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Here is the glossary listing the terminology used in the alternate history community.


  • Alternate history, alternative history, alt-history, althist allohistory, or uchronie (AH): A form of speculative fiction which postulates events in the past if a specific point of history resulted in a different outcome.
  • Alternate history timeline, alternative history timeline, alternate timeline, or alternative timeline (ATL): A timeline that contains the series of events between our timeline stemming from the point of divergence. (See Wikipedia article on alternate history.)
  • Alien Space Bats (ABS): An alternate history timeline which are too ridiculously implausible to have occurred, due to an extreme exaggeration to the butterfly effect.


  • Butterfly effect: When a small change can cause a great difference onward. It comes from the thought that for every time a small butterfly flaps its wings as it flies through the air, it causes a domino effect to take place which creates more noticeable changes at a much greater scale. In other words, small changes in a starting variable would produce vastly different results. Also known as chaos theory. (See Wikipedia article on chaos theory.)


  • Chaos theory: See butterfly effect.


  • Island(s) in the Sea of Time (ISOT): An alternate history in which an area or multiple areas of one era are transported to a different era. The term comes from the title of a book by S.M. Stirling in which the island of Nantucket in Massachusetts is transported back to the Bronze Age.


  • Many-worlds interpretation: A theory in quantum mechanics that all outcomes at any point in time result in infinite results, or that a specific cause can produce different series of events, branching into multiple parallel universes. (See Wikipedia article on many-worlds interpretation.)


  • Our timeline (OTL), this timeline (TTL): Our current history which contains actual historical events which has occurred in reality as of now.


  • Point-of-divergence (POD): A specific point in our timeline where an event is changed branching out an alternative timeline.


  • Timeline: A chronological sequence of events throughout time.


  • Ucronie: See alternative history.


  • Wank: A scenario in which a particular nation or empire is made too powerful in an alternate history timeline.