Some people just don't like their names. That's fairly reasonable--you don't exactly get a choice in that matter--but some find a way around that by going by a different name, usually their middle name or by rearranging their names.
In fiction, this can often be used to disguise the true identity of a character, and when their full name is revealed it is generally considered a major plot or character point. Also often used as a Shout-Out
, a Historical In-Joke
, to reveal that Everyone Is Related
once again or as a Full Name Ultimatum
Compare Only Known by Their Nickname
and Only Known by Initials
Anime and Manga
- Death Note has L (Lawliet), BB (Beyond Birthday), N (Nate River), and M (Mikael Mihel), and it's a major plot point that Kira doesn't know their names. Or L, in the case of BB. Its confusing.
- Kyubey is revealed to be the shortened name of his species: the Incubators.
- Briefers Rock from Panty & Stocking with Garterbelt.
- In The Dark Knight Rises, Detective John Blake's first name is revealed during the closing montage to be Robin.
- In Meet the Parents, it's an important plot point that Greg's real name is not Gregory, but Gaylord.
- At the end of Memento, it's revealed that Teddy's real name is John Edward Gammell, meaning that he too is a John G, and therefore a candidate for Leonard's hit list.
- This has happened to Sherlock Holmes twice:
- During the climax to The Asylum's Mockbuster Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes, Holmes's villainous brother repeatedly refers to him as "Robert". Holmes later reveals that his full name is "Robert Sherlock Holmes" and that he goes by his middle name because "who would remember a detective named Robert Holmes?" (this is a reference to Doctor Who writer Robert Holmes)
- In the made-for-TV-movie Sherlock Holmes in New York (starring Roger Moore) Holmes, upon learning that Irene Adler has a young son named Scott, tells Watson that his full name is William Sherlock Scott Holmes.
- In the Chronicles of the Kencyrath stories, the main heroine goes by the name Jamie, with the few among her people who know that her full name is Jamethiel appalled that she was given the name of the most infamous woman in the Kencryaths' history. They'd be even more appalled to learn that she's named after her mother
- Cut-Me-Own-Throat Dibbler, or just plain Throat, though I can't recall what the actual name was. Something ridiculously pompous, though.
- In the Goosebumps book "A Night In Terror Tower", Sue and Eddie learn that their full names are Princess Susannah and Prince Edward of York.
- This is a big plot point in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Harry comes upon a mysterious book that turns out to be the diary of Tom Riddle, who received an award for services to the school fifty years ago around the same time that students were getting attacked in a series of events similar to those of the present, which Tom tells Harry was for helping to stop the attacks. At the end, Ginny lying unconscious in the Chamber in question and Tom Riddle is right there. What does Tom do? He picks up Harry's wand, uses it to write out his full name in midair, and then rearranges the letters to spell out the message "I am Lord Voldemort".
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the name of the person who stole Voldemort's locket horcrux, with the initials R.A.B, is revealed to be Regulus Black.
- Strider in Lord of the Rings.
- In the first installment of The Queen's Thief series, Gen presents himself to other characters and the reader as a lowly street thief. Part of the reveal of his actual identity as a Guile Hero prince involves the fact that his full name is the aristocratic sounding Eugenides (which in Greek basically means "well born"/"nobly born").
- In Egyptian mythology, all gods had "True Names" that they guarded with their immortal lives. If someone were to find out these True Names, that person could Name the god, and have it do their bidding.
- In the WWF two Worked Shoot interviews Jim Ross had with wrestlers who, during the course of the interviews, revealed their real names, which led to angles: Goldust (Dustin Rhodes) and Mankind (Mick Foley). Foley's angle lasted much longer and better.
- In the musical Guys and Dolls, Sky Masterson reveals his real name (Obadiah) to Sarah Brown, then she reveals it to everyone else just before the finale.
- In the Chakona Space 'Verse, Neal Foster has a reputation. He has hidden his full name in more than onc of his stories.
- Kick Buttowski's real first name is Clarence. It is revealed late in season one when Kick messes up and risks his friendship with Gunther. Gunther calls him by the real name as an indication of how much Kick has upset him, and it is pretty much used regularly after that -- mostly by Kendall, who does it to needle him.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- Candace's middle name is Gertrude -- revealed when Linda makes her promise against the Pharaoh's curse.
- Ferb's real name was about to be revealed to Vanessa when something happened that made her run off.
- Recess: Ashley Spinelli.
- Regular Show: In "Skips Strikes," Death and the Magical Elements go against the Skips and the park staff in a game of bowling. Skips is their best player, and Death, not wanting to lose, reveals that Skips' true name isn't Skips, threatening to tell everyone his real name if Skips participates in the bowling competition. Skips quits, not wanting his true name to be revealed, but later chooses to help his friends. Skips' real name is revealed to be Walks, having changed it because he got tired of people asking him why he skipped while his name was Walks.
- In The Secret Show, Victor's full name is revealed in one of the episodes to be Victor Thomas Jefferson Volt.
- Defied in The Secret Show as well, as Changed Daily's real name is NEVER revealed, and is changed daily for "reasons of security". Usually to something awful, like Nincy-Nancy Lala or Hunda Von Lampgurgle. To the point where he has a dream in one episode that his name gets changed to Rock Justice.
- The Simpsons: Homer doesn't know what his middle initial, J., stand for. Then he finds out: it's short for Jay.