[[quoteright:300:[[LiteralMetaphor http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/meaningful_name_300x200.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:300:Pleased to meet you; I'm Caption.]]

->'''Alexandria''': This "Odious" -- he bad man?\\
'''Roy''': Oh yeah.
-->-- ''Film/TheFall''

A name that has a direct, barely-hidden meaning to it. The first, second/third/middle/nth, last, or full name says something primal about the character. Often has multiple layers. To hide the meaning a bit, use an alternate spelling or foreign equivalent. Instead of writers having to make up random words or think of real names, they can use mythological names or old words.

As an example, it is common to use for heroic characters names associated with hunting. So, apart from Hunter, which is a valid first and last name in English, you can use a translation to another language (Jäger, or the phonetic Yeager); the name of a predatory animal (Wolf, Hawk) or a translation of that (Wolfe, Lupin, Lupis, Wulf); or Orion, the constellation of The Hunter. Which is kinda cool, which is why this can double up with AwesomeMcCoolName.

Often, the characters in-universe are completely unaware that a name has any meaning, and act as if the name was just like any other. If this is the case, the name is a sort of UnusuallyUninterestingSight. This can be PlayedForLaughs when the characters are ComicallyMissingThePoint, or alternatively, can become a ChekhovsGun if the name turned out to be an important plot device.

Sometimes used more subtly; the Meaningful Name only becomes obvious in hindsight, but when the clincher is revealed it's a moment of "Now how did I miss that?"

[[MeaningfulRename Self-chosen names]] can manifest this naturally, but may make the character look arrogant if the symbolism is too blatant. This can be a problem with [[TheMagnificent bestowed names]] as well; although the character didn't create it, if he ''accepts'' it without [[ThinkNothingOfIt much objection]], the effect is similar.

Very common in [[WesternAnimation cartoons]], where the meaning is most times not hidden at all, except that the target audience may not have the vocabulary to get [[PunnyName the joke.]] Also common in {{Anime}}, since Japanese names have a lot of obvious literal meaning to start with [[note]]Technically, most Western names do, too, but since a lot of them - especially those of English speakers - are meaningful in some ''other'' language such as Hebrew, Latin, or Gaelic, the meanings tend to be missed unless specifically mentioned.[[/note]]. See notes at ThemeNaming.

Real-life examples of this are often referred to as "aptronyms". The magazine ''New Scientist'' refers to it as "nominative determinism" in a tongue-in-cheek manner, and encourages people to send examples in. The proper name for this trope is "charactonym".

This goes back to the Bible and probably turns up in the books of other religions, due to the way that names in many different cultures had significance beyond the merely cosmetic.

When additions or alterations to names signify stronger versions of said beings, that's TieredByName. Compare NamedAfterSomebodyFamous, TheyCallHimSword. Contrast with NonindicativeName. Also compare/contrast with IronicName. See also NamesToRunAwayFromReallyFast, which is about names indicating power and villainy and heavily overlaps with this trope, and PunnyName, which many of these names fall into as well. Can also be related to DeadGuyJunior if the naming is intended to symbolize a deceased in-universe character's legacy in some way.
* ADogNamedDog: An animal character gets the very animal's species name as their first name.
* ALizardNamedLiz: an animal character (or a humanoid character with an AnimalMotif) is given a name based on the animal's attribute.
* MeaningfulRename: Someone renames themselves/someone else/something into a name with meaning.
* NameThatUnfoldsLikeLotusBlossom: The name is a full description.
* PropheticNames: If the name's meaning isn't immediately relevant, it will be.
* SignificantAnagram: When you scramble the letters of their name, it can turn into something meaningful.
* SignificantMonogram: The name's initials refer to something meaningful.
* SpeciesSurname: An animal character gets the animal name as their last name.
* StevenUlyssesPerhero: A person is named after their abilities/powers/occupations.
* WerewolfThemeNaming: Werebeasts with names alluding to their true nature.

* MeaningfulName/{{Anime}}
* MeaningfulName/CardGames
* MeaningfulName/ComicBooks
* MeaningfulName/EasternAnimation
* MeaningfulName/FairyTales
* MeaningfulName/FanWorks
* MeaningfulName/{{Film}}
* MeaningfulName/{{Literature}}
* MeaningfulName/LiveActionTV
* MeaningfulName/{{Music}}
* MeaningfulName/MythAndReligion
* MeaningfulName/ProfessionalWrestling
* MeaningfulName/{{Radio}}
* MeaningfulName/TabletopGames
* MeaningfulName/{{Theatre}}
* MeaningfulName/VideoGames
* MeaningfulName/VisualNovels
* MeaningfulName/WebMedia
* MeaningfulName/WesternAnimation


* ''Art/MarriageALaMode'':
** The old Earl of ''Squander''field has done exactly that with his family fortune. Even before he dies, his son and daughter-in-law are living up to the family name with chronic financial irresponsibility; the Viscount gambles and spends money on women, while the Viscountess buys a wide assortment of truly ugly ornaments.
** The lawyer drawing up the paperwork for the marriage who has a long-term affair with the bride is seen in ''The Marriage Settlement'' whispering into her ear, his words evidently having a powerful enough effect to attract and keep her attention until their deaths. Silvertongue by name, silver tongue by nature.
** The French barber-surgeon whom the Viscount visits in ''The Inspection'' is identified on the documents next to the mechanical contraptions he has invented as Monsieur de la Pillule, which approximately translates as "Mr. Pill". Aptly, he is treating the Viscount and one or both of the ladies for syphilis with mercury pills (the standard treatment for the disease in the 18th century).

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* In ''ComicStrip/BabyBlues'', even though Hammie was named after his great-grandfather, he is a play on "ham", which was mentioned around the time he was finally given a name. Wren's name is a play on "wren" (the actual bird), although Wanda's reasoning of how she came up with the name is a different story.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Garfield}}'':
** In a very early strip, Odie had an "accident" inside the house and is punished by Lyman. Garfield snarks that they should have called him "Spot" instead. ([[MythologyGag That was going to be the name of Odie]], but it was changed due to there being a dog called that in ''ComicStrip/BonersArk''.)
** [[http://garfield.com/comic/2010-03-16 Jon believes every name has a meaning.]] Looking his up, he found out it meant [[ButtMonkey "he who gets beat up for his lunch money"]].
* ''ComicStrip/TheWizardOfId'' has Bung, an almost perpetually drunk court jester who is named for a wine cask's stopper.
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' are named after philosophers John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes.

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* EVAC in ''Ride/TransformersTheRide'' at the Ride/UniversalStudios parks is an Autobot that handles evacuations.

[[folder: Toys]]
* Franchise/{{LEGO}} at one point caused quite a controversy for trying to trademark words from the Maori language as ''Toys/{{Bionicle}}'' names. These included Tohunga (craftsman, name of the resourceful villagers), Toa (champion, name of the heroes), Turaga (village chief), Kanohi (face, used as masks in ''BIONICLE''), and a collection of others. After the controversy, which had forced LEGO to change a few of these names (most famously Tohunga to Matoran), they began using made-up words, although the online games occasionally still took meaningful words from existing languages like Finnish, Egyptian, Hawaiian, Hungarian or Japanese -- however these weren't trademarked, and the few that were had to have their spellings changed. A lot of the made-up names also have clear meanings:
** Axonn: carries a mighty axe
** Brutaka: a brutal brute
** Barraki: undersea mutants, named after barracuda:
*** Kalmah: calamari ("kalmah" is also a Karelian word roughly meaning "to the grave")
*** Ehlek: eel
*** Mantax: manta ray
*** Carapar: crab with a carapace
*** Pridak: not to sharks, but a [[{{Pride}} prideful]] warlord [[SatanicArchetype who was damned for letting it consume him]]
** Hydraxon and Hydruka: in reference to the underwater setting
** Spinax: a spiny creature
** the Phantoka Makuta have bat-themed names:
*** Antroz: ''Antrozous pallidus'' or pallid bat
*** Chirox and his Matoran partner Kirop: chiroptera, the order of the bats
*** Vamprah: vampire
** most of the Light and Shadow Matoran have light-based names:
*** Tanma: tan
*** Radiak: radiation
*** Photok: photon
*** Solek: Sol, or Sun
** Vultraz, an evil Matoran manning a black-and-gray jet: vulture
** Mistika: fighters in the mist
** Bitil and Krika, two Makuta suffering ModeLock as insects: beetle and cricket
** Mutran, a Makuta specializing in [[{{Portmanteau}} mutations and transformations]]
** Icarax: Icarus -- in the sense that he liked to aim too high, not that his wings stopped working
** Ignika, a mask used to re-ignite the life of Mata Nui
** Voya Nui, a floating island: voyage
** Karda Nui, Mata Nui's heart-chamber: cardiac
** Rockoh: a jet operated by Pohatu, a Stone-element character
** Jetrax: another jet
** Axalara: accelerate
** Umbra: real Latin name that has the same meaning in-universe, darkest part of a shadow. Actually a deceptive name, since he has light-powers
** Skirmix: a steed used in skirmishes
** Fero: a ferocious bandit
** Boxor: a mech that punches
** Bara Magna, the desert planet: from "barren"
** Aqua Magna, the water planet (literally means "great/powerful water")
** Bota Magna, the jungle planet
** Solis magna, Bara magna's sun - Literally, "great sun"
** a lot of elemental suffixes are meaningful:
*** Ba-: gravity, from the Greek baros (weight)
*** Bo-: green, again from botanics
*** Ce-: psionics, from cerebrum (brain)
*** De-: sonics, from decibel
*** Fa-: magnetism, from Michael ''Fa''raday, who studued electromagnetism
*** Fe-: iron
*** Su-: plasma, from ''su''perheating (kind of a stretch, but that's the official explanation)
** And of course almost ''all'' the names have their own in-universe meanings in the fictional ''BIONICLE'' languages

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'':
** {{Word of God}} has it that Theopholous [=DuMedd=] was originally "doomed" to be killed off in volume 3, but the Foglios so enjoyed him that he stuck around.
** Most likely Sleipnir O'Hara wasn't supposed to be kept around either. Agatha needed a roommate to introduce her to the world of the Baron's flying castle, so the Foglios gave her someone to "sleep near".
** The town of Mechanicsburg is integrated with the mechanical Castle Heterodyne.
** Bangladesh [=DuPree=]. Bang duPrey. Or ''Du-praved''.
** Heterodyne: The principle of periodic functions upon which theremins and radio modulation rely. Possibly related to the ThemeMusicPowerUp.
** Portentius Reichenbach's [[IncrediblyLamePun Portentous]] Operatic Masterpiece: [[http://www.girlgeniusonline.com/comic.php?date=20080204 The Storm King.]]
** Othar Tryggvassen, ''{{GENTLEMAN ADVENTURER}}''. His surname roughly means "Safe Waters" in the North Countries where he's said to be from.
** Doctor Chouteh (pronounced shout-ay) is a LargeHam of ridiculous proportions.
** Agatha's foster parents are called ''Adam'' and ''Lilith'' and it doesn't look like they are very god-fearing. Not to mention their surname, ''Clay''. (Note that they almost certainly picked these names for themselves.)
* Almost everyone in ''Webcomic/{{Gloomverse}}'' has a name related to their power set. Seaweed, Lady Nim, Petunia, Professor Purple....
* ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'': Immortals tend to give themselves names. Sometimes they're self-important, sometimes they're plain. Pandora Chaos Raven chose hers deliberately to be meaningful with all three segments, and told Magus (after beating the crap out of him) to call her by one or any, she was all of them: Pandora (after Pandora's Box; she actually sees herself more as the box, but even fewer people got it when she called herself 'Box') Chaos (she hates being able to predict things based on what she knows), and Raven [[spoiler:(her married name)]].
* ''Webcomic/TheNoordegraafFiles'' LOVES this trope. Ok, let's go down the list...
** Theo's full name is Theodoric, who was the king of the goths who sacked Rome. Also, his last name, Noordegraaf, hints that he's related to "Young" Neil Noordegraf of ScottPilgrim. [[spoiler:Turns out he's Neil's son. Scott is revealed to be his uncle, which means Neil married ([[CaptainObvious and had a child with]]) Stacey.
** Lars' full name is Lars Secundus Gilmore, who was also named for a barbarian king, Lars Porsenna, and his middle name means "The second" in Latin. He's the second character in the comic.
** Katrina is [[SuspiciouslySpecificDenial NOT]] named after the bow wielding heroine of TheHungerGames.
** Akila's middle name is Selene.
** Violet has PurpleEyes.
** Andromeda. Enough said.
** Orion's full name is Orion Victor Bjorn, which is basically three of the coolest possible names in one name.
* ''Webcomic/GrimTrigger'': Hunter. There's also Camilla, who's named after the warrior in ''Literature/TheAeneid''.
* The names in ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}''.
** The post-scratch counterpart of John is [[DistaffCounterpart named Jane]].
** 'Lalonde' may be a play on Jérôme Lalande, who was known for being a writer and an astronomer, just like Rose's post-scratch self was.
** 'Roxy' is short for 'Roxanne' which means 'Bright' or 'Star', an inversion of her aspect, Void, which has to deal with the dark and nothingness.
** Dave's post-scratch counterpart is named [[AwesomeMcCoolname Dirk]].
** 'Jade' is a semi-precious green stone, tying in to her Earth and green theme.
** Mostly the ones of the trolls:
*** 'Aradia' was a witch goddess, and 'Damara' is a breed of sheep. 'Megido' is derived from 'Megiddo'--which is the root of the word 'armageddon.'
*** 'Tavros' is greek for 'Taurus', and 'Rufioh' is a direct reference to Dante Basco's character in Hook. 'Nitram' is the reverse for 'Martin'.
*** 'Sollux' and 'Captor' are 'Pollux and Castor' with the S and P reversed. 'Mituna' is an abbreviated form of 'Mithuna,' the Sanskrit word for Gemini.
*** 'Karkat' comes from the Sanskrit name 'Karkata', and 'Kankri' comes from an Esperanto word meaning 'crayfish.' 'Vantas' is a cancer treatment.
*** 'Nepeta' comes from the Latin name for catnip, and 'Meulin' sounds like Merlin, referencing her title as a Mage (as well as sounding nearly identical to 'mewling,' referencing her cat motif). 'Leijon' is Swedish for 'Lion'.
*** 'Kanaya' comes from 'Kanya' (the Sanskrit name for Virgo), and 'Porrim' is short for 'Porrima,' a star in the Virgo constellation. 'Maryam' references the Virgin Mary.
*** 'Terezi' is Albaneze for 'Scales', and 'Latula' comes from the Sanskrit name Tula. 'Pyrope' comes from a form of garnet, and means 'red-eyed'--fitting, considering how Terezi was blinded.
*** 'Vriska' comes from the Sanskrit name 'Vrschika', and 'Aranea' is the Latin word for 'spider.' 'Serket' was an Egyptian scorpion goddess.
*** 'Equius' comes from 'Equus', and 'Horuss' sounds like 'Horse'. 'Zahhak' rougly means: 'The one who has 10,000 horses'.
*** 'Gamzee' comes from 'Gamze,' and Kurloz from 'Kurtlooz,' both referencing a fan who roleplayed Gamzee prior to his formal introduction. 'Makara' means 'miracle,' tying into the characters' religious beliefs.
*** 'Eridan' comes from 'Eridanus', and 'Cronus' from a Greek titan. 'Ampora' is derived from 'amphora', which is a variety of vase.
*** 'Feferi' comes from a variety of cuttlefish, and 'Meenah' comes from the Meena caste of India, who claim to be descended from Matsya, the fish avatar of Vishnu. 'Peixes' is Portugese for 'fish'.
* Mock, from ''Wecomic/OneOverZero'', turns out to be an adept shape-shifter.
* [[http://zeropercentdiscountcomic.tumblr.com/post/77021086539 Creative Retort Man]] from ''Webcomic/ZeroPercentDiscount''.
* ''Webcomic/AngelMoxie'':
** Alex, Riley, and Tristan all have gender neutral/masculine name. [[spoiler:They are three (girl) incarnates of three boy heroes.]]
** Miya's last name "Gato", which is Spanish for "cat". She takes the form of a feline on earth to mentor the girls. Her first name too: "Miya" when spoken sounds like "meow" and "neko" is Japanese for "cat."
** Shugari's name sounds a lot like "''sugary''". The name she uses while posing as a student is Candi Shugari.
** Grant Kyokasho spends his time on Earth disguised as a teacher. His surname is Japanese for "textbook".
* In ''WebComic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', the reveal that the Draketooth family were descended from a [[spoiler:Black]] Dragon turns out to be a critical plot point for the ''Blood Runs in the Family'' arc.

[[folder: Real Life]]
* "C++" is a computer language that's an improved version of the [[UsefulNotes/TheCLanguage "C"]] computer language. The MeaningfulName, as well as {{Pun}} (if you understand the computer language) kicks in when you know "++" is an affix within "C" that when attached to a variable, ''increases its value''. Thus the name "C++" means "C improved/taken UpToEleven" - which it is.
* It's weirdly poetic and funny that the guy responsible for the biggest {{Ponzi}} scheme of all time is named Bernie ''Madoff''.
* There's a sort of poetic justice in the U.S. Supreme Court case striking down laws prohibiting interracial marriage in the country being titled ''Loving'' v. Virginia.
* In 2003, astronomers discovered an object in the outer solar system that was larger than Pluto. This, a long with the discovery of other similar objects in that same era, kicked off a 3 year long debate among astronomers about whether ought to remain classified as a planet. This culminated in Pluto being demoted from its status as a planet, and the object in question being named Eris, the Greek goddess of discord, due to all of the arguments it caused.
* One of the most notorious cocaine traffickers was Griselda Blanco Restrepo. Commonly called just Griselda Blanco. That's right, the "Cocaine Godmother" was named Griselda ''White''.
* Prohibition advocate and cult person Carry A. Nation (the A stands for Amelia) took advantage of her meaningful name in speeches where she promised she would "carry a nation" towards prohibition. Her adversaries and critics also joked about it, with the phrase "All Nations welcome except Carry" becoming a bar-room slogan. She eventually had her own name trademarked.
* Actor Tod Slaughter (think DastardlyWhiplash) had such stage name, which makes sense for someone who made a habit of playing serial killers (and maintaining {{Kayfabe}}). His real name, though - ''Norman'' Slaughter.
* Considered the greatest racehorse of all time, Man o' War was defeated only once in his career, by a horse named Upset.