a concept. They and various other such characters can often be found on a trope's Playing With page.
  • Appeal: A request by a suspended user to have their privileges restored, done in this forum thread. See What to Do If You Are Suspended for more details.
  • Article: Loosely, any wiki page. More formally, a wiki page that contains the definition of a work, trope, creator, franchise, or other concept. Articles may have subpages containing various types of content. See also Main Page.
  • Ask The Tropers: A wiki discussion board (see Query) used to ask general questions of tropers and moderators. This is a good place to bring up problems with articles or with other tropers.
  • AssCaps: The AC: text effect that makes text bold and be shown on a separate line, similarly to headers.
  • Audience Reaction: While most tropes are objectively present in a work, and some generate debate about the degree to which they are present, Audience Reactions exist mostly in the minds of the audience. They do not get listed on the main page of a work article, but rather its YMMV subpage.
  • Averted or an aversion: A form of Playing with a Trope, a trope is averted when the audience expects it to happen (due to genre conventions or the like), but it doesn't. Examples of aversions should only be listed for Omnipresent Tropes.


  • Badge of Honour or Badge of Honor: If a trope or YMMV item is being used as a "badge of honour", that means that it attracts misuse due to people adding it to works it doesn't really apply to because they think it makes the work look good. Remember, Tropes Are Tools.
  • Ban: Usually synonymous with suspension, but informally used to indicate a permanent, rather than temporary condition.
  • Ban evasion: The act of making a new account to get round a suspension. This is not allowed and will result in both the new account and the account that was suspended being permanently banned. The correct procedure if you get a suspension notice is to talk it over in this thread and prove you won't repeat the mistakes which led to the suspension.
  • Banner: The disclaimer on top of the Trivia, YMMV and Flame Bait articles indicating them as such. Can informally refer to handwritten notices with the header markup.
  • Big Green Banner: Since this joke, as a Running Gag, tropers propose making the header of Ask The Tropers page green after Hulk, since it contains instructions like using Trope Finder and not Ask The Tropers for finding tropes, and new tropers not doing so can be a pet peeve.
  • Blank Launch (mislaunch): Under older versions of Trope Launch Pad, an unskilled attempt to launch a trope could result in a red link instead of a trope and remove the draft from the list. Nowadays, TLP is much more streamlined, and mistakes like this are much less likely. Still, always learn the basics before you try to launch.
  • Blue Link: A working link to a wiki page. Bluelinks may be Wiki Words or Potholes. Compare Red Link and Green Link. "Blue Linked" simply means that one valid trope or work is linked to another. Stringing these together can make you see blue.
  • Blue Shifting: A link to an existing entry is in blue, and a link to a non-existing one in red. If a particularly interesting item is linked a lot, and yet no one actually creates the page to go with it, the text remains red. Then someone does create the page, and the resulting change in colour scheme makes the world feel slightly better. This is an allusion to a particular instance of the Doppler effect in physics.
  • Bomb: The name of the downvote option at the Trope Launch Pad to indicate disagreement with the trope draft to be launched. This should not be confused with a "Dislike" button.
  • Bounce: A moderator action; this is the ban method of last resort. A bounced account cannot log in and its IP address(es) may be blocked from creating new accounts. The term comes from the original functionality of the bounce, which redirected users to Google.


  • CamelCase: The usual way of creating Wiki Words onsite, achieved by removing the spaces between two or more words, e.g. CamelCase.
  • Canon: What the creator or owner of a work says happens in the story and/or setting. It's the Word of God about the work. See also Continuity, Discontinuity, Fanon, Negative Continuity, Reboot, Retcon.
  • Chairs: Short for "People Sit on Chairs", an apparent pattern in media that doesn't qualify as a trope due to being a coincidence with no interesting meaning. Synonyms include "chairsy" and "PSOC" (an initialism for People Sit on Chairs).
  • Circular Redirect: A redirect created by making a page redirect to itself, or to a page that redirects to itself, or making two pages redirect to each other. This functionality is no longer supported by the wiki's software; attempting to make one will prevent such a redirect from being made. Before the wiki software prevented their creation, it was strictly forbidden due to technical concerns, but modern browsers now display errors instead of breaking.
  • Clean-up: Editing an article to remove anything that shouldn't be on the page per TV Tropes policy. There are several topics in the forums dedicated to the various types of clean-up that might be required.
  • Clueless Contributor: An editor who adds their content without regard for formatting or proper grammar.
  • Comment: Text that is only visible in the editor, thanks to being preceded with '%%'. Comments are mainly used to hide editing instructions so that users browsing the wiki won't see them. They are also used to hide Zero Context Examples so that editors will be motivated to expand them. It is against site policy, however, to use comments to add a hidden placeholder for a future example — if you can't add a full-context example yet, wait until you can. Hiding something with comment markup is referred to on-wiki as "commenting [it] out".
  • Compare and Contrast: A short list at the end of descriptions to note Sister Tropes and/or Opposite Tropes to the trope being described.
  • Composite Trope: A trope article that incorporates multiple variations or "types" that are explicitly described. We discourage these because they lead to a problem that we call Type Labels Are Not Examples.
  • Consensus: The process by which the troper body arrives at decisions. Unless there is an overriding policy or formal system involved (see Trope Repair Shop, Image Pickin'), such decisions are determined by majority vote of participating tropers. See Crowner for one way to establish consensus.
  • The Content Policy: The set of guidelines that we use to determine whether a work is too pornographic or otherwise objectionable to describe on the wiki.
  • Context: The explanation or description of how a trope example is used. See Zero-Context Example for why we insist on it. A trope example without context is not useful to readers.
  • Continuity: The sequence of events, characters, and settings that is presented by a work. It's what's actually on the page/screen/etc.
  • Continuity Reboot: When a franchise's continuity is reset and started over, often to clean up years upon years of tangled continuity and give fresh audiences a chance to get into a franchise without having to deal with all of the baggage.
  • Courtesy Link: A link to an article that you are discussing, provided so your fellow tropers can easily get to it without having to search or browse the wiki. Image Pickin' and Trope Repair Shop require these when making a new topic.
  • Creator: Someone who participates in the creation of a work. On TV Tropes, these include writers, directors, producers, artists, actors, musicians, bands, companies, and so on.
  • Crosswicking: Adding a trope example to a work's page and vice versa.
  • Crowner: The site's voting system, most frequently used to decide on a Trope Repair Shop or Image Pickin' action. A crowner is typically decided by the highest ratio of upvotes to downvotes, as long as the winning option has a positive vote count. The name comes from its original purpose, which was to let users decide which Crowning Moment was the most awesome. This became an Artifact Title once that trope was renamed.
  • Curly Brackets: {{ }} The way to make single-word titles WikiWord (for example, Macbeth), or a way to make larger wiki words and control the spacing. Compare CamelCase. See Text-Formatting Rules for how to implement them.
  • Custom Title: You can request these for any article to change how the title is displayed in wicks and the page header. These are usually done to add punctuation, leading numerals, or diacritics to plain-text titles. For example, "Pokémon" is not a valid WikiWord, so the article is created at "Pokemon" and then given a custom title.
  • Cut: Used to describe content that has been removed from the wiki, or the act of removing said content. During discussions on whether to remove content, other "destructive" words like "Axe" or "Scissor" can equivalently be used for humor. See Nuke for more serious cases.
  • Cut List: Where articles are proposed for deletion. While any troper may propose a cut, only moderators can execute them. There is an opportunity to contest the cut request and provide comments for or against.


  • Darth Wiki: The Dark Side of TV Tropes, containing material that is either inappropriately silly or too negative to live in the main part of the wiki. Unpublished Works also go here. Contrast Sugar Wiki.
  • Deconstructed or a deconstruction: A form of Playing with a Trope, a trope is deconstructed when it is used in a way that demonstrates its realistic consequences or assumptions, or explaining how it could even come to pass.
  • Defied: A form of Playing with a Trope, a trope is defied when a character in a work is aware that it is about to occur In-Universe and takes steps to avert it or otherwise avoid playing it straight.
  • Derivative Work: A work that is based on, adapted from, a sequel to, licensed from, or otherwise derived from another work. Fan fiction is a derivative work by definition. See Original Work.
  • "Describe Topic Here": Non-existing wiki articles used to display the text "Describe <title> here", which led to a lot of in-jokes and memes. The wiki software no longer does this, making the meme anachronistic and increasingly stale.
  • Description: The part of a page describing what the page is about. Usually it's defining a trope or describing a work. Often comes in different forms, such as Self-Demonstrating Article or Example as a Thesis.
  • Dewicking: Removing a link (wick) to a page, turning it into normal text if not replacing or deleting it altogether. Frequent causes for dewicks being needed include pages being renamed, cut, misused, potholed gratuitously, or not existing in the first place.
  • Disambiguation (or disambig): A type of page that links a commonly used term to the various articles that share it. Note that a disambiguation page is automatically displayed if you visit a non-existent page whose title exists in one or more other namespaces. Disambiguation pages are identified with Green Links, and such links should be replaced with ones pointing to the specific article that is being referenced.
  • Discard: An action at Trope Launch Pad to hide a trope draft from the main list, the opposite of launching. Can be done if the draft violates a policy, lacks support with no sign of recovery, not a trope page and TLP is used for a review or by the sponsor's decision. Discarded drafts are still functional in their own section of the TLP and can be restored if needed.
  • Discontinuity: When something in a work's continuity is considered not to be in canon — it exists as part of the work, but in relation to the work's other parts, it's dismissed as something that didn't really happen. When the creator of a work decides that something is not in canon (example: The Star Wars Holiday Special), you get Canon Discontinuity. When the fans decide that something in continuity did not happen because they don't like it (Bioshock 2), you get Fanon Discontinuity.
  • Discussed: A form of Playing with a Trope, a trope is discussed when it is talked about In-Universe by characters for whom it is relevant to their current situation.
  • Discussion: All wiki articles have a Discussion page where threaded conversations may be conducted, usually about the content and presentation of the article. It's like a mini-forum attached to each article. Compare with Wikimedia "talk" pages.
  • Dogpiling: When many tropers toss bombs at a TLP draft, usually without commenting on the draft (except perhaps to say that they're tossing a bomb). While not strictly against the rules, this practice is frowned upon, since it often leads to the draft becoming unsalvageable and is seen as rude.
  • Don't be a dick: Our Rule Zero. If you engage in behavior that makes other users' lives unpleasant, you are subject to being suspended or banned even if you are technically following our rules.
  • Drama Importation: Editing the wiki or posting on TV Tropes forums with the intent to influence private disputes happening on another site. Doing so is grounds for suspension. The same applies to Drama Exportation, using other sites to influence matters occurring here. This post goes into further detail.
  • Drive-By Updater: An editor who makes one, maybe two, edits and then disappears into oblivion. In many cases, this is a passing browser who spots an obvious mistake to fix.


  • Edit Reason: The input box at the bottom of the article editing window. Describe why you made the edit there. This is required any time you delete something.
  • Edit War: When you contest a change to an article by editing the article back to the way you preferred it. Talk it out first, then go with the consensus. Edit warring is grounds for suspension.
  • Effort Post: On the forums, this type of post is used to propose a candidate for a trope or an action to be taken on an article. The poster is expected to do the work ("effort") to make a detailed and unambiguous case for the proposal.
  • Enforced: A form of Playing with a Trope, a trope is enforced when it has to be included in a work for reasons beyond the creator's control such as Executive Meddling.
  • Engineer: Someone who does behind-the-scenes technical work, such as approving video examples and unlocking pages.
  • Example: Items listed after a page description. The examples are usually two kinds:
    1. If the page is a trope, the examples are the works where the trope shows up. These usually start with "Examples:" in a banner at the top of the list and are sorted by medium. Media that acquire a large number of examples may be moved to their own subpages, whose links are provided in an indexed list separate from the other examples on the page.
    2. If the page is a work/person, the examples are the different tropes that show up in that work. These usually start with "Provides examples of:" (or some variation) in a banner at the top of the list.
  • Example Sectionectomy: The process and result of removing all examples from a trope (or more rarely, a work) article.
  • Expanded Universe: Licensed derivative works that are distinct from a franchise's main story or setting and may or may not be canonical.
  • External Link: A link to a page outside of Example: Note that links within that do not use the WikiWord markup style will appear external even though they are not.


  • Fancruft: A derogatory term which originated in The Other Wiki. To quote the article over there, calling something fancruft is implying that "it is of importance only to a small population of enthusiastic fans of the subject in question."
  • Fan Fiction or Fanfic: An unlicensed derivative work using characters, settings, or plots from an original work without the permission of the IP holder.
  • Fanon: What fans of a work claim happens in the story and/or setting, regardless of what the author says.
  • Fan Wank: A pejorative term for the tendency of fans to make up whole bodies of Fanon that have little or no relationship to what actually occurs in a work.
  • Faux-Red Link (Fake Red Link): A link which shows up as a Red Link even though the page exists (even as a redirect or a disambiguation). Done to discourage sinkholes. Faux-redlinks are always locked and are not edited. A list of them can be found in the Permanent Red Link Club.
  • Fetish Fuel: A discontinued area of the wiki where tropers could list examples of things that turned them on. Removed for not being Family Friendly.
  • First Come, First Served: A rule designed to prevent edit wars between users of American English and users of Commonwealth English. It also applies to any grammar rules, spellings, punctuation, translations, names, word choices, entries, page formatting, and etc., when the alternatives are equally valid. Unless there's a clear problem with the writing, tropers shouldn't use personal beliefs to "correct" it and should instead seek consensus.
  • Flame Bait: An article describing a concept that is so controversial or prone to argument that no examples of it are permitted.
  • Folder: A system for categorizing examples within an article, letting the reader expand each category as desired.
  • Folderize: To convert AC's or headers into folders.
  • Franchise: In TV Tropes parlance, when a work is adapted or remade across three or more mediums, an article may be created in the Franchise namespace to help tell them apart. A Franchise article is a form of disambiguation.


  • Gender Inverted: A form of Playing with a Trope, a trope is gender inverted if it is applied to males when it normally applies to females, or vice versa. Note that a trope can only be gender inverted if it is Always Male or Always Female.
  • Ghost Wick: A wick on an article that doesn't exist. This is usually caused by an article on which mod/admin deletions occurred that still believes the wick exists due to a database error.
  • Gingerbread: The fancy bits of the TV Tropes Forum including avatars, signature lines, and so on. Gingerbread is turned on by default; if you are known, you can switch it on and off via your profile page.
  • Google Incident: An incident which led to the creation of the content policy, during which Google stopped advertising on TV Tropes because some of the content was NSFW. There was also a second Google Incident, when they temporarily pulled the ads again because of the Naughty Tentacles page.
  • Grandfathered in: If something has been grandfathered in, that means the Grandfather Clause applies to it— we wouldn't allow it now, but it remains because it's too ingrained in the site to get rid of. For instance, The Scrappy wouldn't fly today as it's very negative and named after a character, but it's a large part of the site, so it stays.
  • Great Crash: An incident in which a lot of the site's data was lost due to a server crash.
  • Green Link: A working link to a disambiguation page. Compare Blue Link and Red Link. Disambiguation pages can't have links anywhere on the site except for archive pages and the Ambiguity Index so they are colored green so that they can be differentiated from blue links. Blue links used to appear as green in Night Vision mode so older references to the term might be referring to those links.


  • Hard Split: When a lengthy article or an article describing more than one work is broken up into subpages or individual work articles.
  • Hat: The name of the upvote option at the Trope Launch Pad to indicate support for the trope draft to be launched. This should not be confused with a "Like" button.
  • Hatpuppet: Derived from "sockpuppet", this is an account used specifically for the purpose of adding hats to a Trope Launch Pad proposal in an effort to make it look like it has more launch support than it really does. Doing this or soliciting it will get you permanently banned.
  • Headscratchers: A place on the Wiki where questions about a work, including answers to potential Plot Holes and inconsistencies, can be answered. Formerly known as It Just Bugs Me.
  • Hedge Trimmer: Editors who clean out clutter and other dirtiness from the wiki, such as Word Cruft and Conversation in the Main Page.
  • Help with English: A forum topic where tropers who need or want assistance with English grammar, spelling, or general proofreading may request it from other tropers. If a troper is suspended for persistent problems with spelling, punctuation and grammar, they will be asked to run their proposed edits through this thread until their writing improves to the point where it no longer requires correction.
  • Hindsight trope: A YMMV article where the audience reaction is related to something that occurs in hindsight. The hindsight tropes include any article with "in Hindsight" in its title (e.g. Hilarious in Hindsight).
  • History Page: All wiki articles have a history view where you can see all changes made along with the edit reason(s), if any. Make a habit of looking at this, especially if something you added got changed or removed. Failing to do this often leads to edit wars.
  • Holler: An option with forum posts to send a message to the mod team to get their attention. Should be used when necessary, such as reporting misbehavior, renaming threads or creating crowners. Named after Holler Button.
  • Hot Off The Press: Describes an example or article that is breathlessly created to capture a recent bit of news/gossip or an internet controversy. As Examples Are Not Recent, we encourage patience and prudence. Most of these things are transient and very few of them are relevant to tropes. See also the Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment.


  • I Am Not Making This Up: A wiki in-joke wherein tropers would add a disclaimer to any statement or situation that they felt was incredible or silly. It got out of control and had to be pruned with extreme prejudice. See "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer for the In-Universe version.
  • Image Pickin': Where article images are discussed. If you want to change (or remove) an existing image, go here. You don't have to go here to add an image to a page without one—unless it has a comment saying that it was removed by Image Pickin'—but it's recommended nonetheless.
  • Implied: A form of Playing with a Trope, a trope is implied when it is not explicitly present in a work but is suggested to have occurred offscreen.
  • Index: The organizational system for articles. See How Indexing Works to learn how to make it work.
  • Informal Wiki: A term we use to describe the attitude of this site in relation to editors. It doesn't mean we don't have rules and procedures for editing pages, but they are far fewer than other sites.
  • In-Universe: A distinction used to separate tropes that are employed by a work directly within itself from tropes that occur in the context surrounding a work, such as Audience Reactions. It is most often employed as a tag to indicate that a YMMV, Audience Reaction, or Trivia trope is used or cited within a work.
  • Inverted: A form of Playing with a Trope, a trope is inverted when a work reverses one or more of its key elements.


  • Jossed: Named after Joss Whedon, this refers to any time when Canon or Word of God officially quashes a popular Fanon theory. Whedon is infamous for doing this deliberately in response to his fans' more outlandish ideas. Seen frequently on Wild Mass Guessing pages.
  • Just a Face and a Caption: An image added to a trope page with no indication of how it fits that trope apart from the accompanying caption, if any. Basically the image equivalent of a Zero-Context Example. Often caused by fans assuming that because they know the image is an example of the trope everyone else will automatically understand it even without context.
  • Just for Fun: We get silly from time to time and write articles that are intended to entertain rather than document. We collect those under the "Just for Fun" umbrella.
  • Justified: A form of Playing with a Trope, a trope is justified if there is an In-Universe reason for its inclusion in a work.


  • Known: Being logged in here.


  • Lampshade Hanging: See our logo? It has a lampshade on it. This refers to the concept of authors calling out their use of tropes within their own works.
  • Launch: The process of making a new page. Tropes should go through Trope Launch Pad before being launched; Work Pages Are a Free Launch.
  • Locked Page: A wiki page that cannot be edited (other than by moderators). See Locked Pages for a partial list of these along with the reasons. If you want to request edits to a locked page, or request that a page be locked or unlocked, use this forum thread.


  • Main: The default namespace, where you will find trope descriptions and examples.
  • Main Page: The primary page for a wiki article. For Tropes, this is in the Main namespace. For works, this is in the appropriate medium namespace.
  • May As Well Be a Page Quote: Images that have a trope discussed without clearly showing it, like Wall of Text and Talking Heads. These aren't considered good images and it's encouraged to find something more of Show, Don't Tell.
  • Meatpuppet: A person who edits or posts at the instigation of another person, typically to evade a ban or disguise an edit war. A variation on a sockpuppet. Meatpuppetry in these cases is grounds for suspension.
  • Medium: The format a work is presented in (for example: film, comic book, radio, etc.). Examples in trope pages are sorted by medium.
  • Meme, or Memetic Mutation: Memes are defined formally as "units of cultural information". Informally, they mean fandom in-jokes, words or phrases that become popular due to their cultural context, Image Macros, and such. A Memetic Mutation occurs when a meme spawned in or around a work becomes popular in and of itself, to the point where its original meaning becomes obscured. Please don't make trope articles about memes, as they are transient and usually devolve into lists of places the meme was used.
  • Mini-modding or backseat modding: When someone who isn't a moderator attempts to assert authority in areas they do not have authority over, such as making threats regarding something that only mods have authority over, calling for someone to be suspended (or alternatively, telling someone that they will be suspended) despite only the moderators being able to make that decision, or threatening to get a moderator involved in an argument.
  • Misuse: An example which doesn't fit the trope's parameters as laid out in its article. This is commonly caused by a trope's definition being too broad or too narrow, or by the trope's name failing to convey precisely what the trope is about. Tropes which suffer from persistent misuse are liable to end up in the Trope Repair Shop.
  • Moderator: The unpaid volunteers who keep the peace, arbitrate disputes, and handle bans. When you see a "mod" or "moderator" tag next to someone's contribution, pay attention, especially if said contribution is a forum post with a pinkish background.
  • Mod hat: If a moderator is wearing their "mod hat", this means that they are speaking "as" a moderator, and thus disregarding what they said could lead to warnings or punishment. Conversely, if a moderator is not wearing their "mod hat", they're just speaking as a regular troper, and thus people can disregard what they're saying without fear of any potential consequence. Named after a function of some mods having two active profile pictures, the second showing in mod posts.


  • Namespace: This is the part of a page URL before the last slash. The TV Tropes default namespace is Main/. We have other namespaces for media (ex. Film/), sub-pages (ex. Analysis/), and trope pages (ex. NightmareFuel/).
  • Natter: Conversation in the Main Page. This is frowned upon, as it is generally distracting and unfunny. The only wiki articles that allow conversational editing are Headscratchers and Wild Mass Guessing. All other conversation should take place in the article's Discussion page.
  • Negative Continuity: When there is no consistent sequence of events between parts of a story. Things that happen in one episode may not affect future episodes despite the fact that they should logically do so. (Example: In Episode 4, the city is destroyed. In Episode 5, it's back, with no sign of anything ever having been wrong, and nobody brings the issue up.)
  • Ninja: To "ninja" someone on the forums, ATT, or similar is to say something that they were planning on saying. This is so common that the forums have a ninja emoji that tropers use when they get ninja'd. Additionally, "ninja-launching" can be used as a synonym for either rogue launching or stealth launching.
  • No-pic list or No pics list: The list of tropes whose pages are banned from having images due to being inherently hard to illustrate or NSFW. The full list is seen on Image Pickin' Special Cases.
  • No Real Life Examples, Please!: Notice that examples from Real Life are not to be added to a page. There are several reasons for this. The page might be about something that has Unfortunate Implications or would be considered an invasion of privacy. It might be so common in Real Life that such examples aren't worth noting. Or it might be impossible for such a thing to happen outside of a fictional setting.
  • No Recent Examples, Please!: Notice that something (a work or a real-life event) may not be added as an example of a trope until a specified length of time has passed since the work was released or the event occurred.
  • Notability: An odd one, in that we apply the definition used by Wikipedia, but are against it. We don't require a work to meet any standards of notability. As long as the work is published, and the page for it doesn't cover content that crosses certain lines, that page stays here.
  • Notifier or notification: A predefined PM message that can be sent to any troper from the article history page through the Issue Helper function, informing them of a common error that they are making. Notifiers are tracked, so moderators can see if someone's been making recurring errors. Previously called "natter-fy", short for "Natter Notify".
  • "Not to be confused with": A disclaimer in descriptions to list any tropes (or works) that have similar names to the current article, but are in no other way related.
  • Nuke: Colloquially, to delete something. Most often used emphatically, to indicate that the thing being deleted is a serious violation of policy or is otherwise very wrong. At Trope Launch Pad discarded drafts are also called nuked. Derived from the Memetic Mutation in Aliens: "Nuke the site from orbit. It's the only way to be sure."
  • Null Edit: Opening the edit screen and saving the page without making any changes. These have several uses, like leaving a message in an edit reason, updating an index, or making a link blue. Sometimes they happen accidentally. This edit is also called a "blank edit".


  • One-handed troping: Writing on the wiki that was added mainly or solely to gush about something or somebody the editor found hot. So named for the idea that the user only typed it with one hand since the other one was... in use. This is not allowed, as it violates our No Lewdness, No Prudishness policy.
  • Original Work: A work whose copyright is (or was) wholly owned by its creator: it is not derived from a work by a different creator, licensed from a different creator, etc. note  See Derivative Work.


  • Page Blanking: Removing most or all the content of an article while editing it. If you want to delete the article, use the Cut List instead. Unwarranted page blanking is grounds for suspension.
  • Page Ownership: A type of wonk where a troper discourages edits on a page they'd disagree with by means besides, but not excluding, Edit War, most commonly for pages they've created or are invested in. This is not an acceptable behavior, as This Is a Wiki.
  • Pagetopper: The first post on the page of a forum thread with more than one page. Generally used in the context of a post that was responding to the post directly before it (i.e., the last post on the previous page), but requires readers to go back a page to read what was responded to unless a direct quote is provided. The context issues may result in the post being edited to directly quote the post it was responding to.
  • Paging (also called Pinging): On the forums, using a special kind of markup to send a message to a user that you are inviting them to participate in a conversation. To page someone, put the tilde character '~' in front of the shortcut to their troper page (e.g., @/TroperName or @/{{Troper}}).
  • Parabombing: This is the practice of slapping parentheses around some text and then dropping it into the middle of an existing paragraph. People usually form paragraphs to deal with a particular rhetorical need. If the new material doesn't meet the rhetorical need, it probably doesn't go there. The parentheses don't change that. The cool thing about parabombing is that the parentheses make deletion particularly easy. The text to delete is already demarcated by parentheses.
  • Partial Context Example: An example entry that provides some, but not all, of the necessary context. For instance, if there was an example of Celibate Eccentric Genius that read, "Alice never goes on any dates and once stated that she never saw the point of it", this would be a Partial Context Example, since it explains the "celibate" part, but not the "eccentric genius" part.
  • Played Straight: A form of Playing with a Trope — or rather, not playing with it; a trope is played straight when a work uses it as described in its article with no aversions, subversions, or anything else of that nature. Because of this, examples are only explicitly noted as "played straight" in contrast to those that are actively played with.
  • Played With: Not all uses of a trope are straightforward. A trope is played with when it has some kind of twist to it. When you hear the terms "Averted", "Subverted", and so on, this is what's being referred to.
  • Popcorn Posting or popcorning: Derived from the trope Pass the Popcorn, this is when people post on a discussion like audience members watching a show rather than by helping to advance it. We discourage this.
  • Pothole: A WikiWord embedded in text, known as a piped link over on That Other Wiki. We like potholes here at TV Tropes. See also Sinkhole.
  • Primary Link: The first link on a bulleted line. The primary link is what gets indexed (on index pages) and is generally what people look at first to figure out what the line is about. You should never pothole a primary link. Compare secondary link.
  • Private Message, aka PM: A system that allows you to send messages to other tropers that are not publicly visible. You may access this system via the context menu or directly, here. Please note that moderators may view your PMs at any time, and sharing PMs publicly without the other party's permission may be grounds for suspension.
  • Proxy: Software or hardware that conceals the origin point of an Internet connection. Please note that, while anonymizing proxies have legitimate uses in avoiding certain kinds of censorship, we don't like proxies here because they are often used for ban evasion.
  • Ptitle: Punctuated Title. In the past, all titles containing non-alphanumeric characters other than hyphens, or starting with a number (e.g. 300) used to be ptitles. Ptitles couldn't be linked to with Wiki Words, and could only be created with special markup. They were phased out with the advent of The Ptitle Replacement System; now we use custom titles instead, and the only remaining ptitles are redirects, preserved in order to avoid breaking inbound links.
  • Pull: A vote at Image Pickin' to remove the image from the page, while leaving the opportunity for another image to replace it later. Can also be called No Pic if replacement suggestions are not favorable. Pages that have their images pulled have a commented tag that forbids adding a new image without a discussion.



  • Real Life: That weird place outside the Internet where stuff that is not fictional happens. We try to avoid troping real people and things. See Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment for more information about this.
  • Real Person Troping: Refers to using wiki pages to describe non-Trivia facts about real life people, like Personal Appearance Tropes and Characterization Tropes. By definition, Trope is what authors use to build a narrative, meaning it's inappropriate to use tropes for a person who isn't a character or in-character. Web Video, Non-Fiction and Real Life examples should especially be careful to not mix life and work. See Creator Page Guidelines.
  • Redirect: A type of article that redirects, or sends your browser to another page. There is a special markup used to make these. Do not ask the mods to make redirects to works or creator articles in the Main namespace.
  • Red Link: A link to a page that doesn't exist, whether it hasn't been made or once existed but has been cut. Occasionally a Faux- or Fake Red Link, where the page does exist but had its color changed to discourage linking to it. Compare Blue Link and Green Link.
  • Red Paint Argument: A term used to describe far-fetched misinterpretations of potential page images, e.g. claiming blood in an image could be mistaken for red paint.
  • Referral Count: The number of times a page has brought new users onto the site. You can view the referral count by clicking the "Related" button at the top of the page. The referral count is sometimes called the number of inbound links (inbounds).
  • Release: Used by moderators to refer to the removal of some or all of the restrictions on a suspended account following an appeal via this thread. In order for the account to be released, its owner must show a clear understanding of what they did wrong, why it was wrong and what they should do in future.
  • Repair, Don't Respond: Instruction to tropers who find an entry which is inaccurate or incomplete, doesn't fit the trope's definition, etc to edit or delete the existing entry, rather than pointing out the problems with it in a new entry.
  • Retcon: Short for "retroactive continuity", this is when the creator(s) of a work change details of the work's Canon and/or continuity, often without acknowledgment. For example, if Bob is 20 when a series starts, but in the next season everyone says he's 30, while no such time has passed for other characters, Bob's age has been "retconned".
  • Revert: To change an article back to a prior state, removing edits made in the interim. Reversions may be done manually (see edit war) or via an automated tool accessible only to moderators.
  • Righting Great Wrongs: The (discouraged) practice of editing articles so that they reflect how the troper who made the edit thinks things should be, rather than how things are in reality or what consensus has decided.
  • Rogue Launch: When a troper launches a draft from the Trope Launch Pad despite not being the current sponsor. This is not allowed and may result in a suspension.


  • Salt: Informally, to cut a wiki page and lock it so it cannot be created. Refers to the ancient warfare practice of "salting the earth", preventing new crops from growing. Examples of salted pages, and the reason for their darlings, are listed in the Permanent Red Link Club.
  • Sandbox: A namespace for temporary articles, used to create drafts, manage rewriting/cleanup efforts, and experiment with markup.
  • Sandwich posting: When one person posts on the forums, a second troper posts, and then the first one posts again. On Forum Games this is frowned upon, but it is generally seen as acceptable on non-game forums.
  • Secondary Link: Any links beyond the first on a bulleted line. These will not be indexed and may often be potholed to flow better. Compare primary link.
  • Self Demonstrating: A style of writing that attempts to demonstrate the concept illustrated, as opposed to just describing it. Because these can easily become incoherent, difficult to read, or just plain weird, we ask that you first write an ordinary version, and then put the silly bits in the SelfDemonstrating/ namespace.
  • Serial Tweaker: A style of editing where someone makes a long series of minor edits to the same page, typically to resolve an issue with one of their own edits. It can fill the page history up with tiny edits and is thus considered undesirable.
  • Shoehorn: Another term for misuse, where the example is warped to try and fit the trope.
  • Single-Issue Wonk: An obsessive fixation on a trivial matter. Pursuing wonks is discouraged as it can lead to unilateral editing and other undesirable behaviour.
  • Sinkhole: Like a pothole, but where the linked article is irrelevant or only tangentially relevant to the context in which it occurs. Alternatively, it may be relevant, but is formatted in a way that a reader can't easily tell where it will lead to. Either way, we don't like these.
  • Skullfucker: This tool could delete every single post a user had made in a topic, leaving no trace of it (unlike the Troll Post, which left blank posts behind.) It was one of the earliest moderation tools (along with the Thump). Later replaced with the Troll Post, which itself was discontinued in favor of simply thumping posts, because it had a tendency to break the post numbers in a thread.
  • Sliding Scale: A type of composite trope that grades examples on a scale rather than cleanly dividing them into buckets. Discouraged for the same reasons as composite tropes.
  • Snip snip: A phrase used on the Trope Repair Shop, indicating an opinion that the page under discussion ought to be cut. Usually used to imply the page is blatantly cut-worthy.
  • Snowclone: A phrase that's derived from an existing one with only some small tweaks; which originated outside this wiki and derives from people modifying "Eskimos have 50 words for snow" into various "[Culture] has [number] words for [subject]". On TV Tropes, the term is usually applied to trope titles; and using them is generally frowned upon since ripping off an existing phrase can obscure what the trope is really about and lead to misuse.
  • Sockfarm: Refers to the practice of creating multiple sockpuppet accounts, most commonly to ban evade, but also sees use for manipulating votes in crowners and the Trope Launch Pad hat/bomb system. For the ban evasion case, many tend to be inactive until the user behind one of the accounts is caught and bounced, and will immediately switch to another once that happens.
  • Sockpuppet, or sock: An additional account made by the same person. Named for the practice of using a puppet and acting like it is a separate person. Sockpuppets are allowed on the forums when they are part of games or roleplays. On the wiki, they are frowned upon as they often signal a ban evader. When adjudicating a ban, moderators will search for sockpuppets and apply the same action(s) to any found.
  • Soft Split: When an article about a series of works or a composite trope is visually organized by dividing it into sections for each of its parts. An article that is still too long or cluttered after doing this may be hard split.
  • SpaghEddie: A Portmanteau of "spaghetti code" and Fast Eddie. Used as a snark towards various site's bugs that have remained since the early versions of the website.
  • Special character: A symbol that cannot be typed on a keyboard, such as a Yen sign or a macron. Trying to type these in the TLP will result in the character turning into a string of gibberish.
  • Sponsor: The person in charge of editing a draft in the Trope Launch Pad. Usually the person who made the draft, but if the draft is put Up For Grabs, then another troper can adopt the draft and become its new sponsor.
  • Stealth Launch: When the sponsor of a draft in the Trope Launch Pad launches it without prior warning. This is frowned upon as it doesn't give other tropers much time for last-minute criticisms.
  • Stinger: The optional section at the end of an article that contains a joke as a reward for reading. Named after The Stinger.
  • Subpage: Any wiki article that is "attached" to another article, containing a subset of that article's content or segregating certain types of activities. For example, Film.Jaws is a main page. YMMV.Jaws is a subpage, containing YMMV tropes for that work.
  • Subverted or a subversion: A form of Playing with a Trope, a trope is subverted when a work indicates that it will be using that trope, but then avoids it at the last minute.
  • Sugar Wiki: The "sugary sweet" part of TV Tropes, containing all the content that's so positive and cheerful that we just can't stand to have it in the main site.
  • Suspension: A moderator action that removes access to one or more functional areas of the site. If you receive one, visit What to Do If You Are Suspended to find out what to do next. Failure to respond to a suspension may cause your account to be bounced.


  • Tag or Flag may refer to either of these:
    1. An icon that appears automatically when Trivia, YMMV or Flame Bait items are in a work page. Per What Goes Where on the Wiki, these belong only to their respective namespaces, unless they're Invoked. Per Creator Page Guidelines, Trivia and YMMV items instead still stay at main pages.
    2. A moderator comment on pages that protects the image with Image Pickin' rules.
    3. A "mod" or "admin" label next to the staff's username.
    4. A modifying markup, like [Spoiler] or [Invoked].
  • This Example is an Example: The use of phrases such as "X does/has/is this" in an example. By itself, this is a Zero-Context Example as it doesn't make it clear what "this" is or how it is used in the work. If you add context after "X does/has/is this", it becomes Word Cruft. Therefore, such phrasing should be avoided in favour of writing examples in a way which gives the necessary context, but avoids pointlessly stating that they are examples.
  • This Troper: The discouraged practice of referring to oneself in the third person while editing the wiki, as a form of verbal tic/in-joke. Do not use first-person writing, including "This Troper", anywhere on the wiki (save for specific designated areas). The articles aren't about you; they are about the subject.
  • Thump: The primary disciplinary tool on the forums. Moderators may "thump" a post, hiding it from public view and generating a PM to the poster. Thumps come in various types depending on the problem.
  • Trivia: Some tropes are objectively present in a work, and some are a matter of audience interpretation. Trivia, by contrast, is found in the external context of a work. How it is received, similarities between it and other works, casting decisions, what the actors were up to on and off set — all these little tidbits of information belong on a work's Trivia subpage. (As Creator pages are inherently concerned with trivia, they don't require a subpage for it.)
  • Troll Post: A tool reserved for extreme situations in which moderators would delete all posts by a user in a forum topic. The tool has been discontinued in favor of simply using thumps, but this is the smoking debris left behind when the tool was still in use.
  • Tropable or tropeworthy: Able to be correctly described as a trope. These terms are commonly seen on the Trope Launch Pad and Trope Repair Shop, asking whether something is truly a trope, or if it's actually YMMV, People Sit on Chairs, Too Rare to Trope, etc. For more information, see Is This Tropable?.
  • Trope: A common convention or device in media. These are not the actual literary definition of a trope, and should not be confused with it. This is just an informal definition we use for this site.
  • Trope Finder: A wiki discussion board (see Query) used to ask if we have a trope or what trope a particular example fits.
  • Trope Launch Pad: The place where drafts for new tropes and other articles can be proposed (TLP is only mandatory for tropes, however). There you can discuss if a trope is a proper trope, how to best define it, and get some examples if you don't have enough. Formerly known as You Know That Thing Where, or YKTTW.
  • Troper: Anyone who contributes to this site. To get listed in Contributors, you may create an article for yourself in the Tropers namespace.
  • Troper Critical Mass: Many tropers going online to add to a show, trope or other wiki page.
  • Troper Page: A personal wiki article where you can describe yourself, your interests, articles you contribute to, and so on. It lives in the Tropers namespace and only you can edit the article matching your handle.
  • Troper's Block: When a troper is unable to think of something that was just on the tip of their tongue, afflicting a normally productive Trope Launch Pad session in any number of ghastly drains upon the brain.
  • Troper Tales: A long-gone wiki project involving recounting users' personal experiences of tropes. We discarded it because it was generating vast amounts of ridicule and not a few major problems. Sometimes people still post anecdotes on discussion pages; these are also Troper Tales and are not generally appropriate.
  • Troper Wall: A non-standard namespace (TroperWall/) that some tropers use as a social media space so their friends can write them messages.
  • Troping: The act of discovering and documenting tropes in media. It's a neologism that we created and we're very proud of it.
  • Trope Repair Shop: A subforum where articles that need help, for whatever reason, are discussed and the appropriate action decided, usually by vote (see crowner).


  • Unilateral editing: As you might've gathered from the prefix "uni-", meaning "one", this refers to a single troper taking it upon themself to make large scale changes to the wiki without discussing it with other tropers. No matter how strongly you feel about something, do not make unilateral changes to the wiki. Instead, bring the issue up in Ask The Tropers or the forums, get consensus and go by whatever the majority decides.
  • Unpublished Work: An article for a work that is not available to the public, either because it's still being created or because it's available only for private audiences. Such an article goes in the Darth Wiki namespace, is indexed in Unpublished Works, and is generally not to be wicked anywhere outside of Darth Wiki.
  • Up for Grabs: A notice put on a draft in the Trope Launch Pad to indicate that the original sponsor is no longer editing it, either due to their own decision or because they have not been active on the draft for 2 months. Another troper can take ownership of the draft if it clearly meets these standards.
  • Useful Notes: An article providing documentary information about a Real Life topic with the intention of helping authors write about it accurately.


  • Wall of Text: An entry which is excessively long. This is commonly caused by tropers adding details which are not directly relevant to the trope in question. A clean-up thread for such entries can be found here.
  • Wick: A link on this site to another page on this site. This is useful for generating Wiki Magic. You can see the number of wicks by clicking the "Related to" button at the top of the page.
  • Wild Mass Guessing (aka "WMG"): A part of the wiki (found in the WMG namespace) where tropers can go wild with guesses and speculations about their favorite works. More generally, the process of doing such speculating.
  • Wild West: A (usually derogatory) nickname for the early days of the site. Typically refers to a time when users didn't need to get known, tropes were not separate from YMMV and Trivia, there were no namespaces, and most site policies didn't exist.
  • Wiki Curator: A type of wiki contributor who maintains articles, researches them, sorts out their indexes, etc.
  • Wiki Magic: The process by which, in a few hours, a weak page can be turned into a valid entry with enough examples to satisfy those who petitioned for its deletion. See Pages Needing Wiki Magic for an index of pages needing wiki magic.
  • Wikisize: The 350p width. Images are automatically downscaled to this size both when using the wiki's Upload Image and when they are displayed on page, which is important to consider when suggesting an image.
  • WikiWord: The most common way of forming a wick. Can be made using CamelCase, if the title has multiple words, or curly brackets if it is a single-word title.
  • Word Cruft: Basically refers to the use of words and phrases which, while common in rhetoric and frequently used to inflate school assignments to a required length, are essentially unnecessary due to the fact that they pretty much don't add anything useful to an entry and to be fair can as a rule be cut without particularly affecting the fundamental underlying meaning of the text. note 
  • Word of God: Official statements by the creator(s) of a work about the work's Canon. Used on this wiki as one would generally use citations on a site like Wikipedia, except less formally.
  • Work: Any creative effort in any medium. All of them use tropes.
  • Work Page: A page that briefly describes a work and lists all the tropes it uses. Work Pages Are a Free Launch because There Is no Such Thing as Notability.
  • Writeup: An entry for an approved Complete Monster or Magnificent Bastard, summarizing the character in question and their notable actions. Writeups are almost always more formal in tone than a typical entry.


  • Yard or Yarding: Shorthand for sending a trope cut by the Trope Repair Shop to the Trope Idea Salvage Yard.
  • You Know That Show: A wiki discussion board (see Query) where you can ask fellow tropers for help identifying a work whose name you can't remember.
  • You Know That Thing Where: The old name for Trope Launch Pad (mentioned above).
  • Your Mileage May Vary (aka "YMMV"): Most tropes are deliberate choices of those making a work; they either occur or they do not.note  Tropes designated as YMMV are not always objectively present; rather, people tend to argue about whether they occur and/or the degree to which they occur. They do not get listed on the main page of a work article, but rather its YMMV subpage. See also Audience Reactions.


  • Zapped: Deleted, without discussion. This is a wiki term used for the action taken to relieve the wiki of text that is clearly outside the boundaries of civil discourse or outside the bounds that the community has agreed to set. Lines, or even whole articles, will be zapped when they are natter, except in those few areas of the wiki (such as Headscratchers) where natter is tolerated, even enjoyed. Ad hominem attacks, statements directed against a person rather than against an argument, will also likely be zapped. This may also result in banning, for such an attacker.
  • Zero-Context Example: An example that isn't fleshed out to give context to the trope and how it is portrayed in a work. We don't like these, and we will comment them out if not elaborated on.
  • Zig-Zagged: A form of Playing with a Trope, a trope is zig-zagged when it is played with in such a way that it is impossible to categorise it under any other heading such as being triple subverted, or being both inverted and played straight.

Initialisms expanded:

  • ATT: Ask The Tropers. The catch-all query area for vandal reports, quick questions, and other stuff.
  • BUPKIS: Blank Until (a) Pretty Kickass Image Suggested (or Suggestion). A stock phrase found in Image Pickin', used for trope pages whose concepts are hard to picture and are to be left without an image pending a really good suggestion being found/created. See also KUBIS.
  • CCW: Clear, Concise, Witty; a policy which says that you should strive for conciseness so long as it doesn't get in the way of clarity, and wit shouldn't get in the way of either.
  • CM: Complete Monster; a completely-evil villain. This trope has a perpetual cleanup thread to prevent edit warring and misuse.
  • CMOA, CMOF, and CMOH: Crowning Moment of Awesome, Crowning Moment Of Funny, and Crowning Moment Of Heartwarming, respectively. CMOA/CMOF/CMOH are still widely used terms, but officially the pages have lost their "crowning" titles (which named crowners) after finding a crowning moment of anything proved impossible.
  • EB: Edit Banned, tropers who are suspended from editing the wiki, but may still have other privileges. Can also refer to the Ban Appeal thread.
  • EP: Effort post
  • FF: Fetish Fuel
  • GCPTR: Getting Crap Past the Radar. This trope has had to go through so many discussions that its initialism is well-established, unlike most tropes (which therefore aren't listed here).
  • JAFAAC: Just a Face and a Caption
  • JFF: Just for Fun
  • IANMTU: I Am Not Making This Up
  • IP:
    1. An Internet Protocol address. A string of numbers identifying your computer.
    2. Image Pickin'. A forum for choosing images and other such items.
  • IUEO: In-Universe Examples Only
  • KUBIS: Keep Until Better Image Suggested (or Suggestion). A stock phrase found in Image Pickin' used for pages whose pics are good enough to keep pending a better image being found. See also BUPKIS.
  • MB: Magnificent Bastard; a villain or Anti-Hero who is nonetheless a charming schemer (sometimes referred to as a Magnificent Bitch if female). This trope, like Complete Monster, has a perpetual cleanup thread to prevent misuse and infighting.
  • MICT: The Moments Images Cleanup Thread, a thread at Image Pickin' for pulling low-quality or unillustrative images from Awesome/, AwesomeMusic/, Funny/, Heartwarming/, NightmareFuel/, Shocking/, and TearJerker/ pages.
  • NF, ANF, HONF, and NFU: Nightmare Fuel and its variations Accidental Nightmare Fuel, High Octane Nightmare Fuel, and Nightmare Fuel Unleaded, respectively. Pages about scary stuff. The latter two names refer to the same concept ("Unleaded" was renamed as "High Octane"), and are no longer used since that concept ("Nightmare Fuel but worse") was deemed unnecessary and merged into regular Nightmare Fuel.
  • NOPE: No On-Page Examples
  • NREP: No Recent Examples, Please!
  • NRLEP: No Real Life Examples, Please!
  • PM: Private Message (Or DM for Direct Message)
  • P5 Another name for the 5P.
  • PCE: Partial-Context Example
  • PRLC: Permanent Red Link Club
  • PSOC: People Sit on Chairs
  • ROCEJ: The Rule of Cautious Editing Judgment, our holy grail of policies. Put simply: don't pick fights or make edits that will invite them.
  • SBIG: So Bad, It's Good
  • SBIH: So Bad, It's Horrible
  • SD: Self-Demonstrating
  • TLP: Trope Launch Pad. The place to propose new tropes, as mentioned in the list above.
  • TRS: The Trope Repair Shop. A forum for renaming, removing, and otherwise reforming or refining tropes.
  • TT: Troper Tale(s)
  • TVT: TV Tropes
  • UFG: Up for Grabs
  • UST: Unresolved Sexual Tension
  • WMG: Wild Mass Guessing. See its entry in the first list.
  • YKTS: You Know That Show. A discussion area in which you may ask about a work you can remember but don't know the title of.
  • YMMV: Your Mileage May Vary. See its entry in the first list.
  • YKTTW: You Know, That Thing Where.... The old name for Trope Launch Pad, changed to make things a bit clearer.
  • ZCE: Zero-Context Example. An entry on a trope or work page which just lists a trope link or work name without explaining how the trope is used.

Alternative Title(s): Blue Linked, Vigilante Taxonomist, Drive By Editor, Serial Editor, Speedy Deletion, Blue Shift, Wiki Magic, Clueless Contributor, Blue Shifting, Drive By Updater, Blue Link, Parabombing, Serial Tweaker, Troper, Troper Critical Mass, Fancruft, Hedge Trimmer, Glossary, Circular Redirect, Troper Wall