A smeerp wearing the ceremonial jackflappen.
"And behold, out of the mists of time, the legendary Esquilax! A horse with the head of a rabbit, and... the body of a rabbit!"
We're in space
, so regular old Earth flora and fauna just won't do.
Solution: Introduce creatures (or sports, or political institutions, or dishes, or...) that are just like familiar Earth concepts that the audience will recognize but in SPACE
, and give them funny names.
Older and more retro series will forgo the funny names entirely, and call everything "Space this
" and "Galactic that".
See Part One of the SFWA's Turkey City Lexicon
for more detail. Writers are warned against this trope in Orson Scott Card
's How to Write Science Fiction and Fantasy
. However this trope can also be used intelligently by works with characters that are part of a culture that has a unique way of viewing familiar concepts
(e.g., the rabbits from Watership Down
May also be justified
by a Translation Convention
. If the viewpoint characters in the work encounter a lifeform that's new to them but already familiar to an alien culture, the alien culture will probably have their own word for it, and there's no reason for that to match the real-world name of the thing. However, in monocultural stories it's much easier to overuse this trope (in this case, calling it a "space rabbit" might even be more
realistic in colloquial speech, by analogy with things like "sea cow").
Although using such proprietary terminology can give a work its own flavor, keep in mind that Tropes Are Not Good
; having too much such terminology can make a work feel pretentious or too confusing to follow.
Compare You Mean Xmas
, Future Slang
, You Are The Translated Foreign Word
, Not Using the Z Word
, Magic by Any Other Name
, and Uncoffee
. See also SpaceX
, Horse of a Different Color
, Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff"
, Flintstone Theming
, and Hold Your Hippogriffs
. Contrast Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit"
, Capital Letters Are Magic
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Anime and Manga
- In Gundam's Universal Century and After Colony timelines, spacesuits have been renamed "normal suits" and "astrosuits" respectively; this is justified as an attempt to avoid confusion with "mobile suits".
- High School Of The Dead refuses to call the zombies "zombies". Instead they use "Them", and even went out of its way to imply they're two different things.
- The Super Robots in Gaiking: Legend of Daiku Maryu are only ever referred to as "Giants of Fire".
- Magic Knight Rayearth uses non-Japanese and non-English words as titles for important people in Cephiro—"Pharle" means Ultimate Blacksmith, "Palu" for Summoner, and "High Priest Zagato" gets retconned into "Sol Zagato" in the sequel to emphasize the small but significant detail of the title Magic Knight being in English.
- ElfQuest has such creatures as "zwoots" (a kind of humped horse-camel hybrid) and in contrast to them, "no-humps" (better known to the reader as "horses"). Most of the planet's other flora and fauna closely resemble Earth's, except as the plot demands.
- Cadillacs and Dinosaurs takes place in a future where a cataclysm has both destroyed most of human civilization, and brought the dinosaurs back to life. The survivors, having no record the the dinosaurs' actual names, have come up with their own names for them, such as "Shivat" and "Rock-Hopper."
- The Swedish comic-book series "Det nya folket" takes place during the stone age and depicts the conflict between the Neanderthals and the new Cro-Magnon humans. The later refer to the Neanderthals as "trolls" while the former call the Cro-Magnon "almost-humans".
- The "Hippy Hobbit Thief" Betty in Rat Queens is consistently referred to as a "Smidgen" in the books themselves. We can presume that this is because the Tolkien estate is notoriously defensive about non-Tolkien writers referring to their halflings as "hobbits."
- Mass Effect Clash Of Civilizations: Thessia has animals called Shias that the Asari keep as pets, and are the only thing on the entire planet that genetically match them. In this setting, the Asari are actually a sub-species of humans and shias are dogs.
- The Warriors of the World trilogy tends to zigzag depending on the animal in question. A Creamy is referred to as to exactly what it is (a large butterfly); same with the Lunatic (a fluffy, if large, rabbit). However, a Tarou (a large white rat) stays a Tarou, and so does a Familiar (a vampire bat).
- The My Favorite Martian movie has the "electron accelerator", which is nothing but Technobabble for a car's alternator.
- Wookieepedia has an exhaustive list of this trope as it applies to Star Wars. Dice, for example, are called "chance cubes". ...Although actual dice with pips instead of colors have appeared and gone by "dice" in the EU.
- Penny Arcade complained that Star Wars Expanded Universe writers take this kind of thing to ridiculous extremes:
"These goddamned Star Wars
writers just don't know when to stop. This jackass just said that something can go 'through a ferrocrete bunker like a neutrino through plasma
.' I get it, man. It says 'Star Wars' on the cover. I know I'm reading about 'Star Wars'. It's like, do they not have butter in space? Or hot knives to cut it with?"
- Star Wars Expanded Universe is a grab bag of names - looking at alcoholic drinks alone, there's lomin-ale, Corellian Whiskey (with brands like Whyren's Reserve), lum, juri juice, A Walk In The Phelopean Forest (even the bartender doesn't know what's with the name), Savareen Brandy, and a lot more. There are occasional subversions; a duck is still a duck, for example.
- Kevin Smith once said in an interview on his having written for Superman that studio executives asked him to call the Giant Spider demanded by the producer, Jon Peters, something other than a spider. He suggested Thanagarian Snarebeast (Thanagar being Hawkman's home planet), and they told him to go with it.
- Spaceballs: "He just took two hundred and forty-eight Space Bucks for lunch, gas, and tolls!"
- The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra has two aliens from Marva. They have "cranberroids" instead of cranberries, and "linbooba" instead of cherries. Picnics are called "cooty-lana".
- In The Movie of Twin Peaks, "Fire Walk With Me", the last scene has character(s) (When you roll with David Lynch, the pluralization can be confusing) telling BOB that they want... "Garmonbozia", which the subtitles helpfully suffix with "(pain and suffering)". It manifests itself as... creamed corn.
- The Coneheads' speech is a heavy mixture of this and Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness.
- In the Underworld series, the sworn enemies of the vampires are not werewolves, they're Lycans (though Selene does call them werewolves in the first film when telling Michael about the centuries-old conflict that he has just found himself in the middle of). Justified in the sequel and the prequel, which both feature first generation werewolves that are related to Lycans, but do have a few key differences. First-generation werewolves retain very little, if any, of their original human minds, have longer snouts and are covered nearly head-to-toe with fur in their wolf forms, and are permanently stuck in their wolf forms, unable to ever revert back to human form. Lycans, on the other hand, retain all of their original human minds, have shorter snouts and very little fur in their wolf forms, and are able to shift back and forth between wolf and human forms at will. Or it could simply be short for lycanthrope, from the greek wolf-man.
- In the Cars series films, forklifts are referred as "pitties" because in the first film, they all served as the pit crews for the racecars.
- Man of Steel:
Lois:: What's the 'S' stand for?
Clark: It's not an 'S'. On my world, it means 'hope'.
Lois: Well, here, it's... an S.
- 1927 quasi-documentary silent film Chang documents life among the Lao people in northeast Thailand. "Chang" is not a person's name. All of the "dialogue" given in title cards is in English, except for the one word Chang—a farmer reports that a Chang has trampled his rice paddy, and the villagers set a trap to catch the Chang. It turns out that chang is the Thai word for "elephant".
Live Action TV
- The original Battlestar Galactica:
- "Daggits" were dogs. Amusingly, many people only think of Muffet, the robotic replacement for a daggit, when they hear the word "daggit", but it applied first to normal dogs.
- They also once referred to "a crawlon in its web", in a context where we would refer to a spider.
- There was also a prominent subversion. They had their own words for time units (micron, centon, yahren), but these didn't correspond to our time units.
- On one planet (where they'd not heard of Cylons yet) there was talk of needing to use guns to shoot the "lupus" (Latin for wolf) to protect their livestock, described as "ovines" (sheep).
- Babylon 5 parodied this trope with G'Kar's discovery that Swedish meatballs from Earth were exactly like a Narn delicacy called breen, and furthermore that every other known race in the galaxy has a dish exactly like it. It's one of those mysteries whose answer would drive you mad were you to learn it.
- Farscape: cycles are Earth years, solar days are Earth days, arns are hours, and microts are seconds. It is never mentioned why alien species on the other side of the galaxy would base their time units around the relationship between Earth and its sun, especially before they ever learn about Earth.
- Lampshaded a few times by John, when he says things like, "It'll take a few hours...I mean arns."
- The alien units are explicitly not exactly the same as their Earthican equivalents, but they're conveniently similar.
- It might not have been so much Earth and the sun as it was some other world and the sun. Science does tend to provide very specific requirements for life to exist on a particular world, so theoretically it's not impossible that these units of measurement originated from a planet in a relatively similar position to its own sun as Earth is to its own. Also from a practicality standpoint, especially once various species started getting together and space travel became a regular part of this civilization, it makes sense to find a very specific means of measuring time since you can't use the position of the sun like you would on Earth, so an approximation of the average time a planet takes to complete a circle around its sun seems like a reasonable way of measuring a year.
- It's also not quite the same. One of the few times we get an exact measurement, Crichton mentions "180 microts" as the amount of time that his brain can go without oxygen and still be revived. The real world answer in human terms is about 4 minutes, making a "microt" roughly 1.3 seconds.
- Played straight later, when Crichton tells D'Argo to wait a certain number of microts before doing something. When D'Argo replies that he has no time-keeping device, John counts him off "One Mississippi, Two Mississippi."
D'Argo: One mipplebippi. Two mipplebippi.
- Particularly in the Star Trek franchise, alien plants, animals and foodstuffs tend to have names following the pattern , such as "Romulan ale", "Aldebaran whiskey", "Altarian chowder", "Delovian souffle", etc. Klingon stuff gets more detail, because they have their own language, but they still have blood pie. Diseases get the same treatment; for instance, "Rigelian fever". Alternatively words can be rendered Startrekky by the addition of a prefix: not mere polycythemia, but xenopolycythemia; not common-or-garden triticale, but quadrotriticale. With quadrotriticale at least, it was explicitly noted that the stuff was developed up from the original grain:
BARRIS: Quadrotriticale is not wheat, Captain. I wouldn't expect you or Mr. Spock to know about such things, but quadrotriticale is a rather —
SPOCK: Quadrotriticale is a high-yield grain, a four-lobed hybrid of wheat and rye. A perennial, also, I believe. Its root grain, triticale, can trace its ancestry back to 20th century Canada-
KIRK: Mr. Spock, you've made your point.
- A particularly horrible visual example occurs in "The Enemy Within" where a putative alien creature is played by someone's poor dog in a costume made of orange acrylic fake fur and horns.
- One of the strangest is the "Bolian" Double Effect Principle that they developed in "their Middle Ages" which is identical to the Double Effect Principle as developed by St Thomas Aquinas and the Catholic Church during 'our'' Middle Ages.
- Similar to the Penny Arcade example with Star Wars above, Sci Fi Debris took exception to Star Trek "updating" metaphors like describing someone as a 'third nacelle' rather than a third wheel, pointing out that we haven't updated metaphors about horses and carriages to make them about cars, for example.
- Indeed, Star Wars has a least a little more justification than Star Trek in using this trope when it comes to metaphors. At least Star Wars is meant to be in its own 'verse, with no canon ties to Earth. Whereas Star Trek is meant to be our own Earth (pretty much, anyway), just centuries into the future.
- "Debbie" the Bloop in Lost in Space looks indistinguishable from a chimpanzee. The movie adaptation improved on this by making her a far more alien goggly-eyed chameleon/lemur creature with the help of Conspicuous CGI.
- In the Doctor Who:
- Episode "The Five Doctors:" the Doctors and their respective companions find a small pyramid with symbols on it that are supposedly in "Ancient Gallifreyan". Any university student who has studied math or joined a fraternity/sorority can tell you that those letters are Greek.
- Lampshade Hanging in the novel The Gallifrey Chronicles, where Rachel asks Marnel why the readouts on his Time Lord technology are in Greek, and he retorts that they're not, they're the letters of the Gallifreyan "omegabet". (Note that "omegabet" is also calling a rabbit a smeerp; there's nothing that makes it different from an alphabet except that that's not what they call it.)
- In Stargate SG-1, the planets they visit are occasionally victim to this. The most common one is the Stargate itself, which is called everything from "The Great Circle" to a "chappa'ai", but they also use this trope on other words, including swear words every now and then.
Bounty Hunter: The System Lords think that you are a pain in the mit'ka.
Col. Jack O'Neill: Neck?
- One episode had an alien trial; it turned out to be exactly like a trial on Earth, except the prosecutor, defendant, etc. had Smeerpy new titles. This was, of course, heavily lampshaded by O'Neill and Carter.
- In an episode of Captain Kangaroo, the Captain dreams that he is visited by aliens who need "a glunk full of gleeger" to fuel their spaceship. He tells them he has no idea where to get such a thing, but while they're there he offers them a glass of milk, and wouldn't you know it...
- A story arc of Buffy the Vampire Slayer Season 8 crosses over with Fray, in which vampires are "lurks, a spin is a lie, toy is bad, but spled is good."
- In the German "Kapitän Blaubär" show the ever-lying captain serves "Zorx mit Mürschlampf", some alleged alien food speciality, to his ever-nagging nephews. Luckily, this menu has an uncannily similarity to spaghetti with meatballs. (Frankly, it IS spaghetti with meatballs.)
- The inhabitants of Haven in Thunderstone have a few words like this, mostly for dates and times. Years are greenings. Dawn, noon, dusk and night are new sun, mid sun, old sun and star time. This gives Noah many headaches at first as he struggles to word things in ways they’ll understand or care about.
- In the Big Finish Doctor Who audios, the bats in the rafters of the Eighth Doctor's TARDIS are "fledershrews".
- In D&D 4th Edition, there are monsters called the Macetail Behemoth and the Bloodspike Behemoth, which have an uncanny resemblance to an ankylosaur and a stegosaur respectively. The 4E names may be inspired by Eberron, where halflings name all dinosaurs this way. The dragons also have their own names for the dinosaurs, so every species has three different names. There's a chart in one of the books to help keep things straight.
- On the conceptual side, Eberron also features inquisitives and chronicles... otherwise known as detectives and newspapers.
- Forgotten Realms has rothé, which seem to be a variety of musk oxen.
- The Dark Eye contains a few mineral and vegetable examples: Rubies are known as "Almandines", oranges as "Aranges" (both after the region they're most common in, Almada and Arania respectively), hemp is called "Ilmenleaf" (possibly to get its recreational use past the censors...) and platinum is known as "Moonsilver".
- White Wolf games in general do this a lot, especially both lines of the World of Darkness imprint. Each supernatural faction seems to have multiple terms for themselves, the other supernatural groups, and normal humans. E.g., they're not vampires, they're Kindred, Damned, the Get of Caine, Servants of the Wyrm, etc. They're not mages, they're Awakened, Enlightened, Reality Deviants, Willworkers, etc. They're not humans, they're kine, canaille, Sleepers, Children of the Weaver, etc. The factions with long-established histories like the vampires and mages tend to include a generational divide in terminology, with the elder vampires and mages using traditional terms often derived from Latin, French or German, while the younger ones use a form of modern street-slang.
- Warhammer 40,000 has a few examples, from the Eldar ('space elves') to the Squats ('space dwarves'), though most of the common usage words are either abbreviations of normal words (lasgun for laser gun, frag warheads for fragmentation warheads) or can be explained as something different from what they sound like (lho sticks, which are described as being remarkably similar to cigarettes, but probably have a more futuristic narcotic inside). Not to mention Jokaero - the space orangutans, or gyrinxes - the space cats. The world of W40k hasn't always been the grim place it is nowadays.
- Also has recaff for coffee, amasek for something like whiskey, vox for radio transmitter of any kind, Ausplex and Augurs for sensors and quite a couple of other "futuristic" and/or grimdark names.
- In GURPS Banestorm, the descriptions of bushwolves, paladins, treetippers, and milkfish (native non-magical animals) sound like thylacines, glyptodonts, giant sloths, and manatees. The different names make sense since the medieval-era Earth natives who had been brought to Yrth by the Banestorm had never seen them before (they were either extinct, or from lands their original cultures had not yet encountered) and gave them their own names.
- Played for laughs in A.A. Milne's play The Ugly Duckling. The princess' suitor is required to answer a riddle to win her hand. The king gives him the answer in advance, but the riddle is changed at the last minute and the none-too-bright suitor answers "a dog" instead of "a cat". His servant (the princess' real suitor in disguise) quickly explains that in their country, "dog" is another word for "cat". Spoofing this trope even further, he adds that there are places where the creature is known as a "hippopotamus".
- A. A. Milne loves this trope. It's prevalent in Winnie-the-Pooh but distinction between real animals and stuffed ones is kind of lost in the Disney adaptations.
- The Rahi in BIONICLE all have Foreign-Sounding Gibberish names despite most of them just being enlarged, cyborg versions of Earth creatures.
- The Term Rahi itself could be used equivalent to our animals, not including sapient beings, just like most people not including humans when speaking of animals
- Ryzom lives and breathes this trope. The pigs are yubos, the toucans are ybers, the dingos are gingos, the crabs are cloppas, the other crabs are kitins, there are four different kinds of giant mosquito...and there's many, many more.
- The Baten Kaitos games do this to a degree; we have such things as "fluffpups" (poodles) and "bunnycats" (long-eared cats), as well as "pollywhales" (tiny legged orcas). And then there are the weird ones, like "pows" - pigs that, umm, give large quantities milk, and are white colored with black splotches. Baten Kaitos is less Call a Rabbit a "Smeerp", more of Mix-and-Match Critters. Pows for example are Pig/Cow, Bunnycats are Bunny/Cat, and pollywale seems to be Tadpole/Orca. Other hybrids include Dog/Deer and Sheep/Goat.
- The Interactive Fiction game The Gostak, by Carl Muckenhoupt, is based entirely on this trope: you are thrust into a world where not only nouns but even the entire vocabulary of common verbs is replaced with a fantasy dialect. The grammar is still recognizably English, but the main puzzle of the game is working out the game's alien vocabulary.
"Finally, here you are. At the delcot of tondam, where doshes deave. But the doshery lutt is crenned with glauds. Glauds! How rorm it would be to pell back to the bewl and distunk them, distunk the whole delcot, let the drokes uncren them. But you are the gostak. The gostak distims the doshes. And no glaud will vorl them from you."
- Said game is clearly a deliberate 'spin-off' from the 1930 science-fiction story The Gostak and the Doshes, by Dr. Miles Breuer, in which the sentence "The gostak distims the doshes." plays a major role. This sentence is not Dr. Breuer's invention; the credit goes to a writer named Andrew Ingraham, who coined it in 1903. The sentence became much more widely known as a result of its appearance in the 1923 book The Meaning of Meaning, by C. K. Ogden and I. A. Richards.
- The Legend of Zelda series consistently refers to common clucking barnyard fowl as "Cuccos". One character even refers to a cowardly character as a "Cucco". It's less out-there than most examples, since it's based on the Japanese equivalent of "cock-a-doodle-doo" (kokkekokkoh! —> kokko). Mind you, this is rampant throughout the series. Crows are called guays, bats are keese, vultures are takkuri, snakes are ropes, ghosts are poes, skeletons are stalfos, zombies are redeads, mummies are gibdos, spiders are tektites. It's important to bear in mind, however, that almost all of these examples of mundane things (like cuccos) have extra-ordinary powers. To use the cucco example, chickens cannot instantly form vast indestructible Determinator flying swarms to avenge fallen brethren, whereas cuccos do.
- The Fire Emblem games Path of Radiance and Radiant Dawn refer to regular humans as "beorc." To make matters worse, the laguz (a race of humanoid shapeshifters) use the word "human" as an insult.
- Skies of Arcadia is full of either specially named animals or combinations of animals we'd think of as normal. Rabbats (rabbits that hang upside-down), Kotekas (hybrid chicken/crows), Icebirds (the only birds in the game that can't fly), Huskras (small dogs), Arcwhales (flying arctic sperm whales)...Not to mention the Delphinus, which is named after an extinct species of dolphins with wings.
- Final Fantasy XII is an exceedingly egregious abuser of this trope.
- No, humans can't just be humans. They're "humes." Those techniques you use in battle? "Technicks." Oh, and that isn't magic you're using against your enemies; they're "magicks." Strangely enough, though, creatures based on real-life animals usually keep their real names - wolves are wolves, rabbits are rabbits, etc. And yet something as simple as a manufactured crystal is actually "manufacted."
- No, they're not dinosaurs, they're tyrannidsnote .
- Tall, slender humanoid races with pointy ears are usually called "Elves", but Final Fantasy XI chooses to call them Elvaan.
- Final Fantasy XIV does this, even to Final Fantasy XI 's names. The Humes are now Hyur, Tarutaru are Lalafell, Elvaan are Elezen, Mithra are Miqote, and Galka are Roegayden. Worth noting there are subtle differences between these races, and the old ones are mentioned as having been around in the last age.
- Played more straight with measurements. Ilms, fulms, yalms, and malms are, more or less, inches, feet, yards, and miles. Bells are hours.
- Fallout calls its ubiquitous bovines "Brahmins" instead of cows, and "Brahminshit" has apparently entered the lexicon as a replacement for a more familiar term. The new name might be justified, though, as the Brahmins are horribly mutated monster cows with two heads and cancerous udders.
- Only a person who has played Ultima Underworld II can adequately describe to you what it means to use a Delgnizator on two Control Crystals to skup a new Bliy Skup Ductosnore.
- Ground Control and its sequel have Terradynes (Tanks and tracked vehicles) Aerodynes (Planes), Helidynes (a different kind of aircraft)and Hoverdynes (Hovering tanks). Strangely enough, the Terran Empire doesn't go with A Mech by Any Other Name, simply calling them "walkers".
- Aion does this with the plants you can gather; they even have different names for the same plants on the Elyos and Asmodian sides. Animals too, such as airon (heron), brax (bison), elroco (squirrel), worg (wolf), abex (goat), etc.
- World of Warcraft:
- Those large-mawed reptilian creatures you find near water aren't crocodiles, they're crocolisks. And those big pincer'd and stinger'd exoskeletal creatures aren't scorpions, they're scorpids. Considering that there are normal-sized scorpion critters simply called "scorpions", it seems that Azerothians only use the term "scorpid" to refer to scorpions as big as wolves with the temper to match. Also, the number of legs on real life crocodiles is generally known to be a number somewhere south of six. The crocolisks actually seem to be a type of aquatic basilisks, which are also fairly common in the Warcraft universe and also have six legs when presented. The two even use the same basic models.
- Those giant bipedal dinosaurs with the really tiny arms are not theropods, they're devilsaurs. Those long-necked aquatic reptiles with flippers are not plesiosaurs, they are threshadons.
- The zebra-like horned creatures are zhevras.
- The dodo-like creatures found throughout the Eastern Kingdoms and Kalimdor are tallstriders.
- The elephant-like creatures from Outland that the Draenei use as their racial mounts are elekks. Outland also has creatures known as talbuks that look like horse-sized goats, though there are actual goats in-game as the dwarves' racial mount and mountain goats you can purchase from the Tillers.
- This even extends to some of the playable sentient races. Those humanoid cattle people that are part of the Horde are not minotaurs, they're Tauren. The new sixth race for the Alliance in Cataclysm are not werewolves, they're Worgen (named after worgs, which are basically dire wolves).
- Fable doesn't have werewolves, it has balverines! Who (in the first game) can only be hurt by silver, disguise themselves in human form, howl at the moon, and, oh, can infect other humans who survive being bit.
- There are also hobbes (goblins) and hollow men (undead skeletons).
- Day 9 TV gets a kick out of Starcraft doing this — calling a coyote a lyote, to be precise — in http://day9tv.blip.tv/file/4946816/ (starting around 47:15).
- Super Mario Bros.: They're Koopa Troopas. Not turtles.
- Given the game's origin country as Japan, you'd think that there's some etymology of the name from 'kappa,' a Japanese turtle youkai. Averted when you learn that it's because they're so-called for being Bowser's forces, and Bowser is spelled 'Kuppa' in Japan (and pronounced Koopa). As in, Korean foodstuffs.
- Also of note is that this is the case for every Funny Animal species in the series. Dogs are Doogans; birds are Craws, ants are Antottos, and quite a few other examples. The normal versions of the animals have their normal names.
- Clonk has zaps instead of bees. Oddly, the trope isn't used for anything else.
- Lampshaded in Eien no Aselia where Yuuto refuses to refer to yofwals as anything but waffles.
- In a more literal example of this trope, the rabbit-people of Odin Sphere are called "Pookas" (not to be confused with the other Pooka)
- Donkey Kong Country: Almost all primates, ape or monkey, are referred to as "kongs". The main antagonists are crocodiles, but are referred to as Kremlings. Vultures are neckies, Beavers are gnawties, sharks are chomps, etc.
- In the Ys universe, wolves are called "rhebolls", squirrels are "quias", etc.
- Pikkards are actually not an example, though they're easily mistaken for such. Despite taking on the same role in the game world as pigs do in real life — both as livestock, and in phrases like "pikkard sty" —they're actually a large rodent-like mammal somewhat resembling a hamster or marmot.
- In the first two Ecco The Dolphin games, the cetaceans call themselves "Singers" and have different names for other animals in their ocean home: Shelled Ones are clams, Hungry Ones are sharks, giant octopuses are Eight-Arms, and so on.
- Ghosts N Goblins, with their spinoff series Gargoyles Quest, have a race which has been called Red Devils, Red Demons, and other assorted names in the past; their correct name is "Red Arremer".
- The Tower of Druaga and its anime spinoff both do this with classical dungeon-crawling enemies. Minotaurs are "Kusarakks" and Dragons are "Quokks", for example.
- In the universe of The Elder Scrolls, those aquatic mammals with tusks and whiskers aren't walruses - they're "Horkers". It is borderline in that horkers aren't exactly walruses, just very similar (they have three tusks, although it's easy to miss, and in Bloodmoon they had arrow-shaped snouts), but gets highlighted by the fact that almost all the other almost-like-Earth animals get to keep their Earth-analogue's name (the four-tusked fur-covered Elephantidae are mammoths, for example).
- Morrowind includes an in-universe example - Bonewalker is stated to be the Dunmer term for the category of undead generally called 'zombies' in the west (where your character came from).
- In Oblivion, one of the plants you can pick to use for alchemy is called "St. Jahn's Wort", presumably because Tamriel has no St. John to name St. John's Wort after.
- In Skyrim rats are known as Skeevers. This is a tad bit odd, since all the previous games had rats called rats. It goes beyond odd when you consider that "skeevers" are the only animals (or indeed, enemies) in the entire game to get this treatment — Draugr are something thoroughly different from the zombies and skeletons of previous titles, and though Horkers are essentially walrus, they've had that name since Morrowind. Beyond that, wolves are wolves, bears are bears, and mammoths are even mammoths. Skeevers in the game are even described as "rat-like", and are much larger then rats. Since Skyrim has other prehistoric animals, maybe the skeevers are supposed to be some kind of early mammaliaformes.
- It may also be possible that Bethesda finally figured out a name they like for their fantastical giant rats. The same seems to apply to the series' giant spiders since this game always calls them frostbite or albino spiders.
- In Pokémon Vietnamese Crystal, a poorly translated bootleg of Pokemon Crystal Version, all of the people, places, and Pokemon have been renamed. To name a few, Venonat is called "Corn," Rattata is called "Caml," Goldenrod City is called "Xiaojin City," Professor Oak is called "Oujide Dr.," and Slowpoke is "Yedong."
- Star Fox Adventures uses dinosaur terminologies similar to The Land Before Time, including "Earthwalkers" for Triceratops, "Snowhorns" for Woolly Mammoths, and "Red Eyes" for Tyrannosaurus.
- Xenoblade skirts this and Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit" in it monsters (at least in the English release), many are variants of normal animals with variations of normal animal names. To wit, Antols are ants the size of a dog, Brogs are large frogs with armored scales on their backs. There are also Ponios, Skeeters, Krabbles, Piranhaxes, etc.
- The Neverhood has one scene where Klaymen gets chased around by a giant clawed monster called...a Weasel.
- The Eschalon series does this in several instances. It ain't a minotaur, it's a Taurax. It ain't a giant spider, it's a Phase Hunter. It ain't a giant black beetle, it's a Goliath Borehead.
- Justified in Pikmin 2. No animals that have Earth names are to be seen, but the captains find loads of treasure - junk, tin cans, toys - and their ship, wanting to sell them, gives them wildly creative, often pretentious names that typically come nowhere near the names we'd use. A chestnut is a Seed of Greed, a juicer is a Merciless Extractor, red tape is Furious Adhesive...
- Mass Effect doesn't have the Internet, it has the extranet. Possibly justified as "inter-" can mean "between", while "extra-" can mean "beyond"; It's hinted that individual planets may have their own internets, which link to other planets to become the extranet.
- Two Worlds renames fairly typical goblins as "Groms" and reanimated skeletons are a "Necris."
- Escape from the Planet of the Robot Monsters calls escalators "Electro-Stairs."
- Metroid Prime uses decacycles which are roughly equivalent to a year.
- Darksiders has a "Ortho," also known as the "Angelic Beast". It's a Griffin.
- The Cyantian Chronicles: Acid Whip = Dragon. Equid = Horse. Just don't call the sentient cyantians "animals", they consider it a major insult. And just look up "Mounty" in the Shivaewiki to find the alternate names for the various terran felines in their anthropomorphic cyantian forms.
- xkcd comments on this in strip 483 and strip 890.
- Erfworld parodies this with its "dwagons," "gwiffons," "spidews," and other such beasts. Main character Parson Gotti, from Earth, explains to his boss Stanley that he's used to "dragons" and "griffons" on Earth. Stanley replies that they sound stupid, especially "Earth."
- Sorcery 101 decided to call Chinese Sipanese even though before now one thought this was our world with werewolves and vampires and mages and demons. Pretty much every region in that comic has a different rename. UPH for USA, Terra for England, and so on.
- Averted and Lampshaded in El Goonish Shive; The author decided to concede and call his not-exactly-a-vampire thing a "vampire" because he knew the readers would accuse him of trying to pawn a vampire off as something else. A character in the story was telling her friends about a monster conceded to her listener's suggestion that it is a vampire because no matter what she says that is what they are going to hear.
- Homestuck parodies this trope with the trolls, who use an exaggerated form of U- and non-U-English. Where a low-class troll like Sollux would say "ablution trap", a higher-blooded troll like Equius would say "bathtub". Additionally, Alternian versions of Earth animals are named after a word relating to the animal with the suffix "-beast." For example, horses are "hoofbeasts", and cats are "purrbeasts." note Also, professions are given combat-related names, even if they have nothing to do with combat (so lawyers are "legislacerators".) Justified in this case, as literally every troll is in the military or will be in the future. Also, some celebrities on earth have troll counterparts, who are literally called "Troll (name)".
- The Felt, meanwhile, have the game of table stickball, which is in every way identical to pool.
- In The Last Angel, the Compact, Askanj and Humanity all have different words for ranks and titles. An Askanj Shipstress, a Compact Group Leader Prime and a Human Captain are all equivalent for example. The different naming conventions underscore the alien nature of the different civilizations.
- The Chaos Timeline often does this. America is called Atlantis, teddy bears are mishkas since they were invented in Russia, computer hackers are Logos (from 'logic'), angst is called horreur, a blitzkrieg is a molniya (Russian for 'lightning'), tanks are Walzen ('steamrollers' in German), capitalism is monetarism etc. Justified, since history diverged in 1200 and people could well invent different names for things.
- The Land Before Time series has used this trope to death, but in the past, with dinosaurs. On the one hand, if you saw stegosauruses every day, you'd want to come up with a word for them that's easier on the tongue than the polysyllabic ones that scientists come up with. On the other, the reasoning could have had more to do with the Viewers Are Morons mindset...because, of course, kids always have a hard time remembering words like "tyrannosaurus" and "stegosaurus". Therefore, everything has incredibly simplistic names, such as "spike tail" for stegosaurus. They even have a word for the sun, "great circle".
- They actually refer to one species as "rainbow faces," despite the fact that they call rain "sky-water."
- In Looney Tunes, Marvin the Martian's weapon of choice is the Illudium PU-36 Explosive Space Modulator, which to the untrained eye looks just like an ordinary stick of dynamite. The original name "Uranium Pu-36" changed to "Illudium Q-36 " in subsequent cartoons. Pu is the chemical symbol for Plutonium. So I'm guessing that either Uranium Pu-36 didn't sound "spacey" enough or they wished to not have kids think of nuclear weapons whenever it was referenced.
- In one early Foghorn Leghorn cartoon, Henery Hawk is left in the dark as to what a chicken really looks like (his grandfather made up all kinds of lies about it to dissuade him from accompanying him to get a chicken, as he would get in the way). When he sees Foghorn, he doesn't think that he is a chicken, but rather a "loud-mouthed shnook". The rooster spends much of the cartoon trying to convince Henery otherwise. Eventually, Henery throws a lit stick of dynamite into the barnyard dog's doghouse, and Foghorn tries to stop the dynamite from blowing up, fearing he will get blamed for it. Naturally, of course, he fails; the dynamite explodes, and the dog slams Foghorn against the ground repeatedly as punishment, after which he calls him a "no-good chicken". That's all Henery needs to hear — he knocks out Foghorn with a shovel and drags him off, not caring whether he is a chicken or a shnook, only that he would be good in his oven.
- Chowder does this with food. Butter is now "blutter", coriander is now "snoriander", pizza is now "feetsa", etc.
- The Simpsons: "Behold, the two-headed dog, born with only one head! And behold, out of the mists of time, the legendary Esquilax, a horse with the head of a rabbit, and the body... of a rabbit!"
- The Legend of Korra has "Satomobiles," automobiles with sedan-chair flair, named after their in-universe creator, Henry Ford-like industrialist Hiroshi Sato. Although its a little different. Automobiles are called automobiles, while "Satomobiles" are automobiles made by Hiroshi's company. It still applies, as Satomobile is still slang for any automobile.
- One could argue fire ferrets are also this trope, as compared to the series' other Mix-and-Match Critters they're extremely similar looking to real life red pandas—in fact, the in-series Chinese writing even uses the same word for red panda ("fire fox" translated literally).
- In the second season, Varrick begins creating black-and-white films called "movers" rather than movies.
- Downplayed In the Thundercats 2011 episode "Song of the Petalars" when Wilykat teases his sister Wilykit for kissing an 8-legged amphibian he calls a "froog" on a dare from him.
- Transformers does this with anything that didn't specifically originate on Earth, which also helps explain some of the political problems they have. Best example? They're not Cybertronians, even though they all originate from Cybertron. They're either Autobots or Decepticons. Or Sharkticons or Junkions or Velocitrons and so on.
- The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: Teddy Ruxpin is an "Illiop". The Brazilian-Portuguese translation calls them bears anyway.