By: Melanie | December 16, 2014 | (69) Comments


The other day I was talking to be IRL friends about what presents I was planning on sending to some of my fellow bloggy bffls. So there I was, just listing off the things that I was including in the packages.

What I said went something like this: “Books–duh–, a necklace–perhaps a Mockingjay pendant?–, some pens…and some swag.”

Aaaaand their responses are summed up perfectly by these gifs.

And I was like…

 It occurred to be that, us book people have a lot of slang/weird words. Today’s purpose? Decode these slang/weird terms! Just a disclaimer here, not all the below terms and words are only relevant to books, but all my decoded explanations for them are the ones that are relevant to books.


What people think arcs are:

What people’s reactions to arcs are:


What we think ARCs are:


What our reactions to ARCs are:

Also known as Advanced Review/Reading Copies or Advanced Review/Reading Editions (AREs), these are basically what they say they are. Reviewers receive books for review in advance of the embargo date to review and help build publicity around the book and it’s release. Review copies, just happen to books books received for review, but it’s where the book has already been released.


I believe this term is used in racing as well? I cannot be 100% sure but I think I recall picking that piece of info up sometime earlier this year. Anyhoo, DNF stands for Did Not Finish. It’s basically where you don’t finish the book that you’re reading. I don’t know about you guys but I have been DNFing books A LOT since this year. This is mainly because I simply have no time to deal with reading books that are doing nothing good for me.


Also known as To Be Read. In other words, a pile of books that you plan to read in the future, be it the near future or far future. (Those above images were of my books when I redoing my shelves a few months back.)

Book Swag

Book swag are basically things like bookmarks, book plates, post cards, posters, badges etc.

Image credit to Princess Bookie

Book Slump

No, that is NOT when you are slumping against a pile of books. To be honest, that would be very uncomfortable with all the hardbacks knocking against you and the pointy corners of the books jabbing at your stomach. A book slump, or reading slump, is when you no longer feel like reading and you just feel ‘bleh’ whenever you pick up a book. It’s a bit like writer’s block, except for readers.

Book Hangover

Getting drunk…OVER BOOKS! Or a certain book. Basically that period of time after you finish an incredibly good book and all you want to do is stare into the distance thinking about that book.

Book Boyfriend/Girlfriend

Love a dude/chick from a book? WHY NOT MAKE THAT PERSON YOUR BOOK BOYFRIEND/GIRLFRIEND? That’s why we were given imagination. To imagine ourselves having that ideal boyfriend/girlfriend that only exists in a book.


Ship. To the unsuspecting person, that would be that thing people used to ride on to travel overseas. Now flying is more mainstream *nods* BUT NO.

Shipping is derived from the word relationSHIP. Simply put, when you approve and strongly advocate a certain two people. Shipping isn’t just a book term, but heck, I use this word in my reviews pretty much all the time when there is a romance I approve of. Of course, it doesn’t just have to be a romance that you can ship. Friendships etc too!


This term is used practically EVERYWHERE. You can have OTPs in movies, TV series, real life people and books. OTP stands for One True Pairing. Basically, THE ULTIMATE SHIP! My OTP? SURELY, you all know this by now, especially since last time’s random post?





This interesting specimen are many across the population in the world. They tend to be leaning on the crazy side, love hyperventilating and are incredibly dedicated people. This specimen like to come out at night time, for they are nocturnal creatures. Anyone can be a fangirl/fanboy. As long as you fit the above said and are passionate something, whether it be a book series or books in general, or even a certain TV show. This specimen is widespread and has many different subcategories ranging from extreme fangirl/fanboy to super-ultra-uber-extreme fangirl/fanboy.


Book Expo America, guys. It’s SuperNova and ComicCon for us book people. THE PLACE TO BE! I have made it my life goal to go there one day. THAT DAY WILL COME.

So, those are some commonly used bookish words that I have decoded! Do tell me if I missed any that you’d like me to add! 

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Owner (and crazy nut) at YA Midnight Reads
Melanie is one of the totally fabulous bloggers at YA Midnight Reads. She's a 16 year old student from Melbourne, Australia. She is normally found binge watching TV series, reading , blogging, procrastinating or fangirling about how Percabeth is the best ship ever. She's also a lover of caps lock and uses it excessively.

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69 Responses to Bookish Slang Decoded

  1. THIS IS BRILLIANT. When all my friends look at me with blank expressions, I’ll lead them to this post. Lol. Swag has lots of great meanings 😛
    Emily @ The Loony Teen Writer recently posted…Top Ten Aussie Books I Read in 2014My Profile

  2. Biden. Win. Lol.

    I went to BEA last year, it’s an experience that I think every book nerds has to go through. It’s like rites of passage for us. But I don’t think I’ll be going again. Never say never though. 🙂

    Great post, Melanie! Love this. 🙂
    Joy // Joyousreads recently posted…[470]: The Paris Mysteries by James PattersonMy Profile

  3. Now all of these words are what the non-bookish people out there need to understand!I think perhaps as time goes on we’ll end up coming up with even more book slang and then maybe write a book about that…*who knows?* 😉
    Eugenia @ Genie In A Book recently posted…{Blog Tour} Faking It by Gabrielle Tozer: Review/ConfessionalMy Profile

  4. Kyra says:

    Fantastic post, Melanie! I so often say “I ship them” or “They’re my OTP” and my friends and family are just like whaaaaatttt? But I’ve taught my parents and my friends the meanings so they don’t look at me as if I come from Mars anymore. Well, most of the time. 😉
    Kyra recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday #22 – Top Ten Books I Read in 2014My Profile

  5. Haha this is the best XD
    Bieke @ Istyria book blog recently posted…What Tomorrow Brings: What Remains by Helene DunbarMy Profile

    And Percabeth. <3 <3 <3
    But seriously. You nailed it.

  7. HAHAHAHAHAHA BOOK SWAG ALWAYS KILLS MY FRIENDS. In fact, they’ll never let me live it down
    Jess @My Reading Dress recently posted…Let Me Overwhelm You With TagsMy Profile

  8. Awesome post!!!!!!!!! Yes, DNF is used in athletic competitions (running, car racing, etc.) when a competitor does not successfully finish the course. I need to embrace the DNF, I feel like reading slumps come after I’ve forced my way through a book. Loving that My Little Pony gif :p
    Meghann @ Becoming Books recently posted…[Review] My True Love Gave to Me, Edited by Stephanie PerkinsMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Why thank you 😀 ooh, that’s interesting! Thanks for sharing that bit of knowledge with me, girl. I love the MLP gif too! They seem to have a gif for everything.

  9. Love your explanations and I have had similar reactions when talking to non-bloggers and let one of those terms slip in. I love that we have our own little language:)
    kimbacaffeinate recently posted…Holding Holly by Julie BrannaghMy Profile

  10. Jasprit says:

    hahaha I adore this post Melanie! I’m glad that there are so many bloggers out there that understand our terminology, there have been so many times, that I’ve mentioned something bookish related to my sister and she’s just looked at me with a baffled expression. Also I love that baby gif!
    Jasprit recently posted…Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Books I read in 2014My Profile

  11. Love this post Melanie!!! Especially the gif of the baby’s ARC reaction face. SO TRUE:) And I really, really hope you make it to BEA one day, I would so love to meet you in person!!!!
    Jenny @ Supernatural Snark recently posted…Falling Kingdoms Interview & GiveawayMy Profile

  12. Lily says:

    Oh this post had me laughing out loud Melanie. Your GIFS are on point and it’s true that us bloggers have a lot of slang that could be confusing for the average person.
    Lily recently posted…Even in Paradise: ReviewMy Profile

  13. Amber Elise says:

    Yeah I’ve had the ARC conversation, I find it easier to just show them instead of explain WHY I get review copies and whatnot.

    I was super proud of my husband. I told him that I just DNF’d a book and he understood! I don’t think I’ve ever said DNF in real life though.
    Amber Elise recently posted…[Meme]Teaser Tuesday [#50]My Profile

    • Melanie says:

      Right? I don’t even bother telling them what I get is an ARC. I just say: Sometimes I get books in the mail for review before they’re published.

      Then they give me this weird look like “eh?” and I’m just like yeah…NEVERMIND.

      Ooh, good job to your husband! He’s learning the secret language.

  14. Kelly says:

    I need to bookmark this post. Even as a reader, I had no clue about shipping and OTP. I’d love to know where half these terms originated. Like One true Paring. That’s super dramatic, even for someone like me. Oh darling, you’re my One True Paring. I can’t imagine that working too well. So it refers to one couple that you love together that beats all other couples?

    Gosh, I can’t keep up with you cool kids *goes and lays down for a nanna nap*
    Brilliant post poppet, I’ll have to use this as a reference to decipher your cool kids speak <3
    Kelly recently posted…Eren by Simon P. ClarkMy Profile

    • Melanie says:

      BAHAHAHA, Kelly. Yep, that’s basically right. It’s basically your favourite ship, in a way. (because one can have gazillion ships).

      To be honest, the only way I learned these was by joining fandoms when I just started reading books. They threw these words around ALL the time, and I looked them up on the Internet and slowly got used to them.

  15. Fun post! And great gifs- Love the one for a Book Hangover. So true. hah
    ShootingStarsMag recently posted…Discussion Post Ideas!My Profile

  16. Christy says:

    Love this, especially the fangirl graphic 🙂 I didn’t know DNF was used in racing, but that may be because I don’t watch it hehe.
    Christy recently posted…Trivia Tuesday (3)My Profile

  17. Well even I learned something new. We book lovers definitely have our own language don’t we.
    Heidi@Rainy Day Ramblings recently posted…Tell Me Something Tuesday #82: Disappointments of 2014My Profile

  18. blodeuedd says:

    I did not know OTP. I am sure I have seen it somewhere, but heh, I learned something new 😀
    blodeuedd recently posted…A Secret to Die for – Sierra DeanMy Profile

  19. Haha – this post is absolutely fabulous Mel! 😉 My friends aren’t really readers either, so it’s definitely a struggle to find someone to discuss books with, which is why I love the blogosphere so much. 😉 Whenever I start fangirling or ranting about a book, they always look at me with completely blank expressions. I guess next time that happens I’ll just have to show them this post! 😉
    Zoe @ Stories on Stage recently posted…Made for YouMy Profile

  20. Confession: I suck at acronyms, I had to get an app…
    I had no idea what OTP meant so thanks for clarifying 🙂
    And I always thought ship came from the fact that you ‘worship’ a couple…
    Clearly I suck at these bookish slangs, how is that even possible???
    I just heard TBL today which is ‘to-be-listened’ to us audiobook nerds.
    Fun post!
    Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed recently posted…Audiobook Review: Baby It’s Cold Outside!My Profile

  21. I had no idea what OTP mean (my first guess would be over-the-top lol).
    Anyway, great article. I don’t use “ship” very often but I like when others do, it sounds like super secret word that only bookish people understand 🙂
    Lucia @Reading Is My Breathing recently posted…ARC REVIEW: Bad Romeo by Leisa RayvenMy Profile

  22. I lovvvvvve this post!!! I laughed so much, and even learned a thing or two. 🙂
    Lisa @ Lost in Literature recently posted…Review: For Real by Alison CherryMy Profile

  23. Hilary says:

    I feel like chanting BEA BEA BEA out on the streets! This is what the purposes of life are: going to BEA, food, oh and shipping Percabeth.
    Hilary recently posted…Review: I’ll Give You the Sun-Jandy NelsonMy Profile

  24. I’ve had that look before, where you start talking book and all you get in response is a confused face and then you have to explain, thinking to yourself ‘how can people not know this?” This is such a great post and it was so funny, and very informative. Thanks for sharing.
    Rochelle Sharpe recently posted…The Fabulously Festive Giveaway Blog Hop.My Profile

  25. THIS IS SO SPOT ON!!! I’m lucky that my sister knows what I’m rambling about, but honestly, the stuff we say is rather odd… I SHIP IT is totally a real phrase. Everyone should use it. I didn’t think about the ultimate use of swag but yes. haha. That would get odd looks, right?!
    Cait @ Paper Fury recently posted…10 Books Of 2014 I Must Flail Copiously AboutMy Profile

  26. This is amazing! I seriously am going to send this link to every person who asks me what I am talking about (it happens frequently- my mom, my husband, a friend, all like “what on earth language are you speaking?”) so they can read it for themselves! Absolutely brilliant!
    Shannon @ It Starts At Midnight recently posted…Waiting on Wednesday: The Edge of Forever by Melissa E. HurstMy Profile

  27. Love this post, Melanie!!! I remember telling my friends I owned a book blog, then they kept asking me how I receive review copies and how blogging works in general. IT WAS A MISTAKE. Because I had to explain everything and they’ll probably never understand, haha ^_^” Until now, they don’t understand the idea of “book reviewing.” Are your friends like that too?
    Jillian @ Jillian’s Books recently posted…Top Ten Books I Read in 2014My Profile

  28. Haha, it actually took me a lot of time to figure out what the meaning was of ‘OTP’. It’s not as easy as let’s say DNF. I’m always trying to say something else than ‘swag’ because almost everyone thinks about that word like the GIF’s you posted.
    Mel@thedailyprophecy recently posted…5th Annual End of Year Book Survey – 2014 EditionMy Profile

  29. Cynthia says:

    Ha, awesome post. Love ARCs!!!!
    Cynthia recently posted…BOOK REVIEW: An Untamed StateMy Profile

  30. Hahahaha I LOVE this post XD I’ve had to explain the idea of ARCs and book swag to so many people. We were talking about our “ships” in one class and spent the whole period trying to explain to my french teacher what it means to ship people and what OTPs are. There are still some bookish terms I don’t understand… Haha can’t think of them off the top of my head though. Lovely post, Mel <33
    Rachel @ A Perfection Called Books recently posted…The Unproductive ReaderMy Profile

  31. Oh my gosh, I love this post. It’s brilliant, I think I’m going to direct my whole family and all my friends to it so they might know what I’m talking about occasionally! =)
    Nobody@The Story Goes… recently posted…Let’s Talk: To Re-Read Or Not To Re-Read?My Profile

  32. This is fantastic! I will forward this post to my clueless friends. Hahaha!
    Joy @ The Bookshelf Intruder recently posted…Fangirl Collab: “My True Love Gave To Me: Twelve Holiday Stories” Holiday PlaylistMy Profile

  33. Rebecca says:

    So helpful to non-bloggers and especially to those new bloggers! I think if I were to mention swag to a friend, they’d think I was talking about the other kind of “swag”.
    Rebecca recently posted…Dive Into Diversity: Challenge Announcement & Sign-UpMy Profile

  34. HAHAHHA OH MEL I LAUGHED SO MUCH AT THE SWAG GIF. SO MUCH. The ARC ones are totally awesome as well! This is definitely helpful to our non-blogging friends, perhaps we could print it out and stick it on our wall so we can refer to it in our daily speak 😀
    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence recently posted…Contemporary YA Reviews #4 – Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan & Red at Night by Katie McGarryMy Profile

  35. Hah, I’ve had a couple of people ask me what I meant by DNF or TBR or ARC. I’m kinda proud of the fact that I’m a part of a small community who can relate to these terms that pretty much have been my most-spoken/written words in the past 2 years of blogging 😛
    Faye le Potato recently posted…ARC Review: Last Will and Testament by Dahlia AdlerMy Profile

  36. Haha! I love this post so much! I almost did a post about this the other day after I started using bookish slang in front of my friends and they all looked at me like I was crazy. BUT NOW I DON’T NEED TO. This post is perfect and I can’t stop laughing, haha.
    Reviews from a Bookworm recently posted…All the Bright Places by Jennifer Niven: ReviewMy Profile

  37. Nirvana says:


    Seriously, you’re an angel for posting this :3 Though thank god at least my friends have an idea of what an OTP and ship is ^.^

  38. Sophia says:


    Definitely a post to bookmark for when people look at me all confused when I fangirl about. 🙂

    Also – BEA!!! It is my dream. It’ll be in Chicago in 2016 and I’m in a near Northwest suburb, so I’d like to catch it then. I HOPE. *crosses fingers*
    Sophia recently posted…Beautiful Books #3: The Venice Novel Yet AgainMy Profile

  39. Lola says:

    I think it’s nice to have all these bookish terms in a row. Great post! I recently saw a post on another blogger’s blog and one of the commentators asked what DNF meant, that made me realize how difficult all those terms must be to newbies to the blogging community or people who don’t read or blog at all. And even sometimes to some older ones, I never knew shipping was derived from the word relationship and only recently started seeing it more often on blogs and reviews.
    Lola recently posted…Sunday Post #105My Profile

  40. This post just makes me all sorts of happy.
    So I’ve totally tried slipping the word “ship” in my conversations and the reactions are hilarious. They have no idea what I’m talking about and I’m like, “How do you not know what this means?!” Sometimes I forget we really are in our own little bubble. Also, book boyfriends.. yeeeeahhh, no one else gets that LOL.
    Danielle @ Love at First Page recently posted…Review: WickedMy Profile

  41. Haha, I loved this! Gonna be linking it to all my friends. 😉
    Laura Plus Books recently posted…Book Review: Captivated by You by Sylvia DayMy Profile

  42. Lyn Kaye says:


    Loved the gifs, loved them! The DNF one was just awesome!
    Lyn Kaye recently posted…Book Review: StrangerMy Profile

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