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Definitions for the erudite and articulate, to further cultivate their considerable edification. (Meanings of gaming abbreviations and phrases for people new to the game, or for people who want to extend their gaming vocabulary.)

Almost all terms here are videogame jargon. Those that aren't are unique to the Don't Starve games. As such, they don't hold quite the same meaning as one would find in the Oxford English Dictionary. Some definitions have been paraphrased, but footnotes provide the full and original source text.


  • add (n.): 1. (Combat) Any entity which joins a fight mid-way through; reinforcements. 2. (Don't Starve) The Battle Standards in The Forge.
    ~ (v.): Join a fight mid-way through; e.g., "Mid-way through fighting the Hounds, the MacTusks added to our fight".
  • aggro1 (v.): (Combat) (As a mob) engage in combat with another mob. May be triggered by anything from the target getting too close or entering its FoV (as with aggressive mobs) to a scripted event (as with bosses often), or it might aggro only when attacked (as with neutral mobs). See Mobs for a listing of standard mob dispositions. [Contraction of "aggression" or "aggravation".] Converse of threaten.
  • aggro2 (n.): (Combat) The unwillingness of a mob engaged in combat to switch targets. Synonymous with threat.
  • aggro radius (n.): 1. Farthest distance from a target at which a mob will choose to engage it in combat; e.g., if the player gets close enough to aggro a MacTusk, they've "entered its aggro radius." Picture an invisible, circular region around an aggressive mob that, when entered, triggers the mob to attack. 2. Farthest distance from an ally under attack at which a mob will come to its aid; e.g. how far away a Pig will see another Pig being attacked and come to help.
  • AI or artificial intelligence (n.): (Technical) Entire set of instructions that define a mob's behaviour.
  • ANR (n.): (Don't Starve) Acronym of the title A New Reign, the free content expansion for Don't Starve: Together.
  • AoE or area of effect (n.): 1. Area of the game environment where mobs can be subjected to a regional effect; e.g., the area where mobs can be hit by a Deerclops's swiping attack. 2. (Combat, slang) Actions, powers, or abilities that hit targets based on their position in the world.


  • backpedal (v.): (Combat) Take one or several steps backwards while facing an opponent, usually to dodge or evade their attack. Compare this with sidestepping.
  • boss (n.): 1. A mob of which excels above all others in threat to player, bosses may also be bigger in size and or have their own theme song. In don’t starve these “bosses” are referred to as “giants”
  • buff1 (n.): Bonus granted by an ability or item, usually of a limited, non-instantaneous duration; applied beneficial effect. Antonym of debuff.
    ~ (v.): Grant such an effect.
  • buff2 (n.): (Development) The actions taken by developers wishing to increase the power of playable characters, mobs, or items for game balance purposes. Antonym of nerf.
    ~ (v.): (Development) Implement such a change.


  • CD or cooldown (n.): 1. Time limit on an action until it can be taken again. Keeps the player from spamming activated abilities too much. 2. (Combat) Any action that has a significantly long cooldown.
  • CDR or cooldown reduction (n.): [1](Combat) Effect that reduces the time remaining on a cooldown, allowing the user to use it more often than usual.
  • counter-attack (v.): (Combat) Strike an enemy immediately after evading its attack. This is a very effective way to fight in Don't Starve.
    ~ (n.): (Combat) Strike made immediately after a successful dodge.


  • debuff (n.): 1. Negative effect imposed on a mob or player by an ability or item, usually of a limited, non-instantaneous duration; e.g., Poison. Antonym: buff.
    ~ (v.): Impose such a negative effect.
  • DLC or downloadable content (n.): (Development) Extra, officially released game content that's downloaded separately from the base game; e.g., soundtracks, or official add-ons like character skins, new levels, and new features.
  • dodge (v.): (Combat) Completely move out of the way of an attack, taking no damage. Can be via player movement (as in Don't Starve) or via a built-in game mechanic (e.g., "press X to dodge"). Synonym for evade.
    ~ (n.): Act of doing this.
  • DS (n.): (Don't Starve) Acronym for the title Don't Starve, the base game.
  • DPS or damage per second (n.): (Statistics, combat; unit) Average amount of damage dealt in one second.
    Calculating this proactively can be used to compare attacks & abilities against each other: Divide the damage of a single attack by its cooldown period.
    Calculating this retroactively can be used to compare players' combat capabilities against each other: Divide overall damage dealt in a fight by how long the fight lasted.
  • DST (n.): (Don't Starve) Acronym for the the stand-alone, multiplayer title Don't Starve: Together.


  • entity (n.): [2](Technical) Single, discernible "thing" in a program; an individual and real unit of creation in a game; e.g., any single Pig with a name, the Crock Pot erected by the Campfire this morning, the particular ground tile located at (23,24), the "Play!" button you clicked on before entering the world.
  • evade (v.): (Combat) Completely move out of the way of an attack, taking no damage. Can be via player movement (as in Don't Starve) or via a built-in game mechanic (e.g., "press X to dodge"). Synonym for dodge.
    ~ (n.): (Combat) Act of doing this.


  • flee (v.): (Combat) Run away from combat, with the intent to completely disengage from it.
  • FoV, field of vision, or field of view (n.): 1. User's viewable area of the game environment, often rectangular (for 2-D games) or rectangular pyramidal (for 3-D). 2. Area of the game environment, usually conical, in which changes can be "seen" by a mob and might change their behaviour; a mob's own sight lines. See: wikipedia:Field of view in video games
  • fog of war (n.): (Interface) Fog or darkness that hides unseen or unexplored regions of the world, particularly in 2-dimensional games where the player gets an omniscient view of the world.


  • grief (v.): (Multiplayer) Malevolently irritate, harass, or violate another player through nonverbal means. Such harassment widely goes against the rules in Don't Starve Together, and it is encouraged to report players for it. Common forms of griefing in Don't Starve: Together include hammering, setting ablaze, and otherwise destroying a player's structures and items, and leading aggressive mobs to unprepared bases with the intent to destroy. While griefing is often strictly non-verbal, verbal harassment, including hate-speech, insults, or threats, and is also widely against the rules.
    ~ (n.): Offenses made while griefing.
  • griefer (n.): (Multiplayer) Player who griefs.
  • Grue, the (n.): 1. (Don't Starve; nickname) Charlie (Night Monster), as referred to in the code before she was properly introduced. (Many players referred to her as such.) 2. Monster introduced in Jack Vance's Dying Earth, described as being part "ocular bat", part "unusual hoon", and part man. Vance's Grue was the inspiration for the Grue of the Infocom game Zork, a creature that devours adventurers when they're in pitch darkness.


  • HAM (n.): (Don't Starve) Abbreviation of the title Hamlet, the game's third DLC package.
  • HP, hit points, or health points (n.): (Statistics, combat; unit) Value which tracks how much damage an entity can take before it is killed or removed from play.


  • insta-kill (v.): (Combat) Deal enough damage in one hit to a fully healed target that it dies instantly; deal more damage than a target's hit point maximum.
    ~ (n.): (Combat) Attack which does this.


  • kite (v.): 1. (Combat) Move through fighting grounds with intent to relocate the enemy; "pulling" an enemy like a kite. [Pioneered in one of the earliest MMOs (massively multiplayer online (game)), titled Nexus, the Kingdom of the Wind.] 2. (Combat, slang) Manoeuvre in literally any way; blanket term for counter-attacking, evading, fleeing, kiting, mobbing, pulling, or just fighting.


  • leash1 (n.): (Combat, technical) The distance from a mob's idle position that it's willing to pursue a target before disengaging from combat.
  • leash2 (v.): (Combat) Lead an aggro'd mob to the end of its leash1 so that it stops attacking and returns home. Leashing is used tactically to scrape one or more mobs away from a large fight (specifically removing those closer to the ends of their leashes1). Often, mobs would be encouraged to continue pursuit if they've dealt damage or been attacked, while those that haven't would be more inclined to disengage from the fight.


  • map1 (n.): Diagrammatic representation of a region.
  • map2 (n.): (Technical) An in-game world itself.
  • mob1 (n.): 1. Non-player characters and monsters in a game. 2. (Technical) Any entity that moves around the playing field, including the player. [Abbreviation of mobile (unit).]]
  • mob2 (v.): (Combat) Move through the fighting ground in a certain pattern that syncs up the attacks coming from multiple mobs1, making it easier to kite or tank. In the Don't Starve games, the easiest way of doing this is moving in circles.
  • mod (n.): (Modding) An abbreviation of the term modification, mods are alterations or additions to the original content of a video game. They may present new features, player experiences, and/or tweaks to the game, making the game more enjoyable, or less enjoyable and either easier or harder. The difference between mods and DLC is that these files are primarily created by people who are not developers of the games themselves, and thus are not supported by the developers.
    ~ (v.): (Modding) The act of adding mods to a game.


  • NPC or non-player character (n.): Characters which aren't controlled by a player, instead controlled by pre-programmed instructions (as in videogames, like Don't Starve) or by a human "gamemaster" (as in live roleplaying games, like D&D).
  • nerf (n.): (Development) Change which weakens. Used when developers wish to decrease the power of playable characters, mobs, or items for game balance purposes. Antonym of buff.
    ~ (v.): (Development) Implement such a change.


  • OP or over-powered (adj.): (Development) Unnecessarily powerful, usually by unbalanced game design; requiring a nerf.


  • proc or programmed random occurrence (n.): See
    ~ (v.): Occur in such an arbitrarily selected way.
  • pull (v.): (Combat) Relocate one or more enemies at the very start of a fight, usually to more favourable ground; e.g. pulling Spiders away from their den before attacking.
  • PvP (n.): Acronym for Player vs. Player, a world setting allowing players to attack each other.


  • retreat (v.): (Combat) Move away from an attacker; e.g. drawing an enemy back then retalliating; entirely disengaging from a fight. Forms of retreating include backpedaling, fleeing, leashing, and pulling.
  • RoG (n.): (Don't Starve) Acronym for the title Reign of Giants, the game's first DLC package.
  • runner (n.): (Don't Starve, The Forge) Player who kites mobs around the arena as a distraction so teammates can fight other mobs.


  • sidestep (v.): (Combat) Take one or several steps laterally while facing an opponent, usually to dodge or evade an attack. Compare this with backpedalling.
    This is effective against attacks from a Clockwork Bishop.
  • stun (v.): (Combat) Incapacitate (a target) for a brief time; e.g., Spiders are stunned on hit.
  • stun-lock (v.): (Combat) Stun (a target) repeatedly, making it unable to retaliate for an extended time. Only effective on targets that are vulnerable to stunning, and not viable targets capable of breaking stun effects. Commonly used in MMORPGs (massively multiplayer online roleplaying games) in player versus player combat.
  • SW (n.): (Don't Starve) Acronym for the title Shipwrecked, the game's second DLC package.


  • tank (n.): (Combat) Mob or player that can take sustained damage for a long time. Can be from damage absorption or even simply having massive amounts of health.
    ~ (v.): 1. (Combat) Fill such a role. 2. (Combat) Make no attempt to dodge oncoming attacks, instead relying on heavy armour to absorb damage.
  • threat (n.): (Combat) The unwillingness of a mob engaged in combat to switch targets. Synonymous with aggro.
  • threaten (v.): (Combat) Cause a mob to attack. Converse of aggro2. Synonymous with "aggress".


  • UP or under-powered (adj.): (Development) Unnecessarily weak, usually by unbalanced game design; being below the normal power curve, requiring a developmental buff.