Fight Club

Fight Club Glossary

"Cigarette Burns"

A fictitious term for the circular changeover marks that appear in the upper right hand corner of motion picture film prints. They allow the projectionist to time the moment that one projector switches off and the other switches on, allowing the film to play continuously without a break. In reality, this term is not used in the film industry.

"Rummy without sleep"

A phrase to mean inebriated due to lack of sleep

"Tiny Life"

A term the Narrator uses to refer to the single-serving portions of everything from soap to airline food that he encounters during his business travels.


The neutering of a male by removal of the testicles.


A concept originating from Hindu and Yogic texts. Chakras are points on the human body that correspond to centers for receiving and transmitting different energies. The Narrator encounters the concept while engaging in guided meditation at the group therapy meetings.


A naturally occurring protein generally found in the skin and connective tissue of mammals. Collagen can be used for cosmetic surgery purposes, usually as a dermal filler to minimize the appearance of wrinkles.

Creme Anglaise

French for "English cream", creme anglaise is a light custard served as a dessert cream or sauce.


An anabolic steroid, now illegal in the United States, used by bodybuilders to develop muscle tissue. Bob claims he was using dianabol during his bodybuilding days.


Deterioration or decomposition into fragments, termination


Business jargon meaning a reduction in work force to reduce cost


An explosive material invented by Alfred Nobel which uses nitroglycerin. Nitroglycerin is generally mixed with an absorbent material such as clay, sawdust, or diatomaceous earth. Though more stable than nitroglycerin on its own, dynamite is still highly unstable and must be handled with extreme caution. Tyler uses glycerin from his soap-making business to make the dynamite.


A spiritual and metaphysical concept applicable in both secular and non-secular settings. Traditionally, enlightenment refers to the comprehension of all things. In a spiritual setting, enlightenment refers to deep insight into the meaning and purpose of all things. Many religions suggest that attaining freedom from desire and all worldly passions, as well as the dissolution of the ego, are necessary steps toward reaching enlightenment. Tyler regularly espouses "hitting rock bottom" as an enlightened state.


To regard with respect; to prize.

Fugue state

A rare psychiatric disorder in which a person can experience amnesia regarding their own personality. Dissociative fugue involves wandering and unplanned traveling. After recovery from the fugue state, there is generally no recollection of events that transpired during the fugue state. Previous memories, however, remain intact.


A simple compound that forms the basis of triglycerides and is produced as a by- product of the saponification of fats in soap-making. The glycerine can then be used to make nitroglycerin.


A short form of Japanese poetry generally characterized by a seasonal reference, the juxtaposition of two images, and 17 morae, viewed as syllables in English, in a 5-7-5 arrangement. The Narrator composes such haiku poems and faxes them to his co-workers.


Impoverished, lacking in basic necessities.


A condition in which the sufferer has difficulty falling or remaining asleep. Insomnia is thought of as a symptom of greater physical, mental, or psychiatric issues and disorders. Insomnia is typically followed by functional difficulties during daytime hours. The Narrator suffers from insomnia for prolonged periods before he creates Tyler.


A constantly changing set of colors or a tube-shaped optical instrument containing mirrors that is rotated to produce a changing pattern of varying colors


Sodium hydroxide or potassium hydroxide, lye is a caustic alkaline substance sometimes referred to as caustic soda. A common industrial ingredient with a variety of uses, lye is hazardous to organic matter and must be handled with extreme care. Tyler utilizes it in the manufacturing of soap and to give the Narrator a chemical burn on his hand.

Multiple personality/Dissociative identity disorder

A psychiatric disorder in which a person has multiple distinct identities. Signs or symptoms of the disorder include memory loss, depression, unexplained phobias, distortion or loss of time, and unexplained pains or headaches.


Also known as trinitroglycerin or glyceryl trinitrate, nitroglycerine is an explosive liquid formed by the nitrating of glycerol. Although nitroglycerin has medical uses as a vasodilator, it was originally used as an explosive for construction and mining purposes. Tyler and the Space Monkeys manufacture it for use in the destruction of the Parker Morris building.


Or paraffin wax, is a white, odorless, waxy solid that is insoluble in water. Paraffin is generally not affected by chemical reagents and burns readily, the primary reason why Tyler uses it in his explosives. The Narrator states that Tyler used paraffin in his explosives and that this method has never worked for him.


A process by which waste animal tissue is converted to useful material. Rendering generally involves drying the material and isolating fat from the other material, generally through the application of heat. The fat obtained can be used in the manufacturing of soap, candles, and grease. In the kitchen, rendering can be used to convert pork fat into lard, or butter into clarified butter.


(Secobarbital Sodium) is a barbiturate derivative that has anaesthetic and sedative properties. The Narrator hopes to receive some for his insomnia when he visits the doctor.


Used in producing soap and animal feed, tallow is the rendered form of fat.


Of or relating to substances that can cause disrupt normal embryonic or fetal development

The Blarney Stone

A block of stone located at Blarney Castle near Cork, Ireland. The legend of the Blarney Stone states that anyone who kisses the stone will endowed with the gift of gab, a gift of eloquence. The castle is a popular tourist site. The Narrator travels to the site after graduating college. Instead of kissing the stone, he urinates on it.


The brand name of a combination drug composed of two barbiturate salts, Tuinal was introduced as a sedative medication in the 1940s. Tuinal was used recreationally in the 1960s and 1970s under a variety of street names. The Narrator hopes to attain some for his insomnia when he visits the doctor.

Unreliable Narrator

A narrator in a work of literature, film, or theater whose credibility is compromised. The Narrator in Fight Club takes us through the events of the novel only to realize that Tyler Durden is not a real person, but a projection of his own imagination. This information then forces the reader to re-evaluate everything they have read.

Valley of the Dolls

A 1966 novel written by Jacqueline Susann. The "Dolls" in the title refers to a slang term used to describe barbiturates and sleep aid pills. The book follows three actresses as they struggle with their careers over the course of twenty years, achieving fame and moments of despair. The book was adapted for film and television numerous times.


A licensed practitioner of veterinary medicine, specifically the medical care of animals.


An anabolic steroid derived from testosterone, Wistrol is sometimes used for veterinary purposes and is sometimes administered to racehorses. Bob admits to the Narrator that he sometimes used this steroid during his bodybuilding days.


Known non-commercially as Alprazolam, Xanax is used to treat anxiety disorders, panic disorders and nausea due to chemotherapy. Marla Singer intentionally overdoses on the drug, which can cause a coma and, in rare cases, death.