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Something will come out that uses a slightly-less-than-common word in the dialog. It's a perfectly good word, but the fact that it's not in peoples' everyday vocabulary makes it stick out. This has two effects:

  1. The fans use it over and over again until everyone else is sick of hearing it.
  2. The word becomes associated with the franchise itself, and people will commonly think of the franchise after hearing the word in conversation, similar to One Mario Limit.

Very likely to become subject to Memetic Mutation. The shortest type of Catch Phrase.

See also Author Catchphrase. Author Vocabulary Calendar may be the cause of this.

Examples of Magic Franchise Word include:


  • The sound of Wolverine extending his claws in X-Men/Wolverine "Snikt!"
  • Warhammer 40000? "HERESY!" (BLAM!)
  • "Humbug" has long vanished from common English usage, and is now only remembered exclusively for its usage in A Christmas Carol.
    • Although it's still the name of a stripy mint in the UK. Said mints are commonly sold in the Houses of Parliament, because of an old tradition that impolite language was not permitted - so instead of swearing, they would call one another humbug. Still, A Christmas Carol is the first thing anyone thinks of when buying them.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean encourages its fans to be "savvy", and to "parley". (Both with roots in French; parler "to talk". Savvy comes from the French savoir "to know".)
    • Though if you're editing this, your first thought may be "Genre Savvy".
  • Stephen Colbert thought that his second character in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law wouldn't be very important, til "HA! HA! Dangly parts!" appeared on T-shirts and made him and Adult Swim famous.
  • Fans of Sky High latched onto "alma mater" and bombarded their fanfictions with it.
  • Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure was known for the words "bodacious", "heinous" and "excellent".
    • Bonus points if you use "most" as a prefix to any of those.
  • Portal, and its fandom, makes a lot of hay out of "neurotoxin" "Euthanised" and "aperture". Don't even start with the cake.
  • Gekiranger fans will think of Gou-san (GekiViolet) at the mention of "Maitaze" and Ken-san (GekiChopper) for "Ossu!"
  • "Daijoubu" (Hikari (Dawn) from the orginal version of Pokémon).
  • "Desu" will forever be associated with Suiseiseki of Rozen Maiden, to the point that it's her Fan Nickname.
  • "D'oh!" in The Simpsons. The word existed before Homer used it, but it has since spread around the world as a universal expression of messing up.
  • South Park's memetic "Derp".
  • Ending sentences with the word "yesss", like Beast Wars Megatron.
  • "Phony" is the favorite word of Holden Caulfield from The Catcher in The Rye.
  • Evil Dead II and Army of Darkness reanimated the word "Groovy!"
  • Homeward Bound: The Incredible Journey: "Cats rule and dogs drool."
  • Star Trek:
    • The Vulcans want things to be "logical" (captain), or else "Fascinating". Continued as a generational thing by The Next Generation's Data.
    • The Borg have assimilated the word "assimilate".
  • Doctor Who:
    • There may be no-one in Britain who doesn't associate the word "EXTERMINATE!" with the Daleks.
    • The Ninth Doctor introduced the term "Fantastic!" into some fans' lexicons.
    • And the Tenth Doctor has been determined to do the same with "Allons-y!"
    • Let's not leave out the Eleventh Doctor, who has been known to let loose with "GERONIMO!"
    • Fans of the older actors, particularly Tom Baker will be paricularly fond of the word "indomitable".
  • "Inconceivable!" for The Princess Bride.
  • 'Shiny' from Joss Whedon's Firefly. Some fans use it extensively, to the point that their friends say it regularly as well. Also, "ruttin'" and "gorram".
  • "Et cetera" from The King and I.
  • Re Boot attempted to convert a wide variety of computer-related terms into magic franchise words, generally through misapplying them in conversation as false cognates feasible enough to warrant suspension of disbelief. Perhaps the most ostentatious of these was Enzo Matrix's exultant "Alphanumeric!" - a catchphrase that was later Lampshaded shortly after Enzo underwent his Time Skip.
    • Less straightforward are the magic franchise words "Megabyte" and "Hexadecimal"; also computer terms, but applied as names of characters. However, since the characters in question were for the most part the show's two main villains, the words did come up often in conversation, frequently delivered alone with obvious implications left unsaid.
  • Trope, from an obscure wiki dedicated to the conventions and devices in narrative of all forms. And the profusion of lampshades mean that editors might think of the site before home decor; it's so widely used that it's in the logo. To add more to this example would be Egregious.
  • "Eldritch", "squamous", "cyclopean" and "rugose" bring to mind H.P. Lovecraft's works and the Cthulhu Mythos which he spawned.
    • Parodied in Munchkin Cthulhu, where Squamous and Rugose are modifiers that can be played on monsters, and the artwork is the investigator looking in the dictionary.
  • Gavin and Stacey: "Tidy", "Lush" "[What's] occurring?".
  • Twilight:
    • So much "chagrin".
    • "Dazzle". "Chagrining my dazzle" has become a somewhat popular phrase among the Hatedom and the guilty-pleasuredom.
    • "Sparkle". If you know only one thing about Twilight, it's probably the sparkling vampires.
  • "Absurd!" was abused in Soul Calibur 3 (and only 3), possibly because the localizers lost their thesaurus.
  • "Dood" to anyone who ever played Disgaea.
  • Wayne's World managed this. NOT! "Schwing!"
  • Battlestar Galactica with "frak". Not the first time it was used as a science-fiction swear-word, but the most popular and most closely associated.
  • Similarly, Red Dwarf's "smeg" and "smeghead".
  • Father Ted, though, can "feck" off.
  • Mighty Morphin Power Rangers claimed the word "morph", except in the minds of British audiences old enough to think of it as a Plasticine stop-motion character. The first year also introduced the word "morphenominal."
  • For a time, this applied to the "Danger Island" segments in The Banana Splits Adventure Hour with "Uh, oh! Chongo!"
  • "Ecch!" in Mad Magazine.
  • Pinky and The Brain briefly popularized Pinky's favorite Verbal Tics "narf!", "zort!" and "poit!"
  • Durarara fans certainly have a thing for vending machines.
  • "Objection!" has become the signature phrase for Courtroom Dramas, (along with the reply "Overruled!") None more so than in Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney, Like this. Also "sidebar."
  • "Leverage" from Battlefield Earth.
  • "Cockbite" from Red vs. Blue. This phrase became so iconic that once when the creators of the machinima series went commercial, they called their studio Rooster Teeth.
  • For Kamen Rider, it's "Henshin!"
  • Teen Titans fans can be easily spotted in a crowd by their willingness to use of 'glorious' in day to day speech without a trace of irony.
  • "Awesome" and "Legendary" for How I Met Your Mother.
  • There's a bit of a shibboleth effect going in Sherlock Holmes fandom. Milder fans or subjects of Popcultural Osmosis will say "elementary", while the harder fans will say "singular".
  • Tiger and Bunny fans appear to have commandeered the phrase "princess carry" thanks to Barnaby's tendency to employ these -- usually on Kotetsu
  • Digimon has Izzy's catchphrase, "Prodigious!"
  • NBA Jam: "BOOM-shakalaka!"
  • God's "ineffable" plans in Good Omens, which even the angels and demons aren't completely informed of.
  • The Discworld has something of a Magic Franchise Mis-spelling in "pune, or play on words". Also "bugger", while an almost universally-known if not all that common minor swearword, is sometimes associated with Discworld since it gets used more often than pretty-much any other swear throughout the series.
  • Homestuck involves a lot of made-up words, many of which go on to become very popular with the fandom, but probably the most common is "Fuckass".
  • Mention Axis Powers Hetalia to any fan, and you will probably hear several "Pasta!"s
  • A Song of Ice and Fire frequently uses the phrase "mummer's farce."
  • The absent of a certain tabletop game is treason, citizen.
  • El Goonish Shive has "sexy awesome", originally a Forced Meme by the creator but still used within the fanbase and on the forums.

Multiple reference words

The same word is sometimes picked up by a series of different works, sometimes as a reference to earlier uses, sometimes because they're inherently appealing, sometimes just by coincidence.

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