Slang dictionary

Rule 34

or r34

What does Rule 34 mean?

Rule 34 means “If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions.” This is an imaginary law that states that if there’s any conceivable idea that could be turned into pornography, then that type porn already exists. This refers specifically to the immense ubiquity of porn materials across the internet, which cover a wide range of subjects that are considered socially unacceptable or just plain bizarre.

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Related words

rules of the internet, Rule 63

Where does Rule 34 come from?

Examples of Rule 34

“Mr Morley-Souter posted his response online: a cartoon showing his anguished expression as he stared at his screen (not shown), captioned ‘Rule 34: There is porn of it. No exceptions.’”
Unknown, “Pornography (1): A user’s manual,” The Economist (September 26, 2015)
“The list would also spawn a further meme, the infamous Rule 34 (‘If it exists, there is porn of it. No exceptions.’).”
Roisin Kiberd, “The ‘Rules of the Internet’ Reflect an Online Wild West That’s Fading Away,” Vice (February 23, 2017)
“Rule #34: There is porn of it. No exceptions.”
Peter Morley-Souter, “Rule 34,” Zoom-Out (2004)
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Who uses Rule 34?

Rule 34 has become a common reference when a person encounters pornography that they believe to be unusual, extreme, and/or disturbing. Strange sexual cartoons would be included, or non-sexual images that appear to depict genitalia (such a carrot that resembles a penis), are often cited as examples of Rule 34.

Rule 34 has also become an adult drinking game, which involves friends getting together, coming up with a bizarre idea for porn, and then searching for it until someone finds an example—once again, proving the accuracy of this lovely rule.

The concept of Rule 34 inspired a science fiction novel also titled Rule 34, by Charles Stross, which went on to be nominated for the Arthur C. Clarke Award and the Locus Award in 2012.

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Note

This is not meant to be a formal definition of Rule 34 like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of Rule 34 that will help our users expand their word mastery.