Dictionary of Fandom Terminology

An avid fan who is also an academic scholar. The quintessential Aca Fan is Professor Henry Jenkins, author of Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Culture, and Textual Poachers, Television Fans and Participatory Culture. Professor Jenkins is a self-described Aca-Fan. Fans looking for an intellectual way of explaining their fandom participation should check out his blog for inspiration, Confessions of an Aca-Fan: The Official Weblog of Henry Jenkins

Alternate Universe. Fan fiction that makes major changes to the canon of the original work.

Bad A$$MF’er.  Used to describe an impressive character.

Refers to the official source material that is the basis for a fan fiction work.

This term is short for “costume play.” Cosplayers were costumes and pretend to be fictional characters.

Groups of fans within a larger fandom who are divided based on fan preferences.

An active community of fans of a creative work (e.g., television series, book, movie) and their activities (e.g., creating fan fiction, fan art, cosplay.

Fan Sites
Websites where avid fans discuss shows and share fan fiction and fan art.

Term TV JURISTE made up for feminists who are avid TV fans, but who are much too grown, sexy, and feminist to be called fangirls.

One True Pair. Refers to two characters whom fans or factions consider unquestionable soul mates.

Refers to a romantic relationship between two characters. Fans who want to see two characters get together romantically are said to “ship” those characters. “Shippers” are factions within a fandom who ship two particular characters. If this terminology had existed when Sex and the City first aired, shipper wars would have been fought between factions who wanted to see Carrie stay with sweet, lovable Aiden and those who were just as adamant that Carrie had to end up with her “soul mate” the abso-f’in-lutely aloof Mr. Big. (For the record, TV JURISTE is #TeamMrBig4Evah).

Sinking a Ship
“Sinking a Ship” When the creator of the work says a particular ship is not consistent with the canon or will never happen.  For example, many in the Harry Potter fandom were disappointed when J.K. Rowling sunk the ship between Harry and Hermione by having Hermione pair up with Ron instead. 

Trollando Jones
Nickname for Orlando Jones, star of Sleepy Hollow and an active participant in the fandom world.

Popular social networking site for many committed members of TV fandom.

Another popular online spot for TV fandom.

Word of God
Statement from someone considered an authority on the canon for a particular fandom (e.g., the executive producer of the show or the author of the source material that was the basis for the show).

Constructing the universe that will be the basis for the canon of a particular creative work.