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When you introduce someone, you probably add a brief title and description so that each person gets a little more information than, "Bob, this is Alice. Alice, Bob." One might say Bob scuba dives, or Alice just got her pilot's license.
These people cut out the middle man. "Runs With Bulls", "The Forgotten Flame of Endless Unmarked Years", "The Princess Magnificent With Lips of Coral and Robes of Black Feathers"...you get the idea. Appropriate or not, the name is a full description.
Anime and Manga
- This causes a bit of a Dub Induced Plot Hole in Durarara. One of the main characters is named Mikado Ryugamine, which means "Emperor of the Dragon's Peak." It's pretty much exactly as strange as if someone walked up to you and said "Hi, my name is Emperor of the Dragon's Peak." Unfortunately, we don't translate Japanese names, so English viewers are left confused as to why everyone is making such a big deal out of his name.
- The title character in With the Light is given a name on the first page meaning "Light of the East"; his surname, Azuma, is the nanori (proper name pronunciation) of "higashi," meaning "east." Not to be outdone, his little sister Kanon's full name would be, loosely translated, "the sound of eastern flowers"; her mother decided to give her the name Kanon, written with the kanji letters for "flower" and "sound," after hearing a canon playing on the radio while giving birth.
- In Drug and Drop, Kazahaya lists off Rikuou's name as being one of the many stupid things about him because it sounds like a religious landmark, but then has to acknowledge that his own does too.
- In the Immortal Iron Fist series, the seven Immortal Weapons have names like Tiger's Beautiful Daughter and Bride of Nine Spiders. Technically these are titles, but in some cases we never learn their personal names.
- Dances with Wolves includes Native American characters with names like Stands With A Fist and Wind In His Hair... also averted in one instance, with one character who's simply named Otter.
- In the Berserker story, "Pilots of the Twilight", Holt was raised by the 'Reen who named him, translated roughly, "He-orphaned-and-helpless-whom-we-obliged-are-to-take-in-but-why-us?". Upon return to human society he was given the name Holt Calder.
- The souls' names in The Host: things like 'Fords Deep Waters', 'Light that Shines Through the Ice', and 'Rides the Beast'.
- In Discworld, there is a man named One-Man-Bucket from Howandaland whose tribe's naming convention is to name the baby after the first thing the mother sees. His full name is One-Man-Pouring-A-Bucket-Of-Water-Over-Two-Dogs. His slightly-older twin brother is Two-Dogs. NOT short for Two-Dogs-Fighting.
- There are also kings accientally named in this fashion, because they are literally named after what the priest at the ceremony says, leading to such gems as King My-God-He's-Heavy The First.
- Discworld also parodies the Puritan convention, with Omnians having names like Mightily-Praiseworthy-Are-They-Who-Exalteth-Om and Visit-The-Infidel-With-Explanatory-Pamphlets. There's also Sam Vimes's ancestor Suffer-Not-Injustice.
- Goblins seem to name their children (or themselves, it's unclear) after their favourite natural sight. At least one was named something like Pleasing Contrast Between The Yellow Flowers And The Orange Flowers.
- In the novel Embassytown, the alien Hosts mark certain human residents as similes to be used in their everyday language; the main characters is formally named "there was a human girl who in pain ate what was given to her in an old room built for eating in which eating had not happened for a time," or "the girl who ate was given to her" for short.
- The Stormlight Archive has a character known as "Rock" whose real name (Nuhumukumakiaki'aialunamor) is an entire poem in his native language about a rock his father found just before he was born. Apparently everybody in his culture has names like that.
- The Lord of the Rings. In Entish, all names are basically short biographies of the named. The longer Treebeard lives, the longer his Entish name grows... and he's already lived for several millennia.
- Treebeard's name is anything but short. His true name is pretty much an epic-length novel in and of itself, detailing his long. long life.
- The cats of the Tribe of Rushing Water in Warrior Cats are named after the first thing their mother sees when the cat is born, e.g. Brook Where Small Fish Swim, Night of No Stars, etc. One character remarks that in his mind, this would lead to a lot of cats being named Roof of Cave, Wall of Cave, or Floor of Cave.
- Even the tribe itself is like this, seeing as it was named after the waterfall guarding its cave.
- In the Keys to the Kingdom book Lady Friday, the Winged Servants of the Night all have names like this. For example: "The One Who Survived The Darkness".
- In the Honor Harrington series, the non-human sentients known as Treecats have descriptive names giving an insightful view of them. Notable names have included "Laughs Brightly", "Swift Striker" and "Echo of Time". Several humans have also been awarded names such as "Death Fang's Bane" and "Dances On Clouds".
- In Iain M Banks' Culture setting, names function as characters' addresses (although the full forms are rarely mentioned in the novels). As Banks explained:
Culture names act as an address if the person concerned stays where they were brought up. Let's take an example; Balveda, from Consider Phlebas. Her full name is Juboal-Rabaroansa Perosteck Alseyn Balveda dam T'seif. The first part tells you she was born/brought up on Rabaroan Plate, in the Juboal stellar system [...]; Perosteck is her given name (almost invariably the choice of one's mother), Alseyn is her chosen name (people usually choose their names in their teens, and sometimes have a succession through their lives; [...]); Balveda is her family name (usually one's mother's family name) and T'seif is the house/estate she was raised within. The 'sa' affix on the first part of her name would translate into 'er' in English (we might all start our names with 'Sun-Earther', in English, if we were to adopt the same nomenclature), and the 'dam' part is similar to the German 'von'.
- Hares in the Redwall universe tend to have names consisting of 5, 6, or even 7 parts. One of the longest names is "Bellscut Oglecrop Obrathon Ragglewaithe Audube Baggscut". He goes by his initials: Boorab. Even longer than that is Wilthurio Longbarrow Sackfirth Toxophola Fedlric Fritillary Wilfrand Hurdleframe Longarrow Leawelt Pugnacio Cinnabar Hillwether Jodrellio, or Jodd, for short. He did warn them that they did NOT want to know his full name...
- Anyone and everyone associated with the Lands Born of Smoke and Sacrifice in Breaking the Wall. Up to and including the "Lands Born of Smoke and Sacrifice." Among actual characters we have Flying Claw, Honey Dream, and Righteous Drum.
- Bartimaeus's full name (according to him, anyway) is "Bartimaeus of Uruk, Sakhr al-Jinni, N'gorso the Mighty and the Serpent of Silver Plumes".
- The Hawkbrothers in the Heralds of Valdemar series choose (or are given) two-word "use-names", which can signify personality or important attributes (Steelmind, who never forgets), recall a memorable occasion from the person's life (Starfall, who dove from a cliff at the moment a meteor flashed overhead), or simply be poetic (Wintersky). These can be changed at adulthood or after life-altering events (Darkwind was known as Songwind in happier times).
- In Snuff, it is revealed that goblins are all named like a cross between Magical Native Americans and Exalted characters - "Tears of the Mushroom," "Regret of the Falling Leaf," "Shine of the Rainbow," "Sound of the Rain on Hard Ground," "The Pleasant Contrast of the Orange and Yellow Petals in the Flower of the Gorse," and so forth. This poetic/artistic streak in a species that most people treat like intelligent vermin is significant to the plot, although their exact naming conventions are never precisely explained.
Live Action TV
- Monty Python's Flying Circus: Introducing the Gits -- A Snivelling Little Rat-Faced Git, his wife Dreary Fat Boring Old, and their unseen son & daughters: Dirty Lying Little Two-Faced (son), Ghastly Spotty Horrible Vicious Little (daughter - the youngest), and Ghastly Spotty Cross-Eyed (daughter).
- It's possible that Terry Jones (A Snivelling Little Rat-Faced Git) misspoke by changing "Horrible Vicious Little" to "Cross-Eyed", thus accidentally creating a second daughter.
- Virtually everyone and everything in Exalted. Some examples are: The Princess Magnificent With Lips of Coral and Robes of Black Feathers, the First and Forsaken Lion, Seven Devils Clever, Strength of Many, etc. All give a pretty good feel for the trope.
- Both Werewolf: The Apocalypse and The Forsaken make use of deed names, wherein a werewolf's name among the Garou/Uratha usually reflects what they've done or what they do. Some examples from Apocalypse include Evan Heals-the-Past and Mephi Faster-than-Death.
- In the Dragonlance setting, each individual gnome's name is his entire family history from himself going back to the beginning of the gnomish race. They talk fast.
- They apply much the same principle to other things as well. Famously, Mount Nevermind (where a lot of gnomes live) got that from a human hastily cutting off a gnome starting to launch into its gnomish full name.
- Queen Pulsating, Bloated, Festering, Sweaty, Pus-filled, Malformed Slug-For-A-Butt from Earthworm Jim.
- Every single Sammer Guy of Super Paper Mario has one, each more ridiculous than the last.
- The webcomic Keychain of Creation, being set in the world of Exalted, has many examples of this trope. Elegant Nova of Progression, for instance, is an Alchemical Mad Scientist. Resident Abyssal "Secret" has an Overly Long Name, spoofing the standard Abyssal naming practice; she uses "Secret" as the short form.
- Almost every character in Goblins is an example of this trope.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd's theme song (in its full version) refers to him as the "Angry Atari Amiga CD-i Colecovision Intellivision Sega Neo Geo Turbo Grafx 16 Odyssey 3DO Commodore 64 Nintendo Nerd".
- There is some Truth in Television to this. Most names mean something, but they normally aren't translated. Most Native American names sound like "Running Bull" or something similar in their native language, so they usually translate it to make sure everyone knows exactly what they were named after.
- A particularly amusing Native American example is the 19th century warrior whose name was translated as "Young Man Afraid of His Horses". Apparently a more accurate translation is "Young Man Whose Horses Fear Him", but either way the name belongs here.
- Related to this trope, in the German language (and perhaps others), an official title or name has its spaces removed and all the constituent words are pushed together into a single run-on word.
- Germans who hold noble titles can't use them in Germany and must instead convert their title into their surname. Winemaker Prince Donatus of Hesse's legal name is Donatus Prinz von Hessen, while Zsa Zsa Gabor's husband Prince Frederick of Anhalt is known in Germany as Frederick Prinz von Anhalt.
- Some English Puritans of the 17th century made something of a habit of giving their children over-the-top religious names, like Praise-God and Fly-Fornication (yes, really). One child ended up being called Nicholas If-Christ-Had-Not-Died-For-Thee-Thou-Hadst-Been-Damned Barebone. Unfortunately, when he grew up he proved to be of loose morals and was generally known as Damned Barebone for short. He's actually kind of important.
- This sort of name is still current among Christians in sub-Saharan Africa, giving us names like Goodluck Jonathan (the current president of Nigeria).
- Translations of The Bible frequently spell out the meaning of a person's given name in its original language. One of the most famous examples is the name of the angel Michael, which is actually a complete question: "Who is like God?"
- The name of Bangkok.