Graffiti jargon

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Illustration of some terms on the basis of a panel of lakes with Bodé - Character

In the graffiti scene, graffiti jargon has developed over the years . The vocabulary comes largely from American English and is largely understood worldwide. In non-English speaking countries, the terms are often adopted without translation. However, some scene members also reject the English terms and use comparable words from their own language.


Aerosol junkie
Joking self-labeling of some sprayers
All City King
Writer who painted all over the city, characterized is present everywhere with his pictures and, accordingly, Fame has gained (Glory) (eg. OZ )
See etching
ASI edge
Piece of roofing on the train or the S-Bahn that forms the bend to the roof, which is rarely or not at all cleaned and is therefore very popular for tagging


Backpiece on a hooded jacket
Blockbuster in the Los Angeles River
Underground bombing in a London Underground station
Bubbles in the background of a piece , the drips of some bubbles are also clearly visible
Writing by Moses in bubble style
BaBu (abbreviation for Bahnbulle )
Policeman who is in the service of a railway company.
Background of the piece . Originally, this mostly consisted of bubbles / the cloud or single-colored surfaces; today, entire image compositions , landscapes or graphically complex color gradients are often sprayed.
Spraying on a moving object while it comes to a standstill (e.g. on a train at a stop)
On the back of a jacket sewn piece of painted cloth and placed maltes Piece for identification purposes
Non-violent, artistic graffiti competition between writers or crews . The winner earns fame (fame) and is generally considered the better writer afterwards . Neutral referees are called in from uninvolved crews . The style is primarily assessed , but there are also other forms of battles geared towards quantity .
Originally it was a meeting place for writers at train stations to look out for painted trains passing by, to take photos of them, to discuss them and to exchange news and sometimes blackbooks . Younger writers also learned a lot from the more experienced ( knowledge ). Nowadays, benching is a rather seldom and mostly practiced alone pastime. B. Trainwriters wait for their previously painted trains.
Biten or Biting ( English to bite , bite)
Another writer's style or tag is imitated or even completely copied. Often used by toys, it has little reputation in the scene.
Biter ( English to bite , to bite)
Writer who practices biting.
Blackbook ( engl. Black 'black' and book 'book')
Book which is used for sketching graffiti and which often also contains photos. Modifications of this are the sketchbook, which only contains sketches, and the travel or guestbook, in which the writer's acquaintances draw. There is no clear demarcation between these forms, so that, for example, a blackbook can also contain pictures by other writers.
Block (s)
The simplest 3D effect to add depth to the style
Blockbuster ( Engl. Blockbuster )
Font style consisting of large and block-like letters. Easy to read even from a distance (straight letters).
Expression in the Writer language for railway police / railway policeman
Bogarting ( English to bogart 'to acquire something')
Skillful stealing of spray cans (referring to Humphrey Bogart ).
Bombing ( English bombing 'bombing')
Quick and easy, illegal attachment of pieces (quick pieces, silver pieces and throw-ups) and tags, designed for quantity
Safety officer of local transport companies
Quick exit from the spot when spraying
Round bubble or circular areas of color; often in the background , or -in Fill find
Bubble style ( English bubble , bubble ')
Font style consisting of thick and bubble letters. The Writer Phase 2 is considered to be the inventor of this style.
Buff ( English buff , polishing disc ')
Cleaning agent for removing graffiti. Originally the name for the cleaning system for railway wagons.
Buffing or buffing ( English to buff , leachate)
Removing graffiti.
Burner ( engl. To burn )
Particularly successful, strikingly good piece.
Bust / be busted
The Grasp of Writers by the police


Various spray cans ( Cans ) with essays ( Caps )
B-Boy - Character in a graffiti image of the Mainz Writers Can2
Comment in a graffiti
Spray can
Spray head / spray valve that allows the paint to dissipate when it escapes due to the pressure in the can. There are different types of caps , which essentially differ in the strength of their spray jet and the associated line thickness on the wall, e.g. B.
  • Fatcaps: wide beam, lots of color, for large fillings
  • Skinnycaps ( Skinnies ): thin stream, for outlines
  • Softcaps: thin stream, little color, for color transitions
freight train
Often comic-like, figurative representations in graffiti images. A writer in Germany who is famous for his character is Can2 from Mainz . The American old school writers often borrowed comic characters from the illustrator Vaughn Bodé .
Security officers of private companies; Also a term for a person who checks for other writers before painting whether there are policemen or cleaning specialists ( cleaners ) present who could disturb you when spraying various objects
Mostly monochrome and one-dimensional background of a piece (see: Background )
A comment is a statement sprayed next to or in the picture or a greeting (" Fuck Police ", " One Love World Wide" etc.)
Concept wall
See mural
Meeting point for writers
The complete painting over of another piece (see: going over )
Association of writers who spray together. The names of the crews are usually abbreviated with several letters z. B. SUK (“Stick up Kids”), UA (“United Artists”). Numbers are also used as group initials, e.g. B. the postcode of the inhabited or represented area. The members of a crew increase their level of awareness by processing the crew abbreviation in images similar to their own pseudonym . Since several people paint the same abbreviation, a higher level of awareness can be achieved.
The destruction of someone else's graffiti image by (partially) painting over ( tagging ) or crossing out
The sharp cutting of a single line by spraying it with another line in the color of a large adjacent area to get thinner lines and cleaner edges.


Destroyline / Terrorline / Damageline / Hateline
Long, solid line that destroys a surface or a painted picture. Sign of contempt ( disrespect ) relative to the painter whose image cross year was, or sign of displeasure over a z. B. freshly buffed wall.
Diss / diss
Discriminate, belittle, insult someone (often also used outside the scene)
Can / Zotti / can / jug
Spray can
3D style
With the 3D style / style , the contours of the elements and letters without outlines are created solely by light and shadow. Thanks to the developments by DAIM (Hamburg), DELTA (Netherlands) and ERNI (USA), the 3D style has now become established in the writing scene worldwide . (See also: Neck.CNS , Seak , Loomit , Darco )
Drip / drop / nose
Droplets running down if the paint is applied too thickly. Common rookie mistake; partly also a deliberate stylistic device.


End to end in Prague
Egg Shell Sticker
Stickers that are particularly difficult to remove. Mostly printed in one color (black and white).
End to End (also "end2end" or "e2e")
Train image that extends over the entire length of a wagon, but not over the entire height
Etching tags in Chicago
Leave etching marks with the help of self-made markers (mostly filled with hydrofluoric acid ) . During use and because of the highly toxic acid residues on the object, very dangerous for the sprayer and other people. When it comes into contact with the skin, hydrofluoric acid causes deep and extremely poorly healing chemical burns, even if the skin appears to have only been slightly damaged on the surface.


Smooth transition between two colors within an image
High reputation and fame with other writers , goal and motivation for many painters
Family couple
Triple Wholecar , which consists of three completely painted wagons, which always stay together and are not separated by the train. Rarely found nowadays because trains are usually cleaned very quickly (see also Married Couple )
The filling of the letters, area within the outlines , either monochrome, e.g. B. with chrome (see Silverpiece ), or multi-colored
Lines with which the image to be sprayed is drawn out; Pieces that only consist of the first outline are called outliners .
Flying Panel in Copenhagen
Flying panel
Smaller train picture, sprayed over the window without reaching the lower edge of the train
Flop / floppy
Regional term for a throw-up
Describes the dynamics and harmony of the overall composition of an image or just the flow of color. Getting a good flow into a picture usually takes a lot of practice. Thus, a good flow indicates that a writer should be classified in the upper part of the internal hierarchy of the scene. However, it is not the flow alone that decides whether a piece is a success. Style , cleanliness and other factors play an equally important role. Flow is particularly important in Wildstyle . With other styles , such as the blockbuster , this is rather irrelevant; if applicable at all. Flow is not to be confused with swing .
With freestyle pieces , the writer constructs his picture while painting, without using memorized styles or sketches.
See cargo


Image that can still be seen after cleaning ( buff )
getting up
Activity of painting (from English to get up the name on a wall )
Also less common: moving up the hierarchy of the writer scene
going over (also covering )
Completely spray images of other sprayers ; Not welcomed in the scene and used as a means to harm other writers (see cross-cuts ).


The Hall of Fame in Venice Beach
Hall of Fame / Hall (Hall of Fame)
Surfaces that can usually be sprayed legally, and on which the writers mainly attach high-quality pieces . Often they are even hidden. Hall Of Fame often have a long tradition and serve as Battle place and meeting place for writers . If a Hall Of Fame is well attended and known by many writers , it is often visited by artists from all over the world.
Hand skills (dexterity)
The ability to use a marker successfully and create an aesthetically pleasing tag .
Hand style
Particularly artful way of tagging .
Imitation of light reflexes, mostly in the form of light points (a center with fading , are used around the outside) and in the letter to certain parts of the Pieces noteworthy
High lines
Second outline , which does not lie directly on the outline , but is drawn around the image at a distance from it
Old name for day , hardly used today
Hot spot
Place intended for spraying, which requires a particularly high degree of attention and speed due to heavy traffic or many passers-by


Color (mostly refill ink for markers )
Lines (mostly white) that are drawn along the inside edge of a letter and are used to make the image appear more vivid
Inside tags on the New York subway in 1973
A tag or throw up or piece within a closed space, v. a. in trains
Inside bombing
Attaching tags and throw-ups or pieces in trains; also the name for an inside piece
Inside piece
Picture in closed rooms, v. a. in trains


Junkie cap / needle cap
Spray attachment in which a cannula is incorporated so that extremely fine lines can be drawn very slowly


Another word for spray can
Train, S-Bahn or tram
All images of Writers cross process or paint over
Recognized, respected, outstanding writer with a lot of fame ; Since it is difficult to be King in all areas, there are various sub-categories such as "King of the Line", "King of Style" or "King of Bombing"
Train, S-Bahn or tram
Kick box
Spray a train, an S-Bahn or a tram
Another name for a freight train
Spray on a freight train


Small train stalls, while the official name of the railway is Kehranlage. These are often end stops or junctions where individual trains are parked for cleaning purposes and then driven out again after a short time.
Railway line (train line)
A writer that everyone knows and respects (e.g. Seen , Cope2, T-Kid170, ...); is known among other things for different styles and locations


Short for graffiti painters.
The execution of a picture using mostly common wall paint and rollers or brushes (see stroke bombing )
Marker / pen / tagger
Felt-tip pen for attaching tags (eg. A Edding )
Married couple
Double Wholecar , which consists of two wagons completely painted on one side, which always stay together and are not separated by the train. Nowadays a rare phenomenon because trains are usually cleaned very quickly. (See Family Couple )
The best image of a Writers (the writer indicates itself, which is this); originally a name for each piece
Another word for go paint
Mural by DAIM , Loomit , Darco and others titled Signs of the Times . Otto-Schumann-Weg, Hamburg-Lohbrügge
Mural in France
Mural / Concept Wall
Elaborate, large-scale complete works of various writers who paint a wall with a picture on a certain topic


Another word for drip
Writer , the still new to the genre, but already past the stage of the Toy is also
Another word for spray head


simple oneliner "COFFEE"
Veteran of the graffiti scene. Well respected, mostly older writer.
A throw-up or tag , the letters of which are written in one go without stopping
One-Man Wholecar
Designation for a train car that was sprayed over the entire length and height by a single writer in one action; besides there are z. B. also the One-Man-End2End
The immediate border or contour of the individual letters. There is also the second outline (also called the frameline ), which frames the entire lettering.
Image that consists only of the outline
Uncontrolled spraying of the paint out of the spray can


typical panel piece on a Zurich S-Bahn
General name for a train picture under the windows. Originally, this term only referred to pieces that were sprayed between two car doors as a window-down .
Piece (short for Masterpiece )
Actually the name for an elaborate, mostly multi-colored and large-scale graffito. It is also often used as a general term for a sprayed image. SUPERKOOL 223 is said to have been the first to spray a piece in 1971.
Policeline (Hateline)
Line that is drawn with a spray can or a marker on trains or walls over several meters while the writer is fleeing from the police, for example


Quick / Quickpiece
Quickly sprayed piece , which is usually designed in an uncomplicated manner due to lack of time (see bombing , throw-up )


Graffiti Shop is equipped with an anti-theft system. Tver city , Russia .
rack up
The stealing of spray cans
Recognition of foreign skills and works as well as other writers in general
Another name for painting
Rooftop (house roof)
Graffiti on eaves
Roll down
Stroke bombing from top to bottom, with ordinary wall or lacquer paint and brushes / paint rollers / brush pads
Roll up
Stroke bombing from bottom to top, with ordinary wall or lacquer paint and brushes / paint rollers / brush pads


Sketch in a black book
Street bombings in Leipzig
4-color string bombing in Berlin
Second outline
The border of the outline (optional); also called frameline or seconds for short
Hatching / hatching
Pieces with very coarse fill-in (hatched); mostly bombings or throw-ups
"Keep watch" for another writer
Scrapyard / Trashyard
Yard in which only rail cars that have been decommissioned and ready for scrapping are parked
Scratching / scratching
Attaching tags by scratching smooth surfaces (mostly window panes) with stones, sandpaper, keys etc. or special scratchers
Image whose outlines (mostly black, in earlier times heat red) are only filled in with chrome silver
Sketches or quick idea samples on paper, e.g. B. in black books ; can also be full-colored and very complex
Skills in handling letters and the can
A “sponge” or “felt” that picks up the paint from a marker
Spot (place / place)
Explicitly selected locations that are or would be suitable for painting a picture
Name for a sticker that has to be licked so that it sticks
Name for a sticker with which one announces one's name or one's crew. Most of the time stickers from the post office (parcel or parcel) or advertising stickers are used, as these are available free of charge; are mainly used to spread names because they can be attached quickly and anywhere.
Street bombing
Spraying on the open road
Stroke bombing / roller bombing / roll up
Is a graffiti that is filled with the help of ordinary wall or lacquer paint and brushes / paint rollers / brush pads. This technique makes it possible to fill larger areas at a lower cost. Sometimes the outlines with roles are also deleted. By using painter's poles it is also possible to reach higher places without ladders or even to paint down pictures of roofs. In addition to filling large areas with coating paint, detailed work with spray paint is sometimes also required.
Key Concept of Writing ; describes the special type of creation or the characteristic in the pictures of a writer . This includes u. a. the individual design of letters as well as the use of certain style elements so that a coherent, unique style is created. Creating a good (as unique as possible) style is worth striving for and one of the highest goals of a writer . Individual pieces are also referred to as styles.
The swing of the individual letters and each other and thus also the movement of the entire piece


Tags in Barcelona
2 throw-ups in Copenhagen
Top to bottom on a Berlin S-Bahn
Rooftop in Berlin
Tag [ tæg ] ( English tag 'marking', 'label', 'sign')
Signature abbreviation, which represents the pseudonym of a writer . Is considered the original form of the piece developed from it . Often found as a "signature" under sprayed pictures, but also in the youthful gang culture as a territorial mark. In addition to the spray can, waterproof pens are often used to attach the tags . However, tags can just as easily be attached with paint rollers or other utensils. It is also common to scratch the pseudonym, which corresponds to the original form of graffiti (see scratching ). The primary goal is to have a good and innovative style , the secondary goal is to be as present as possible in a city, district or area. This creates a kind of competitive culture. The spraying of someone else's tags - also called crosses - is seen as an insult. Especially in the gang subculture of the United States , tags are used to mark the territory of a street gang. Sprayers of the Writing movement, on the other hand, tend to try to get their name out there, not just in a limited area. Also Ultras sometimes mark locations in a similar manner. As the example of the civil servant Joseph Kyselak shows, there were forerunners of tags as early as the Biedermeier period . In the 20th century, one of the first tags was TAKI 183 , which had a signal effect.
The execution of a day
Quickly painted picture that is only filled in with quick hatching or not at all (see Bombing , Quickpiece )
Top to Bottom (also "top2bottom" or "t2b")
A train image that takes up the entire height of a train car, but not the entire length of the car (see Wholecar )
Toy (English "toy")
Term for an inexperienced (bad) writer
Picture or day of another Writers with the term toy mark or cross process
Train bombing / train writing
General term for spraying trains
Train yard
See yard
Retired train wagon.
See scrapyard
Graffiti on trucks and delivery vehicles, mainly in large cities
Area in which a writer or a crew is active; Originally the name for a passage area


Spraying underground, e.g. B. Subway or walls in a subway station


Wildstyle pieces on a truck in Paris
Wholecar in Munich
Wholetrain in Germany
Window down panel on a New York subway
wack / whack (English "very bad", "extreme")
Label for bad graffiti or a bad writer
Wall of Fame
See Hall of Fame
watchen ( Engl. to watch "look, pay attention [to something]")
Keep an eye on the environment or specific objects while other people are spraying
Watchman / Watcher
Person who takes care that while other people are spraying, they are not surprised by disturbing people
Name for a single train wagon, which was painted in full height and length with graffiti in one action. In most cases only one side of the wagon is sprayed. Most of the time, several writers share the work on one move; However, if a writer sprays a wagon alone, it is called a one-man wholecar . Wholecars are highly regarded in the writing scene. This type of spraying on trains is very uncomfortable for passengers and transport companies, as it means that no more light can get into the interior of the wagon.
Name for a train whose wagons were painted from top to bottom in one action. In contrast to the Wholecar , a Wholetrain consists of several individual Wholecars . In a Wholetrain, all of the wagons (at least on one side) really have to be painted.
Wild style
Wildstyles are pictures that are very complex and whose graphic elements are wildly intertwined. PHASE2 and DONDI from New York are considered to be one of the pioneers of this style . Nowadays, wild styles are sometimes so intertwined that they are barely legible. This is mainly done by adding complex elements as well as numerous connections, some of which are influenced by cursive and some of which are newly defined.
Train picture, below the window
wrecken ( Engl. to wreck , here zerschrotten ruin )
Since often a little residual color is left in empty cans, they are by piercing and breaking down gewreckt . Sprayers make them after use, for example, Halls of Fame unusable so others (see Toys ) this not to Crossen (ie vandalism) can be used.
Name for a graffiti sprayer who practices writing
Writing (short for style writing or graffiti writing )
Designation for the design and application of artistic graffiti with the name as the basic element of the composition


Subway Yard in New York City
Yard / train yard
Terrain on which trains or U- / S-Bahn are parked, mostly for cleaning and maintenance
Multiple sprayers entering a yard (not necessarily as a group) to create pictures


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Stefanie Maeck: Street Art: Art on the street by Mirko Reisser. In: Hamburger Abendblatt. June 23, 2011, p. 3. ( online )
  2. Arne Rautenberg : Power of Graffiti: He has been spraying for 17 years, has worked with the most famous graffiti greats and broken records with his art - around 1995, when he was involved in the largest graffiti in the world on a Hamburg skyscraper. We are talking about Mirko Reisser alias DAIM. In: Kiel News. Journal, No. 150, Week 26, June 30, 2007, p. 2.
  3. ^ Bernhard van Treeck : The large graffiti lexicon. Lexikon-Imprint-Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89602-292-X , p. 86 ff.
  4. Hip-Hop Lexicon, see: 3-D Letterstyle
  5. ^ Bernhard van Treeck: The large graffiti lexicon. Lexikon-Imprint-Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89602-292-X , p. 341.
  6. ^ Bernhard van Treeck: The large graffiti lexicon. Lexikon-Imprint-Verlag, Berlin 2001, ISBN 3-89602-292-X , p. 261 ff.
  7. Translator: wack (viewed in April 2009)