I am trying to recall a very specific word that..

  • Is typically used in the context of film/tv/screen writing
  • Describes something that the writer has put in their imaginary world (usually but not necessarily physical)
  • Means that this something is 'in-place', 'sympathetic to the imaginary world', 'consistent'
  • When used usually implies that this thing would otherwise be very out of place or noticeable, that the screen writer has done a good job of integrating it


"The {} telephone-like device didn't break my suspension of disbelief, like it could have if done wrong."

"The X is very {}, considering they've obviously had to include it for didactic purposes"

Does anyone recall such a word? I am fairly sure I am not imagining it...

  • There is "mis-en-scène" but that doesn't quite match what you ask.
    – Chenmunka
    Jan 26, 2018 at 11:38
  • 1
    Are you looking for diegetic? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diegetic?wprov=sfti1
    – KarlG
    Jan 26, 2018 at 12:38
  • @KarlG Yes, that's the one! Thank you. I will accept if you can put it as an answer? Now I read the definition again my emphasis on the physical could be misleading. What is best practice on this site - is it preferred I alter the question or leave as is?
    – sebf
    Jan 26, 2018 at 13:43
  • As you wish. Frankly, the big cue was that you couldn't remember the word. I don't know how many times I've had to retrace my steps to find it.
    – KarlG
    Jan 26, 2018 at 14:24

2 Answers 2


Often used to describe film music, diegetic is part of the film's narrative world that the characters experience as well. Extra-diegetic music is heard only by the audience. A common technique is to begin with diegetic music — say, a single unaccompanied voice — and transition to extra-diegetic, where out of nowhere there is an orchestra and full chorus.

The word in this sense is a recent coinage from the classical concept of diegesis. While mimesis shows action, diegesis narrates it.

  • I'll delete my comment (and this one) for tidiness sake :) Nice word btw. Jan 26, 2018 at 14:39

I find "unobtrusive" works in those situations - where something is passively hiding-in-plain-sight.

An active attempt not to be seen, say a spy hiding behind a newspaper, would be "inconspicuous".

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