As with any hobby, or any specialist area in fact, there is some jargon surrounding Lego. This is not a comprehensive resource, of which there are many, but just some explanations of common words, phrases, and acronyms in use in the Lego world and this blog.
AFOL – Adult Fan of Lego. Although the term is ungendered, statistically it’s likely to be a nerdy guy, so there is also the much lesser used AFFOL.
BNIB – Brand New in Box. A set in mint condition that’s never been opened.
clutch power – how well a brick sticks to another brick. Needs to be enough so you can play with a model without it falling apart, but not so well that it’s too difficult to pull them apart.
dark ages – a common experience for AFOLs is that they were Lego enthusiasts as children, but then entered a period of their lives (their dark ages) when Lego was hardly thought of. When they take up the hobby again this is called coming out of your dark age. A major cause for regret is if Mom gave away your Lego during your dark ages.
Erling – A classic brick that supports SNOT techniques. Also called the “headlight brick” or “washing machine”. It is named this (by the community, not officially) after its designer Erling Dideriksen.
jumper – special element that allows offsetting by half a stud distance.
Mega Bloks – fake Lego
MOC – My Own Creation. A model that is not an official Lego set i.e. designed by a FOL.
parts monkey – someone who helps a builder by looking through the Lego pieces to find the parts needed for a build.
polybag – some very small Lego sets come in “polybags”: little plastic bags often found at the counter in your local toyshop.
POOP – parts out of parts. Large parts that could, or should have been made out of smaller elements.
SNOT – Studs Not on Top. Traditional building techniques tended to involve just stacking bricks on each other. This produces models with smooth sides and studs on top. Modern building often uses brackets or other pieces that have studs or recesses on perpendicular sides to allow changing the orientation of building. This creates a lot of versatility and allows for compact building of surprisingly intricate designs. TLG calls SNOT techniques “Sideways building”. The most famous SNOT piece is the Earling.
system – traditional Lego; bricks & plates with studs – as opposed to Technic.
Technic – Lego Technic sets are for more complex models, especially mechanicals ones with moving parts. Modern Technic tends to use stud-less beams and pins.
theme – Lego sets are organised into “themes”. For example all of the “City” sets play nicely together – they are at the same scale and design aesthetic as each other. The same goes for all the “Pirates” sets and “Friends” sets. TLG usually show the official theme on the box. There are also sub-themes; for example the “Volcano Explorers” currently in shops is a sub-theme of City.
TLG – The Lego Group. The company that makes and sells Lego.
stud – the little round sticky out bit on top of a Lego piece. The only acceptable ones to Lego purists have Lego moulded into them.