Nonhumanly Named Human YKTTW Discussion

Nonhumanly Named Human
Human character with a name not typically given to humans that is given by a human source.
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(permanent link) added: 2013-04-26 00:12:36 sponsor: EdnaWalker (last reply: 2014-11-17 13:36:55)

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Usually, a human character in a work of fiction is given a "human" name, like Alice or Bob. "Human" names are names that are typically given to humans in a given human culture. If they have a name that isn't a "human" name, it's most likely their nickname.

There's some Values Dissonance involved regarding what makes a good name. Names can surge in popularity, fall out of favor or change context with the times. And different cultures have wildly different choices on what makes a good name.

However, there are human characters in fictional works, especially animated works and comics, that have a given name not typically given to humans that come from a human source. An example of this is a human given an object, word, or personality name, a name that is a common word for a given object, a name based on a character's personality, or a name that is a common noun or other standard word. Another example is a human given a name more commonly given to pets or animals, like Spot, Rover, Patches, Fluffy, Flipper, Tama, Pochi, or Mittens. The name doesn't have to be an Unfortunate Name or Embarrassing First Name.

Sometimes, the atypical-for-a-human word, personality, or object given name happens to look or sound close to a typical "human" given name. Examples of this include Bridge instead of Bridget, Sofa instead of Sofia/Sophia, Gorge instead of George, Hands instead of Hans, Gym instead of Jim/Jem, and Seven instead of Sven.

Sometimes, a word in a given language is not a typical "human" name, but the same word in another language is a typical "human" given name. For example, the English word, "Star" is not a typical "human" name, but the Latin word, "Stella" and the Japanese word, "Hoshi" are. Also, the English word, "Seven" is not typical as a "human" name, but the same word in Japanese, "Nana" is.

The name is a real word (unlike Aerith and Bob) but you won't expect a human to be named as such. Some common word names, like Grace, Page (alternate spelling of Paige), Hunter, Willow, Forest (alternate spelling of Forrest), Peg, Dot (short for Dorothy), and Rock are typical "human" given games, but Stoic, Moon, Rainbow, Lamp, and Cinderblock are not.

Sometimes, humans can give themselves "non-human" names.

The "non-human" name is given by a human, so this deals with the audience's perspective of what counts as a "non-human" name. Unlike Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?, this deals with a decidedly non-human style name that is accepted in its own universe. This is neither Stellar Name, which are human names about space-y things, nor is it Floral Theme Naming, which are flowers used as human names. This is not Name From Another Species, which is a human or other species character given a name that comes from a species other than their given species.

The trope examples have to be human, even if the human in question is artificial.

Overlaps with Unfortunate Name and Aerith and Bob. Compare and Contrast Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?. Sometimes goes hand-in-hand with Theme Naming.


Anime and Manga
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure, being chock-full of characters named after songs and bands, has this trope in spades, with names like Oyecomova or a US President named Funny Valentine, together with Edible Theme Naming when it comes to Part 5.

Film: Animated
  • Hiccup from How to Train Your Dragon is an example. He points out how ridiculous his name is, but explains the reasons for awful names (scaring off gnomes and trolls) and says that there are other people with worse ones. Other examples include Stoick, Fishlegs, Ruffnut and Tuffnut, Gobber, Snotlout, and Spitelout.
  • In the 2012 adaptation of The Lorax, the Once-ler's name actually is Once-ler. This is in contrast to the original, where Once-ler is hinted to be more of a title/nickname than anything. In the film, the non-human style name just shows how he is the Un Favorite.

  • The Graveyard Book. One of the main characters is a man named Nobody.
  • In the Garrett, P.I. series novel Dread Brass Shadows, one of the people searching for the magic book is a rich human nutcase named Fido. Garrett snarks about how nobody even names their dog "Fido" anymore.
  • The protagonists of the Mirrorscape series are named Mel, Ludo and Wren, and other major characters include Groot, Ambrosius Blenk and Dirk Tot. Mel's name is a "human" name, but the other five characters' names are of this vein.
  • The Outsiders. Brothers Ponyboy and Sodapop Curtis each have decidedly non-human style names. The former notes that he likes his name, but has come to expect weird reactions.
    Cherry: That's an original and lovely name.
    Ponyboy: My dad was an original person.
    • The latter notes that it "even says so on his birth certificate."

Live Action TV

Newspaper Comics
  • Rerun Van Pelt of Peanuts has a name of this vein, unlike the other kids in the series. Rerun got his name because when Lucy compared having a second brother to television reruns, Linus thought "Rerun" would be a perfect name for him.

Western Animation
  • The Powerpuff Girls
    • The title characters Blossom, Bubbles, and Buttercup have names like this as a part of Alphabetical Theme Naming.
    • Two of the Rowdyruff Boys, Brick and Boomer, count as this, but Butch averts this as his name is a "human" name.
  • Popeye
    • The title character has a name in this vein.
    • His nephews, Pipeye, Pupeye, Peepeye, and Poopeye also have names in this vein, as does Swea Pea. Swea Pea's real name is Scooner, which is also an atypical name for a human.
  • The Flintstones. Pebbles and Bamm Bamm have names of this vein even though Fred and Wilma Flintstone (Pebbles' parents) and Barney and Betty Rubble (Bamm Bamm's adopted parents) have typical human names.
  • Futurama.
    "I'm Scruffy... the janitor."
  • Drawn Together.
    • Bleh, Princess Clara's cousin has a name that is in this vein.
    • Toot Braunstein has a name in this vein, unlike the character of whom she is a Captain Ersatz of, Betty Boop.

Real Life
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