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A Sub-Trope of Canon Defilement.

In Derivative Works (especially Fan Fiction), this term means that somebody is acting largely against his or her established personality. How and why this occurs has a pretty wide range:

Generally viewed as a very negative trait (if a fanfic gets tagged as "OOC", it's usually not a good sign, though writers will often be honest enough to slap the tag on themselves up front).

Compare Character Derailment, which is this applied to canon. See also Out-of-Character Moment. Draco in Leather Pants, Ron the Death Eater and Wimpification can be considered subtropes.

Not to be confused with In and Out of Character. In Role Playing Games, it is sometimes necessary to make a distinction between when a player is In Character and Out Of Character, to know if the person is speaking as the character or as the player. A player who uses Out of Character information (such as the presence of goblins in a room ahead) to make an in-character choice is said to be MetaGaming, which most dungeon-masters severely frown upon.

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