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"Guy named Otto Octavius winds up with eight limbs. What are the odds?"
J. Jonah Jameson, Spider-Man 2

A variety of Meaningful Name, this is when the birth name of a character matches up with the powers they get or the role they take later in life.

Usually, their real name can be shortened or scrambled into their Code Name, but sometimes it's more a thematic link.

For Anime heroes, if a character has an element somewhere in their name, they will almost always use that element in battle when they grow up. Hikari/Hikaru, meaning "light/shining", is especially prophetic.

Most common in Silver Age comics, although it still shows up from time to time.

Prophetic Names is the more general case, where names reflect a character's status, abilities, personality, or other features. A character who just never bothers with a pseudonym has a Secret Public Identity. See also Sue Donym for real people who do this.

For those who don't understand the title: S.U.Perhero

Examples of Steven Ulysses Perhero include:


Anime

  • Naruto Uzumaki's name references both the Naruto whirlpools (Naruto no Uzushio, Uzumaki is a different word for whirlpool) and Narutomaki, a type of fishcake decorated with spirals (which themselves reference said whirlpools) usually found in Ramen, the character's favorite dish. His trademark move is the Rasengan, a ball of spiraling chakra and air.
  • Cowboy Bebop. Who'd have guessed a kid named 'Vicious' would turn out to be a belligerent jerk?
    • There's a good chance that it's not his real name, though.
  • The main characters in Magic Knight Rayearth and Sailor Moon both have the relevant elements in their names. Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto go a step further: their family names are the names of their planets in Japanese (minus the suffix "-sei"). The Inner Senshi (except Venus, who was created earlier for Codename: Sailor V) have their elements in their surnames minus the "-sei."
    • Bilingual Bonus in Magic Knight Rayearth. In the Japanese version (of the manga) it's mentioned "Shidou Hikaru" means 'Shine on the Road' as a significant name. While in the English version they use "Rayearth", Hikaru's mecha/monster/familar as the significant name with the same meaning.
  • In Jubei-chan, Jiyu Nanohana (nicknamed "Jiyuu-bei" or "Jubei" by her father) not only inherited the power of Yagyu Jubei, but also the ability to free souls from a 300 year curse of hatred. "Jiyuu" means "freedom" in Japanese.
  • This seems to happen a lot in the Pretty Cure franchise. For instance, who knew that the child named Love Momozono was going to grow up to be a magical girl fueled by The Power of Love?
  • Digimon Adventure sometimes referenced the characters' powers or that of their mons. Sora, meaning "sky", has a flying partner; Hikari has the crest of "light" and strange glowing powers.
  • Speed Racer.
  • Not fully utilized in Pokémon. "Ash" simply sounds like "Satoshi", though fire is a common theme among Japanese heroes (though it might be based on the tree-based names of the Professors). "Ketchum" on the other hand is a word play on "Catch 'em"; "Dawn" carries on the light-themed "Hikari", not expressed in her Pokemon, but reflective of her appearance in Diamond & Pearl; "May"/"Haruka" does seem to use some spring-themed Pokemon. "Misty"/"Kasumi" is a straight example - the names are equivalent, and she is heavily water-themed; "Brock" has the obvious "Rock".
    • In the German version Brock is named Rocko.
    • All gym leaders have names that are puns on the type of Pokemon they train (including former gym leaders Brock and Misty).
  • Dr. Black Jack eventually admits that his alias is derived from his actual name, Kuroo (Kuroo = Kuro o = Kuro otoko = black man)
  • In Mai-HiME, Mikoto turns out to be a prophetic name (mikoto means "lord").
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!, when read, can have two meanings: "Games King" or "King Yugi". Guess who grows up to be the King of Games?
    • Not quite the same but yuujou means friendship and "Yuu"gi and "Jou"noici (Joey in the dub) are best friends.
    • It would be more difficult to name a minor character from Yu-Gi-Oh! whose name has nothing to do with their deck.
  • Death Note loves this trope. Villain Protagonist Light Yagami's last name literally means "night god", and his first name is written (in a slight subversion of the typical "Hikari" naming) with the symbol for "moon". Similarly, his disciple and proxy late in the series has the last name Mikami, the pronunciation of which can mean "eye god" or "seeing god" (though unlike Light's last name, this meaning is concealed by different kanji symbols). And Light's rival, L, has the real name L Lawliet, which is intended to be pronounced "low light".
  • The eponymous character in Soul Eater actually came from a family of musicians who didn't even know they had weapon's blood. Although as Not! clarifies, his last name was originally Evans and not Eater, his first name is still actually Soul.
    • It's a very literal-minded name to give a Weapon, and the idea he was somehow given it without his parents knowing he was a Weapon is just baffling. And unfair to the poor kid. Not only do you have pointy teeth and unusual looks, but your name makes you sound like a monster.
      • Maybe his parents thought of soul music when they chose his name.
  • In Yoroiden Samurai Troopers(Ronin Warriors in the US) Shin wears the armor Suiko, which just so happens to be imbued with the virtue "shin".
  • Fullmetal Alchemist's Riza Hawkeye is such a skilled sharpshooter she was sent to Ishbal's battlefront as a sniper before she had even graduated from military academy.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Hayate Yagami has the last name Yagami, as in the Death Note example above, but it's written with the kanji for "eight gods." Still, Hayate is the mistress of the Book of the Night Sky.
  • In the Italian dub of Saint Seiya, almost all of the bronze saints that serve Athena bear a constellation-related name since they're little children. As a kid, this troper would always ask himself how no one was able to predict that the child named "Pegasus" was going to win just THAT armour....
  • Saber Rider from Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs, although it may not be his real name.
  • Despite being spoofed in the first episode of Tiger and Bunny ("So you're Wild Tiger? I see that you took it from your name, Toratetsu." "It's Kotetsu, sir."), Kotetsu actually did base his superhero name on his actual one, which contains the kanji for tiger in it.


Comic Books

This is particularly common in The DCU:

  • Golden Age "hero" Johnny Thunder, an inept Unlucky Everydude who is fated to be the master of the Thunderbolt, a powerful magical being. He uses it as a Secret Public Identity.
  • John Henry Irons (named after the famous "steel-driving" folk hero John Henry) became the power-suited Superman replacement, Steel.
    • That was deliberate. The character chose his superhero identity based on the man he was named after. "Irons" is apparently dumb luck, though.
  • William I. Zard, the Wizard, was a Golden Age supervillain.
  • Thomas Oscar "T.O." Morrow, a recurring enemy of the Justice League of America.
    • This is intentional of Morrow's part - he's actually Polish, and his normal name is Tomek Ovadya Morah.
      • Possibly a double example, in certain parts of England "tomorrow" is pronounced "t'marah"
    • A robot character in EPCOT also happens to be named Tom Morrow.
    • There's also an extropian who named himself Tom Morrow.
  • Kite Man's name is Charles Brown.
  • Examples in Batman's Rogues Gallery:
    • Edward ("E.") Nigma: The Riddler. This was later retconned into a stage name, with his real name being Edward Nashton.
    • Harleen Quinzell hooked up with the Joker to become Harley Quinn (harlequin, a type of clown). Lampshaded in the Batman: The Animated Series episode Mad Love, when they flash back to how she and the Joker first met: the Joker points it out, to which she replies that a lot of people bring it up.
      • And the best part is, it's implied the only reason the Joker chose to corrupt her is simply because he liked her name and thought it would be funny. That's it.
    • Julian Gregory Day, as in the Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar, became Calendar Man.
    • The Clock King has been named William Tockman in the DCU and Temple Fugate in the DCAU (a play on "tempus fugit", latin for "Time flies"). In the Teen Titans comic, Blue Beetle speculates that the new Clock King is named "Rolex Chronoberg".
    • Victor Fries (pronounced "freeze") became Mr. Freeze after an accident made him incapable of surviving in anything but subzero temperatures. In his origin story in Batman: The Animated Series, he is employed by Mr. Boyle (pronounced "boil").
    • Pamela Lillian Isley -- better known as Poison Ivy, with plant-related abilities. In one episode of the animated series, she runs an eternal youth spa under the alias Dr. Daphne Demeter. Demeter is the Greek goddess of the earth and fertility, and Daphne is both a type of flowering shrub and a dryad from Greek Mythology who was turned into a laurel tree. The latter is extremely appropriate, considering Poison Ivy uses a special formula to turn the spa guests (rich industrialists who harmed the environment) into humanoid trees.
      • Some versions even have her study in the Ivy League.
    • Warren White, known as "The Great White Shark" because of his ruthless and illegal business practices, later adopted this as his villain name when he developed a shark-like appearance due to severe frostbite.
    • Lock-Up, real name Lyle Bolton.
    • Roscoe Chiara, the Black and White Bandit; his name is a play on the shading technique "Chiaroscuro", and he's a colorblind former artist.
    • Mary Louise Dahl, who takes on the personality of her TV character, Baby Doll.
    • The real names of Tweedledee and Tweedledum are Dumfrey and Deever Tweed.
    • Crimesmith aka Dr. Ryan Smith.
    • Dr. Simon Ecks AKA Doctor Double X
  • Examples in the Flash's Rogues Gallery:
    • Roy G. Bivolo[1] was the Rainbow Raider. (Even amongst comic book fans, this is considered over the top.)
    • Hunter Zolomon, the second Zoom.
    • Abhararakadhararbarakh (Pronounced "Abrakadabra"), a refugee from the 64th century, used technology from his time to simulate magic as, well, Abra Kadabra.
    • The first Trickster, James Jesse, invoked this trope. As an admirer of Jesse James from childhood, he decided to pull the modern equivalent of train robberies by robbing airplanes--in midair.
    • Axel Walker, the second Trickster, got his start when he found his predecessor's equipment in storage--including his signature antigravity shoes, often referred to as airwalkers.
  • Doctor Occult is actually named Richard Occult. And his "better half" Rose Psychic? That's her real name, too. To be fair, they were named by the same group of mystics who chose them because they were going to develop powers, and trained them in their use.
  • Peter David parodied this trope during his run on Young Justice, when mild-mannered archeologist Nina Dowd was transformed into The Mighty Endowed. In addition to mind-control powers, she had very impressive... tracts of land.
  • Though the Calculator was given the name Noah Kuttler in his recent appearances, creator Bob Rozakis has said in interviews that his Silver Age secret identity was "Calvin Q. Later".
  • The world's greatest escape artist, Mister Miracle, has the name Scott Free. However, this was an intentional joke; the name was given to him by Granny Goodness because of his attempts to escape her. What real name, if any, his father Highfather might have given him is unknown; Mr. Miracle has indicated that he himself doesn't know. (New Gods excel in theme naming.)
  • Donna Carol Force, generally known as "D.C.", became the electric-powered heroine Sparx.
  • The Golden Age heroine Liberty Belle's real name is Elizabeth "Libby" Belle (later Lawrence). "Libby" is used as her in-costume nickname as well.
  • Angle Man, a Wonder Woman rogue who can warp space into an Escheresque nightmare with the use of his mysterious impossible triangle Angler device, was born Angelo Bend.
  • In Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, a character tells a story of a messianic young U.S. President named Prez[ident] Rickard.
    • Actually Prez Rickard predates Sandman by a looooong way. "Prez: first teen president" ran for 4 issues in '73-74
  • Subverted or inverted or something with the Post-Crisis Captain Atom. His real name and rank was Nathaniel Adam (Capt., USAF), but the new name he was given as part of his cover identity after he became Captain Atom was Cameron Scott; he was also later promoted to Major.
  • Mentioned in an issue of JSA All-Stars. An aspiring supervillain wants his codename to be Mister Blue, due to his ability to turn into a blue mist. Icicle points out that his real name (Hayes, sounds like Haze) is already the perfect codename.

  Do you think I'd call myself Icicle if my real name was already something like Frost or Winter?

  • Similarly, you know anybody named Zebediah Killgrave isn't going to be a nice guy, and you gotta wonder why, with such a Badass real name, he bothered with a codename at all (especially if the best he could do is "The Purple Man.")
  • Is it any coincidence at all that Guy Gardner became a Green Lantern?
    • Or that a guy named Sinestro goes bad?
    • A number of new characters in Geoff Johns' run qualify too, including Sinestro Corps members Karu-Sil ("carousel"; she's surrounded by animals) and Kryb (literally steals babies - also a Visual Pun as her ribcage protrudes through her back, like a crib), and Red Lantern Atrocitus (The Berzerker using Blood Magic).
  • When the Metal Men got human secret identities as per a Retool towards the end of their original comic book run, they were given the names Guy Gilden (Gold), Ledby Hand (Lead), Jon "Iron" Mann (Iron), Mercurio (Mercury), Tinker (Tin), and Tina Platt (Platinum). Makes you wonder if they understand the purpose of secret identities...
  • Dr. Charles McNider, the DC precursor to the Daredevil by 23 years, fought crime under the nom-de-guerre of 'Doctor Mid-Nite'. Again, a possible case of intentionality, since the persona was originally created to get back at the criminals that ruined his natural eyesight.
  • In the case of Teen Titans' Starfire, her Earth name (Kory Anders) is derived from her Tamaranean name (Koriand'r). Her siblings Blackfire (Komand'r) and Darkfire (Ryand’r) have no Earth names.
    • This also applies to Martian Manhunter (J'onn J'onzz -> John Jones), and conversely, Miss Martian (M'gann M'orzz -> Megan Morse)
  • Sort of a meta-example: Superman: Secret Identity takes place in a world where Superman comics exist, and a couple with the surname Kent decides it would be funny to name their son Clark. As a teenager, Clark mysteriously acquires the same set of powers as Superman. When he starts fighting crime, he wears a Superman suit, figuring that if anyone sees him and claims to have been saved by Superman, they won't be believed.
  • Donna Troy has gone by Troia since shedding her Wonder Girl identity.

The Marvel Universe:

  • Otto Octavius -- Doctor Octopus. Gets a lampshade hung on it by J. Jonah Jameson, as seen above.
    • The video game goes further. "It's like he's asking for it!"
  • Erik Magnus Lehnsherr became Magneto, the X-Men's archnemesis/ally, with magnetic powers.
    • Magnus is not, however, his birth name. Erik Lehnsherr may or may not be his birth name, depending upon who is writing and what cool drugs they are into.
    • The latest Retcon has it that his birth name is "Max Eisenhardt". Eisen is German for iron.
    • "Magnus" is not etymologically related to magnetism at all - it is Latin for "great", while the root for the latter is magnes.
    • And all of the above said names are recent retcons. When he first appeared, and for nearly two decades after, he was just Magneto.
      • "Magnus" was the first civilian name he was shown using, in the flashback story in Uncanny X-Men #161 (published 19 years after #1). Whether or not it was part of his birth name depends on the writer, but in the revised continuity he did definitely go by "Magnus" before he called himself "Magneto".
  • Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four's nemesis. "Doom" is his real surname (Von Doom, to be precise), though he never actually completed his doctorate.
    • Doom cares not for your petty doctorates, however morally ambiguous they are!
    • His Ultimate Marvel counterpart is Victor Van Damme, and "Doctor Doom" is a nickname.
  • Johnny Blaze gained hellfire powers to become the Ghost Rider.
  • Another demonic Marvel hero is Daimon Hellstrom, known by the codenames Son of Satan (which he literally is) and Damien Hellstorm. As you might expect, he's kind of got a lot of issues. His surname was deliberately chosen by his demonic father as part of his human guise.
  • Stegron, who turned into a stegosaurus-like creature.
  • Jack Hart, a.k.a. Jack of Hearts. Formerly an Avenger. Formerly dead.
  • X-Men:
    • Cain Marko (mark of Cain), Xavier's evil stepbrother who mistreated him, later to become the Juggernaut.
    • Xavier himself, leader of the X-Men (supposedly named for the "X-factor" mutant gene, not Charles' initial, so it counts). His secret super-hero codename is "Professor X" (no one would ever suspect they were the same guy). Also relates to the similarly-pronounced "savior," as this man has proven to be for generations of mutants.
      • This was played with by Neil Gaiman in his 1602 miniseries: "Xavier" became "Javier" and "X" became what the "witchbreed" were branded with when they were persecuted.
      • In fairness, the reason that nobody ever suspected that Charles Xavier was Professor X was that virtually nobody knew there was a Professor X, since he mostly acted as telepathic Mission Control for the X-Men. His inability to walk tends to make field operations difficult.
      • Of course, that's because the Real Life name Xavier is really pronounced "Javier" (as, in Francis Xavier) in Spanish. The original form from Basque (meaning "new house", coincidentally similar to Casanova) was something like Xaberri (essentially the modern surname Etxeberri/Echevarri), pronounced /shaberry/, becoming Xavier /shabhyer/ in old Spanish and Javier /havyer/ in modern Spanish; the English pronunciation probably came from just reading it out using English sounds for the Spanish word.
        • For context, when talking about Xavier, it's almost always pronounced like ecks-avier rather than what would be otherwise a correct pronunciation in any other situation or person.
        • Your context may vary. American Jesuits always pronounce the name of the co-founder of their order the same way as the professor.
        • Whereas British Jesuits pronounce it with a soft X. To-may-to, To-mah-to. Comics, which is where it comes from initially are a written format. In summary: Charles Xavier "just happens" to have the "X-gene".
      • In the first-ever issue of X-Men, Xavier explained that he named his protege the X-Men because their mutations gave them an eXtra power. (It was The Silver Age of Comic Books. That's just how things were then.)
    • Emma Frost is an interesting case. Her name is "Frost" and she dresses in white, but has telepathy. Partially subverted later when she gained a secondary mutation to turn into a diamond-like (or ice-like) substance.
      • In the mid-90s, she had a story arc with X-Men member Iceman in which she ended up inhabiting his brain for some time (It Makes Sense in Context). The chances of a romantic relationship happening afterward were hinted at repeatedly, but the endless opportunities for kitschy fan names ran rampant, which is possibly why the relationship never materialized. Fans rejoiced.
        • It's possible the name is a literary reference to That Hideous Strength. One of the villains of that piece is a telepath named Frost.
          • In her first appearance she was the White Queen of the Hellfire Club... while Emma Peel (and the Phoenix) was dressed in black.
      • And in the film, she is played by January Jones, which sounds like a comic-book name.
    • The Vanisher, an X-Men villain (and now a member of the newest Darker and Edgier version of X-Force) with teleporting powers. His real name is Telford ("Telly") Porter. No, really.
  • Doctor Stephen Strange. The title is real too -- before mastering the Mystic Arts, he was a neurosurgeon.
  • Team America aka Thunderiders: R. U. Reddy was a trick motorcyclist, whose name was also his catchphrase/challenge to the audience: "Are you ready?"
    • That was his stage name, his real name is Winthrop Roan Jr. Yeesh, no wonder he changed it.
  • The kids in Power Pack actually have the last name "Power". One of them hangs a lampshade on it who she appears at a former superhero support group in Runaways: "Hi, I'm Julie Power, and yes, that is my real name."
  • Ulysses Solomon Archer, star of the trucking series U.S. 1.
  • A very occasional nemesis of Spider-Man: Johnny Ohnn, the Spot.
  • In his native language, Black Bolt's name is Blackagar Boltagon. He just happens to dress in black and have bolts from his head.
  • In a moment of Genre Savvy, Spider-Man confirmed that a suspicious recurring character was a villain by using the internet: Googling "spider" and "arrow" allowed him to realize that Miss Arrow is in fact the mass of pirate spiders (genus "Ero", a homophone for arrow) that took over his shed skin from The Other.
  • Dennis Golembuski, from The Hood, pretty much had no other choice in life but to take "The Golem" as either a superhero or supervillain name. He chose the latter.
  • In Marvel Comics, Monica Rappaccini, Mad Scientist and A.I.M.'s expert on toxins shares a name with the very similar Dr. Rappaccini in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter. She even a daughter with a toxic touch, similar to Beatrice Rappaccini; Carmilla Black, the second Scorpion.
  • Marvel 2099's X-Nation, included a girl with ice powers called December Frost.
  • Kitty Pryde battles evil forces as "Shadowcat".
  • Wolverine villain Cyber has the real name Silas Burr.
  • Small-time crook Basil Elks became "the Basilisk" as a supervillain.
  • The Man-Thing had a run-in with an unscrupulous land developer named F.A. Schist. People used his initials along with his last name a lot when addressing or referring to him.

Other:

  • In the Richie Rich comic book, a scientist named Phil Lament becomes the supervillain Dr. N.R. Gee after plastic surgery turns him into a living light bulb.
    • In fact, Richie Rich might just count here; after all, his defining character trait is that he's filthy, stinking rich. Also, his parents, Richard Rich & Regina Rich.
      • The same goes for his whole supporting cast, pretty much. Dr. Keenbean is a genius, Mayda Munny and Reggie Van Dough are also rich, Freckles Friendly has freckles and is friendly, and characters who frequently cross over with him are Dot (she's obsessed with dots) and Lotta Plump (she's big. No, really! Shocking, I know. Of course, she could bench press a Sherman tank without breaking a sweat, so maybe it's all muscle like The Kingpin.) Basically, the overwhelming majority of names in the Harvey Comics universe are this.
  • Mr. Monster's real name is Dr. Strongfort Stern. That's "strong" in English and French ("Strong-strong Star" being his full name). He's strong, got that?
  • Empowered's real name is Elissa Megan Powers. This explains why her friends call her "Emp" even when out of costume, and, indeed, the nickname came first; she chose her supranym based off it.
  • Thomas S. "Tommy" Arashikage from G.I. Joe; his surname literally translates from Japanese as "Storm Shadow", his G.I. Joe Code Name.
    • He's not the only example though. Alpine's real name happens to be Albert Pine.
  • Mike Allred's Madman is a man brought back from the dead and reeducated by a mad scientist. The scientist supposedly christens his adopted son after his heroes, Frank Sinatra and Albert Einstein -- or Frank Einstein.
  • Elijah Snow of Planetary has the ability to lower temperature to point of freezing someone solid. Fellow Century Baby Jenny Sparks, leader of The Authority, had control over electricity. Her other "Jenny" incarnations also had powers that matched up with their names.
    • A bit of a Justified Trope in the case of the Jennys: their powers were based on being the "Spirit of the Century", and so were their names.
  • Judge Dredd has a rather appropriate surname for the foremost enforcer of a dystopian police-state. Given that the character originated as a cynical inversion of the typical strong-jawed crime-fighter, the lack of subtlety in this example can be assumed as entirely deliberate.
  • Goofy as Super Goof in the Disney comics.
  • From the "They weren't even trying" file - in Gen 13: What were the odds that someone named "Sarah Rainmaker" would gain weather control powers? She's a Native American, see, and as we all know they all have names like that, right? Right?
    • The same book gave us the slightly less on the nose Caitlin Fairchild, who imaginatively fights crime with the Code Name "Fairchild." The manifestation of her powers gave her enhanced beauty and a perfect physique.
    • And Burnout's nickname was "Burnout" before he gained fire powers.
  • Noble Causes: Race Noble (speedster), Zephyr Noble (controls winds), Rusty Noble (originally just super-strong but when he died his consciousness was transferred into a robot body), Frost (ice powers).
  • In some versions of Transformers the Dinobots were called the Dynobots long before they adapted Dinosaur alt-modes. How convenient that their new alt-modes are partial homophones for their names in an alien language that hasn't even been invented yet.

Fan Fiction


Film

  • The villain of The Lion King: Simba's Pride is named Zira, which is Swahili for "to hate". She must've had some nice parents.
  • In Batman (1989), the Joker's real name is Jack Napier, a play on "jackanape", an outdated word for "fool" or "jester"; this was carried over to Batman: The Animated Series. Plus, whenever Joker needs an alias, he uses "Joe Kerr".
    • There may be another explanation for the first part. Plus, "Jack" could also be a reference to Jack Nicholson and/or the Joker's "card" theme, and "Napier" might be Alan Napier, who played Alfred on the 60s TV series.
      • One of the writers for DC animation projects including Justice League, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, and one segment of Batman: Gotham Knight is actually named Joseph Kuhr. This is claimed to be entirely coincidental. (He swears it's pronounced "koor," not "kerr." People still probably don't trust him around pencils.)
    • He also occasionally goes by "Jack White". Jack as in everyman, and White as in clown make-up.
    • "Napier" may be a bilingual pun. Naipe is the Spanish word for a playing card.
  • In The Final Cut, the main character, a "cutter" who edits the recorded memories of the recently deceased for their families, is named Alan Hackman.
  • In Gangs of New York, Bill Cutting is a professional butcher and an expert knife fighter.
  • In The Maltese Falcon, we have tough, hardy "Sam Spade", exotic foreigner "Mr. Cairo", and a fat, unpleasant fellow called "Gutman".
  • In The Incredibles, the son has the power of super-speed. His name? Dashiell Robert Parr, or 'Dash' for short.
    • The other kids also have subtler allusions to their powers; Violet (as in "Shrinking Violet," because of her shyness at the beginning) whose power is invisibility and generation of violet forcefields, and Jackjack (like jack of all trades) who can do almost anything. Violet might also be a reference to "ultraviolet" - as in ultraviolet waves, which are invisible to the human eye.
    • "Parr" itself is a meaningful name, suggesting "par," an average or ordinary state, as befits their attempts to appear average and unremarkable in their civilian lives. One could also make a case for Buddy (Syndrome), who tried to become Mr. Incredible's sidekick/pal.
  • For a Few Dollars More: "The Man With No Name" is called "Manco", which means "missing one hand".
  • Sky High was full of this as well, and considering who the screenwriters were...
  • Jack Frost became a Snowlem.
  • Serial rapist and killer Chris Fuchman from Father's Day.
  • Yancy O'Dell (Alameda Slim's Paper-Thin Disguise) from Home on the Range.
  • The name of the killer in The Jackhammer Massacre? Jack.


Literature

  • Agatha Christie has a character named "Harley Quin" who is basically a man who appears, helps the protagonist to solve a mystery (mostly by guiding him to see things from a different POV with well-aimed, seemingly innocent questions) and then disappears. Yes, this was BEFORE the DC guys used the same name for a feminine character - well, they did add an "n" to it.
  • The Harry Potter books are chock-full of these, with pretty much every name having some sort of meaning to it.
    • Lord Voldemort's birth name is Tom Marvolo Riddle, which anagrams to "I am Lord Voldemort." In-story, the anagram is actually where he got the name from. "Vol de mort" also means "flight from death" or "theft from death" in French, which is fitting, since Voldemort's ultimate goal is to escape death and become immortal.
    • Remus Lupin. "Lupus" is Latin for "wolf", while "Remus" is the name of one of the mythical founders of Rome, who was raised by a wolf. Remus Lupin turns out to be a werewolf. One wonders why his wizard parents would give him a name like that, given that it was practically begging for him to get bitten by a werewolf.
    • Fenrir Greyback. "Fenrir" is a monstrous wolf in Norse mythology. Then again, he may have chosen that name for himself, given how much he enjoys being a werewolf.
    • Sirius Black can turn into a black dog (Sirius is the dog star). Bellatrix, his cousin, is named for the nearby amazon star. Guess what; she's a formidable dueller and Voldemort's second-in-command. In fact, most of the Black family are named after stars or constellations.
      • More than that - "Bellatrix" means "warlike." Well, no one can exactly accuse her of being peaceful...
    • Goyle is named after a Gargoyle (he's built like a stone and presumably rather ugly).
    • Dumbledore comes from an archaic word for a bumblebee, and according to Word of God Dumbledore likes to hum to himself.
    • Sybil Trelawney: The word sibyl probably comes (via Latin) from the Greek word sibylla, meaning prophetess. Trelawney is a character from Treasure Island who notoriously thinks he knows what he is doing but doesn't at all. Fitting much?
      • It's even more evident in the Italian version: Trelawney's name becomes Sibilla Cooman, and the Sibilla Cumana was a legendary Roman prophetess.
      • However, her first name might actually be a Justified example; in the fifth book, Umbridge mentions that Trelawney's great-great-grandmother was one of the most celebrated seers of her time. Given how rare seers are, that's probably the kind of thing a family would play up for a while, figuring that eventually a family member will have inherited their famous relative's power.
      • Completely averted in the Finnish version, in which she becomes "Punurmio". That's nonsense at a first glance, until you realise "tree" would translate as "puu" and "lawn" could be translated as "nurmi". (The -o is an ending similar to -ey.) This is not the first time the translator demonstrated more creativity than background knowledge.
    • Minerva McGonagall: Minerva is the Roman Goddess of Wisdom and War, counterpart of Athena. McGonagall's last name comes from poet Sir William Topaz McGonagall, known as "Scotland's Worst Poet".
    • "Malfoy" derives from 'mal foi, which means "bad faith" in French. This fits them throughout the series, but especially as the story progresses and they become more and more reluctant to serve Voldemort. Naming a child Draco might seem like a deliberate attempt to put him in Slytherin, and given the family history it probably was. It also nicely ties into the Black Stellar Name tradition, as his mother was named Narcissa Black before her marriage.
    • Then there is Snape: snape (v.) - 'to be hard upon, rebuke, snub,' c.1300, from Old Norse sneypa 'to outrage, dishonor, disgrace.' And, of course, snake. "Severus" means "stern" in Latin.
      • Apparently Snape is one of several names which was picked from the gazetteer of an atlas - it's the name of a village in Suffolk. Strangely enough said village has never played up their Harry Potter connection.
    • Gilderoy Lockhart. 'gilderoy' is from the French for 'golden king', as well as being the name of a famous English highwayman (according to Word of God). It's also "gilded", as in false gold. Lockhart is for the way all the girls and women swoon after him ('lock heart').
  • Lampshaded in Curse of the Wolf Girl by Kalix when reading a comic, Curse of the Wolf Girl. "How could she be named Wolf before getting turned into a werewolf?!"
  • Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash takes a meta approach by naming its main character Hiroaki "Hiro" Protagonist. It's somewhat justified by the fact that it's an assumed name matching the character's thrill-seeking nature.
  • Reversed a bit in Good Omens, in which serpent of eden is named Crawly, but changes his name to Anthony Crowley later on because it "just wasn't him." His assumed name is itself a reference to Aleister Crowley, a famous occultist who liked to spread rumors about his Satanic indulgences for a laugh.
  • Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze, is an interesting case, since he was allegedly based on a certain Richard Henry Savage.
  • James Joyce: the Trope Namer. Stephen Dedalus must - like Daedalus - not fly too close to the sun i.e. he must wait for his brilliance to emerge.
  • Redwall does it a lot, though Brian Jacques often draws on Old English so it's not so noticeable. On one occasion he actually did it unintentionally: in The Bellmaker a character who is imprisoned in his own castle is named Gael, which is very similar to "gaol", the Old English word for jail.
  • The Honor Harrington books have "Robert Stanton Pierre", who leads a very French Revolution-like overthrow of a government, complete with a Tennis Court Oath, a Committee of Public Safety, and a Reign of Terror.
    • Lampshaded particularly hard at the end of the novel introducing the aforementioned changes, when the last line of the novel mentions orders being signed in his name as 'Rob. S. Pierre'
  • Reversed in Being There. The protagonist's name is Chance, he apparently has no given last name, and as he is a gardener, he always introduces himself to other people as Chance the Gardener. When he meets Eve Rand and tells her his name, she hears it as the more conventional Chauncey Gardiner. The author explains that Chance doesn't question it in part because many people on TV have two names (actor and character). This plays differently in the film: Chance is having his first alcoholic drink just as she asks the question, and he chokes on it as he answers, so it does come out sounding like Chauncey Gardiner. Either way, Chance is too dim to realize this misunderstanding, so the new name sticks.
  • Played with in Catch-22, where a man named Major Major Major is accidentally promoted to the rank of Major due to a clerical error, and a file clerk short-stops all attempts to correct this because he thinks it's funny. Major Major Major Major can never be demoted or promoted from a rank he didn't earn.
  • Subverted by Terry Pratchett in the Discworld novel Lords and Ladies. A man named Weaver is actually the village's baker, Mr. Thatcher works as a carter, etc. Furthermore, Mr. Carter's first name is Bestiality. (His parents had several daughters named Chastity, Prudence, etc. When they had their first son, they got confused.) The narrator informs us that Chastity Carter grew up to be a... Seamstress, and that Bestiality Carter is, in fact, very gentle and kind to animals.
    • Played straight and Lampshaded in Mort, wherein the eponymous character becomes Death's apprentice. When Death learns of Mort's name, he comments: What a coincidence.
  • Romeo and Juliet has a good natured and good humoured character called Benvolio which translates to good-will neatly describing his motivations. It can also mean Peacemaker, which is also apt given lines like "Halt fools, put up your swords, you know not what you do."
    • Similarly, Malvolio is a villainous (and also somewhat incompetent) character in the play Twelfth Night. He is, in fact, pretty much the exact opposite of Benvolio.
  • In Sliced Bread 2, a fictional blog written from the perspective of a superhero's assistant, the Big Bad turns out to be named Rafhaiel Thing.
  • Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency has many Coleridge allusions in it; fitting, then, that one character's name is Albert Ross (though this fact is well camouflaged in the text). And let's not get into how Dirk means "To Stab"...
  • Roald Dahl's book Going Solo has a fake Sikh on a boat to Africa named U.N. Savory. Granted, it has nothing to do with the rest of the book (although he could be considered "unsavory" by lying to everyone on the boat that he was Sikh).
  • Spider Robinson wrote several stories involving two characters who in their first appearance are introduced as having been named Lester Moore and Mary Gluham before marriage and having swapped surnames afterwards to become Les Gluham and Mary Moore.
  • Cook and Butler in The Hundred And One Dalmatians.
    • But they both end up being addressed as "Nanny darling", since while a cook can be addressed as Cook, the one thing you cannot call a butler is Butler.
  • Combined with Stealth Pun, Stationery Voyagers has a few of these.
    • Pextel's real last name is Rubblindo, as in rubber. He nearly dies in a car crash (hence, getting erased,) which allows him to become Pextel.
    • Oceanoe is named after O-Town. He at least used to be...in a boy band.
    • "Sen" is another word for "heart" (seat of emotions, not the pump.) Pinkella ("Pink Cinderella") Goldsen is the only member in her family not seduced into aiding la-Qualda.
    • Richard Ribando (again with the rubber eraser jokes) becomes a second Cybomec, when he is mechanized against his will.
    • Erasaxo is a rubber eraser. He is the last of his kind. He gets erased from existence in Season Four.]]
    • One of Neone's early mentors, Friar Rubberion, gets erased completely disappears from the plot after Season 1.
  • Artemis Fowl's butler's name is . . . Butler. This is actually an Inversion, as it's heavily implied that the Butler family has been in the business so long that the profession was named after them.
    • Also a subversion, as Butler isn't really one at all, he's a bodyguard.
  • Wild Cards Jack Braun gains super-strength
    • And James Spector gains the power to raise from the dead (like a spectre) and the power to kill with his gaze (spec- at least indicates vision).
  • Scullion in Porterhouse Blue - the name is an old word for "servant" and Scullion is a zealous servant of the college. (A throwaway line suggests that he might actually be descended from the original college servants back in The Dung Ages.)
  • In Charles Stross' The Jennifer Morgue, occult hacker Bob Howard reveals that his middle names are Oliver and Francis.
  • Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger has a secondary character whose real name is Dr. Pickell. The reason everybody calls him "Dr. Pickle" is that he hypnotizes his patients by dangling a pickle-shaped pendant in front of them.
  • Philonecron, the antagonist of the series The Cronus Chronicles. His name literally means "lover of death," from the Greek philo-, meaning loving, and nekros, meaning death or corpse.
  • In Keys to the Kingdom, Arthur Penhaligon, like Arthur Pendragon, is a mere mortal with an ordinary upbringing who turns out to be the heir to rule over a (in Penhaligon's case celestial) people.


Live Action TV

  • One of the eponymous heroes from Heroes is a Japanese man named Hiro. Supposedly named after Hiroshima, but we all know what it really means...
    • It's worth noting that Hiroshima was destroyed by a nuclear explosion, and his mission in Season 1 to stop New York from being destroyed by a nuclear explosion.
    • Lampshaded by Hiro's friend, who ironically calls him "Super-Hiro".
    • A new villain is named Echo DeMille. Guess what his power is...
    • Another example might be HRG: After spending most of the beginning of the series collecting people with abilities, we find out in the first season finale that his first name is Noah.
    • Lydia, the girl in Volume 5 whose powers are triggered when Samuel Sulivan alters her tattoos. Lydia The Tattooed Lady? Although since she's a carny, that probably isn't her real name.
  • Former ECW wrestler Peter Polaco (AKA P.J. Walker and Aldo Montoya) is best known by the ring name Justin Credible, which he still uses on the Independent Circuit.
  • More wrestling examples, past and present:
    • Montel Vontavious Porter ("M.V.P."), a cocky, egotistical, overpaid athlete.
    • Irwin R. Schyster ("I.R.S."), a wrestling IRS agent. Also, 'shyster.'
    • Isaac Yankem ("I. Yankem"), a wrestling dentist.
    • Borderline case: Val Venis, the wrestling porn star. However, this could "really" be a porn-star-style stage name.
      • More of less confirmed during his run under the actual wrestler's name of Sean Morley. He transitioned into the gimmick and back to Val Venis with no questions asked.
        • 'Course, if that's the case, one wonders why he didn't bother to change the name during his brief run with the morality crusader stable the Right to Censor.
    • Henry O. and Phineas I. Godwinn, pig farmers
    • Further examples of this include some masked men in Hustle, such as Kevin Randleman going as the masked hero "Randle-man" or Mark Coleman as "Cole-man".
    • One of the earlier names that Hulk Hogan took was "Terry Boulder", a close name to his real one, Terry Bollea.
  • In an SNL skit featuring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as a terminally incompetent Superman, Jimmy Olsen comments on how much his secret identity-keeping has improved: "At least he's not calling himself 'Supe R. Man' anymore."
  • Meet the new chaplain of Childrens Hospital, Rabbi Jewy McJewjew.
  • Captain Jonathan Power.
  • Dr. Beardfacé in Scrubs has a remarkable beard. On his face.
    • It's not so much a nickname as it is a deliberate mispronunciation. The characters pronounce it without the accented e.
    • He has been told that he'd lose the nickname if he shaves his beard. Of course, then he'd be "Dr. Face".
    • Or Dr. Facé. Which actually sounds like a name.
    • On another note, there's also "Dr." Jan Itor Who happens to be not a janitor but Doctor, so....
      • Don't forget Dr. Rotinaj!
  • An episode of Seinfeld has a library cop named Mr. Bookman, whose job is to track down unreturned books
  • Truth in Television: Seasons 1 and 2 of Reality Show Canada's Worst Handyman had a general contractor on hand named Greg House. Seasons 3 and 4 has Geoff Woodmansey, also a contractor.
  • The first of The Tomorrow People in the 1990s remake to come into his powers was named "Adam Newman". Adam as in the name of the first man, and Newman as in "New man" -- first of a new species of human.
  • Season 4 of Blake's Seven opened with a one-episode villain who introduced himself as Dorian and subsequently turned out to have an immortality McGuffin in his basement. It's never established whether he was born with that name or deliberately picked it as an alias.
  • Parodied on Friends:

 Phoebe: Hey. Why isn't it Spiderman? You know, like Goldman, Silverman.

Chandler: Because, it... it's not his last name.

Phoebe: It isn't?

Chandler: No. It's not like Phil Spiderman. He's a Spider Man. You know, like Goldman is a last name but there's no Gold Man.

Phoebe: Oh, oh okay...

Phoebe: There should be a Gold Man!

  • Guess the powers of these Smallville metahumans:
  • The lead character on Strange Luck was Chance Harper, who grew up to be a Coincidence Magnet of epic proportions. Justified in that he was the sole survivor of a plane crash when he was very young, so was given the name "Chance" by his adoptive parents in rememberance of his miraculous escape.
  • The Doctor is the man who makes people better. And his arch-nemesis is The Master; "a psychiatrist's field day."
    • Neither of those are their given names though. They chose them.
      • It genuinely seems by accident, but in her final episode, Donna marries a man named Shaun Temple, and her name becomes Donna Temple-Noble. Translating it roughly, you can end up with "Lady Time-Lord." Donna is Italian for Lady, Temple finds it origin in Tempus ("time"), and Noble means "of noble birth," such as a Lord or a Lady. Considering her time as the DoctorDonna, it's oddly fitting.
        • Only that "temple" does not origin in "tempus", but in the Greek word τέμνω (témno), meaning "to separate", as in separating the holy space from the mundane space. This doesn't mean that the authors couldn't have meant it to be understood in this way.
  • Ken Gemberling, the hero of Fat Guy Stuck in Internet, finds out from a prophet that his "Internet Name" is Fat Guy Stuck in Internet.
  • Wanda from Corner Gas had to visit a dentist in one episode. The dentists she looked up were named Dr. Hurtz, Dr. Payne, Dr. Yankum, and the first name of a fourth one was Lance.


Other

  • Parodied by Internet humorist Seanbaby in this article (Warning, possibly offensive):

 The letter came from a man named Scott Seomin. And yes, with a name like Seomin, you really only have two choices for your career: sperm doctor or gay. Expecting anything else would be like naming your kid Max Q. Infant Launcher and thinking he wouldn't grow up to invent the baby catapult.

  • Les Luthiers has the XVIII Baroque Composer Johann Sebastian Mastropiero. Who sometimes was called Wolfgang Amadeus Mastropiero and Petrov Ilich Mastropiero.
  • Enccentric Lindburgh baby kidnapping amature "investigator" John F. Condon frequently invoked this in his letters to the editor, signing them J. U. Stice, L. O. Nestar, L. O. Nehand, and P. A. Triot. When he got involved with the investigation he used the name "Jafsie", made of his initials. After he failed to catch the kidnappers he took to dressing in obvious disguises and shouting "I am Jafsie! That's the guy I saw at the ransom drop!" at random people.
  • Filipina superhero (no she's not Wonder Woman) Darna's real name is Narda.

Tabletop Games

  • Likely as a homage to comic book superheroes, like many things in the setting, Freedom City's Doctor Tomorrow was born Tomas Morgen. "Morgen" means tomorrow in German (it also means morning, but that's beside the point).
    • Fletcher Beaumont is the Bowman. (A fletcher is an arrow-maker, and "Beaumont" is an almost exact homonym.) In fact, three generations of Fletcher Beaumonts have been the Bowman - Fletcher Beaumont was Bowman I in the Golden Age, Fletcher Beaumont Jr. was Bowman III in the Silver Age, and Fletcher Beaumont III is the current Bowman IV. (Bowman II was Tim Quinn, formerly the Kid Sidekick Arrow.)
  • Scion tends to give its sample characters these kinds of names as reflection of their divine parentage. Sometimes they're fairly subtle (Brigitte de la Croix, Scion of Baron Samedi, after the Baron's wife Maman Brigitte and his tendency to hang out at the crossroads), other times... not (Horace Farrow, Scion of Horus, and yes, the last name's pronounced exactly the way you think it is).


Video Games

  • The eponymous Assassins of the Assassin's Creed games are both named after birds of prey (specifically, eagles). Fitting, with the way their skills and work clothes make them look like eagles.
  • In City of Heroes, consider Belladonna "Ghost Widow" Vetrano, who was an assassin in life, or Tammy "Numina" Arcanus, a mage who survives in astral form after her body was destroyed.
    • Jim Temblor has earth control powers, just like his father, Bill "Faultline" Temblor.
  • Runescape.
    • Almost all skill tutors. Firemaking tutor is called Marcus Everburn. Smithing tutor is called Martin Steelweaver. Hunter tutor is Ayleth Beaststalker, and so on.
  • The Sega Genesis video game Contra: Hard Corps (itself an example of this, a military take on the word "Hardcore", also referring to the game's legendary difficulty) has 2 selectable characters exemplifying this trope: Ray Poward (whose primary weapon is the classic Laser from the original Contra) and Brad Fang (a wolf-man).
  • Parodied in Mana Khemia Alchemists of Al Revis, with the so-called Large Ham Evil Overlord the "Flayvor of Evil".
  • Phoenix Wright is full of it!
    • Actually all names are intentional puns made for each character.
      • And for the savvier players, they're great clues on the harder cases.
  • In Planescape: Torment, Ignus became obsessed with fire, became a pyromaniac and then became a living being consumed by flames with the power to create flames from himself.
  • In the Pokémon games, most (or all, some are just more of a stretch if you believe them at all) of the Gym Leaders and some other powerful trainers such as the Elite Four have meaningful names related to the type of Pokémon they happen to grow up to exclusively train.
    • The original games give us: the painfully obvious Brock; Misty, the Water-type master; Lt. Surge; Erika, referring to the Erica genus of heathers, is a grass-type trainer; Koga, after one school/style of Ninja arts, trains Poison-types; Blaine similar to blaze,(and he lives on a volcano that later erupts!); and Giovanni (pun on geo) for Earth-types. In the Elite Four, we see Bruno, similar to brawn, Fighting-type; Agatha of the Ghost-type; and Lance, a weapon used by knights, trains Dragons-types.
    • Gen II. continues the trend with Falk(on)er; Bugsy (guess); plain-jane Whitney and her normal-types; Morty, a death-pun and Ghost-type trainer; Chuck the Fighting trainer; trope appears to be averted averted with Steel-type user Jasmine, who doesn't train Grass-types - until a closer look at her name's second syllable; Pryce; Koga's daughter/replacement Janine (reverse the syllables); and in the Elite Four, Psychic-specialist Will (as in -power).
    • For the third round, we meet Roxanne, a Rock-type trainer; Brawly (guess correctly or get punched); Wattson; Fire-user Flannery; Norman, a Normal-type trainer; Winona's Flying-types soaring on the air currents; and Watery Wallace and Juan. The punnier-than-usual Hoenn Elite Four & Champ throw at us Pheobe's fearful Ghost-types calling out to Greek god Phobos; cold lady Glacia; and Drake the Dragon man; with sometimes-champion Steel/Rock-user Steven Stone.
    • In part 4, of Sinnoh we have the poorly disguised Roark (Rock); Gardenia, also a kind of flower; a Fighting-type melee with Maylene; the INCREDIBLY OBVIOUS Crasher Wake (though given his Masked Wrestler persona that might be a pseudonym); Fantina uses Ghost-type; oh, yeah, and Byron, steel type. If you don't get that one, Byron->Iron->Steel! Then we have CandICE; and there's Volkner too, he's a real shocker. Though Bertha is an Earth-user; and Lucian's Psychics may use confusing illusions or cause hallucination; Flint, a Fire-type user is the most obvious one in Elite Four of Sinnoh.
      • Platinum reveals that [[[Invoked Trope]] Flint only chose to train Fire types after learning a flint is something used to spark fires.]
    • During Episode 5 of Unova, we get the edible trio of Cilan(tro), (water)Cress, and Chili; the incredibly subtle Burgh; Elesa, the expert of electricity; an all grown-up Clay from Xiaolin Showdown; Skyla; Brycen; and Drayden, who apparently trained in the Dragon's Den in Gen. II. We are also introduced to Shauntal, mistress of Ghosts; Grimsley, a foreboding Dark-user; and Marshal, the martial-arts expert of the Unova Elite 4.
  • World of Warcraft has more pun NPC names than you can shake a stick at -- such as zeppelin officer Hin Denberg.
  • While Dr Eggman has a lot of egg named devices, these are mostly named after himself given his ego to stick his name and face on everything. However, his original American name, Dr Robotnik, counts, when you consider what all his enemy forces are.
    • Obviously Sonic himself (name relating to the speed of sound) as well as his speed boosting transformations Super Sonic, and the even faster Hyper Sonic.
    • Then of course you have his friends Knuckles (giant boxing glove-like hands), Tails (two tailed fox) or his birth name Miles Prower (pun on Miles per hour), Big Cat (is a Big Cat).
  • Crash Bandicoot is full of them:
    • Dr Neo Cortex. Named after a part of the brain, wants to turn the world into mindless slaves
    • Dr N. Brio. (Embryo) creates loads of new types of animals
    • Dr N. Gin. (Engine) builds massive robots
    • Dr N. Tropy. (Entropy) Responsible for maintaining the time machine
    • Dr N. Trance. (Entrance) Specialized in hypnosis
    • Nitros Oxide. Named after a fuel that typically provides a boost to cars, claims to be the fastest racer in the galaxy.
  • Donkey Kong Country had King K. Rool (Cruel), among numerous others.
  • Much is made of this in Half Life 2, where Gordon Freeman is often called "the one Free Man."
  • Dr Serena Patel, Octavius's sucessor as Doc Ock in the Marvel 2099 sections of Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions has a first name that's a homonym for cirrina, a subfamily of octopusses.
  • The protagonist of D.J. Boy (at least according to the Sega Genesis version) is named "Donald J. Boy."
  • The title character of the Amiga game Benefactor is named Ben E. Factor.


Web Animation

  • Parodied in the Homestar Runner toon DNA Evidence, where Coach Z claims to be the superhero Damp Towel Man, and his mild-mannered alter-ego, Dan Towelman. He later mentions his nemesis, Dry Ragamuffin, and his Secret Identity, Dreyfus Ragamoofin. Strong Sad says that the Coach has a "real sucky imagination".
  • It's the same with Burnt Face Man: a.k.a. Burt Faceman.


Web Comics

  • Grace Sciuridae, aka Shade Tail, is a part-squirrel Half-Human Hybrid in El Goonish Shive. 'Sciuridae' is the formal name for the family of mammals which includes squirrels; it actually means "shade tail" in Greek. Apparently, Dr. Sciuridae's last name was not one of the factors which went into the decision to use squirrel DNA for her (the original human donor was supposed to be a strong, beefy man, but Sciuridae substituted the sample with one from his dead daughter, which is why Grace considers him her grandfather).
    • Also, Grace Sciuridae = Grace Squirrel = Grey Squirrel.
      • But, she's brown...
  • A discarded project by S. Sakurai of Muertitos and Gorgeous Princess Creamy Beamy would have starred Theresa Henrietta Underthighs, who became the superheroine Thunderthighs -- disturbingly close to being an actual occurrence of the trope title.
  • In The Non-Adventures of Wonderella, sidekick Wonderita's first name is Rita, and Rival hero Patrianna is actually Anna Petri.
  • From Strawberry Death Cake, Sir Winston S. Moosington receives a curse that turns him into a woodland creature - but not a wolf....
  • Erfworld's Parson Gotti is an anagram of "protagonist".
  • The Easy Breather has Christopher David Light ("see the light", who has the power to... glow) and Ruth Ellen Seaver, alias the Operator, a cellphone-themed villain.
  • Parodied in this Dinosaur Comics, featuring Justin Tehnikov Time.
  • Referenced in Questionable Content #699. Whether Penelope Gaines really is Pizza Girl, making this an actual example, is yet to be determined, though it seems unlikely that plot thread will be taken up again. If not, though, she was definitely named after her for the sake of the joke, making it an Inverted Trope.
  • Parodied in Sluggy Freelance: "Secret Angel Princess Princess is really Princess Princess!"
    • Actually that team just has really lazy superhero names based on their real names, professions, etc. Her name isn't appropriate for her superhero identity, she just uses it as part of her "secret" name anyway.
  • Invoked over and over in Everyday Heroes. Mr. Mighty's real name is Marion John Mighty. (Word of God has it that his grandfather, after gaining superpowers, legally changed his surname to "Mighty".)
    • There is also Mr. Mighty's arch-nemesis, Dr. Dooley Unpleasant; reformed villain Dr. Odious (and his music-loving son, Mel Odious); Simon Burke Davidson, commonly known as S.B.D. (he emits a terrible stench when turning invisible); and Carrie Pelosi, who has an enormous head of hair (and whose last name literally translates as "hairy").
  • In Bob the Angry Flower: "The Cube Root of 500", scholar Trent Abakuz turns into a giant abacus.
  • The eponymous hero of Axe Cop was born Axey Smartist according to his origin story. He discarded his previous name at the start of the first episode.
  • Order of the Stick gives us Roy Greenhilt, a fighter whose ancestral sword has a, well...; Haley Starshine, who is believed by some to have a Celestial background (though it might not count); Durkon Thundershield, cleric of Thor; and Belkar Bitterleaf, who is the Token Evil Teammate.
    • For what it's worth, Roy's family was explicitly named after their sword, making him an Inversion. Maybe Durkon comes from a long line of Thor's priests as well?


Web Original

  • In the Whateley Universe, Anna Raquel Parsons has low-level powers from a squirrel spirit. Phase suggests the name 'Aquerna' from the Middle English word for squirrel. (Phase knows junk like this.) The trope gets lampshaded when Anna's friends try to turn her name into an anagram that includes her codename 'aquerna'. The best they can come up with is 'Aquerna plans sonar', which everyone agrees is stupid.
  • In Small Problem, Debby Small becomes six and a half inches tall.
  • In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the real name of the Disney-sponsored superhero Tinkerbelle is Tina Kerri Bell. Las Vegas superhero Argent is really names Harry Silver. Doctor Ka, an Egyptian-themed mystic hero, is actually named Doctor Anthony Fairo ("Pharoah"). Super-athletic martial arts hero Elite is really Primo Best (Yes, his name is "First Best", and his hero name is "Elite".)
  • In Tales of MU, the main character is named Mackenzie Blaise and she is a half-demon with fire powers.


Western Animation

  • Ben 10's main character is named Ben Tennyson. Not only does he gain ten (and eventually more) super-powered alien alter-egos, he's ten years old when it happens.
    • Ben's enemy has the ability to absorb powers, giving him one more than Ben, making him Kevin 11. His real name: Kevin Levin.
      • Though he stopped absorbing power from living things by then, Alien Force established his middle name as "Ethan". Ben then mocks him for how that makes him "Kevin E. Levin".
    • And then there's the villain Mike Morningstar. Of course, he became ugly and replaced his shiny powers by dark ones, so he's now Darkstar.
  • Danny Phantom, as above, is really Danny Fenton.
    • Lampshaded in "The Ultimate Enemy".
      • All over the place in Danny Phantom though: Ember Mc Lain has fire hair, Penelope Spectra's a spectre, Nicolai Technus has a technology powers, Desiree, as a genie, grants desires, etc.
  • On Fairly Oddparents, Timmy's cartoon hero, The Crimson Chin's real name is Charles Hampton Indigo.
  • Kim Possible is packed full of examples, beginning with the title character.
    • Ron Stoppable, Wade Load, Camille Leon, Montgomery Fisk(Monty Fisk--> Monkey Fist), Gil.
  • The Mask:
  • In The Powerpuff Girls, magician Al Lusion (like "illusion") died in a magic trick gone wrong and came back as zombie wizard Abracadaver.
    • In the same show, one of the girls' enemies is Princess Morbucks, who is obscenely rich and spoiled.
  • Rescue Heroes:
    • Billy Blaze & Wendy Waters: firefighters.
    • Jake Justice: a cop
    • Richmond "Rocky" Canyon, Cliff Hanger: mountain climbers
    • Ariel Flyer, Hal E. Copter: pilots
    • Jack Hammer: construction worker
    • Aidan Assist: Mission Control
    • Now, try to figure out the jobs of the following: Matt Medic, Perry Chute, Al Pine, Kenny Ride, Bob Sled, Sergeant Siren & Bill Barker.
      • And the most subtle name of them all: Maureen Biologist. Think of what Poor Mr. and Mrs Biologist would have thought if their daughter went into physics. Or specialized in birds.
  • Parodied in Tiny Toon Adventures, "Superbabs", wherein Babs Bunny, as Superbabs, protects the general metropolitan area. The other characters realize at the end of the short that she must be someone they know.

 Plucky Duck: Now who do we know named "Super"?

  • Transformers Animated has the supervillain Headmaster, who uses a machine to replace robots heads and take over their bodies, whose real name is Henry Masterson. There's also Nanosec, real name Nino Sexton; Angry Archer, real name A. A. Archer; and Professor Princess, real name... Professor Penny Princess, PhD. She's a girl genius!
    • It's noteworthy here that the Angry Archer is named after real-life Transformers brand manager Aaron Archer.
      • And while Slo-Mo's real name is never given, she's modeled on Hasbro creative consultant Samantha Lomow.
    • Really, Prometheus Black/Meltdown is probably the only human villain not suffering from this trope, most likely because he's the only one who isn't used for comic purposes. Maybe "Colossus" Rhodes, too, since his name's just a pun. (Word of God declares that Black and Meltdown were originally meant to be separate characters.)
    • The comic-only villain Crossroads, real name Roland Cross, also qualifies.
  • Goldie Gold, the world's richest girl.
  • The Centurions were made up of:
    • Ace McCloud; aerospace specialist
    • Max Ray; underwater specialist
    • Jake Rockwell; ground specialist
    • Rex Charger; energy specialist
    • John Thunder; infiltration specialist
      • Kinda the odd one out there, isn't it? "Thunder" isn't a name that suggests stealth. Or is it Thunder as in undercover?
  • On an episode of The Simpsons, Duff Beer spokesman Duff Man had given up the job and went back to being "plain old Barry Duffman".
    • Also, Comic Book Guy created a superhero called Everyman, whose real name is Avery Mann.
  • X-Men: Evolution: Lance Alvers, AKA Avalanche with the power to create earthquakes; and Todd Tolenski, AKA Toad, with the powers of, well, a frog.
  • The name of the The Venture Bros. immediately (and usually ironically) evoke a sense of adventure. Brock Samson is a long-haired strong man. Pete White is an albino scientist. Before his arms and legs became invisible, Phantom Limb was known as Hamilton G. Fantomas. Wherever a character's real name is revealed, it's almost always a pun on what they do. Of course, it's all done with a loving wink at the Gold and Silver Ages of comics that made this a trope in the first place.
  • Basically all characters in My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, including background ponies. Their names always match either their personality, special talent, or both. For example, Fluttershy. What kind of name is that? Clearly, one for a shy pony, who flies, and whose special talent involves butterflies.
  • Wakfu is rampant with Punny Names, mostly of the not-even-trying category, but one example bears particular mention: Noximilien Coxen became a Clock Punk Mad Scientist? Say it ain't so.
  • Chipand Dale Rescue Rangers had Gadget Hackwrench, the resident mechanic and inventor.


Real Life

  • That Other Wiki has a page for these.
  • Some surnames are based on the occupation of the first person to bear them, such as Smith, Miller, Cooper, Carter, Taylor, etc. If the occupation has been passed down in the family, it'd be natural that there would be a smith named Smith.
  • Dr. Travis Doom teaches physics and computer science at of Wright State University. He once stated that one of the reasons he became a professor is so he could be called Dr. Doom.
  • Pekka Pouta is a meteorologist and channel 3 weatherman in Finland. Pouta means "clear weather" in Finnish.
    • In a similar vein, KABC weatherman Dallas Raines. Unlike most other weathermen with punny names, this is actually his given name. Rumor has it that various Texas-based television stations have been throwing offers at him for quite some time.
      • The same is true of WWOR weatherman Storm Fields, formerly of WABC New York. His father was also a weatherman, which might explain the rather punnish given name.
      • Former Fox Chicago weathercaster Amy Freeze -- who was a general-assignment reporter before one of her early stations noted her last name and asked her to move to the weather team.
  • Don't forget Staff Sgt. Max Fightmaster of the US Army.
  • Chris Moneymaker won the World Series of Poker one year.
    • The family's original name was "Geldmacher" (literally "money maker"), so the name change worked out perfectly.
  • The Feedback page of New Scientist has given a few examples of this. It refers to the phenomenon as "Nominative Determinism".
  • Wolf Blitzer came to prominence covering the Gulf War for CNN.
  • Two prominent SRS (sex change) surgeons are named Dr. Schrang and Dr. Alter.
    • And the pun behind Schrang is...?
      • It resembles "schwang" or "schlong", both of which are euphemisms.
  • Professional Handball players Joachim Boldsen and Bo Spellerberg ('bold' is 'ball' and 'speller' means 'player' in Danish) spring to mind.
  • William Wordsworth, the poet. Critics have not always restrained themselves from punning his name.
  • "Did you know that Frank Beard is the only member of ZZ Top not to have a beard?!?"
  • Bernie Madoff with your money.
  • As shown by the "making of" documentary for The Lord of the Rings, the makeup artist who applied Sean Astin's prosthetic hobbit feet was named Sean Foot.
  • There is a professional race car driver named Scott Speed.
    • Possibly inverted as he was not very fast and didn't make it to the end of his second F1 season.
    • Former NASCAR driver Lake Speed was also never one of the best racers on the circuit and only lasted a few years in the top league.
  • Quentin Jammer plays cornerback for the San Diego Chargers (one of the jobs of a corner is to "jam" the other team's receivers, by getting in their way at the start of a play).
    • Guess what position Reggie Corner plays for Buffalo?
    • Ryan Longwell is a place-kicker, currently for the Minnesota Vikings. Just to hammer it home, he holds the record for longest field goal ever made by a Green Bay Packers player.
    • Alge Crumpler and Jeremy Shockey are all tight ends.
    • Mack Strong plays fullback. Scott Player has a fairly generic name. Shame Wolf Blitzer never played football.
  • After years of searching, the Green River Killer turned out to be named Gary Ridgeway.
  • According to rumors, actor David Tennant got into acting specifically because he wanted to play The Doctor. Whether or not this is true, guess which Doctor he did eventually end up playing? Yup--the Tenth one.
    • Something of an Invoked Trope as Tennant is not his real last name, but a screen name.
      • Not an Invoked Trope, as he was forced to take a stage name when he first got into acting, which was years before the New Series started.
  • One natural reaction to finding out about the record set for the world records for three Olympic footraces in 2008 was "Come on, you mean to tell me that a guy named Usain Bolt won the 100 meter dash?"
  • There's an allergist in Calgary named Joel Doctor, making him Dr. Doctor.
  • Michael Pollan is a writer specializing in works about botany and gardening.
  • Dr. Dick Tapper, urologist, as well as Drs. Butt and Butts, proctologists.
  • The leader of the Free French in World War II was Charles De Gaulle, a name which essentially means "Charles of France".
  • The man who initially claimed circumcision could prevent AIDS before we even knew what HIV was, was named Aaron Fink.
    • Not sure how this is an example. Yes, "fink" means an informer, but with negative implications (much like "snitch").
      • It's an example because he was spreading lies to promote his opinion.
      • Or it could be interpreted as a hint to his potential idiocy as by pronouncing his name close to "I don't think".
  • US Secretary of Eductation Margaret Spellings.
  • One of the most famous members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was Sam Steele, and he was as steely as his name both as a constable in the West and in charge of the detachment during the Klondike gold rush.
  • With a name like Thomas Crapper, you pretty much knew he would be a plumber. In fact, he was the most celebrated plumber of all time who helped popularize the flush toilet and paved the transition from outhouses and wells to indoor plumbing.
    • Actually, as the story goes, the term "crap" comes from army slang that came from toilets in Europe designed by Thomas Crapper, so he isn't an example, but any later plumber with the last name would be.
      • This is, alas, an urban legend. "Crap" goes back to Middle English, so the trope is played straight.
  • There is a comedian, probably most famous for appearing on both versions of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, called Colin Mochrie - pronounced "Mockery".
    • There's also his son, Luke Mochrie, who does humorous movie reviews for Channel Awesome.
  • The current Lord Chief Justice of England is Igor Judge, Baron Judge.
    • And indeed the Lord Chief Justice from 1802 to 1818 was Edward Law. There is a current Lord Justice of Appeal whose last name is Laws, thus, Lord Justice Laws.
      • Sir Michael Lord is, as of 2010, about to be made a life peer. He will probably choose some other title to go by rather than his surname, as he would be 'Lord Lord'.
  • One of the greatest American Judges (and most quoted judge never to be elevated to the Supreme Court was named Learned Hand.)
  • Not a straight example, but the president of the Mars Society has the somewhat Martian-sounding name Robert Zubrin.
  • Noted neurosurgeon and owner of the best supervillain name of all time, Lord Brain.
  • Neurobiologist Michael H. Thaut.
  • From the NHL, Bob Wall, a retired hockey defenseman. The NHL currently has Michael Wall, a goalie who is currently a free agent.
  • From 1994 until 1999 Kazakhstan's minister of education was Vladimir Shkolnik. In Russian his surname means "schoolboy".
  • Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints is somewhat appropriate for an NFL quarterback.
  • Ulysses Simpson Grant, an American Civil War general. His initials do tell you what side he fought for.
    • His legal name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, but when an Army recruiter wrote his name wrong, he never bothered to get it corrected.
    • He once famously granted an opponent "no terms but unconditional and immediate surrender." Afterwards, "people thought they knew what the initials in his name stood for" (namely, "unconditional surrender").
  • Viktor Krovopuskov is a famed Soviet/Russian fencer, winner of 4 gold medals. His last name means "blood-letter".
  • A recent case of government corruption in New Jersey involved a politician named Mr. Cheatem.
  • There was a Soviet, later Russian envoy in Afghanistan called Zamir Kabulov.
  • Recently-murdered South African white-supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche. Translate that from Greek and French, and you get, roughly "best-born white land." Uncanny.
  • The director of the 2012 Spiderman reboot? Yea, his name is Marc Webb.
  • Tod Slaughter, portrayer of various murderers, villains and maniacs in early cinema melodramas, including the first (1936) film version of Sweeney Todd. Not only is his last name Slaughter (and yes, he was born Norman Carter Slaughter), his adopted first name Tod is both his most famous character's last name (more or less) AND the German word for "death".
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal, a webcomic that is comprised mostly of penis jokes, is drawn by one Zach Weiner.
  • Congressman Anthony Weiner showed off his...
  • Amelia Earhart (pronounced AIR-HEART) was a pilot.
  • The chief meteorologist of the Central Florida News 13 team is known as Jeff Day.
  • German professional first division football (that's soccer) side Wolfsburg has had Wolfgang Wolf as a coach for some years.
  • A German sexual therapist goes by the name of Gisela von Hinten (literally from behind).
  • The head of McMaster University's Centre for Steel Research is named Dr. Irons.
  • Frank Fish, marine biologist.
  • Hungarian paleontologist, Attila Ősi (ősi = ancient, prehistoric).
  • Simon Cowell, who likes giving people rude comments.

Notes

  1. Roy G Biv is a common mnemonic for the colors of the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet.
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