Insistent Terminology

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Arvis: Busy with all that robbing and plundering, I presume?
Locke: I prefer the term treasure hunting.

Final Fantasy VI Advance

A character constantly corrects a term used in their introduction or any speech that otherwise refers to them, but never seems to stop anyone using it. Sometimes this is because they could be called something people see as unflattering or a poor choice of words.

Occasionally this extends into a species joke, where an alien or funny animal corrects others about some stereotypical aspect. Can also be done with a person whose name has an unusual pronunciation—see It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY". "Action figures" vs. "Dolls" is one of widespread cases (also, occasionally "those are miniatures, not action figures").

Compare with Don't Call Me "Sir"!, They Call Me Mister Tibbs, and Do Not Call Me "Paul"; compare and contrast with The European Carry All. Spell My Name with a "The", It Is Pronounced "Tro-PAY", I Am Big Boned, Blackmail Is Such an Ugly Word, Not Using the Z Word and I Am Not Weasel are specific sub-tropes of this. See also She Is Not My Girlfriend. For the fandom equivalent, see Gannon Banned. For the "adult" version, see It's Not Porn, It's Art.

Examples of Insistent Terminology include:

Anime and Manga

  • Kotomi from Clannad insists on being addressed with "Kotomi-chan" and won't even register other forms of address. This makes most people somewhat uncomfortable, as it is a rather intimate form of address.
    • In the same show, Fuko's carvings are starfish, not stars.
  • Same thing in Tenchi Muyo!: "No! I'm not gonna help you unless you call me Little Washu!" ("Washuu-chan" in the Japanese version).
    • Greatly exaggerated in the minds of fans. Washu did this once in Tenchi Muyo! Ryo-Ohki, and six episodes later it came back to bite her on the butt when she discovered that Mihoshi had included it in her report. That hasn't stopped fanfic writers using it to death.
  • Suzuka from Yu Yu Hakusho somewhat fits this trope during his first appearance in the Dark Tournament. He insists on being called "The Beautiful Suzuka" and promises that anyone who doesn't refer to him as such will not live to repeat their mistake. When the foxgirl announcer Koto just calls him Suzuka, he shows his annoyance by hurling a razor sharp playing card at her head. She manages to duck as the card skewers the demon sitting behind her, scaring her enough to use Suzuka's title and constantly compliment him and his techniques during the match. And even once a whole two sagas later.
  • The Slayers:
    • Lina Inverse insists on referring to Philionel El Di Saillune as the "First Royal Successor". Don't call him "Prince" in front of her. Just don't. In the novels, this is partly because, thanks to some succession issues with Saillune's royal family, this is his actual title. He really isn't a prince, even if he is the current ruler's son.
    • Not to mention the number of people Lina has to, ahem, correct about the various titles she's usually introduced with. Generally by the assembly of local banditry.
  • Pokémon: Butch from the anime series constantly corrects those who get his name wrong. Everyone has mistaken his name for either "Biff", "Bill", "Bob", "Hutch", "Butcher", "Patch", "Botch", or "Chuck". Whenever his partner, Cassidy, gets it right, he accidentally corrects her with the wrong name.
    • They also get orders from Dr. Nanba, who has the exact same problem as Butch.
    • Brandon demands that he be called "Brandon", not "Mister".
    • In Queen of the Serpentine, one of Lucy's apprentices insists that Lucy be addressed as "Pike Queen Lucy".
  • Of course, the protagonist of Kenichi the Mightiest Disciple would never run away from a fight. He may occasionally make a strategic withdrawl in order to stay alive, but run away? Never!
  • Gun X Sword: "Carul-san..." "Carmen, Carmen, Carmen 99!"
  • Bleach: "It's CAPTAIN Hitsugaya!"
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX
    • Manjyoume has to constantly correct anyone who doesn't use honorifics when saying his name with "Manjyoume san da!" (translation: "That's Mr. Manjyoume to you!"). Unfortunately for him, everyone mistakes this as "Manjyoume sandaa", instead ("sandaa" being the Japanese pronunciation to the English world "thunder"). While he hasn't stopped with the correcting, he has embraced the mistake as part of his personal motto. In the dub, Manjyoume's counterpart Chazz Princeton does the same thing, insisting everyone call him "The Chazz". It just doesn't work as well.
    • Dr. Chronos was like this too. In the first season, he insisted on being called Doctor Chronos to anyone who addressed him otherwise. In the second season, he became Chancellor of the school, and while students managed to address him as "doctor" now, he insisted on being called by his new title. By the fourth season, when he became Vice Chancellor, the students had much more respect for him, and this wasn't an issue anymore.
    • This happened twice in the dub during Judai's duel with Princess Rose; she was annoyed when Kenzan referred to her Des Frogs as reptiles (frogs are amphibians) and again when he called her D.3.S. Frog a toad. (Frogs are not toads.)
  • Sealand of Axis Powers Hetalia says, "Call me Sea-kun!" He also once requested, bizarrely enough, to be called "senpai".
    • "THIS IS WAR, AND YOU'RE WEARING A CAPE!" "It's a cloak, non?" from the dub.
  • Hisa Takei of Saki insists that she is the president, not of the student council, but the student congress.
  • Albireo Imma of Mahou Sensei Negima likes his tournament alias of "Ku:Nel Sanders" so much that he requests everyone to call him by that name and will pretend to ignore you if you call him by his original name.
  • Spice and Wolf: By the way, did you know that Holo is wise?
  • Naruto:
    • Sasuke corrects Deidara that his jutsu is called "Chidori", not "Raikiri" (Lightning Blade). "Chidori" is the formal jutsu name, and "Raikiri" is the nickname given to Kakashi's version.
    • On a number of occasions, Shikamaru and Shikaku corrected their opponents by insisting that their technique is called Shadow Imitation Technique (Kagemane no Jutsu) and not Shadow Bind Technique (Kage Shibari no Jutsu). The Shadow Imitation Technique is more refined version of the older Shadow Bind.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, Zafira insists that Arf refer to him as a "guardian beast" rather than as a familiar.

Arf: It's the same damn thing!

    • Given that the Belkan magic system's terminology differs from the more common Mid-Childa system in many ways ("knights" instead of "mages"; "knight armor" instead of "barrier jackets"), Arf is probably correct that there's no actual difference between a guardian beast and a familiar.
  • Kei and Yuri's codename is "Lovely Angels". Don't ever call them the Dirty Pair, you jerk!
  • Butterflies, Flowers: Domoto insists that Choko address him as "Director Domoto ♥" when on the job. Don't forget the heart.
  • Angel Beats!:
    • "Call me Christ!"
    • And inverted with "I'm not an angel".
  • Maico in Android Announcer Maico 2010 tells us she's "not a robot -- I'm an android."
    • Wait, how can a SHE be an android?
  • One Piece: Sadi-chan insists on being referred to as such ("Miss Sadie" in the Viz manga)
  • Katsura constantly corrects Gintoki, who calls him "Zura" in Gintama. The joke evolves over the series into silly puns, so when someone calls him anything other than his real name, Katsura says "Not X, it's Katsura!" He sometimes changes it to "Not Zura, it's X" if he's wearing a disguise though.
  • Assistant chief security maid Yashima Sanae in Hanaukyo Maid Tai: La Vérité. In Japan "Sanae" is normally a first name, so people often call her Sanae instead of Yashima. She always corrects them when they do so, telling them that Yashima is her first name and Sanae is her last name.
  • Played with and Discussed in Fairy Tail The Trimens call Ichiya Nii-san, Master, etc., and is lampshaded a few times

"They're not very consistent, are they."

  • Maiza Avaro and Firo Prochainezo of Baccano! often remind other characters that the particular type of criminal sydicate of Italian origin to which they belong is not The Mafia, but the Camorra.
  • Rin of Blue Exorcist is not a demon.
  • In Fullmetal Alchemist, former Warrant Officer Vato Falman has to remind people that he's a Second Lieutenant from the Briggs arc onwards.
  • Dragonball Z has Vegeta insisting on calling Goku by his Saiyan birth name of Kakarot.
  • A very poignant use crops up a lot in Code Geass; the racist, darwinist Britannians call those who were once Japanese "Elevens", since Japan was redesignated "Area 11" after the Britannians invaded, as a way of oppressing the Japanese; They go as far as to illegalise the use of the terms "Japan" and "Japanese". It is frequently done by two characters:

Kouzuki Kallen: "We're not Elevens, we're Japanese!"
Nina Einstein: "Stop saying "Japanese"! You're Elevens!"

  • In the dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX,
    • In the dub version, this was a Running Gag involving Professor Crowler. He insisted on being called Doctor Crowler to anyone who addressed him otherwise. In the second season, he became Chancellor of the school, and while students managed to address him as "doctor" now, he insisted on being called by his new title. By the fourth season, when he became Vice Chancellor, the students had much more respect for him, and this wasn't an issue anymore.
    • Also in the dub, this happened twice during Judai's duel with Princess Rose; she was annoyed when Kenzan referred to her Des Frogs as reptiles (frogs are amphibians) and again when he called her D.3.S. Frog a toad. (Frogs are not toads.)
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V, Yuya is invited to the Junior Youth Division Tournament simply due to his popularity, even though he does not qualify for it (contestants require a 60% win record, and Yuya's is only 55%): Yuya is reluctant at first:

Yuya: It kinda seems like cheating or something.
Nico Smiley: No, it's favoritism! Okay, that might have come out wrong, but the important thing is, your in!

Comic Books

  • The Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 8 comics have Dawn cursed to turn into three things. She would like you to know that the second one was not a centaur, it was a centaurette, which is, as she defined it, a girl centaur.
  • Top Ten:
    • Vampires in Neopolis prefer not to say the zed word; One, when called a vampire, insists he's "a Hungarian-American with an inherited medical condition."
    • Robots, who are victims of Fantastic Racism, tend to insist on being acknowledged as "Ferro-Americans" or "Post-Organics".
  • The Sandman brings us Fun-Land. "Not FUN! FUN-LAND!" This being The Sandman, it's actually pretty terrifying: the guy in question is a child-murdering sociopath hiding behind the mask of an amiable, slightly goofy fat guy who stalks his "prey" in amusement parks.
  • Death's Head, of the Marvel universe (and occasionally appearing in the Transformers and Doctor Who comics when Marvel had the license), is a freelance peacekeeping agent. Some call him bounty hunter, but never twice, yes?
  • Runaways: Molly's code-name is Princess Powerful!
  • Spider-Man has been known to correct villains who call him an insect, pointing out that spiders are technically arachnids.
  • Ghost Rider antagonist and Legacy Character "The All-New Orb" literally always refers to himself with that full phrase. Others just call him "Orb" or "The Orb", but he's been very clear what he'd prefer to be known as.
  • Sting: "Klarion... bum bum BUM... the Witch-Boy!"
  • Max from Sam and Max Freelance Police dislikes being called a rabbit, and instead prefers the term "Lagomorph" or "Hyperkenetic Rabbity Thing." He dislikes being called a "malefactor" too. But for really insistent terminology, just use a really weird or long word around him. He hates that even more.
  • In the Batgirl series, Barbara Gordon, the original Batgirl and at that point the tech-savvy Oracle (although now[when?] she's Batgirl again), refuses to call Stephanie Brown by the name "Batgirl" after she takes over the persona. This is for a variety of personal and professional reasons, and she always refers to Stephanie by her proper name or with various pronouns, always avoiding the actual word "Batgirl." When she finally does use the term Stephanie recognizes that this signifies her acceptance and approval, and it gives her the motivation to persevere when fighting the Scarecrow.
  • In the Hellboy comics, the Nazi head-in-a-jar mad scientist Herman Von Klempt gets very upset if you call his ape a monkey.
  • Captain Mar-Vell would often insist he be called by his actual name and not "Captain Marvel".
  • In an Avengers West Coast story, Dance Battler super-villain Danse Macabre is upset when Hangman says she is a "stripper"; her preferred term is "exotic dancer".

Fan Works

  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, Kanae insists Kyon call her by her first name instead of her last name.
    • Later, Achakura insists on calling Nonoko "Magical Radiant Nonoko".
    • Yakuza pretty consistently refer to themselves as "ninkyo dantai" ("chivalrous organization") and to rivals as "boryokudan" ("violence group").
  • In the Elizabeth Quatermain universe, Elizabeth's father Allan narrates the events from his own separate side volume, in which he refuses to refer to Elizabeth and her half-brother Harry as anything other than Daughter and Son. In the main storyline, meanwhile, Skinner has a good half-dozen nicknames for Elizabeth, but uses her real name only once.
  • In Naruto: The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show, Sasuke's brother Itachi as always referred to as just that:

Sasuke: Damn you, Sasuke's brother. I shall get you back. Somehow...

  • The species of Gods and Demons in Divine Blood were named such by the humans.

Morrigan: I've never claimed to be the Creator of the universe. We started to interact with you, and you called us 'God'. Eventually we just kept having to respond to that and it became the name of the species. As far as I am concerned, the definition of 'God' is my species. And since I am a member of my species, I am not a false god.

  • In X-Men: Revolution (Which has since been renamed), Betsy Braddock repeatedly insists on being called 'English, not British, its a common misconception' whenever someone refers to them as the former. This was because two readers complained about the stereotypes used in characterizing her and any non-American characters used, with one telling them that 'British' is an incorrect term, especially when referring to them, and she rewrote the entire story to remove the stereotypes, and for her added this. Betsy's brother Brian, however, doesn't have a problem being referred to as 'Captain Britain', due to it being his self picked title. Ironically, Betsy once served in the role.
  • In Naruto Veangance Revelaitons, Ronan initially doesn't want to participate in the Cooking Duel because to him, men don't cook, but agrees when da cooger says that men who cook are called chefs.
  • In Turnabout Storm, Phoenix Wright gets called out quite a few times for not using the word pony. At first is for calling Twilight Sparkle a horse, getting corrected inmediately after it, and the next time is for using the word guy instead of pony. Nick doesn't seem too amused by this.
  • In The Vinyl Scratch Tapes, Octavia doesn't have a band, she is part of an ensemble.
  • In The Teraverse, stories set in San Diego often mention the "Fire-Rescue Department", not "Fire Department"; justified, since the city's fire department (in real life as well as in the stories) is administratively combined with its EMT and beachfront lifeguard services. There is also a character (of French descent) named Marie-Therese, who is so insistent about her first name being hyphenated that one of her Internet screennames is revealed to be "notwithoutmyhyphen". (Considering that she is closely associated with a Marie, it also helps to avoid confusion.)


Jones: You've been captain of the Black Pearl for thirteen years. That was our agreement.
Sparrow: Technically I was only captain for two years before I was viciously mutinied upon.
Jones: Then you were a poor captain, but a captain nonetheless. Or have you not introduced yourself all these years as "Captain Jack Sparrow"?

    • Also, in the first movie:

Will: We're going to steal that ship?
Jack Sparrow: Commandeer. We're going to commandeer that ship; nautical term.

    • Not exactly this trope, but in the first movie Barbossa insists that the pirate code is "more what you'd call guidelines than actual rules".
    • And in the 4th movie:

"You are Jack Sparrow?"
Beat "There should be a Captain in there somewhere."

    • When another pirate mentions Jack Sparrow (sans "Captain") in front of Will and Elizabeth, they both spontaneously blurt out "Captain".
  • Equilibrium has this famous dialogue:

Preston: Then I have no choice but to remand you to the Palace of Justice for processing.
Mary: Processing. You mean execution, don't you?
Preston: Processing.

  • Hedley Lamarr, the villain of Mel Brooks' Blazing Saddles, is cursed with a name similar to a noted actress... in a joke that may by now have suffered from the Weird Al Effect.
  • Inspector Clouseau of the Pink Panther films. Once promoted to his boss' old job, he finds himself constantly having to correct people of his full title. "Ah, Inspector Clouseau!" "Chief Inspector."
  • Mel Brooks loves these. See the Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein examples above. He also did it in the French Revolution part of History of the World Part One with the Comte de Monet. People keep calling him "Count de Money" and he repeatedly corrects them. Somebody later asks who he is, and he says he is the Count de Money, then annoyedly corrects himself.
  • Undercover Blues: A minor villain insists that his name is "Muerte". He is very insistent on this point, especially since the protagonists insist on antagonizing him by calling him "Morty". Near the end of the show, the protagonists end up pretending that Muerte is the Big Bad and their boss, which leads poor Muerte to try desperately to claim that his name is really Morty.
  • From Sunset Boulevard:

Joe Gillis: I was only asking; I didn't know you were planning a comeback.
Norma Desmond: I hate that word! It's a return, a return to the millions of people who've never forgiven me for deserting the screen!
Joe: Fair enough.

  • From Clerks in the View Askewniverse (Clerks II to be specific): when Randall arranges for a donkey show for what's supposed to be Dante's going away present, he refers to it as "bestiality". The guy running Kinky Kelly's performance is always quick to correct him: "It's interspecies erotica, fuck-o!"
  • One of the lessons Killing Zoe taught the world was that a prostitute has sex for money. A call girl has sex for money to pay for school.
  • A similar lesson was given in True Romance, though did anyone need to be told not to mix up the clearly different "call girl" and "whore"?
  • A character in Miss March insists upon being called horsedick.MPEG.
  • Austin Powers:

Dr. Evil: It's Doctor Evil! I didn't spend six years in Evil Medical School to be called Mister, thank you very much!

  • In the opening scene of the Danish film Pusher, a deadbeat drug buyer repeatedly asks to be called "Scorpion."
  • From Gamers 2: "I'm Chaotic Neutral!"
  • In Alexander, when Nearchus subtly jabs that Parmenion's flank nearly crumbling at Gaugamela cost them the chance to catch Darius, Parmenion's son Philotas rages at him, starting with "How dare you, Nearchus!" prompting Nearchus to talk over him, "General Nearchus to you!"
  • Pulp Fiction: "It's not a motorcycle, baby, it's a chopper."
  • In Transformers, Simmons insists on calling Megatron "N.B.E.-1", even after finding out his name. This even carries into the second film, after Megatron is brought Back from the Dead. "N.B.E.-1 still ticking eh?"
  • From Night at the Museum 2:

Kah Mun Rah: Are there any questions?
Al Capone: Yeah, I got one. How come you're wearing a dress?
Kah Mun Rah: This is not a dress. This is a tunic.

  • Sets up a sizable portion of the Call Backs in Hot Fuzz. Angel is wired to proper police service terminology like a spell checker.

Danny: When did you first know you wanted to be a policeman?
Angel: Officer.
Danny: When did you first know you wanted to be a policeman officer?

(Grinch is searching for a party outfit; he grabs a tablecloth and wraps it around his waist)
Max: [barks at him]
Grinch: It's not a dress, it's a kilt! (rips off tablecloth) SICKO!

  • In the German comedy Pappa ante Portas, the title protagonist insists that the dish "Birne Helene" (Poire Belle Hélène) has to be pear with chocolate sauce—not pear with vanilla sauce, or apple with chocolate sauce. He is technically correct, but his insistence (among other things) leads to repeated rows with his wife. When at the end of the movie a waiter mentions that in this restaurant, Poire Belle Hélène is apple sauce with whipped cream, and "Pappa" doesn't mind, you can see they're happy again.
  • The Dude in The Big Lebowski is very insistent that Maude Lebowski is not his "special lady", but his "fuckin' lady friend!"

"I'm just helping her conceive, man!"

Governor McGinty: This is the biggest thing to happen in this state since we stole it from the Indians!
The Boss: Borrowed.

  • From the first Spider-Man movie, when Peter Parker finds out J. Jonah Jameson is putting out a front-page story claiming Spider-Man attacked the city:

Peter: Spider-Man wasn't trying to attack the city, he was trying to save it. That's slander.
J. Jonah Jameson: It is not. I resent that! Slander is spoken. In print, it's libel.

Sidney: You're crazy, both of you.
Stu: Actually, we prefer the term "psychotic".

  • The Mercury astronauts in The Right Stuff insist that the vehicle they ride be referred to as a "spacecraft", not a "capsule".
  • Star Wars Attack of the Clones. Anakin first classifies his threat against another species as "aggressive negotiations." Padme later picks up the term as a sign that the two are bonding.
  • It's a day spa, not a beauty parlor.
  • Small Soldiers; Chip Hazard does the "We're not dolls, we're action figures!" line.


  • Discworld:
    • The Mort book has Mortimer, who, whatever the topic of conversation, would reflexively correct anyone who called him "boy" or "you" by giving his name. In the final duel this becomes a Berserk Button.
    • From Making Money, Unseen University has a Department of Postmortem Communications, who summon the spirits of dead people to talk to them. They are not "necromancers". Necromancy, in fact, is strictly forbidden at Unseen University!
    • From Unseen Academicals, the Bengo Macarona football chant, adjusted (at Macarona's insistence) to include all his academic appointments and titles. An Overly Long Gag as well, since after a couple repetitions the list has gone on for two pages. Worth slogging through if you like puns.
    • Ankh-Morpork's Guild of Seamstresses prefer to be known as the "Ladies of Negotiable Affection". 'Not prostitutes, "Ladies of Negotiable Affection".
    • Unseen University librarian is an ape, not the M-word. Knowing the difference is part of natural selection.
    • Hogfather: "'s pronounced teh-ah-tim-eh."
    • Let us not forget Miss Susan Sto Helit (the granddaughter of Death).
    • Or Mister Vimes, who insists on the title (even after he is technically Sir Samuel Vimes or even the Duke of Ankh.)
      • Technically certain of his titles override others in proper use, but his some-time ambassadorial attaché insists on introducing "His Grace, His Excellency, The Duke of Ankh; Commander Sir Samuel Vimes"
  • Aahz, of Robert Asprin's Myth Adventures books, is a demon from the dimension called Perv, and quite firm about the correct term for his race being "Pervect", not "Pervert", the latter being a racial slur.
    • In the Comic Book Adaptation, Aahz's apprentice Skeeve correctly addresses another Pervect, who starts to scream at him... then stops, astonished to realize someone actually got it right, and asks politely what he can do for Skeeve.
      • It's all especially funny because all racial terms in the books are insults. Skeeve, for example, is a Klahd because he's from Klah, and the characters from Trollia are Trolls or Trollops, depending on sex. Pervects are thus asking for respect that no one else gets (or cares about much). Then again, they are Pervects, so they mostly get it.
  • Belgian Hercule Poirot objects to being called French — which is an error of fact, not of terminology, but produces similar comic moments.
    • Parodied by his Expy Milo Perrier in the movie Murder By Death, where he indignantly responds to someone calling him "Frenchie" with "I'm not a Frenchie! I'm a Belgie!"
    • There was also a "I am not Belgian, I am FRENCH!" moment, followed immediately by "My apologies. Correcting people has become a reflex."
  • Harry Potter
    • Hermione Granger gets rather snippy when people refer to her "Society for the Promotion of Elvish Welfare" by its acronym.
      • The name is even better in Dutch: "Stichting Huiself voor Inburgering en Tolerantie" (society house-elf for naturalizing and tolerance).
    • Also, whenever Harry calls Snape "Snape", Hermione and/or the nearest adult corrects him: "Professor Snape."
  • As with the Poirot article above, in the CHERUB series of books there is a Ukrainian character named Yosyp Kazakhov. Call him Russian, and you'll get an earful and a half. (If you're lucky.)
  • In a bit of an inversion, when Bilbo Baggins balks at getting hired as a "burglar" in The Hobbit, the dwarves miss the point and tell him he can be an "expert treasure hunter" instead.
  • In The Thrawn Trilogy, Thrawn refuses to acknowledge the New Republic as anything other than "The Rebellion", although the trilogy took place five years after Return of the Jedi, by which point Coruscant itself had been retaken.
    • This is a case where changing the name of a thing changes the thing itself. The New Republic is a foreign power. The Rebellion is an uprising of Imperial subjects. In the same way, Abraham Lincoln never called the states in secession from the Union by the name "Confederate States of America".
    • The Hand of Thrawn Duology has Grodin Tierce, part of the triumvirate who are collectively endeavoring to make it look like Thrawn has returned, once talk about The Rebellion, despite this taking place ten years after Thrawn's death, by which point the New Republic has basically taken over. Normally he just says Coruscant, which is the seat of power, but he doesn't call it the New Republic. This is one of many little bits of Foreshadowing, because Tierce is a clone who was specifically grown as an attempt to make someone who thought like Thrawn.
    • When the Old Republic became The Empire, the capital planet Coruscant was renamed "Imperial Center"; though a number of characters, even Imperials, complain about this, some use the term exclusively and don't like hearing the old word. When the New Republic takes the planet back, they change the name. They try to change the name of the Imperial Palace, where the seat of government had been ever since the Senate building had been torn down, but none of their alternate names stick.
  • In the final book of A Series of Unfortunate Events, Ishmael always says "call me Ish", but no one ever does.
  • In Everworld, Sobek insists on being addressed as "Sobek, god of the crocodiles of the Nile, called Rager, son of Seth and his consort Neith, nurse of the crocodiles". As he's a living god with thousands of crocodiles at his command, no-one disputes it.
  • In the Wild Cards books, Tom Tudburry hates hit when people call him "The Turtle". He's the Great and Powerful Turtle, dog gone it!
  • In Artemis Fowl, The Time Paradox: he's a lemur. Not a monkey, a lemur.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: "First off, let me get this straight: This is a JOURNAL, not a diary."
  • Jack Aubrey, when HMS Surprise is bought from the Navy, hates it being referred to as a Privateer, which were seen as little more than legalised pirates. He prefers the term "Letter of Marque" or "Private Man-o-War".
  • Dwarves: "It's dwarf, not groundling!"
  • In the Redwall series, hares do not like to be called "rabbits". If the hare has a short enough temper, you may get beaten up for calling them a rabbit repeatedly. This is actually a justified instance, though, because most rabbits in the series are portrayed as stuck-up, prissy weaklings while most hares are soldiers.
    • They're also world-class goofs, so they probably object just as much to the implication that they don't have a sense of humor.
    • There is a distinction between hares and rabbits in real life, so there's that too.
  • In The Dresden Files, do not call the Sidhe "faeries". To them, the difference is as pronounced as calling a human an ape.
  • Peter Grant would like you to know that it isn't Black Magic, it is Ethically Challenged Magic, thank you very much.
  • Transformers: TransTech Shockwave will have you know he is not evil, he's "morally ambiguous".
  • In Honor Harrington, the Committee of Public Safety regime in the People's Republic of Haven is quite insistent upon the honorific "Citizen" before military ranks and titles of office.
  • From The Lotus Eaters: in the Republic of Gaul's navy, "There is 'My God' and 'My ass', but there is no mon capitaine."[1]
  • From Pandora's Star: It's a flow wormhole generator, not a hyperdrive.
    • Also, a slightly more meta example: Peter F. Hamilton never misses a chance to remind you that the concrete is enzyme-bonded.
  • From Chalion, it's a Death Miracle, not "death magic".

Live-Action TV

  • Scrubs
    • There is an employee who is noted for resembling Snoop Dogg who is very insistent on making sure everyone knows his title, making sure nobody calls him Snoop Dogg Intern when he becomes Snoop Dogg Attending and so on. Although he wishes that, just once, someone would just call him Ronald.
    • The Janitor objects to his uniform being called a jumpsuit (or, more usually, being referred to as "Jumpsuit" himself). "It's a shirt and pants. Who wears a belt with a jumpsuit?"
  • The Office
    • Gareth Keenan and his American counterpart Dwight Schrute constantly refer to themselves as "Assistant Regional Manager," prompting nearby employees to insist, "Assistant to the Regional Manager," a much less impressive and largely meaningless title.
    • There's also Bob Vance, Vance Refrigeration. He's even introduced this way by the pastor at his wedding.
    • In Dwight's case, at least, it actually is meaningless; in one episode, when Dwight is particularly obnoxious about the authority it supposedly gives him, Michael admits that no such title exists, and he just made it up one day to keep Dwight quiet. Dwight takes this very hard.
      • Dwight's karate instructor also does this by making him his sempai.

Dwight: A Sempai is the assistant Sensei.
Jim: Assistant to the Sensei.

  • On Star Trek: The Next Generation, Mr. Data is an "artificial life form" or "android", not a "robot". When someone asks if he's a robot, Data responds by saying there are many differences between the two concepts, but he does not elaborate.
  • In an example from one of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's Ferengi episodes, the good guy Ferengi repeatedly have to correct people who refer to "Grand Nagus Brunt" by insisting that they call him "Acting Grand Nagus Brunt".
  • Brilliant cop Lester Freamon of The Wire is very insistent about the amount of time he spent banished in the pawn shop unit—thirteen years and four months.
  • Fabio Viviani from Top Chef season 5. After a judge called his filet mignon sandwich "essentially a cheesesteak", he went on to declare, "It's a filet mignon sandwich. Not a cheesesteak."
  • Memetic mutation has done this to Dr. K of Power Rangers RPM. It's Bio-Armor, not spandex!

Dr. K: The material is a self-assembling nanofiber formed with an inter-cellular shape memory alloy.

    • Not just memetic mutation, as it's cropped up again a few episodes after the first incident. Schoolkids on a field trip get a Q&A session with the Rangers, and K has to be restrained when the S-word comes up.
    • Dr. K is very insistent on terminology. During the Q&A session she holds with her Series Operators in the beginning of "Ranger Blue", Scott asks her about the eyes in front of their Zords. She tells them that they are not eyes, but that they are actually optical field scanning sensors for their cockpit's displays. But, of course, this doesn't go around the fact that...

Dillon: They look like eyes!
Ziggy: Big, googly anime eyes.

  • Arrested Development: "ILLUSIONS, Michael." A trick is something a whore does for money... Or cocaine!
  • One of the first things Ned in the pilot of Pushing Daisies says is that the people he brings back to life are not zombies or undead, merely "alive again".
  • Doctor Who
    • In the 2007 Christmas special, Bannakaffalatta, a red-skinned, spikey alien cyborg, takes it personally when the Doctor tries to call him "Banna".
    • The Doctor in general is rather insistent that he borrowed the TARDIS, not stole it. Meanwhile, the TARDIS herself insists that she stole him.
    • Steven Taylor, one of the First Doctor's Companions, would often call him "Doc". The Doctor would demand that Steven call him by his proper name.
  • The West Wing, thanks to its focus on the arcana and minutia of politics, encounters this quite often.
    • For example, in episode 1x08, "Enemies", Sam Seaborne is roped into writing a birthday message for the Secretary of Transportation. That he is staggeringly overqualified for this minor assignment is emphasized throughout.

Josh: What're you guys working on?
Toby: It's a birthday card.
Sam: Actually, it's a birthday message.

    • Sam Seaborn's friend Laurie is a "call girl", not a "prostitute". It's an important distinction, Toby.
    • And don't disrespect the president.

Hoynes: I have had it up to here with you and your pal.
Leo: Excuse me....Are you referring to President Bartlet?
Hoynes: Yes.
Leo: Refer to him that way.

  • There's also "adult film actress" instead of "porn star" in Sports Night, also by Aaron Sorkin.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: Never call Ferdinand Von Zeppelin's flying machine a "Balloon". "Eet is not a BALLOON!! Eet is an AIRSHIP! An AIRSHIP!! You vant to play wis balloons, GET OUTSIDE!!"
    • No no, it's spelled Raymond Luxury Yacht, but it's pronounced Throatwobbler Mangrove!
    • S. Frog, sir.
    • "Mrs. Anne Elk." "Miss." She even verbally puts it in brackets.
  • In the French series Kaamelott:
    • King Arthur (son of Pendragon and Ygerne) and Anna of Tintagel (daughter of Gorlay and Ygerne) always correct anybody calling them either brother/sister with "half-brother/half-sister". They once said it simultaneously. As her husband Loth can attest, Anna can get violent if you forget the "half-" part.
    • Also, during the whole "Livre V", as Arthur has renounced the throne, he keeps correcting anybody calling him "Sire".
  • In The Sarah Connor Chronicles, the Terminators insist on being called cyborgs, rather than robots.
  • In the alternate timeline in the sixth season of Lost, Ben Linus likes to be called Dr Linus. He's actually a doctor of history.
  • On Dollhouse:

Topher: He seemed to be having a kind of... man-reaction.
Claire: Victor had an erection?
Topher: I prefer man-reaction.

  • In Stargate SG-1, Senator Robert Kinsey tries to smugly comment on Thor's presence and refers to him as "Commander," only for Thor to restate that he is Supreme Commander of the Asgard Fleet. Kinsey does it again when he meets Bra'tac, referring to him as "mister," whereupon SG1 explains that it is Master Bra'tac.
  • On Veronica Mars Cassidy Casablancas is always referred to as 'Beaver', in the s2 finale he finally snaps, yelling "MY NAME IS CASSIDY!"
    • Lampshaded since Veronica Mars calls him Cassidy (and whenever she calls him Beaver, she corrects herself).
  • In Sherlock, Holmes is not a psychopath. He's a high-functioning sociopath. Do your research!
  • In one episode of Special Unit 2 they were trying to catch a djinn before she could grant her 3000th wish and be free. To do this, their resident gearhead created a capturing device:

Jonathan [describes the device, using terms involving sucking and a storage bag]
O'Malley: So you created a vacuum cleaner.
Jonathan: It's not a vacuum cleaner.
Captain: (enters scene) Have you finished briefing Benson and O'Malley on the vacuum cleaner?

Doña Florinda:This is your great job? Balloon seller?.
Don Ramon: I'm not a balloon seller, I'm a dealer specializing in folkloric articles for child consumption.

  • In White Collar, criminals always remember to say "allegedly" after anyone mentions any crime they have committed and/or been charged with, but not been convicted for.
  • Ashes to Ashes: Alex Drake specializes in psychology, not psychiatry.
  • On The Big Bang Theory Sheldon is not a rocket scientist. He's a theoretical physicist!
    • Also, Sheldon takes great pains to point out that his team t-shirt spells "The Wesley Crushers" (Those Who Crush Wesley) and not "The Wesley Crushers" (Multiple People Named Wesley Crusher).
      • Repeated reminders that Howard does not have a doctorate

"Doctor Gablehauser"
"Doctor Koothrappali"
"Doctor Gablehauser"
"Doctor Hofstadter"
"Doctor Gablehauser"
"Doctor Cooper"
"Doctor Gablehauser"
"Mister Wolowitz"

  • Dr. Sheldon Cooper would also have you know that he's not crazy; his mother had him tested. She later confirms this (...though she should have followed-up with that specialist in Houston).
  • On Everybody Loves Raymond, Robert is gored by a bull, and a Running Gag is made of his insisting that he was injured in the "upper thigh." This finally snaps when he confronts the bull again. "You chased me down, and you gored me. RIGHT IN THE ASS!"
  • In the Batman TV series, everyone always refers to 'stately Wayne Manor', owned by 'millionaire Bruce Wayne' and his 'youthful ward Dick Grayson'.
  • On Mystery Science Theater 3000, one of these (see Real Life below) was used as a running gag in seasons 3-4: Whenever Joel referred to "comic books" the bots would take offense and insist on the term "graphic novels."
  • Criminal Minds: Spencer Reid would like you to know that he has an *eidetic* memory, not a photographic memory. Also, during the first few seasons, some of his team members are very insistent that he be referred to as "doctor," although that had more to do with the fact that he was twenty-three and looked fifteen at the time than with anything else.
  • In the early seasons of Law & Order, EADA Ben Stone insisted on calling people "sir" or "ma'am". The more he disliked you, the more polite he got.

Ian O'Connell: May I ask you a question, sir? How with the map of Donegal on your mug did you ever end up with a name like Stone?
Stone: Happenstance, sir. Same way you ended up with the name of a real Irish patriot.

  • In Get Smart, when Max calls the Chinese ultra-villian 'The Craw', the villian corrects him in a proper Chinese ultra-villian accent, "No, not da Craw, da Craw!"
  • In Keeping Up Appearances, Hyacinth insists on her last name, Bucket, peing pronounced Bu-Kay.
  • In Mad Dogs, Rick is NOT an accountant; he's a Financial Consultant.
  • On Cheers, when Sam finally reveals to Carla the deep, dark secret that he's losing his hair, he quickly corrects her; he's not wearing a wig, he's using a "hair replacement system".
  • In Z Nation, the term used for killing someone is "mercy", used In-Universe by survivors to cope with the psychological impact of taking out a person, whether said individual is still alive or has been turned into one of the undead. Essentially, this is a fancy way of saying "taking someone out of his/her misery" given the show's dystopian premise, and could also be viewed as a sort of Last Rites as there is a ceremony done for every mercy committed.


  • For unknown reasons, non-band-members contributing musically to Havalina Rail Co. albums would always be referred to in the liner notes as "Latino All-Stars" rather than guest musicians.
  • Steve Albini does not "produce" albums, he "records" them.
  • LL Cool J would like to remind everyone not to call it a "comeback", he's been there for years.
  • Certain bands (such as The Tragically Hip) have "The" as being the first part of their official band name—while other bands (such as the Foo Fighters) don't, but are still usually referred to with "the" at the beginning. In the case of the former, their ardent fans will correct you—if you leave off the word "The". Other bands (such as [The] Rolling Stones) are inconsistent with it, however.
  • Michael Jackson often referred to his "music videos" as "films" (even the standard 3-5 minute ones).
    • Related: in an interview, Celine Dion stated that she felt that her video for It's All Coming Back To Me Now wasn't a music video. It was more like a "four minute movie".
  • An Elvis Impersonator would generally prefer that you call him an Elvis "tribute artist".

Newspaper Comics

  • Calvin and Hobbes
    • "Calvin the BOLD demands he be addressed properly."
    • "You seem to have mistaken me for some mild mannered youth! I am STUPENDOUS MAN!"
  • In one Bloom County storyline, Opus becomes a garbageman but insists upon calling himself a "waste-management artisan". When Milo calls Opus out on how dumb that sounds, he asks, "What did Ronald Reagan call those weapons shipments to Iran?" Milo answers "'Goodwill gifts'", to which Opus replies "I'm a waste-management artist, thank you very much."
  • Peanuts:
    • In one strip where Snoopy's brothers Spike, Andy, and Olaf are in a waiting room at the veterinarian's office (waiting for Snoopy) Andy wonders why they look so different:

Andy: If we're all brothers, how come I'm so fuzzy, you're so skinny, and Olaf is so fat?
Spike: I'm not skinny, I'm trim!
Olaf: And I'm not fat!
Andy: You're not fat?
Olaf: I'm roly-poly!

  • In another strip, Linus tells Charlie Brown that his teacher Ms. Othmar takes her job very seriously, preferring to be called an "educator" rather than a teacher.

Oral Tradition, Folklore, Myths and Legends

  • In one folk tale, it's said that the Chinese used to give extravagant names to their firstborn sons but very plain names to their younger children. So when Chang, the second-born, sees his brother, Tikki-tikki-tembo-no-sa-rembo-chari-bari-ruchi-pip-peri-pembo, fall into the well, he tries to tell his mother... only to be repeatedly told to give his brother the proper respect by saying his name properly. In the aftermath (the kid was alive, but suffered a terrible cold), the Chinese culture changed to where even firstborns had short, sensible names... like Chang.
    • "Tikki tikki tembo-no sa rembo-chari bari ruchi-pip peri pembo" was the first child's name, according to The Other Wiki. While claimed to be Chinese, about the only thing anybody agrees on about the tale's origins is the impossibility of it being Chinese.
    • In the original version of the story, Tikki-Tikki-Tembo died because his brother kept running out of breath trying to say the absurdly long name and had to start all over again each time he tried to say it.
    • It may originate from the Japanese folktale/comedy piece of Jugemu.
    • The story has been retold numerous times, both by word of mouth and in published form, and has acquired a large number of variations because of it. Versions differ on whether the child lives or dies, and the specific manner in which his rescue is delayed varies as well (though it is always due to multiple repetitions of the very long name). The various names attributed to the unfortunate kid include Nikki Nikki Tembo No So Rembo Oo Ma Moochi Gamma Gamma Goochi, Sticky Sticky Stumbo Nos E Rumbo E Pro Pennyo Hara Bara Brisko Nicky Prom Po Nish No Menyo Dumbricko, and Ikky Bikky Stumbo Nozo Rumbo Addy Baddy Basco Tana Rama Tasco, among others. There are even non-Chinese versions, which in retrospect show their roots a bit, such as "Eddie Coochie Catchie Cama Toka Nera Toka Noka Sama Kama Wacky Brown".
  • Taoism teaches that to name something is to define it, and since the Tao is infinite, it has no definition, and therefore no name. So the ethereal force that permeates the universe is called the Tao for the sake of conversation, but it is not named the Tao because it has no name.

The Tao that can be known
Is not the true Tao.
The name that can be named
Is not the true name.

  • Some, though not most, Christians get very offended if you call Christianity a religion. They prefer to be called "spiritual" rather than "religious", and may refer to their beliefs as a "faith" or a "relationship with God", but insist that it's not a religion. There are Christians online who have said things like "as a Christian, I follow no religion", and they sometimes refer to other religions as religion, except their own.

"It's not a religion, it's a relationship!"

  • Some non-Catholic Christians, especially ones more hostile to the Catholic Church, chafe at calling Catholics "Christian". Many incorrectly use "Christian" to refer only to Protestant Christians, while some may exclude anyone not practicing their specific version of Christianity. Note that Christianity is divided into three general categories: Catholics, Orthodox Christians, and Protestants, and that Protestant is merely a catch-all term for Christians who are further subdivided into various denominations based on how they think God should be worshiped, and the only common sentiment is that it's "not how the Catholics do it".
  • Messianic Jews do not typically identify themselves as "Christians"—insisting, instead, that they are "Jews who found Jesus". "Traditional" Jews will usually fire back with, "Nope, you guys are definitely Christians!" Given that acceptance of Jesus as the Messiah is the point of divergence between Judaism and Christianity...
  • The robes worn by a Catholic priest on Gaudete Sunday (the Third Sunday of Advent) and Laetare Sunday (the Fourth Sunday of Lent) are rose-colored. They are not pink.

Professional Wrestling

  • Within WWE, the people who wrestle are not "wrestlers", they're "superstars", and female wrestlers are called "divas". And the titles they wrestle for are not "belts", they're "championships". Nor are "wrestling fans" called such; they're the "WWE Universe". Also, it's not even called pro-wrestling anymore, it's "sports entertainment"... or at least, it was. "Sports" has been put in the banned list too, so now it's just "entertainment" or "action soap opera". And they don't even have "athletes" or "sportsmen", but "entertainers with tremendous athletic prowess". Vince McMahon doesn't seem to like to be reminded that he runs a professional wrestling company.
    • This has led to a fun game of Loophole Abuse with rival company TNA. A few TNA fansites have begun to claim that TNA is now the number one wrestling company in the world, since WWE is fighting the world "wrestling" at every turn.
    • Over the past decade or so, anyone whose seen to be particularly rebellious or anti-establishment within WWE (ex: Joey Styles, Chris Jericho, CM Punk) will make fun of the term "sports entertainment", boldly emphasize "wrestling", or simply do both. Interestingly, many of these people have some significant connection to ECW.
  • Similar to, and possibly the inspiration for, the Grinch movie example above, is wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper. Piper is legitimately of Scottish descent, and often wears a traditional kilt to the ring. Of course, his opponent will invariably comment about how he doesn't want to wrestle someone in a "skirt". Piper's response: "It's not a skirt, it's a kilt!", followed by some serious pummeling.
  • Current[when?] WWE Authority figure John Laurinaitis seems to make it fit to refer to himself (and have everyone call him) as "Mr. John Laurinaitis, Executive Vice President of Talent Relations and Interim General Manager of Monday Night Raw."
  • Weapons that aren't supposed to be used in a wrestling match are commonly called "foreign objects". During a period of time in which WCW was trying to present itself as a cleaner and more tolerant alternative to the WWF, these were renamed "international objects" because standards and practices didn't like that use of the word foreign.

Tabletop Games

  • In the prodigious backstory of Warhammer Fantasy Battle, there was once a great war between the elves and the dwarfs. While the war was inevitable due to deep social, economic and cultural differences, an overly arrogant elven king and some too-stubborn dwarf lords, helped with a dark elven False-Flag Operation, the straw that broke the camel's back was when said elven king had the dwarven emissary to his court shaved for his own amusement. The subsequent war is known as "the War of Vengeance" to the dwarfs, who do not take kindly to use of the more common elven term, "the War of the Beard".
  • In Planescape, a tiefling will likely take offense to be called a "bastard" or "half-breed" (of course, who wouldn't?); "planetouched" they're okay with, though they prefer "Sir" or "Lady".


  • In the musical version of The Scarlet Pimpernel, Englishman Sir Percy Blakeney (a.k.a. the Scarlet Pimpernel) continually refers to his rival, the Frenchman Chauvelin, as "Mr. Shovelin".[context?]
  • An old Vaudeville joke involves a man who thinks he's found his long-lost friend. The straight man says nothing except "I'm not Rappaport", thereby giving the joke its name. It also inspired a successful play in The Eighties as well as a film starring Walter Mathau.

Joker: Hey, Rappaport! I haven't seen you in ages. How have you been?
Straight man: I'm not Rappaport.
Joker: Rappaport, what happened to you? You used to be a short fat guy, and now you're a tall skinny guy.
Straight man: I'm not Rappaport.
Joker: Rappaport, you used to be a young guy with a beard, and now you're an old guy with a mustache.
Straight man: I'm not Rappaport.
Joker: Rappaport, how has this happened? You used to be a cowardly little white guy, and now you're a big imposing black guy.
Straight man: I'm not Rappaport.
Joker: And you changed your name, too!

    • This act was then turned on its head by French Canadian absurdist comedy duo Les Denis Drolet, where one of the two would insist the other is named "Jacques" despite the other's protestations that his name is "Jean", and they would argue back and forth like this for a couple minutes until "Jean" finally realizes he'd been mistaken and his name was indeed "Jacques".
  • Les Misérables: In response to being addressed by his prison number (24601), Valjean says "My name is Jean Valjean."
    • Conversely, Inspector Javert makes a point of calling Valjean "24601" on several occasions.


  • You don't have Legos, you have LEGO® Bricks or LEGO® toys. This is a little bit of Stuck on Band-Aid Brand.
  • Berix in Bionicle: The Legend Reborn isn't a thief, he's a "collector"!
    • Real-life Bionicle example, no longer in effect: the Toa carried tools, not weapons. LEGO was very cautious about this, because the word "weapon" apparently carries a less family-friendly meaning. When their violence-policy changed around 2006, it became free to use, and, just as well, the storyline suddenly became a lot more gorier.
  • Toys such as G.I. Joe and the Transformers, which are marketed for boys, are not dolls. They are ACTION FIGURES. Dolls are toys that girls play with, such as Barbie or Polly Pocket.
    • The term "action figure" was originally coined to describe the original 12 inch GI Joe toys. Those, however, actually were dolls. Modern Joe toys and Transformers are totally action figures.

Video Games

  • Locke of Final Fantasy VI. He's not a thief, he's a treasure hunter. And he'll rip your lungs out for saying otherwise! What makes this one line particularly funny is that the SNES translation is so aggressively kid-friendly that it refuses to acknowledge the existence of pubs and the word "death" and its variants... but threatening to pull out somebody's internal organs is A-OK?
    • He's much less violent in the GBA remake. He'll just beat the crap out of you.
  • Ashe from Final Fantasy XII, leader of La Résistance - not the Insurgence.
  • In Super Robot Wars Original Generation, Dr. Marion Radom flat out refuses to call Kyosuke's and Excellen's machines the Alteisen and Weissritter, instead using their original, production-model names—the Gespenst Mk. III and Gespenst Mk. II Custom, respectively.
    • Until OG2, anyway, when she's impressed enough by their performance to call them by their codenames. Her selective hearing still keeps Excellen from getting a proper upgrade for "Weissy," though.
  • Tales of the Abyss:

Jade: Why if it isn't Dist the Runny!
Dist: The Rose! R-O-S-E, rose! Dist the Rose!
Anise: You mean, Dist the Reaper.
Dist: Silence! I refuse to accept that name! It's Rose! ROSE!

  • In the Professor Layton games, don't bother trying to call Luke Triton anything other than Layton's apprentice. He simply will not accept any other name for their relationship. He even cuts off Layton himself whenever the professor tries to clarify it.
    • And in Professor Layton and the Curious Village, Layton repeatedly corrects that he is not, in fact, a detective. This doesn't stop the people of St. Mystere from constantly thinking that's the case, though.
  • Dex from Saints Row wishes you to know that it's "The Carnales" or "Los Carnales", not "The Los Carnales", as "los" means "the" in Spanish.
  • In Fallout 2, the citizens of Vault City keep a slave labor force, but insist upon calling them "Servants", and make a habit of expelling those who say otherwise.
    • Similarly, in the Fallout 3 DLC Pack "The Pitt", The leader of the Pitt Raiders, Ashur, insists that his subordinates refer to the slave populace as "workers", although, to be fair, he fully intends to release them once he and his wife find a cure for the rampant mutation present in what remains of Pittsburgh.
    • Also in 3:

Butch: I'm a barber, not a hairdresser! There's a difference!

"It's Magnius from the eastern ranch!"
"That's LORD Magnius, vermin!"

  • And of course, the sequel Dawn of the New World has the Nazdrovie/Light-Frog debate between Centurion Tenebrae and the main cast.
  • In Kingdom Hearts 358 Days Over 2, Saix insists that the other Organization members refer to Xion as "it" rather than "she," showing his contempt for her as a replica.
  • Resident Black Magician Girl Dark Chick Chloe from the second Mana Khemia game insists that her curses and black magic that regularly summons demons in combat be referred to as "incantations".
  • In The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion an aspiring Orc "knight" named Mazoga insists that the player call her "Sir Mazoga" or similar, and will get angry if the player does not. Depending on dialog choices and how the player handles the associated quest, she eventually realizes she's being a pompous jerk.
  • Dr. Hello in Treasure Hunter G gets rather peeved when Red addresses him as just that, insisting on being called "the last remaining mad scientist, Dr. Hello"
  • Tear from Recettear is a loan shark (not quite that bad, she's nice and helpful about it) but doesn't like to be called as such.
  • Creator version. The makers of the When They Cry franchise insist their Visual Novel's are "sound novels" due to their reliance on reliance on sound.
  • In Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People: 8-bit is Enough, Strong Sad ends up in the world of Peasant's Quest wearing a pointy hat. He insists that he's a wizard, and gets miffed if people call him a princess.
  • Phoenix Wright is a lawyer. Not a dentist, policemen, detective or parliamentarian. And no, his badge is not made of plastic and not available in a Gumball Machine. (He has to insist on those facts so frequently, it actually strikes him as strange whenever anyone actually gets it right.) Speaking of which, there's the whole ladder-versus-stepladder debate that happens in just about every game.
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • In "Meet the Sniper", the Sniper is discussing his career choice with his unseen father over the phone, and it's evident from the Sniper's exasperation that they've had this conversation many, many times before:

Sniper: Dad? Dad, I'm a--Ye--Not a "crazed gunman", dad, I'm an assassin!... Well, the difference bein' one is a job and the other's mental sickness!

  • Also, it is not "a jar of pee". It is jar-based karate.
  • With Halloween 2011, we now have MONOCULUS!, all caps and exclamation point necesssary. Upon being killed by him, players must raise their hands to the skies and shout his name (then explain to the cops when they show up).
  • Fire Emblem Elibe. Canas would like to remind you that it is incorrect to refer to the Elder magic that he practices as "Dark" magic.
  • In The Adventures of Sam & Max: Freelance Police: The Devil's Playhouse, Sam and Max argue over what to call the Sam clone army; Sam insists on 'Samulacra', and Max insists on 'Dogglegangers'. This develops into a Running Gag. Amusingly, when playing as Sam and mousing over one of the clones, the text indicating the name of the object reads 'Samulacra', but when playing as Max it reads 'Dogglegangers'.
  • The Dwarf Fortress community has any mention of possible failure or defeat referred to as "Fun" (after the DF motto "losing is fun"). Or "!!FUN!!" if some part of it is !!on fire!!. And insist on calling hell Hidden Fun Stuff. Demons are Clowns, and adamantine is cotton candy (for its low density, but it's also what lures you into the "clowncar").
  • In Eien no Aselia theres a kind of pastry that's basically identical to a waffle filled with some sort of sugary fruit. Lemuria constantly corrects him when he calls it a waffle instead of a yofwal, while in turn he stubbornly refuses to refer to them as anything but waffles.
  • Lara Croft of Tomb Raider uses a more honest euphemism than most examples of this trope. "Tomb Raider" can be converted to "Grave Robber" just by replacing words with their synonyms.
  • In Rune Factory Tides of Destiny during Joe's second frienship event Sonja calls Joe a 'pervert' for looking through a crack in the womens' bath. He insists that he is a 'treasure hunter' who is after 'a different sort of treasure'.
  • Fate Extra gives you the option to beat on of the most powerful characters in the Nasuverse, they balance this out by telling you at every opportunity that the only reason you can win is because her Master is a raging moron.
  • Katawa Shoujo:
    • This comes up in a context surprisingly unrelated to any disabilities: Lilly and Shizune both insist that their Big Fancy Houses are not "mansion(s)".
    • Lilly Satou, after Hisao realizes she is a Covert Pervert, will say that she has "a healthy adolescent sex drive".
  • This pops up in an amusing conversation between Shepard and Tali in Mass Effect 3:

Shepard: How are you getting drunk?
Tali: (completely plastered) Veeeeeeery carefully. Turian brandy, triple filtered, then introduced into the suit via an emergency induction port.
Shepard: ...that's a straw, Tali.
Tali: Emerrrrrgency. Induction. Port.

The Iron Bull: Also, it's 'THE Iron Bull.' I like having an article at the front. It makes it sound like I'm not even a person, just a mindless weapon, an implement of destruction... That really works for me.

Web Animation

  • Donut of Red vs. Blue insists that his armor is not pink, it is lightish red.
    • They have a word for that. PINK!
    • And Doc isn't a doctor. He's a medic.

Web Comics

Web Original

  • Larry Damone, in the Whateley Universe, is a mutant with the codename "The Man Called Vengeance". He can't get people to stop calling him just "Vengeance". His team leader Fantastico calls him "Vengie", which really bugs him.
  • Tasakeru: The intelligent mammal species are called "sentients". Only non-intelligent species are referred to as "animals".
  • Old Man from The Legend of Neil: "You may call me... '*Old* Man'."
    • It also applies to Old Man's brother... who is also named "Old Man".
  • In Echo Chamber's "Trope Of The Week" episode Unresolved Sexual Tension Dana and Tom are trying to discuss their characters separately from themselves, in order to keep themselves distant from their roles. It leads to a lot of "I will... I mean she will..."
  • The Annoying Orange:
    • That's little apple!
    • We're not pistachios. We're mustachios.
  • The Onion: It's not a crack house, it's a crack home!
  • Tobuscus's friend, Gabe, would like everyone to know that his nickname is "Gabe-uscus", not "Gaybuscus". Too bad Toby insists on pronouncing it without the pause. Parodied in Tobuscus Animated Adventures when he insists on the pronunciation even as Zombie!Toby is eating him.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-953 is a kumiho, and gets very angry if someone refers to her as a "kitsune". In order to prevent any operatives from asking "What's the difference?" (and possibly getting killed), a member of the O5 Council has required personnel to refer to her by her proper designation, with the addendum stating: "Personnel asking what the difference is are to be reminded of the difference between a Cherokee Indian and a New Delhi Indian." Another addendum following the death of Agent Gallagher calls for the immediate reassigning of any personnel with current or prior ties to the "furry" or "otaku" communities.

Western Animation

  • The Boondocks features recurring character "A Pimp Named Slickback", who gets flustered whenever people refer to him simply as Slickback and constantly has to correct them. A Pimp Named Slickback actually makes this correction a part of his introduction in one episode: "Please say the entire thing. Yes, that includes the 'A Pimp Named' part. Yes, every time."
  • In an episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle, a Southern Gentleman insists that people call The American Civil War "The War Between The States". This sort of bickering over historical and political terminology is very much Truth in Television. Actually he gets peeved over any word or phrase that even sounds like "Civil". When the next episode was going to be titled "Civil Defense", he angrily blustered, "War -- I say -- War between the States Defense!" He relents after the war is reenacted (on the football field) and the South wins.
  • In an episode of The Flintstones, Fred is employed as an apartment complex's janitor. "Not janitor! Resident stationary engineer!"
  • The Angry Scientist from Sheep in The Big City would get especially angry if anyone referred to him as a Mad Scientist.
  • Ditto with Dr. Gangreen from Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.
  • In Code Lyoko, when Odd Della Robia is called "scrawny" or "skinny", he always corrects them by saying he's "svelte".
  • In Johnny Test, Mad Scientist Eugene insists on being called "Bling-Bling Boy", due to the amount of jewelry he wears.
  • Fang from Dave the Barbarian: "Not a monkey!"
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: Sittin' muscle!
  • Kim Possible
    • Wade bemoans Kim for calling the genre "Sci-Fi" when it is in fact "Science Fiction".
    • "That's DOCTOR Drakken you dolt!"
    • "It's a housecoat!"
    • "It's called 'outsourcing'."
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender
    • The pilot has both Katara and Aang insist that what they do isn't magic, it is bending. Thankfully, nobody ever tried to sell that distinction again.
    • And it's not a ponytail; it is a Warrior's wolftail, thank you very much.
    • It's not "piracy", it's "high-risk sea trading".
    • And it's not a dance, it's an ancient, sacred firebending form.
  • Memetically used in the Super Mario World cartoon episode "Mama Luigi."

Luigi: That's Mama Luigi to you, Mario! *wheeze*

  • In the Sushi Pack episode "From the Planet Citrus", Kani keeps calling the Ambassador to Citrus "Professor", and he corrects her each time.
  • Like Greg from Diary of a Wimpy Kid (see Literature above), Doug insists that his journal is not a diary.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: "That's MISTER Doctor Professor Patrick to you!"
  • South Park
    • Sea Man regularly insists that people stop calling him "Semen".
    • And from the episode "The Return of the Fellowship of the Ring to the Two Towers":

Cartman: The adventuring party saunters forth! The great wizard, the skillful ranger, and the covetous Jew.
Kyle: I'm a paladin, Cartman!
Cartman: Jews can't be paladins!

Girl: Milhouse has cooties!
Milhouse: It's called lice, and it's nothing to be ashamed of!

    • Homer meeting the President of the Globex Corporation:

Homer: Wow, my boss.
Hank Scorpio: Don't call me that word. I don't like things that elevate me above the other people. I'm just like you. Oh, sure, I come later in the day, I get paid a lot more, and I take longer vacations, but I don't like the word "boss".

    • In a parody of Artificial Intelligence, there was a robot urinal that doesn't like being called an urinal-bot. He prefers to be called "Lava-tron".
  • Generator Rex: Bobo the nanite-enhanced, intelligent ape repeatedly insists his diaper is a "simian undergarment".
  • In the Wizard of Oz parody episode of Phineas and Ferb, Doctor Doofenshmirtz is insistent that he's a warlock, not a witch. The credits even list him as "Doofenwitchwarlock."
    • From the episode "Candace Gets Busted:" It's not a party, it's an intimate get-together!
  • Archer
    • The episode "Skytanic" has the repeated insistence that the titular ship isn't a zeppelin, but a rigid airship filled with helium. Archer never gets it, constantly referring to the thing as a hydrogen-filled death trap.

Lana: ...and what part of that are you still not getting?
Archer: Well, obviously the whole concept, Lana! We didn't all go to science camp!

    • One episode shows that Archer is surprisingly knowledgable - and critical - of a certain Orwellian work:

Lana: No, Animal Farm?
Ceril: How can you not get that?
Archer: Ceril, I know what an Animal Farm is.
Lana: NO, Animal Farm! It's a book!
Archer: No, it isn't, Lana, it's an allegorical novella about Stalinism by George Orwell, and spoiler alert, it sucks!

Carter: Not enough? Fine. Make it $20,000. How do you spell Kichwa?
Peter: Yeah, you know what? Screw the Kichwa. Make it out to Peter. P-E-T-E...

Chris: So I'm expendable?
Dan: Let's just say "non-vital", it's nicer.

  • Phineas and Ferb: Buford wasn't crying. He was sweating through his eyes. Major Monogram later said the same thing in the movie. (see above)
    • Again with Buford when he allowed Doofenshmirtz and his date to enter Phineas and Ferb's platypus-themed restaurant without a reservation. Doof didn't bribe Buford. He, to quote Buford, "caught my attention in a monetary fashion".
  • DuckTales (1987)
    • The episode "Once Upon a Dime" had Scrooge McDuck wearing a kilt and correcting some non-Scots who called it a skirt.
    • Also, Scrooge never makes a "colossal blunder" when making decisions. A "business failure" maybe, but never a colossal blunder. Truthfully, he's never made one of those either, and never intends to start, but should he ever truly lose money on an poorly done and/or ill-conceived investment or project, he'd prefer "business failure".
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, specifically "A Dog and Pony Show": "I am NOT whining; I am complaining!"
  • As Bender of Futurama puts it, "I Prefer 'Extortion'. The 'X' makes it sound cool."
  • In Cranberry Christmas, Mr. Whiskers and Cyrus Grape get into an argument over who owns a nearby body of water, and whether or not it is a pond or a cranberry bog. Any time it is mentioned throughout the special, the other will insist their term is the correct one. Cyrus even does this to the audience. "That's right, I said pond."
  • Virgil's catchphrase in Mighty Max was "I am not a chicken - I am a fowl," used after Max inevitably calls him a chicken at least once an episode.
  • The Inspector from The Pink Panther cartoon series: "Don't say si, say oui."
  • Poison Ivy does not use a Love Potion on victims; as she explains in the 2019 Harley Quinn series, she uses "distilled pheromones which make men fall in love with me then kills them."

Frank and Harley: So, it's a love potion.

  • In Disenchantment, Oona becomes very angry when she overhears Zøg claiming she is a reptile. Her people are, in fact, amphibians.
  • In the first episode of Beware the Batman, a high-speed chase ensues with the hero - in the Batmobile, of course - pursuing Professor Pyg and Mr. Toad:

Mr. Toad: Boss, it's the Bat-guy!
Professor Pyg: It's Batman, Toad, remember, respect our enemies.

Real Life

  • The German Democratic Republic used this trope a lot:
    • Renaming its more oppressive features, similar to People's Republic of Tyranny - the Berlin Wall was officially referred to as the Anti-Imperialistischer/Antifaschistischer Schutzwall (anti-imperialist or anti-fascist protection wall), both terms targeted at West Germany.
    • Many items related to religious holidays were renamed to comply with atheist ideology. Easter bunny-shaped chocolate was called a Frühlingsschokoladenhohlkörper (springtime chocolate hollow body) and angel figurines on Christmas trees were called geflügelte Jahresendfigur (winged end-of-the-year figurines). Even for a language like German that's used to long concatenated words, they sound rather ridiculous. Scholarship is divided about how much these terms really caught on.
    • Foreign (especially American) words that entered German parlance, even those that were in use before WW 2, were replaced with Exactly What It Says on the Tin German words. Darts became Wurfspiel ("throwing game"), Supermarkt became Kaufhalle ("purchasing hall"), Comics became Bildergeschichten ("picture stories") etc. This was to emphasize that their versions were completely different from the corrupting capitalist counterparts.
    • West Germany wasn't shy of returning this in kind. In the early years after WW 2 West German administration considered itself the only legitimate Germany state and refused to recognize even the existence an East German state. It used alternative names, such as Ostzone ("Eastern zone") or Sowjetische Besatzungszone ("Soviet Occupation Zone").
  • General Motors insists that you call the Chevrolet Volt an "extended range electric vehicle" instead of a hybrid, thanks.
    • In GM's defense, though, the Volt is powered by the battery pack, the gas engine is there to recharge the battery while driving.
  • Most runners object to being called "joggers", though the exact difference between "jogging" and running is unclear.
  • Never call an anime a "cartoon" in front of anime fans. And don't call Western animation anime at ANY point or you'll get an ear full.
    • In some other languages using the word "cartoon" is actually less pejorative. For example in Polish, to describe an animation the word "bajka" is mainly used. Nowadays "bajka" means both fairy tale/bedtime story and cartoon/animation, but originally came from the first meaning and became in use with the latter as people used to show cartoons to children to entertain them before bedtime. Thanks to this, practically any animation is subjected to a massive degradation into 'children's entertainment' when the word is used. Imminent rage ensues if used with an anime fan.
    • Does not apply to the Japanese themselves as anything animated that's hand-drawn or computer animated is called "anime" in Japan.
  • "They're graphic novels, not comics!" as well as "Manga is so not the same things as comic books!"
    • When the government allowed the production of comics in the GDR, the acceptable term for them was "Bildergeschichten" (picture stories). "Comics" was reserved for those nasty, capitalist products that corrupted the mind.
    • In France, "comics" is reserved for American comics, "manga" for Japanese comics or comics produced in that style, while the general term is "bandes dessinées".
      • Although if you talk about "bandes dessinées" or BD (that's pronounced bay-day), people will most likely assume you're talking about Franco-Belgian comics.
        • And just to cause even bigger headaches, the manga adaptation of Gundam Unicorn is actually called Gundam Unicorn: Bande Dessinée.
  • Different sides of political issues usually have their own terminology that reflects and supports their underlying assumptions. This is known as "framing the debate."
    • A good case in point is waterboarding, which has shifted from "torture" (Khmer Rouge, Vietnam) to "enhanced interrogation technique" (War on Terror, Spanish-American War) several times in the past century and a half depending on whether the US government or its enemies were using it.
      • Actually the use during the Spanish-American War was never denied as being torture, and in fact American soldiers were court-martialed for using it. The War on Terror "enhanced interrogation" program is quite possibly the first time in history that anybody has denied that it's torture.
        • Probably because the 'waterboarding' allegedly used at Gitmo is far milder than the waterboarding used as a form of torture in prior wars—and moreso, is identical to the 'simulated drowning exercise' used in SEAL training and survival school. There is an understandable reluctance to call something a torture technique when its routinely used on your own trainees and who routinely survive it with no lasting ill effects.
    • Another good example is the British Labour Party insisting the current government is not a "coalition", it's a "Conservative-led government" to focus attention on their old enimies rather than their sometime allies.
  • Richard M. Stallman refers to "GNU/Linux". Many call it just "Linux". He wants to differentiate the kernel (Linux), the program that allocates the machine's resources to the other programs that are running, from the operating system as a whole; he claims that the GNU project deserves credit for writing much of the "userland", the part of the operating system made of libraries and utilities outside the kernel. He also wants people to recognize the idealism behind the project and community.
    • Since the rationale is that Linux is only a gear in the box while the "userland" is mostly, when not completely, GNU made, just like you say "Windows 7" not WINNT or "Mac OS X" not XNU, you should say GNU, not Linux, not even "GNU/Linux", that was actually a concession because of how popular that name is, it has a nice ring to it. Of course current distributions are so complex that they constitute their own brand of OS altogether.
    • "GNU/Linux" is also useful for distinguishing desktop and server Linux distributions, which use much GNU code, from "uClinux" or Linux on embedded devices, which replace most of the GNU code with lighter-weight alternatives.
    • And while we're on the subject, remember that you're supposed to pronounce it GNU slash Linux, merely saying GNU Linux won't do.
    • Stallman also stresses the difference between "freeware", that is, software that costs $0.00 but still has some restrictions on its use, and "free software", which can be used with absolutely no restrictions and is usually, but not necessarily, free of cost. He refers to the former as "free as in beer" and the latter as "free as in speech".
      • Practically, e.g. Debian has packages of non-FLOSS freeware (including available-for-free proprietary firmware) put into a separate software repository, that's named "non-free" and is not enabled in default settings (so that you can be sure about the licenses without personally going through them, if you want to).
    • Whatever you do, don't confuse "free software" and "open-source software" around members of the Free Software Foundation (especially Stallman) or Open Source Initiative.
    • Possibly referenced in Questionable Content #1105.
  • Harlan Ellison once stormed out of a radio interview after the host referred to his work as "Sci Fi" instead of "Science Fiction" or "Speculative Fiction".
  • Sword of Truth author Terry Goodkind also doesn't write "fantasy novels"; he writes "stories that have important human themes".
  • Adobe insists on using their trademarked Photoshop correctly. Just take a look here, under "Proper use of the Photoshop trademark".
    • Looks 'shopped.
  • In general, many companies are sticklers on how their trademarks are used, Justified Trope by the fact that if they don't defend them, they stand to lose the trademark.
  • For a long while, fans of Star Trek took umbrage at being called "Trekkies". They were "Trekkers", and they let you know it.
    • Giving rise to the sardonic assertion that "a Trekker is a Star Trek fan, and a Trekkie is someone that insists you call them a Trekker".
  • As a result of good old rivalry, some students and faculty members at one of the Oxbridge universities will insist on referring to the other as "The Other Place".
    • A similar practice is used in the Houses of Parliament. In the House of Commons, one may not refer to the House of Lords by name, but rather by "The Other Place", and vice versa.
    • You have heard of some other obscure wiki doing the same ... although it's hard to be sure ...
    • Also, staff and students Oxford Brookes University will often refer to Oxford University as "The Other University".
  • Students and alumni of some colleges and universities are very particular about what their school should be called.
    • Ohio State students and graduates will insistently refer to their school as THE Ohio State University. They will also correct anyone who leaves off the "the". However, if anyone else actually does use the "the", there's a fairly good chance that they're making fun of these people and their silly insistence.
    • Same with the Florida State University, except it's a term without common currency outside of marketing material and sportscasts.
    • Johns Hopkins University suffers the same fate.
    • Some Cantabrigiens insist on "University of Cambridge" instead of "Cambridge University".
    • The University of Maine seems like it, but the students don't care. Unless you add an "in Machias" or a "Farmington", then most will assume you are talking about the flagship campus in Orono. Which some people call the university: simply Orono, since the town is known by most everybody who doesn't live there as "the location of the University of Maine" or "that one town near Bangor".
    • The athletic department at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee insists that its teams be referred to as "Milwaukee" in the media. This is somewhat Justified Trope in that the school's name is a relic from the days when it was a satellite campus of the more widely-known University of Wisconsin-Madison and would be difficult to outright change for legal reasons. Still, you'd think that with all this insistence that they'd have changed the department's official domain name from "" a long time ago.
    • The administrators of the California Institute of Technology insist on the school's name being abbreviated as "Caltech", not "Cal Tech". Ostensibly this is to avoid being lumped in with schools like Georgia Tech or Texas Tech - there's some justification in the fact that most "Techs" are public or state universities hosting tens of thousands of undergraduates with a wide variety of majors and scholastic aptitudes, while Caltech is a private school with around 2000 students (including undergrads AND grads) and an intense focus on science and engineering.
    • There is only one "Mizzou": The University of Missouri - Columbia. University of Missouri - Kansas City, University of Missouri - St. Louis and Missouri State University are not Mizzou.
      • On the subject of universities - people from Canada (and possibly the US) use the term fairly interchangeably - calling it university, school, college, whatever. Ask a British university student "how school's going," however, and they will promptly bite your face off. They do not go to school. School is for children.
      • There's also the differentiation between 'university' and 'college'. Uni is where you go to get a degree (Honours, Masters, PhDs etc); college is where you go to get vocational training or high school-level qualifications. As such, there is some snobbery, so some uni students will be offended by any reference to their place of education as a college. (The exception being Oxbridge, where the unis are divided into separate colleges, which are a bit like houses in schools; the word in this context has a completely different meaning to any other context.)
      • Unless you go to Dartmouth College, which is, technically, a university. But don't call it "Dartmouth University" when talking to an alum. Even grad students will say, for example, "Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College."
    • The University of California, Berkeley discourages people from calling it UCB or The University of California at Berkeley, but calling it Berkeley, Cal, California, UC Berkeley, or by its whole name is acceptable.
  • Natives of the state of Indiana are not Indianans, they are Hoosiers. This despite the fact nobody actually knows what a Hoosier is. Really. There's no known etymology of the term.
    • And the real natives aren't Indians, they're Native Americans, First Nations, or Native people.
      • And the real-real Native Americans (pace Pierre Burton) are by definition people born within America. Descendants of tribes who were not nomadic similarly object to descendants of nomadic tribes being elevated to "First Nation" status. Inuit people don't like to be called Eskimo, but non-Inuit northern tribes don't like having their name subsumed. This will go on and on and on and on and never ever die.
  • Private Military Contractors are very touchy about being called "mercenaries".
  • The trademark joke from comedian Gabriel Iglesias is "I'm not fat, I'm fluffy".
  • Those Wacky Nazis got in on the act too. Joseph Goebbels apparently insisted that people refer to him by his proper title of Doctor Joseph Goebbels.
    • This was a typical element of German culture, especially of the period, and has nothing to do with Nazism. In title-obsessed Germany, none of a typical professor's titles are considered to subsume or supersede any of the others, and they should be formally addressed as "Herr [3] Professor Doktor", with all their titles listed on descending order following "Herr".[4] And traditionally, Herr Doktor Professor's wife would be formally addressed as "Frau Professor", though this does not traditionally apply the other way aroud ("Herr Professor" for the husband of a female professor.)
    • An incidence which occurs quite regularly within academia. A doctor is someone who holds a PhD, a professor is someone who holds the position of professor at a university (often the instructors are not technically professors, but lecturers).
    • Also, a Professor will bite your head off if referred to as "Doctor". A Doctor will be pretty chuffed to be called "Professor".
    • Irish millionaire Michael Smurfit insists on being referred to as "Dr. Smurfit", even though his Doctor of Law is only an honorary degree and honorary doctors rarely use the title. And people with a JD never use the title "doctor" anyway.
  • Hormel, the maker of SPAM luncheon meat, really hate that one of their brand names has been co-opted to mean "unsolicited e-mail advertising". So much so that they used to threaten to sue anyone who used "spam" in a name for a computer program.
    • They've relaxed a little bit; now they allow "spam" (no caps) to mean junk mail while "SPAM luncheon meat" (all caps) is the meat product.
  • Don't refer to U.S. Marines as "soldiers" in the presence of a Marine, unless you're looking to pick a fight. Soldiers, by definition, Aren't Ready for Marines Yet.
    • Relatedly, "ex-Marine" is considered rude when used for anyone who got an Honorable Discharge from the USMC. Once a Marine, always a Marine, so "retired", "veteran", "inactive", and so on are variously preferred.
      • Some Marines take this rule to extremes, by including even the less-than-honorable dischargees: it's not unheard of to hear Marines insisting that there's only one real ex-Marine... Lee Harvey Oswald. (Murdering your own commander in chief is universally agreed to disqualify you for membership in the "Few and Proud.")
    • Also, don't address noncommissioned superiors with "sir". They aren't officers; they work for a living!
    • The uninformed often have a habit of referring to all Naval junior rates as Seamen. The rate of Seaman is a particular specialisation dealing with on deck evolutions and maintenance. Try referring to an engineering rating, particularly one who has had years of specialised training (eg. electrician, fitter, etc) as a Seaman and see what happens.
    • Naval-aircraft jockeys will also be happy to correct anyone who uses the dread solecism "pilot." They're aviators, which are ostensibly superior to the P-words, thankyouverymuch.
  • Some creators of anthropomorphic animal illustration are very insistent on not being called "furry artists."
  • Note the use of "illustration" rather than "art" in the above point. This is to pacify those who insist that only True Art be referred to as such.
    • Actually that doesn't count at all. Illustration is a valid subset of art. It is correctly used when referring to art that specifically illustrates something, i.e., a story. Art is a much broader category. It would be unclear and vague if the above point had said "some creators of anthropomorphic art"—what are we talking about? Paintings? Murals? Sculpture? Saying "illustration" conveys exactly what he means.
  • As of sometime in 2008, the official term for people serving in AmeriCorps is "AmeriCorps members."
    • Relatedly, many individuals serving in AmeriCorps* VISTA, a Johnson-era program specializing in indirect service that was brought under the AmeriCorps banner in the 90s (and continues to use separate and frequently more restrictive training, rules and procedures from standard AmeriCorps) insist on being called Vistas, or at least on adding VISTA to whenever referring to themselves as AmeriCorps members.
  • Hacking is a clever use of computer code. Cracking is breaking into computer systems. Unfortunately the movie conveniently overlooked this.
    • This sounds to the untrained ear like a distinction without a difference, but it's like mixing up "Locksmith" and "Armed Burglar".
      • Look, it's not all security. That is another problem: some try to make a distinction (white hat and black hat), but fail to get the point that the original hacker culture was not at all centered around security. They were centered around programming. Security was interesting but not the world. Meanwhile, the cracker is centered around breaking security.
    • This is one of those things that's over the heads of most people. Only really those within this culture really know the difference.
  • Expect a polite correction if you refer to a Central European country from the former Soviet bloc as being in Eastern Europe in the presence of a resident of one of these countries, especially the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland or Hungary. Czechs will point out that Prague is west of Vienna and nobody calls Austria Eastern Europe, and Poles will point out that the geographical centre of Europe is arguably located in their country. Although most people would argue it's in Lithuania [dead link].
  • In places that have changed hands often or recently, the name by which you call a country or city has a chance of offending the listener. It might well be Istanbul, not Constantinople ... but I don't recommend using the former among a crowd of Greeks. Nor would it be a smart move to refer to "Gdansk" in the presence of anyone whose grandparents were forcibly expelled from what had been the German city of Danzig for the millennium preceding WWII.
  • The British art gallery brand Tate once asked taxi drivers to correct passengers wanting to go to "the Tate"; they actually wanted to go to "Tate Britain". Spell My Name Without a The, to distinguish the original gallery (now Tate Britain) from the newer Tate Modern gallery which is a couple of miles away from the original gallery. To which a snarky fare might reply, "OK, take me to the British Museum instead."
  • A group of Lesbians (as in inhabitants of the island of Lesbos) recently went to court to get people to stop using the word "lesbian" to mean "gay woman". They failed.
  • And conversely, gays and lesbians can be touchy about terminology, and one person's insult can be another person's preferred identity. And there's no guide or annual newsletter, so have fun with that.
  • Never call a zoophile a "bestialist". They love their animals, and bestialists are simply perverts who only use animals for sex.
  • People can get like this over their names being pronounced or spelled wrong (e.g. Johan is pronounced "Yo-han"). Justified though—wouldn't you get pissed off by people pronouncing your name wrong?
  • If you're ever in the Southern US, expect to get corrected a lot if you refer to the Civil War as the Civil War—to them, it's still "The War Between the States" or "The Second War of Independence" or the "War of Northern Aggression" (notwithstanding that the South kinda shot first...) depending on how much of a chip is still on the shoulder of the speaker. Not helped by the fact that it was an attempted secession, rather than an attempt to gain control of the whole national government, meaning it technically wasn't a civil war. Some people still refer to it as "The Recent Unpleasantness", even though it's been over for a century and half.
    • Not "corrected" so much as expect to hear a number of lame jokes about the other names. We all grew up calling it the Civil War in history class, after all.
      • At this point any "offended" Southerner is likely just indulging in leg-pulling. If you run into genuine offense over this terminology you're deep in Deliverance territory.
    • Individual battles have different names depending on which side you're asking. For instance, the North fought in the First and Second Battle of Bull Run, while the South fought in the First and Second Manassas.
      • The reason for this split is that Southern newspapers always reported battles by referring to the nearest town, regardless of distance. Northern newspapers tended to name battles after geographical features (especially rivers) if those were closer. In some cases accuracy would split the difference: First Bull Run was fought directly across the eponymous river, while Second Manassas started with a strike on Manassas Junction itself and ended in the hills northwest of the town. To make things more confusing, history books now often use a mix of the two, using whichever of the two names for a particular battle ended up being more famous.
    • In fact, not all Southerners take kindly to having their land called the "Southern U.S." or even the "Southeast." Best to stick with "The South."
  • The above-mentioned phenomenon of having different names with the different sides being involved also applies to wars other than the American Civil War. For instance:
    • The battle that resulted in the defeat of the Teutonic Knights by a Polish-Lithuanian army is known as Grunwald by the Poles and (the first battle of) Tannenberg by Germans.
    • One big English victory in the Hundred Years' War is called the battle of Poitiers in English, but that of Maupertuis in French (probably to avoid association with the earlier battle of Tours and Poitiers, in which Charles Martel defeated the Arabs).
    • Napoleon's first defeat in the field is called the battle of Aspern by the victorious Austrians and pretty much everybody else, while many French to this day persist on calling it the battle of Essling.
    • One of the early battles of the Wars of Liberation is called Lützen by the victorious French, but Großgörschen by the Prussians and Russians, probably to avoid confusion with the battle of Lützen in the Thirty Years' War in which king Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden was killed.
    • Napoleon's defeat on 18 June 1815, is called the battle of Waterloo after the town several miles from the battlefield where Wellington had his HQ before and after the battle. (Actually, the first impulse had been to call it the battle of Mont Saint-Jean, after the ridge where Wellington's allied army made its stand). However, the Prussians insisted on calling it the battle of La Belle Alliance after the farm where Blücher and Wellington met in the late stages of the battle.
    • The Battle of the Bulge is called the Ardennes Offensive in German.
      • Actually some English speakers call it that too. And they have the right of it in many ways. Not only is it a campaign not a battle (it is sprawled out over time and space rather than being concentrated like a traditional battle and includes smaller battles and sieges) but every offensive that is not blasted to smithereens the moment it leaves the starting line creates a bulge (the technical term is salient). Just like every time someone punches someone else in the abdomen it creates a temporary dent. Having a "bulge" is nothing special to identify it by.
    • The Eastern Front of World War II is known as "The Great Patriotic War" in Russia.
      • Similarly, the Pacific Front of World War II is known as "The Asia-Pacific War" in Japan.
  • North Koreans can finally get a taste of American-style fast food in a new restaurant opened in the capital of the isolated country, as long as they do not ask for a hamburger. Instead, patrons of the Samtaeseong diner, which opened in Pyongyang in July 2009, have to order a suspiciously similar "minced beef with bread".
    • Also, due to their mutual non-recognition with South Korea, in various international sporting events North Koreans object when their country is referred to as "North Korea". To them it is either the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the DPRK, or simply Korea. Needless to say, if South Korea is participating as well, they will not stand for the suggestion that North Korea be called "Korea".
      • Not only do they disagree on which country is the real one, they also disagree on what it should be called - neither Joseon (the North) nor Hangeuk (the South) actually use the name "Korea" (or rather, its Korean-language equivalent) to refer to themselves. This makes any attempt to use neutral language even more difficult.
      • On the other hand, some South Koreans also don't like using the modifier and instead simply call their country of origin "Korea", reasoning that it really is just one country that is... unfortunately divided at the moment.
  • Try calling a Canadian "American" and see what happens. Actually, if you try calling a Canadian "American", you'd better be prepared to run away very quickly afterwards.
    • There's even a song about it.
    • Though when U.S. citizens refers to themselves as "American," Canadians blow a gasket and complain that they have just as much right to the word.
      • Same with Mexico.
    • Step one: Try to tell anyone from a former Soviet Republic they're Russian (except of course if they themselves come from Russia or have Russian ancestry). Step two: Rest in Peace.
    • If you're feeling really brave, try referring to a Scottish person as being "from England"...
    • Also for fun, if you're ever in Alberta or British Columbia (or even Saskatchewan), refer to somebody from Ontario as being from "eastern Canada". It tends not to go over well.
      • And don't you dare confuse Irish with Scottish!
    • Don't call an Afrikaner "Dutch" or even "kind of like the Dutch". Even though they're normally the first to mention their Dutch heritage or explain themselves to foreigners, if a foreigner then comes to the conclusion that they're "basically Dutch people in Africa" it tends to get them very upset. The very fact that they call ourselves Afrikaners (Dutch and old Afrikaans for "African") comes from a time when they were trying to make it very clear that they didn't want to pay taxes to a bunch of Europeans.
    • Confuse the different Scandinavian countries. I dare you! To clear up: The Scandinavian countries have much in common, and are generally on very good terms with each other, but do not take kindly to foreigners thinking a Dane is a Norwegian (or vice versa) or Norway being a part of Sweden.
    • Also, Sweden is not to be confused with Switzerland.
  • The word "American" was generally used to refer to New Englanders since at least the 1640s, and today throughout most of the world, including Canada, it refers specifically to citizens of the United States. But not in Central and South America. Down there, "American" means anyone from either American continent. You're "estadounidense"—essentially translated as "Unitedstatesian." And don't you dare to say otherwise unless you know enough Spanish/Portuguese to keep up with the following angry rant.
    • Actually, this is more relevant depending on the person you're talking to. If you are talking to left-wing defender, professors, and university students (usually the ones related to history, sociology, etc), and some newspapers (then again, it shows a lot the opinion of the corporation—if it's more right-wing or directed to a more homogeneous public, probably "Americano" will be the option), this is more common.
  • Many holders of PhD degrees, as well as MD, DDS, and similar medical degrees are emphatically insistent on being referred to as Dr. Your Name Here, not Mr./Ms./Mrs. thankyouverymuch. When working in the retail or service industry, this is typically a sign that the person is going to be very difficult to deal with.
    • Especially since people like this often expect you to know this simply by looking at them.
    • Some medical doctors can become squiffy when PhDs go by "Dr. X"; they claim that PhDs are not "real" doctors. Typically, the PhDs thus accosted will then go off and have grumpy conversations about the origins of the honorific "Dr." and the fact that most medical doctors who use it today would actually have had no right to it even as recently as a century or so ago.
      • And if you're a conductor, you might argue that they have no right to call themselves MD[6] either.
    • To add to the confusion, in the UK and Ireland qualified doctors first receive the degrees MB BCh BAO (bachelors of medicine, surgery, obstetrics and gynaecology) but still are entitled to call themselves "Dr." without an MD, DMed, PhD, DSc(Med), DSc, etc. Also, there is no such degree as Doctor of Surgery, harking back to the days of surgeon-barbers; the highest surgery degree is a Masters (MCh).
      • In the UK, though, surgeons never use the title of "Doctor" - they call themselves Mr. Butcher or Ms. Sawbones. (The Financial Times once had a long-ish article about how their policy was never to refer to someone as "Dr." unless that person could show proof of a corresponding academic qualification. A surgeon wrote in to say that in that case, the FT shouldn't refer to anyone as "Mr." unless they could prove they had at least a BCh.)
    • It's understandable for someone to want to be recognized for all their successful years of education and expertise, but someone who insists on this will pretty much be labeled a Jerkass if they do so toward a person who had no reason to suspect otherwise. Correcting a student whom they are teaching is one thing. Correcting a random sales clerk or waitress is something else entirely.
    • In introductions and written communications, however, you are entitled to either the title or the post-nominal letters, never both. Someone would be introduced as either "Dr. John Smith" or "John Smith, PhD", never as "Dr. John Smith, PhD", which is repetitive.
      • Unless you're an MD/PhD. Most of those are much too busy being awesome to care about the terminology, though.
    • This sort of thing can get embarrassing when people insist on styling themselves "John Smith, BA" on business cards and such. While having a PHD may distinguish you in the field and count as fair advertising, "BA" translates as "took an arts degree at university and managed not to flunk".
      • Given the sheer amount of courses that give a BA, at least in the UK, this is no minor feat in itself, though very few professions that have bachelors courses place any emphasis on the title.
      • Cornell University's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences only gives out BA degrees, even for science majors. There are thousands of artists of chemistry, biology, and physics in the world thanks to that.
  • In the UK, there is no legal protection for the term Engineer; anyone and everyone can call themselves this. So, to anyone with an actual engineering degree, the 'engineer' that comes to fix your washing machine or cable is a 'technician'.
  • The term Brontosaurus is a now obsolete synonym for Apatosaurus. Paleontologists will be quick to correct anyone that uses the term Brontosaurus.
    • The strict naming rules require that the name assigned first must be used, and it turned out that a specimen was labeled "apatosaurus" before "brontosaurus" was coined. The paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould wrote the essay "Bully for Brontosaurus" about his preference for that name.
  • Pastor Ernie Sanders, a right wing Fundamentalist radio preacher in the Cleveland area, has a version of this trope that many people will find offensive. According to Sanders, Democrats are "socialists" and/or "communists", homosexuals are "sodomites", etc.
    • Incidentally, most actual socialists/communists/assorted other far left groups object to being compared to the Democratic Party, the mainstream of which is too conservative for their tastes. Center-lefties tend to return the favor, as the center left tends to have no particular problem with (properly regulated) capitalism and don't tend to hold the more collectivist principles of socialism and Communism as gospel. (Also, Communists are a radical subset of socialists, etc.)
  • Mr. T, who actually changed his name[7] so people would have to address him as "Mr." This came out of watching people call his grown male relatives "boy" due to the institutional racism of the day:

"I think about my father being called 'boy,' my uncle being called 'boy,' my brother, coming back from Vietnam and being called 'boy.' So I questioned myself: 'What does a black man have to do before he's given the respect as a man?' So when I was 18 years old, when I was old enough to fight and die for my country, old enough to drink, old enough to vote, I said I was old enough to be called a man. I self-ordained myself Mr. T so the first word out of everybody's mouth is 'Mr.' That's a sign of respect that my father didn't get, that my brother didn't get, that my mother didn't get."

  • B.C. and A.D. versus B.C.E. and C.E. is a particularly odd one. Using one of those terms might prompt someone to "correct" you to the equivalent from the other set, but the fact of the matter is that a vast majority of people don't really care. Oftentimes there are people who aren't even aware one or the other exists: B.C/A.D for younger generations, B.C.E/C.E. for older ones.
  • People who work for the ChaCha search engine, known as "guides", are forbidden from not adhering to ChaCha's original spelling. chacha, Chacha, Cha Cha, etc. are NOT okay.
  • Dick Gregory would rather be known as a humourist than a comedian, the former being less elitist and planned out than the latter.
  • In the theater world, there is a clear distinction between a soundboard operator and sound engineer. An operator simply operates, and often does little more than turn mics on and off at the beginning and end of the show, with a little bit of pre-show music. An engineer fiddles with the settings of every mic, sometimes mid-show, runs a complex set of music and sound effects, and will be very offended if you call them an operator.
  • In 2009, US Senator Barbara Boxer caught some heat while holding a congressional hearing. When Brigadier General Michael Walsh addressed her as "ma'am", she requested that he address her as "Senator". This touched off a nationwide debate as to whether it was acceptable for the officer to abide by military conventions (in which "ma'am" is an accepted term for all women) or if he should address the senator by her preferred honorific.
  • Walmart has no employees. They call them "associates". Also, they don't make profit, but "surplus".
  • Medical marijuana users don't get high, they medicate. "Getting high" refers specifically to consuming it for the recreational side effect, rather than for any medicinal reason. This is similar to how taking a dose of cough syrup is "fighting a cold" and chugging the bottle is "attempting an hallucinogenic trip."
  • You better be careful if you're at Augusta National Golf Club, host site of The Masters Tournament. Those rich folks don't like you calling their "second cut" as the rough (granted it is much shorter than the rough on most golf courses) or their Masters "patrons" as the gallery, fans, or so on. CBS' Gary McCord even got a lifetime ban from the course by comparing the greens to a bikini wax. They also prefer "flagstick" to "pin" and insist on the name Augusta National, instead of just Augusta.
  • Call someone who is into trains a trainspotter, and they will nearly always correct you that they are a railway enthusiast or "railfan". This is actually more accurate in most cases, as many are not trainspotters in the traditional sense, preferring to travel on or photograph trains as opposed to simply collecting numbers. The negative connotations of the term "trainspotter" (especially in the UK) of course are a big factor. The same can apply to any other "spotters".
    • Birdwatchers are emphatically not twitchers. Birdwatchers study birds, twitchers only want to count how many species they can lay claim to. Or so birdwatchers say.
  • In the UK, several supermarkets have recently started referring to their staff as "colleagues". (E.g. restricted areas will be labelled "colleagues only" rather than "staff only", staff announcements issued over the PA system will be described as "colleague announcements", and signs will tell customers that if they need help they should “ask a colleague”, rather than "ask a member of staff"). The last example is particularly stupid, as my colleagues are the people I work with, not the staff in the supermarket I'm shopping in.
    • This is presumably intended to mimic the large department store chain John Lewis Partnership (colloquially referred to as Lewis'), which refers to its staff as Partners. Unlike the supermarkets above, JLP is slightly more justified in this respect, as technically its staff are also the owners of the company, so to speak, and are entitled to a share of the profits.
  • Nationalists in Northern Ireland (and most residents of the republic as well) refer to the city in the west of Northern Ireland as "Derry". Unionists (and most residents of the rest of the UK) refer to it as "Londonderry". The distinction is so well-known in Ireland that it's often a convenient shortcut of figuring out an individual's political allegiances (and often their religion too).
    • The Nationalist community tend to self-identify as "Irish", while the Unionist community self-identify as "British" (or "Ulster" / "Ulster Scots"). As such, Nationalists insist on referring to the Six Counties as "Northern Ireland", while Unionists often prefer "Ulster", stressing what they see as a distinct, non-Irish identity. For those unsure of the identity of any one individual "Northern Irish" and "Northern Ireland" are generally considered acceptable neutral terms, at least until any particular preferences are highlighted. (For nitpickers, Ulster also includes Donegal, which is part of the Republic of Ireland and extends farther north than Northern Ireland does.)
  • Employees at Disney Theme Parks are Cast Members, while designers are Imagineers.
    • The insistent theatrical terminology carries further: uniforms are "costumes", places visible to guests are "onstage" while places not visible to guests are "backstage". When you factor in the high frequency of acronyms, you basically need to learn a new language to work there.
    • Also, Cast Members have "roles" rather than job descriptions.
    • Not just at the parks: employees of the publishing arm, a thousand miles from Florida, are Cast Members.
    • And whenever (off-duty or retired) character performers are asked about their jobs, they would say something along the lines of "I'm friends with Elsa" rather than "I play the role of Elsa" or "I'm Elsa", in order to stick to character integrity, where face characters are by most circumstances not allowed to break character.
  • Most Quebec sovereigntists don't like to be called separatists because that term has a negative connotation; it puts emphasis on the destruction of the country by separation, and is reminiscent of terrorism.
    • Interestingly, while the term was first used by sovereigntist politicians who wanted to avoid the negative connotations of "separatist", it has now become the most widely used term, including by most federalists. "Separatist" is now often (especially in sovereigntist circles) associated with fear-mongering and demagogy.
  • Trostkyite is a right-wing and/or Stalinist term of abuse. Trotskyist is someone who agrees with the political theories of Leon Trotsky.
    • Except in the real Stalinist USSR they were called "trotskisty", literally "trotskyists", even in the most accusing official press.
  • Not uncommon in the retail industry, at least when referring to part-time employees, salespeople become sales associates, stylists, style consultant and so on. Generally, the more high end the retailer the more important-sounding your job title becomes.
    • Starbucks employees are referred to as "partners." In a way, this is sorta kinda technically true, if you've been around long enough for your employee stock options to fully vest.
      • On that note, Starbucks does not have small/medium/large drinks.
  • People who have no problem being a "minority" will object to being called "abnormal" or "unusual", because of the negative connotations of the latter. Let's leave it at that.
  • Police officers are known for stressing that Tasers and the such are less lethal weapons, as opposed to non-lethal weaponry. After all, lucky shots (or unlucky, depending on your point of view) can happen. Or the target may have a heart problem.
    • There is also no such thing as a bulletproof vest—only bullet-resistant vests, or body armor.
      • From an etymological standpoint, there's nothing wrong with calling a particular protective garment bulletproof, providing you remember a proof is a test, not a guarantee it will stop a bullet. Well, it also needs to have had a test round fired at it.
  • Vegetarians and vegans often refer to meat as "corpses" or "cadavers" and animal testing as "vivisection."
    • Non-meat-eaters who eat fish and non-meat-eaters who don't eat fish both claim that "vegetarian" refers primarily to their group. This is because, while there are words for the finer distinctions, "vegetarian" is the only term that will be familiar to most people. Vegetarians who do not eat fish may insist that anyone who does is technically a pescetarian, not a vegetarian.
  • If it has flips, it's not Parkour, it's free-running.
    • By definition, parkour applies jumping, climbing and similar acrobatics to reach a destination as efficiently as possible. Flips, seen more in free-running, don't usually help your speed.
  • To many pro-life/anti-abortion activists, an unborn baby is a "baby"—not a "fetus".
    • That said, nobody really objects if the word "baby" is applied to a fetus outside of the abortion context - how many people have you heard say "the fetus just kicked"? In this case and many others, both sides tend to be guilty of getting into pointless semantic rows.
      • It can go the other way, too, with such bizarre euphemisms as "products of conception" or even "uterine contents".
    • Along the same lines, "pro-life" and "pro-choice" are the correct terms to use—not "anti-abortion" or "pro-abortion".
      • If one really wants to set them off, refer to them as "anti-life"/"pro-death" and "anti-choice". This is true of nearly any political debate; the prefix "anti-" carries an air of negativity, and the suffix "-ist" suggests that this one behavior or belief is the person's only defining characteristic.
  • Most people don't know the difference between a firearm's clip and a magazine. Referring to the latter as the former is often a remarkably effective method of trolling firearms enthusiasts.
    • For reference, a magazine is a container of ammunition. On a gun, it's the part of the gun that stores the bullets that will be fired, which on some guns is removable so you can replace an empty one with a full one. A clip is multiple bullets held together by a piece of metal, designed for quickly refilling a non-removable magazine.
    • On a similar note, it's not a silencer, it's a suppressor. There's no such thing as a true "silencer"; you can't completely muffle the sound of a gun firing, only suppress it. This is a nearly equally effective methods of trolling firearms enthusiasts as the clip/magazine distinction.
  • Xerox used to take out ads saying "'Xerox' is a registered trademark of the Xerox Corporation and as such should only be used to refer to its products and services." Those associated with the company tend to develop a rather alarming twitch when they hear someone refer to photocopying a document as "xeroxing" it. This is rather common because of how American trademark law works; see Stuck on Band-Aid Brand for more examples.
  • People don't die of certain diseases, such as AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis, or Diabetes, but instead they die of complications of those diseases.
  • Many self-proclaimed "geeks" don't like being mistaken for "nerds", which is a whole other thing, and vice versa.
  • Target (the department store) thrives on this trope. Customers are "Guests". Employees are "Team Members". Bosses are "Team Leaders". Meetings are "Huddles". The manager is the "Leader on Duty". Human Resources is the "Team Service Center". This also leads to a mouthful of saying things like "Guest Service Team Leader", so acronyms are heavily employed.
    • There's a reason people jokingly refer to it as "Targét"; the company seems to really think it's higher-class than it really is.
  • Using the word "Soccer" could perhaps irk British football fans. Even though it's a British word.[8]
    • And never call a "draw" a "tie".
    • Similarly, using the word "Football" to refer to the aforementioned sport can draw the ire of Americans who are fans of American Football.
  • Alan Rickman:

"I do not play villains... I play very interesting people."

  • Apple's retail stores are quite fond of this trope. They're Geniuses, not technicians. They're Specialists, not sales associates. It's not selling; it's "presenting solutions." Metrics are "results," not numbers.
  • 9/11 Truthers claim for their Conspiracy Theories that the demolitions that bought down WTC 1,2, and 7 were caused by a substance known as "nano-thermite". Their opposition will derisively refer to it as "super-thermite", one of its other names. The Truthers will almost inevitably "correct" their opposition with "nano-thermite".
    • One common Truther claim was that the Twin Towers and WTC 7 fell "into their own footprint", as proof positive of controlled demolition. Problem is, they didn't. The Truther will promptly move the goalposts to some variant of "almost in their own footprint". Not even close; the debris field of the Towers was over five times the size of their footprint, and the WTC 7 debris hit several buildings all around it.[9] Some Truthers have switched to saying the Towers fell "directly downward". This is really the same thing as the "own footprint". For fun times, ask the Truthers if the Towers fell directly downward into their own footprint (which is provably false), or if they fell directly downward outside their own footprints(a contradiction in terms).
  • The words "obsession" and "passion" mean pretty much the same thing—but the former word has more of a negative connotation, while the latter is more positive sounding. Many will argue that an "obsession" is a "passion taken too far", but the issue of just how far is too far is a matter of debate.
  • Likewise, the words "fantasize" and "imagine" mean pretty much the same thing. People are usually encouraged to have an "imagination", but are usually discouraged from "fantasizing".
  • Formula One races; it's not "[proper adjective] Grand Prix", or "[name of country] Grand Prix", it's "Grand Prix of [name of country]".
  • Try calling a full Doctor Who story from the classic era an "episode" around an elitist fan. None will miss a chance to correct your blunder and insist you call it a serial.
  • The Times, British newspaper of record, may be printed on tabloid sized paper, but don't you dare call it a tabloid. It's a "quality compact", thank you very much!
    • The same is true of The Independent. The Guardian would also like to remind you that it is in the slightly-larger Berliner format.
  • If you're talking to or around a person from England, never refer to the most commonly known accent from that place as 'a British accent' unless you want to start a flame war. Its correct name is Received Pronunciation and it is most commonly used these days by Her Majesty the Queen and certain members of the House of Lords.
  • EMTs and paramedics do not appreciate being called "ambulance drivers," and the titles "EMT" and "paramedic" are not interchangeable—paramedics have more training and can perform more procedures.
  • Telecommuters are often now using the term "teleworking" because of the stigma the former term has accumulated.
  • Adult men who enjoy looking at pictures of nearly-naked fourteen year old girls frequently have a habit of responding to shrieks of disgust by explaining that they're not pedophiles, they're ephebophiles, as though explaining the semantic difference will mollify their critics.
  • A rifle is a contraption containing a metal tube, which itself contains a spiral-shaped groove or grooves ("rifling") on the inside meant to increase the efficiency of straight-line projectiles fired through the tube. A gun is a contraption containing a metal tube through which straight-line projectiles are fired, or a masculine primary sexual characteristic (as referenced in a little poem that starts, "This is my rifle, this is my gun"). Calling a rifle a gun is likely to irk any pedants with formal firearms training. Calling a smooth-bore gun a rifle is just wrong.
  • Pan Am chairman Juan Trippe never referred to his aircraft as planes; they were "ships". The pilot and copilot were the captain and first officer, and the speed was measured in knots. In fact, any time a nautical term appears in aviation, it can probably be traced back to Juan Trippe and Pan Am.
    • There are multiple reasons for that. In the first place Trippe was a navy man and so were several of his family. In the second place his empire was first built focusing on "flying boats": hydroplanes and amphibs with a fuselage that can move in water if an emergency tow was needed. There was good reason for that as making airstrips was extra work whereas practically anywhere worth going to had water (even in the desert most cities have to be near a water body) to land on. Third is that Pan Am used the romance of 1800's clipper ships as its advertising gimmick, much as Wells Fargo banking uses stagecoaches today. Thus every passenger route was called a "clipper ship". Yet another reason was that Trippe used paranaval customs like uniforms and so on to keep discipline over the new and hyperindividualistic profession of airman.
  • American football announcers—presumably fearful lest those of us watching/listening to the games get confused as to exactly which sport is being played—take great pains to insert the word football into as much of their commentary as possible. So instead of saying, "These players need to move the ball down the field if they're going to win this game", they'll go with something like, "These football players need to move the football down the football field if they're going to win this football game," and so forth.
    • Baseball announcers, by contrast, will often call entire games without mentioning the name of the sport. Instead, it's "the ballgame", "the ballpark", "the ballplayers", etc.
    • An inversion occurs in real life with the Superbowl. "Superbowl" is a trademarked word and can't be used in advertising without a nod from the NFL, hence the alternate term "The Big Game"
    • Many pro sports teams have gold as an official color. Almost none have yellow as an official color ("yellow" can also mean cowardly). Even teams whose shade of "gold" is very obviously yellow, like the Pittsburgh Steelers, Oakland Athletics, Green Bay Packers, LA Lakers, and so on. Do not refer to those teams' colors as "yellow" around ardent fans; they will quickly correct you.
  • For right-wing Israelis, the West Bank is "Judea and Samaria".
  • Much like the distinctions between "graphic novel" and "comic" above, a serious writer produces "literary fiction", not "novels" (which refer to dispicable genre or pulp fiction). This behaviour dates back to the original, derisive use of the word novel, which meant "little thing".
  • For years, PETA has attempted to get the term "pet" replaced because they claim it's insulting to the animals. Their latest suggested replacement is "Animal Companion", causing gamers and snarks the world over to declare "If it doesn't grant me a Buff, it's not an Animal Companion."
  • A pessimist will always call himself a realist.
    • A quote from Mark Twain that became Russian proverb says that "a pessimist is a well-informed optimist", however.
  • White supremacists often insist that they're not racists, they're racialists, as if that makes their ideas any more respectable.
  • BANG! The Entertainment Paper is not a newspaper, since the people who make the stories and comics within strive to entertain, not to detail current events.
  • TV Tropes has a few. For example, British television show Doctor Who 's main character (other than the companions, according to Word of God) is named "The Doctor" as is Star Trek: Voyager 's holographic doctor who never settled on a proper name for himself. Any reference to "The Doctor" of Voyager will be followed by "no not that Doctor."
  • It is bus rapid transit (BRT) stations, not BRT stops. BRT has been gaining prominence through notable examples such as the Transitway in Ottawa, Canada, the TransMilenio system in Bogotá, Colombia, and other BRT systems in cities such as Mexico City and Curitiba, Brazil.
    • Taken to a logical extreme, some BRT proponents have resorted to calling the buses as "BRT vehicles". Even more so, Ottawa's bus system, OC Transpo, has considered the Transitway as the foundation of Canada's capital city's "Rapid Transit Network" (and as of the mid-2010s is using it as the backbone of the city's LRT system).
  • Until 1999, France officially used the expression "Événements d'Algérie" ("Algeria Events") instead of "Guerre d'Algérie" ("Algerian War"). During more than forty years, this conflict (which killed more than 150,000 people) wasn't considered to be an official war.
  • The USA does not use "Torture"; it uses "Aggressive Interrogation Methods".
  • Murray Gell-Mann did this a lot, including "g times ψ function" he invented not being called "beta function".
  1. "My captain", in case anyone was uncertain.
  2. Most characters say it as "See-Zer", like most Americans do. The Legion pronounce it more like the German "Kaiser" (which came from the original Caesar's name). The second one is the correct one.
  3. or Frau
  4. For example, the eminent, if slightly ludicrous, "Herr Professor Doktor Docktor Honorius Kausar Multiplex Paul Krutzen"
  5. This is generally accepted as going back to the bomber crews of World War II: Tightly-knit teams that were a mix of officers and NCOs, and who very much depended on each other for survival.
  6. musical director
  7. Laurence Tureaud
  8. It derives from the sport's full name, Association Football, and from the distinctly English habit of compressing things into two-syllable nicknames
  9. At this point, Truthers either ignore this information, or just repeat their earlier claim.