This question stems from the game portal and some scifi concepts of Teleporting. The question stemmed from an office conversation following everyone seeing the internet meme of a guy licking his "elbow" from one portal to another. The question was is the act considered teleportation. More specifically, does someone need to be completely moved somewhere to be considered teleportation, or is partial considered teleportation. If partial isn't teleportation then what is the term for the "continuous teleportation" or "worm-holing"?


  1. In Star Trek you disappear from one spot and show up in another. Happens all together at one point in time.
  2. Video games, Halo/TF2/etc, where you teleport and telefrag other players. Happens all together at one point in time.
  3. The game portal, you can reach through the portal or shoot through it, so is this "worm holing," teleporting or something else?
  • Sounds like something else to me. Like you've said, teleporting happens all at once, whereas a portal is more like a wormhole. I think the general concept of teleporting is that you are reconstructed instantly a set distance away, whereas with wormholes, you are simply traveling through a hole in the fabric of space. – Premier Bromanov Dec 31 '14 at 1:14
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    you could've also included "Stargate" in your question as they seem to be using a portal wich teleport them.. at some point you see a lot of characters just entering an arm or the tip of their "P90" and then pulling it back before taking the "jump" – Rocket Dec 31 '14 at 2:34
  • @Rocket: Yes, in the game Portal it is definitely different from teleportation - as in X-Men: Days of Future Past - but in some other media, such as Stargate, the portal does function more like a teleporter. – James Sheridan Dec 31 '14 at 5:17
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    You're asking about the definition of a word that has no real-life referent, so the only real answer is that it's up to you -- you can define "teleportation" to include portals, or not, as you like. – Mike Scott Dec 31 '14 at 7:44
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    VTC - This question is primarily about semantics, and the specific RL meaning of a word, not about the fictional universe/technology or any other relevant aspect. We're trying to answer an English question here, not a SciFi one. – K-H-W Dec 31 '14 at 14:04

No, using the portal isn't the same as teleportation. Using portal, you create Quantum Tunnels. While these seem to function like wormholes, they don't bend space-time. The exact working has never been shown in the game.

The original name of the Portal device was Aperture Science Portable Quantum Tunnelling Device (Source: Portal 2). It was later known by the acronym ASHPD, which stands for Aperture Science Handheld Portal Device (Source: Portal)

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