A Smash Bros. Vocabulary Guide (Common Phrases and Terms)

Introduction

I’ve talked a lot about Smash Bros. on this website. In those posts, I’ve used various terminology relating to mechanics and moves. It didn’t occur to me that people who played the game wouldn’t be familiar with those terms so I rarely explained what those terms meant, if ever. But, as it turns out, there definitely are Smash players out there who don’t know what “dair” or “f-smash” means. Huge world.

With that knowledge, I don’t want to cause any confusion and misunderstandings with readers, whether they play Smash or are just looking into a Smash article out of curiosity, but at the same time I’d like to talk about Smash at any level possible. That’s why I decided to make a list explaining the vocabulary revolving around the game. 

The terms you’ll see on this list are ones exclusive to Smash. So while terms like “hitboxes” and “i-frames” do apply to Smash, I won’t be explaining those kinds of terms since they apply to pretty much every fighting game.

Also, this list will focus on words and phrases that could be considered very common. In a Smash video with commentary, almost all of these words are bound to come up frequently. Hopefully this helps you understand some of the words that are said.

Common Phrases and Terms Used In Smash Bros.

  • F-Tilt/Forward-Tilt
    • “F-Tilt” or “Forward -Tilts” refers to the attack of a character performed by pressing the A button after tilting their control stick forward.
  • Up-Tilt/U-Tilt
    • “Up-Tilt” or “U-Tilt” refers to the attack of a character performed by pressing the A button after tilting their control stick upward.
  • Down-Tilt/D-Tilt
    • “Down-Tilt” or “D-Tilt” refers to the attack of a character performed by pressing the A button after tilting their control stick downward.

Since Smash is a game where attacks are different based on the direction you tilt the control stick, a lot of the shortened terms referring to attacks are very similar. You can use the above terms and be able to determine the meaning of other terms referring to other forms of attacks. Here’s an explanation on some of those other attacks, followed by examples.

  • B
    • In Smash terminology, the letter “B” refers to Special moves, as those are usually performed by pressing the B button of a controller (Up-B, Side-B, etc.).
  • Smash
    • A “Smash” attack is another kind of attack, performed by flicking the control stick and pressing the Attack button at the same time. These are generally much stronger than tilts and can be charged up to be even stronger (F-Smash, Up-Smash, etc.).
  • Air/Aerial
    • An aerial refers to an attack performed by pressing the Attack button in the air. In referencing the attack, it’s usually shortened with a letter followed by “air” (Fair, Up-Air, Dair, etc.).
  • Throw
    • A throw is done when tilting the control stick after grabbing an opponent (F-Throw, Back-Throw, etc.)
  • Neutral
    • In terms of attacks, a “Neutral” attack is an attack performed without tilting the control stick in a direction. 

The word “neutral,” when used just refers to Special and Aerial moves, as other forms of neutral attacks have an entirely different name to them. Here are other “Neutral” attacks.

  • Pummel
    • An action performed by pressing the Attack button during a grab.
  • Jab
    • An attack performed by pressing the A button without moving the control stick.

There are two variations of the jab attack.

  • Rapid jab
    • A jab performed by repeatedly pressing the Attack button, unleashing a flurry of attacks (only available to some characters).
  • Gentleman jab 
    • A jab performed by either timing the Attack button presses or holding the Attack button on the second press (also only available to some characters, and usually only refers to characters that also have the rapid jab).

With the common attack terms out of the way, here’s some other general words to end it off on.

  • DI
    • “DI” means “directional influence,” which refers to the manipulation of the direction a character is sent from an attack from tilting the control stick.
  • SDI
    • SDI means “Smash directional influence,” which refers to the manipulation of the direction a character is sent from an attack by repeatedly flicking the control stick (mainly useful for multi-hit moves).
  • Blastzones
    • The blastzones are the areas of a stage where a character is knocked out when making contact with them, typically being the edges of the screen.
  • Recovery
    • Recovery refers to the act or ability of making it back onto the stage from being knocked off.
  • Edgeguard
    • Edgeguard refers to the act or ability of preventing a character from making it back onto the stage or grabbing the ledge.
  • Tech
    • In Smash, a tech is when a character quickly recovers after either falling to the ground or being launched against a hard surface.

Conclusion

I believe that’s it for the common Smash terms. Some people say Smash is a game that’s easy to learn and hard to master, and I feel like the vocabulary revolving around the game oddly reflects that. If you’d like to see more lists explaining more of the uncommon and advanced words used in Smash Bros., stick around here. Let me know if there’s words you’d like to be explained as well, or any terms I missed that could be considered common. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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