LEGO Glossary

Although we usually try to keep our writing on The Brothers Brick accessible to everyone, LEGO jargon inevitably sneaks in. This page works like a dictionary and lists the LEGO terms you’re most likely to encounter here on The Brothers Brick, and is not intended to be exhaustive.

3.18mm. The diameter of a cylinder piece which a minifig hand can grasp, and used throughout LEGO geometry in a variety of applications. Commonly used to describe any aspect of a piece which conforms to the standard, such as the 3.18 hole in the front of a headlight brick.
Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene, the type of plastic that LEGO bricks are made from. Far from being a government controlled substance, this form of ABS is readily available in every shopping mall and is even sold to children in the form of boxes filled with small brightly colored rectangular pellets, and has caused more misery and suffering in the world than the opium epidemics of the 19th century.
Adult Fan of LEGO. The most common term used to refer to LEGO fans who are adults. Generally pronounced to rhyme with “hay-foal.” See also: ALE and ALH
Adult Hobbyist of LEGO. Rhymes with a word barred by our own Terms of Service.
Adult LEGO Enthusiast. Some LEGO fans prefer to be called enthusiasts rather than fans, attempting to avoid the perceived stigma of the word “fanatic.” See also: AFOL
Adult LEGO Hobbyist. Another alternative self-descriptive name preferred by some LEGO fans over AFOL or ALE
The title given to fan liaisons who represent fan organizations within the LAN.
The indentation in the bottom of bricks and plates which serves as a stud receptacle and is one half of the mechanism by which LEGO pieces interlock. See also: Stud
Baby Bow
A LEGO element that is 1 stud wide and 2 studs long and 2 plates high (or 2/3 of a brick) with a studless, curving slope. Part 11477. Named because it is the smallest member of the curved (or bowed) slope family of bricks.
A passing LEGO fad, such as cave racers or IATTAR. Don’t remember what those are? Exactly…
A LEGO scene on a defined base that is larger than a vignette. (Uncommon) See also: Diorama
Billund, Denmark. Headquarters and primary design center for The LEGO Group.
Bram Sphere
A system for creating finely-detailed LEGO spheres of any size, developed by Bram Lambrecht. Many AFOLs rely on Bram’s Sphere Generator to create 3D models of Bram spheres that they can then follow as building guides.
A universal name for a LEGO piece, regardless of shape or color. Also: In LEGO element taxonomy, any roughly cubic LEGO piece which is 3 or more Plates tall. Also: In technical terms, used to refer a specific piece shape, regardless of color. Contrast with Element.
A LEGO creation or portion of a larger creation that is composed of multiple LEGO elements even when a larger, pre-fabricated LEGO element or custom accessory may be available. Solving a LEGO problem through brick-built means often yields better results than using a prefabricated or custom element.
Bricklink, an online marketplace for sellers who specialize in LEGO sets and elements. A good place to purchase large quantities of specific pieces.
Brickset, a LEGO set database which catalogs LEGO sets and their inventories.
A now-outdated LEGO-specific photo hosting website used by LEGO builders to share creations. See also: Flickr
A LEGO fan whose primary interest is building MOCs. Contrast with Collector, though many fans are both collectors and builders.
Big Ugly Rock Piece. The larger of two classic pre-fabricated LEGO elements traditionally available in gray and frequently included in LEGO castle sets. Part number 6082. More experienced LEGO fans often encourage other builders to use brick-built landscaping rather than BURPs. See also: LURP
C-C or CC A LEGO castle fan site with an associated online community, the Forums.
Cheese Grater
A LEGO element with an 18° slope, 2 studs long and 1 stud wide and 2 plates high (or 2/3 of a brick). Part number 61409. Named because it looks a bit like a real cheese grater, as well as being an elongated version of the cheese slope.
Cheese Slope
A LEGO element with a 33° slope, 1 stud by 1 stud wide and 2 plates high (or 2/3 of a brick). Part number 50746. Useful for adding fine detail to LEGO creations. Named because the yellow and orange pieces look like a wedge of Cheddar cheese. See also: Cheese Grater
Construction toys “compatible” with LEGO created and sold at lower cost, designed to compete with LEGO brand building bricks. Often used to specifically denote brands which infringe upon copyright/trademark (to distinguish from legal competitors). Considered off-limits by most LEGO fans.
A LEGO fan whose primary interest is collecting official sets. Contrast with Builder, though many fans are both collectors and builders.
The system of LEGO components using large ball joints, primarily found in buildable figures such as those from Bionicle, Hero Factory, and the large Superhero and Star Wars character sets.
Curved Out Wedge. A LEGO curved slope with a wedge-shaped footprint. Examples include the Wedge 10 x 3 (part number 50955) and the Wedge 6 x 2 (part number 41748).
A descriptive name for BrickLink, referring to the addictive nature of being able to buy individual LEGO elements and minifigs in whatever quantity the buyer wants.
Classic-Space Forums. An online LEGO space fan community on Now largely defunct.
A LEGO creation or individual element that uses non-LEGO parts or modified parts, including decals, paint, or accessories from third-party vendors like BrickArms, BrickForge, and Big Ben Bricks. Contrast with Purist.
The name for LEGO Ideas during its beta phase.
Dark Ages
A period in a LEGO fan’s life when he or she sets aside LEGO in favor of school, dating, motor vehicles, or other non-LEGO pursuits. Many fans put their LEGO collections in storage or sell them during their Dark Ages. See also: Gray Ages and TFOL
Diorama or Dio
A large LEGO scene or a LEGO scene built on an irregular base. Contrast with Vignette. See also: Bignette
An activity common at LEGO club meetings, in which LEGO fans each bring a copy of a LEGO set, sort out all of the LEGO elements, and take turns picking the parts they want. An easy way to get the parts you want in larger quantities without buying multiple copies of the set yourself. Read more on
A universal name for a LEGO piece. Also: In technical terms, often considered to refer to a piece of a specific shape and color (e.g. a black 1×1 plate is a different element than a blue 1×1 plate). Contrast with Brick.
Eurobricks or EB An online LEGO fan site and forums originally focused on European fans.
From Bricks to Bothans. A LEGO Star Wars fan site and online community.
A large photo hosting website frequently used by LEGO builders to share creations. Adding MOC photos to Flickr’s LEGO-related photo pools is a good way to show off creations to fellow fans. See also: How to get featured on The Brothers Brick
Gray Ages
A period in a LEGO fan’s life when he or she steps away from actively building or participating in the LEGO community, but retains interest in LEGO and does not sell their LEGO collection. See also: Dark Ages
Pseudo-technical detail added to a LEGO creation to enhance its appearance. Frequently seen in LEGO space and mecha creations. Sometimes Greeblies or Greebling.
Half-Stud Offset
A building technique that allows a LEGO fan to build without regard to the standard alignment of studs on a plate. See also Jumper Plate
Headlight Brick
A 1×1 stud brick with an inset stud on one side. Part number 4070. Also known as a Washing Machine Brick or an Erling Brick, after LEGO Designer Erling Dideriksen, who designed it in 1979.
LEGO Ideas. A crowdsourcing platform run by The LEGO Company which allows fan to submit designs and vote on submissions. If a design gets 10,000 votes within a certain time frame, LEGO will review it and potentially produce it as an official LEGO set. The platform was called Cuusoo during its beta phase.
LEGO building techniques that break the “rules” for connections between LEGO elements followed by official LEGO set designers — particularly connections that stress the LEGO elements. (e.g. inserting a plate upright between the studs on a brick.)
The list of LEGO elements that are included in an official LEGO set. Several LEGO fan sites host set inventories, including Brickset and BrickLink.
Jumper Plate
A 1×2-stud LEGO plate with only 1 stud in the center. Part number 15573 (current version number). Useful for half-stud offset building.
Kid Fan of LEGO. The LEGO Group’s primary target demographic — children ages 5-12. Most online LEGO fan sites do not allow participation by KFOLs due to COPPA regulations.
The process of arranging a series of elements next to each other in an aesthetically pleasing manner, without the pieces being connected. The parts are often arranged in rows by color, size, shape, or all three. Knolling is often done as a sorting method prior to building a set, or as a way of displaying the inventory of a set or model. Also; knoll, knolled.
LEGO Ambassador Network. The LEGO Company’s official outreach program for adult fans. LEGO designates fan organizations as an RLUG or RLFM and grants an ambassadorship with access to the LAN. LEGO distributes support to fan organizations via the LAN. See also: Ambassador
LEGO Brand Retail. The LEGO Company’s official brick-and-mortar retail store division.
LEGO Digital Designer. The LEGO Company’s official program for designing digital LEGO models. Supports Windows and OSX. See also: Render
LDraw A fan-created program for designing digital LEGO models. Supports Windows, OSX, and Linux. See also: Render
LEGO building techniques that follow building guidelines for official LEGO set designers. See also Illegal and Purist
A highly sophisticated interlocking brick system. Also a children’s toy played with by many adults.
LEGO Community
The worldwide network of LEGO fans and builders, composed of websites, forums, LUGs, clubs and more.
Oh no you didn’t! Technically, the official plural form for more than one element of LEGO is “LEGO® brand building bricks”. That’s ridiculous, though, so most LEGO fans refer to one or more bricks as “LEGO”, following the grammatical convention of “fish” and “sheep.”
Lowell Sphere
A 4x4x4 stud sphere constructed with SNOT techniques. Can be adapted to create tubes and other shapes. Developed by Bruce Lowell in 2002. A Lowell sphere also represents one specific size of the more general Bram Sphere.
LEGO Users Group, such as SEALUG and WAMALUG. Initially used to describe a local or regional LEGO club that met and interacted primarily in an offline or “real world” context, the term LUG has been extended by fans to include virtual and even ephemeral groups of LEGO fans, such as Eurobricks and VirtuaLUG. Many LUGs now also have an online presence, further blurring the line between traditional LUGs and online LEGO fan communities. See also: RLUG and RLFM

Want to find a LUG near you? Use LEGO’s official community locator tool.

A LEGO program available to RLUGs and RLFM through which bulk quantities of elements may be purchased at discounted prices. See also: LAN
Little Ugly Rock Piece. The smaller of two classic pre-fabricated LEGO elements traditionally available in gray and frequently included in LEGO castle sets. Part number 6083. More experienced LEGO fans often encourage other builders to use brick-built landscaping rather than LURPs. See also: BURP
A scale for building models in which a minifig would be too large to represent a person. Varies between anything smaller than minifig scale to a scale where a figure would not be visible to the naked eye.
Short for Minifigure. The blocky miniature figures featured in most LEGO sets. First introduced in 1978, the design is a trademark of The LEGO Company. See also: Minidoll
The thin, curved figures featured in LEGO Disney Princess, Elves, and Friends themes. First introduced in 2012, the design is a trademark of The LEGO Company. See also: Minifig
A style and scale of building in which figures are approximately 10 bricks tall and most studs are left exposed. The name derives from the popular “Miniland” attractions at LEGOLAND theme parks which employ this style.
My Own Creation. Any LEGO creation designed and built by a LEGO fan without instructions. Generally pronounced “mock” (not “Em-Oh-Cee”)
A set that you buy strictly for the pieces, rather than because of the set design. The pieces are meant to feed your MOC building, hence the name “MOCFodder”. See also: Parts Pack
A LEGO-specific photo hosting website used by LEGO builders to share creations. At times unreliable and slow. See also: Flickr
A system of construction elements created by LEGO in 1963 and marketed to architects as a professional tool. Modulex elements are smaller than traditional LEGO System elements, and are generally non-compatible. Eventually, LEGO spun Modulex off as its own business, and today Modulex is one of the largest signage manufacturers in the world, though it no longer produces the Modulex system of brick elements.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price. The official price for a LEGO set as established by the LEGO Group for a particular market. Individual retailers may set their own prices higher or lower than MSRP, and MSRP may vary from country to country. See also TRU and S@H
Nice Part Use. An unexpected way to use a LEGO element in a model. Often overused in praising a LEGO creation.
Parts Monkey
A builder who takes a special interest in individual LEGO elements. A parts monkey views most sets as parts packs.
Parts Pack
An official LEGO set that has many desirable LEGO elements but which may not have an overall design that appeals to adult LEGO fans. See also: MOCFodder
Any LEGO piece which is 1/3 the height of a Brick.
A LEGO creation that does not include any customizations, such as decals, modified parts, or custom accessories from third-party vendors like BrickArms, BrickForge, and Big Ben Bricks. A form of religious fundamentalism. Contrast with Custom.
Rainbow Warrior
The type of multi-colored LEGO creations that we all built when we were eight years old.
A computer-generated image of a MOC designed using a digital building program, such as LDD or LDraw. Considered by some fans to be inferior to physical creations since the builder is not limited by physics, collection size, or using only pieces which actually exist. This method nonetheless takes much the same skill and familiarity with bricks as traditional building.
Registered LEGO Users Group; a term used by The LEGO Company to denote a local, geographically oriented LUG that is officially recognized by LEGO via the LAN. See also: Ambassador
Registered LUG Fan Media; a term used by The LEGO Company to denote an officially recognized online LUG, news site, forum, magazine, or other fan organization that is not an RLUG. See also: Ambassador
LEGO Shop at Home. The old name for The LEGO Group’s direct-to-consumer sales channel, particularly the printed catalog and telephone service. Now also used by long-time fans to refer to the LEGO Shop online. These direct channels are often the only place to ensure that you pay MSRP.
Seriously Huge Investment in Parts. Sometimes Super or Significantly Huge Investment in Parts. A very large LEGO creation — particularly a LEGO space creation. As used in the LEGO space fan community, a SHIP is generally at least 100 studs long.

LEGO sigfig

Short for Signature Minifig. The minifigure version of a LEGO fan that he or she uses in online communities as an avatar. Sigfigs may or may not resemble the person physically, as LEGO fans used to interacting with each other online often discover at LEGO conventions.
Studs Not On Top. A building technique that places LEGO elements on their sides or even upside down to achieve the shape or structure the builder wants in their creation.
Sticker Across Multiple Pieces. A dreaded situation where a set’s instructions require a sticker to be placed across several pieces, ensuring the pieces can never be separated without ruining the sticker.
The distinct cylindrical bump or knob on the surface of LEGO bricks which fits inside an anti-stud and serves as one half of the mechanism by which pieces interlock. Studs are frequently used as a unit of measurement: e.g. a model is 40 studs long. See also: Anti-stud
A building style in which visible studs are minimized or, ideally, eliminated. Usually accomplished by a combination of tiles and SNOT techniques.
A quality that allows a LEGO creation to be picked up and flown around a room as the builder makes flying and/or shooting noises.
A small, clever build that doesn’t stand alone as a completed creation. From “table scraps,” i.e. leftovers. A tablescrap may be a simple exploration of a technique (such as an interesting way to combine several elements to make an odd shape), or may be a recognizable item that’s just too small to merit presentation on its own (such as a minifigure chair). Many builders set aside their tablescraps and save them for use in future creations.
The Brothers Brick. You are here.
Teen Fan of LEGO. LEGO fans who may be past the primary target demographic for LEGO sets, and who are likely avoiding their Dark Ages
Any LEGO plate which is devoid of all or most studs, giving it a smooth upper surface.
The LEGO Company. See TLG.
The LEGO Group. The family-owned parent company for all LEGO-related brands and companies worldwide.
Travis Brick
A modified 1×1 brick with studs on 4 sides. Named for Travis Kunce, a deceased fan who was known for his enthusiasm for the piece. Part number 4733. A common piece used in SNOT building.
Toys ‘R’ Us, a now-defunct brick-and-mortar toy retailer. Though roundly criticized by LEGO fans for inflated prices, Toys ‘R’ Us frequently had LEGO sets earlier than any other retailer (including LEGO) as well as a broader selection than most. See also: MSRP
Ultimate Collector Series. An irregular series of large LEGO Star Wars sets designed for older builders, often in large scale. Frequently used as a scale reference for LEGO fan creations that are larger than minifig scale, though some sets bearing the UCS moniker are minifig scale.
Vignette or Vig
A small LEGO scene, traditionally built on a base 8 studs long by 8 studs wide. Usually depicts a single, frozen moment in time with a narrow focus. Contrast with Bignette and Diorama.