Created By: SquirrelGuy on October 17, 2012 Last Edited By: SquirrelGuy on January 4, 2013

It's actually named for someone

Places and things that are named not by logic or meaning, but after a person.

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Needs a better name

Early computer programming languages were commonly acronyms or portmanteau words, the most popular of these being Fortran (formula translation) and COBOL (common business-oriented language). One computer science teacher asked the class to guess what Pascal stood for. After lots of speculation (programming assembler sequential computing... for example), the instructor said they were all wrong.

Pascal was named for a person.

Similarly, many things that seem to be named based on a description are really named for a person.

Western Animation

  • On The Flintstones, Fred went out to dinner one night at a promising-looking diner called "Mother's Place". Once inside, however, he was greeted by a scraggly, sinister-looking dude who introduced himself as "Sam Mother".

  • You might think that the town of Springfield on The Simpsons was named as such for the natural, aesthetic connotations of the word. Nope, it was named for the city founder, Mr. Jebediah Springfield.

Real Life

  • The Polaroid Land Camera was named as such not because it was intended for use on land or something like that. It was actually named for Edwin H. Land, the inventor of instant photography.

  • At the University of Dayton in Ohio, the football field is called "Welcome Stadium". Welcoming to the opposing teams? Nahh, it's named after Percival Welcome, an athletic director for local public schools.

  • A bridge over the lower Potomac River between Maryland and Virginia is called the Nice bridge. This "nice" bridge is actually the Governor Harry W. Nice Memorial Bridge.

  • The Outerbridge Crossing, which runs between Staten Island and New Jersey is named after Eugenius H. Outerbridge, not because it's on an outer borough of New York. The name Outerbridge Crossing was chosen because "Outerbridge Bridge" would sound a little redundant and silly. Still doesn't stop many locals from just calling it the "Outer bridge", though. (The confusion even apparently caught some editors of the Encyclopędia Britannica; a 1960s edition captioned a picture of it like "The Outerbridge crossing the Arthur Kill river...")

  • Most odd is the naming of the convention center in Washington, DC. Yes, it's the Washington Convention Center, but it's not named for the district, but for a person (no, not as in George Washington!). The official name is the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, named after a former mayor of DC.
Community Feedback Replies: 11
  • October 17, 2012
    • Pick a town. ANY town. You will find a street sign named after someone sooner or later.

    I don't know, this might be too broad to trope. Too many possible examples without narrowing down the criteria.
  • October 17, 2012
    Needs a better name. The trope is not just that something is named after someone. It's when the place/thing is named such you'd think that it was not after a person. Like a Holiday motel where the owner was Mr. Holiday; most people would think it was part of (or trying to be a knockoff of) Holiday Inn.
  • October 17, 2012
    I think we might have it under some other name, but Groening media (Simpsons and Futurama) are obsessed with this. The Cave of Hopelessness (named after someone called Hopelessness), The Motherloving Sugar Company (named for someone called Motherloving), etc.
  • October 17, 2012
    ^ I agree completely with this.

    On a separate note, what does the Pascal story in the introduction have to do with the first sentence about COBOL engineering and Fortran? A better bridge between the two topics would help the description flow better. Bullet points would also help sort out the examples. Other than that the page is great.
  • October 17, 2012
    We have Namesake Gag.
  • October 18, 2012
    ^I might put that in TRS, if some space ever appears (lacking examples). This I say is People Sit On Chairs, because almost everything is named after someone. Narrow it down to unexpected things, and we might have something. But, that might exist already.
  • October 18, 2012
    Google's "Page Rank" algorithm, which ranks webpages, is named after Larry Page.
  • October 18, 2012
    Namesake Gag is kind of the opposite of this (taking things that weren't named after people, but claiming they were). There's a bit of overlap with things that were named after people within fiction.
  • October 18, 2012
    this trope, despite it's short description on top, seems not to be about *anything* named after a person, but rather the situation where the name appears to be a valid name that implies one thing, but turns out to be named after someone instead (changing how the audience interprets the name). If that is the case it doesn't seem to be included in the Namesake Gag.

    However, I'm not sure this is different enough to warrant it's own trope. Perhaps instead we should expand the Namesake Gag with an extra bullet point to include this situation as a different variant of the same gag?
  • October 18, 2012
    The Land Speeder and Land Raider vehicles in Warhammer40000 are named after their discoverer, magos Arkhan Land. Similarly, the Necron Gauss weapons don't have anything to do with actual gauss guns (ie. coilguns, a type of magnetic accelerator weapon), but are named after the techpriest who studied them.
  • January 4, 2013
    @Sinister Shenanigans: I understood opening anecdote, but when I was in high school Pascal was one of only two programming languages there were courses for (BASIC being the other) so I already knew the punchline. Given that COBOL and Fortran are known initialisms/abbreviations, you'd expect Pascal to be one also; but The Triple must be obeyed.

    Right here on TV Tropes Wiki, "Wicks" (internal links from one page to another) are named not after "wiki" but after Morgan Wick.