Whedonverse Jargon Guide

A little treat from the SFX archives to mark the 15th anniversary of the first episode of Buffy being broadcast


noun (origin: Dollhouse)
A brainwashed, empty human vessel awaiting the insertion of a new, much better, often kick-ass and usually sexy personality. See also: Prostitute.

Bad guys

(origin: Serenity)
The crew of the spaceship Serenity. See also: Big Damn Heroes. This is known as a paradox.

Big Damn Heroes

(origin: Serenity)
The crew of the spaceship Serenity. See also: Bad guys. This is known as a paradox.


noun (origin: Firefly)
A dull way of saying “really cool spaceship”.

Bored now

(origin: Buffy)
As in: “The speaker is tired of this crap and is going to kill you.” Often used by parallel universe Willow before she does something horrifically nasty involving fangs and blood.


noun (origin: Firefly)
1. River can kill you with hers. 2. If it’s missing, it’s a problem.


noun (met: origin)
Events and actions taking place inside the world of Buffy The Vampire Slayer . Can be extended to both the events of Angel and the related comic books. It’s a place we’d absolutely love to live in if it wasn’t for all the random carnage and ever-present threat of evisceration.


noun (origin: Firefly)
Absolutely not a prostitute. Honest. See also: Active.

Da-shiang bao-tza shr duh lah doo-tze!

(origin: Firefly)
Mandarin. Means: “The explosive diarrhoea of an elephant!”

Did I fall asleep?

(origin: Dollhouse)
For a little while.

Fire bad, tree pretty

(origin: Buffy)
A succinct way of expressing the sentiment, “I have fought way too hard tonight and am physically and mentally exhausted. Therefore, my critical faculties are restricted to these four words.” Originally coined after a duel with a giant demon-snake and the destruction of Sunnydale High.


noun (origin: meta)
Any aspect of Joss Whedon’s oeuvre comprising film, TV, comics, (in-character) blogs or music. The Jossverse is usually populated by intelligent characters who are either extensions of Whedon himself or recognisable as ourselves. A ’verse can be located anywhere from a high school to a spaceship. Any Jossverse is also in constant danger of being terminated by movie execs or TV network heads.


noun (origin: Dr Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog)


interj. (origin: Firefly)
“Goddamn,” but cooler.


noun (origin: Dollhouse)
Behaviour exhibited by apparently brainless Actives (see above) who are drawn to each other when they shouldn’t be. Usually precedes all hell breaking lose, psychos taking over the Dollhouse and the possible end of the world as we know it.


noun (origin: Angel)
A vampire. Attrib: Cordelia Chase.


adj. (origin: Serenity)
As in: “Oh God, oh God, we’re all going to die.”

I’ll be in my bunk

(origin: Firefly)
As in: “I’m very turned-on right now, so I need to retreat to somewhere private and take care of it.” Essential part of geek vernacular since 2002.


noun (origin: Serenity)
Something that soars on the wind before being hideously and violently killed OMG!


verb (origin: Dollhouse)
The term Topher Brink uses to describe an erection. Is he ten?


v. ntr. (origin: Serenity)
What Captain Mal Reynolds aims to do.

My bad

(origin: Buffy)
The speaker just did something wrong. As in: “Oops, I just slept with Angel and now he’s turned into Angelus and is rampaging through the streets and killing innocent people.”


verb (origin: Buffy)
Angry, as in: “I’m feeling ragey today.” Adding a “y” to the end of a word is a common Whedonism. See also: Whedonisms.

Scooby gang

(origin: Buffy)
A group of disparate outsiders who come together in friendship to fight the forces of evil. A riff off the TV show Scooby-Doo. Later given serendipitous extra meaning by Sarah Michelle Gellar’s roles in the Scooby-Doo movies, although nobody in those films ever turned into a witch and almost destroyed the world, lost an eye at the hands of a crazy preacher or had lots of sex with a cockney vampire. That we know of.


adj. (origin: Firefly)
Very good, as in: “I’m feeling shiny today.” Or can be used sarcastically, as in, “You’re pointing a gun at me? Shiny.”


In every generation there is a chosen one. She alone will stand against the vampires, the demons and the forces of darkness. She is the Slayer. She is also known for her stylish-yet-affordable shoes, quippage and long speeches.


adj. (origin: Buffy)
The act of slaying. As in: “There was some serious slayerage tonight.” Note: this act can only be performed by a real Slayer. For everybody else, it’s just known as “back up”.

Special hell

(origin: Firefly)
A place reserved for child molesters and people who talk at the theatre. And, possibly, the suits who cancelled Firefly.


noun (origin: Firefly)
Shortening of universe.


interj. (origin: Buffy)
Naughty British swear word uttered by Spike and aired to largely oblivious US TV audiences.


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