Warning you are about to enter a new fandom, this is your last chance to turn back. There is no escape. (The terms you should know before joining a fandom)

“We’re a fandom. And fandoms are families. Family means no one sits alone at the mental institute.”

In this post we’ll be discussing the different fandom terms and what they mean. Let’s start with the obvious one that every person joining a new fandom should know. Fandom. Urban Dictionary describes Fandom as: “The community that surrounds a tv show/movie/book etc. Fanfiction writers, artists, poets, and cosplayers are all members of that fandom. Fandoms often consist of message boards, livejournal communities, and people.”

  1. Fangirl/Fanboy: female or male fan who is obsessed or passionate about either a fictional character, actor, fandom, series, books, etc. Fangirls/Fanboys can be found at conventions, tumblr, pinterest, instagram, fanfiction sites, facebook, twitter, and every other social media site out there.
  2. Fangirling: the reaction a fangirl/boy has to any mention or sighting of the object of their affection. These reactions include shortness of breath, fainting, highpitched noises, shaking, fierce head shaking as if in the midst of a seizure, endless blog posts, etc.
  3. Feels: Short for feelings. Intense feelings experienced by fangirl over certain scenes or character developments within a fandom that cause a strong emotional response. Intense happiness, sadness, anger, etc. 
  4. Ship/Shipping: a combination of fictional characters as a couple. The name of a ship is often a compound of the two characters’ names. i.e. I ship Sango and Miroku, Mirango or Sanoku (Inuyasha)
  5. Shipper: refers to someone who supports the idea of two specific characters being involved in a romantic relationship. Does not have to be cannon OTP. i.e. I ship Aragorn and Arwen (Lord of the Rings, cannon OTP) or I ship Michonne and Rick (The Walking Dead, non-cannon OTP)
  6. OTP: refers to a fan’s preferred relationship pairing between certain characters within a fandom. Many fans have multiple OTP’s  overall as well as multiple OTP’s in the same fandom. Fan’s can also have OTP’s that aren’t cannon. i.e. Arthur and Gwen (cannon, Merlin) or i.e. Gandalf and Galadriel (non-cannon, Lord of the Rings/ The Hobbit)
  7. NOTP: Essentially the opposite of an “OTP”. While “OTP” describes one’s ultimate favorite pairing. “NOTP” describes one’s least favorite pairing. i.e. The Doctor and Rose are my NOTP (Doctor Who) *Note that this is the viewpoint of the writer of this post and not the other members of the group*
  8. Cannon/Canon: These two words are used interchangeably throughout fandoms and refers to elements established by the original show, book, movie, anime, game, etc… itself for either plot, setting, or character developments. Often used in terms of relationships. i.e. Hermione and Ron are cannon. (Harry Potter)
  9. Headcannon: personal beliefs or interpretations about canon that a fan makes to explain or account for some aspect of the actual canon. The headcanon itself, while not officially supported by the canon, tends also not to be actually disproven or refuted by the canon and will therefore seem plausible in the mind of the fan who imagines it. Headcanons may be about the past, present, or future of the character or plot, and can be shared by others if particularly enticing or believable. i.e. In Sherlock, the pills the cabbie offered were harmless. The poison was in the water he gave to his victims to take the pill with while he swallowed his dry.
  10. Non-cannon: refers to an idea, story line, or ship that was not promoted in the original work. i.e. Shipping Black Widow and Captain America
  11. Fanart: original illustrations and/or photo manipulations featuring fandom related characters, settings, and so on and so forth. This comes in many forms such as paintings, sketches, doodles, animations, and more. i.e. (Zuko from Avatar the Last Airbender)4b0d1d2ac2f889cbf46f705fed764f95
  12. Fanvid: music videos and montages created by a fan using a combination of clips from original source material set to a song or tune. i.e. Spike – I am Titanium… (character study) on YouTube 
  13. Fanfiction: A story based in a fandom created by a fan. It is a form of trans-formative work designed as an expression of appreciation and exploration of the original material. The writer can add character, change characters, add new adventures, change story line and plot. Basically, it’s whatever the writer wishes to create or change in that fandom world through story. www.fanfiction.net has every fanfiction in every fandom under the sun.
  14. Ficlet: refers to a complete short story, usually only a few thousand words long. A ficlet is short enough not to take much time to read. There are no specific length requirements for a story to qualify as a ficlet.
  15. Oneshot: refers to a single story that can be read and understood in full without having read any other prior story. Oneshots are already finished and written completely prior to posting. They will not be continued, and are not related to any other story by that author. Usually posted all at once rather than in parts, often as a single chapter simply because it is easiest. 
  16. OC: Original Character. This is something that a writer or artist will use to incorporate or insert their own character into a fandom. Fanfic writers will use this to put their own creations into a fandom’s world or pair their OC with another character. Artists will do this as well but it is more commonly found in fanfictions. i.e. OC x Sherlock, OC/Sherlock *note that the use of “x” and “/” simply refers to the term “pairing” which is the same thing as shipping.
  17. OFC: Original Female Character i.e. OFC x Daryl (The Walking Dead)
  18. OMC: Original Male Character i.e. OMC x Buffy (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)
  19. OOC: Out of Character. This means that an original character from the fandom acts differently in the fanfic then they would in their own world. i.e. Tony Stark (Iron Man) is a humble man who follows orders without question
  20. AU/AR: Alternate Universe or Alternate Reality. This means that either the plot, setting, or characters deviate from the original. Using the same plot or characters but changing the setting, where the story takes place. Keeping the same character and setting but changing the plot and making a whole new story. The plot and the setting remain the same but the characters either are dramatically changed, don’t exist at all, or are replaced by whole new characters. Changing 1, 2, or all 3 aspects qualifies as an AU/AR. i.e. Taking Loki and adding him to the Doctor Who universe
  21. Crossover: Where two fandoms cross worlds. Usually found in fanfiction, fanart, fanvids, and GIF mash ups. This is where characters from fandom A are mixed with fandom B’s world or vice versa. Characters from both worlds interact with one another and in one another’s worlds. Taking a character or characters from fandom A and inserting them into fandom B but keeping all of the story or action in fandom B is also considered a crossover. i.e. SuperWhoLock (Supernatural + Doctor Who + Sherlock) 
  22. Slash: This is the romantic pairing of two characters of the same sex. Male/Male. Female/Female. M/M. F/F.
  23. FemSlash: This refers to a romantic pairing of females only. Female/Female. Femmeslash, F/F
  24. Yaoi: pronounced ‘yow-ee’, not ‘yah-oy’.  An acronym for a Japanese phrase that translates as ‘no climax, no resolution’, and used as an equivalent to slash, more specifically male.  ‘Yaoi’ tends to be the more popular term in anime fandoms, whereas ‘slash’ is used elsewhere, but the two are basically interchangeable.
  25. Yuri: means the same thing as Yaoi only female slash instead of male slash.
  26. Lemon: an explicit sex scene in fanfiction.
  27. Crack: refers to stories in which completely ridiculous, unbelievable or insane things occur, often without reasonable explanation but great enjoyment. Are generally written shamelessly and with no excuse beyond the writers desire to have fun.
  28. AMV:  abbreviation for ‘anime music video’. These consist of a series of clips from an anime series, set to a popular song. i.e. (One Piece AMV) ♪Centuries♪
  29. Hiatus: A gap or interruption in time, a break. This is an annoying time for a fandom, where one must wait for an unknown amount of time for their fandom to return. This is also usually where the fandom slowly starts to lose their minds and produce mass amounts of hiatus fanart, GIFS, and fanfictions. (The Sherlock fandom has lost all their sanity due to having two year hiatus’ after getting only three episodes in a season) WARNING: approach members of a hiatus fandom with caution. i.e. Sherlock fandom 
  30. Spoiler: When someone reveals a previously unknown aspect of something which you likely would have rather learned on your own. If you are just starting a long running series or are behind on your fandom then spoilers are the enemy, and they are lurking everywhere. To avoid seeing spoilers the only option available to you is to stay off of social media and the internet in general. (Good luck with that) 
  31. Troll: refers to someone who deliberately and often repeatedly makes inflammatory or off-topic comments in a ploy to rile up other people and create dissension. Trolls set out to induce emotional responses, preferably as explosive as possible, and don’t actually seem to care about whatever point they are making so long as it starts an argument. Sometimes though trolls can be harmless and funny. *Sometimes being the key word* 
  32. ANON: refers to someone, either author or reader, who does not wish their identity to be revealed. Often shortened to Anon. When multiple anonymous users are posting, may be distinguished by using such terms as Same Anon (SA), Different Anon (DA) or New Anon (NA)
  33. Con/Comic Con: Conventions held across the world for fans to gather and meet actors, writers, directors, producers, participate in Q&A panels, cosplay, buy fandom merchandise, and meet other fans.
  34. Cosplay: short for ‘costume play’. A ‘cosplayer’ is somebody who dresses up as a character from their fandom. The term originated in Japan and was originally anime-specific, but has moved into wider use, and is both a noun and a verb: a cosplay is the costume itself, or the event at which it is worn. ‘Cosplaying’ somebody is shorthand for ‘dressing up as’ that individual. Genderbending cosplay is a common thing as well. This is when a cosplayer takes a male character’s outfit and reshapes it into a female version and vice versa. i.e. Rin and Yukio Okumura from Blue Exorcist (normal cosplay) f455595305d882064f968b88d3c25a93 Female Thorin Okenshield from The Hobbit (genderbent cosplay)9d6573d17fd793f7cbd5f52ce57684da
  35. RPG: Role Playing Games, usually used in the video game world. This is a game where the choices you make in the game effect the outcome. This is a game with multiple endings and requires you to play more than once to discover all the different story lines and endings. i.e. Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic
  36. PWNED: purposeful misspelling of ‘owned’.  Used as a synonym for ‘defeated’; a person who makes a particularly clever or hurtful remark in an argument has ‘pwned’ their opponent, as has one who beat another player at a video game.
  37. DUB: The ‘dub’ of an anime is a version in which the Japanese dialogue has been re-recorded in English.  Dubs are often considered as inferior to the original Japanese.  This is sometimes true, but not always.
  38. SUB:  the ‘sub’ of an anime is a version with the soundtrack in Japanese, and subtitles to translate each line.  Purist fans often insist on subs; extreme purists watch only fansubs.
  39. Thread: all the replies (and replies to replies) to the original statement that started a messageboard or mailing list discussion.
  40. Verse:  a suffix used to indicate the universe in which the events of a narrative take place. i.e. Potterverse (Harry Potter) Whedonverse (Joss Whedon’s creations) This phrasing will usually not be used if the world of the story already has a name i.e. Middle Earth (Lord of the Rings).
  41. Easter Egg: A hidden item placed in a movie, television show, or otherwise visual media for close watchers. i.e. Doctor Who 
  42. asdfghjkl: means I am so confused/happy/astonished that I am no longer able to type coherently.
  43. GIF: Graphics Interchange Format. GIFs are image files that are compressed to reduce transfer time. The proper pronounciation of the acronym is a soft “g” sound: like JIF. i.e. (dancing Groot from Marvel’s Guardian’s of the Galaxy) 

Here are just a few examples of some fandoms:

  • Whovians (Doctor Who)
  • Sherlockians (Sherlock)
  • Trekkies (Star Trek)
  • Potterheads (Harry Potter)

Now some people may tell you that you can’t waste your life on all this fictional stuff or that it’s pointless. Those people are called haters, and they do exactly what their name implies. So stay away from them and don’t let them get to you.

Fandom means something different to everyone. To some it means a group of people who like the same thing as you, to others it means family, and to outsiders it means overly obsessive people. But to us, to us fandom means family.

*Disclaimer: These terms are the most popular terms found throughout fandoms. We ourselves do not actually use all these terms or like some of them. This post is about providing fandom terms and definitions, and it would be disrespectful to not include all of the terms simply because we do not agree with them.*

(Information found here at: http://www.ainself.net/irony/get_medieval/fandomvocab.htm , http://www.angelfire.com/falcon/moonbeam/terms.html , urbandictionary.com, http://www.dailydot.com/society/how-to-speak-fangirl/ , https://annavslife.wordpress.com/2012/11/18/the-tumblr-to-english-dictionary-or-how-to-speak-fangirl/ )


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