Like a lot of subcultures, fandom members speak their own vernacular that can sound utterly impenetrable to outsiders.  Since so much of fandom is online, fandom vocabulary grew out of internet vocabulary; there is a lot of use of abbreviations, acronyms, and emoticons.  This glossary is supposed to be as general as possible.  There are a great many terms that are specific to individual fandoms; those aren't mentioned here, but if you should wander into a fandom messageboard sometime, you'll hopefully be able to use this as a general guide to what the heck people are talking about.


The fact that a lot of fandom vocabulary concerns sexual activity or sexual deviance should not be taken to mean that most fans – or most fanworks – are perverted.  As in real life, slang is more likely to become attached to things that people prefer to discuss in euphemistic terms.



Fandoms use acronyms for a lot of things.  A few of these will be discussed in detail in the glossary, but there are also more general categories of acronyms.  People posting to a messageboard or talking in AIM will often save themselves from having to type a title over and over by abbreviating it: thus 'Harry Potter' is referred to as 'HP', 'Lord of the Rings' as 'LotR', and 'Pirates of the Carribean' as 'PotC'.  Series with many installments may also have common acronyms for each installment; the original 'Star Trek' series will be referred to as TOS, 'Next Generation' as TNG, 'Deep Space Nine' as DS9, and so on.  Finally, somebody posting a link to a piece of fanfiction will often use acronyms to list which romantic relationships are explored in the piece.  Pairing acronyms take two forms.  They can be single letters or shortened versions of names; for example, in 'Inuyasha' fandom, IY/KAG marks a story about the relationship between Inuyasha and Kagome.  In Harry Potter fandom, HP/DM is a story pairing Harry Potter with Draco Malfoy.  Or they can combine the names of two characters; in 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' fandom, a 'Spuffy' story is one that romantically links Spike and Buffy.  A ‘Yukiru’ story in ‘Fruits Basket’ fandom is about Yuki and Tohru as a couple.