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In which John Green teaches you the history of Islam, including the revelation of the Qu'ran to Muhammad, the five pillars of Islam, how the Islamic empire got its start, the Rightly Guided Caliphs, and more. Learn about hadiths, Abu Bakr, and whether the Umma has anything to do with Uma Thurman (spoiler alert: it doesn't). Also, learn a little about the split between Sunni and Shia Muslims, and how to tell if this year's Ramadan is going to be difficult for your Muslim friends. Let's try to keep the flame wars out of this reasoned discussion.

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Hi there, I’m John Green, this is Crash Course World History, and today we’re going to talk about Islam, which like Christianity and Judaism grew up on the east coast of the Mediterranean, but unlike Christianity and Judaism, it's not terribly well understood in the West. For instance, you probably know what this is and what this is, you probably don’t know what that is. Google it.

Past John: Mr. Green, Mr. Green! Why do you think people know so little about Islamic history?

John: Did you just ask an interesting, non-annoying question, me from the past? I think we don’t know much about early Islamic history because we don’t learn about it, because we’re taught that our history is the story of Christianity in Europe, when in fact our history is the story of people on the planet, so let’s try to learn something today.

So in less than 200 years, Islam went from not existing to being the religious and political organizing principle of one of the largest empires in the world.

And that story begins in the 7th century CE when the angel Gabriel appeared to Muhammad, a 40-ish guy who made his living as a caravan trader, and told him to begin reciting the word of God. Initially, this freaked Muhammad out, as, you know, it would — but then his wife and a couple of other people encouraged him and slowly he came to accept the mantle of prophet.

A few things to know about the world Islam entered: First, Muhammad’s society was intensely tribal. He was a member of the Quraysh tribe, living in Mecca, and tribal ties were extremely important.

Also, at the time, the Arabian peninsula was like this crazy religious melting pot. Like, most tribal Arabs worshipped gods very similar to the Mesopotamian gods you’ll remember from episode 3. And by the time of Muhammad, cult statutes of many of those gods had been collected in his hometown of Mecca in this temple-like structure called the Kaaba. But Arabia was also a home for monotheisms like Christianity and Judaism, even a bit of Zoroastrianism. So the message that there was only one God wouldn’t have been like as surprising to Muhammad as it was, for instance, to Abraham.

Also, and this will become very important, the northern part of Arabia was sandwiched between the Byzantine Empire and the Persian Sassanian Empire — and you’ll remember, those guys were always fighting. They were like snowboarders and skiers, or like the Westboro Baptist Church and everyone else.

At its core, Islam is what we call a radical reforming religion — just like Jesus and Moses sought to restore Abrahamic monotheism after what they perceived as straying, so too did Muhammad. Muslims believe that God sent Muhammad as the final prophet to bring people back to the one true religion, which involves the worship of, and submission to, a single and all-powerful God.

The Quran also acknowledges Abraham and Moses and Jesus among others as prophets, but it’s very different from the Hebrew and Christian bibles. For one thing it’s much less narrative, but also its the written record of the revelations Muhammad received — which means its not written from the point of view of people, it is seen as the actual word of God.

The Quran is a really broad-ranging text, but it returns again and again to a couple themes. One is strict monotheism, and the other is the importance of taking care of those less fortunate than you. The Quran says of the good person "spends his substance — however much he himself may cherish it — upon his near of kin, and the orphans, and the needy, and the wayfarer, and the beggars, and for the freeing of human beings from bondage".

These revelations also radically increased the rights of women and orphans, which was one of the reasons why Mohammad’s tribal leaders weren’t that psyched about them. To talk more about Islamic faith and practice, let’s go to the Thought Bubble.

The five pillars of Islam are the basic acts considered obligatory, at least by Sunni Muslims. First is the shahada, or the profession of the faith: There is no god but god and Muhammad is God’s prophet, which is sometimes translated as “There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is Allah’s prophet”, which tries to make Muslims sound other and ignores the fact that the Arabic word for God — whether you are Christian or Jewish or Muslim — is Allah.

Second, salat, or ritual prayer five times a day — at dawn, noon, afternoon, sunset, and late evening — which are obligatory unless you haven’t hit puberty, are too sick, or are menstruating. Keep it PG, Thought Bubble.

Third, sawm, the month-long fast during the month of Ramadan, in which Muslims do not eat or drink or smoke cigarettes during daylight hours. Since Ramadan is a lunar-calendar month, it moves around the seasons, and obviously it’s most fun during the winter, when the days are shorter, and least fun during the summer, when days are both long and hot.

Fourth is zakat, or almsgiving, in which non-poor Muslims are required to give a percentage of their income to the poor.

And lastly hajj, the pilgrimage to Mecca that Muslims must try to fulfill at least once in their lives, provided they are healthy and have enough money.

And there’s also more to understanding Islam than just knowing the Quran. Like Judaism with its Talmud, and Christianity with its lives of saints and writings of Church fathers, Islam has supplementary sacred texts, chief among which is the Hadith, a collection of sayings and stories about the Prophet. Thanks Thought Bubble. Oh, it’s time for the open letter?

Magic! An Open Letter to the 72 Virgins.

Oh, but first let’s check what’s in the Secret Compartment. Huh, it’s Andre the Giant. Did you know that Andre the Giant died a virgin- is a fact that I made up?

Dear 72 Virgins,
Hey there, it’s me, John Green. Did you know that not all Hadiths were created equal? Some sayings of the Prophet are really well sourced, like, for instance, a good friend or a relative heard the Prophet say something and then it ended up as a Hadith. But some Hadiths are terribly sourced like, not to be irreverent, but some of it is like middle school gossip; like Rachel told Rebekah that her sister’s brother’s friend kissed Justin Bieber on the face.

And the vast majority of Muslims don’t treat terribly sourced Hadiths as scripture. And the idea that you go to heaven and get 72 virgins is not in the Quran; it’s in a terribly sourced Hadith so it is my great regret to inform you, 72 Virgins, that in the eyes of almost all Muslims, you do not exist.

Best wishes, John Green

One more thing about Islam: Like Christianity and Judaism, it has a body of law. You might have heard of it — it’s called Sharia. Although we tend to think of Sharia as this single set of laws that all Muslims follow, that’s ridiculous; there are numerous competing ideas about Sharia, just as there are within any legal tradition.

So people who embraced this worldview were called Muslims, because they submitted to the will of God, and they became part of the ummah, or community of believers. This would be a good moment for an Uma Thurman joke, but sadly she is no longer famous. I’m sorry if you’re watching this, Uma Thurman. Being part of the ummah trumped all other ties, including tribal ties, which got Muhammad into some trouble and brings us, at last, back to history.

So as Muhammad’s following in Mecca grew, the ummah aroused the suspicion of the most powerful tribe, the Quraysh. And it didn’t matter that Muhammad himself was born into the Quraysh tribe, because he wouldn’t shut up about how there was only one God, which was really bad news to the Quraysh tribe, because they managed the pilgrimage trade in Mecca, and if all those gods were false, it would be a disaster economically. Although come to think of it, in the end the Meccan pilgrimage business turned out just fine.

So the Quraysh forced Muhammad and his followers out of Mecca in 622 CE, and they headed to Yathrib, also known as Medina. This journey, also know as the Hijra, is so important that it marks year 0 in the Islamic calendar. In Medina, Muhammad severed the religion’s ties to Judaism, turning the focus of prayer away from Jerusalem to Mecca.

Also in Medina, the Islamic community started to look a lot more like a small empire than like a church. Like, Jesus never had a country to run. But Muhammad did almost from the beginning. And in addition to being an important prophet, he was a good general, and in 630, the Islamic community took back Mecca. They destroyed all those idols in the Kaaba, and soon Islam was as powerful a political force in the region as it was a religious one.

And it’s because the political and religious coexisted from the beginning, that there’s no separate tradition of civic and religious law like there is in Christianity and Judaism.

So then when Muhammad died in 632 CE, there wasn’t a religious vacuum left behind: Muhammad was the final prophet, the revelation of the Quran would continue to guide the ummah throughout their lives.

But the community did need a political leader, a caliph. And the first caliph was Abu Bakr, Muhammad’s father-in-law, who was not without his opponents. Many people wanted Ali, Muhammad’s son-in-law, to lead the community, and although he did become the fourth caliph, that initial disagreement — to radically oversimplify because we only have ten minutes — began the divide between the two of the major sects of Islam: Sunni and Shi’a.

And even today, Sunnis Muslims believe Abu Bakr was rightly elected the first caliph and Shi’a Muslims believe it should’ve been Ali. To Sunnis, the first four caliphs — Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman, and Ali — are known as the Rightly Guided Caliphs, and many of the conservative movements in the Islamic world today are all about trying to restore the Islamic world to those glory days, which — like most glory days — were not unambiguously glorious.

Abu Bakr stabilized the community after Muhammad’s death, and began the process of recording the Quran in writing, and started the military campaigns against the Byzantine and Sassanian Empires that within 116 years would allow the Islamic Empire to go from this to this.

His successor Umar was both an uncommonly good general and a brilliant administrator, but like so many other great men, he proved terrible at avoiding assassination. Which led to the caliphate of Uthman, who standardized the Quran and continued both his predecessor’s tradition of conquest and his predecessor’s tradition of getting assassinated.

Then Ali finally got his turn at caliph, but his ascension was very controversial, and it ultimately led to a civil war. Which eventually led to the emergence of Uthman’s tribe, the Umayyads, as the dynasty ruling over an ever-expanding Islamic Empire for more than a hundred years.

It’s common to hear that in these early years Islam quote "spread by the sword", and that’s partly true, unless you are — wait for it — the Mongols. Actually, as usual, the truth is more complicated. Many people, including the Mongols, but also including lots of people in Central and East Asia, embraced Islam without any military campaigns.

And in fact, the Quran says that religion must not be an act of compulsion, but this much is true: the early Islamic empire was really good at winning wars. And situated as they were between two very wealthy empires — the Byzantines and the Sassanians — there was plenty to fight for.

The first to fall was the Sassanians, the last non-Muslim successor to the Persian Empire. They were relatively easy pickings because they’d been fighting the Byzantines for like 300 years and they were super tired. Also they had recently been struck by plague. Plague, man, I’m telling you: It’s like the red tortoise shell of history.

But in those early days, they did pry away some valuable territory like Egypt and the holy land and eventually they got into Spain, where various Muslim dynasties would entrench themselves until being expelled in 1492. But as a good as they were at making war, it’s still tempting to chalk up the Arabs’ success to, you know, the will of God.

And certainly a lot of the people they conquered felt that way. Wars in this part of the world didn’t just pit people against each other, they also pitted their gods against each other. So while the Islamic Empire didn’t require its subjects to convert to Islam, their stunning successes certainly convinced a lot of people that this monotheism thing was legit. Once again, John Green proving super hip to the slang of today’s young’ns. Also, you paid lower taxes if you converted, and just as taxes on cigarettes lead to people not wanting to smoke, taxes on worshipping your idols lead to people not wanting to worship them anymore.

So in a period of time that was, historically speaking, both remarkably recent and remarkably short, a small group of people from an area of the world with no natural resources managed to create one of the great empires of the world and also one of its great religions. And that very fact may be why people of Western European descent remain largely ignorant about this period.

Not only were the Muslims great conquerors, they spawned an explosion of trade and learning that lasted hundreds of years. They saved many of the classic texts that form the basis of the “Western Canon” while Europe was ignoring them, and they paved the way for the Renaissance.

While it’s important to remember that much of the world between Spain and the Indus River wasn’t Arabized, most of it was so thoroughly Islamicized that these days we can’t think of the world we now call the Middle East without thinking of it as Islamic. Perhaps the greatest testimony to Islam’s power to organize peoples lives and their communities is that, in Egypt, 5 times a day, millions of people turn away from the Pyramids and toward Mecca. Egypt, birthplace to one of the longest continuous cultures the world has ever known, is now the largest Arab country in the world.

Next week we’ll talk about the Dark Ages. Spoiler alert: they were darkest in the evening.

Thanks for watching, and we’ll see you next time.

Crash Course is produced and directed by Stan Muller, our script supervisor is Danica Johnson. The show is written by my high school history teacher Raoul Meyer and myself and our graphics team is Thought Bubble.

Last week’s Phrase of the Week was “They Might Be Giants”. If you want to guess this week’s Phrase of the Week or suggest future ones you can do so in comments where you can also ask questions about today’s video that our team of historians will endeavor to answer.

Thank you so much for watching and as they say in my hometown, Don't Forget To Be Awesome.

Over the past 7+ years, Nerdfighteria has developed quite a unique vocabulary. And we know, we know, sometimes it’s hard to keep track of it all. That’s why we’ve created the Nerdfighter Lexicon!

Compiled and authored by dozens of nerdfighters, below you will find the most comprehensive dictionary of Nerdfighter-specific terms, phrases, and definitions — from An Abundance of Katherines to Zombicorns!

Any text that is underlined denotes that there is a lexicon entry for that word/phrase.



  • Abundance of Katherines, An – (n.) John’s second novel. Published in 2006 by Dutton and Speak. A finalist for the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award.
  • Accio Deathly Hallows – (n.) A song by Hank, which was featured on the front page of YouTube (when that was a thing) in July 2007. This greatly increased the number of subscribers to the vlogbrothers channel. Contains surprisingly accurate predictions about the plot of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. The wrock band Harry and the Potters have taken to encouraging Hank to play the song as often as possible.
  • Acronym – (n.) An abbreviation formed from the initial letters of other words and pronounced as a word. (e.g., PIN – personal identification number). Not to be confused with an initialism.
  • Acrophobia – (n.) The irrational fear of heights, from which John suffers. He once stood on a table, in order to secure $5000 for charity. He also went onto the froghopper.
  • Aero Fighters – (n.) A videogame that John discovered in an airport arcade. He mistook the name to read Nerd Fighters, hence the name of the Nerdfightercommunity. For his birthday in 2013, Hank gave John his own stand up Aero Fighters cabinet. It currently resides in the office in Indianapolis.
  • AFC Wimbledon – (n.) The real life football/soccer team that the Nerdfighters sponsor. Its ground is called Kingsmeadow, and is located in Kingston upon Thames, London. Its manager is Neal Ardley and it is currently situated in League Two, the fourth tier of English football. Founded 30th May 2002.
  • AFC Wimbledon Wimbly Womblys –(n.) The team John currently manages on hankgames when playing FIFA. Advertizing proceeds from the videos go to sponsor the real-world, fan-owned team,AFC Wimbledon. Players include Callum Kennedy, Seb Brown, Ya Bamba and both Bald and Other John Green.
  • Agloe, NY – (n.) A “paper town” or “copyright trap” that became real when someone built a general store in the place it wasn’t. It was part of the inspiration for John’s third book, Paper Towns. Agloe, unfortunately, no longer exists.
  • Airports – (n.) All look the same, most containing grey speckled walls. John, and to a lesser extent Hank, spend quite a lot of time in airports, usually making people think that they’re crazy by vlogging in public.
  • Alan Lastufka – (n.) Co-founder/owner and developer of DFTBA Records with Hank.
  • Alaska Young – (n.) Character in John’s book Looking for Alaska. Known for being the best prankster at Culver Creek and having a room full of books. The love interest of Miles Halter.
  • Alice Green – (n.) John and Sarah Urist Green’s daughter, sister to Henry Green, born June 3, 2013. Was almost named by the president of the United States, Barack Obama.
  • All I Am Saying Is Give Peeps a Chance – (n.) Sung by Hank during his punishment in which he had to give out Peeps to strangers on the street.
  • All Star In Our Hearts – (n.) When John was little, he played tee ball. When he failed to make the all-star team, his parents gave him a trophy, the only trophy he got as a kid, saying he was an “all star…in our hearts.”
  • Alvin Lorus – (n.) The protagonist of a story John wrote at age 8, titled It Just Isn’t Fair. He is unpopular and goes on a journey to try to make friends. According to the author’s note in the story “many of the happenings in this story are true.” The story was first read on the vlogbrothers channel by Hank.
  • Ambrosia – (n.) The nectar of the gods; however, in John novel Looking For Alaska, it is actually a mix of milk and vodka hidden away in a milk bottle in a mini fridge to avoid suspicion, despite the fact that if anyone were to smell it, the concoction would be easily discovered.
  • Amsterdam – (n.) Capital city of the Netherlands, setting for a part of The Fault in Our Stars, and one of John’s favorite cities. He, Sarah and Henry lived there for a few months in 2011 while John finished writing The Fault in Our Stars.
  • Anagram – (n.) A word or phrase that is created by rearranging the letters of a different word or phrase. Featured in An Abundance of Katherines. Hank anagrammed the names of United States presidential candidates in 2007 and 2011, ostensibly to determine whom to vote for in the upcoming elections.
  • Anglerfish – (n.) Otherwise known as the “Hanklerfish”, a symbol of Hank’s when John signed his 150,000 copies of The Fault in Our Stars, and also the subject of Hank Green’s song, “A Song About an Anglerfish”. These are often drawn in a distinctive cartoon-style way by Hank.
  • Ansel Elgort – (n.) The actor who portrays Augustus Waters in the movie adaptation of John’s book, The Fault in our Stars.
  • Art Assignment, The – (n.) A YouTube channel hosted by John’s wife Sarah and John himself. Different contemporary artists around the country give out art assignments for the viewers to fulfill and share with the rest of the community.
  • Augustus Waters – (n.) The love interest and secondary main character in John’s The Fault in Our Stars.


  • Banana Pants – (adj.) A term frequently used by John to describe something that is crazy and/or absurd. Often abbreviated to “That’s bananas!”
  • Beckoning of Lovely, The – (n.) A pProject by Amy Krouse Rosenthal in which she beckoned lovely into the world. On 08/08/08, John, Hank, and Nerdfighters gathered at the Bean in Chicago to take part in the first Beckoning event.
  • Beer Sword – (n.) A sword made of beer cans that Ben, a character in John’s third book, Paper Towns, glues to his hand.
  • Bernie Su – (n.) Co-Creator of The Lizzie Bennet Diaries along with Hank. He also served as Executive Producer, Director, and Head Writer for the show. Co-founder with Hank of Pemberley Digital, and Executive Producer and Director of Welcome to Sanditon and Emma Approved.
  • Best Wishes – (n.) A sign-off once used by John at the end of an important phone call. As it is not commonly used, he was not happy once he realised what he had done. His response has been to use it as often as possible in order to bring it into the vernacular.
  • Black Santas – (n. plural) Depicted in John‘s novel,Paper Towns. Literally, Santa memorabilia in which Santa is depicted as black (i.e. of African descent). One of the main characters, Radar, has parents who are obsessed with collecting as many as possible and hold the record for the most black Santas. Also the name of a song about Paper Towns by Nerdfighter and friend of the vlogbrothers, Lauren Fairweather.
  • Blenderized Foods – (n. plural) Originally appeared as a punishment for John on the vlogbrothers channel in 2007. John had to eat an entire McDonald’s happy meal that had been blended into mush. Nerdfighters often celebrate John’s birthday by blenderizing and eating cake and ice cream or other delicious birthday concoctions.
  • BlogTV – (n.) Website on which people can live broadcast and viewers can comment and interact. Used early on by the vlogbrothers before Google+ Hangouts to stream tour stops and discussions.
  • Blurbing Book Club – (n.) A book club where those who have read the specified book summarize it in 10 words or less (occasionally in lolcat form); entries are then put to a vote to determine the winners.
  • Bobble John – (n.) A bobble head modeled after John; 500 were created and sold on DFTBA Records in August 2009.
  • Book Eight – (n.) A song written by Hank on the anniversary of Accio Deathly Hallows advocating for JK Rowling to write the next Harry Potter book.
  • Books Belong to Their Readers – (n.) A saying John uses frequently, often abbreviated to “BBTTR”, meaning that the author has no more information about a book than the reader does, that is, what’s actually in the book. This also means that, ultimately, control of the characters and future plot is given to the audience/reader and they can interpret the story in any way that is consistent with the source material. This is perhaps a modernization, or a more accessible way of explaining Roland Barthes’s theory, ‘The Death of the Author’, and a book specific version of the idea that “there is no privileged perspective on art”.
  • Brain Crack – (n.) The phenomenon that occurs when you have so many ideas floating around in your brain that it kind of makes you crazy. A good way to get rid of them is to get them out into the world. An idea lovingly ripped from Ze Frank’svideo by Hank.
  • Brain Scoop, The – (n.) A natural sciences channel hosted by Emily Graslie, edited by Michael Aranda, filmed and edited by Tom McNamara, and kickstarted originally by Hank. Originally set in the Philip. L. Wright Zoological Museum at the University of Montana, The Brain Scoop currently films out of The Field Museum in Chicago.
  • Brotherhood 2.0 – (n.) The name of the first year of videos on the vlogbrothers channel. In 2007, John and Hank decided to go one year without textual communcation (sic). Instead, they would vlog to each other, each uploading a video every other day (except for weekends). The result? All of this.
  • Brotherhood – (n.) The new name of Brotherhood 2.0 for 2009.
  • Brotherhood 2.1 – (n.) The month of October in 2008 in which John and Hank were punished by doing Brotherhood 2.0 style videos for the month. They were required to make a video every day, and Song Wednesdays returned.
  • Brothers on a Hotel Bed – (n.) This song by Death Cab For Cutie was used in the intro of Brotherhood 2.0 videos. Hank chose it after searching Limewire for “brothers.”
  • Bufriedo – (n.) A deep-fried bean burrito served in the Culver Creek cafeteria in Looking For Alaska. A favourite of Alaska Young’s. Best served one day old.


  • Cameo – (n.) Hank’s cat.
  • Cat Licking – (n.) One of John’s punishments wherein he had to go to a Nerdfighter’s friends’ house to lick their cat, Toby.
  • Charlie McDonnell – (n.) A fellow YouTuber (charlieissocoollike) and friend of the brothers. John has said that Charlie is his favourite YouTuber. He sells his music and merchandise through DFTBA Records.
  • Chewbacca – (n.) Star Wars Wookie who John believes should run for president alongside Han Solo who would be his vice president and chief translator; originally discussed in a 2009 video.
  • Child Prodigy –(n.) A child who is very skilled in some regard, often in chess, music, or general intelligence, like Colin Singleton in an Abundance of Katherines.
  • Chin Waxing – (n.) One of John’s first punishments. He attempted to wax his chin; this resulted in bleeding and quite a bit of pain.
  • Chip Martin – (n.) The main character’s roommate and friend in John’s first novel, Looking for Alaska. Know more commonly as the Colonel.
  • Colin Singleton – (n.) Main character and narrator of John’s second novel AnAbundance of Katherines. As the title of this book suggests, Colin has dated quite a few girls named Katherine, all spelled the same way.
  • Communcation – (n.) (sic) Misspelling of the word communication found in the intro to Brotherhood 2.0 videos because there’s no ‘i’ in brotherhood (also Hank couldn’t get the animation to work right with the i).
  • Conjoined Twins – (n.) One of John’s areas of expertise. He reviewed many books for Booklist magazine about conjoined twins. He also owns more books about conjoined twins than there are conjoined twins currently living – even when you count each twin separately.
  • Context Is Everything – (n.) A good rule for life, also what John says any time he makes an accidental (or purposeful) innuendo.
  • Corndogs – (n.) A hotdog on a stick, covered in cornbread batter and deep fried. Often a traditional food at state/county fairs, or whenever Hank can get his hands on them. Hank’s favorite food.
  • Cows – (n.) A game played during a car ride. Whenever you see a cow, you yell cow. The first person to call cow gains a point, and the highest point-earner wins. John typically loses to The Katherine.
  • Crash Course – (n.) A YouTube channel run by John and Hank that includes educational video series covering Sciences (Biology, Chemistry, Ecology, Psychology), History (World and U.S), and Literature. It was started up with a grant from YouTube and is now funded through a subscription service at Subbable.


  • Daniel Biss – (n.) Resident mathematician and member of the Illinois State Senate. He created and wrote the math behind An Abundance of Katherines. He is called upon whenever the Greens, mainly John, need help with math during their videos.
  • Dave Green – (n.) The third Green brother and first secret sibling who is less successful than his brothers and may or may not actually exist. Conceptualised by tumblr user cybergum in January 2014. Spoken about by John in a video later that week. Also mentioned in thisQuestion Tuesday video.
  • David Foster Wallace – (n.) Writer most famous for his novel Infinite Jest whose work has had a big influence on John (and, John argues, on Young Adult books as a whole).
  • David Levithan – (n.) A friend of John, YA writer, and co-author (with John) of Will Grayson, Will Grayson.
  • Decepticon – (n.) Opposite of a Nerdfighter, AKA someone who frequently forgets to be awesome and increases worldsuck.
  • DFTBA – (initialism) Don’t Forget To Be Awesome. The motto of the Nerdfighters: we try to live never forgetting to be awesome. Can also stand for other things, as seen in Hank’s song DFTBA.
  • DFTBA Records – (n.) A record company co-founded by Hank Green and Alan Lastufka, created to let YouTubers reach their audiences more easily and receive royalties for their work. Also the website selling merchandise from YouTubers. John is a co-owner.
  • DFTVA – (initialism) Stands for “Don’t Forget to Vote, America,” an initiative by the Vlogbrothers and Harry Potter Alliance that encouraged people to take pictures of themselves doing the nerdfighter sign outside their polling place, or with their ballot. Not to be confused with DFTBA.
  • Dooblydoo – (n.) The description section of a YouTube video, also known to be the “about” section on YouTube videos for links and further information. E.g.: “links are available in the dooblydoo.” Coined by Craig “WheezyWaiter” Benzine.
  • Double on Call and Other Stories – (n.) A collection of 4 short stories by John produced as a Project for Awesome perk in 2012. The stories form a prototype for the book John was trying to write for 10 years; which then eventually became The Fault in Our Stars.
  • Dumpee – (n.) One who is dumped. Antithesis of a dumper. People are generally one or the other. John was a chronic dumpee. A term expounded upon in John’s novel, An Abundance of Katherines.
  • Dumper – (n.) One who dumps. Antithesis of a dumpee. People are generally one or the other. A term expounded upon in John’s novel, An Abundance of Katherines.


  • Eat Five Sheets of Toilet Paper While Discussing the Political Situation in Nepal – (n.) In the third vlogbrothers video, John attempted to do this and failed. Hank also has a shirt of this.
  • EcoGeek – (n.) A website created by Hank in college that focuses on environmental technology. It has since become the umbrella company under which many other projects by John and Hank operate.
  • Edward Spoonhands – (n.) Hank’s tumblr, named after a live show on BlogTV in 2008 where Hank and The Katherine decided to see what it would be like if they taped spoons to their fingers. They made themselves spoonhands people, called Edward and Edwina Spoonhands (sometimes called spoonfingers instead of spoonhands). And then Hank wrote a song about it.
  • Effyeahnerdfighters – (n.) A Tumblr blog dedicated to all-things Nerdfighteria. It is run by members of a Nerdfighter friend group called Catitude. Also known as FYNF.
  • Ellen Hardcastle – (n.) One of Hank’s albums, named after a Project for Awesome donor who then named her album after Hank Green.
  • Emily Graslie – (n.) First featured by Hank in a vlogbrothers video and is now the host of The Brain Scoop. Originally worked as a volunteer at the Philip. L. Wright Zoological Museum at the University of Montana. She is now the Chief Curiosity Correspondent for The Field Museum in Chicago, Illinois.
  • Emma Approved – (n.) An adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel Emma in the form of a series of video blogs that follows lifestyle coach and professional matchmaker Emma Woodhouse, her company partner Alex Knightley, and assistant/Event Coordinator Harriet Smith.
  • Esther Day – (n.) Esther Earl’s birthday, August 3rd. A day which acts as a sort of Valentine’s Day for non-romantic love (eg. friendships, families, etc.) in honor of Esther Earl, chosen by her when asked by John. On this day, Hank and John openly, if hesitantly, say “I love you” to each other.
  • Esther Earl – (n.) A Nerdfighter and YouTuber who met John at a LeakyCon in 2009 and helped inspire John in his writing of The Fault in Our Stars. She sadly died of thyroid cancer in August of 2010, but exemplifies so many of the values that Nerdfighteria holds dear. See also This Star Won’t Go Out.
  • Evening of Awesome, An – (n.) A show held at Carnegie Hall on January 15th, 2013, celebrating the one-year anniversary of the release of The Fault in Our Stars.
  • Everyone Poops (In My Pants) – (n.) A grave tragedy about the conundrums of a man (Hank Green) who is cursed with the need for everybody to poop in his pants. Inspired by the book Everyone Poops by Taro Gomi.
  • Evil Baby Orphanage – 1. (n.) In an early vlogbrothers video, John and Hank were discussing what to do if you got access to a time machine: Do you go back and kill baby Hitler, or would it be ethically wrong to kill a baby who has yet to hurt anyone? A Nerdfighter, Brooke, came up with the obvious solution: you kidnap baby Hitler and put him in an orphanage, specifically created to raise evil people as good people. 2. (n.) A card game, based on (1), now available on DFTBA Records.


  • Fake John Green – (n.) A fake dailybooth account set up which posted embarrassing photoshopped pictures of John. It was later revealed to have been run by Karen Kavett. While the original account has disappeared, you can still see all the pictures in on Karen’s site.
  • Fat Sandwich – (n.) A punishment food for John, composed of strawberry-flavored protein and pure Crisco fat served on a hamburger bun.
  • Fault in Our Stars, The (TFiOS) – 1. (n.) John’s fourth solo book. Published in 2012, by Dutton Books. 2. (n.) A major motion picture set to be released June 6 2014, directed by Josh Boone and starring Shailene Woodley, Ansel Elgort, and Nat Wolff.
  • FIFA – (n.) A soccer/association football video game. Played by John on Hankgames Without Hank, first as the Swindon Town Swoodilypoopers, then the AFC Wimbledon Wimbly Womblys.
  • Fishing Boat Proceeds – (n.) A section on the American tax return which John wishes to have filled in at some point in his life. To date he has not. It is also the name of John’s Tumblr.
  • Fitness Challenge – (n.) In 2009, Hank and John (and nerdfighters) were supposed to participate in a series of challenges that promoted healthy activity. It never really took off.
  • Fitness for Nerds – (n.) One of John’s punishment videos in which he makes a workout video, working out the entirety of the nerd body. He does so in a cutoff sweater, a fox headband, green leggings, and purple women’s shorts.
  • Flipping the Pipple – (v.) A term used in the Hank and Katherine play Lego Hanky Potter on Hankgames. It refers to doing nothing of importance (usually holding up your collaborator in a two-person game).
  • Florence Foster Jenkins – (n.) A questionably talented opera singer who dared to suck and played Carnegie Hall.
  • Foreign John Green Books – (n.) Editions of John novels that are in a different language. The cover will often depict either girls, feet, or both, and they are always pronounced incorrectly by the author. Because John owns so many of them, he at one point created a battle between the foreign editions of Looking for Alaska.
  • Foundation to Decrease World Suck – (n.) A 501(c)3 charity dedicated to decreasing WorldSuck. It is also referred to as the bank of Nerdfighteria, and gets a large portion of its funds from the Project for Awesome.
  • Fox Hat – (n.) An item of headgear owned by the character Takumi in Looking For Alaska — Takumi’s proclamation that “no one can catch the motherf***ing fox” has inspired Nerdfighters to create their own fox hats. The fox hat was also seen in a few vlogbrothersvideos.
  • French the Llama(FTL) – (n.) An exclamation one makes when completely and utterly excited (eg. “French the Llama! That’s awesome!”). The phrase came into an existence during the Project for Awesome 2010 when John didn’t know what FTL stood for. Kristen, a nerdfighter, told him that it was short for “french the llama.” John is trying to make this a “thing,” but according to Hank, he has not succeeded.


  • Giant Squid of Anger – (n.) What John becomes when an idea or attitude is completely ridiculous. This also happens to many other people on the internet, especially in YouTube comments. Portrayed by screaming and flailing.
  • Giraffe Sex – (n.) Vlogbrothers videos which feature giraffe sex in the thumbnail are typically more viewed than videos which do not. This has prompted a Giraffe Love t-shirt.
  • Good Morning ____, It’s ___day –  (n.) Typically the intro to any vlogbrothers video (eg. Good morning, Hank, it’s Friday). Occasionally it’s yelled by a crowd of nerdfighters (at gatherings, events, etc) in place of John or Hank. Also the inspiration for one of Hank’s earliest songs.
  • Google Verb Meme – (n.) An internet meme popularlized on YouTube by Hank and Michael Aranda in which you enter your name followed by a verb into Google and see what the suggested searches are.
  • Grapefruit – (n.) A stupid, incompetent, silly, or foolish act or person. (ex: John calls himself a grapefruit after the “hectare” mispronunciation–“It’s one thing to look like a grapefruit in front of Nerdfighteria”) Used as an insult, often self-deprecating.
  • Great American Tour de Nerdfighting, The – (n.) The name given to the vlogbrothers 2008 tour of America, see also Tour de Nerdfighting.
  • Great White Wall of Cow, The – (n.) An obstacle encountered in the road trip portion of John’s novel Paper Towns.
  • Grey Speckled Walls – (n.) Appear in airports. In ALL airports.
  • Guilt Free Three – (n.) Someone in your “guilt free three” is someone you could hook up with given the opportunity without the act being deemed adultery. First mentioned as a free pass list. Helen Hunt is on Hank’s list. Judy Blume is on John’s list.
  • Gus is a Bug – (n.) A children’s book that John remembered having as a child, and that Nerdfighters recreated. The original book was eventually located despite John having misremembered the title.
  • Gussie Audrey Manlove – (n.) A name that appears on a headstone in the Knightstown, Indiana cemetery. First seen in February of 2011, in a video by John. Her identity was discovered soon after. Resulted in Nerdfighteria finding her history and various name changes.
  • Gutshot, Tennessee – (n.) A fictional location which is purported to house the remains Archduke Franz Ferdinand and where Colin Singleton and Hassan Harbish visit on their road trip in An Abundance of Katherines.


  • Hair For Hazel – (n.) A hair donating campaign sparked by Shailene Woodley’s decision to donate hers to Children With Hair Loss after cutting it short to play Hazel Lancaster in the Fault in Our Stars movie.
  • Hank Green – (n.) (See also Who the eff is Hank?) One half of the vlogbrothers. Also known as the brother of the author, John Green. Majored in Biochemistry in college, now a YouTuber, entrepreneur, and musician. He is John’s third favourite band behind The Mountain Goats, The Mountain Goats, and in front of John’s fourth favourite band, The Mountain Goats. Hank has had a major list of achievements including VidCon, 2D Glasses, EcoGeek, SciShow, Crash Course, and many more, all of which can be read about on his website.
  • Hank Green and the Perfect Strangers – (n.) Hank’s band with Andrew Huang, Joe DeGeorge, and Rob Scallon. Their first album, Incongruent, was released May 6, 2014. First featured in “I have a band?”
  • Hank Sock – (n.) A sock puppet version of Hank, not frequently seen.
  • Hankgames –(n.) YouTube channel dedicated to “Let’s Play”-style videos, featuring Hank, The Katherine and John, sometimes playing solo with guest commentaries or in teams.
  • Hankgames Without Hank – (n.) John’s usurpation of Hankgames to play FIFA first as the Swindon Town Swoodilypoopers and then the AFC Wimbledon Wimbly Womblys.
  • Hanklerfish – 1. (n.) An Anglerfish drawn by a Hank. Hank Green invented it and has drawn them on a portion of The Fault in Our Stars signature pages. The animal became associated with Hank because of his Song About An Anglerfish. 2. (v.) To draw a Hanklerfish.
  • Hanko de Mayo – (n.) The fifth of May, celebrated as Hank’s birthday. A play on words of Cinco de Mayo (term no longer used, having been deemed culturally appropriative).
  • Hankroll’d – (n.) This video, performed as a punishment by Hank. His designated punishment was to dress up as Carrie Bradshaw, a character from Sex and the City.
  • Hankschannel – (n.) A secondary YouTube channel used by Hank to post videos that he does not post on the main vlogbrothers channel.
  • Happy Dance – (n.) A dance which expresses happiness. The exact movements vary from person to person.
  • Harry and the Potters – (n.) The first Wizard Rock or Wrock band, fronted by brothers Joe (also a member of Hank Green and the Perfect Strangers) and Paul (co-founder of the Harry Potter Alliance) DeGeorge.
  • Harry Potter Alliance, The (The HPA) – (n.) A charitable organization focused on fighting for human rights and social justice using the most powerful weapon we have: love. Thanks to the help of Nerdfighteria, they were the recipient of the 2010 Chase Community Giving grant of $250,000.
  • Hazel Grace Lancaster – (n.) The main character and narrator of John Green’s book, The Fault in Our Stars.
  • Headdesk – 1. (v.) To bang one’s head against one’s desk to signal frustration. 2. (n.) The act of headdesking. Used by John in question answering videos. On one Question Friday, a non-question said, “Your headdesk was lame,” to which John responded by trying to headdesk better and giving himself what may or may not have been an actual concussion.
  • Hectacre – (n.) A term John used repeatedly in his video on food production in third world countries. The term he meant to use was “hectare,” a unit of land, but since then, “hectacre” has become synonymous with an honest but cringe-inducing mistake only discovered after the fact.
  • Healthcare Triage – (n.) A YouTube channel set up by John in light of the controversies surrounding Obamacare. Dr. Aaron Carroll discusses issues including Obamacare and medical myths.
  • Hectic Glow, The – (n.) A fictional indie band first mentioned in John’s book The Fault in Our Stars which now has a small following of fans who have created a Hectic Glow Facebook fanpage and Hectic Glow merchandise. However The Hectic Glow has yet to create a single track because the group does not exist. Also an original possible title for TFiOS, after a quote from Henry David Thoreau, “Decay and disease are often beautiful, like the pearly tear of the shellfish and the hectic glow of consumption.”
  • Helen Hunt – 1. (n.) An American actress (b. 1963) in Hank’s “guilt free three.” 2. (n.) A song by Hank in which he waxes lyrical about his obsession. Helen Hunt responded via Twitter.
  • Henry Green – (n.) John’s incredibly adorable first child. Older brother of Alice Green. Born January 20th, 2010, as celebrated by Hank here. First video appearance here.
  • Hitler and Sex – (n.) Two examples of “stuff that people enjoy”, according to a producer who once talked to John about creating a television show. In response, John made a “pilot” combining the two topics.
  • Holden CaulfieldHat – (n.)A people-hunting hat worn by both John and the fictional character Holden Caulfield. John also has to deal with its tassel.
  • How to Adult – (n.) A series of instructional videos teaching the life skills that adults need, but have never been taught in school. The show is hosted by Emma (Elmify) Mills and T. Michael (Mike) Martin. John and Hank are executive producers.
  • Humpy Hank – (n.) Hank humping things. Originally appeared when Hank visited the Googleplex and humped their sign. This has been gif’d and added to other objects, becoming a meme. Also made into a fanvid that John later uploaded. As a punishment, Hank had to hump things around Missoula, Montana.
  • Hungry Games, The – (n.) In honor of the movie release of The Hunger Games, Hank and Michael Arandahosted their own Hunger Games. They played Hungry Hungry Hippos while hungry themselves, having not eaten for the better part of a day, then made cookies with either tasty or disgusting food baked inside. The second year of the Hungry Games welcomed a new competitor, Emily Graslie of The Brain Scoop, and involved brownies and a magnetic fishing game. The Hungry Games is now an annual event.
  • Hypochondria – (n.) The irrational belief or fear that one suffers from, or is at significant risk of, a wide range of uncommon diseases. John is a hypochondriac since taking a class in emerging diseases in college.


  • I Am Not An Octopus – (n.) A popular question for Question Tuesday is “Are you an Octopus?” to which John normally counts his limbs and says that he is not an octopus. He then proceeds to wonder if he is an octopus with four limbs amputated, then throws himself against a wall to see if he will stick to it like an octopus. He concludes that he is not an octopus. Also an effective tactic to (not) demolish a wall.
  • I F***ing Love Science – 1. (n.) A science-news focused Facebook page and YouTube channel run by Elise Andrew. 2. (n.) A track on Hank Green and the Perfect Strangers’ debut album, Incongruent, named after (1).
  • I Love You – (n.) A phrase of endearment not exclusive to romantic love. On Esther Day, to honor her, Hank and John tell each other “I Love You,” in an extraordinarily begrudging manner.
  • Ilene Cooper – (n.) An author and editor at Booklist who John refers to as his “fairy godmother” and mentor. She helped him publish his first novel Looking for Alaska, launching his writing career.
  • Imagine Others Complexly – (n.) A theme throughout Nerdfighteria, including John’s novels, in which we are encouraged to imagine others deeply and complexly. It means recognizing that others are more than what they seem with many different facets and therefore more like ourselves that we ever imagined.
  • “Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia” –  (n.)A much quoted phrase from Alaska Young in Looking For Alaska. The phrase was originally said by The Yeti on her first date with John, although this is not a widely known fact.
  • Imperial Affliction, An – (n.) A fictional novel written by (fictional) author Peter van Houten; Hazel’s favourite book in The Fault in Our Stars. It is written in the voice of a young female cancer sufferer, Anna, and notably ends mid sentence with no explanation. It is quoted for the epigraph of TFiOS, redolent of the epigraph of The Great Gatsby, which is also a fictional quote. John said that to him it represented an amalgamation of Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace, and The Blood of the Lamb by Peter de Vries.
  • In Your (or My) Pants – (n.) The idea that adding “in your pants” onto the end of any book title will make it ten times more hilarious (e.g. A Storm of Swords…In Your Pants, The Sun Also Rises… In Your Pants, Looking for Alaska...In Your Pants). Conceived by John’s author friend and secret sister Maureen Johnson.
  • Incongruent – (n.) The first album of Hank Green and the Perfect Strangers, released May 6, 2014.
  • Indian Springs School – (n.) The boarding high school that John attended. His experiences there are the basis for Culver Creek School in Looking for Alaska.
  • Indianapolis, Indiana – (n.) John’s current city of residence. It’s where his episodes of Crash Course & Mental_Floss, along with Healthcare Triage, are produced.
  • Initialism – (n.) An abbreviation as a word where you pronounce each letter. Eg. pronounced “D-F-T-B-A,” not “dift-bah”. Not to be confused with an acronym.
  • Internerdial Dating – (n.)When a Nerdfighter and non-Nerdfighter are dating. See Nerdfighterlike.
  • Is Hank Green Awesome? – (n.) Yes. This question arose when Hank tried googling himself in a video and wasn’t auto-completed, so he requisitioned Nerdfighters to google “Is Hank Green Awesome?” so that it wouldautocomplete.
  • Isaac – (n.) A character in John’s The Fault in Our Stars. Best friend of Augustus. He is played by Nat Wolff in the movie adaptation.
  • It Just Isn’t Fair – (n.) A novel by John, written at the age of 8. It features Alvin Lorus, a self-proclaimed wimp who befriends his “vice-versa,” Rick. In a shocking turn of events, it is revealed that Rick’s father has died. The novel was read live at Leaky Con 2011.
  • It’s a Metaphor – (n.) Part of a(n extraordinarily pretentious) quote from Augustus Waters in The Fault In Our Stars, which became a meme.


  • January 1, 2007 – (n.) The first day of Brotherhood 2.0. Hank records a video at a party in a very ominous way.
  • John Green – (n.) Half of the YouTube channel Vlogbrothers, father of Henry and Alice, husband to Sarah and brother to Hank. New York Times bestselling YA author of Looking for Alaska, An Abundance of Katherines, Paper Towns, The Fault in Our Stars and co-author of Will Grayson, Will GraysonandLet It Snow.
  • Jokes – 1. (n.) Told by Hank Green in several videos, there is a playlist with all of the videos. His current record (as of April 2014) is 54 jokes in less than four minutes. 2. (adj.) A substitute for cool, i.e. That Pizza John shirt is so jokes.
  • JScribble – (n.) John’s signature. Also his rapper name. Was coined byMarion the Nerdfightarion.
  • Judy Blume – (n.) An author who is admired by John to such a degree that he added her to his Guilt Free Three. John’s admiration for Judy Blume is often compared to Hank’s devotion to Helen Hunt.


  • Kafir – (n.) A not-nice word for non-Muslim person, used as an affectionate term for Colin Singleton by Hassan Harbish in John’s novel An Abundance of Katherines.
  • Karen Kavett – (n.) Long time nerdfighter, YouTuber, and graphic designer who has done design work for the Green brothers, including designs for P4A, Vidcon, 2D Glasses, and John’s books box set & website. She was also the mastermind behind Fake John Green.
  • Katherine, The – (n.) Hank’s wife, Katherine Green. She occasionally appears in Hankgames, SciShow, and vlogbrothers videos. Her rarely-updated YouTube channel is elfkwest.
  • Kenyon College – (n.) John’s Alma Mater and the site of much of his development as an adult and writer.
  • Ketchup Pee – (n.) The orange or pink liquid that comes out of the bottle when attempting to squeeze out ketchup. Can be used as an insult.
  • Kiva.org – (n.) Microfinancing organization which facilitates small, crowd-funded loans to entrepreneurs in the developing world. To date the Nerdfighter team has made over 130,000 loans through this organization, to the tune of nearly $4,000,000.
  • Kurt the Punk Rock Nerdfighter – (n.) A Nerdfighter Hank found while completing his punishment of giving away Peeps on the street. Kurt was very nice to Hank and set the Peeps-eating record of 12 Peeps in a minute and a half.


  • Labyrinth of Suffering – (n.) How Alaska Young refers to life in Looking for Alaska. It is a reference to Gabriel García Márquez’s novel The General in His Labyrinth. She asks “how we will ever get out of this labyrinth of suffering?” and answers “straight and fast” while Pudge answers “to forgive.”
  • Lauren Fairweather – (n.) Musician and Nerdfighter who has done songs with Hank and John and has her own YouTube channel. She specialises in wrock music.
  • Lauren Myracle – (n.) A YA author who collaborated with John and Maureen Johnson on the book Let It Snow, a collection of three short stories.
  • LeakyCon – (n.) A Harry Potter convention established in 2009, which John and Hank regularly attend. John met Esther Earl at the 2009 convention. Hank often performs his wrock songs there.
  • Lemon – (n.) Hank’s dog, a retired racing greyhound whose racing name was Tina Fey.
  • Let It Snow – (n.) A YA novel, consisting of a collection of three linked holiday romances: The Jubilee Express (Maureen Johnson), A Cheertastic Christmas Miracle (John Green), and The Patron Saint of Pigs (Lauren Myracle).
  • Lindsey Doe, Dr. – (n). Clinical sexologist and presenter of Sexplanations.
  • Lizzie Bennet Diaries, The – (n.) An Emmy winning modern-day vlog-style adaption of Jane Austen’s novel Pride & Prejudice. It aired on YouTube from April 9th, 2012 – March 28th, 2013. Hank Green is the co-creator and executive producer.
  • Looking For Alaska – (n.) John’s first published novel (2005, Dutton Juvenile). Winner of the 2006 Michael L. Printz Award.
  • Love – 1. (n.) Feeling of strong attraction to a person or thing, classically categorised into 4 types: agape (deep and spiritual), eros (physical and passionate), philia (mental or platonic), and storge (affection and familial). Agape and eros are major themes in John’s books, whilst storge is only discussed on Esther Day (See I Love You). 2. (v.) To exhibit feelings as above, either mentally or physically. The physical expression of eros is also called skoodilypooping.


  • Made of Awesome – (adj.) Emphasizes the goodness of Nerdfighters; when they do something which is particularly special, they will be described as “made of awesome.”
  • Manic Pixie Dream Boy – (n.) Male version of Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Augustus Waters, inThe Fault in Our Stars, has been mistaken for one.
  • Manic Pixie Dream Girl – (n.) A one dimensional female character, the sole purpose of whom is to rejuvenate the jaded male protagonist, often with love. They usually are removed from the story after they have changed the protagonist forever. Many of John’s books are the antithesis of this concept, though some readers mistake his characters for Manic Pixie Dream Girls.
  • Map of the Realm of Narnia – (n.) In the beginning of the vlogbrothers, Hank owned a map that depicted the realm of Narnia, a world from C.S. Lewis’s famous series The Chronicles of Narnia. It hung on a wall in the background of many videos.
  • Margo Roth Spiegelman – (n.) Character in John’s 2008 novel Paper Towns.
  • Marion the Nerdfightarion – (n.) Also known as MarionHoney When John entered a bookstore and signed his name in a copy of Maureen Johnson’s Girl at Sea, a Nerdfighter called Marion went to the same store, hunted down the book, bought it, and filmed herself doing it. She commented about John’s signature looking more like a “JScribble”, thus coining the term. Hank made a remix of Marion’s reaction.
  • Matthew Gaydos – (n.) DFTBA Records warehouse worker and host of the DFTBA Warehouse show on the channel dftbarecords. Can also be found on his own YouTube channel.
  • Maureen Johnson – (n.) “AKA Actual John Green”The bestselling YA author of such books as 13 Little Blue Envelopes, Suite Scarlett, and the Shades of London trilogy and secret sister (see Secret Siblings) to the vlogbrothers. She wrote Let it Snow with John and Lauren Myracle. One of John’s writing partners when he lived in NYC. Organiser of LeakyCon Lit. Inappropriate texter during live videos. Owner of a Tumblog, an official blog, and a twitter.
  • Me from the Past – (n.) John’s interpretation of his past self who he instructs during Crash Course videos.
  • Mental_Floss – 1. (n.) A magazine that both John and Hank have written for in the past. 2. (n.) A YouTube channel where John and various guest YouTubers host a weekly trivia show.
  • Meredith Danko – (n.) Associate producer (formerly intern) on Crash Course (History and Literature). She also works on Mental_Floss and Hankgames without Hank.
  • Metaphor – (n.) John is well-known for these in his writing. Popular on Tumblr for a “drizzle/hurricane metaphor,” from Looking For Alaska (see Peopleraindrizzlehurricane). Also well known for a cigarette metaphor from The Fault In Our Stars (see It’s a Metaphor).
  • Michael Aranda – (n.) A good friend of the Green brothers. He assists with the production of The Brain Scoop.He is also a host on SciShow, does sound design and script supervising for Crash Course, and occasionally helps out with the DFTBA warehouse. He has a youtube channel and a daily vlog channel.
  • Mike Green –(n.) John and Hank’s father, a documentary filmmaker for government and a non-profit nature preservation organizations. He currently handles much of the accounting and financial documentation for John and Hank’s business ventures and is the mastermind behind theTFiOS preparedness pack. See his first appearance in a vlogbrothers video.
  • Miles Halter – (n.) Main character and narrator of John’s first novel, Looking for Alaska whose love interest is Alaska Young. He goes by the name Pudge.
  • Missoula, Montana – (n.) A city in mountainous terrain in the western United States. Current hometown of Hank Green, The Katherine, DFTBA Records, Subbable, VidCon, the studios for SciShow and Hank’s Crash Course seasons, and lots of employees of the aforementioned projects.
  • Mongols, The – (n.) “The exception.” From Crash Course World History, as a commonly recurring theme in generalizations. Also on a t-shirt available from DFTBA Records.
  • Mountain Goats, The – (n.) John’s first, second, fourth, and fifth favourite band. For John’s third favourite band, see Hank Green. They performed with John and Hank at An Evening of Awesome.
  • Movie Magic – (n.) Flashy video editing, including the sudden appearance of a vlogbrother in a different location than the one in which they began filming the video, is highlighted by the exclamation of this phrase, particularly in the early videos. Jump cuts are not uncommon.
  • My Little Pony – (n.) Small horse toys marketed at young girls; they were a favourite of Hank’s when he was growing up (he doesn’t have a favorite pony). Can also frequently be seen in the background of John’s videos.


  • NaNoWriMo – (n.) National Novel Writing Month. November, when many people attempt to write a 50,000 word novel in 1 month. John penned Zombicorns during NaNoWriMo in 2010.
  • Nat Wolff – (n.) An actor who plays Isaac in the movie adaptation of The Fault in our Stars and who has been cast as Quentin Jacobsen in Paper Towns.
  • Nerd Factor – (n.) A contest first used by Michael Buckley as Buck Factor, appropriated by the vlogbrothers first in 2011, and used again in 2013, for which the twowinners made videos on the vlogbrothers channel during John’s paternity leave.
  • Nerd Glasses – (n.) The thick, black-framed glasses that John wore in early Vlogbrothers videos. He broke them after falling face first into the Baltic Sea. The glasses were sold on eBay in 2009 to raise money for the Project for Awesome.
  • Nerdcrafteria – (n.) The name of the Nerdfighter Minecraft server.
  • NerdFArt – (n.) Art created by Nerdfighters about Nerdfighteria. NerdFArt is regularly featured in a special segment of The Warehouse, though it is sometimes forgotten.
  • Nerdfightastic – (adj.) Describing something which is awesome, and so worthy of Nerdfighteria.
  • Nerdfighter – (n.) Someone who, instead of being made out of bones and organs and stuff, is made entirely out of awesome. How do you know if you’re a Nerdfighter? If you want to be one, then you are. (To clarify – a Nerdfighter does not fight nerds. A Nerdfighter fights for nerds.) Term coined after John played an arcade game called Aero Fighters in an airport in video. The font used in the game made the words “Aero Fighters” look like “Nerd Fighters”.
  • Nerdfighter Art – (n.) A tumblr dedicated to Nerdfighter-related art which has helped organize the creation and collection of art by Nerdfighters to be donated to the Project for Awesome as perks.
  • Nerdfighter Book Club – (n.) A book club in which any and all Nerdfighters can take part. It has a history of running for one book, before being forgotten for a year and a half. Books read have included Fahrenheit 451, The Catcher in the Rye, The Great Gatsby, and Behind the Beautiful Forevers.
  • Nerdfighter Gathering – (n.) When Nerdfighters come together in a particular place to do a sundry of things together, such as visiting museums, ice-skating, or gathering in a park. John and/or Hank may or may not be in attendance. Find a gathering near you here!
  • Nerdfighter Lexicon – (n.) A comprehensive dictionary of Nerdfighter terms and language, collaboratively put together by dozens of nerdfighters. It is included on nerdfighteria.com as part of an orientation landing page for new and potential nerdfighters. (It’s what you’re reading right now! Ahh!)
  • Nerdfighter Notes – (n.) Notes, advertising Nerdfighteria, that Nerdfighters slip into John’s books (or other books) at bookstores or libraries. They were invented by Kristina Horner.
  • Nerdfighter Sign – (n.) A gesture where both hands, doing Vulcan salutes, are crossed in front of the chest. It’s often used as a way for Nerdfighters to identify themselves to one another.
  • Nerdfighteria – (n.) The place where Nerdfighters hang out. Its exact location is not known (possibly Winner, South Dakota?), but contains within its bounds, if it has any (See No Edge), vlogbrothers and associated channels, the Ning, Our Pants, and anywhere where awesome is being done, and worldsuck is reduced.
  • Nerdfighterlike – 1. (n.) A state of mutual attraction between Nerdfighters which can be platonic or romantic. 2. (n.) A song by Lauren Fairweather, covered by Hank and Katherine.
  • Neutral Milk Hotel – (n.) An indie rock band featured in the book Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Known for their song Holland, 1945 in the book. Also mentioned in TFiOS.
  • NeverFTBA – (n.) Never Forget To Be Awesome, an expression that plays off of DFTBA, was a YouTube channel used by Hank during the scavenger hunt many years ago.
  • News Sunday – (n.) John’s equivalent of Song Wednesday during 2009, as stipulated on Jan 1st, 2009. John would have to explain clearly and comprehensively a current event of which Hank was probably ignorant. This stemmed from earlier videos like Eat five sheets of toilet paper while discussing the political situation in Nepal, and lead to a tradition of such videos, including ones about Israel, Syria (Hank), and Ukraine.
  • Nicholas Jenkins – (n.) Producer, director, and editor of Sexplanations and all Crash Courses hosted by Hank.
  • Ning, The – (n.) A Nerdfighter forum which used to be the main hub of Nerdfighteria. Now the location of the Nerdfighter chat and Nerdfighter groups.
  • Ningmaster – (n.) A moderator of the the Ning. John first created the term in this video.
  • NIT – (n.) An acronym for Nerdfighter in Training, mentioned by John in the Brotherhood 2.0 video dated July 2nd, 2007.
  • No Edge – (n.) After learning that the universe probably has no edge, Hank began annoying John by repeatedly saying “Dude, No Edge”. Also mentioned in “The Universe is Weird”.
  • Nonexistent Nerdfighter Prize of the Day – (n.) Given in the way of recognition, or “shout out”, to someone who has caught John or Hank’s eye usually by exceptionally increasing awesome or decreasing worldsuck.
  • Notsome – (adj, n.) The opposite of awesome.

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