This is a page dedicated to briefly describe terms and phrases that are frequently used in Survivor.



  • Blindside - To eliminate a person from the game by surprise.
  • Buff - A colored band of cloth which denotes tribal affiliation.


  • Car Curse - The inexplicable coincidence where the winner of a Reward Challenge which has a car for a prize does not win the title of Sole Survivor.
  • Castaways - The contestants in each season.
  • Challenge - The competition in which the tribes or contestants vie for Reward and/or Immunity.
  • (On the) Chopping Block - A phrase used for a contestant who is in danger of being voted out.
  • Confessional - A directing tool where a castaway usually narrates from their perspective to the audience, typically talking about strategy, their experience on the island and fellow castaways. These are also done when contestants are voting at Tribal Council and also when they are voted out.



  • Evacuation - An instance whereby a contestant is forced to leave the game due to an emergency. "Medical evacuation" is commonly abbreviated as "medevac".
  • Exile (as a noun) - see Exile Island
  • Exile (as a verb) - To send a player to Exile Island.
  • Exile Island - A location where a castaway would be temporarily banished from his/her tribe for a predetermined period of time.


  • Fan Favorite Award - Another name for the "Player of the Season" award, where the season's most popular contestant gets an extra prize.
  • Final Two/Three - The remaining two or three castaways who would face the jury and are eligible to be voted for the title of Sole Survivor.
  • Fire-Making Challenge - A special challenge wherein the people involved in a tie duke it out to stay in the game. Only happens during the final four or when a tribe is down to only two members.
  • Flip - To defect from one alliance to another.
  • Flush - To remove a Hidden Immunity Idol from play by voting out the holder or forcing them to play it unnecessarily.


  • Goat - A derogatory term for players who are viewed as undeserving to win the game and easy to beat at the Final Tribal Council.


  • Hidden Immunity Idol - An item that can be found by castaways and can be used to save oneself or others from getting voted out.


  • Idol (as a noun) - see Hidden Immunity Idol
  • Idol (as a verb) - To cause the elimination of another castaway by playing the Hidden Immunity Idol.
  • Immunity - An exemption from being voted out.


  • Jury - A group of recently eliminated contestants who will decide the Sole Survivor among the Final Two/Three.


  • Kidnap - A chance to "kidnap" a member of the opposite tribe for a limited period of time.


  • Loved Ones - The relative, spouse or friend of a castaway who visits the island for a predetermined period of time (see Loved Ones Challenge).


  • Merge - The halfway point of the game where the competing tribes combine as one until the end of the game and the game becomes individual.
  • Mutiny - A chance offered to the castaways to switch tribes.



  • (The) Outcasts - A ghost tribe in Survivor: Pearl Islands consisting of the first six players who were voted out of the game. They were given a chance to return to the game after competing in a special three-tribe Immunity Challenge.


  • Pagonging - A post-merge strategy employed by a tribe by successively voting out the remaining members of the other tribe. Named after the Pagong tribe of Survivor: Borneo, the first victim of the strategy.
  • Parchment - The paper used by the contestants in their voting.
  • Perfect Game - A contestant who wins Survivor by a unanimous jury vote and also never had a vote against them the entire game.
  • Ponderosa - A sequester house for eliminated castaways.
  • Power Couple/Duo - An alliance of two people that is more devoted to each other than other alliances they have formed or joined.
  • Purple Rock - see Rock Drawing


  • Quit - To voluntarily leave the game without being voted out.


  • Redemption Island - A location where castaways would stay after being voted out and await their upcoming duel(s).
  • Returning player - A player who returns to the game for another shot at the title of Sole Survivor.
  • Rites of Passage - A ceremony involving the tribute of the final few to the eliminated castaways before the Final Immunity Challenge.
  • Rock Drawing - A mechanism to break a deadlock tie vote prior to the Final Four. Players (except Immune players and those tied) will have to draw rocks, and the person who gets the differently colored rock gets eliminated.


  • Schoolyard Pick - A twist where two castaways serve as captains for two tribe and alternate picking between men and women until both tribes are filled evenly. If there are an odd number of castaways in a season with Exile Island in play, the person not chosen waits on Exile and joins the losing tribe following Tribal Council.
  • Shelter - A hut built by castaways on the island. It is a place where a tribe eats and sleeps, normally keeping them dry during harsh weather conditions. 
  • Snuffing - The act of extinguishing an eliminated contestant's torch by the host.
  • Split vote - A strategy employed by an alliance with a 2/3 majority by distributing their votes between members of a smaller opposing alliance, to possibly defuse any power gained by playing a Hidden Immunity Idol.
  • Sole Survivor - The title bestowed on the winner of each season.
  • Survivor Auction - A type of Reward Challenge in which the remaining contestants are given a specific amount of money to outbid each other for various items.


  • Throwaway vote - To purposefully or randomly vote a castaway, knowing that his/her vote will not have any strategic significance whatsoever.
  • Torch - An item that holds fire, which represents a castaway's "life" in the game.
  • Tree Mail - An area of a tribe's camp where they receive letters (typically written as a cryptic poem), notifying them of an upcoming challenge or Redemption Island duel. It is a play on "E-Mail".
  • Tribal Council - The elimination ceremony and the place where contestants are voted out of the tribe.
  • Tribe - The competing teams in each season.
  • Tribe Dissolve - The dissolution of one or two tribe(s) before the merge, with the members being absorbed by the remaining tribes or the remaining castaways being shuffled into new tribes.
  • Tribe Switch - A twist which involves sending members of a tribe to the other and vice versa.
  • Twist - A drastic game-changing alterations to the original format of the game.


  • Ulonging - A circumstance when a tribe is down in numbers due to constantly losing Immunity Challenges. Named after the Ulong tribe of Survivor: Palau, the first tribe to never hold immunity.
  • Urn - The container in which the castaways place their votes.


  • Voted out - To be eliminated from the game.
  • Voting bloc - A group of people who band together for one or two votes, as a lesser form of alliance.