Everything's gonna be fine, Tits.
"It's crazy enough that my parents decided to call me that, but it's even more crazy that some government worker let them make it official... Both groups are at the top of my must-kill list."
Similar to Embarrassing Middle Name
and Embarrassing Last Name
, this trope covers instances when a character has a first name
that they don't like to be called by. Such characters use a variety of tactics to avoid their real first name:
- Getting a nickname (often one that hints at their embarrassing name).
- Picking a new first name.
- Claiming their middle name is their first name.
- Insisting that everyone call them by their last name.
If the first name is just the beginning in terms of embarrassment, then you might want to file the whole thing under Unfortunate Names
. If people continue to call the character by that first name anyway, it may lead to a Do Not Call Me Paul
Compare Real Joke Name
Contrast Awesome McCoolname
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- Zeta Gundam has a male lead named Kamille, who naturally hates his feminine-sounding name. He eventually falls in love with a girl named Four, who has similar issues with her name (in her case, because it signifies that she is a number rather than an individual). It becomes hilarious when you realize there never would have been a Zeta Gundam if he hadn't been named Kamille, and the AEUG probably would have lost or at the very least have a longer and bloodier war.
- Ranma ½ actually uses this as a plot point for one character: one Chinese village has a tradition that the person who gives a newborn baby its first bath must be the one to name it. Unfortunately, this gave panty stealing pervert Happosai the chance to name a baby, and since he loves women's garments so much he thought that the perfect name for a little boy would be Pantyhose Taro. Pantyhose Taro hates his name, and is on a constant quest to force Happosai to give him a new one, since Happosai is the only one who can change it. Unfortunately, his own choice of replacement first names aren't much better.
- For the curious, the other names Pantyhose Taro could have ended up with (Happosai begins trying to list some alternatives in Pantyhose Taro's first story before he finally decides that he just can't think of a better name then "Pantyhose Taro"), include, between the anime and the manga, "Loincloth Shiro", "Underwear Saburo", "Cockroach Goro", "Bellywrap Shishiro", and "Heartburn Rokuro".
- Bear in mind that the two things Happosai did was bathe him in the Jusenkyo Springs and name him, and he finds the name more offensive than the Involuntary Transformation bit (then again, he's well aware it's a Cursed with Awesome situation - he turns into a winged minotaur).
- The Token Mini-Moe of Flame of Recca was very reluctant in giving her name to the heroes. The reason? Her name is Ganko (Stubborn). Cue much taunting and laughing from The Hero and The Big Guy.
- In Naru Taru, Shiina Tamai writes her first name in katakana (phoenetic characters) because she hates the kanji used for it, which is read as "empty husk" or "a seed that shall never sprout". It actually becomes a critical plot point near the end of the manga.
- The male lead of Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan is named Sakura. Poor guy.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, the leader of a group of powerful, dangerous, though punch-clocky bounty hunters calls himself Alexander Zaytsev, also known as the "Twilight Zaytsev". His real name? Chiko-tan.
- Fate Averruncus, Arch-Enemy of the lead character, leader of a group of Psycho Ranger rogues and Big Bad of the current arc. His real name is Tertium and he hates being called by it.
- Hey, let's be fair—anyone who can get away with using the name "Fate" is gonna prefer it to anything else.
- Bleach: Ichigo. Sure, the kanji reading amounts to "protects one thing" but the name is also homonymous with "strawberry" (and his hair is orange). Even worse, it's also a girl's name. It doesn't help him maintain a badass image. Characters, and even the manga-ka in chapter titles, are not above exploiting this. He's even called "Berry-tan" to his face by Mashiro. Lampshaded when he first meets Ikkaku who takes note of his name because they share "Ichi-" as part of the name, concluding it's an awesome, lucky omen for both of them. Ichigo observes that he's not used to that kind of reaction when admitting what his name is.
- Run-Run/La-La in Mahoujin Guru Guru is utterly embarrassed by her name, and can get violently angry if people constantly repeat it or, worse, sing it. She will also go do all in her power to prevent people who don't know her name from ever learning it and is annoyed by Nike's persistence in the matter.
- The main character of the manga Okama Report is named, well, Okama, which more or less means "gay guy."
- In the Read or Die OVAs, Nancy "Miss Deep" Makuhari is embarassed by her Western first name and prefers to go by her code name.
- Though she also finds her code name a bit embarassing as well, as she muses that it sounds like a porn star's name.
- D.Gray-Man has Bad Ass, Jerkass, sword-wielding Mr. Fanservice Kanda Yu. Calling him by his first name will lead to swift annihilation.
- In the original Japanese version of Dragon Ball (the original), Bulma hesitatingly says her name when Goku asks what it is. This is because she originally thought her name was embarrassing because of what it sounded like (in the manga; in the anime, Goku just though it was a "funny name"). All of this got lost in both the Vancouver dub, and in Funimation's redub. In the original, Bulma is called Buruma, which is a Japanese pronunciation of "bloomers", a type of women's underwear (compare her son Trunks and her father Dr. Briefs).
- Then there's Goku's original name, Kakarot, used for his original purpose, when he was sent to Earth to cleanse all life from it. He rejected that name after rejecting his mission, but Vegeta and a few villains still refer to him by that name, even though he'd rather they not.
- Hanai from Ookiku Furikabutte has "Azusa", which is commonly given to girls, for his first name. He hates it so much that he makes his own mother call him by their family name instead.
- In Bakugan Dan's last name is "Kuso". "Kuso" essentially means "shit". It's odd since the series is Japanese so it's not a Critical Research Failure, and it's a kid show at that. note
- Durarara!! has a running gag of people making fun of Mikado Ryugamine's extremely pretentious name (lit. "The Emperor of Dragon Peak").
- At least one person thought it was a really awesome name. Most people, however, (including Mikado himself) want to ask Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?
- Juliet Nao Zhang of Mai-Otome strongly dislikes her first name, and everyone except Shiho (who strongly dislikes her) and some of her gang members call her "Nao".
- Gou Matsuoka from Free is considered to be referred to by her first name due to having a boy's name. She wants to be called Kou, as it sounds more feminine, but no one else calls her by that name.
- Lucy (abbrv.) Yamagami from Servant × Service, hates the fact that her first name is TOO LONG
- Strangely enough, both of the main characters in part 7 of Jojos Bizarre Adventure: Jonathan Joestar (who changed into Johnny specifically because of the nickname Jo Jo) and Iulius Caesar Zeppeli (yes, that Julius Caesar).
- "Melvin" was an inherently funny name used quite a bit by the comedy duo Martin and Lewis, and was Lewis' character's name in the film Sailor Beware.
- In various old Finnish radio shows hosted by Pertti "Spede" Pasanen, the parrot G. Pula-aho prefers to be called as such. In a later episode, he is forced to reveal his first name to the police: Gunhild (a female name). According to him, a baby parrot is so small, that even with a magnifying glass you can't tell it's gender.
- In Preacher, Bad Ass Irish vampire Cassidy goes by his last name. His first name: Proinsias. (Apparently pronounced "Francis", but that wouldn't help his image any.) "It's... a perfectly respectable Gaelic name... Oh Jaysis, Jesse, don't tell anyone!"
- Well, it's the Irish Gaelic equivalent/translation of "Francis", but it's actually pronounced "pryne-SHEE-as". Yeah, I wouldn't tell anyone either.
- Jughead and Jellybean Jones (from Archie Comics) are named Forsythe and Forsythia respectively. In one story, Jughead goes out of his way to keep Jellybean's name from being revealed to the public via billboard, and both characters have had stories where people who try to call them by their real names ended up with misfortune.
- Oddly, in Jughead's case, his distaste for his name is partly because any girl who hears it thinks it's suave and romantic and starts chasing him.
- Even odder, Reggie seems to suffer a string of continuous bad luck whenever he mentions Jellybean's real name, making him warn everybody not to say it, thinking it's a curse.
- In the Tintin comics, the first name of Captain Haddock is only mentioned once (in the last finished album, no less). The Captain gets momentary amnesia after getting hit on the head, and when told by Tintin that his first name is Archibald he snarks and says that the name is ridiculous. Which might explain why nobody ever calls him by his first name otherwise.
- Then again, few people get called by their first name in the series, except Tintin, who doesn't seem to have any other name, and minor characters like Igor, Irma, and Allan.
- Miracleman featured a cold hearted, stone-tough assassin named... Evelyn Cream. Wow.
- Few characters in the Brit series of comics realize that the title character's name is short for Brittany.
- In Knights of the Dinner Table, Crutch is a tough as nails biker and ex-con. It turns out his given name is Leslie.
- When Batman foe the Penguin first revealed his full name, he said, "Yes, my name is Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot. And, please, no jokes."
- Although many would consider his middle name and surname more embarrassing than the first one...
- Jubilation Lee in X-Men. Her friends call her Jubilee.
- In Le Scorpion, Hussar's first name is Aristotle. His father thought it would help him become a great philosopher.
- In Death: The Time of Your Life, Foxglove's "minder" is Boris, who partly fits the trope of a Scary Black Man. Unfortunately, there are some things you can't hide from Death, so when in the course of a conversation she addresses him by his real name, Endymion, he hastens to point out to everyone present that he really prefers to be called Boris.
- Quasar's first name is Wendell, and whilst he doesn't exactly hate it, he was apparently called Elvis (his middle name) in college.
- Gen13 team member Grunge has the unenviable first name Percival. Naturally, he goes by his middle name, Edmund. Being that this isn't much of an improvement, he prefers the nickname Grunge.
- At one time, Sonic the Hedgehog stood revealed to have a very embarrassing first name and his parents tried to mitigate it by calling him by his equally-Embarrassing Middle Name "Maurice". Nowadays, neither are brought up at all, especially after writers changed hands.
- Volume 2 of DC Comics's Star Trek series introduces Federation protocol officer R. J. Blaise, assigned to Kirk to rein him in after a number of high-profile interstellar incidents in quick succession. It's never revealed during her original appearance what "R. J." stands for, though when she whispers it to Uhura while the pair are relaxing on shore leave, it's made clear to be quite embarrassing, with Uhura trying hard not to laugh. It's finally revealed by Kirk (whom she told it to off-camera during a tryst) when she returns a number of years later in a story in Star Trek Special #1: Raspberry Jam. Hilariously, the name was the result of a reader contest run by the series's editors.
- Spider-Man supporting character Flash Thompson, who has been a big part of the feature from the very first story. Roger Stern eventually revealed that his real first name is Eugene.
- Bud's real first name in The Abyss is revealed to be Virgil.
- Hilts, from The Great Escape. Actually, he'd prefer Captain Hilts, but please, just don't call him Virgil.
- Mervyn, the Sheriff of Rottingham from Robin Hood: Men in Tights. (Apparently this name is only allowed if one is the Governor of the Bank of England).
- Another character had her name changed TO Latrine before the movie took place. It used to be Shithouse.
"It's a good change."
- In Meet the Parents, Greg's real first name is Gaylord. His parents also call him "Gay".
- The dominatrix from Shortbus is named Jennifer Aniston.
- Ash from the Evil Dead movies. His real first name is actually Ashley... which is probably why he goes by Ash even as the clueless yuppie from the first movie.
- In Quantum of Solace, the agent sent to pick up James Bond in Bolivia only gives her name as "Fields," and deflects further questions about it. Given that the credits give her first name as Strawberry, it's hard to blame her.
- "Bud" White's real name is Wendall in L.A. Confidential.
- Cobra's title character is actually named Marion Cobretti. He lampshades it at one point, when he explains "I'd prefer something a little tougher... like Alice."
- Boss Spearman in Open Range doesn't reveal his actual name, "Bluebonnet," until he thinks he's facing his death.
- And then of course, there's Michael Bolton, poor put-upon office worker (and not the "no-talent ass clown") from Office Space. "Why should I change my name? He's the one who sucks."
- In real life, the singer's name was anglicized from "Bolotin."
- In The Wrestler, Randy "The Ram" Robinson hates being called by his real name, Robin Raminski, partly because it's an embarrassing name and partly because he can't give up his wrestling alter-ego.
- Stripes: "The name's Francis Soyer, but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis, and I'll kill you."
Lighten up, Francis.
- In Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the lumberjack brothers were all given names from the Bible in alphabetical order. Since there was no "F" name, the sixth brother got stuck with Frankincense. He violently insists on being called Frank.
- In Ten Inch Hero, Priestly's first name is Boaz and Tish is short for Platisha. None of their friends know this about them because they hate their given names so much. Priestly's boss doesn't even know his first name.
- Rubber Duck from Convoy reacts with embarrassment when he is addressed to by his whole real name which is Martin Penwald.
- Roy O'Bannon from Shanghai Noon hides his whole real name, too, which happens to be Wyatt Earp. Judging by Chon Wang's reaction upon this, it is a truly embarrassing name.
- In Tangled, the thief Flynn Rider's true name is Eugene. He changed his name because he thought it wasn't cool enough.
- Indiana Jones series:
- In The Dark Knight Rises, John Blake goes by his middle name. His real first name is Robin.
- In Lockout, Snow never uses his first name. His old man was a big John Wayne fan, so he named him Marion.
- "My name is Irwin M. Fletcher. I write a newspaper column under the name of 'Jane Doe.' What the heck, it's better than Irwin."
- Several protagonists from novels by Robert A. Heinlein.
- Glory Road has Evelyn Cyril Gordon, who went by E.C., often elided to "Easy", and later by "Scar" after he was injured in the Vietnam War. Which got misheard by his employer, the Empress of the Nine Universes, so he became "Oscar".
- The Puppet Masters has "Sam", a secret agent who goes through several false identities. Only late in the novel does he go right up to his father and ask, "Dad, why did you name me Elihu?"
- The Number Of The Beast has Dejah Thoris Burroughs, who goes by D.T., or "Deety", and her husband Zebadiah John Carter, who goes by "Zebbie". Both names are a Shout-Out to the John Carter of Mars novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, heavily lampshaded
- Tunnel in the Sky has Dr. Jesse Evelyn Ramsbotham, saddled with a complete Gender-Blender Name package of an Embarrassing First Name and an Embarrassing Middle Name. The text speculates he might have been an athlete rather then a scientist had he a pair of masculine names.
- This is a staple of P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster books. This is likely due to Pelham Grenville Wodehouse disliking his first two names intensely, hence his use of initials.
- Jeeves' first name was eventually revealed to be Reginald. This is shocking not because the name doesn't suit him, but because we always assumed Jeeves didn't have a first name. Brinkley/Bingley's tendency to call him "Reggie" made matters even more embarrassing for all concerned.
- In "Big Money", the rich man's name is T Patterson Frisby. What does the "T" stand for? Torquil. Naturally, he doesn't use it, after all the bullying he got at school.
- Nearly everyone in the Drones Club has a nickname, which makes the most sense for characters like "Tuppy" (Hildebrand) Glossop.
- In Thank You, Jeeves, "Chuffy" Chuffnell has gone his whole life concealing that his first name is Marmaduke.
- In one book, Lemuel Gingulphus Trotter goes by his initials, and has refused a knighthood because he could not stand the thought of being "Sir Lemuel". At one point, Bertie and Jeeves unsuccessfully try to blackmail him over this.
- In his Establishing Character Moment, Psmith tells Mike, "In conversation you may address me as Rupert (though I hope you won't)". This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight when he gets a Sudden Name Change three books later ("Ronald", since Leave it to Psmith was set at Blandings Castle and there was already a character there named Rupert.)
- In White Plume Mountain by Paul Kidd, the tough-as-nails ranger known only as The Justicar is eventually revealed to have been named Evelyn by his birth parents.
- Mr. Krupp, aka Captain Underpants, is named Benny.
- In Little Women, Laurie's actual first name is Theodore. That's not bad in itself, but considering that his friends used to call him "Dora", it's not surprising that he went with a variation of his last name, Lawrence.
- Good Omens: Pepper's full name is Pippin Galadriel Moonchild, a relic from her mother's hippie phase. Don't call her that, though.
- Harry Potter's Nymphadora Tonks, "who prefers to be known by her surname only" ("So would you if your fool of a mother had called you 'Nymphadora'"). While her mother Andromeda presumably uses this first name, and her father calls her "Dora," everyone else uses Tonks.
- Robinette Broadhead is the male protagonist of Frederik Pohl's Heechee Saga.
- Terry Pratchett likes this trope.
- Ermintrude from Nation changes her name to "Daphne" at the first possible opportunity.
- Pratchett also likes inversions, e.g. Agnes in Discworld and Kirsty in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, both of whom are disappointed by their very ordinary-sounding names and insist on going by others.
- Moist von Lipwig. He's learned to live with it, though, and Adora Belle comments that it must be his real name because nobody would choose it for their false name.
- And his other half, Adora Belle Dearheart.
- One Man Bucket in Reaper Man. He comes from a tribe where they name you after the first thing your mother sees when you're born, and his full name is One Man Pouring A Bucket Of Water Over Two Dogs. It's his slightly older twin brother you really have to feel sorry for, though.
Windle Poons: Don't tell me, "Two Dogs Fighting"?
One Man Bucket
: Two Dogs Fighting? He'd have given his right arm to be called Two Dogs Fighting
- The very end of The Sherwood Ring reveals that Pat Thorn's real first name is one of these — Peaceable, named after his ancestor.
- The protagonist and titular characters of Percy Jackson and the Olympians attends by Percy, as his first name is Perseus, ironically, named after a demigod that is disliked by his father Poseidon
- The 1632 series features three kids whose parents were hippies, and thus are all named after Tolkien characters (Faramir, Gwaihir and Elrond); their father later sobers up a bit and gives them the pseudonyms of Frank, Gerry and Ron so they don't get beaten up at school.
- The War Against the Chtorr. Colonel Badass Elizabeth Tirelli is always referred to by her nickname Lizard (a pun on 'Liz'), even by her boyfriend.
- In The Wheel of Time:
- Tomboy Min Farshaw hates her full name, Elmindreda, which is most notorious as a folklore character who is shallow and flighty — not to mention very, very girly.
- Another example is Zarine "Faile" Bashere, who hates her first name because to her it's a name for a woman who reclines on cushions while eating grapes. Her chosen name means Falcon.
- In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, Lieutenant Koudelka ("Kou" to his friends) and Miss Droushnakovi ("Drou" to her friends) are embarrassed at their wedding when they have to publically admit to their first names, Clement and Ludmilla. (Drou continues to go by her nickname even though she chooses to take her husband's last name)
- The title character of Yann Martel's Life of Pi is named Piscine Molitor Patel (after a swimming pool in France that his uncle greatly admires). He shortens this to Pi Patel to escape the inevitable schoolyard taunts about "Piscine" sounding like "pissing."
- Slartibartfast of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's not so much embarrassing as just "not important".
- Witch Week takes place in a world where witchcraft is a serious crime. Dulcinea Pilgrim is a girl who is named after the most famous witch in history, so it's small wonder she goes by "Nan" and has asked the headmistress of her school to keep her real name a secret. Of course, the headmistress forgets....
- As L.A. Confidential says: "They stick you with a name like 'Wendell', you look for an alias."
- Diana Gabaldon has a few examples:
- As if "Percy" wasn't silly enough, Lord John's lover/stepbrother in Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade isn't actually named Percival, but Perseverance.
- In An Echo In The Bone, we meet brothers Herman and Vermin. This trope is speculated upon. A little more excusable given that they are in actuality the sisters Hermione and Ermintrude. And in A Breath Of Snow And Ashes, Roger christens a little girl, who the family name in his honor... Rogerina.
- In Beyond the Magic Sphere, the main character's name is S.B. Fields. She refuses to tell anyone her real first name, which turns out to be Strawberry.
- Gratuity "Tip" Tucci in The True Meaning of Smekday. Gratuity's mom wasn't all that bright, and didn't know what the word Gratuity meant.
- The male lead in David Palmer's Emergence tells the narrator, with a suggestive smirk, "Just call me Adam." She thinks that's pretty cheesy (they're both eleven years old), but doesn't blame him nearly so much after she finds out his parents christened him "Melville Winchester Higginbotham Grosvenor Penobscot-Jones IV."
- In Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer, the title character changes her name to Hope at the age of 13. She absolutely hated her original name: Tulip.
- In The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tiler by Gene Kemp, Tyke often refers to one teacher using "my real name, the one I hated", without saying what it is. At the very end, we learn it's Theodora.
- To quote The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, "There was once a boy named Eustace Clarence Scrubb. And he almost deserved it."
- Doctrine of Labyrinths: Mild-may-your-suffering-be-at-the-hands-of-the-wicked. (His mother got religion.) He goes by Mildmay.
- He also mentions knowing a prostitute originally named "Fly-from-fornication-and-blasphemy"; apparently, "Butterfly" went over better with her clients.
- Corbie apparently isn't too happy about having been named "Gartrett," either.
- One The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novel mentions, in passing, a former classmate of Mma Makutsi's, whose parents saddled him with a name meaning "Look out, the police have arrived" in Setswana. Apparently, he tried very hard to get people to call him something else...
But names, like false allegations, stick, and he had gone through life with this unfortunate burden, reminded of it every time he had to fill out an official form; looking away so that the person examining the form could be given the opportunity to smile, which they all did.
- In the Inspector Morse detective novels by Colin Dexter, Morse refuses to tell anyone his first name: the closest he comes is when he jokes that it's Inspector. Only in the penultimate book in the series is it revealed that his name is Endeavour.
- Freakonomics examines the Real Life case study of NYPD officer Loser Lane and (to a lesser extent) his brother Winner. In regards to the former, "Although he never hid his name, people were uncomfortable using it. 'So I have a bunch of names,' he says today, 'from Jimmy to James to whatever they want to call you. But they rarely call you Loser.' Once in a while, he said, 'they throw a French twist on it: ‘Losier.’' To his cop friends he is known as Lou."
- For added Irony, his brother Winner is notable for his impressive criminal record.
- Lucifer C. Dye is the protagonist of The Fools in Town Are on Our Side by Ross Thomas. He would go by his middle name, but that's "Clarence."
- Nonopherian Fisk from the Knight and Rogue Series, who's so strictly on a last name basis that his Heterosexual Life Partner has to learn his first name from his sister.
- Lupe dy Cazaril, the protagonist of The Curse of Chalion. The book has a fantasy setting where naming conventions aren't quite as we know them, but it's clear that "Lupe" is considered embarrassing In-Universe both because the protagonist doesn't use it unless he has to and because of the other characters' reactions when it does come out.
- It means "wolf" and people used to make fun of him by howling like wolves.
- In Keys to the Kingdom, the main character's best friends in his new school are called 'Leaf' and 'Branch'. Branch goes by 'Ed' instead.
- In the YA vampire novel Team Human, the protagonist, Mel, tells us fairly early that her name is not short for Melanie and she's not going to tell us what it is short for, except that it was arrived at in the same spirit of experimentation that saw her brother named "Lancelot". Eventually her best friend gives her a Full Name Ultimatum and reveals it to be Mellifluous.
- The protagonist from Anna Dressed in Blood is "Theseus Cassio Lowood"—a name that came from his father's love of Greek Mythology and his mother's love of Shakespeare. He insists people call him "Cas".
- Theodor Fontane's Der Stechlin has two examples.
- Dubslav von Stechlin, the main character, hates his first name because it is a name atypical of Brandenburg (the province of Prussia in which he lives) and typical of the neighbouring province of Pomerania.
- Czech supporting character Nils Wrschowitz dislikes his first name partly because it is Northern Germanic and does not fit with his Slavic surname, but more importantly because his father named him after the 19th century Danish composer Nils Gade, whom he, as a very pronounced Wagnerian, has come to detest. Wrschowitz thus went to the effort of earning a doctorate in music so that he could print "Dr. Wrschowitz" on his calling-cards without the embarrassing first name. In the novel he is shown so touchy about his first name that people are advised not to mention anything or anybody Scandinavian in his presence as he will suspect you of obliquely reminding him of his Danish first name!
- Melvin O'Neal, better known as Boots, from Gordon Korman's Macdonald Hall series.
- The title character of Horatio Hornblower thinks his first name is pompous and ludicrous, and nicknames just make it worse. He uses simply "H." as a signature on personal correspondence.
- Security Officer V. Stelmach from Deathstalker. Much speculation on behalf of Captain John Silence and Investigator Frost as to what the V Stands for. Turns out it stands for "Valiant," and he's somewhat ashamed that he hasn't lived up to his name, ending up only a Security Officer (rather like a political officer.) His similarly-named siblings have all made much greater strides towards living up to their names than he has.
- It's a mild example, but Mr. London from Dinoverse gets annoyed when his students call him Bob. One of his students, upon discovering this, introduces him to people by saying they should call him that.
- In The Year Of The Rat two of the characters' faithful cows are named no less than Disease and Death, because they took part in a half-ritual carnival involving the banishment of disease and death.
- Idlewild: Doom the vampire. Aloysius Doom.
- The Duchess of Abrantès devotes a long paragraph of her Mémoires to saying how she thinks her husband's first name (Andoche, a very rare Burgundian first name) was ridiculous and didn't even rhyme with anything besides brioche. She makes a point of only calling him by his last name afterwards.
- Stacey of The Baby-Sitters Club doesn't reveal her real first name (Anastasia) to the rest of the club until Book 13. Whenever it's mentioned thereafter, its either because she's in trouble or as a source of hilarity.
Live Action TV
- Angel: Lorne's full name is "Krevlornswath" in his native dimension, and even he isn't too fond of the shortened nickname. (He has green skin, which apparently made some people think of Lorne Greene from Bonanza).
- iCarly: "Fredward" Benson. No wonder he goes by "Freddy".
- Bill McNeal from NewsRadio was actually Evelyn William McNeal.
- Late in the show's run, Vera reveals that Norm's first name is Hillary; not only did the name sound embarrassing, he was named after his grandfather who "once killed a man for laughing at him". (When Cliff asks him if that story about his grandfather is true, Norm replies, "Not exactly – he was a surgeon and he sort of botched an operation.")
- Carla's boyfriend Eddie's real name is Guy. Pronounced "Ghee."
- In one episode Carla's mother insists that Carla follow the family tradition of naming one of her sons after her (Carla's) father with her mother's maiden as the middle name. Problem: Carla's father's name was Benito and her mother's maden name was Mussolini. In the end her son Gino agrees to change his name legally, while keeping Gino as a nickname.
- Night Court:
- In one episode, Dan Fielding reveals that his real name is Reinhold (the creator of the show was Reinhold Weege.) Also, Fielding is actually his middle name; his real last name is Elmore. (The guy who tells everyone this in the episode also mentions that Dan played the accordion as a child. The guy really didn't like him.)
- When Mac and Quon Li's daughter is born, she wants to name her after the storybook horse Flicka. They make it her middle name after Renee.
- MacGyver always seemed embarrassed by his first name. Even former lovers only ever called him "MacGyver" (his grandfather called him "bud"). In one of the show's final episodes, his first name was revealed to be "Angus", which isn't really all that embarrassing. His embarrassment was probably based on the name originally scripted for him, which was "Stacey".
- A more infamous example is Kramer on Seinfeld, who went several seasons before finally revealing his first name was Cosmo.
- Also, Elaine dates a man who shared his name with serial killer, Joel Rifkin. After one too many embarrassing moments, he opts to change it. This leads to his breakup with Elaine as neither likes the other's choices for a new first name.
- One episode of Kids Incorporated revealed that the character who had previously been known only as "The Kid" was embarrassed by his traditional African first name, Ras'san (Also the actor's first name; with two or three exceptions, every character on the show was The Danza). After a Very Special Episode taught him not to be ashamed of his heritage, everyone started calling him Ras'san. Right up to the end of the episode, after which it was never mentioned again. The guy left the show shortly afterwards.
- Fox Mulder of The X-Files once told Scully that he made his parents call him Mulder. Interestingly, his middle name is the perfectly normal William. When his parents actually show up, though, they call him Fox — in fact pretty much everyone but Scully and the Lone Gunmen calls him Fox occasionally, and he never seems to have a problem with it.
- Doctor McKay of Stargate Atlantis prefers to be addressed by his middle name, Rodney, because his first name is Meredith. Strangely his teammates don't know it; you'd expect that it would've been in his file, unless he had it legally changed. Good luck getting his sister to stop calling him that, though. An Alternate Reality McKay goes a step further and prefers to be called Rod. Then again alternate-McKay is so damn awesome that maybe he goes by Meredith but his reputation precedes him enough for everyone to call him Rod, if you know what I mean. The McKay from the main timeline laments that he could never get anyone to call him "Rod."
- Jesse's real first name on Full House was Hermes. He had it changed in Kindergarten.
- In one episode of Married... with Children a male stripper who calls himself Raul admits to Al that his actual name is "Wilbur" when he returns Marcy's wedding ring (after she lost it while tipping him).
- One of the murder victims in The Conditions of Great Detectives is called Kabuko which means "child of turnip".
- Inspector Morse's first name was not revealed for some time on the show, because he was embarrassed about it. Even lovers only called him "Morse". His first name was eventually revealed to be Endeavour. This practice has a history with him: one of his college friends from Oxford reveals that his nickname all through school was "Pagan", because he refused to give his Christian name.
- Boycie in Only Fools and Horses is actually named Aubrey Boyce. Even his wife calls him Boycie.
- There's an episode of The Wonder Years in which one of the characters is challenged to find out the name of the school psycho. Eventually he discovers the guy's name is Florence. Hence the craziness.
- Dr. Cox of Scrubs has the first name Perry. This isn't notable (and probably not said) until you know that he hates apparently 'gay' names like Quinn or, well, Perry.
- His first name is actually revealed to be Percival, for which Perry is short.
- Gay Perry? Does that remind anybody of anything?
- And in the most recent season, Perry's full name is revealed to be Percival Ulysses Cox.
- Uncle Phil from Mad About You thought he was dying and made the Buchmans promise to name their first son after him. He then revealed that his real first name was "Deuteronomy". He didn't hold them to their promise.
- When his "dying" proved to be a false alarm, he revealed that his reasoning was sound if a little odd-Deuteronomy is such an unusual name that there would never be any of the confusion in child identification that so plagues the parents who were foolish enough to name their child "Joe".
- Later they ended up naming their daughter Mabel, which it could be argued was a lateral move at best.
- Due South's second Ray goes by his middle name; his name is actually Stanley Kowalski. His father "had a thing for Marlon Brando." The themed naming is exacerbated by an ex-wife named Stella.
- In one episode of Life Support, the character Penne finally gets her revenge on her parents for giving her an awful name by sending them to Germany and getting them arrested under its strict child-naming legislation.
- On the show Boy Meets World, Mr. Feeny reveals Cory's real name in the series finale.
Mr. Feeny: So, Mr. Matthews...
Cory: You think we've known each other long enough for you to call me Cory?
Mr. Feeny: I think we've known each other long enough for me to call you Cornelius.
Cory: Ssh! Mr. Feeny, come on! Not even Topanga knows that!
- Another episode showed Feeny knowing the real name of professional wrestler Vader as Leslie (Although it's actually Leon in Real Life...) Amy Matthews also refers to him as Francis at one point, and he doesn't correct her.
- Myron Lawrence Finkelstein fron Dharma and Greg, who usually goes by his middle name.
- Adam Klaus in Jonathan Creek turns out to be using a stage name when his older sister Kitty arrives and refers to him exclusively as Chester, not a name with much credibility for a stage illusionist. (Kitty's Scottish accent throws suspicions on Adam's supposed American-ness as well.)
- Andy (a girl) in Kyle XY, who lets everyone believe that her name is short for Andrea... it's actually short for Andromeda.
- Lt. Provenza of The Closer has yet to reveal his first name. ("What's your first name?" "Lieutenant.")
- An affadavit later shows his full name as "Louie M. Provenza."
- Peter Falk gave the same answer when asked what Columbo's first name was. (A close-up of a badge seen in the second episode reveals it to be "Frank," though this wasn't clear until the show came out on DVD.)
- Absolutely Fabulous: Eurydice Colette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone.
- In Friends Chandler's first name is considered embarrassing, though not so embarrassing that he doesn't use it. In one episode, they name one of Phoebe's brother's triplets after him:
Chandler: So uh, now that little Chandler turned out to be a girl, what are they gonna name her?
Phoebe: They're gonna call her Chandler.
Chandler: That's kind of a masculine name, don't you think?
Phoebe: Works on you.
- He also has an embarrassing last name:
Chandler: From now on, I have no first name.
Joey: So - you're just Bing?
Chandler: I have no name.
- Not to mention his middle name. In short, the reason Chandler uses his first name is because it's the least embarrassing of his embarrassing names.
Ross: "Chandler Muriel Bing. Boy, your parents never even gave you a chance, did they?"
- As per the quote at the top of the page, Ross and Rachel discuss the name of their as-of-yet unborn child. They agree beforehand that if the other person doesn't like the name, for whatever reason, they can "veto" the name. The argument goes on for long enough that eventually Phoebe pipes up with "Is it just me, or is 'Vito' starting to sound really good?"
- On The Pretender, Dark Action Girl Miss Parker once threatened to shoot someone who was about to reveal her first name (hardly an empty threat). Her first name is unknown to this day, though it might be Angel.
- Get Smart's Chief unwillingly reveals his first name, Thaddeus, under oath.
Maxwell Smart: Hymie?
Hymie: My father's name was Hymie.
- On Desperate Housewives, Mike and Susan name their son Maynard, after Mike's deceased grandfather. Susan's not happy about this and would have preferred Connor, afraid for what her poor son will have to suffer through in school. They compromise by calling him MJ (the 'J' standing for "James", the name of Mike's other grandfather).
- All in the Family - Archie's given name is Archibald Bunker.
- The Vicar of Dibley Geraldine Granger's actual first name is revealed to be Boadecea, although this is inconsistent with the later revelation that her name is actually Geraldine Julie Andrews Dick Van Dyke Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Chim Chiminey Chim Chiminey Chim Chim Cher-ee Granger.
- Doc Cochran from Deadwood has the first name of Amos. He won't allow Merrick to print it in the vaccine announcement.
- Beulah Lisa Wilkes, Will's once-fiancee on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
- In The Nanny, C.C. Babcock's real name is Chastity Claire.
- Dr. Leslie Arzt from LOST
- Power Rangers Ninja Storm has Waldo Brooks — known as "Dustin" to his friends.
- Cappie from GREEK. We know that his real first name is embarrassing for a long time before we learn what it actually is; eventually it's revealed that his full name is Captain John Paul Jones, thus making Captain his first name.
- It's hard to tell if the real name of The Kid in the cowboy drama The Young Riders is embarrassing, but we can assume so, given the lengths he goes to to conceal it. After he whispers it to his friend, Teaspoon, who's officiating at his wedding to another of the Riders, Lou (Louise), Teaspoon looks perplexed and aghast before deciding just to go with Kid instead. Must have been bad!
- Sully in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman goes by his last name all the time. His first name is Byron. Even his dead wife, in her sole appearance in Mike's dream, calls him Sully, although that may be a reflection of how Mike thinks of him.
- Most of the characters from Are You Being Served?. Mr. Humphries's full name is "Wilberforce Clayborne Humphries". Mr. Harman's first name is "Beverly". Mr. Rumbold's first name is "Cuthbert". Mr. Lucas's first name is "Dick", which everyone else seems to find hysterical.
- In NCIS, Leroy Jethro Gibbs.
- JAG: Harmon Rabb, known as Harm to his friends. Also Albert Jethro Chegwidden.
- In Doctor Who, Dorothy Gale McShane prefers going by 'Ace,' possibly because she doesn't think an Action Girl should be called Dorothy.
- Firefly has fearless transport pilot Hoban. Hoban Washburne, that is, better known as "Wash". As he explains in the Serenity novelization, "Why would anyone call themselves Hoban?" The trope is notably averted by Jayne, who seems manly enough to pull off a name that sounds exactly like "Jane."
River: Jayne is a girl's name.
Jayne: Well, Jayne ain't a girl! If she starts in on that girl's name thing, I'll show her good and all I got man parts.
Simon: I'm trying to think of a way for you to be cruder. I just... It's not coming.
- William Andrew Phillip Bodie, in The Professionals only ever went by the name "Bodie".
- In Mr. Belvedere, the title character's first name is Lynn.
- In A Touch of Frost, Detective Inspector Frost is known to all and sundry by the obvious nickname of Jack, despite his real name being the normal-sounding William. He prefers it that way.
- Glee: "And then I thought of the best baby name ever: Drizzle." Jackie Daniels was also in the running.
- To be clear, they don't actually end up naming the baby Drizzle; they name her Beth.
- Baby Sinclare of Dinosaurs is named 'Ah Ah I'm Dying You Idiot' by the Great Elder just before he drops dead. The new Elder decides that 'Baby' is a much better name.
- In the Korean drama series My Lovely Sam-soon, a major part of the series is devoted to Kim Sam-soon's embarrassment about the name "Sam-soon", which roughly means "Third daughter".
- Sam-soon isn't weird because of its meaning. In Korean the meaning of a name doesn't really matter in Korean. Any name with either 'Sam' or 'Soon,' is considered either embarrassing or old-fashion.
- Samsoon can also mean 'thirty years,' and the character Kim Samsoon is thirty years old.
- Samantha Spade acknowledged in Without a Trace that her mother named her after the Maltese Falcon character.
- We don't know what Angela's real name was on Bones, but she renamed herself as an adult. Judging by her dad's attempt to name her son Staccato Mamba, it had to be rather odd.
- CSI D.B. Russell-one word: Diebenkorn.
- Punky Brewster's actual first name was Penelope. When the baliff in the debut story arc "Punky Gets A Home" announces it in a custody trial, she interrupts and insists on being announced as Punky.
- From Teen Wolf, we don't actually know Stiles' real first name, but his lacrosse coach knows, and he's sure that it constitutes child abuse. ('Stiles' derives from his last name, Stilinski.)
- Leonard Hofstadter from The Big Bang Theory once revealed he hates his first name, because the last syllable sounds like "nerd". To make things worse, his middle name is Leakey (after Louis Leakey, the famous anthropologist his father used to work with and has nothing to do with his history of bed-wetting).
- Also, Sheldon's father apparently thought this about Sheldon.
Sheldon (re-telling a fight between his parents): "Stop yelling! You're making Sheldon cry!" - "I'll tell you what's making Sheldon cry: that I let you name him Sheldon!"
- Spike in Flashpoint tries to avoid mentioning his real name if he can help it. Though Parker calls him by it when he gets cocky. It's Michelangelo.
- In Boardwalk Empire, Enoch Thompson is called "Nucky" by everyone. In the first episode, when a woman says that she would like to name her child after him, he responds: "Enoch? You couldn't possibly be that cruel."
- The Conners' old friend Ziggy on Roseanne was named Norbert. Even worse, his mom used to call him Norby.
- Rizzoli & Isles: Det. Frost's first name is Barold. He normally goes by Barry.
- Wizards of Waverly Place: Herschel Larritate? Seriously?
- Lab Rats: Principal Perry's first name is Terry, noting that she is female.
- Magnum, P.I.: Rick Wright refuses to go by his real first name of Orville in the present day, as in the show's very first episode, Magnum has to threaten to reveal it to all of Hawaii to get Rick to cooperate with him. However, this was not always the case: flashbacks show that he answered to it without any problems while serving in Vietnam.
- In Saved by the Bell, a visiting ex-girlfriend greets Slater as "Albert Clifford." When his friends repeat the name incredulously, he grimaces and says, "That's why I shortened it to 'A.C.'"
- The World Ends with You:
- "Beat"'s true first name, "Daisukenojo", is so stupid, Neku wasn't even able to recognize it as a name when he first heard it (he thought 777 was cursing at Beat). What's especially painful for him is that it's just a more sucky version of the perfectly nice Japanese name "Daisuke". Had his parents just held back the last two kana, they would have saved him a lot of suffering.
- Resident Manipulative Bastard Mr. Kitaniji counts as well. His first name is Megumi, which is a unisex name, but it's more typically used as a girl's name than as a boy's. The manga based upon the game goes further, implying that the childhood trauma of being teased for having a girl's name was one of the driving reason behind Kitaniji's ultimate goal.
Konishi: "But I thought you hated your name due to getting picked on about it sounding feminine?"
Kitaniji: "Konishi! Salt. Wounds. Stop."
- In Fallout 3 there's an NPC soldier who uses the code name "Captain Gallows". No one in the Brotherhood of Steel (not even in the Lyon's Pride ) knows his real name, to the point where there's a large betting pool for whoever finds the name. If the player has a high enough speech skill then they can convince him to reveal that his real name is Irving.
- In Fallout: New Vegas DLC Honest Hearts, if you ask Joshua Graham on the origins of Caesar's Legion he'll mention Caesar's real name: Edward.
- Nagisa (a male cop) from Battle Arena Toshinden 3 gets teased by Tracy for his girly first name, and he hates it.
- In Paper Mario, your final partner is a Lakitu who prefers to be called "Spike", but is really named Lakilester.
- In Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, slow-witted skating burnout Crash's real name is Gaylord Ootbagh. Ouch.
- In Sin and Punishment, the main male character is named Saki which is a feminine first name. It doesn't help that his styled hair makes him look like a girl.
- The main protagonist of Tales of Vesperia is named Yuri Lowell. Yes, it's a Russian name (roughly the equivalent of "George"), but still...
- Many gamers and anime fans are probably familiar with Yuri Lowenthal, and if not that, then Yuri from Dirty Pair would also have desensitized them to the name.
- And for a certain group, there's Yuri Hyuga. His mother was passing as Russian.
- The Final Boss of the SNK crossover fighting game Neo Geo Battle Coliseum is named Goodman. Yes, Goodman. Doesn't that just strike fear into the hearts of men?
- The male lead is named Yuki, as well. For the record, that is pretty much exclusively feminine.
- This is coming from SNK, which named one of the most difficult bosses in video gaming... Geese. After a while, you forget how weird it sounds.
- Emperor Tachyon, the Big Bad from Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools Of Destruction.
Ratchet: Your name is Percival?!
- While it's never really touched on in either the games or the anime (probably because it wasn't an issue in the original Japanese), the male Magma Admin in Pokemon Ruby And Sapphire/Emerald has the decidedly feminine name "Tabitha". Similarly, the manga-only Aqua Admin (both Team Magma and Team Aqua have two male admins in the manga as opposed to the one in the games and anime) is named "Amber".
- Otacon from Metal Gear Solid prefers to be addressed by his nickname, as he claims to dislike his actual name, "Hal". Somehow being named after the supercomputer from 2001: A Space Odyssey is more embarrassing than choosing the abbreviation for "Otaku Convention" as your nickname. Go figure.
- Ironically, as soon as he becomes romantically attracted to Naomi Hunter in MGS4, he insists that she call him Hal. Which she does.
- This becomes a huge Tear Jerker when she later dies and then afterwards post-humously leaves an encoded message in which she rather lovingly addresses him and says her final good-byes.
- Pecker the monkaw from Jak and Daxter. He blames it on the fact that his mother was "very vindictive." You gotta wonder what Pecker did as a baby to make his mother name him that.
- He probably had a dickish personality
- Samantha "Sam" Pearce of Backyard Sports hates being called "Samantha."
- Hisui Hearts of Tales of Hearts, whose name is a girl's in Japanese and translates to the equally feminine "Jade". For some reason, Hisui himself is only called out on this passingly (in a sidequest where the revelation of his name tears down a badass bruiser image he'd built), and his predecessor Jade Curtiss in Tales of the Abyss not at all.
- Boo Hooly in Dragon Quest Heroes Rocket Slime.
- Halo Wars' title screen text scroll claims:
Nobody knows the Arbitor's given name is 'Shirley'.
- In, L.A. Noire, your partner during the Homicide cases is Rusty Galloway, and hates being called by his real first name, Finbarr.
"I don't care if you were knocked a bit loopy, you don't call me 'Finbarr.'"
- The Player Character in Shoot Many Robots is named Pickles Walter Tugnutt, but he just goes by his middle name.
- In Mass Effect 3, Jacob Taylor (assuming he survived the second game) is starting a family. Since you saved their lives, his girlfriend wants to name the baby after you. The problem is, your first name is player chosen, so the baby's name would end up as Shepard Taylor.
Jacob: I'm gonna talk her out of it. No offense.
- According to the Mass Effect Datapad App, the poor kid's name ended up being even worse since Brynn instead opted to name her after Admiral Hackett. Hopefully Jacob was able to talk her out of naming their daughter Hackett Taylor.
- Since Shepard's first name is player-chosen, and thus never spoken by any of the cast, the player could invoke this trope by giving their Shepard a truly embarrassing first name (and given the senses of humor of most gamers, it's probably happened more often than not.)
- The player character in Freelancer usually goes by his last name Trent, as opposed to Edison. When he's introduced by his full name, he's quick to assert "It's just Trent."
- In Ar tonelico, gunman Jack Hamilton decided to change his name after leaving the Teru Tribe. His real name? Harmonica.
- In El Goonish Shive, rabid feminist Susan's full name is Tiffany Susan Pompoms.
- In General Protection Fault, Trudy Trueheart's original name (She had it legally changed) is Moonbeam Gertrude Glowerhausen. (Hippie parents, y'see.) Anyone who learned this information would not live long enough to share it.
- Roast Beef of Achewood was initially believed to be a girl when he was born, so his parents gave him the name of Cassandra. No wonder he became The Woobie.
- From Gunnerkrigg Court, George Parley. It's embarrassing because she's a girl. Her father was a famous psychic who filled out the birth certificate before she was even born and got everything right except the gender, but they found the whole thing so funny that they didn't bother to change it.
- Fox Maharassa in Boy Meets Boy is actually named Kailen. This is also his Berserk Button, as demonstrated here.
- In a Questionable Content strip, it is revealed Raven's first name is Blodwyn (her parents are Welsh), prompting amused reactions.
- Richard from Looking for Group doesn't really hide his first name, but he still tries to confuse anyone who'd ask him by concealing it in a hurricane of nicknames. And of course, calling him Dick is just asking for being fwooshed.
- Riffington (a.k.a Riff) from Sluggy Freelance.
- Another Gaming Comic brings us "Joe Chaos", who's actual name is Irving. Not so bad. Then we have Dang, who's name eventually turns out to be Davros.
- In Freakangels, KK's real name is Kolfinnia Kokokoho. Considering that Kolfinnia means winter in some Norse language and Kokokoho means Night Owl in Japanese, it's actually a well intended name. Of course, that dosen't stop KK from being extremely angry at anyone who calls her that.
- Darklight from The Heroes of Middlecenter uses Darklight to cover up her real name, which is... Daffodil.
- Blossom from Rhapsodies has the first name of Petronilla. While she doesn't go out of her way to keep it a secret she prefers that it's only known as an initial. There is also Clarence Gage.
- Marion Mighty from Everyday Heroes used to go by "Marko". These days, his wife just calls him "Em".
- Although Kestrel from Queen of Wands isn't ashamed of her name, twelve years of public school convince her not to let her friends name their daughter after her.
- Ash Upton of Misfile whose real first name was Ashley even before the titular Misfile turned him into a girl.
- Somewhat justified... "Ashley" used to be a masculine name before it was predominantly feminized late in the 20th century.
- The eponymous Hanna of Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name doesn't seem to be embarrassed at all by his name, but the question of why he wouldn't go by his middle name to avoid confusion is answered when his full name is revealed to be Hanna Falk Cross.
- The protagonist of Nuzlocke Comics simply goes by "Ruby". It's not until he receives a letter in the middle of the Pokémon White playthrough that you learn his first name is Ruberto.
- In Whats Shakin, the evil fire god's name is Fred. This is lampshaded with the heros saying, "Wow, worst villain name ever!"
- Dr. Jeremiah Cook despises his first name, largely because his mother gave it to him and he doesn't like her very much.
- Tessa's adoptive parents named her "Angel" (ironically); she had it changed when she was an angsty teenager.
- Nathan from Electric Wonderland almost never goes by his real name for reasons the comic hasn't gone into much detail about. Most people call him, "NJ" (which he once said stood for "NinJa"). Aerynn calls him, "Nate," since she had discovered that to be his real name (his official bio also lists it as such), but he doesn't like being called that either.
- In Educomix, Headmaster Poppington's first name is Dooby, and Spikeclops' first name is Spikeclopstopher.
- Dicebox: Molly's first (and legal) name is Benecia. The cost of not responding to it is that she has to wait twice as long in the course of official things such as reregistering to be a citizen, because she has to go back and put her name on the list again. For a routine interview consisting of five questions.