Terminology and glossary guide for fighting games

Guide last updated on
August 18, 2011 at 2:25 p.m. PDT

Street Fighter terminology, acronyms, lexicon and glossary

Most fighting game players have experienced this at one point or another. Someone throws out some terminology that's second nature to them, but you have no idea what they're talking about.

Now hopefully you'll understand them a little better with this guide. To find something specific, just press Ctrl+F to search this page.

General Term Glossary

BnB, Bread and Butter: Refers to a bread and butter combo or technique for a character. Usually this is one combo or technique that almost everyone uses because it's highly effective.

Safe: A move that cannot be punished if blocked. Usually these moves have a very short recovery time, or they stun your opponent for a long enough so that you can block again before they're capable of retaliating.

Poke: A quick and often safe attack that's difficult to counter.

Meaty: This means to attack the opponent as they are standing up in such a way that only the latest active frames of the move strike the opponent. This is really powerful because it allows you to recover faster than normal if the attack is blocked or if it connects.

Cheap, Cheese: This means abusing certain moves that are too easy to do in regards to how powerful they are.

buffering, Cancel, Canceling, Cancelable, Super Cancel, 2-in-1: These mean to cancel the animation of one move to go into another. If something is, "cancelable," that means you can interrupt the animation of this move with another with some form of command. The most popular cancel is a normal move into a special move..

Link: Timing the ending animation of one move so that the next move you do comes out at the precise moment the other one ends, resulting in a combo. For a more detailed explanation see this page.

Chain: A Chain combo is when specific normal moves cancel into each other. An example is Balrog's crouching Light Punch in Street Fighter 4.

Tick throw: To do a quick or mostly safe attack and then immediately throw your opponent. Usually this is difficult to counter and easy to do.

Cross, Cross Up: An attack that makes the other fighter block in the reverse direction they would normally have to. Usually refers to jumping attacks that hit behind the opponent or certain "teleport"-like attack moves that quickly move from the opponent's left to their right or vice-versa.

Zoning: Staying or attempting to get yourself or your opponent into a certain area on the screen that is to your tactical advantage.

Lag tactics: Using/abusing the lag (latency) associated with online play to do tactics that normally aren't viable if you were playing someone face to face.

Dropper, Puller: Someone who leaves online matches when they're about lose before the battle is over, resulting in the other player not receiving a win.

GGs, Good games: Commonly said to another player after a match or a set of matches whether they earned it or not as a sign of respect and good nature.

Scrub: Someone who thinks they're a great player, but actually sucks.

Theory Fighter: Discussing tactics, strategies and theories with other players. Usually it breaks down to people arguing about why a certain tactic is, or is not effective, and offering several reasons for their opinions.

Spamming: Repeatedly doing a move over and over and over again, usually a "safe" attack that cannot be countered easily.

Turtle: Someone who fights in a extremely defensive style, taking very few offensive risks and countering the moves his opponent does.

Rushdown: Refers to a relentless offensive style, mixing it up and attacking so rapidly that the opponent doesn't have time to adapt.

Mashing, Masher: Repeatedly pressing the buttons as quickly as possible, sometimes for no reason or with no sense of purpose.

Priority: A term used to address how well a certain move or attack will defeat others. For example, Chun-Li's crouching Medium Kick in Third Strike is a very high priority move that will beat out a huge amount of other moves.

OTG: Abbreviation for "Off-the-ground". Refers to moves that strike the opponent after they have been knocked down.

Juggle: Hitting a fighter who has already been knocked into the air. Since the opponent cannot defend himself against this, juggles are always counted towards the combo counter.

Sweep: Refers to any normal move that knocks the opponent off their feet.

Negative Edge: In certain fighting games where releasing an attack button can activate a special move just as well as pressing the button can.

Overhead Attack: An attack performed on the ground that must be blocked high.

Reversal: Executing a move as you're standing up. Some games require very strict timing on when you can perform a reversal.

Blockstun: The duration after you block an attack and cannot move.

Hitstun: The duration after you are struck with an attack and cannot defend.

QCF, Quarter-circle forward: To roll the joystick from the down to forward position. Joystick

QCB, Quarter-circle backward: To roll the joystick from the down to back position. Joystick

HCF, Half-circle forward: To roll the joystick from the back to forward position. Joystick

HCB, Half-circle backward: To roll the joystick from the forward to back position. Joystick

360, SPD: To roll the joystick hitting 7 points on it. It's a popular misconception that you have to go all the way around to successfully pull off a 360, when in reality you only have to hit 7 points. Joystick

LP, Light Punch, Jab: The weakest punch button. Joystick

MP, Medium Punch, Strong: The medium strength punch button. Joystick

HP, Hard Punch, Fierce: The strongest punch button. Joystick

LK, Light Kick, Short: The weakest kick button. Joystick

MK, Medium Kick, Forward: The medium strength kick button. Joystick

HK, Hard Kick, Roundhouse: The strongest kick button. Joystick

c.mk, cl.mk, f.mk: Combo terminology example. c. is for Crouching, cl. is for Close and f. is for Far. 'mk' in this example stands for Medium Kick.

Fireball, FB: A general term for projectiles.

DP, Dragon Punch, SRK: This has a double reference to Ryu's infamous Shoryuken, but in modern times the term "DP" or "SRK" refers to the motion itself and can be used when describing any move that shares the "DP motion".

SJC, Super Jump Cancel, HJC, High Jump Cancel: Canceling the animation of a move with a Super Jump.

Teching, Softening: This is when you counter your opponents throw attempt to some degree.

Super Armor, Hyper Armor: Armored attacks can absorb multiple hits before characters can be hit out of them. Super Armor usually works off a hit-point system where a certain number of hits will knock a character out of their move. Hyper armor means that an attack can absorb an infinite number of hits without being interrupted, but these moves are very rare.

Command Throw: A throw requiring a special input to execute. Regular throws can be "teched" as described above, but most command throws are inescapable and offer guaranteed damage.

Dizzy, Dazed, Stunned: When you've hit your opponent so much that they're stunned for a brief period of time and have stars or some other icons floating around their head. Certain moves usually deal more stun than others.

Game-specific terminology

Focus Attack, FA, Saving Attack, SA: Focus Attack, sometimes known as a Saving Attack. This is from Street Fighter 4 and it's done by pressing both Medium attack buttons at the same time. This makes you absorb one hit and then counter attack. Because of the confusion with the SA acronym, most American players try to refer to this as a Focus Attack.

EX-Move: In the Street Fighter games this is an improved version of a Special Move that takes a portion of your Super meter to execute. Doing an EX attack will make you briefly flash yellow.

Super, SA1, SA2, SA3, Super Art, Super Move: A super move is most often a more powerful version of a normal move and usually requires your, "super meter," to be at a certain level to execute. The SA1, SA2 and SA3 acronyms refer to Street Fighter 3 Super Arts. Each one has a Roman numeral attached to it. For example, Yun's Genei Jin has a Roman number III in it, so it would be referred to as an, "SA3," which stands for Super Art III.

Parrying: First introduced in Street Fighter 3. It's done by tapping forward for high attacks and down for low attacks at the moment of impact. It enables the person who parries to avoid damage or to counter-attack without block or hit stun.

Red Parrying, Guard Parrying: A technique in Street Fighter 3 where you parry out of continuous blockstun. For example, if Ryu did a crouching Medium Kick canceled into a fireball, a parry of the fireball would be a red parry since you're still in blockstun when you do it.

FADC, Focus Attack and Dash Cancel: A term used in Street Fighter 4 where you do a Focus Attack and then cancel it with a Dash.

Armor Breaking Move: An attack in Street Fighter 4 that can crush armored moves automatically. Reversals in Street Fighter 4 break armor, and every character has at least one special move that blows through Focus Attacks.

Burst, Mega Crash: A technique that can force the opponent's combo to end through an explosion of energy.


Balrog Balrog, Boxer, M. Bison (Japan): Balrog's name was changed from M(ike). Bison when Street Fighter 2 was released in the United States because Capcom was afraid of a lawsuit from Mike Tyson, whom Balrog closely resembles.

Thus in some circles he's simply known as the "Boxer" to avoid confusion.

M. Bison M. Bison, Dictator, Vega (Japan): When Street Fighter 2 was pitched to Capcom USA's marketing department, they believed that the name Vega was a weakling's name.

As such his name was changed from Vega in the Japanese release to M. Bison. To avoid confusion people refer to him as the "Dictator."

Vega Vega, Claw, Balrog (Japan): Originally known as Balrog in the Japanese release of Street Fighter 2, Vega had his name changed along with two other boss characters.

To avoid confusion people refer to him as the "Claw."

Shotos, Shotokans: Used to define characters in a game that fight in the Shotokan karate style, usually Ryu and Ken and anyone with a similar move set, like Akuma.


SF2 WW: Street Fighter 2 The World Warrior.

SF2 CE: Street Fighter 2 Champion Edition.

SF2 HF, Turbo: Street Fighter 2 Hyper Fighting.

SSF2: Super Street Fighter 2.

SSF2T, ST: Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo.

SFA, Alpha: Street Fighter Alpha.

SFA2, Alpha 2: Street Fighter Alpha 2.

SFA3, Alpha 3: Street Fighter Alpha 3.

XvsSF: X-Men vs. Street Fighter

MvsSF, MSHvsSF: Marvel Super Heroes vs. Street Fighter

MvC, MvC1: Marvel vs. Capcom

MvC2: Marvel vs. Capcom 2

MvC3: Marvel vs. Capcom 3

UMvC3: Ultimate Marvel vs. Capcom 3

CvS: Capcom vs. SNK

CvS2: Capcom vs. SNK 2

CvS2 EO: : Capcom vs. SNK 2 EO (XBox, GameCube)

SF3: Street Fighter 3, New Generation

SF3, 2i: Street Fighter 3, 2nd Impact

SF3, 3s: Street Fighter 3, 3rd Strike

SF4, SFIV, Vanilla: Street Fighter 4

SSF4, SSFIV, Super, Super SF4: Super Street Fighter 4

SSF4 AE, AE: Super Street Fighter 4 Arcade Edition

SSF2THD, HD Remix, SSF2T HD, SF2HD: Super Street Fighter 2 Turbo HD Remix

TvC: CGoH: Tatsunoko vs. Capcom Cross Generation of Heroes

TvC: UAS: Tatsunoko vs. Capcom Ultimate All Stars

SFxT: Street Fighter x Tekken

TxSF: Tekken x Street Fighter

Contributions to this guide by Panda, DR Jam, yflow and Sleazoid.


MIRACLEfool said on April 22, 2010 at 2:17 p.m.

What is an EX focus attack? Please give me an answer because I have no idea what that is.

andriand said on May 1, 2010 at 4 p.m.

EX focus attack happens when u do focus attack while doing a special move. for example, you do a Shoryuken with Ryu, and at the first hit, u press MP+MK. that should cancel the move with EX focus attack. it drains 2 of your super meter bars, and the main usage would be for canceling moves to continue your combo (using fadc after EX FA), or to prevent your special moves from whiffing.

ibLeo said on October 12, 2010 at 6:44 a.m.

I would categorise "doing moves at random" as button BASHING. Button MASHING is when you know exactly what move you want to do and how to do it, but you don't know the timing (like when you're about to stand up from knockdown, or caught in a blockstring) and just repeatedly do the input in the hope that one of them registers as a Reversal.

Endgame said on November 7, 2010 at 3:10 p.m.

Can someone please explain what a reset is?

cvs said on November 22, 2010 at 1:21 a.m.

They forgot the sf ex series. ex1,ex2/plus, and ex 3.

Kenshiro said on December 19, 2010 at 2:11 p.m.

@ 81 sounds like flowchart tactics more than anything.

@ 83 there was a disclaimer stating not all games would be included. Plus most if not all of the same terms apply.

furytash said on January 21, 2011 at 4:24 a.m.

from time to time i hear the word clutch mentioned...any ideas?

cvs said on January 23, 2011 at 3:33 p.m.

@85 Isn't clutch for a vehicle?

Arkhitect said on January 23, 2011 at 9:10 p.m.

I can't believe I'm saying this but "to go clutch" is to suddenly have all your skill come out to win a match in one fell swoop. Another saying that means the same thing is to "pull out all the stops" and do your absolute best, except for going clutch usually means you win.

Doktor42 said on February 13, 2011 at 5:14 a.m.

@ 77

OTG - Off the ground is a move that hits the opponent while their lying on the ground after getting knocked down.

evil_jeenyus said on October 10, 2011 at 12:02 p.m.

DHC isn't even in here

ddrt said on February 26, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.

Need to expand this to cover 3-D games if you're going to link from SCV and the like. For example "What does 'LI' mean or '~' mean inside of the notation?" That is not covered in this information. Further example "what does 'BE' mean?" a lot of notations like this are used commonly if not in most high damaging combos and newer players will not be able to understand the notation that is given if it's not listed.

protoman89 said on March 12, 2012 at 1:11 p.m.


MINI said on March 14, 2012 at 9:20 a.m.

What about footsies?

chubbyfingerz said on August 25, 2012 at 12:52 p.m.

What does it mean you have "xx" on a combo?

Atemu69 said on September 21, 2012 at 3:01 p.m.

QCF: Quarter-circle forward. QcU: Quarter-circle up. "xx" is a blank spot I am assuming, I've never seen anything noted as such, though. Footsies is referring to poking, generally with feet.

Oracle_Orthros said on November 6, 2012 at 9:42 a.m.

"xx" - signals a canceled move.

A standard cancel with Ryu in nearly every Street Fighter game is to cancel crouching medium kick into hadoken (quarter-circle forward punch). It would be noted: "cr.mk xx qcf.p".

pizzamonkey5 said on December 5, 2012 at 11:30 a.m.

idk if i just missed it or didnt see it, but what about CADC(charge attack dash cancel) ive mostly heard this term from SFXT pros or even a name from common sense from ogres i think 19th trial where you have to dash from charging his indigo punch. If its not real, dont you think it should be? i bet there are other games out there with CADCable moves, i just cant think of any at the top of my head

TheB0a said on March 5, 2013 at 11:08 p.m.


The hell do these mean /

TheLaw said on April 15, 2013 at 7:37 a.m.

@13 TAC=Team Aerial Counter (UMvC3) Plinking is when you deliberately input another button while doing the regular input almost at the same time to give you an extra frame to do the link afterwards. Say Ryu has a really hard link (1-frame) if you plink correctly it'll be a 2-frame link. A Reset is when someone either drops a combo on purpose or does a setup to put you in a certain situation.

TheLaw said on April 15, 2013 at 7:38 a.m.

Team Aerial Combo

Jalenp69 said on April 21, 2013 at 5:04 a.m.

What about Fuzzy Guard? It's used all the time and I never know what it means.

Jalenp69 said on April 21, 2013 at 5:11 a.m.

Actually I just found it out. I skimmed through this page several times and didn't see it, but maybe I missed it. If it isn't here though I think it could added?

sergio_reyes_ said on August 5, 2013 at 5:12 p.m.

good blog I always say in many other forums practice is important games and characters

tkpc621 said on January 5, 2014 at 6:46 p.m.

Akuma(Gouki) could be added to the character section.

MightyAfro said on January 10, 2014 at 3:04 p.m.

On the concept of super armor I only recently learned about it, and found out josuke uses it in jjba asb , however, I get knocked out of it before I can use it, by that multifunction thing


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