Buffy-Speak

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"What, you want to tempt the wrath of whatever from high atop the thing?"
Toby Ziegler, The West Wing

Buffy-Speak is that thing where they say that a guy is saying things too fast, or can't figure out what the thing they want to say is, or doesn't have enough learning and stuff to say what the thing they mean is.

A thing you see a lot with this is when they don't know the right words and stuff, so sometimes you see noun and verb things combined like in "shooty-gun thing", and stuff that goes in a cycle thing in frustration: "That idea went over like... like... like a thing that doesn't go over very well." That thing where you go on and on and forget the stuff you were trying to say comes up a lot. Sometimes it uses that verb-noun-ing dealie thing, and sometimes that name thing where it's like, descriptive, but not really their name, because you don't really know their name? Or are trying to make a point? I dunno, just click on the link.

The dude who's bad at naming things does this stuff a lot. This Buffy-Speak thing would be called Dialogue-Where-The-Speaker's-Intent-Exceeds-Their-Powers-Of-Vocabulary-For-Comedic-Effect or something if he was the word guy person, but he's not, so it isn't.

If you do things right, Buffy-Speak can seem like teenager talk stuff without actually being like real-world wordy stuff. (Which is kind of why people do this thing. Slang words, especially for kids and stuff, change really fast-like. Buffy speak makes all that stuff sound less fake and it'll maybe help not sound like they're trying too hard with that talk...stuff.) If you do things wrong, it can sound as fake as a... really totally fake thing and can break the thing where people don't worry about if the story-thing is real.

Named for the way the teenagers and stuff talk in Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The show's creator guy, Joss Whedon, is sometimes said to have made this kind of writing stuff (also called Whedonspeak), but in terms of the thing where arty stuff, like, imitates life? it's been around since waaay before Buffy. Relative to this trope, however, it was appropriate that Sunnydale was in, like, California.

Contrast with Totally Radical. Compare Person as Verb. See also Shaped Like Itself and Department of Redundancy Department.

Examples of Buffy-Speak include:


Japanese Cartoony Things[edit | hide | hide all]

  • In the Yu Yu Hakusho dub, on the way to Sensui's hideout, Yuusuke ask Kurama what the seeds he's spreading around are for, and our favourite red-haired Bishounen goes into an explanation about lighting their way, trailing off into phosphorus and bread crumbs. In that case, it sounded more like Kurama (who is a Really Seven Hundred Years Old Chessmaster and former White Haired Pretty) was trying to Buffy-Speak so that Yusuke would understand him.
    • It's likely that the bread crumbs are a reference to "Hansel and Gretel", who leave a trail of bread crumbs through the forest that they can follow back, though it gets eaten by birds.
  • From the Excel Saga dub: "I have built this wooden underling-like puppet with an optional soy sauce puffy thingy!"
  • In Fate/Zero, Rider calls stealth bombers 'big black B-2 thingies,' and he describes the Gate of Babylon as 'showing off with a lot of shiny-goldy things.'
  • Ali Al-Saachez from Mobile Suit Gundam 00 uses this trope to refer to his enemies, "Celestial-Whatchamacallit!". Not like "Being" is a hard word to say or remember, but try telling that to his face.

Books With Pictures And Stuff[edit | hide]

  • Molly Hayes in Runaways. Especially when written by Joss himself:

Molly: Why aren't you awesomed by me!?

Doomguy: Sweet Christmas! Big-Mouthed Floating Thingies! It's always something!

    • And let's not forget the much quotable

Doomguy: You're huge! That means you have huge guts!

Mary Jane: And thus ends the tyrannical tyranny that was my life.
Peter: What kind of goofy goofball lunatic thing are you doing now, you goofball goofy goofnut??

Eclipso: You stink of science, not magic!
Blue Beetle: And you stink of... evil stink? Evilosity? Banter. Sucks. So much.

  • The sort-of pixie-like Preservers in Elf Quest apparently can't help but replace even simple words with ones smashed together from others. The silk they spit is "wrapstuff", elves are "highthings", humans are "bigthings", someone who's sleeping is "stillquiet"... This extends to the names of anyone who's not a Preserver, e.g. Dewshine, a blonde elf, becomes "Sunnygold Highthing" (despite the name being not that different from Preserver-names like "Petalwing" or "Berrybuzz"). Often they don't even use those names consistently, but make up a new one every time they refer to the same character. Preservers are also Third Person Persons. In short, they sound extremely ditzy.
  • Mainly from Empowered in the Meta breaks—and occasionally in the main story as well.
  • The Scott Pilgrim series is chock-full of Buffy-Speak. "There's a thingy over there." "A thingy?" "A door.", "You're not going to the thing"?, "Scott, look out! It's that guy!", etc.

Those Things People On The Internet Write[edit | hide]

  • Aeon Entelechy Evangelion has moments of these because of the writing style, especially when Simon shows up.
  • My Immortal. "Voldemort got a dude-ur-so-retarded look on his face."
  • In Forward, Jayne has a moment like this when he worried Simon will unleash his wrath on him.

Jayne: He's gonna...gonna doctor at me.

  • In Tempest in a Teapot Arthur describes his feelings for Merlin as "very un-prince-ly."
  • King Superman: Both the characters and author seem to use these from time to time, particularly the word 'scorpony'.
  • At one moment in the Mass Effect RP, "The Council Era", krogan Overlord Tikrog Kurvok makes use of buffy speak when referring to coffee, saying, "Give me a stimulant drink, to go. With extra energizer thingies." Kurvok repeatedly uses Buffy-Speak throughout the storyline.
  • In the fanfic "Princess", Julien describes female lemurs as having a "thing that looks like a ... thing". According to Word of God, there are very few ways that are both in-character and PG-rated to describe an enlarged clitoris. He goes on to say that they "don't have the ... other things, and they do have the ... girl things".
  • The four are occasionally prone to this in With Strings Attached, either because of vocabulary failure, deliberate humor, or simple laziness.
    • In a Shout-Out to Help!, Ringo calls the Vasyn “the thingy.” (George calls it “the Big Pink Job,” hence the subtitle.)
  • In the fic Presidential Initiation, America tries to explain who he is to the president...and does a really bad job of it as he says things like "I'm a national aromatherapy persecution or whatever the hell it's called!" Also used is the term "people/nation thingies."

Cartoon Things In Movie Places[edit | hide]

  • Ratatouille's Linguini, tired of the marionette treatment, tells Remy: "I am not your puppet! And you are not my puppet... controller... guy!"
  • Toy Story: "Your helmet does that... that... that whoosh thing!"

Chunk (referring to Buzz): "He's not the sharpest knife in the... place where they keep knives."
Sparks: Neither are you, Chunk.

  • The Little Mermaid has most of the song "Part of Your World" based on this when Ariel sings about her collection of land... gizmos, gadgets, whoosits, whatzits, and thingamabobs. She apparently improves her vocabulary as the song progresses, though.
    • Previous to becoming a human, most of what Ariel knew about human things came from what Scuttle told her. This led to things like trying to blow bubbles out of a pipe and combing her hair with a fork when she was with Eric.
  • "General...I propose we go forward with your Monsters Vs Aliens idea...thingie."
  • Madagascar has an I Resemble That Remark example: "No, no, no… you don't talk now, okay? You're not so good with the putting the words together and their coming out good thing."
    • Also, Julien. "After much deep and profound brain things inside my head ..."

Regular Movie Things In Movie Places[edit | hide]

  • Valentine from Mirror Mask: "I will slip unnoticeable through the darkness like a dark, unnoticeable slippy thing." A notable example in that he doesn't hesitate at any point in the sentence. That's what he meant to say.

"We will do what rich people do! We will bathe in... fish! Eat our weight in... chocolate buttons! Learn to play the concertina!"

  • In the 2007 TMNT movie, Raphael says "The thing about you immortal stone guys is...you know you're immortal...and made of stone. I sound like Mikey!"
  • Men in Black also had this little exchange.

Jay: Hey, Kay. When do I get one of those...flashy-thingy-memory-messer-uppers?
Kay: When you grow up.

    • or:

Jay: "Have you ever flashy-thinged me?"
Kay: "No."
Jay: "I ain't playing with you, Kay! Have you ever flashy-thinged me?!"
Kay: "No."

  • In Bad Boys II Det. Marcus Burnett is accidentally high on ecstasy when he and his partner go to ask their captain for a warrant. He is so out of it that his partner tries to send him on a fool's errand - call another detective and tell him... something...

Mike Lowrey: Tell Vargas... tell him... that thing we said to tell him...

  • The titular character of Juno has a most idiosyncratic syntax. "Prom is for weenises."
  • In Help!, George Harrison realizes that the curling stone he just threw is actually a bomb, and exclaims, "Hey, it's a thingy! A fiendish thingy!"
  • Jurassic Park

Nedry: First I'm going to get this thing and then I'm going to hook it up to that thing over there...

  • The Derek Zoolander Center For Kids Who Can't Read Good And Wanna Learn To Do Other Stuff Good Too.
  • The Princess Bride: Move the thing! And... that other thing!
  • Galaxy Quest: Red...thingy...moving toward the green...thingy. I think we're the green thingy.
  • The Commander in Sky High: "Whatever you're teaching them, keep teaching them... it."
  • At the climax of an "insult contest" against Peter Pan in Hook, Rufio is reduced to spluttering "You....man! You....stupid....stupid....man!"
  • Night at the Museum: Ricky Gervais' character (the curator) has this as his main defining characteristic.

"Do you think I'm here just to be a...a....(trails off into nothing)"

    • The protagonist is guilty of this too, at one point referring to dummies in a diorama as "weird, faceless puppet people."
  • Ocean's Eleven: Reuben says to Ocean and Rusty "I owe it to ya for the thing with the guy in the place..."
  • In Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls:

Ace: I will be as a fly on the wall. A grain of salt in the ocean. I shall slip amongst them like a transparent... thing.

  • Characters in Burn After Reading do this constantly, especially Linda and Chad as they attempt to act like real spies. Some of the best moments are sentences of Chad's that he loses control of ("Looks can be...deceptive"), sometimes resorting to his go-to word ("I thought you might be worried... about the security... of your shit.")
  • From the McHales Navy movie:

Vladikov: "What do you think of my stealth boat, David?"
David: "Very stealthy, sir."

Pippin: You need people of intelligence on this sort of mission...quest...thing.
Merry: Well, that rules you out, Pip.

  • In She's the Man, when Olivia's mere presence renders Duke practically speechless:

Viola as Sebastian: What about the thing that we talked about that you were gonna do later?
Duke: What thing? I'm... I'm thingless.

  • In Tim Burton's Alice In Wonderland, the Mad Hatter says to Alice, "You used to be much more...muchier. You've lost your muchness."
    • Which is a reference to the book, where the Dormouse asks if Alice has ever seen a drawing of a muchness.
  • Boogie Nights. "Gimme one of those sprinkly Christmas things".
  • In The Wizard of Oz, the Wizard stumbles over the word "philanthropists", eventually calling them "good-deed doers".
  • A character in Hackers tells another that the MacGuffin has been put "in that place where I put that thing that time".
    • Subverted because It was intentionally done by an intelligent character to sound vague. He was in jail at the time accused of federal hacking breaches, telling his friend where the evidence is over the phone.
  • In Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, when Diz asks Saunders where a particular drink is, she says, "It's in the thing...behind the thing."
  • In Spider-Man, when the "Human Spider" finds out he'll be in an impromptu cage match with "Bonesaw McGraw" (alerted by said cage lowering around the ring, the crowd chanting "CAGE!" repeatedly, and the guards complying with the announcer's request to "PLEEEASE LOCK THE CAGE DOOOOOOOOOOOOORS AT THIS TIIIIIIIME..."

Spidey-"Hey! Unlock the thing! Take the chain off!!!"

  • The Thing: Unable to come up with a better term for them, the characters refer to the alien species as "Things". The subtitles capitalize this as the proper name for the creatures.
    • 29 years later, most fans of the film still refer to them as "Things".
  • The Alien movies. Both "Alien" and "Xenomorph" are terms applied to the species, but it seems that no one in-universe has come up with a proper name for them over the course of a few hundred years since their discovery.
    • In Alien Resurrection, Call actually refers to the Aliens as "Aliens", over the PA system, talking to the Aliens as if this were their real species name.
  • In Predator 2, the alien species is referred to by Gary Busey's character as "Predators".
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. the World has a couple of these, mostly by Pilgrim.

Scott: "Can you do a thingy... on that rail?"
2nd Evil Ex: "It's called a grind, bro."
Scott: "Well, can you do a grindy thingy now?"

"He's so fast, he makes fast people look . . . not as fast."

Kirk: Bones, there's a... thing... out there.
McCoy: Why is any object we don't understand always called "a thing"?

Bank robber: (holds up a deadman switch detonator) You know what this is?
Hancock: I'm guessing it's some sort of detonator-type deal.

Books And Scrolls And Other Stuff With Words[edit | hide]

  • Pops up occasionally in Discworld. There was something similar to "Its eyes were as big as very big eyes"; lampshaded, in that the creature's eyes were traditionally described as being "as big as soup plates", but Tiffany had measured a soup plate and determined that they weren't. A substitute description was needed.
    • Pratchett really likes these "what's-that-thing" quips. Sourcery has several.

"What's dat fing? Dey goes all crumbly when you eat dem?"
"...could be a lawyer."
"Dey goes soggy if you dips them in somefing?"
"More likely to be a biscuit, then?"

    • (Some trolls have the full "intelligent but cannot properly express ideas" Buffy Speak trope, though others... don't.)

"Limited wossname. Doodah. Thingy. You know. It's got words in it."
"Dictionary?"
"Yeah, probably."

    • "The thing that went 'parp' went parp."
    • Dwarfs, who are too literal to understand simile or metaphor, do this all the time.

Carrot (speaking about his dwarf girlfriend): "She's got a beard as soft as a very soft thing."

or:

"She was as thin as a very thin thing."

    • There was also law passed by a former Patrician about metaphor and the like. If you're going to say a girl has "a face that launched a thousand ships" she'd damn well better have a champagne bottle for a head.
    • Granny Weatherwax offers this fine example, which is actually an excellent observation, in Wyrd Sisters: "Things that try to look like things often do look more like things than things." (She's talking about stage-prop crowns versus a real crown; It Makes Sense in Context.)
  • The Confessions of Georgia Nicolson series uses this trope constantly: "as fine as two fine things on a fine day out in Fineland", "staring like a staring thing", "as mad as two very mad things", "loony as a loon on loon pills."
    • The Georgia Nicholson books often refer to "snognosity". Not classic Buffy-Speak, but definitely related.
  • From Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett's Good Omens:

Crowley: Suspicion will slide off of him like, like...whatever it is water slides off of.

    • And later in the conversation, something along the lines of:

"'A duck!' Crowley exclaimed. 'What are you talking about?' Aziraphale asked. 'A duck is what water slides off of!'"

"He abused my hospitality," booomed the earl. "I swore that if he ever again entered my domain I would have him gutted and dried like, like something that had been gutted."

  • Bertie Wooster (in both books and film/TV adaptations) frequently finds himself in the middle of an aphorism he can't complete without Jeeves' help. (The books are almost always narrated by Bertie but with a brilliant, effortless prose that a goof like Bertie would never be able to manage in real life and yet nonetheless seems plausible while you're reading it.)

Bertie: Let me tell you that a man without music in him is fit for... excuse me a moment. Jeeves, what was it Shakespeare said a man without music in him was fit for?
Jeeves: Treasons, stratagems, and spoils, sir.

Occasionally, he'll just barrel on through:

Bertie: Jeeves, have you seen that play called I-forget-its-dashed-name?
Jeeves: No, sir.
Bertie: It's on at the What-d'you-call-it.

  • From Hitch Hikers Guide to The Galaxy: "The ships hung in the sky in much the same way that bricks don't."
  • The hero of H.P. Lovecraft's Beyond The Wall of Sleep is a man whose doctor recognizes as being possessed by some cosmic entity of superhuman intelligence who is struggling to express its metahuman thoughts and ideas through the man's stupid and backwoods brain and vocabulary.

"Big, big cabin with brightness in the roof and walls and floor, and the loud queer music far away..."

  • In That Hideous Strength, women are described as being able to "speak a language without nouns" when there are no men around and still be understood:

"If two men are doing a bit of work, one will say to the other, 'Put this bowl inside the bigger bowl which you'll find on the top shelf of the green cupboard.' The female for this is, 'Put that in the other one in there.' And then if you ask them, 'in where?' they say, 'in there, of course.'"

  • In The Warlock by Michael Scott, Virginia Dare sves Billy the Kid from a 'raggedy lion-monster-thingy'. It's a sphinx.
  • In Harry Potter, Hermione describes Harry's hero complex as his "saving-people thing."
    • Voldemort is also called "Lord Thingy" by Cornelius Fudge at one point.
  • Guess what Slayer Slang: A Buffy the Vampire Slayer Lexicon is about.
  • Roswell High certainly uses this. For instance, from the first chapter of the first book "Guys. I'm so tired of their...guyness." Also, this series sort of becomes an interesting example of Buffy-Speak, as it even uses the word "wiggins" a few times.
  • This footnote in the Harry Harrison Space Opera spoof, Star Smashers of the Galaxy Rangers.

Collapsium is an artificial material made of atoms with their binding energy reduced so they sort of collapse in upon themselves and are binding and heavy and that sort of thing.

  • Judging by this quote from Dracula, this must be a vampire-hunter thing:

Dr. Seward: [Renfield] seems so mixed up with the Count in an indexy kind of way...

"Of twenty year of age he was, I guess."

"May evil insulas [islands] choke thee, thou detestable Sancho," said the niece; "What are insulas [islands]? Is it something to eat, glutton and gormandiser that thou art?"
"It is not something to eat," replied Sancho, "but something to govern and rule, and better than four cities or four judgeships at court."

TV With Real People Playing Fake People[edit | hide]

Buffy: All of the Hellmouth's energy is trying to escape from that one little spot, and it's getting all...
Principal Wood: Focus-ey.
Buffy: Careful! Starting to speak like me now.

    • Spoofed when we hear a quote from Giles' first diary entry as Watcher.

Her abuse of the English language is such that I understand only every other sentence.

  • In Dollhouse (another Joss show), there's a lot of hyperactive Buffy-Speak from Topher.
  • The teenagers of Caprica occasionally talk like this. Not terribly surprising, given that several members of the Buffy creative team were also involved in Caprica (particularly Jane Espenson, who was Show Runner for the second half of the show's lone season and co-wrote the finale).
  • Played with in the new Doctor Who's second-season episode "School Reunion," where a villain calls K-9 a "Shooty Dog-thing", made more amusing by the villain in question being played by Buffy veteran Anthony "Giles" Head.
    • Also, in "Blink":

People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but actually, from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey... stuff. It got away from me, yeah...

    • And from the same episode:

This is my timey-wimey detector. It goes "ding" when there's stuff."

    • Doctor Who Easter Special 2009:

Christina: How does a crystal drive a bus?
Doctor: In a super clever outer-spacey way.

    • The Eleventh Doctor and his companions talk this way a lot:

Amy: Nice... swording. (All the time blissfully unaware that she has just put a metaphorical sword through fake!Rory's fake heart)

I hate yogurt. It's just... stuff with bits in it.

I'll do a thing.

[When asked what he did to Apollo 11] A clever thing.

A big mining thing, love a big mining thing. Rio doesn't have a big mining thing.

Yes, it's Spacey Wacey!

It's a thing, it's like a plan but with more greatness.

It's a thing in progress, don't question the thing.

    • Now back to the classic series!

The Fourth Doctor: Yes, pow, pow, pow's a technical expression, Professor, it means that all the microcircuitry will fuse into one great euh! of molten metal.

  • Blackadder the Third used this once to good effect, since the Blackadders are known for their razor-sharp wits, and because even without a decent metaphor, he still says it with confidence. As he says to Prince George regarding the causes of a threatened peasant revolution, "Disease and deprivation stalk our land like... two giant stalking things."
    • Also, Melchett in Blackadder II: "You twist and turn like a... twisty, turny thing!".
    • Blackadder again, in II: "The grave opens before me like... a big hole in the ground."
    • In II, when Captain Rum accuses Queenie's courtiers of all being lapdogs to a slip of a girl, Blackadder replies "Better a lapdog to a slip of a girl than a.... git."
    • Blackadder combining this with Dissimile and ending with an inverted Metaphorgotten: "We're about as similar as two completely dissimilar things in a pod."
  • A guy buying flowers at the 2008 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

BBC Presenter: What have you got there?
Guy: I've got a pink fluffy-thing, and a red flowery-thing.

  • A variation in Firefly: Jayne, talking about Saffron, warns Simon and River, "She'll turn you in faster than you can say... 'Don't turn me in, lady'."
    • Or Wash: "And we will call it... this land!"
    • Another Jayne example features him explaining that looks aren't as deceiving as a low-down, dirty deceiver.
And another:

Badger: "You think you're better than other people!"
Mal: "Just the ones I'm better than."

And another:

Jayne: "If I wanted schoolin', I woulda gone to... school."

    • It's safe to say that this is a general feature of Joss Whedon's shows.
  • Derrick in Strangers with Candy, running out of insults for the new blind student: "Well, if it isn't Mr... no... looking at things... guy."
  • Lost: Hurley, frequently.

Sawyer: What's your problem, Jumbotron?
Hurley: Shut up! Red... neck... man.

  • In the pilot episode of Farscape astronaut John Crichton gets hold of his first raygun. After accidentally letting off a few shots he decides to try threats instead.

"Don't move, or I'll fill you full of... little yellow bolts of light!"

  • Red Dwarf, where the characters, knowing nothing about astro-navigation or the area of space they are traveling through, often use terms like "Swirly-thing alert!" Or, on occasion, a "wibbly thing".

Kryten: Is it a wibbly thing or a swirly thing sir?
Cat: At this early stage I'd hate to commit myself and wind up looking a fool!

    • The pilot is usually the Cat, who navigates space by 'smell' among other things...
Though, once, Arnold Rimmer described somebody as "a total, total ... A word has yet to be invented to describe how totally whatever-it-is you are, but you are one. And a total, total one at that."
  • In Merlin, the title character describes a sword as "very... swordy".
  • In Roundhouse (an early '90s Nickelodeon variety show), the character of Dad yells, "Flying out of windows like...things that fly out of windows!"
  • Often happens to Jack Carter from Eureka when he has a hard time describing what the town's scientists have come up with to destroy the city this week. A typical example:

Jack Carter: I believe you have a device! That can create a wormhole, or bend time, or make you invisible... A wormholing, time-bending, invisibling device... that shields you from the mind!
Nathan Stark: Yes, he said "invisibling".

  • Whose Line Is It Anyway dips into this trope half of the time thanks to its improvised format. One example of this in the Improbable Mission sketch for the laundry ("The Cat!" for people who don't remember the actual task), when no one but Greg knew what a burnoose actually was:

Ryan: Fabric softener?
Colin: Well you can't have static cling! The burnoose will stick to his... * gestures to body* thing!

  • Hustle: "Sometimes a bloke has to stand up for... what he stands for."
  • Becker, from the title character: "Quit hovering over me like... help me out, what hovers?"
  • Frasier: "It would be hard to sleep, thinking of you in the next room all hot and... hot."
  • Warehouse 13, "Well I'm guessing 'the gooery'" is Claudiaspeak for the neutralizer distribution machine." Hardly surprising when you consider that Buffy writer Jane Espenson co-created Warehouse 13.
  • In Stargate SG 1, Colonel O'Neill sometimes talks like this, but it's not always clear whether he's doing it sincerely or for the humor value.

O'Neill: You all know I take great pride in my title as Mr. Positive; however, we did destroy their de-Goa'ulding thing--might not they look unkindly on that?

    • Even more so the one-shot character Burke in the episode Evolution, part 2.

Burke: Hey, is that that thing that made that guy do that thing?"

Gabrielle: See the pointy bits on the ends of those swordy things? Stay away from them.

    • And in "Warrior... Princess":

Diana: [impersonating Xena] Oh, this? This is... my round killing thing.
Gabrielle: Chakram.
Diana: Bless you.

  • Smallville: When Jimmy Olsen discovers Clark's secret: "You're some kind of super...guy!"
  • A variant from Babylon 5:

Londo Mollari: But this - this, this, this is like being nibbled to death by... what are those Earth creatures called? Feathers, long bill, webbed feet... go 'quack'...
Ambassador Vir Cotto: Cats.
Ambassador Londo Mollari: Cats. Being nibbled to death by cats.

  • Frequently deployed by the staff of the White House on The West Wing. Especially bizarre when used by Toby, who is, after all, not only the President's chief speechwriter, but also a man with a keen enough of grasp of the language to name every punctuation mark in it off the top of his head.
    • For the record, there are fourteen punctuation marks in the English language (according to The Other Wiki). Doesn't sound too bad? Well, did you make sure to include guillemets and solidus?
  • From the T.V.-version of Jeeves and Wooster:

Bertie: When you have been a little longer in my employ you will come to understand that all my chums rely heavily on your employer's wisdom and knowledge of human nature in the conduct of their affairs. Not to mention my organisational powers, and just plain... thingness!

  • From the Legend of the Seeker episode "Sanctuary" comes the line, "That swindler's as blind as . . . something . . . that can't see well." It's entirely plausible that the midlands don't have bats.
  • Duff from Ace of Cakes on "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" describes the contents of his favorite pie:

"It's like a creamy, vinegary... thing. I dunno, he'll tell you about it."

  • Friends: Phoebe to a certain extent, her brother even more so (he described his love for his fiancée as "being with her is like... so much better than not being with her, y'know")
  • Coupling: In the last episode of the third series, Sally is convinced she's pregnant, so she, Jane, and Susan take tests (they're controls). She comes out of a stall screaming "It's so blue! And liney! It's a blue line of blue lineyness!" She's holding all three...
  • The normally unflappable Sherlock becomes so flustered when Moriarty straps a bomb to John, and John grabs him and tells Sherlock to run, thus proving himself willing to die for Sherlock that he can only splutter "That, uh...thing...that you, uh...that you did, that you...that you offered to do, that was, ah...good." It's adorable.
    • Also occurs in "A Scandal in Belgravia," when Mycroft offers Sherlock a cigarette:

Sherlock: Smoking indoors… isn't that… isn't that one of those… law things?

  • Community: Britta is upset that Annie is bringing in more money than her to help with the Gulf crisis, so she dresses a little slutty and starts acting perky.

Britta: Hi, I need you to give me money to help save the pelicans, because they're, like, feathery and pelicany and stuff!

    • "Foosball and Nocturnal Vigilantism" has Annie, who's moved in with Abed and Troy, accidentally destroying Abed's limited-edition DVD of The Dark Knight. When Annie tries to shift the blame by claiming the apartment was robbed of the now-missing disc, Abed speculates that the landlord did it; and Troy (who knows what really happened) responds, "Ooooh, let's not jump to thing-doing!"
  • From the Psych episode "If You're So Smart, Then Why Are You Dead?:

Goddard: Wait, wasn't Hahn involved in that thing? You remember that thing?
Shockley: The thing with the other thing?
Goddard: Nonono, just the first thing, from five years ago.

Alex: I'm officially our kneecap-plastic-thingie expert!

    • And earlier in the same episode, when Tyler is stopped by the police with the eponymous Railroad Jane's skull in his car:

Tyler: I mean, what was I supposed to say? "No, officer, this isn't a skull, it's a... skull-like thing."

Alex: When I was in prison, I developed a gut for reading people.
Whit: Your prison gut is going to get me disbarred.

  • On Boy Meets World, the one-man play that Eric writes contains the line, "The hot wind howled, like a kind of howling... hot... windy thing."
  • Marshall, Ted, and Lily often fall into this mode of speaking on How I Met Your Mother, particularly when Robin and Barney aren't around. Stands to reason, as Alyson Hannigan is a Buffy alumn and the show creators are huge Joss Whedon fans.
  • Radar from Mash is sometimes given to this.

Radar: Sir, I was walking by and I noticed this gizmo came disconnected from the thingamabob and it wasn't dripping into the doohickey right.
BJ: You lost me with all the technical terms, Radar, but I get the picture.

  • From BBC series Me And My Monsters: "human-dad-thingy" and "mummy-human thingy".
  • From The Almighty Johnsons, episode Folkmoot:

Olaf: A thing is like a small thing, Folkmoot's like a bigger thing, it's not to be taken lightly, it's a big thing thing where important things are decided.

Glossy Book Things[edit | hide]

  • A parody of Antiques Roadshow in Mad had a few of the appraisers inspecting the "antiques" with a jeweler's loupe, or as they call it, a "thingamajig that jewelers use".

Pretty Sound Stuff[edit | hide]

  • They Might Be Giants have a song called "They'll Need a Crane" consisting of this sort of thing. It tells the tale of a dysfunctional relationship in strange metaphor, while referring to the two people only as "Gal" and "Lad".

Lad looks at other gals.
Gal thinks Jim Beam is handsomer than Lad.
He isn't bad.

    • Or in "No One Knows My Plan:"

They're like the people chained up in the cave
In the allegory of the people in the cave by the Greek guy

    • They do this a lot. In an interview, they were asked what the song "Don't Let's Start" was about. They said, "It's about not let's starting."
  • Barenaked Ladies have "There's a Word For That" in which they lament not knowing the proper word to describe a certain thingy that's right on the tip of their tongue.
  • In "O'Malley's Bar", Nick Cave sings about killing one of his victims "with an ashtray big as a really fucking big brick."
  • From an interview with Frank Zappa:

Zappa: ... then it goes into a song called "The Torture Never Stops".
Interviewer: Which is about what?
Zappa: Er, it's about torture not stopping.

  • Strapping Young Lad named their first album Heavy as a really heavy thing.
  • It just hit me like a two ton...heavy...thing...
  • From Pam Tillis' "Spilled Perfume:" "Girl, if I ever saw one, that's an 'I can't believe I did that' look."
  • From the fictional 1960s pop band The Wonders, stars of That Thing You Do: "And if I know you, you're doing that thing/Ev'ry day, just doing that thing/I can't take you doing that thing you do!"
  • Carrie Underwood's "Undo It": "You stole my happy, you made me cry/Took the lonely and took it for a ride".
  • America's "A Horse With No Name": "There were plants and birds and rocks and things..."
  • Phil Vassar's "Everywhere I Go" has a real gem: "I was living in that happy-to-be-right-where-I-am space/And God knows that's a hard-to-get-to kind of place".
  • From Parry Gripp's song "Black Hamster":

Evildoers, you will cower in fear when he arrives on the scene, as you will be...in big trouble!

Funny Picture Things In The Paper[edit | hide]

  • Gary Larson's The Far Side: Some mobsters are interrogating a little man tied up in a chair. "Well," says their leader, "we've tried every device and you still won't talk - every device, that is, except for the one we simply call 'Mr. Thingy.' " The hoodlum then holds up a weird contraption that looks like a cross between a bomb and a Swiss army knife.

People That Fake-Fight On TV On A Padded Stage Thing[edit | hide]

That Thing Where People Pretend They're Other People In Front Of More People[edit | hide]

  • In Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing, Antonio faces off against Claudio and Don Pedro, and he is too angry (or, in some productions, too drunk) to properly articulate his rage. The result is quite entertaining.

"Come boy, come sir boy, come follow me sir boy!"

    • And who could forget Shakespeare's frequently-used bit of Buffy Speak, Shaped Like Itself?


Those Things People Play In Dark Basements While Drinking Mountain Dew And Stuff[edit | hide]

  • Right before inadvertently causing the destruction of his home universe, Zetta, main character of Makai Kingdom, exclaims, "Sacred Tome? Ha! More like... sucky... dumb... thing!" It's the first of many indications that, crazy freakin' overlord or not, he's not the sharpest tool in the shed.
  • Armed and Dangerous, an obscure but fun shooter for the X-Box and PC, had this...like...a lot. Perhaps the worst offender is the Emperor's retarded son, and I mean actually retarded, who has trouble stringing syllables together. Don't get him started on whole sentences.
  • The Scout in Team Fortress 2, being the youngest and most hyperactive of the nine classes, has this in a bunch of his domination lines. For example, to the Heavy Weapons Guy: "I am owning you, you fat bald fatty fat...fat-fat!" or to the Sniper: "You'll never hit me! You'll never hit my tiny head! It's so tiny, I've got a frickin'... such a tiny little head!".
  • Travis from Silent Hill Origins, getting more and more peeved about being dragged around Silent Hill by Alessa, holds up a piece of the Flauros he found and yells out: "I got your...your thing for you!"
  • When Monkey Island got voices, Dominic Armato added this trait to protagonist Guybrush Threepwood.

"There are another ants crawling all over it."

  • In the old Discworld PC game, Rincewind describes a strange, distant shape as being "fraught with...with...shapeness". Then he concludes that it has to be a plot element because otherwise it'd have a better label than just "Shape".
  • Alistair from Dragon Age is guilty of this and gets teased about it by Morrigan.
    • According to Word of God, quite fitting for this expy of Buffy's Xander.
    • In the sequel, Hawke sometimes falls into Buffy Speak if s/he tries to lie. Telling Ser Roderick that Hawke saw Conrad sacrifice a goat leads to Hawke stammering "He was talking about how he wanted to do all kinds of...demony things!"
  • In Crash Tag Team Racing, a Park Drone in the Tyrannosaurus Wrecks area, frustrated with Crash for not getting him enough money to leave the park, will exclaim "Again, you come back to haunt me?! Like some kind of haunting thing?! Haunting... and coming back?!"
  • Super Mario Sunshine: ("A shiny came out of the yucky".)
  • Even Commander Shepard is not immune to this...after three hits of the strongest drink on the Citadel, followed by under the counter batarian ale, the bartender offers a krogan drink known as Ryncol.
    • Grunt, being essentially a krogan teenager, often speaks like this, while trying to either puzzle through his tank-imprints or simply talking outside of combat. On Korlus, the squad will also encounter another tank-bred krogan who is even less experienced and articulate than Grunt, who speaks in Buffy-Speak.

Grunt: We should get behind... stuff.

Get off me! Stupid ... whatever you are!

    • And when repairing the lift in the Factory:

As for the piston, did what I could. Just put the thingamajig back in the whatchamacallit.

  • Portal's "Aperture Science Thing That We Don't Know What It Does"
  • Portal 2 has some as well. Wheatley's "all right, fatty? Adopted… fatty! Fatty fatty no parents?" and shortly later "What’s wrong with being adopted? Um, well, uh… Lack of parents?".
    • "Holmes versus Moriarty, Aristole vs MASHY SPIKE PLATE!"
  • In World of Warcraft, when Mimiron activates the V-07-TR-0N he shouts "Bask in its glorious... um, glory!"
    • The wolvar race does this enough to be verging on the point of a Verbal Tic.
    • The Gnomish Army Knife is being update in Mists of Pandaria to include a "Whirly Thing".
  • Paper Mario: The Thousand-Year Door, "You're the absolute best star-getting guy!"
  • In Super Paper Mario, the villain Mimi constantly uses childish phrases, referring to the heroes as "meanies".
  • In the 2010 Medal of Honor, Tier 1 operators look and sound a lot less professional than the soldiers in the normal army, though obviously they're much more deadly. In Running With Wolves you're told to "stay stealthy."
  • Golden Sun: The Lost Age: At one point, Kraden amusingly refers to a ship-powering object as "the thingie... that makes it go."
  • Franziska von Karma from Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney TO AN EXTREME.

"You huffy, puffy, loosey-goosey excuse for a whimpering whining wuss of a witness."
"Don't be foolish you foolish fool wearing the foolishly foolish clothes."

  • One item-of-the-month in Kingdom of Loathing allows you to temporarily turn into a vampire, at which point one option during exploration lets you meet an obvious Buffy parody, who calls you "Broody Von Stoicpants", and states that she's "a sucker for a brooder. Broodie? One who broods."
  • In F.E.A.R. 2: Project Origin, Snake Fist's attempt to describe Alma's motivations.

She covets you. She's a...coveter...

  • In "Professor Layton and the Diabolical Box, When you go to Dropstoneand tap one of the benches, Luke says that the bench sure is...benchy.

Internet Cartoony Things[edit | hide]

Strong Bad: My internet's crawling along like... something... funny... that crawls along.

    • "What the sense make?!"
    • Also Reynold from the Cheat Commandos.

"I never get to go on any missions! I'd be a good mission...guy."'

    • Also the name "Gunhaver" itself, and sentences like "who will have gun?"
    • "Hey Stinkoman! Everybody says you're the guy! I Wanna Be the Guy too!"
    • "Ixnay on the...cut it out throwing roses at me...may."
    • "If you can't stand the heat, get out of...y'know, that aforementioned heaty place."
    • "I'm gonna go... place."[1]
  • The Demented Cartoon Movie has "Evil Blah's Evil Lair Type House Thing!", inside of which are the "Evil device thingy!" the generic damsel is chained to and the "Weird evil Machine thing o` doom".
    • "What was that? Some kind of... kamikaze, type, person?"
  • The title character of I Am Baby Cakes has a surprising way of expressing the great paradoxes of life and love in simple, childish terms.

Funny Picture Things, Except On The Internet Instead Of Newspapers[edit | hide]

Jules: Come along then. You can be my apprentice... or squire... or... whatever.
Van: What does a squire do, Jules?
Jules: I don't know; he squires. We'll look it up in the dictionary later.

  • Red from Gunnerkrigg Court lapses into this when describing such esoteric concepts like rooms and chairs. "Sitty-downy things," indeed. This is implied to be a function of serious gaps inherent in the education process prior to becoming human, because while chairs are a foreign concept she jabbers off about some seriously advanced nonsense.
  • Eddie from Emergency Exit has a particularly amusing (especially if you haven't read the story) example here.
    • Saya also uses this trope on this page while referring to the previous example.
  • In this strip of Loserz: "You'll be defeated like... like... like... like some easily defeated thing!"
  • Scary Go Round does this all the time, especially Shelley.
    • Example:

Amy: I think it's a vampire! Stab it with a stake!
Shelley: We can't do murders on it!

    • Another, laced with sarcasm:

Amy: I've not been this surprised since I discovered...something desperately unsurprising.

Scarlet: A bad, floaty, shooty, tinny thing is being bad upstairs!

Dechs: You want to catch me, like the spider caught the fly, huh? Well now the spider has become the spided!

  • At one point in Goblins, huge lizard-man K'Seliss says, "...There is battle happening right now all around me and I'm stuck in this pathetic hut like some... hut... stucky... thing!
  • Fighter's true power:

Red Mage: We'd be better off using harsh language than the pathetic wooden pieces of... pathetic... weapons that these people call... weapons.
Black Mage: Um...
Red Mage: Shut up. I've been hanging out with Fighter all day. I could literally feel him sucking away at my... brain-thinky score thing.
Black Mage: You mean intelligence?
Red Mage: By Mordekainen's +5/+5 wand of sorcery, he's lowered my INT score just by being near me!

  • Kris Straub's comics use this. In Starslip Crisis, sometimes this is future slang, and sometimes it's just "Fooly-fools!"
  • Wonderella and her sidekick Wonderita.
  • In You Damn Kid!, the narrator's parents get into an argument because Dad is looking for "the thing for cutting the things" and is angry that Mother doesn't know what he's talking about. "Imagine your parents not speaking for two weeks because Dad can't remember the words for 'toenail clipper'."

"Go ask your mother where that other thing is."
"Other thing?"

Junpei: What is this "ownz'ed"? You must show me, master from a foreign land!
Largo: It's like this, you know, this l33t thing, that you do when you, like, ownz someone.

  • Order of the Stick: There are those who consider the Monster in the Darkness to be "as dumb as things that are really dumb."
    • Haley's brain feels "like a psion... did some psiony stuff." In fairness, Haley was having a large hangover at the time, and so couldn't come up with a decent metaphor.
      • On meta-level, the related game mechanics is rather unpopular, so while most players have a general idea of what it's supposed to do, nailing down the specific reference from memory is another matter.
  • This The Way of the Metagamer comic.
  • The page image is from Schlock Mercenary - this strip. The problem being that amorphs by definition have distributed brain, thus any damage is brain damage, and when there's less than 1/10 of his body mass left, it leads to exactly this sort of thing.
  • An issue or Life Sketch had the title of Buffy Speak, though the content itself had nothing to do with the trope.
  • Occasionally used for effect in Bittersweet Candy Bowl.

English I Student: Like there's this word in the english dictionary for how I'm feeling right now towards you...
David: Mad?
English I Student: Like oh ma gawd, yess!

EB: i'm going upstairs to the big platformy thing.
TT: The alchemiter?
EB: ??
TT: Try to learn the lingo.

Brunel: Where would science be without the Engine? Archaic! Puny! Boring! It doesn't bear thinking about! I'd be able to build gigantic iron ships, certainly - but could they fly?
Lovelace: It would indeed be difficult...
Brunel: Would Darwin be able to mess around with his, uh...barnacles he won't talk about?
Lovelace: Um, that one I'm not sure about...
Brunel: Would Faraday be able to that whatsis with the thingamajig??
Lovelace: No! No he would not!
Brunel: Now get out there and do whatever the hell it is that you do!!

Original Things On The Web[edit | hide]

"Moist! My evil...moisture...buddy!"
"I would never turn my back on a fellow...laundry-person..."

    • Captain Hammer does it too, though he's not exactly intelligent:

"She turned me on to this whole homeless... thing..."
(quoted on the news) "I hope to set an example, for, you know, children and stuff."

  • "WELL I'M SCIENCIER!"
  • Very often done by the Let's Player Raocow, who will often say "Well, that was a thing" or "That was a thing with a thing and a thing" or any of a million similar sentences. Justified Trope by him being French Canadian and French in Quebec having many different ways to say "thing" (see the Real Life section of this page) that just don't translate well into English.
    • Another Let's Play, for Baldur's Gate 2, had Minsc proclaim that the Mace of Disruption was "very disrupty". Minsc isn't too good at the thing with the wordy things at the best of times (unless they involve hilariously over-the-top descriptions of what he's going to do to the bad guys), so it fits.
  • In the web cartoon Irving, the Socially Awkward Bee, the bees that Irving attempts to hang around with want to leave his presence by saying they have to do "the thing with the thing".
  • Most of the main cast of Red vs. Blue falls into this at one point or another, but Caboose seems particularly prone due to his status as The Ditz.

Tucker: "My sword? Fuck yeah, I know how to use that! What's to understand about "swish, swish, dead"!?"

  • Ray William Johnson does this from time to time on =3, mainly because he tries to come up with a joke against your mom but fails.

Ray: ...in a... mom.. throwing-contest. Shut up!

Hank Green: I shot down that like a...like a...
John Green: Like a shooter down a shoot thing!
(Caption: I'm a writer.)

Zack: It's... the thing with the things!

Sursum Ursa: ...and he has mood swings like...a very...swingy...thing!

Kaiba: Duel me, you... uh, weird, cyborg, kind of... burn victim... person.

Rarity: Why would I spend my afternoon with a bunch of war criminals and their...war...crimes?

177. I am not to refer to a formation as "the boxy rectangle thingie".

Cartoony Things Made In America And Europe And... Other Europe-y... Places[edit | hide]

Jake: Watch this everybody! A cooler! With..stuff for the thing!

    • Another one:

Finn: Let's just give him some purple-whatevers.
Jakes: ...You mean the grapes?
Finn: ...Yeah, whatever.

  • In one episode of The Simpsons, Principal Skinner is searching for Bart, who cut school on the same day of an accident in the Quimby mansion. Bart escapes across a rope bridge and cuts it, thinking that Skinner won't walk into the raging river that separates the two. In Terminator-like fashion, Skinner walks under the water, barely changing his facial expression, at which point Bart quips, "He's like some sort of...non...giving up...school guy!" According to the writers, this was written after a long session in which they couldn't come up with anything clever for Bart to call Skinner.
    • Also:

Homer: Marge, where's that... metal dealy... you use to... dig... food...?
Marge: You mean a spoon?
Homer: Yeah, yeah!

    • Also also:

Homer: Oh Lisa, you and your stories! Bart is a vampire! Beer kills brain cells! Now let's go back to that...building...thingy...where our beds and TV...is."

    • Also also also:

Nelson: Way to breathe, no-breath.

    • And:

Lionel Hutz: I move for a bad court-thingy.
Judge Snyder: You mean a mistrial?
Hutz: Yeah! That's why you're the judge, and I'm the...law-talking-guy.

    • Homer, upon meeting the editor of Reader's Digest:

"I especially love the Build Your Vocabulary section! That thing is really, really, really... good."

    • Homer enters a superstore:

"So many things, and so many things of each thing!"

Homer: I want you to pull the thing, next to the other thing."

    • Homer in "Dead Putting Society

Homer: That putter is to you what a bat is to a baseball player, what a violin is...to the--the guy that--the violin guy!

    • In the episode "Yokel Chords":

Yokel Girl: Hey, ain't you one of them funny, big-nosed showbiz people?
Krusty: Oh, you mean a clown?
Yokel Girl: No, a J-
Krusty: (quickly and nervously) -oker! Yeah! And I'm not a practicing joker, so I'm not offended! Heh, heh, heh!

    • How can you bring up The Simpsons without noting Professor Frink's theme song? "He'll run around, and then he'll do...the thing...with the person..."
  • In an episode of Rocko's Modern Life, Rocko gets angry at his broken old vacuum cleaner: "You're useless and pathetic, like a useless and pathetic thing!"
  • Futurama. But Bender need brain! For smart-making!

Leela: Oh no! He's siphoning our energy and becoming stronger!
Fry: Like a balloon and... something bad happens!

    • Or alternatively...

Fry: Hey, wait! I'm having one of those things! You know, a headache with pictures.
Leela: An idea?
Fry: (gesturing madly) Mmm! Mm!
Fry: Hey! It's that guy you are!

Sokka: Well look at you, Buster. Now that your firebending is gone, I guess we should call you The Loser Lord!
Ozai: I am the Phoenix King! Uh... (falls over)
Toph: Oh sorry. Didn't mean to offend you, Phoenix King-of-getting-his-butt-whooped!
Suki: Yeah! Or how bout King of the... guys who... don't win?
Toph: Leave the nicknames to us, honey.

    • Actually used quite a bit by Sokka. For one, his first name for Combustion Man, Sparky Sparky Boom Man. Another (albeit drug fueled): "Cactus juice, it's the quenchiest!"
  • Both of The Angry Beavers used the word "thingy" repeatedly. Really, the series was full of this trope.One of the episodes is actually titled "Big Round Sticky Fish Thingy".

Daggett: Desperate times call for desperate desperate-ness...!

  • Storm Hawks, while Junko is portrayed as quite smart for his species, he's not quite a genius. "The Beacon! It's stopped... beaconing!"
    • Junko mentions that as a child, he was picked on for being more intellectual than your average Wallop; he's the only Wallop that plays a major role in the series, though, so we really have no baseline for where your average Wallop falls on the scale of thinking versus hitting things.
  • Monique Speak in Kim Possible, as well as slang outside of the show's trope namer.
    • Ron Stoppable frequently is guilty of this.

"Oh, that's right, Sensei can do that weird floaty thing!"
"You've got the doors that go whoosh!
"This goes beyond Sick and Wrong, it's wrongsick!"

  • Earthworm Jim had some of this. For example, in one episode Jim takes a Doppelganger -creating gun and Evil Jim says "Give that back you... Thing-taker guy!"
    • One of the other evil characters at one point threatens, "I will crush you like an easily-crushed thing!"
  • Starfire from Teen Titans sometimes does this.
    • She has a better excuse than most, as she's an alien and English is not her native language. Even without the language issues, though, she's still definitely the Team Ditz.
  • In Dave the Barbarian, Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy taunted Dave with, "You shall perish beneath the might of my...mighty...mightiness!"
  • Skeeter's father in Doug initially suffers from this because the room is so noisy he can't hear himself think. Later he's Flanderized into doing this all the time.
  • Frisky Dingo -- "And I would not call that making love. I would call that... the Shame Spear... of... Hurt..."
  • Home Movies "It's Shannon! You can tell by his... thing."
  • From Batman the Brave And The Bold: "You're flirting, aren't you? Flirterers!" (courtesy of Green Arrow)
    • See also: almost everything Aquaman says.
  • An episode of Dexter's Lab involved Dexter giving a dog he found the ability to speak, which resulted in the dog repeatedly referring to one of Dexter's machines as "the thing."
  • Mr. Director, the Jerry Lewis look-alike on Animaniacs lapses into this from time to time, as well as gibbering pseudo-Yddish nonsense.
  • Toad Patrol actually incorporated this as a regular form of speech for the toadlet characters known as "toad speak." Since they didn't know all the words for things, concepts such as nighttime were expressed in manners such as "the deep deep blue has turned to black." Rain was "falling wet."
  • Used in an episode of Robot Chicken when George W. Bush awakens the ghost of Abraham Lincoln.

Lincoln: WHO DARES DISTURB MY SLUMBER?
Bush: Who dares question my... daring... of his... dare... jerk!

  • In the Family Guy parody of Star Wars called "Blue Harvest", Grand Moff Tarkin (Adam West) threatens to use the Death Star's "planet-blower-upper-gun" on Alderaan. After Leia's (Lois) Big No, he hesitates.
  • In Fairly Oddparents Timmy proudly described himself as "fast . . . as a really strong animal, and as strong . . . as a really strong animal!"
  • Used in Rugrats, when the baby Chucky keeps a lucky... object in his pocket that all the babies are familiar with, but none have a word for. (It's a bottlecap.) It is simple referred to as "Chucky's lucky... thing", complete with the pause while the babies search for the word.
  • In Archer, "It's an art that can't be taught, like a poet's...mind for the...to make..the perfect word."
  • In an episode of Total Drama World Tour the cast has to find some barrels of oil buried in Drumheller's badlands as a challenge. Cody complains that "There must be twenty miles of badlands. It's like looking for a needle in... twenty miles of badlands!"
  • King Julien in The Penguins of Madagascar
  • Frequently used on My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic.
    • From "Suited for Success", after Rarity believes her career is ruined by a disastrous fashion show:

Rarity: (throwing herself down on her bed) Leave me ALOOOOONE! I vant to be alone! I want to wallow in... whatever it is that ponies are supposed to wallow in!

Applejack: Thank you kindly for this here... award thingy.

Rarity: Fortunately, I can get along with anypony, no matter how rude she may be.
Applejack: Oh, yeah? Well, I'm the get-alongingest pony you're ever gonna meet!
Rarity: That's not even a word.

Necklace, necklace, necklace, necklace, and... big crown thingy!

Rainbow Dash: *panicking* Forever is way too long to be trapped in Ghastly Gorge, I mean, it's like... FOREVER!

  • Recently done in Wild Grinders in which Chip Fligginton (cheesy jingle: CHIP FLIGGINGTON!) describes how Lil' Rob did his trick.


Other Stuff[edit | hide]

  • In the Tabletop RPG Cosmopol, the character Keller speaks like this to the point that others call his distinct speech pattern "Keller Speak". Justified in that he is not a native English speaker.
    • No, sometimes he speaks like that in his native German, too.
  • There's a snowclone joke out there that goes, "There's only two kinds of people in this world: Those who are good with words, and those who are... umm... uh... Thingy."
    • And:

What is brown and sticky?
A stick!


Those Things That Aren't Made Up But Are Actually Real[edit | hide]

  • In a way, kennings are a form of this. One of the more famous ones, Beowulf, translated as "bee-hunter", is an Old English kenning for bear.
    • These euphemisms were formed because it was considered bad luck to speak the bear's true name. Most European cultures have various different names for the same animal, and the ones nowadays accepted as its real name ("bear", for instance) are actually euphemisms used so widely that the original name was forgotten. Bears are Serious Business.
  • An otherwise brilliant speaker once did this: "We choose to go to the Moon in this decade, and do the other things."
    • He might have had in mind "this and that and the other thing," which was a common mid-20th century expression indicating, "There are many examples, but I don't feel like naming them all right now." Many middle-aged Americans were still using the idiom as the 1990s drew to a close.
      • He did name the other things, in the previous line which is almost always cut out of the soundbite. It all makes sense in context:

But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas? We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade, and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard!

  • The French spoken in Quebec has a wide, wide range of words that mean "thing" (chose, patente, truc, cossin, bidule, and the list goes on), although sometimes with a slightly different connotation. They are frequently used in non-formal conversation, with context and non-verbal communication helping interpretation of the word.
    • Combining them is perfectly valid too: "Passe-moi le truc-machin-chouette-bidule," would easily translate as "Pass me the thing-thingy-stuff-thing."
    • This also works for metropolitan French, except the order of the words is different...
    • Also in Swedish, with a small selection being: Sak; apparat; apparatur; grej; mojäng; mackapär; grunka.
  • German and Japanese are languages that both make heavy use of compound words by just sticking two words together. The words "Zeug" and "mono" both mean "things" and are used in combination with all kinds of word. (The german "Zeug" originally meant "gear" as in "equipment", but has come to be a generic term for "stuff" when used alone).
    • German: "Flugzeug" (fly-stuff/airplane), "Werkzeug" (working-stuff/tools), "Spielzeug" (play-stuff/toys), "Fahrzeug" (drive-stuff/vehicle).
    • Japanese: "Tabemono" (eat-stuff/food), "kaimono" (buy-stuff/things you bought)
    • Esperanto: The suffix -aĵ- means essentially "the physical substance associated with". "Bovo" (cow) + "-aĵ-" = "bovaĵo" (beef). "Segi" (to saw) + "-aĵ-" = "segaĵo" (sawdust). "Aĵo" by itself just means "stuff".
  • Kneadatite, a self-hardening paste that is used extensively used in miniature sculpting, is almost universally known as "green stuff".
  • People with anomic/dysnomic forms of the mental disorder aphasia often have difficulty retrieving words from memory and come up with awkward circumlocutions to describe something that they cannot name. A person with this condition might know what an apple is and how it tastes, but might be unable to name it, instead calling it something like "that crunchy fruit that grows on trees".
  • English speakers who want to describe something they don't have a word for sometimes employ the French "je ne sais quoi", usually to mean something like "unique character", as in, "He has a certain je ne sais quoi." While Everything Sounds Sexier in French, such sentences seem really silly if you consider that "je ne sais quoi" literally means, "I don't know what."
    • Well, "A certain I-don't-know-what" is a phrase with the same meaning in English.
      • ...because it's a direct translation of the French phrase!
    • This tendency is not only found in English. The Polish word "wichajster" means a thing that either has no name or a thing whose name the speaker doesn't recall (it usually refers to a machine or part thereof, or some sort of gadget, but anything can be described by the word). And "wichajster" is pronounced exactly like "Wie heist er", which means "what is it called" in German.
  • The 19th century brought English such expressions as "doohickey" and "thingamabob."
  • When Sarah Palin asked, "How's that hopey, changey thing working out for ya?" at the first-ever national Tea Party Convention, some of us wondered if Joss Whedon had suddenly, inexplicably been employed as her speech writer.
    • For those who haven't paid attention to American politics lately, or have just had their heads under a rock, this was an allusion to Barack Obama's campaign slogans of "hope and change." Which she was making fun of.
  • While on the subject of Republicans, some of old No.43's bushisms strayed in the direction of Buffy-Speak. "Tribal sovereignty means just that; it's sovereign. You're a - you've been given sovereignty, and you're viewed as a sovereign entity."
  • As stated above, Joss Whedon himself—in interviews, one can practically see the Buffy script flowing forth as he speaks. Also, Jim Butcher has fallen into this a couple of times, perhaps.
  • Many teenagers do this. Although they are often quite intelligent, many of them aren't quite familiar with technical terms and jargon, so use Buffy Speak when the right words don't come to mind.
    • Some very studious teens, especially those cramming for standardized tests, will have an immense vocabulary but no clue how to use those words properly, thus leading to a strange mix of Buffy Speak and Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
  • If you ever work in technical support, expect to see this a lot. Many peoples are completely unable to properly describe a technical problem.
  • L33t is a form of this trope although some circles consider it an actual language.
    • Dialect or jargon perhaps, but not a language. And only applicable through writing.
    • L33t would be an alternate writing system of the Latin alphabet since it's just written, with some jargon thrown in for good measure.
  • This trope is sadly common when speaking foreign languages you're relatively new to. Whatever education the speaker had was probably only focused on general, common vocabulary (exceptions being "medical Spanish" courses, etc.) so the speaker is limited to a very unspecialized vocabulary and has to get creative when trying to explain to a confused ER patient that the doctors are going to put in an IV to keep them from dehydrating.
    • Modern linguists incidentally consider it an important skill to know how to speak around a word that you don't know, and there are several scientific studies on the subject.
      • Speaking of speaking around a word you don't know, the word for this (in English) is "circumlocution". Useful stuff.
  • In Chile, the word 'wea' and its derivates can mean absolutely anything and anyone. It can get very confusing for a non-chilean to understand which thing is the 'wea' we are referring to.
    • It's actually very much a SMURFING kind of thing.
  • The same in Colombia with the word 'vaina', except it's never used on people, hence being translated as a very localized version of "thing", and being one of the few words used by everyone regardless of region/accent.
  • In the immortal words of the Danish Prime minister Lars Løkke "Those who earn more, and pay a lot, and now pay a little less. Well they pay more-less, than those who earn a little less, and pay less, thus paying less-less"
  • Accidentally used in here.
  • Britney Spears tends to talk like this if she hasn't organized what she's talking about in her head yet. If she knows what she's talking about though, prepare to be blown away by her literacy and well spoken-ness.
  • An early 20th century Norwegian law referred to motorized vehicles as "driving things"
  • Primates learning human sign language typically string together monosyllabic English words in order to express relatively complex concepts. Koko the gorilla, for one, famously referred to a mask (in ASL) as an "eye hat."
  • Much of the Chinese language is constructed this way. Since everything is in abstract characters, it's only considered natural to keep tacking simple words onto a chain until you've got a fully developed concept. Examples: The Chinese word for "love" is ai. Aiguo means "patriotic" ("love country"). Airen gives us "husband" or "wife" ("love person"); and aizibing translates to "AIDS" ("love disease"), though the last one can also be viewed as transcription.
  • Japanese is also big on Buffy Speak from a grammatical standpoint. All demonstratives, and also mono and koto often only serve to exacerbate confusion in a world that is elusive as it is. Exhibit A (at 13.). This is compounded by throngs of chinese loanwords (see above) that a speaker has to live with.
  • A Con Lang called Toki Pona has this as its basic premise. It has only hundred-something roots, and words are formed from them exactly this way.
    • And its Evil Twin, Russian mat that has only six or seven roots that are all Cluster F Bombs. * In mat, you can compose complex, perfectly legitimate and meaningful (in context) sentences completely out of swear words, sometimes even working with one word base per sentence. This phenomenon is depicted in Russian humour; for example, in jokes about construction workers or engineers forced by the new superior (or a foreign consultant) to stick to decent language. This results in their inability to communicate and complete their tasks.
  • A toaster manufactured by Breville has an "A Bit More" button.