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.
Live Action TV
- 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.
- 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.