Second Buffyspeak Update

I’m nearing the end of my research, and I’ve noticed quite a few trends in Buffy‘s interesting dialogue. I had only planned to focus mainly on the formation of new words through processes like conversion and derivation, and I’ll write about those in my final post, but there are several other interesting aspects that I hadn’t considered. One thing that has really stood out to me is the use of made-up titles and epithets to quickly describe a character or their actions. These titles range from the simple “Mr. Technical” (Season 3, Episode 4) to the sarcastic “Mr. Flawless Plan Guy” (Season 2, Episode 7), to the lengthy “Bad-Magic-Hates-the-World-Ticking-Time-Bomb Guy” (Season 3, Episode 6).”

knowledge girl captioned I find these titles interesting because they are extremely frequent in the show, at an average of multiple each episode so far. They’re also an incredibly clever way to efficiently describe a person or situation. For example, the lengthy example above is from a quote discussing the very different past of the character Mr. Giles, a very competent scholar: “Giles at eighteen? Less Together Guy, more Bad-Magic-Hates-the-World-Ticking-Time-Bomb Guy.” Though it seems a bit silly, this surprisingly innovative use of titles takes what could have taken a whole paragraph and fits it in one neat sentence. While I sometimes hear people in real life use titles similar to “Mr. Technical” above, I’ve never heard people, real or fictional, use titles so elaborately and so often. I’m excited to finish up the last episodes so I can compile a huge list of all the examples from the show to examine how diverse and useful these strange little epithets are.

For my last post, in a couple days, I plan to examine the word-formation processes used to make new words for the dialogue. I will also discuss how the dialogue was related to the tone of the show and its different episodes as I contemplate the larger significance of my research.


  1. Hi Lindsey!
    As a fan of Buffy myself, it is interesting for me to see you identify all of these words and patterns of word-formation unique to the show that I did not pay any attention to when I watched it myself. I think it is funny, too, because I realize that I use some of the patterns (like the made-up titles and epithets) that you are examining in Buffy. Which is, I guess, part of the reason why you decided to do this project- because patterns of speech from Buffy made their way into every day usage. It reminds me a little bit of how Shakespeare made up so many new words in his plays that are now common parts of the English language. Do different word-formation patterns tend to be used by specific characters, and do new and different words become more prevalent as the seasons progress?
    Good luck with the rest of your project- I look forward to reading your next post!