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Atrocious Alias
Um, you might want to pick a better name, bro. And a different costume color.

Hey, you'd know what would be a better name than the Gay Ghost? Anything. I mean c'mon now, seriously...

All right, you've got the powers, got the costume, got the cool origin story, now you just need to pick the perfect superhero name. Maybe you go with something that describes your powers, or a grim n' gritty one-syllable name. Surely you're the next classic superhero, with an Awesome McCoolname superhero name to go with it.

Wait, what's this? Why is everybody laughing? Surely evildoers would tremble at the mere utterance of your name! Or not. Sorry, pal. You need to get a better name if the Legion of Doom is going to take you as a serious threat. You've got yourself an Atrocious Alias.

Once you have committed this, there is no turning back. The name will catch on and that's how you will be known from here on. Your only hope is to become famous enough one day for everyone to not automatically think of something else when they hear it.

Many are the reasons for a character, superhero or otherwise, to have such a malodorous moniker: Maybe you were originally published in The Golden Age of Comic Books, when certain slang terms had different meanings. Maybe you're using a fairly standard Something Person naming convention and your powers don't exactly make for an intimidating name.

A specific type of Unfortunate Name. See also The Adjectival Superhero, Have a Gay Old Time (the cause for most names on this list), Giver of Lame Names. Contrast Awesome McCoolname.

Please note that this trope is only about embarrassing names that the character specifically chooses. If it's a name the person was born with, see Unfortunate Names.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • One of the "switching to GEICO" radio ads has a tough biker guy informing the announcer that he thinks "Fuzzy Bunny" will be a good bikers' moniker for him from now on. The announcer then begins to protest that he really doesn't want to be called—
    Biker: Too late! The name's already stuck... Fuzzy!

    Anime 
  • Death Note - "Kira" (a corruption of "killer"), Light Yagami's worldwide alias, can mean "glittering" in Japanese. However anyone who dares mock Lord Kira shall suffer a sudden inexplicable heart attack.
  • In the series CLANNAD, several alternative names for the protagonist were suggested in a scene, but were not actually relevant beyond characterizing the two new characters that were introduced.
  • In Busou Renkin, the protagonist spent half of an episode coming up with stereotypically crappy names for his weapon and attack.
  • Back when he was in high school, Kotetsu from Tiger & Bunny spent quite a bit of effort on thinking of possible superhero names he would use in the future. He was not very good at it.
    Tomoe: Okay, let's see... "Fate Wanderer: The Destiny", "Fearful Body: The Muscle", and "The Prince of Fists, Mr. Punch". They all suck. You're terrible at this.
    Kotetsu: Y-You don't have to say it like that...
  • One legendary Bully Hunter in Daily Lives of High School Boys is called "Rubber Shooter." While the Japanese themselves has no doubt as for what it meant — "Rubber" means rubber bands in Japanese — due to Separated by a Common Language, other from other parts would have issues understanding what he shot—for example, to the British, "a rubber" means an eraser; in North America, it refers to a condom.
  • In the Yu-Gi-Oh! GX episode where Kagemaru appeared, after Manjyome challenged him using his nickname ("Manjyome Thunder"), Fubuki tried to do the same, giving himself a cool nickname of his own. Unfortunately, the best he could come up with was "Blizzard Prince"; the look of embarrassment on his sister's face said it all.
  • The second Pretty Cure All Stars movie features the fearsome Eldritch Abomination... Bottom. This is the same franchise that gave us "Fusion" (as in, a fusion of previous monster-types) and "Black Hole" (because seriously, that guy is tough).
  • Ranma ½ has Pantyhose Taro, who initially is not an example since it's Happosai's fault he's named that. He does cross into this with his idea of a better one: Handsome Taro.
  • The titular Samurai Flamenco has his named mocked thusly, given that he's an Ascended Fanboy of Tokusatsu shows and it's quite obvious he picked the name himself.
  • In Tenchi Muyo GXP due to the fact that every other "lucky" name was taken at the time, Seiryo is forced to christen his ship the Unko, which is supposed to mean "bringer of fortune", unfortunately for Seiryo, "Unko" also means, and is more commonly used to refer to, poop.
  • Kill la Kill has an organization called Nudist Beach. Everybody who learns about it comments that it is the stupidest name ever. Not surprisingly, the same guy who named it that also named an invention of his the "Rending Scissors", something mocked by an opponent of his and said to be due to his habit of just naming things what they are, and gave his own daughter a name that can translate to "abandoned child" which is distressingly spot on once we learn her backstory.

    Comic Books 
  • Pictured above is the Whizzer, who has pretty much been a walking joke since The Silver Age of Comic Books due to his snicker-inducing name (for non-US readers, "taking a whizz" means urinating). The fact that his costume is yellow probably doesn't help matters. His origin? Mongoose blood gives you superpowers! In Spider-Man: The Animated Series, even Spider-Man laughs at his name and pee-yellow costume. When Spidey asks the Whizzer why he chose his name, the Whizzer says it was the sound he made when he ran, and that it sounded better in the 50s. Deadpool also riffs on him a bit for it at one point. note  When the character debuted in 1939, football player (and later US Supreme Court Justice) Byron "Whizzer" White had been playing in the NFL for a year, having been given the nickname by a newspaper columnist during his college career. So perhaps it made more sense at the time.
    • Marvel acknowledged this even back in the 70s in the Fantastic Four Celebrity Roast comedy special, showing Whizzer drinking too much and dashing off to the men's room, prompting his friends to snark about that being the real reason for his name.
    • For some kind of 70th anniversary thing, Marvel did a story set in the Golden Age where he explained that "Whizzer" was his college nickname - he thought they were calling him "Wizard", and by the time he worked out they weren't...
      • Good thing The Beano isn't available in the US - it has a character called Billy Whizz, named that for the same reason as the Whizzer (he has super speed). In a slight subversion, the "whizz" part of his name is mostly ignored - instead his super speed means the "billy" part of his name is used as a nickname for "speed", aka methamphetamine.
      • "The Beano" itself qualifies — it shares a name with a product that basically allows you to eat beans and certain other foods without farting up a storm. "Take Beano before and there'll be no gas!"
  • Also in the Spider-Man universe:
    • The Shocker gets this, presumably because his name is also a term for a sexual act (and an obscene gesture). Being a Deadpan Snarker, Spider-Man makes fun of these folks. In Ultimate Spider-Man when Spidey first meets the Shocker and asks him "Who are you supposed to be? The Vibrator?"
    • Kraven the Hunter apparently forgot that "craven" means "cowardly. The writers attempt to justify it by revealing his full name to be "Sergei Kravinoff".
    • Jackson "Big Wheel" Wheele
    • Frederick "Big Man" Foswell
      • This mobster-type was not treated as that when he lived. (He was size-conscious though, and wore lifts when he disguised himself as the Big Man).
    • Jason "Demogoblin" Macendale (what, is he the goblin you try in the store before you decide you want to buy it?)
      • Although that really was more of a fan nickname to set him apart from his non-demonic previous incarnation.
    • "Night Thrasher". Spidey thinks it makes him sound like he has terrible nightmares. In one issue, Spidey teams up with Thrasher and The Punisher. Naturally, Spidey doesn't get along with either of them (both of them being Darker and Edgier heroes), and eventually grumbles about being lectured by "One guy who sounds like he has naughty dreams and another guy who sounds like he likes to spank people."
    • Then there was the time the Blue Shield attempted to apprehend Spider-Man for not registering with the Initiative. Spider-Man took the time to question why his health insurance premiums had gone up so much (for non-US posters, Blue Shield is also the name of a major health insurance company).
    • "The White Rabbit", which is hardly a name to inspire terror (like DC's Mad Hatter, she is on a Lewis Carroll riff). Then again, she's not at all scary anyway. Also her occasional partner in crime "The Walrus" with "the proportional speed, strength and agility of a walrus" - who makes Spider-Man burst into laughter during a fight when he says this, since while walrus in the water is a graceful and nimble swimmer despite weighing up to two tons, on land they are are extremely slow and clumsy.
    • During The Clone Saga, Ben Reilly was called "The Scarlet Spider", and even he thought it was a stupid name. It was very hard to find anyone who disagreed with him on that. (In his defense, he wasn't the one who came up with it; that credit goes to Daily Bugle reporter Ben Urich, who based it on the fact that Ben Reilly's costume was basically a brighter red version of Spider-man's costume with a blue jacket over the top.)
  • Marvel Comics' "The Trapster" originally went by Paste Pot Pete. He still gets mocked for that from time to time. (In fact, bringing it up is his Berserk Button.) One flashback story had Spider-Man encountering Pete while Paste-Pot was preparing to ambush the Human Torch. Before a fight could ensue, Paste-Pot announced his name-causing Spidey to break into laughter. Paste-Pot is so insulted and disgusted by Spidey's mockery he simply gives up and walks off, muttering something about needing to change his name.
  • A Franchise.Superman comic once featured a retired supervillain called the Molester. He kept explaining that when he chose the name (during The Golden Age of Comic Books), molest meant 'to annoy' and that he was supposed to be a playful villain like the Prankster.
  • Golden Age superhero Doll Man. There was also the Silver Age Marvel villain Mr. Doll, whose gimmick was voodoo dolls. Supposedly, his original name was going to be the much-more-threatening "Mr. Pain", but the Comics Code Authority rejected that.
  • In an issue of X-Factor the heroes are confronted by a villain calling himself Number One Fan (with spinning blades as his main weapons) leading one member of X-Factor to comment that "We must be just about tapped out of silly names to call ourselves". When Kitty Pryde heard of the name "Negasonic Teenage Warhead," her reaction was similar: "Wow, we really have run out of names." Negasonic Teenage Warhead had been dead since the Genoshan massacre. Before her death, she planned to name herself after the song. (Furthermore, her death caused Emma Frost a mental breakdown. Suddenly, not so funny...) X-Factor also features Strong Guy (a.k.a. Guido Carosella), who picked his name on the spot when a reporter saw his exaggerated musculature and said "He must be the Strong Guy. Every super team has a Strong Guy." Needless to say, Guido wasn't taking things very seriously. But Guido insisted on sticking with the name.
  • The X-Men's demon-like, teleporting mutant Kurt Wagner uses the alias Nightcrawler. And it would be perfectly cool for a superhero name, except for one problem—a nightcrawler is also an earthworm.
  • The second issue of Heroes, Anonymous revolves around the struggles faced by a sheltered farmboy who takes up the mantle of the legendary Gay Avenger without having the slightest clue that to modern ears, "gay" immediately suggests "homosexual". However, after discovering this, he's dedicated to keeping the name out of respect for his grandfather, the original Gay Avenger.
    • The first issue also briefly flirts with this; former sidekick Attaboy finds his name inappropriate in adulthood, but sticks with it because "Attaman" doesn't have quite the same ring.
  • Hero Happy Hour features Night Ranger, a Batman-style grim vigilante who is often called "Sister Christian" by associates after the title of the hit song by the band Night Ranger.
  • While he was alive "Freedom Ring" got a lot of flack for having a pretty dumb alias. It was also invoked gay symbolism — "freedom rings" are rainbow-colored rings on a chain, a well-known gay signifier of the '90s. This, however, was likely intentional as the character was an open homosexual, and prior to being killed by evil alternate universe Tony Stark, Iron Maniac, Freedom Ring was the most prominent gay superhero in Marvel. Creator Robert Kirkman regretted killing the character as he represented about 20% of the overall homosexual hero census in the Universe.
  • Batman villains:
    • Mr. Polka-Dot, who even calls his name odd (but apt) himself.
    • Tweedledee and Tweedledum, whose real names are Dumphrey Dumson and Deever Tweed.
    • Humpty Dumpty, who bears the unfortunate real name of Humphry Dumpler.
  • Dr. Drool.
  • During the time the Blackhawks became superheroes, some of them got ridiculous names to go with their equally silly costumes. The already silly-named Chop-Chop became "Dr. Hands," and Chuck became "The Listener," complete with ear-covered costume.
  • During the time the Dark Age of Supernames reigned supreme, names trying to sound "extreme" or "kool" usually ended up being hilarious instead. D-list Captain America villain "Blistik" sounds more like a lip balm than a serious threat. note 
  • Speedball probably crosses into this territory when you realise that a brightly-coloured, bouncy comic relief character shares his name with a lethal drugs cocktail that's polished off more entertainment careers than Celebrity Big Brother.
    • Either Steve Ditko or Tom DeFalco probably noticed Speedball brand art supplies around their studios - they're very common among comic artists — and thought it sounded like a good hero name. I'm just glad to know they probably know little about narcotic cocktails.
    • Penance, on the other hand...is equally ridiculous, even before contextualizing it.
  • The closest thing Howard the Duck had to an archenemy was a mad musician named Dr. Bong. Well, what else would you call a supervillain that had a giant bell on his head that when you rung, he could change reality?
  • Astro City has the Otter, possibly the cutest supervillain name ever. Mind you, he does run around dressed as an otter, so the name clearly doesn't bother him. Maybe he should have called himself the furry old lobster instead.
    • Then there's Glue-Gun, an Expy of Marvel Comics' Paste-Pot Pete.
    • One issue has The Majordomo, who clearly intends to be an impressive rule-the-world villain. As another character dryly points out, it might have come off better if he hadn't named himself after a servant.
  • Legion of Super-Heroes has Matter-Eater Lad. note  And the infamous Arm-Fall-Off Boy, who received the slightly more dignified name of Splitter after the Zero Hour continuity reboot. Recurring Legion of Supervillains member Radiation Roy. Look, man, we don't care if you have radiation powers and your name is Roy, that name is dumb. This is even specifically mocked by one of his teammates, who insists on calling him "Radiator" because he doesn't ally himself with losers. Absorbency Lad of the same team. Again, this name suffers from being a little too on the nose. The reboot version of him is a Terran supremacist called Earth Man, which is a marked improvement to say the least. In the Amalgam Universe, where DC and Marvel characters were combined, Matter-Eater Lad and Paste-Pot Pete became... wait for it... Paste-Eater Pete.
  • Although the Smug Super characters tend to make fun of Empowered's name, the best example from the series isn't the heroine. One of the Superhomies is a sapient Blob Monster who redubs himself Protean, and becomes increasingly enraged when a mook thinks his name is Protein and makes fun of him. Sistah Spooky tells Protean than he should go back to using his old name, "Glorph", which at least wouldn't confuse anyone. There's also a trio of Captain Ethnic villains who called themselves Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash. Rum ended up at Alcoholics Anonymous, Sodomy left after getting tired of insisting that his name only referred to heterosexual sodomy, and Lash, who Emp encounters is a ridiculous fauxreigner who Did Not Do the Bloody Research.
    • Empowered plays this trope for laughs (being a superhero parody/deconstruction) to the extent that pretty much every character in the book has a ludicrous name: Sistah Spooky, dWARf, Phalik, Maidman, Baron Womb... hell, the main super team is called the "Superhomeys."
    • No mention of Willy Pete? Or Crowquet? Though the former at least has its Genius Bonus spelled out In-Universe; it's the military's nickname for the super-lethal flammable chemical white phosphorous, which burns at over 3000 degrees.
      • Willy Pete himself is more than capable of living up to his namesake, so that one stops being funny and starts being scary real quick.
    • King Tyrant Lizard is a hulking, scaly mass of muscle and malice who would be more intimidating if he hadn't given himself such a stupid name.
      • Well, it is the literal translation of Tyrannosaurus Rex.
  • Minor Iron Man foe Vibro's name is pretty weak as it is, but his real name is the utterly pathetic Vincent Vibreaux.
  • Kick-Ass:
    • Kick-Ass, himself.
    • In Volume Two, Red Mist changed his name to the Mother Fucker, and named his gang The Toxic Mega-cunts.
  • Upon meeting Spider-Man in an intercompany crossover, Image hero Invincible makes fun of Spider-Man's heroic name, and Spidey does the same for Invincible. Then when meeting the Avengers, he attempts to guess their names, using 'Spider-Man' as a gauge. Robot-Man (Iron Man), Claw-Man (Wolverine), Flag-Man (Captain America), Fabio-Man (Sentry), Bat-Woman (Spider-Woman), and Black-Man (Luke Cage) — to which Peter confesses that perhaps his name /is/ poorly chosen.
  • Darker Image #1 gives us... Deathblow! A name so utterly trapped in its time of origin that even That '90s Kid couldn't get past its stupidity.
    • In a crossover, even Superman made fun of his name.
    • What makes it funnier is that the name itself was almost never used in the Deathblow series, or any other Wildstorm comics - he usually went by Michael Cray, so even the creators didn't want to use the name.
  • Captain Marvel had a few Golden Age opponents with questionable names, but the worst of them had to be Mr. Banjo, whose gimmick was that he strummed secret codes to a Japanese submarine on his banjo. Depending on how you look at it, Mr. Mind (the World's Wickedest Worm) might qualify as well.
    • The other especially suspect one is Nippo, the Japanese judo master and assassin. Seriously, Nippo? Although in their defense, comics made in the 40's were all about raising support for the war (everybody knows about "Superman says you can slap a Jap," right?), and making the enemy look stupid in any way possible was pretty par for the course.
  • The Gay Ghost is one of the most infamous examples in comic history. For the record, in his later appearances (however few there have been), he's been known as the Grim Ghost — evidently the "Gay" moniker was something akin to an Ironic Nickname.
  • The Champions comic books has the Galloping Galooper (who's portrayed as an egotistical goofus, so it's probably deliberate).
  • Combining this trope with Unfortunate Implications, John Walker, aka Super-Patriot, recruited a team of super-strong allies called the Bold Urban Commandos, or "Buckies", led by African-American Lemar Hoskins. When Walker replaced Steve Rogers as Captain America, Hoskins took the identity of Bucky, until someone brought up the fact that 'Bucky' was demeaning, since slave-owners in the 1800s sometimes called their male slaves 'Bucks'. Hoskins promptly changed his name to Battlestar.
    • This mirrored the fact that writer Mark Gruenwald had to be made aware of the Unfortunate Implications of naming a black character "Bucky".
  • Deliberately used by Steve Englehart in the 1970s when he had Captain America fight against an evil cabal masquerading under the name Campaign to Regain America's Principles (a shout-out to the real-life "Campaign to Re-Elect the President).
  • Captain Cold, enemy of The Flash hates his actual name. For his part, it's pretty difficult to be proud of the name Leonard Snart.
  • Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: Prowl was a predabot and liked a good hug, then he had to change his name to Dent because there was another more important Prowl. All the good names were taken.
  • Spawn has the Clown, a demon in disguise as a Monster Clown, whose true form goes by the name of The Violator. At least it sounds kind of scary, and given what sort of character Clown/Violator is, it definitely fits...
  • In Young Avengers, Billy Kaplan initially chose the name Asgardian for himself. Seems fine enough since he's initially Norse themed, but unfortunately Billy happens to be gay, opening himself up to endless "Ass-Guardian" jokes that he doesn't realize until his teammates point it out. He changes his name to Wiccan soon after.
  • Several of the Portmanteau hero names used in the Amalgam Universe are just plain ridiculous. Among the more egregious examples are "Madarinestro" and "Shatterstarfire."
  • In the Injustice: Gods Among Us tie-in comic, Green Arrow is being picked on by Harley Quinn for the name of his lair, the Arrowcave. Harley then asks him why didn't he just call it "The Quiver" (a case for holding arrows), and Oliver...says that name is a lot better.
  • In the 2006 Freedom Fighters miniseries, the Ray III derides the Invisible Hood's codename, saying that it sounds like "an ultra-thin condom".

     Fan Works 
  • Froggy in The Lion King Adventures. Even he admits it.
    Simba: So what's your name?
    Froggy: Froggy. Not the most interesting of names, I'll give you that, but it's easy to remember.
  • In Bring Me All Your Elderly, in order to avoid Name's the Same, the author commands the characters from Avatar The Last Airbender to give their live action counterparts nicknames. Some of the nicknames the movie characters get aren't really that bad (Awng, Eeroh, Katarola). Movie!Sokka, however, gets stuck with the name Sockson, much to his dismay.
  • In Shinji and Warhammer 40k Vord Lader hates his parents, hates his name, but most of all hates that everyone he meets has the same reaction. He could have changed his name but kept it since he didn't want to try and fit in with such idiots.

    Film 
  • Reservoir Dogs, when the team is assigned their codenames:
    Joe: Mr. Brown, Mr. White, Mr. Blonde, Mr. Blue, Mr. Orange, and Mr. Pink.
    Mr. Pink: Why am I Mr. Pink?
    Joe: Because you're a faggot, alright?
    Mr. Pink: Why can't we pick our own colors?
    Joe: No way, no way. Tried it once, doesn't work. You got four guys all fighting over who's gonna be Mr. Black, but they don't know each other, so nobody wants to back down. No way. I pick. You're Mr. Pink. Be thankful you're not Mr. Yellow.
    Mr. Brown: Yeah, yeah, but "Mr. Brown"? That's little too close to "Mr. Shit".
    Mr. Pink: "Mr. Pink" sounds like "Mr. Pussy".
  • The Specials: To be fair, Small is at least a better name than Mr. Smart. But then, so is Captain C***face.
  • One of the biggest laughs of Boogie Nights comes when Eddie's chosen porn name is unveiled in lights: "Dirk Diggler." The presentation is as lame as the name.
  • Karl Berger, aka K. the Butcher Shitter from Violent Shit.
  • Archie Benjamin, aka Horny the Clown from Drive Thru.
  • Fogell, aka McLovin from Superbad.
  • Spoken by Reuben Soady about his brother Remnar in Escanaba in Da Moonlight: "Well, he turned out pretty much the way you'd expect for somebody goes by the name of Remnar."
  • Parodied in Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, when main villain Master Pain suddenly changes his name to Betty. The Chosen One then stands up and insults him by going "But, isn't Betty a woman's name?"

    Jokes 
  • There is an old joke about a young warrior in a tribal culture who approaches an elder who chooses the name of all newborn tribe members and asks how he chooses the names. The elder replies that at the moment of birth he sticks his head out of the tent and names the newborn after the first thing he sees or hears, so they might be given a name like "Snow-Gently-Falling" or "Scream-of-the-Red-Eagle". The punchline to the joke is "Why did you ask, Two-Dogs-Mating ?"

    Literature 
  • In the story-within-a-story of Stolen from Gypsies, one character actually the hero's love interest in disguise is a rakish highwayman who took the name "the Dim Avenger". While the intended meaning of Dim was "dark", the character tends to get asked if their name means they are stupid.
  • In the first novel of the Evil Genius Trilogy, one character early on is a Jerk Jock who is trying to chose a sufficiently threatening villain name, but all of his choices lead the others to laugh at him (e.g. choosing the Decimator, and then having it pointed out that decimate literally means "kill 10%"). Of course, the Axis Institute's coursework slowly destroys this little habit- right before he loses control of his powers and incinerates himself.
  • The comedy book How To Be A Superhero has a section devoted to avoiding choices like this, e.g Mr AC/DC might not be good choice even if you do have electrical powers. Then there's the poor guy who got his powers from and named himself "Purple Helmet".
  • Zits from Flight.
  • Good Omens' secondary set of Bikers of the Apocalypse, Grievous Bodily Harm, Cruelty to Animals, Really Cool People, and Treading In Dogshit (formerly All Foreigners Especially The French, formerly Things Not Working Properly Even When You've Given Them A Good Thumping, never actually No Alcohol Lager, briefly Embarrassing Personal Problems, and finally People Covered In Fish).
  • Wild Cards had Snotman, who was unable to make people forget his old name even after he has become the Reflector.
    • Similarly, Nuclear Action Bomb Drake Thomas was dubbed Little Fat Boy by government agents unfamiliar with the concept of Bullying a Dragon, and the name stuck even after he started calling himself Ra.
  • Discworld
    • The rats in The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents named themselves from the labels on discarded food packaging, resulting in names like Dangerous Beans and Nourishing. Peaches is not so bad.
    • A case of Fail O Suckyinitials was narrowly averted in Unseen Academicals, when Glenda warned the faculty that their first choice of football-team name (Unseen University) would make the "UU" on their jerseys look like bosoms.
    • Then there's One-Man-Bucket and his twin brother in Reaper Man (see the Jokes entry above). His full name is One Man Pouring A Bucket Of Water Over Two Dogs. His brother is not Two Dogs Fighting.
    • In The Last Hero, when the Silver Horde disguised themselves as gods to infiltrate Dunmanifestin, two of their adopted cover-identities were the Muse of Bloody Swearing and the God of Being Sick Again. (The title of God of Being Sick had apparently already been taken.)
  • Like the Discworld talking rats, wyrmen in Perdido Street Station take names from whatever gibberish they overhear that sounds good. Teafortwo, Isaac's wyrman gofer, has a sister named Bottletop and a son called Scabies.
  • Most of Redwall's vermin characters are Only Known by Their Nickname, and their nicknames tend to be based on unflattering physical attributes. "Redtooth" is bearable. "Stinky" is worrying. Also, the unlucky hare by the name of "Stiffener Medick". Ow.
  • Professor Pippy P. Poopypants from Captain Underpants. That book was about him wrecking havoc on the entire city because nobody would take him seriously because of his silly name. This in itself isn't an example of the trope; what makes it one is that at the end George and Harold suggest that he changes his name, and he picks his grandfather's name instead: Tippy T. Tinkletrousers.
    • It's stated in his backstory that in his country of New Swissland, everyone has an idiotic name due to a reason that the book deemed too boring and stupid to explain.
  • In Hush, Hush, the Fallen Angel who stalks, harasses, terrifies and almost murders Nora calls himself Patch. The author clearly intended this to be a cool and gangster-like name but seriously, what kind of fallen angel who remains borderline sociopathic even after being seemingly redeemed by love names himself Patch? A name that sounds much more apt for a dog? Even Wolverine who used the same name as an alias for a while couldn't make it cool.
  • Dune Leto II named his Amazon Brigade as Fish Speakers.
  • The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy: One of the main protagonists of the series adopts an assumed name so he can easily blend in with the locals when he visits an unremarkable backwater planet named Earth. The "minimal research" he did before deciding on his "nicely inconspicuous" moniker led him to settle on Ford Prefectnote .
  • In Elizabeth Haydon’s The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme novels, it’s mentioned that most children in this world are named after the first word they speak as a toddler. The result of this is that most people end up with names like “Poo”, “Mum”, “No”, or nonsense syllables. Naturally, the main character managed to avoid this and is saddled with the esoteric moniker Ven Polypheme.
  • Joy Hopewell from Flannery O'Connor's short story "Good Country People" changes her name to Hulga. She's glad that it's so very ugly.
  • The title character of the Mediochre Q Seth Series. He insists that he named himself after a shade of red (between pale ochre and deep ochre) but his name still sounds like 'mediocre', meaning 'of middling quality'. Also, Seth was one of the more vilified Egyptian deities, when Mediochre is (at least trying to be) a hero. Mediochre is a bit eccentric, however, so this might all be intentional.
  • The first title character in Ellen Conford's The Revenge of the Incredible Dr. Rancid and his Youthful Assistant, Jeffrey. It probably didn't help any that "Dr. Rancid" was actually one of the heroes in Jeffrey's stories-within-the-story.
  • In The Tome of Bill, the leader of a vampire coven has the authority to impose certain rules. The leader of the Village Coven has it that all the vampires take a new name to distinguish themselves from their human lives...so far so good. Except that Jeff is a Psychopathic Manchild whose idea of a cool name is "Night Razor". Other gems include Rage Vector and Dr Death. The only halfway presentable name among them is "Sally Sunset". Bill dispenses with this policy immediately after killing Jeff.
  • In The Reckoners Trilogy David mentions that the ability to wield physics-defying powers does not always correspond with the ability to choose a good name. Epics in the series have monikers that range from decent, e.g. Steelheart and Nightwielder, to at least descriptive, e.g. Deathpoint, to things like Insulation, an Irish epic with gun-related powers called Rick O'Shea, and El Bullish Brass Dude.

    Live Action TV 
  • In an old All That sketch, a Mayor is auditioning several superheroes for the city, though only encountering examples of generally sucky powers. The final one is basically a Flying Brick with no weakness whatsoever. He would be an automatic shoo-in were it not for his name of Superty-Duper Man. In the end, the Mayor resolves to save the city herself, strapping on a cape and flying away.
  • Angel: Inverted with The Groosalugg — Groosalugg means "brave and undefeated." That's right, his name advertises the fact that he never loses.
  • A Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode featured the rise of "Mothers Opposed to the Occult"... M.O.O. for short.
  • In the first episode of the first series of The Black Adder, Edmund wants to settle on a new nickname, having become a Prince of the Realm. His initial suggestion is The Black Vegetable, before his (at the time) Hypercompetent Sidekick Baldrick persuades him otherwise.
  • Whose Line Is It Anyway?: Applies to the Superheroes game (but then that's What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway? to start with) and also often the aliases adopted by the players for the Newscasters or Sports Commentators games.
    Greg Proops: I'm Rock Hard.
    Colin Mochrie: And I'm Peggy Lee. (Over audience laughter) IT'S NOT FUNNY!
  • In Glee, when the members of New Directions go to Regionals, one of the opposing glee clubs is named Aural Intensity. (you may have to hear it said out loud to get it) Sue Sylvester lampshades this when she says "... The not at all stupidly named Aural Intensity". This is most likely lampshading the fact that when spoken aloud New Directions sounds exactly like Nude Erections.
    • In the Nationals episode, we see a board with a list of show choirs on it. One of which is the Waffletoots.
  • MA Dtv has a sketch of a Mexican (or Argentinian, depending on the sketch) wrestler named "El Ass-o Wipe-o." He helpfully explains that in Spanish it means "The Asswiper." He has a compatriot named "Senor Bag of Crap."
  • Nathan on Misfits is pretty hopeless at remembering names, and often comes up with nicknames instead. When he considers superhero names for Curtis and Simon, the names he comes up with are "Mr Backwards" and "The Invisible Cunt". Needless to say, they aren't impressed.
  • In The Big Bang Theory episode "The Pants Alternative", Leonard compares the group assisting Sheldon in preparing to give a speech to the X-Men. Sheldon approves of the concept but insists on using his own last initial, making them the C-Men.
  • In the L.A. Law episode "Splatoon," Douglas, Jonathan and Stuart accompany Douglas's client, a tampon manufacturer, on a weekend "wargame" woods-paintball competition with other corporate teams. The name Douglas's client chooses for their team? The Douche Kings.
  • In Stargate Universe, much fun is had at Brody's expense, after it's revealed that his alternate timeline counterpart on Novus was part of the group that broke off and created their own rival nation... with Brody the one responsible for dubbing it "Futura".
    Volker: It's a font!
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: At the beginning of Season 4, Alex and Justin were taken to Wizard Court for exposing the magical world. Alex got a lawyer named Big Time Loser. His performance shows how meaningful his name is.
  • Kamen Rider Gaim gives us Armored Rider Gridon, whose name is an anagram of "donguri", the Japanese word for "acorn". Even he doesn't like the name, but it was "given" to him by his teammate, who had just named himself Armored Rider Kurokage (Black Shadow). In order to preserve the suckiness for those not familiar with Japanese, fansubbers Aesir rendered Gridon's name as "Ornac".
    • This also extends to his Weapon of Choice, the Donkachi, which is just "tonkachi" (hammer) with the T changed to a D; Aesir changed it to "Ornac Donker".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The ultimate ECW Woobie "Mikey Whipwreck". There is also a "Mike Quackenbush".
  • A famous anecdote about "Stone Cold" Steve Austin recalls how, in his early days of WWF, he wanted to change his nickname to go with his cold and uncaring character and asked the creative team to come up with a name. They sent him five pages of names. While most were pretty good, like the Ice Dagger, there was an infamously ridiculous one called Chilly McFreeze. He chose Stone Cold and the rest is history. He jokingly stated in one interview that if they turned down Stone Cold, that he would be the best Baron Von Ruthless he could have been.
  • Similarly, in her autobiography, Chyna mentioned several of the names that the WWE had thought up for her. Some were decent, if cliche, such as Phalan, Sheera, Venus, and Tigress. One she singled out as particularly bad... TEEVA GWEEVE.
  • Raven's opinion one of his opponents, "Thumbtack Jack", in Westside Xtreme Wrestling, as well as Raven's old gimmicks, Johnny Polo and Scotty Flamingo.
  • Braden Walker, better known as TNA's Chris Harris, is best remembered for his horrible name. Well, that and introducing himself with a knock knock joke. But mostly for his horrible name.
  • WWE generally likes to own the legal rights to wrestler's names these days. As a result we have been given some truly stupid-sounding names, such as "Michael McGillicutty" for Joe Hennig, the son of Mr. Perfect. Although, after a gimmick change that played up his 3rd generation status he changed his named to Curtis Axel, and homage to his father Curt Hennig and his grandfather, Larry "The Axe" Hennig. "Dolph Ziggler" is pretty damn bad, but has been overcome by the sheer work-rate of the performer (Nick Nemeth) saddled with it. So much so that it no longer matters, Dolph became World Heavyweight Champion!
  • A wrestling website has released the WWE Developmental Rookie Name Generator! It has a random selection of generic and "real but inherently funny" names, many Awesome McCoolnames taken directly from the MST3K Space Mutiny episode, and some deliberately failtastic last names like "Limpnoodle", "Softcheese", "Stephpet", "Floppysex", and "Turdwater". The generator will indeed come up with names like Rolls Floppysex and Mustachio Turdwater.
    • If you get lucky you might end up with "Meat Strokeworthy!"
  • Northern Championship Wrestling in Quebec, Canada had a tag team called Those Guys, made up of This Guy and That Guy. Maybe it made more sense in French.
  • Robbie E once announced his tag team with Jessie Godderz is called "Bro Mans". James Storm laughed and pointed out it sounds like "Bromance".
  • This how how many felt about Chikara's "Intergalactic Luchador" Saturyne, though she had a supporter in WSU's Jennifer Cruz, who would be the type you'd expect to mock it the most.
  • On TNA Impact, Ethan Carter The Third announced that he felt this way about the name WWE chose for Guyanese wrestler Rycklon Stephens:Ezekiel Jackson.

    Roleplaying Games 
  • Aberrant, being a deconstruction of superheroics, touches on this: the rise of superpowered Novas, many of whom think they're now required to don costumes and take up aliases, have spawned a budding fashion industry dedicated to not only making non-stupid costumes, but also to come up with fitting and stylish names a Nova can use without feeling silly or raise Unfortunate Implications. A few sucky names still crop up, though.
  • Warhammer 40,000, In the grim darkness of the future tremble at the righteous fury of the Emperor's finest, the Rainbow Warriors, split from the ultramarines chapter. Yup the Rainbow Warriors were an actual Space Marine chapter from the ol' Rogue Trader days.
    • This is actually Older Than Feudalism though; the ORIGINAL Rainbow Warriors were the chosen heroes of Valhalla, picked to defend the Rainbow Bridge ( Bifrost ) in the great final battle f the Norse mythological canon
  • This was said to be the main reason why Dude was rejected from the Dino Attack Team and forced to spend most of the war in Antarctica.
  • Champions is generally fairly good about avoiding this (the odd atrocious-to-native-speakers foreign language codename slips through sometimes, such as the odd example in the European Enemies supplement for 4th edition, but that's not really this trope so much). However, one example that may sound more unfortunate today than in the late 80s comes straight from the 4th edition Hero System Rulebook's sample NPC section, i.e. a page that everybody familiar with that system likely will have come across: a supervillainess with sonic powers stemming from an alien necklace she found, going by the name of...Howler. In spite of that she's kept showing up in villain roster books since then.

    Sports 
  • In Australian Rules Football, Melbourne were originally nicknamed the "Fuchsias", and Hawthorn were the "Mayblooms". They have since changed to "Demons" and "Hawks", respectively. Sydney (formerly South Melbourne) are still nicknamed the "Swans". In the 19th and early 20th century, Essendon's colors of black and red resulted in them being unfortunately referred to as the "Blood-stained Niggers". With the advent of World War II, the proximity of the air force base led them to adopt the official nickname of the "Bombers", though they were, and are, also known as the "Dons". Similarly, South Melbourne (not Sydney, because the forced transfer of the club to NSW involved the team name formally becoming the "Sydney Swans") were known for many years as the Blood-stained Angels, or the Bloods for short, due to their predominantly white shirt with a red sash or yoke.
  • Melbourne's soccer teams appear to be following the lame name tradition: "Melbourne Victory" wasn't that great a name, especially given that it's a lame pun on the state of Victoria, but at least it's better than the new team, Melbourne Heart. What kind of a lame name is Heart, anyway?
  • American college athletics has given us teams such as:
    • The UC Santa Cruz Fighting Banana Slugs.
    • The Kent State Golden Flashes.
    • The South Carolina Gamecocks.
    • The Evergreen State College Geoducks.note 
    • Oregon State Beavers.
      • And their instate rivals, the University of Oregon Ducks note 
    • The Delaware Hens, formerly the Blue Hens.
    • The University of Akron (Ohio) Zips.
    • Years ago, Scottsdale (Arizona) Community College let the students vote on the team name. Thus, for a number of years, they were the Fighting Artichokes. The team color was pink.
    • Then there are the Heidelberg College (Ohio) Student Princes and Whittier College (Cal.) Poets.
    • The Wilmington College (Ohio) Fighting Quakers. Yes.
    • The (University of) Maryland Terrapins. Fear the Turtle, indeed. Fans call them the Terps for short.
    • California's Long Beach state gives us the Dirtbags for Baseball
    • Delta State University in Mississippi: The Fighting Okra.
    • A special mention should be made of Alabama college's official team nickname... the Crimson Tide.
    • In the late '80s, the official nickname of the sports teams at St. Andrews Presbyterian College (NC) was the Knights, but the most popular school team, women's volleyball, were universally referred to as the "Loons".
    • Ohio State's Buckeyes and Indiana State's Sycamores. Trees, people. At least ISU is best known for its basketball program
    • Then there's Concordia College's mascots: the Cobbers — Corn cobs.
    • The Whitman Missionaries have apparently embraced the ridiculousness of their mascot by coining the chant: "Missionaries! Missionaries! We're on top!"
    • Don't forget the Carnegie-Mellon Tartans.
    • The University of North Carolina School of the Arts have the Fighting Pickles as a mascot. It largely serves as a joke, since they also have no sports teams, as they're an arts conservatory, though they do crown a Pickle King and Queen every year.
    • Wake Forest University has the Demon Deacons. This was seen as an improvement over their old mascot, the Fighting Baptists.
    • The University of Evansville Purple Aces don't have a particularly unfortunate name- but the mascot is a "a turn of the century riverboat gambler" named Ace Purple.
    • Western Kentucky University boasts the Hilltoppers, which is more quirky than terrible, but the women's teams are called the Lady Toppers.
    • While the sports teams of Beloit College are technically the Buccaneers, nobody but the team promoters ever calls them that; they're either the Bucs or, more often, the decidedly un-athletic Turtles (the college's unofficial mascot).
  • High school football:
    • Frankfort, Indiana has the "Hot Dogs" (hey, everybody loves a wiener).
    • The Nimrods can be found at a high school in Michigan. Even if you know that Nimrod was a powerful king and not a lunkhead, it still counts (he got showed up by Abraham in the end).
    • Camas High School is home to the Papermakers. Really. However, their mascot is surprisingly awesome.
      • Along the same lines you have the Tillamook Cheese Makers. For a few years the mascot was a cow.
    • The Montgomery Biscuits from Alabama? Google the mascot. Go on, Google him!
      • They should merge with the Cairo (Ga.) Syrupmakers.
    • Hereford, TX, has a High School whose teams are named the Whitefaces. Sounds racist, but it's actually a breed of cattle.
    • The infamous Butte Pirates.
    • Teams from a small town in Minnesota are saddled with Scarlets. Never had a mascot; common opponent chant: "What's a Scarlet?"
    • Hobart, in Indiana, has the Brickies. It harks back to the town's past as the home of a brick factory, but still brings up a lot of "what's a Brickie?", much like the above example. And it does produce jokes from time to time. (another example of "being on the track team could be a bad thing"). At least the mascot isn't unfortunate.
    • Oxford Hills High School in western Maine named its sports teams the Vikings. So far, so good, right? Not if you're on one of the girls' teams- the Vikettes.
  • New Zealand's national soccer team is the All-Whites. Ouch. They're not very good. Their national rugby team, the slightly better named All-Blacks, however, has a winning record against every team it's competed against.
    • It Gets Worse: The name of the national basketball team is the Tall-Blacks, intended as a play on All-Blacks.
    • When guest-starring on Mock the Week New Zealand comedian Jarred Christmas noted the irony of the first World Cup the All-Whites qualified for being in South Africa.note 
    • Made fun of in this comic.
  • The city of Anaheim seems to have bad luck with team names:
    • In hockey, they had the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim, originally named after the Disney film. After being sold by Disney, the new owners changed their name... to the Anaheim Ducks. note 
    • And then there's the story of the Angels. At first, they were Los Angeles Angels, in Los Angeles. In 1965, they relocated to Anaheim and renamed themselves the California Angels. A contract renegotiation in 1997 required that they use the city name, so they became the Anaheim Angels. Then, in 2005, their new owner wanted to hearken back to the team's history (read: gain market support from Los Angeles), despite the stipulation in their contract that the team's name "include Anaheim". Thus, they became saddled with the unwieldy moniker the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. In practice, most references to the team drop the "of Anaheim", which is exactly what the new owner planned on.
  • The World Taekwondo Federation, the international governing body of Olympic and Olympic-recognized Taekwondo... WTF.
    • Isn't that kinda fitting, since that's what any unsuspecting opponent ought to say?
  • One of the early NFL teams, based in a small Pennsylvania town called Pottsville, was called the Maroons. At the time, "maroon" was a popular slang term meaning, well, "dumbass".note  The fact that the Maroons are to date the only NFL team to ever have their championship title revoked doesn't help their image.
  • ESPN the Magazine's monthly feature of collectibles once featured high school sports merchandise specifically from schools with bizarre team names. Some, like the Punchers and the Atom Smashers, were actually pretty cool. Others, like the Earwigs, were silly. Two examples stood out in particular: The Hobos and the Beetdiggers.
  • Bernhard Langer. While Langer may not seem that bad to Americans, take note of its meaning in Hiberno-English.
  • Hockey gives us a few examples:
    • Atlanta got a few snickers when "Thrashers" was unveiled as the name of the team when Atlanta received a NHL team for the second time.
    • The minor leagues gives us gems like the Greenville Grrrowl (yes, that's spelled right), the Orlando Solar Bears, and the Beast of New Haven.

    Video Games 
  • It's possible for players to invoke this in games where characters can be named.
  • In Elona, there is a random name generation system that allows you to pick an alias at the beginning and also applies to randomly generated magic items. This can lead to items being generated with names such as Sparkle Homo, Mustache Fortress, Pimp of Awesomeness, or, more likely, a name that is complete gibberish like Foreigner Kitty or Princess of Rebel-rouser
  • The roguelike Slash Em Extended has the Courier role, who has to defeat a boss named Some Random Guy. His actual name is Benny but the game rarely addresses him with that name, instead referring to him as "some random guy" by default.
  • Robotech: Invasion. "Wait, our group is named F.A.I.L.!?"
  • In Starship Troopers Terran Ascendancy, the game randomly generates the names of your troops. This can lead to such names as "Private Jack Mehoffen".
  • King Wee Wee. Yeah.
    • The bandits of Pandora tend to have idiotic-sounding names. the sequel features a bandit by the name of "Flesh-Stick".
  • Darius:
  • The random Hersir name generator in Age of Mythology gives us such gems as Thorvald Eggscreamer, Gisli Unsightlywisher, and Bersi Cheesedrowner.
  • Touhou: Medicine Melancholy.
  • Special Cybernetic Attack Team for the NES, or S.C.A.T. as it's also known. Averted outside North America, where the other versions are called Final Mission and Action in New York.
  • Superhero League of Hoboken, being a parody, has some deliberately awful superhero names such as Tropical Oil Man and Princess Glovebox.
  • Cream the Rabbit. In game, it's supposed to be a pun with Cheese the Chao and her mother, Vanilla the Rabbit. Instead, to many it comes off as meaning "Violently Pummel the Rabbit" - or something different.
    • To some- mainly those in the franchise's Hatedom and Purist Fan Dumb- Dr. Eggman also counts.
  • In Mass Effect 2 this is a potential problem for quarians. Each has three names, the third of which is the name of the ship they serve on. When quarians gain a new ship they generally modify the registry and codes to bear a quarian name, but if that fails they can be stuck with a rather embarrassing name.
    • The example given is Admiral Zaal'Koris vas Qwib-Qwib. When Shepard finds this name amusing the Admiral haughtily responds the Qwib-Qwib is a fine ship... but does admit to have considered changing to two different ships, which would have resulted in his name changing to vas Iktomi or vas Defrahnz.
  • In the first movie-licensed Spider-Man game, Spider-Man tries to guess the Shocker's villainous moniker. Basing it off the Shocker's padded costume he guesses Quilt Man, Padded Pete, Mr. Triple-Ply, and The Cushion.
  • Vector Thrust: AI players you face in Skirmish include the standard AXE, VIKING, BLADE, RIBBON, and others. Or, you'll be hounded upon by people like FAIL, GASSY and JUICY.
  • The Grand Theft Auto series has many cases of Fun with Acronyms in the background, but one in Grand Theft Auto III definitely counts as this trope because it's actually noticed in-universe: Citizens Raging Against Phones.

    Web Comics 
  • Magellan has "Psi-Jector" - he thinks it's a great (and obvious) name: "I'm a tactile psychic... I project images of thoughts... PSI-JECTOR!" but everyone else just pays out on him - "Psi-Jerktor", "Re-Jector"...
  • The defunct Queer Nation (in which a pink meteor gives all homosexuals on the planet superpowers) had a gay, ditzy, male bartender with telepathic powers name himself "Cocktale", just because it was his favorite drink.
  • The villain of Van Von Hunter unintentionally gets himself dubbed "The Flaming Prince". It was supposed to be "The Prince of Flames" but his assistant hastily made the announcement before he was finished with his out-loud brainstorming. The villain's father visits and asks what the name is really supposed to mean, then the prince walks out to greet him while on fire.
  • Invoked in Super Effective. When you mix Hello, Insert Name Here with a Genre Savvy Author Avatar, jerks will be named Douche.
  • In the epilogue to 8-Bit Theater, it's revealed that Red Mage and Dragoon have decided to form a support group for the last survivors of secret groups. Unfortunately, nobody else seems willing to join up, despite the fact that, as Red Mage notes, they should be crawling out of the woodwork. The obvious implication is that it has something to do with Red Mage's insistence on calling the group "sects buddies". For non-English speakers, "sects" [a term for secret groups and the like] is pronounced almost the same as "sex".
  • Grrl Power has the supervillain "For Whom the Death Tolls" (usually abbreviated to Death Toll). Even his allies comment on the ludicrousness of that name, which he chose himself. He is also one of the few characters in the comic to wear a cape and a cowl, along with a skull mask. Unfortunately, he turns out to have enough power to turn the joke back on his opponents.
    • There might be a bit of Fridge Brilliance at work here. Death Toll's power is to counter any attack aimed at him. This means he himself cannot attack, but has to provoke others into attacking him. So, it's possible that he intended his name and look to be as cheesy, pretentious, and terrible as possible, just to piss people off.
  • League of Super Redundant Heroes has a jovial superhero who was frozen in the 40s, and is being coached to re-adapt to the 21st century. His name? The GAY BASHER! Curiously, he seems quite accepting that he needs to change his identity for linguistic reasons, only asking if he can still throw around his patented "Gaymakers".

    Web Original 
  • The Whateley Universe includes several mentions of them. The students are warned to be careful even with their non final name since it can stick even if you change it. Examples include Power Pork, the Flying Bulldozer, and Quickie. Quickie is a well-endowed girl speedster, who didn't get why everyone thought her codename was so funny her freshman year. After finding out what it meant, she ended up changing it to Go-Go. Jinn Sinclair's first choice of a codename was 'Clothes Ghost'. Her teammates made her change it. Like they have a lot of room to talk, since their team name is Team Kimba. Which, again, is Jade's fault. Traduce didn't know what her codename meant until after she got it finalized. It is very appropriate, though.
  • Homestar Runner has Firebert, The Cheat's commando name.
    • There's also Strong Bad's short-lived attempt to get people to start calling him "The Lege" (as in "the legend"), until he realizes Homestar was right about it looking like it was pronounced "The Leg".
  • Cracked
  • Legion of Nothing has Psy-Kick, a karate-wielding human stenograph whose choice of hero name is a source of great amusement to the protagonist (this gets him in trouble, since Psy-kick is also a telepath).
  • Several of her fellow teenagers make dirty jokes at the expense of Banging, a teenaged supervillain from the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, because of her name. She's only fourteen, though, and grew up a bit sheltered before running away. Itsy Bitsy, a shrinking superheroine from the same setting, gets made fun of a lot as well. The first time the Superheroic trio Ready, Willing, and Able introduced themselves, the reaction they got was, "Are you for real, with that?"
  • Coyle Commander's cyborg assistant has the cool moniker of Annihilator. Unfortunately he's a parody of Destro, so it gets shortened to Anni.
  • Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal's sketch show had an episode about tryouts for a team of superheroes. One of the applicants exhibited an impressive array of powers that would have made him a shoo-in, if not for his chosen codename—Fetal Alcohero. (He got his powers because his mother drank while she was pregnant with him.)
  • In a deliberate showing of this trope, Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation was playing Nier, but didn't know that "Nier" was the main character's name for several hours because of the option to name him yourself.
    Yahtzee: ...and thus began the adventures of Twattycake, Defender of the Innocent.
  • A few characters have invoked this trope in Worm, such as Clockblocker (he freezes objects in time), who very intentionally chose his superhero name to be a Double Entendre.
  • In Ask King Sombra, after Sombra is revived, he gets captured by the Crystal Wolves and thrown in a cell with a bunch of other ponies. In order to avoid them finding out who he really is, he hastily comes up with a pseudonym. Thus is born Kingsley Glittersmile Sparklefriend.
  • A Running Gag with Splattercat Gaming is he gives these names to his player characters. Examples include "Noodles McFlapjaw" (Project Zomboid), "Mad Dog McGriddle" (Mount & Blade) and "Billabong Brewsky" (Jagged Alliance: Flashback). Note that the first two characters are female ones.

    Western Animation 
  • Danny Phantom had this in its series finale, with Jack having been in a band called the Skunk Punks:
    Headline: The Skunk Punks Stink!
    Jack: Yeah, we walked right into that one.
    • Also, Danny's name according to the media; Invis'o Bill
  • An episode of Freakazoid! featured a hero originally named Lord Bravery having copyright issues and eventually ending up with the name "Lord Smoked Meats and Fishes." People then refused to get help from him. Not that the "Lord Bravery" name got him much more respect than that, mind you.
  • Minoriteam had an entire episode devoted to Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain the Black Coq in a nonstop session of Getting Crap Past the Radar.
  • South Park
    • Sea Man from the episode "Super Best Friends." And his sidekick is a fish named Swallow.
      Narrator: Meanwhile, in the ocean depths, Semen seeks out water to mix with the concrete.
      Sea Man: Sea Man! Look, Swallow, we should be able to divert the water with that pipe.
      Narrator: And so, Semen and Swallow get to... get to work. *laughs*
    • The boys' school football team are the Cows.
    • 'The Human Kite' is bad on its own, as are all the kid superhero names, but it being used by Kyle drives it into this trope due to it sounding like "kike," which is used as a slur against Jewish people.
  • The Simpsons
    • "Homer to the Max": Homer's proposed new names for himself are not only idiotic — "Rembrandt Q. Einstein" — but, except for one (Max Power!), misspelled on his name-change application.
    • In another episode Homer tries to imitate Bart's secret identity "El-Barto". He decides to call himself "El-Homo." All it took was a Hispanic gay man congratulating him on coming out for Homer to realize his mistake.
    • Homer to Bart (on season four's "Marge vs. The Monorail"): "Do you want to change your name to Homer, Junior? The kids can call you Hoju!"
    • As part of the price for saving their marriage after he was unfaithful with the Squishy delivery girl, Apu is told by his wife Manjula that he must change his name to Slime Q. Slimedog and wear a name tag featuring the name.
    • Milhouse tries to enter "Thrillhouse" as his name for a high score on a video game, but the character limit results in him being called "Thrillho".
  • Deliberately and appropriately true of the Toilenator from Codename: Kids Next Door.
  • In an almost subversion of the trope, an episode of Spongebob Squarepants features a group of villains who go under the acronym E.V.I.L. which is appropriate. However, the acronym stands for Every Villain Is Lemons. Also "Mermaid Man" and "Barnacle Boy".
  • In a G.I. Joe parody sketch on Robot Chicken a new member is inducted into the Joes. While trying to come up with a cool code-name he accidentally slips on a spilled drink and is summarily dubbed "Fumbles", much to his chagrin. He jumps over to Cobra to get revenge and is suggested an equally horrible code-name ("Trouser-Snake" because he's in Cobra and has cool pants) which he accepts resignedly. He turns out to be an incredibly Badass Cold Sniper who single-handedly destroys the Joes (save for Duke, who he leaves alive), with Cobra Commander nervously congratulating him:
    Cobra Commander: Uh, Good job, Trouser-Snake.
    Fumbles: Fumbles. It was always Fumbles.
  • Most supervillain names on The Venture Bros.. Seriously, Phantom Limb? Doctor Girlfriend (later Doctor Mrs The Monarch)?
    • Then you have names of minor villains, like "Intangible Fancy," "White Noise," "Mr. Monday," and how about "Tigerrific?"
  • Lard Nar runs into this problem in Invader Zim when, while scrambling to decide the name of his resistance movement before hailing the Irken armada, he finally settles on his crewmate Spleenk's suggestion...
    Lard Nar: We are... the Resisty! We have come to strike...
    Almight Tallest Red: Whoa whoa whoa! Did you say "the Resisty"?
    Lard Nar: Yes, yes, the Resisty! Anyhow, we have come...
    Almight Tallest Purple: That's a stupid name.
    Lard Nar (to his crew): See, I told you it was stupid! Why do I keep listening to you!?
    Spleenk: I don't know.
  • Dorkus on Jimmy Two-Shoes
  • Changed Daily in The Secret Show gets a ridiculous name every day, much to the amusement of whoever hears it whenever it's announced.
  • In the third Jimmy Timmy Power Hour, Jimmy and Timmy created a villain and named him "Shirley".
  • Totally Spies!: Jerry's Evil Twin created a team of villains and named it League Aiming to Menace and Overthrow the Spies and even had t-shirts with the acronym before someone pointed out it's L.A.M.O.S.
  • In a similar vein, the League of Super Evil (LOSE)and Uniform Neighborhood Code of Orderly Living (UNCOOL).
  • The Fairly OddParents: Mr. Crocker, Dark Laser and Foop once formed the League Of Super Evil Revenge Seekers (L.O.S.E.R.S.)
  • Regular Show Rigby legally changed his name into Trash Boat, by taking an advice from a rock star named The Urge. But The Urge later attacks Rigby because his stupid name overshadowed his fame.
  • Brad Wright is part of the Skysurfer Strike Force. While his teammates have badass names like Crazy Stunts, Sliced Ice and Air Enforcer, he decides to pick Soar Loser. Yeah...very badass.
  • The evil organization that Dr. Doofenshmritz is a part of in Phineas and Ferb is called the League Of Villainous Evildoers Maniacally United For Frightening Investments In Naughtiness.
    Dr. Bloodpudding : You want us to be called LOVEMUFFIN?
    • "The Beak" featured a one-shot villain named Kaka Pew Pew.
  • Aside from a number of imaginary friends' odd names, Goo from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is a human girl whose parents allowed her to name herself. At only a few days old, "Goo" was all she could say.
  • The Looney Tunes cartoon Baseball Bugs featured a game between the "Gashouse Gorillas" and the "Tea-Totallers". Not exactly the most dignified names for baseball teams, but that was probably the whole point.
  • In the Adventure Time episode "The Creeps", Finn and some of his friends get together for a masquerade party, and use various silly "mystery names". For example, Princess Bubblegum is "Lady Quietbottom" and Cinnamon Bun is "Guy Farting". Jake looks like he's about to leave after announcing his mystery name is "Randy Butternubs".
  • Time Squad: The Earl of Sandwich intended to name the sandwich after his mother, who, in the series, was named Stinky Pile O'Poo.
  • Doug: one of the Disney episodes involved the title character and his schoolmates coming up with what they should call their newly built school, Doug's choice is "Learning is Educational" Middle School or L.I.E for short.
  • Ben 23, an alternate universe version of Ben from Ben 10: Omniverse, has a habit of picking out super-obvious and lame names for his aliens. Such as Charcoal Man (Heatblast) Mr. Monkey (Spidermonkey) Vomit Man (Upchuck) and so on.

    Real Life 
  • A historical atlas of New York City described the turfs of gangs in the early 1900s — Post "Gangs of New York", but pre-Prohibition. One of the gangs was named "The Pansy Gang".
  • There is a still-active gang in Chicago called the Gaylords.
  • University of Hawaii's sports teams used to all be called The Rainbows, which couldn't have helped their win/loss record at all. After all, nobody wants to get their asses whipped by a team named "The Rainbows." It was partly because of this that men's teams were eventually allowed to choose their own nicknames.
  • The 1880's Missouri vigilante group "The Bald Knobbers".
  • In an attempt to cut down on gang activity, the Fullerton, California city council changed the name of a neighborhood from "Bakerstreet" to "Iris Court". As for whether it worked or not? This was about 10 years ago, and overall gang activity in the city is down. Hard to say if that particular street name change had any effect.
  • B.A.D.D. Bothered About Dungeons & Dragons
  • B.A.A.D.D. Beale Airmen Against Drunk Driving at the Beale Air Force Base. "We're looking for a few more B.A.A.D.D. drivers."
  • The former CINCUS (Commander in Chief, United States Fleet), pronounced "sink us".
  • The leading organization for the preservation of traditional marriage in the USA is the National Organization for Marriage, or NOM. They don't seem to mind the acronym. Curiously, it's also the Mexican Spanish acronym of Norma Oficial Mexicana (Mexican Official Stardard), the Mexican version of the ISO standard.
    • One of their campaigns was called "Two Million For Marriage", which they abbreviated "2M4M," a personals-ad abbreviation for "two men seeking additional man for threesome."
  • The Tea Party movement in the US is a loose affiliation of arch-conservative activist groups that sprang up in the early days of the Obama presidency. Being a group (mostly) made up of older Americans, they didn't quite get the joke when when they unironically referred to themselves as "tea-baggers" and marched around with signs threatening to teabag Congress. They did have a lot of crossover appeal with the Lemon Party, however.
  • There was a motorcycle gang in the '80s called the Cupcakes. When they were involved in drug dealing, newscasters often had to preface stories about them by saying things like, "Don't let their name fool you--they're dangerous."
  • Canada's Reform party for a brief time was named the Canadian Reform Alliance Party, but you can just call them CRAP. Their full name was the Canadian Conservative Reform Alliance Party, but the extra initial just meant it could be construed as "See? Crap!" Which was really no better. To nobody's surprise, this name was the brainchild of its first leader, Stockwell Day.
  • Similarly, the USA had "the Committee to Re-Elect the President" during the Nixon years. Technically CREP, but critics had little trouble turning it into CREEP.
  • The other white supremacist group, The Knights of the White Camellia, didn't last long.
  • Renault (or some variation) is a fairly common name in France. Some people aren't pleased at all with the automaker's tendency to name its cars after girls' names.
    • For example, their legal troubles with the parents of a girl named Mégane Renaud made local headlines for a while. They're also accused of killing the use of Clio as a girls' name, and Zoé might now be in danger as well.
  • Hermione Granger's Society for the Promotion of Elfish Welfare (SPEW) in Harry Potter was actually named for a real-life Victorian feminist society in England, the Society for Promoting the Employment of Women... which eventually had to rename itself the Society for Promoting the Training of Women (SPTW) because of its amusing acronym.
  • The Fudge Town Mafia Crips
  • In late 2007, the South-Lake Union community in Seattle, Washington was pleased to be the home of the first new rail line in the city in 30 years. Residents just couldn't wait to ride the South-Lake Union Trolley! It was quickly re-christened a "streetcar", but not quickly enough to stop vendors at Pike Place Market from selling "Ride the SLUT" t-shirts.
  • The Wisconsin Tourism Federation...think about it.
  • And one of Barack Obama's 2012 slogans, "Win The Future," prompted many of his opponents to ask "WTF?"
  • The first owner of the Miami Marlins was this close to naming the then-debuting franchise the "Florida Flamingos" (with pink jerseys and all) before being talked out of it by the design director of MLB Properties.
  • M.I.L.F. - Moro Islamic Liberation Front (yes, really).
  • Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement. In their defense, most supporters and detractors just use BDS. However, that has not prevent some detractors and supporters from calling them BDSM.
  • British TV and radio presenter Stuart Hall wanted to invest part of his income in a firm of travel agents. It was only after he had decided on a name, had the shop front designed and had all the letterheads printed off on official stationery, that the penny dropped about Stuart Hall International Travel.
  • Arkansas has town named Toad Suck.
  • Sometimes you just have to embrace it. Boring, Oregon and Dull, Scotland are sister cities.
  • Many current students and alumni of both Georgia Health Sciences University and Augusta State University as well as the Augusta community at large view the consolidated name of the two universities, Georgia Regents University, as such. In surveys as well as newspaper editorials, many preferred names which had Augusta in the title, such as the "University of Augusta", "University of Georgia at Augusta", or simply retaining the Augusta State University name.
  • The gang scene in Birmingham, due to gang operations being much smaller and more amateur in the UK than in the US on the whole, generally ends up named around whatever building the gang hung around while it formed. Due to this, one of the most dangerous gangs currently in Birmingham is called Burger Bar.
  • Politics in the United States has seen the rise and fall of many oddball parties, but none quite so poorly-named as the Know-Nothing Party.
  • Following the lead of other New Zealand national sports teams in nicknames such as Black Caps (cricket) and Black Sticks (field hockey), the New Zealand badminton team once adopted the nickname "Black Cocks". It lasted nine months before it was dropped.
  • A Mexican restaurant in Melbourne, Australia called Montezuma's. It's meant to refer to the famous Aztec king, but more than one person who's heard the name has thought of "Montezuma's Revenge".
  • A banner on this very site advertises "Fluke Thermal Imagers." Because nothing says "reliability" like "Fluke."
  • Fort Wayne, Indiana once had a mayor named Harry Bahls, yes it was pronounced that way. Apparently, Mr. Bahls' descendants had their name legally changed to Bales. Incidentally, when a new federal building was built in Fort Wayne, the populace was in favor of naming said building "The Harry Bahls Municipal Building", although that was rejected by the town council.
  • According to John Boehner, speaker of the US House of Representatives, “oe” is pronounced as a long “A.”. He sent out special press releases saying so, he could be right, but in oenophile “oe” is a long “E”, “Beaner” is better than the other alternative, and at any pronunciation, some folks still claim he's a woiner.
  • In February 2014, the Mexican drug baron known as "El Chapo" was arrested. What does El Chapo translate to? The Corn Porridge.
  • S.A.D.D- Students Against Destructive Decisions
  • Michael Howard of Leeds, UK, legally changed his name to "Yorkshire Bank Plc are Fascist Bastards." The reason for Mr. Bastards' unlikely decision, though, was a Take That after his bank charged him £20 for a £10 overdraft. Following the name change, the bank asked him to close his account, to which Mr. Bastards replied that they could repay his 69p balance by cheque, made out in his new name.


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