Questions tagged [terminology]

This tag is for questions about words, terms, or phrases in Sci-Fi or Fantasy.

-6
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1answer
151 views

Futuristic visual style - Thor: Ragnarok, Transistor video game [closed]

What is this colorful and futuristic visual style you can see in Thor: Ragnarok the Transistor video game? Thor: Ragnarok - end credits - YouTube.
43
votes
9answers
8k views

Term for immortality that only prevents death from old age

Is there a term for immortality that only prevents death from old age? For example, the elves from The Lord of the Rings are "immortal", but only to the effects of dying from age. They can still be ...
4
votes
2answers
107 views

Has the term “bosonics” ever been used explicitly in a story or film?

The BBC article Cern plans even larger hadron collider for physics search by BBC Science correspondent Pallab Ghosh is interesting for several reasons. One was a curious error that has since been ...
12
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2answers
767 views

Is there a term for real-world science-based SciFi? [duplicate]

I've read just a few books in SciFi genre, never liked it, because it's usually written by writers, not scientists. Though, recently I've read few books written by Peter Watts and Stanislaw Lem. There ...
4
votes
1answer
289 views

What is the genre of fantasy stories that take place in a science fiction universe?

There are some stories that superficially look like they belong squarely in the fantasy genre but contain hints (or even major revelations) that the world was a sci-fi setting all along. The ...
6
votes
1answer
174 views

Where did the term “the living impaired” originate?

In The Simpsons episode 9F04, "Treehouse of Horror III" (1994), Lisa refers to the "zombies" that Bart has just summoned and Bart snarkily replies that Please Lis, they prefer to be called "the ...
97
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2answers
7k views

Is there a term for the science fiction trope where a character lists two historical things and a future thing?

In Babylon 5, for example, a character lists famous bombings like "Hiroshima, Dresden, San Diego" with the first items in the list being real and the last being fictional. This dialog technique of ...
1
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0answers
289 views

Could the Emperor of Mankind in Warhammer 40k be classified as lich in common sense? [closed]

I wonder how the Emperor of Mankind of the Warhammer 40k universe could be classified in generic fantasy terms. Could he be named a lich?
-22
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2answers
464 views

What does MCU stand for?

I see the acronym MCU being used a lot on Science Fiction & Fantasy Stack Exchange. What does it stand for?
19
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7answers
6k views

What is the in-universe term for Muggles in other countries?

Muggles, as we know, are the people who have no magical ability and are born in a non-magical family. Non-magical people are called Muggles in the British magical community and 'No-maj' in the ...
3
votes
1answer
130 views

Terminology for a macro scale “Grey Goo” Scenario

Ive recently been playing which, in large part, features the typical grey goo scenario (Automated manufacturers consuming all life on Earth in their efforts to endlessly reproduce). The difference ...
-6
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1answer
152 views

Who came up with the term “Earthling”?

Or, to make matters a bit more attainable, what is the earliest occurrence of the term attested in writing?
3
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1answer
609 views

“Nadir” and “zenith” in Alliance-Union universe space navigation

In C.J. Cherryh's Chanur novels (part of her Alliance-Union universe) there's sometimes talk of starships arriving in a solar system at the system's nadir or zenith. At first I thought this just ...
5
votes
1answer
558 views

What is a clan-fam?

While reading through The Gunslinger, I came across the following line in the 2nd paragraph of Chapter 5: sullen, inbred clan-fams, toiling silently in the fields by day. I googled the term and it ...
7
votes
1answer
736 views

Was “Sanctuary Moon” a proper name specifically limited to the forest moon of Endor, or a category representing a general type of moon?

The forest moon of Endor is sometimes referred to as "the Sanctuary Moon". Is the term "Sanctuary Moon" a proper name, unique to the Ewok's homeworld, or is the forest moon of Endor merely one of ...
4
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3answers
1k views

What is the difference between a “scanner” and a “sensor” in Star Trek?

In Star Trek, they use the terms scanner and sensor a lot. Is there any technical difference in the meaning of the two terms? Or are they 100% interchangeable? If there is a difference, what is it?
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Etymology of parseltongue/parselmouth

Where/how did Rowling come up with the terms "parseltongue" and "parselmouth"? Are they inspired by or in any way rooted in relevant real-world words/terms (perhaps related to snakes), or was it ...
2
votes
1answer
211 views

Who introduced the term “the Northern Thing” for fantasy works inspired by Germanic mythology?

The works particularly of Tolkien and some other writers like Robert Howard and Poul Anderson are sometimes described as being influenced by "that Northern Thing", meaning mythology and medieval tales ...
7
votes
1answer
204 views

What is an “Otik Style” nymph?

Under "Unanswered" questions, in July, Tark described a wonderful story I'd like to see too. Tark describes it as "Wood nymph (otik style) who becomes a scientist" What does "otik style" mean? (I'm ...
3
votes
1answer
645 views

Is “Smegheads” useable as a term for Red Dwarf fans?

"Star Trek" fans are called "Trekkies". Is "Smegheads" useable as a term for Red Dwarf fans, such as the following? There's more Trekkies than there are Smegheads.
9
votes
5answers
965 views

Why is time in the galaxy far far away described by reference to Yavin rather than Endor?

In the Star Wars universe, dates are usually given as "[number of years] BBY" or "[number of years] ABY" - that is, X years "Before the Battle of Yavin" or X years "After the Battle of Yavin". The ...
20
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4answers
2k views

Why are downloads destructive in the Star Trek universe?

There are numerous places in various Star Trek episodes where references are made to the fact that "downloads" are a destructive operation: you download something from one place, and unless you ...
2
votes
4answers
336 views

Who was the first alien “person” or “man”?

It is fairly common nowadays, for example in Star Trek, to refer to aliens collectively as people when they are to some degree similar to humans and fairly relatable. What was the first instance of ...
19
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3answers
5k views

Is the term “muggle” pejorative?

I am curious as to what the origin of the term "muggle" is, and whether there is any reason why non-magic folk should not be offended by it. In other words, if there is a reasonable origin that ...
6
votes
0answers
149 views

Is there a precedent for the use of “sol” or other terms for solar day?

In these two questions in Space Exploration Stackexchange the origin and use of the word "sol" to describe a solar day on astronomical bodies besides the Earth are being discussed. Like so many things ...
11
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0answers
2k views

Who or what is a “J.G. Scrunt”?

In the M. Night Shyamalan film Lady in the Water, the character of Story — a water nymph from the "Blue World" — is tormented by a grass-covered wolf-like creature called a "Scrunt". ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

What do the terms 'Doylist/Doylian' and 'Watsonian' mean? [closed]

Having been a bit of a lurker recently I've noticed a rise in the terms, 'Doylist', and 'Watsonian' when referring to opinion based replies or to describe character thoughts, feelings and reasoning ...
25
votes
3answers
5k views

Is there a polite term for “mudblood”?

Clearly the term "mudblood" is a slur in the Harry Potter universe. Is there a polite way for witches and wizards to talk about magical people born of muggles?
7
votes
3answers
875 views

Did the term “congresscritter” originate in SF, and, if so, who first used it?

The title pretty much says it all. I thought it would be easy to find the origin by googling, but although there are many references, none of the ones I scanned included the origin. I remember ...
1
vote
1answer
370 views

What is the classification of the undead from Pirates of the Caribbean?

They're not exactly zombies or ghosts. They're spectral beings in moonlight but have physical form othertimes. How would this be classified?
6
votes
2answers
4k views

Has anyone revealed why the word “zombie” is used in the comics, but not on the show(s)?

In The Walking Dead comics, the word "zombie" wasn't used at first, but fairly early in the series, it was introduced. Rick initially thought it was too silly to mention, but eventually accepted that ...
2
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3answers
1k views

What exactly are Sublight Engines?

In a number of Science Fiction Series such as Battlestar Galatica, Star Wars and Stargate spaceships are mentioned to have something called a Sublight Engine. in an episode of Dark Matter i remember ...
16
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3answers
4k views

Why are only X-Men called mutants?

In X-Men, Wolverine, Magneto, Mystique, Beast, etc. are all mutants. Mutants are perhaps the people in the form of humans who have extraordinary powers. So, in that terms, why aren't Iron Man, Captain ...
46
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3answers
14k views

What's the deal with “marshmelons”?

In Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy enjoy some quality time together around the campfire, musing about life, death, baked beans, and rowing boats gently down streams. In ...
10
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3answers
7k views

What does “Wildfire” mean?

In season 1, episode 5 of The Walking Dead, we see Dr. Jenner at the CDC recording a video journal, which, it is implied, he intends to send to his superiors (although he clearly suspects that they ...
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3answers
1k views

Meaning of “Point Blank Range” in the final battle of RoTJ?

While commanding the rebel forces against the Empire at the climax of Return of the Jedi, Lando responds to to the Death Star's activation by order the rebels to engage the fleet of Imperial Star ...
15
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4answers
2k views

What word describes organisations like the Federation, Klingon Empire, and Dominion in Star Trek?

There are many territorial areas and governmental bodies in Star Trek: The United Federation of Planets The Klingon Empire The Romulan Empire The Ferengi Alliance The Dominion and probably a host of ...
3
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2answers
3k views

Where did the term “Zombie” originate from? [closed]

As I said above, where did the term "Zombie" originate from? Why can't we just call them the "reanimated"?
23
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3answers
4k views

Why do the Borg refer to themselves as “We” and not “I”

In Star Trek:The Next Generation, there was much made of the Borg being a singular entity, such that one Borg couldn't detach itself from another easily, analogous to a person being unable to easily ...
-3
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1answer
1k views

What are the different Star Wars Canons? [duplicate]

I've seen many many references across this site to C-Canon, G-Canon and a couple of N-Canons when answering Star Wars questions. I assume G-Canon has something to do with George Lucas but what are ...
33
votes
5answers
4k views

Why is the Centauri state called a “Republic” when it has an emperor?

A republic is a state that is not a monarchy, while an emperor is clearly a monarch, so how is it that the Centauri Republic in Babylon 5 has an emperor? This isn't a question of accuracy but of ...
3
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3answers
2k views

What is the “airport” part of a space station called? [closed]

In a huge space station where thousands of people live and work, the section where space ships dock, passengers wait to board, and goods are being unloaded, will very likely be separate from the ...
19
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2answers
1k views

Origin of word “matrix” used to describe a virtual reality environment?

What's the origin of the word "Matrix" used as either a name or a description of a virtual reality environment? The best known example is of course from the film of the same name, and it's widely ...
3
votes
1answer
2k views

Was Luke ever a padawan?

By the strictest definitions was Luke Skywalker ever a padawan? If you relax the restrictions, are there any valid canonical reasons for calling him one?
9
votes
3answers
2k views

Where did the term “energy signature” originate?

Lots of sci-fi franchises (Stargate, Eureka, Transformers to name a few) love to throw around the term "energy signature" when they want to indicate that something can be magically identified, ...
17
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5answers
4k views

The origin and use of the term TARDIS

In the first serial, "An Unearthly Child", Susan Foreman claims, "I made up the name TARDIS from the initials, Time And Relative Dimension In Space." In "The Name of the Doctor", the guard watching ...
2
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4answers
3k views

How do I address someone with a term that is the opposite of Jedi?

I am writing a wedding ceremony for two folks who are huge Star Wars fans. Most of the ceremony is typical (with the exception of "I do" or do not. There is no try.) but, at the end, before I ...
14
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4answers
835 views

Earliest science-fiction mention of space stations?

Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, published in 1951, involved three space-stations orbiting Earth. I am curious to know which was the earliest science-fiction which involves space-stations. Furthermore, ...
9
votes
3answers
609 views

Term for tricks in literature

In A Clash of Kings, A Song of Ice and Fire - Book 2, Tyrion tells three different stories about Myrcella to three different people in order to discover the fink. That was a great tactic. Is there a ...
6
votes
2answers
2k views

Are 'robot' and 'droid' used interchangeably?

In Episode IV, after Luke is rescued from the Sand People by Ben Kenobi, he refers to C-3PO and R2-D2 as robots rather than droids. This struck me as odd as the latter seems to be the preferred term ...