In one episode of TOS, Spock explains his use of his favorite term 'fascinating': "I reserve the use of the term fascinating for the unexpected." Is this something common to Vulcans (eg do we ever see Sarek say 'fascinating' in similar circumstances), or is Spock the only one to use fascinating in this particular way?

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    I fail to understand the need for a downvote: would the downvoter please explain their reason for downvoting - I cannot see anything wrong with the above post – Often Right Apr 24 '14 at 5:39
  • As far as I remember, Sarek and other vulcans did not use this word frequently (if they even used it). – madfriend Apr 24 '14 at 13:47
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    Interestingly enough, Data seems to use it pretty often too, in the exact same manner. Then again, he may have read up on Spock's own use of the word, so... – Zibbobz Apr 24 '14 at 14:00
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    @Zibbobz, As I recall, Data typically says "intriguing" . He did say "fascinating" and used the Vulcan neck pinch in Unification when he actually meets Spock. en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Unification_II_(episode) – Dima Apr 24 '14 at 14:22
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    I always liked it when Bone said "To coin a phrase, fascinating" (in Who Mourns for Adonis). It was a nice way of poking fun at Spock's favourite expression :-) – Valorum Apr 24 '14 at 17:17

It's a suprisingly common expression. Spock, The EMH, Tuvok, Janeway, Chakotay and Torres all use it in precisely the same way, usually without irony when confronted by something genuinely new and interesting.

With regards to Vulcan use of the term, Tuvok seems to be the only other Vulcan we see using it. In the Voyager episode "Gravity", he says it in an almost identical way to Spock, complete with signature eyebrow lift.

PARIS: It won't do us any good. Every time I transmit a signal, it gets bounced back by the distortion field that pulled us down here. It looks like we fell into some kind of gravity well. As far as I can tell this planet is a part of an entire solar system that is stuck in a pocket of subspace.

TUVOK: Fascinating.

Like Spock, he seems to reserve it for genuinely mind-boggling circumstances such as Kes suddenly demonstrating powerful pyrokenetic abilities in the episode Cold Fire;

KES: He showed me how to use the fire in my mind. (The water boils.)

TUVOK: Fascinating.

He also uses the express in a similar fashion (usually without irony) in a wide selection of Voyager episodes including Year of Hell, Mortal Coil, Distant Origin, The Raven and Hope and Fear

  • There are real-world parallels, by the by. A large number of IT professionals mutter 'Interesting' when confronted by software that is working in an unusual way (as has been pointed out to me by any number of frustrated non-IT people). – Jon B Apr 27 '17 at 2:12

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