A taunt, previously referred to as a finishing pose and as Appeal internally (AppealL and AppealR in Super Smash Bros. Melee's Debug menu), is a move designed to provoke, annoy, or mock opponents, or to just celebrate a successfully executed move or combo. In Super Smash Bros. and Super Smash Bros. Melee, each character has only one taunt, but from Super Smash Bros. Brawl onward, they have up to three different taunts: up, down, and side taunt. To use a taunt, the player must press the L button in SSB, and up on the D-Pad in Melee. In Brawl, Smash 4, and Ultimate, the direction the player presses on the D-Pad (or the buttons on the Wii Remote for Brawl) determines which taunt is used.
In Super Smash Bros., there is only one taunt animation, so characters that taunt either face the screen or away from it depending on whether they are facing left or right. This was changed in Melee so characters that turn towards the screen have slightly different animations, making sure they never face away (unless they are caped). Using this functionality, Pichu and Captain Falcon's taunts in Melee have two distinctly different animations depending on the direction they are facing. Additionally, Wario has an extra taunt when he is riding his bike, used by pressing any of the taunt buttons. Taunts can all be done on the ground only, and are canceled if the character goes airborne or slides close to an edge during their execution.
Taunts are different between every character - even those who are direct clones of another. However, taunts always have the character doing a motion (such as dancing), and the character may speak or yell out a battle cry, which is often taken advantage of within taunt matches. Taunts have variable durations between characters, some of which are very noticeable, such as Young Link's taunt in Melee, which is the slowest in the game, taking more than three times longer to finish than Kirby's taunt, which is the fastest in the game. However, some characters such as Mario in SSB, Pikachu in Melee, and Bayonetta in Smash 4 can interrupt their taunts noticeably earlier than the end of the animation. In Ultimate, this feature is amplified to every taunt in the game except those that affect gameplay (such as Greninja and Luigi's down taunts), being all interruptible on frame 50 regardless of their animation length, although several of them have faster animations than in previous games regardless.
Cloud is the only character in non-Japanese versions of the series who still speaks Japanese in any of his taunts as of Super Smash Bros. Ultimate. However, some "speaking" taunts change between languages. A notable example is Jigglypuff, whose dialogue changes to reflect its name in other languages, such as its Japanese name, "Purin", or Fox in Melee, when he says "kakatte koi" ("come on").
One of the intended uses of taunting is after KOing an opponent, which is implied by CPUs using them as such at all times in Melee and Brawl; in the latter game, this includes the opponent self-destructing or getting KOed by a teammate of the CPU. Similarly, in SSB, they taunt any time they launch an opponent a far distance away. In Smash 4 and Ultimate, this was changed so CPUs will not always taunt, with their likelihood decreasing as their level increases: level 9 CPUs will never taunt on the whole. While CPUs usually never use taunts for other purposes (such as removing Copy Abilities as Kirby), CPU Luigi in Smash 4 will, interestingly, attempt to use his down taunt against foes hanging on ledges. In Ultimate, Figure Players can use their taunts during battle, with the frequency of the taunt and which taunt they perform being able to be determined by the player as they learn.
While predominantly only for show, seven characters' taunts in the series can affect gameplay outside moving the character's hurtboxes:
In Ultimate, while most taunts are interruptible, most of gameplay-affecting ones are not. The only exceptions are Kirby’s taunts (which will remove the copy ability before the taunt animation begins) and Samus’s (as she and Zero Suit Samus are completely separate).
Lists of taunts
Main article: List of taunts (SSB)
Main article: List of taunts (SSBM)
Main article: List of taunts (SSBB)
Main article: List of taunts (SSB4)
Main article: List of taunts (SSBU)
One feature of Super Smash Bros. Brawl's With Friends mode when playing on Wi-Fi Connection is that it allows a player to assign four different taunt messages to all four taunt button combinations. If the player were to perform an up taunt on the With Friends mode, their character will display a personalised taunt message written by the player that they have assigned to the up taunt. This feature is disabled in the With Anyone for security and censorship reasons. Each message is limited to 20 characters in length.
The function returns for Super Smash Bros. 4's With Friends mode played over the Nintendo Network. The user is prohibited from including certain of inappropriate words, and each message is limited to 16 characters at most.
The custom message feature was taken out in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate in favor for pre-made messages, most likely so people won't use profanity in their taunt messages. As most taunts are disabled in Quickplay, (with Kirby as the exception), taunt messages only shown at the start of the match and at the results screen. The player can personalize eight taunt messages, four at the start of the match and four at the results screen.
A custom taunt is an action that is intended to taunt opponents without using one of the taunts already available in the game. Custom taunts often involve actions that look similar to an ordinary taunt; a well-known example is King Dedede's crouch, though others include Ness's up and down smashes, where he performs yo-yo tricks, Bowser Jr.'s down tilt, where the Koopa Clown Car licks the foe with its tongue, Olimar's down tilt, where he appears to be doing "the worm", Charizard's slow walking animation, dubbed the "Zard Walk" by fans, Shulk using Monado Arts while walking, dubbed the "Monado Walk" (which applies to Kirby as well when he copies Shulk's neutral special), many characters' crawling animations (with those of Wario and Zero Suit Samus being the most common), and Mr. Game & Watch's up tilt where he waves a "#1" flag.
Within taunt matches, actions that produce loud, irritating, or otherwise repetitive sounds can become custom taunts; examples include crouching as Jigglypuff and Kirby, Daisy's forward smash, Ganondorf's up smash prior to Ultimate, and his forward smash in Ultimate, Captain Falcon's Falcon Punch, the majority of Wario's moves (especially Wario Waft), Shulk's Back Slash, Little Mac's neutral attack, Olimar's Pikmin Order, and one of Inkling Boy's tilt attacks, where he can sometimes say "Ngyes!".
Repeatedly crouching and standing back up (i.e. teabagging) is a common form of pseudo-taunting. Ridley and King K. Rool's teabags make them look like they are "dabbing". This also applies to Falco's spotdodge prior to Ultimate. In Ultimate, teabagging is notoriously common on Quickplay due to taunts being disallowed, and is a widespread criticism of the mode that is considered a form of griefing. As such, players are often advised to mentally and emotionally prepare themselves for opponents who will attempt to aggravate them.
Super Smash Bros. for Wii U digital manual description