10 terms every ‘Buffy’ fan should know

Buffy the Vampire Slayer may have ended in 2003 but its influence on our culture has survived for over a decade. While the series was memorable for helping to shape society’s definition of “vampire” (that is, before Twilight came along), it also introduced a number of new words and phrases into our fandom vocabularies. Any true Buffy fan will recognize these inventive expressions, plucked straight from Joss Whedon’s brilliant mind:

1) To dust (v.): to kill a vampire

In Sunnydale, “dusting” has nothing to do with those pesky particles that accumulate on your dresser and make you sneeze every time you move something. That is, unless you ended up slaying a vampire above your dresser, in which case, it has everything to do with those pesky particles. Unlike other creatures like zombies that crumble to the ground when they’re killed, vampires explode into a cloud of dust, like the world’s worst confetti cannon. When you slay upwards of two vampires a week, it’s only natural to want to invent some new terminology, as Buffy did with “dusting.”

2) Overbite (n.): slang for vampire

This may be a little crass but then again, I don’t know how much sympathy I can have for a species that dedicates its time to literally sucking the life out of other people. Xander first makes this quip in the episode “Killed By Death” after saving Buffy from becoming Angelus’s lunch. I imagine “overbite” is the Sunnydale equivalent of “four-eyes,” but I’m sure there’s much more at stake in using this mocking expression against your enemy (i.e. your life).

3) Boyfriendly (adj.): worthy of dating exclusively

In “I Robot, You Jane,” when Willow “sleeps through” her first five classes of the day, Buffy naturally gets a bit suspicious and raises questions about her friend’s “boyfriendly” fling. True, this isn’t a hugely popular word in Buffy’s ‘verse, but its potential applicability in the real world earns it a rightful spot on this list. How many times have we had to awkwardly attempt to define our relationships to our friends? Boyfriendly eliminates the confusion with one simple definition.

4) Guilt-a-palooza (n.): excessive remorse festival

Joss Whedon: master of sci-fi, red beard-rocker, and inventor of jargon. That last one is particularly relevant here. Whedon’s tendency to combine regular nouns with prefixes and suffixes allowed him to create a whole line of terminology that, as one writer points out, instantly “[assumes] a recognizable Buffyness.” Guilt-a-palooza, another prime Xander term, is one such example. Sliceage, apocalypsy, and dollsome are other examples. Which reminds me…

5) Dollsome (adj.): pretty or attractive

Dollsome was such a notable slang term, Chiller once used it in an ad for a late-night Buffy marathon. Although, this begs the question: if a word is so popular that it’s mentioned in official TV advertisements, do the kids still consider it cool? Asking for an adult who wants to know how out of touch she is with the “youths” these days.

6) To Scully (v.): to explain paranormal activity with scientific rationale

There’s nothing that tickles my heart more than seeing two fandoms collide, which is why “to Scully” is one of my favorite terms on this list. When Giles attempts to logically explain a situation to Buffy in the episode “The Pack,” she indignantly responds with “I can’t believe that you of all people are trying to Scully me.” (If that’s not an invitation for a Buffy/X-Files crossover fanvid, I don’t know what is.) I’m still waiting on someone to greenlight my “To Mulder” suggestion (“to propose a wild theory despite the possibility of receiving judgement or demeaning nicknames”).

7) Pointy (adj.): worthwhile

Not only is pointy a simple (not simplistic) antonym for “pointless,” but it is also a play on the whole “vampire” theme, proving once again that Joss Whedon is a genius and we should all just give up now.

8) Pre-posy (n.): dating period prior to the guy giving the girl flowers

If only we lived in a world where dating labels were still this simple. These days, pre-posy is joined by a slew of other “stages” (pre-hand-holding, post-kiss, pre-sharing-Netflix-account, post-Facebook-official). It’s hard to keep up with them all, honestly.

9) Clothes fluke (n.): kiss resulting from formal wear

“Clothes fluke” perfectly summarizes that flutter you get in your stomach when your nerdy best guy friend walks into the prom looking more dashing than you ever thought could be possible. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that tuxedos are not lined with magic because there is nothing more transformative than a nicely pressed suit-and-tie.

10) Scoobies (n.): a particularly adventurous friend group

In the show, Buffy’s friend group calls themselves Scoobies in reference to Scooby Doo and his gang of crime-fighting, monster-hunting human friends. (Part of me wonders if this alone got Sarah Michelle Gellar the part as Daphne in the live-action Scooby film in 2002.) While I know this is just a fun nickname for Buffy’s friends, I see no reason why we can’t extend the definition to adventurous friend groups in general, which is why I’ve left this item at the bottom of the list for your consideration.

Info via Oxford Dictionary, Buffy World, and Slayer Slang. Featured image via CW.


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