This trope occurs when one character - the parent (or expecting parent) of a newborn baby - asks another character to name said baby. It is implied that whatever name is chosen, it will be final.
For this trope to be in effect, the parent must
relinquish their right to choose a name for their own child - which is something parents would not normally do in most Real Life
cultures. A key ingredient is the implied (or outright stated) pact with another character, handing over the choice of name to that character for whatever reason. The parent may or may not eventually back out of that pact after learning which name has been chosen - but the trope still applies as long as that parent did in fact relinquish the right to choose, at any point.
The trope does not apply
if the parent is asking a friend to come up with suggestions
for names. It also does not apply if one parent is asking the other parent (or their own significant other) to name the child.
A variant of this trope occurs when the child-naming "pact" is made with fate, rather than with another character. This includes leaving it to random chance (such as casting lots), or more commonly when the parent promises to name a child after someone else whose name they don't yet know.
When this trope is played straight, it is usually done to show how awesome a character is, because the parent respects them so much (or owes them so much gratitude) that they will trust them to select a good name. In this case, the name will usually be selected on the spot, and will be a proper and inspiring name - possibly leading to a Crowning Moment of Heartwarming
. It may even be a Tear Jerker
moment if (for example) the child is named after another, beloved character who had recently died
When the trope is subverted, of course, the selected name could be completely idiotic
. At this point, the parent may or may not renege on the unwritten agreement and decide to withdraw the request retroactively.
The resulting name might fit any number of tropes on the Naming Conventions
page. It will commonly result in Dead Guy Junior
. Other options include Embarrassing First Name
, Named After Someone Famous
, or a Line-of-Sight Name
Compare Last Minute Baby Naming
, where the parents do
decide on their own, but almost without any forethought, potentially leading to similar results.
Anime and Manga
- In Nausicaš of the Valley of the Wind, Lord Yupa is asked by a village woman to choose a name for her baby. He promises to select a good name for her, but in the film we never find out any more.
- In Nana, Nana K asks Ren to name her child. (you know, is it me or is this trope a bad omen? Name my kid..and you die).
- Played for laughs in Ranma One Half when resident Dirty Old Man Happosai was asked to name a newborn boy. He picked what he claimed was a perfectly fine and wonderful name, Pantyhose. And thus was created yet another vengeful rival for Ranma to deal with.
- Jiraishin: Tsuyoshi's wife, Yukari, agrees to name her only son after his father when she asked Kyoya for a good name. He tells Yukari to name the baby after his partner to pay tribute to his memory after being killed in the line of duty.
- Susan Storm Richards, the Invisible Woman of Fantastic Four had a difficult birth with Franklin, and miscarried her second child. As the due date of Sue's third pregnancy neared, she sought an attendant versed in both medicine and metaphysics. Enter Doctor Doom, who agreed to deliver Sue's child, provided that Doom have the honor of naming the baby. Though the male Fours objected vehemently, Sue played the uterus card and sealed the deal. The healthy newborn daughter was named Valeria.
- For whatever reason, a new father has to let his brother name his newborn twins (boy and girl). The brother has a reputation as a joker, so the father's a little worried. At the first opportunity, the father calls city hall and asks "What did he name the girl?". The clerk replies "Denise". Relieved that it's a nice name, the father asks "And the boy?". The clerk replies: Denephew.
- Anastasia Krupnik's parents say that they'll let her name her baby brother and promise to stick with whatever name she chooses. She writes down the chosen name in her diary, "the worst name she could think of". She doesn't actually use "the worst name," whatever it was; she names him Sam after their deceased grandfather.
- In Anne of Green Gables, Diana Barry is said to have been named by a visiting preacher.
- In Clan of the Cave Bear Mog-urs (medicine men) are responsible for naming all babies, during the ritual where they are formally accepted into the Clan.
- On the Discworld, there is a naming ceremony done in the Ramtops which normally averts this, as it's simply a priest proclaiming the child by the name their parents choose. This trope kicks in, however, in that whatever name the priest says is final, even if he screws it up somehow. This has resulted in names such as James What The Hell Is That Cow Doing In Here? Poorchick ("Moocow" Poorchick for short), King My God He's Heavy the First, and Princess Esmeralda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre.
- Barney Miller: Wojo helps a Hispanic woman deliver her baby. Through a translator she asks him his name, promising to name the baby after him. His answer "Wojciehowicz" shocks her into a Madness Mantra. After she is taken away by paramedics he tells the translator "tell her 'Stanley' is fine."
- Inverted on Bones, when Hodgins must ask Angela's father for permission to name their own child themselves, rather than accept the grandfather's choice as per family tradition.
- On Farscape, when Living Ship Moya gives birth to her son, she requests that Aeryn give him a proper name. She ends up naming him Talyn, after her (Aeryn's) late father.
- Friends: When Phoebe is carrying triplets on behalf of her half-brother and his wife they let her name one of them. It comes down to her naming it after Chandler or Joey and they compete over which one she'll name the baby.
- On Mad About You, Paul's uncle Phil guilt-trips him into naming Paul and Jamie's new baby after him (while Phil is lying on his death bed in a hospital). After they agree, it turns out that Phil's real first name is Deuteronomy.
- Taxi: Alex is forced to become a Delivery Guy, helping a woman deliver a baby in the back of the cab when her husband panics and can't do it. Afterwards she asks him his name, in order to name the baby after him - but when she learns it's "Alex" she has second thoughts.
- Inverted in Sherlock: Sherlock lobbies to have John and Mary name their child after him, but is roundly refused, as they are expecting a girl.
- In Castles, one of the dialogue trees involves a peasant coming to your court to ask you to name their child.
- In The Legend of Zelda Oracle games, there is a sidequest where a couple ask you to name their newborn, and for some financial aid. How much you give affects how he turns out, from a courageous hero-in-training to a lazy drifter.
- Parodied in the Star Trek Online Foundry mission "Bait and Switch". During the mission you rescue a pregnant Romulan and her husband from slavers. In one dialog option you can tell her to please not name their daughter after you, and she tells you, of course not: her husband's grandmother already called dibs.
- A new father asked a random user on 4chan to name his newly born son. Being the internet, the child was named after the Courage Wolf internet meme, being called Courage Wolf Harper.
- During Acclaim's slide into oblivion the company offered $10,000 to anyone who would name their kid "Turok" as a marketing gimmick. Nobody took them up on it. Many years later, Bethesda pulled a similar stunt with The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim's "Dovahkiin", offering free Bethesda games for life, and succeeded.