This is where a character has a nickname that arose from something they did in the past, usually infamous. This is usually a title gained as a direct result of something they did and is nearly guaranteed to be descriptive of the person it's referring to. This is what usually leads to someone being called The Butcher
Similar to Appropriated Appellation
except the person rarely if ever uses the title. If the title is used in a comedy, expect a Noodle Incident
to explain how the character earned it.
Related to The Magnificent
but the title tends to describe the person and more often than not gives at least a little backstory. Sufficiently awesome ones are the Red Baron
. Awesome Moment of Crowning
is often earned, but earning a formal title of nobility is a significantly differnt concept.
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- Black Lagoon has Roberta, an unassuming housemaid who turns out to be the "Bloodhound of Florencia." So known because she was once an assassin for FARC known for never failing to kill a target.
- Trigun: Vash the Stampede is known as the "Humanoid Typhoon," mainly because any area he's in usually turns into a disaster zone by the time he's through.
- The Dirty Pair get their show named after their infamy. Just don't call them that to their faces. Their official codename is the "Lovely Angels" (which, honestly, fits them).
- Sanosuke Sagara of Rurouni Kenshin is nicknamed "Zanza" because he wields an oversized zanbato.
- Kenshin himself is called "Battousai" (more or less "kills on the draw") because of his technique or "Hitokiri" (manslayer) because of his former job as an assassin.
- Fullmetal Alchemist: One episode has Barry The Chopper. And it's no surprise why, given that he's a serial killer that chops up his victims in his shop. They could've easily gone with The Butcher for this one - and, indeed, when he returns as a bloodsealed armor, he claims that was one of his other nicknames.
- To a greater extent is the Title given to each State Alchemist, which typically refers to their greatest alchemical strengths or feats - except for Ed Elric, who's title is in reference to his metallic arm.
- Guts from Berserk is known as the "Hundred Man Slayer" due to his single-handed massacre of a hundred Blue Whale Knights at the midpoint of the anime.
- This is also Manji's nickname in Blade of the Immortal for much the same reason, although in his case he earned the nickname in his backstory.
- Guts also gets the nicknamed "Black Swordsman" after the Eclipse, due to wearing a black armour and leaving a trail of destruction on his wake. Most people don't even know the Black Swordsman and the Hundred-Man Slayer ar the same person.
- Common enough among the upper ranks of the titular female warriors in Claymore, usually after a signature technique or ability. The exception is 'Theresa of the Faint Smile' for the fact that she never changes expression in battle. The warrior with the greatest skill at sensing youki also gets designated 'The Eye.'
- In Accel World most of the Kings have nicknames related to their notable attributes but Black Lotus and Blue Knight (aka World End and Vanquish respectively) both also bear the title "Legend Killer" for single-handedly taking on a Legendary level monster in the Unlimited Field.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!: The Lifemaker, also known as The Mage of the Begining, created the Magic World together with its native inhabitants.
- Lyndess in With Strings Attached starts out as Lyndess Groundburner (Baravadans all have “given” names, some of which they give themselves) and the origin of “Groundburner” is not explained. However, when the four start asking around Ta'akan for her friends, they learn that because of the punishment inflicted on her by the gods, she's now known derisively as “Lyndess the Example.”
- John renames Brox and Co. at the end of the book to reflect their behavior and failure.
- As noted on The Butcher, General "Bloodbath" McGrath in Wild Wild West (1999).
- Boris the Bullet Dodger from Snatch. He dodges bullets.
- Apparently, while lying on the ground.
- There's also Bullet-Tooth Tony, who earned his nickname by being shot six times, survivingnote , and having the bullets melted down into his false tooth.
Live Action TV
- Spike of Buffy the Vampire Slayer is known as "William the Bloody". It's assumed to derive from his violent vampiric ways for three seasons, then revealed to date from his life as a sweetly dorkish human, when his attempts at poetry were mocked as "bloody awful."
- "Spike" itself is another earned title, given to him by his penchant for torturing victims with railroad spikes (which also tied in to his dorky human years when someone claims he'd rather have a railroad spike driven through his head rather than listen to more of his poetry.
- In Stargate SG-1 the team escapes an alien prison with a wise and helpful old woman; then they learn she is known as the "Destroyer of Worlds".
- In London's Burning, many of the firefighters have nicknames based on their personality traits (ie "Sicknote", because he's always ill; "Bayleaf", because he's cook and mess manager; "Poison", because he's a stirrer and a gossip).
- In BIONICLE, warrior-class Skrall are not allowed to have any sort of name unless they are awarded one for their deeds.
- Too many, some of whom probably didn't deserve them.... 'Vlad the Impaler' probably deserved his, though.
- The monarchs of England mostly earned theirs: William the Conqueror conquered England; Richard the Lionhearted was a valiant soldier; Alfred the Great saved his people from being wiped out by invading hordes of Horny Vikings; and Edward the Hammer of the Scots hammered the Scots (and the Welsh; and the Irish; and the Jews...) However, YMMV as to whether Bloody Mary and Good Queen Bess deserve those nicknames.
- Often the case with nicknames one earns from one's peers in the military.
- Most people called "the Great" got their title for killing lots of people, but in the Middle Ages, Albert the Great (Albertus Magnus) got his for knowing lots of stuff. Guess they were just not very civilized back then.
- Similarly, the Polish king Casimir The Great (Kazimierz Wielki) earned his title because he transformed a poor country that was devastated and depopulated by decades of warfare, into an economic and military powerhouse. His economic, legal and educational reforms and heavy investment in infrastructure made Poland an European superpower for the next three centuries. Today most Polish people are actually unaware that he was also an accomplished and victorious military leader. He is the only Polish king to have been given the title of Great.
- Emperor Charlemagne aka Charles the Great, who started the Carolingian renaissance and whose regime ended the Dark Ages and lifted the Central Europe off the centuries of barbarism. His title, Charles le magne has 'become'' his name in English: his buddies called him Carolus.
- Peter the Great and Catherine the Great are subversions. Though both were relatively good rulers by Russian standards, they earned their names by sheer physical size.
- Alexander the Great