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Fandom Lexicon: A

For over a year, we here at Duck Prints Press have been slowly but surely working on a creating a fandom lexicon: a basic dictionary of common terms, abbreviations, and slang used now and in the past in fandom circles. This is, unsurprisingly, a massive undertaking, and we can never hope to be exhaustive, but we finally have gotten far enough along to begin sharing this project publicly!

Starting this week, we will be adding more definitions to our Fandom Lexicon weekly, usually at a rate of one letter a week (though we’ll double and triple up for some letters with fewer terms). And – we’ll be making all these updates into blog posts!

Today, we’ve added the definitions filed under the letter “A” to our lexicon.

Note: future updates will not update this blog post, but will update the main Lexicon page in our webpage Resources.

Did we miss a term? Is one of our definitions incomplete? Let us know, and we’ll take your input under advisement!

Lexicon Terms Beginning with A:

A/B/O: Abbreviation, stands for Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics. See Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics. Note: Writing the abbreviation without a divider is considered bad etiquette in many fandom circles because it looks like an Australian slur.

A/N: Abbreviation, stands for “author’s note.” A note at the beginning of a fanfiction written by the author.

A/S/L: Abbreviation, stands for age/sex/location. In ye olde internet days, it was common for people to try to find hook-ups by messaging strangers “A/S/L,” requesting their age, sex, and location as the initial step of forging a connection.

Abandoned: A work that the creator has stopped updating.

Ace: Abbreviation, stands for asexual/asexuality. The overarching term for people who do not experience sexual attraction, as opposed to those who are allosexual. Read more about the term “asexuality.”

Achillean: An umbrella term for men or men-aligned people who love other men, regardless of the sexuality of the men in question. Read more about the term “achillean.”

Adoption: When the author of an abandoned work allows (explicitly or by lack of response) another person to finish it. In many fandoms, it is considered rude to adopt a work without permission.

AFAB: Abbreviation, stands for “assigned female at birth.” Someone who got ye olde “F” on their birth certificate based on the birth attendant’s judgment of their genitals. Read more about the abbreviation “AFAB.”

AIM: Abbreviation, stands for “AOL Instant Messenger.” A messaging service commonly used in the mid 1990s to mid 2000s. Read more about AIM.

AITA: Abbreviation, stands for “Am I the Asshole?” Both an inquiry and a reference to a popular subreddit. Read more at the AITA reddit.

Allo: Abbreviation, stands for allosexual/allosexuality. The overarching term for people who experience sexual attraction, as opposed to those who are asexual. Can also be used for romance, i.e alloromantic/aromantic. Read more about the term “allosexual” and the term “alloromantic”.

Ally: Typically used to refer to someone who is not a member of a specific oppressed group, who supports and advocates for the rights of an oppressed group. For example, a straight person who supports and advocates for LGBTQIA+ rights would be an ally. Read more about the term “ally.”

Alpha: A secondary gender term used in works with alpha/beta/omega dynamics. While the specifics are up to the writer, some common characteristics of alphas include: larger, stronger bodies; social dominance; a strong sense of smell; eyes that turn red when angry or aroused; hormone-driven sexual “ruts”; and canine-esque genitalia. See Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics.

Alpha Reader: The first person, other than the author, to read a written work. An alpha reader typically offers feedback on plot, structure, characterization, and other such subjective details. Read more about alpha readers.

Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics: an original type of alternate universe created by fandom in which characters, who may be human, part-human, or non-human, are born with a second gender in addition to their main gender. The details of how these worlds work vary widely but the basic idea is that in addition to being born as female, male, non-binary, etc., characters are also born as alphas, betas, and/or omegas, and this impacts their sex lives. Read more: Fanlore; our blog post about Alpha/Beta/Omega Dynamics.

AMAB: Abbreviation, stands for “assigned male at birth.” Someone who got ye olde “M” on their birth certificate based on the birth attendant’s judgment of their genitals. Read more about the term “AMAB.”

AN: Abbreviation, stands for Author’s Note. See A/N.

Angst: Typically used to describe a fanfic that deep-dives into feelings of anxiety, fear, insecurity, grief, and other heavily negative emotions. Read more on about the term “angst.”

Anime: Animated media from Japan.

Anon: Abbreviation, stands for anonymous. Usually used to refer to the person who sent an anonymous communication such as a Tumblr ask or a fic comment.

Anti: Abbreviation, stands for anti-shipper, though it is often used as just “anti” without the implication of being specifically against shipping/a ship in modern fandom parlance. 1. Someone who strongly dislikes [thing], where thing is usually a fandom, character, ship, or kink. 2. Someone who has developed (or been exposed to) a set of restrictive and unrealistic moral standards about behavior and/or beliefs that they apply to all media they encounter and expect everyone else to adhere to as well. Those who do not meet these standards are typically painted as morally reprehensible by the anti community, and they are subsequently subjected to harassment, bullying, dogpiling/brigading, exposure to offline social circles and/or employers, doxxing, and/or threats of real harm, all of which can occur online or in the physical world. Testimony from former antis indicates that it is easy to fall into this behavior but extremely difficult to escape it. Read more about the term “anti-shipper” and it’s subsequent development.

Anti-anti: Someone who hates antis as much as antis hate them. See Pro-shipper (below, pending). Read more about the term “anti-anti.”

AO3: Abbreviation, stands for “Archive of Our Own.” An extensive archive of fanworks maintained by the Organization for Transformative Works, created in response to censorship destroying fanworks and history on other platforms. Visit AO3.

Apologism: Read about the term “apologism.”

Appropriation: Short for “cultural appopriation.” Read more about appropriation.

Archive Warnings: Refers to the required content warning labels on Archive of Our Own. Specifically these are: “Choose not to use Archive warnings,” “None of these warnings apply,” “Graphic depictions of violence,” “Major character death,” “Rape/non-con,” and “Underage.” Anyone who posts a creation to the Archive must include at least one of these warnings.

Aro: Abbreviation, stands for Aromantic/Aromanticism. An overarching term for people who do not experience romantic attraction. Read more about aromanticism.

ASL: Abbreviation, stands for American Sign Language or Age/Sex/Location. See A/S/L. Read more about American Sign Language.

AU: Abbreviation, stands for Alternate Universe. Typically used when a fanwork lifts the characters from a the source material and places them in a completely different reality. For example, placing Buffy and Spike in a story set in medieval times. Read more about AUs.

Avatar: 1. Another name for a PFP, the icon next to a user’s name on a social media platform, forum, or other online setting. Depending on what platform you are using, avatar may be the most-commonly used term for this image. 2. Shorthand for Avatar the Last Air Bender. 3. A sci-fi movie by James Cameron. See also: PFP (below, pending)

AYRT: Abbreviation, stands for Anon You Responded To. In conversation involving one or more anonymous parties, a way of distinguishing which anon is being referred to.

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