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131 votes
Accepted

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

TV Tropes calls it "Famous, Famous, Fictional." The trope description does not cite any other name, which means there almost certainly is not another commonly used term for it. (The trope ...
Buzz's user avatar
  • 97.5k
88 votes
Accepted

Where did the concept of a (fantasy-style) "dungeon" originate?

As per this RPG SE question, the first adventure was in a dungeon under a keep, and the name stuck. According to Gary Gygax (in an interview with Dungeon #112), the first dungeon crawl was part of a ...
FuzzyBoots's user avatar
  • 225k
84 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning of word 'crack' in chapter 33 of A Game of Thrones?

"You rule like a man dancing on rotten ice" He's taking foolish risks. "On rotten ice" means melting ice, which will soon crack and break, plunging the "dancer" into freezing water, where he will ...
Binary Worrier's user avatar
73 votes
Accepted

What is the meaning of "wiped my face with a planet"?

"...wiped my face with a planet" means exactly what it says, from when Thanos brought a planet (actually one of Titan's moons1) down on Tony during their battle in Avengers: Infinity War. ...
TheLethalCarrot's user avatar
  • 143k
64 votes
Accepted

Term for immortality that only prevents death from old age

Negligible senescence largely fits the bill. Negligible senescence is a term coined by biogerontologist Caleb Finch to denote organisms that do not exhibit evidence of senescence (biological aging),...
FuzzyBoots's user avatar
  • 225k
47 votes
Accepted

Was Tolkien's concept of an Oliphaunt borrowed from Afrikaans?

Probably not. When guiding translators on how to properly render the word "Oliphaunt", Tolkien explicitly said that he had derived it from the Old French 'Olifant', saying that the intent ...
ibid's user avatar
  • 93.9k
46 votes

What does "they could use you for seed" mean in The Marvelous Land of Oz?

Jack has a carven pumpkin for a head. However, unlike most jack o' lanterns (which are cleaned out before they are carved), the "guts" of the pumpkin—the pulp and seeds—have not been ...
Buzz's user avatar
  • 97.5k
43 votes
Accepted

Why is it called 'Lightspeed' if the ships aren't traveling at the speed of light?

In the Star Wars universe, the term 'lightspeed' doesn't literally mean "traveling at the speed of light" (something that's actually scientifically impossible), it's simply shorthand for ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 691k
39 votes

Does cyberpunk exclude interstellar space travel?

Wikipedia describes Cyberpunk as: a subgenre of science fiction in a dystopian futuristic setting that tends to focus on a "combination of low-life and high tech"1 featuring advanced ...
AncientSwordRage's user avatar
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38 votes
Accepted

What's the meaning of "411 on the late-night drop box"?

"The 411" is a reference to requesting (or in this case giving) information. It's listed in Maciej Widawski's African American Slang as "Information or fact" A "late night drop box" was used by ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 691k
36 votes

Term for immortality that only prevents death from old age

"ageless" would work as it means: something (or someone) that does not look or appear to grow older Elrond's face is described as ageless (lotr, many meetings)
Pliny's user avatar
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30 votes
Accepted

What work originated the term "dark lord" as a conventionalized title for a preternatural overlord?

I believe that it didn't originate in a work of fantasy, but rather in religion. Concretely, in Christianity, Satan was called the Prince of Darkness. This appears in Paradise Lost, by John Milton, ...
Adamant's user avatar
  • 116k
27 votes

Where did the concept of a (fantasy-style) "dungeon" originate?

The word dungeon derives from the French donjon for a central tower (or keep) in a castle, and the latter word is still used in this sense in English. It is possibly derived from the Latin dominus &...
Klaus Æ. Mogensen's user avatar
26 votes
Accepted

First science fiction story to use the word "laser" or "maser"?

Just a slightly earlier than any of the references to "laser {x}" listed in the Historical Dictionary of Science Fiction is this description of a maser weapon, from Poul Anderson's novel ...
DavidW's user avatar
  • 130k
25 votes

Term for immortality that only prevents death from old age

Undying is a term that refers specifically to a state of never being in a process of dying (such as Tolkien's Undying Lands), and applies mainly to life, rather than ideas, art, or appearance. It does ...
Misha R's user avatar
  • 13.3k
25 votes

What is the meaning of word 'crack' in chapter 33 of A Game of Thrones?

"I believe I heard the first crack this morning." Lord Baelish was referring to the quarrel between King Robert and Eddard Stark on proposed murder of Princess Daenerys Stormborn. Robert wanted her ...
Aegon's user avatar
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23 votes
Accepted

What’s the first use of the term “Downwell”

The term downwell appears to have first appeared in references to things going on inside actual underground wells. This Google N-grams search shows the term coming into use in the late 1950s, and if ...
Buzz's user avatar
  • 97.5k
22 votes
Accepted

Is "Dank Farrik" an exclamatory or a cuss word?

It's definitely a curse. “Dank farrik,” the other woman cursed softly under her breath. Star Wars: The Mandalorian Season 2 Junior Novel and “Dank farrik!” Fennec cursed, and they ran out of the ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 691k
19 votes

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

As far as the information from the HP books (and movies), Fantastic Beasts first movie, and as you mentioned in your question, the non-wizarding world people are addressed as: MUGGLES by the British ...
Shreedhar's user avatar
  • 26.8k
18 votes

Term for immortality that only prevents death from old age

Turning to roleplaying games, GURPS uses "Unkillable" for "immune to death by violence" and "Unaging" for "never growing older once mature".
David Johnston's user avatar
17 votes

Is the term "muggle" pejorative?

Any word that describes one group defined by some lack of ability relative to another group has the potential to be considered pejorative. When that happens, people create a euphemism designed not to ...
Monty Harder's user avatar
17 votes

Is the term "muggle" pejorative?

Out of universe: julesrbf: Where did you come up with the word "muggle"? JK Rowling replies -> I was looking for a word that suggested both foolishness and loveability. The word 'mug' came to ...
ThruGog's user avatar
  • 12.9k
16 votes

Term for immortality that only prevents death from old age

Eternal youth. From Wikipedia: Eternal youth is the concept of human physical immortality free of ageing. The youth referred to is usually meant to be in contrast to the depredations of aging, ...
ashes2ashes's user avatar
16 votes

Where did the concept of a (fantasy-style) "dungeon" originate?

While Gary Gygax's Chainmail wargame (the predecessor to D&D) seems to be the most direct origin of the term "dungeon crawl" in tabletop RPGs, the term "dungeon" does appear in ...
Darth Pseudonym's user avatar
16 votes
Accepted

Origin of the word "Tholian" in Star Trek

The words have different roots, and there doesn't appear to be a direct connection. Per Memory Alpha (referencing These Are the Voyages: TOS Season Three) The name came from an expedition that an ...
Valorum's user avatar
  • 691k
15 votes

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

Having just watched the 1972 science fiction film Solaris, I was surprised to hear this dialog. There is no Hari. She's dead. You're just a reproduction, a mechanical reproduction. A copy. A matrix....
Sam's user avatar
  • 259
15 votes

What work originated the term "dark lord" as a conventionalized title for a preternatural overlord?

I found an occurrence of "dark lord" in The Lord of the Dark Red Star: being the story of the supernatural influences in the life of an Italian despot in the thirteenth century (1903) by Eugene Lee-...
Buzz's user avatar
  • 97.5k
15 votes

Does cyberpunk exclude interstellar space travel?

Cyberpunk and interstellar travel can coexist; the key aspect to make these styles compatible is that the future remains "unevenly distributed": Despite there being very high technology, ...
RLH's user avatar
  • 1,123
14 votes

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

Even though only two words have been officially disclosed, we could assume other countries would use the words introduced in official translations of HP books. There's a list of translations for "...
Meepu's user avatar
  • 157

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