10 Marvelous Words From The Marvel Universe

Since famed comic-book writer and producer Stan Lee ushered Marvel into publishing fame in the 1960s, the company has given us beloved characters such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, and Captain America. Fans have lined up to buy comics and watch the movies to the tune of millions.

Marvel has influenced popular culture through a cinematic universe that consists of over 40 movies and counting. Not to mention internet memes, which have been created from iconic moments in the films and are fueled by the constant speculation around predicting which character will get a stand-alone film.

But Marvel also has a unique lexicon in use within its world of cyborgs and superheroes. Keep reading to learn the true meanings of words you’ve heard from your favorite Marvel stories.


This is the title of the Avengers film that came out in 2019, Avengers: Endgame. Endgame (also spelled end game or end-game) is  a real word and not just a name used to chronicle the battle between Thanos and the Avengers.

Endgame, first recorded in the late 1800s, is primarily used in chess to describe the late stages of a game in which most pieces have been removed from the board. It’s also used more broadly for the final phase of any activity.

Given that definition, it’s no wonder the biggest showdown in the Marvel Cinematic Universe thus far was titled Avengers: Endgame.


Any fan of comics will be very familiar with the idea of a multiverse. The multiverse was brought to more attention with the Marvel films Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) and Avengers: Endgame (2019). With so many characters stretched across different dimensions, how else could you make sense of it all?

The multiverse is a very real theory in cosmology used for narrative effect in Marvel comics and films. First used as a term by a physicist in 1952, it refers to a hypothetical group of universes that exist with only slight variation from one to the other. The validity of multiverses, or parallel universes, is still being argued today!

Whether you think it’s real or not, the multiverse opens up the possibilities for infinite Marvel content to enjoy.


While Deadpool looks like a scary mercenary in red, anyone who has read the comics, introduced in 1991, or seen the 2016 film, knows Deadpool is all sarcastic jokes and hijinks.

The origin of the character’s name is also a handy primer on what a dead pool actually is. While it does sound like a fake term, a dead pool is “a gambling game in which a group of people bet money on when someone will die.” These people are most likely celebrities or athletes in a dangerous sport.Deadpool got his name from a dead pool hosted by his local bar. Whoever bet on him is surely losing their money!

Black Panther

2018’s Black Panther was a huge success for the team at Marvel. In addition to being the first film from the Marvel Cinematic Universe to pick up an Academy Award (it won three), it also broke many box office records.Black Panther tells the story of Wakanda, a fictional nation located in Africa. The Black Panther acts as Wakanda’s chief and protector of the rare vibranium it hosts. Debuted in 1966, Black Panther is the first Black superhero in American comic books.

Stan Lee, creative director of Marvel comics and Black Panther‘s co-creator, actually named Black Panther before the Black Panther Party was founded in the same year. The Black Panther Party is a Black, far-left revolutionary party founded to combat racism and empower Black people in the United States. Members are called Black Panthers, and they were active mostly during the 1960s–1980s. It’s a common misconception, as influential as they both are, that the superhero was named after the movement.

"Wakanda Forever!"

On the tails of Black Panther came the phrase Wakanda Forever, which quickly became a meme. Wakanda Forever is the catchphrase of Wakanda, the nation where the hero Black Panther lives. It’s accompanied by a salute: you cross your forearms over your chest, fists closed.


Stars from the film began doing the salute on the red carpet, and soon Black athletes were performing it upon scoring in their respective sports. The phrase is now used as a signifier of Black pride and has even been used by Cardi B on her song “Money.”


This is another word that sounds totally fake, but is a real field of study.

Cybernetics is “the study of control systems and communication in both animals and machines.” In the Marvel universe, this translates to those who have taken machine systems and enhanced their own bodies with them.

There are a few famous cyborgs in Marvel, including the big bad guy Thanos and Nebula from Guardians of the Galaxy (2014). Tony Stark (who has appeared in 11 Marvel films) is a master of cybernetics, as evidenced by his Iron Man suit and his business, Stark Industries.


Though we commonly refer to it as “being psychic,” or having “a sixth sense,” clairvoyance is an ability that sounds like it’s straight out of a comic book. It is the intuitive, supernatural power to know or see things about objects, places, or people.

If you’ve watched Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., Marvel’s spin-off television show, you know there’s a baddie named the Clairvoyant who works for the organization HYDRA.

However, say the word psychic, and the X-Men—a team of mutants—are more likely to come to mind. With psychics, empaths, and telepaths within their team, they are no strangers to the powers of clairvoyance.

"Hail Hydra!"

Here’s another meme inspired by a Marvel film. In the 2014 film Captain America: The Winter Soldier, a covert operative for the evil organization HYDRA whispers “Hail Hydra” into the ear of a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent. This scene spawned an internet phenomenon of taking any image of two people whispering and adding “Hail Hydra” over it.


HYDRA is named after the hydra, a mythological serpent with nine heads that grew two heads for each one that was cut off. Fittingly, the HYDRA terrorists use the motto, “If a head is cut off, two more shall take its place.”

Since it’s the catchphrase for HYDRA, these words have been uttered at other times within the Marvel universe. The next time you’re watching Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., watch out for it!


vigilante is a person who takes the law into their own hands, often shirking proper procedures to avenge a wrongdoing.

In the Marvel universe, vigilante is often sneered at someone as an insult. Peter Parker, or Spider-Man, has received this insult many times. In a broader sense, the word is a label for those who aren’t part of an official organization like The Avengers or S.H.I.E.L.D. They work alone.

Examples of famous Marvel vigilantes who have received the cinematic treatment are Daredevil (2003), Punisher (2004), and Ghost Rider (2007 and 2011).


Embiggen sure has come a long way from its status as a made-up word first used in The Simpsons back in the 1990s. Marvel stans will recognize this word as one of Ms. Marvel’s catchphrases.

The superhero debuted in the comic book Marvel Super-Heroes #13 (1968), but by 2013, four different characters had used the name. The fourth Ms. Marvel, the 16-year-old Kamala Khan, is the one who regularly uses embiggen. Khan appears in the animated Marvel Rising: Secret Warriors (2018).Embiggen is a verb that means “to make bigger or more expansive,” especially in a quick manner. This word definitely applies to the Marvel Cinematic Universe itself.

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