"The idea, as I understood it, was to give a kid a nickname appropriate to his appearance or eccentricity of behavior, the crueler the better. A kid with warts, for example, might be known as 'Toad' or 'Frog' or simply 'Warty.' In the course of time, the warts might vanish, but the nickname would remain, continuing its work of warping the kid's personality and kicking holes in his psyche. Nicknames were fun."It may be a nickname with a horribly embarrassing story behind it or something family members or lovers use only when they're alone (in which case it overlaps with Affectionate Nickname). It often describes a character's appearance or lack of ability in one area or another. Sexual prowess (or endowment) is a common one. Because it is embarrasing it can be a Berserk Button. This is not always a comedy trope; the backstory behind the nickname can also apply to a harrowing event from the character's past like a tragic mistake they made - they simply need to be ashamed of the nickname they are now burdened with. Sub-Trope of In-Series Nickname. Appropriated Appellation is this trope defied. May overlap with Do Not Call Me Paul. See also Accidental Misnaming, Atrocious Alias, Malicious Misnaming, Nobody Calls Me Chicken, Embarrassing First Name, Insistent Terminology.
— Patrick McManus, "The Last Flight of Homer Pidgin"
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Kei and Yuri are officially codenamed the Lovely Angels. However, due to their unfortunate and accidental tendency to leave a place MUCH worse then it was when they arrived, they've earned their infamous and much-better-known nickname: the Dirty Pair.
- In Transformers Energon, the Alpha Quintesson is called "Alpha Q" for short. Say it out loud a few times...
- Early in the first season of Code Geass, Lelouch uses his Geass on Knight Jeremiah Gottwald, making him do very dishonorable things and then calling him "Orange", just to throw the investigators off track. The nickname sticks, however, and nearly drives Jeremiah mad later but he learns to not give a damn by the second season, shortly before ascending to godhood of Undying Loyalty.
- As for Lelouch, his friends at Ashford frequently call him "Loulou"... though he doesn't seem to be bothered by this.
- Kyohei Kadota from Durarara!! was given the nickname "Dotachin" by Izaya, whom he despises as well as the nickname. His friend Erika will occasional reffer to him as Dotachin getting a mix of responses back.
- Call Shizuo Heiwajima "Shizu-chan". I dare you.
- In Slayers, Lina Inverse's closely guarded secret is that her official nickname is "Pink Sorceress". It was actually supposed to be a magical title akin to Red Baron but she is extremely embarrassed about the "pink" part.
- Lina has lots of others that go with her awful reputation. Among them are "Bandit Killer" and "Dragon Spooker". Call her by any of them and you can consider yourself dead.
- Nana Mizuha in Cahe Detective Club is named the "Demon Lord of Guttony'' because of her Big Eater habits.
- Fushigi Yuugi's Tamahome was called "Obake-chan"/"Little Ghost" in childhood thanks to the character on his forehead. When Tasuki figured that out and used it to refer to Tamahome, he got sent to orbit. No, really.
- In Mahou Sensei Negima!, the K in Evangeline A.K. McDowell's name stands for Katherine, but Albireo Imma shortens it to "Kitty". She doesn't like it at all.
- And Rakan refers to her by the even more embarrassing Loli Grandma. Her next spell comes close to 'accidentally' killing him.
- Allen Walker in D.Gray-Man is, if you ask Kanda, named "Moyashi" ("Beansprout," in English). He does not appreciate this, and the nickname is one of the reasons Kanda is one of the only people in existence Allen can't get along with.
- Not that he cannot hit it back to Kanda by calling him by the first name.
- If a character meets Yachiru, they'll usually end up with an Embarrassing Nickname. Orihime is "Jiggles", Rangiku is "Boobs", Uryuu is Pencil, and Ikkaku is Pachinko-Head. Aramaki is variously called Maki-Maki or Whiskers, and doesn't like either.
- Hitsugaya hates being called "Shirou-chan" by Hinamori but has the grace not to retaliate with the nickname he used to give when they were younger, which was "Bedwetter Momo".
- Mashiro calls Ichigo 'Berry-tan'.
- Kyon from Haruhi Suzumiya hates it when people don't call him by his real name, but he can't be bothered to change that. He never does mention his real name either way, throughout the 9 novels, and the preview of the 10th novel. And the anime, the songs, CD, games, etc. In the 9th novel, Sasaki points this out rather blatantly, and teases the readers with Kyon, by claiming it's a royal and imposing name.
- Dawn in Pokémon hates to be called "Dee Dee", a reference to an unfortunate childhood incident with a Plusle & Minun. Once we find this out, Kenny looks less playful and more cruel, both by the fact that he hung the Embarrassing Nickname on her in the first place, and that he keeps using it.
- Under her original Japanese name, Hikari, the nickname was "Pikari" because of how the shock made her hair sparkle. But in the dub, she's called "Dee Dee" because the sparkles looked like "Diamond Dandruff".
- There are a couple of examples from the football manga Area no Kishi:
- In I'm Gonna Be an Angel! Mikael totally hates when people misspell his name, calling him 'Kaeru-san' (Mr Frog) and he always tries to correct them. His teacher, Raphael on the other, doesn't seem to mind at all being called 'Haeru-san' (Mr Growing Out)
- In Zoids/0 Bit Cloud starts calling the Tigers/Saberfangs Team "Fuzzy Pandas". Somehow, the nickname sticks whenever Bit and the Blitz Team run into them, and the team itself goes on an emotional roller coaster ride best described as comic relief for the rest of the series. In a Crowning Moment of Funny, towards the end, the Saberfangs face off one more time against two members of Blitz Team...and the Judge Bot refers to the Saberfangs as the "Fuzzy Pandas Team". All the Saberfang Zoids Face Fault as one and are KO'd as a result.
- Jiraiya from Naruto is at first annoyed when Naruto calls him Ero-sennin, but almost immediately thereafter, allows him to do it when they are alone. But he still gets annoyed when Naruto does it in front of others.
- In Eyeshield 21, Agon's nickname for Unsui is "Unko-chan", which can mean "Little Shit" or "Girly Little Un".
- It's part of the series title, but Barnaby really doesn't like being referred to as "Bunny"/"L'il Bunny"/"Bunny-chan" by his crime-fighting partner Kotetsu in Tiger & Bunny. He eventually chooses to give up on complaining about it but he never accepts it completely.
- Its embarrassingness is so extreme it can apparently restore Barnaby's memories of Kotetsu after they'd been forcibly wiped by the series Big Bad via a NEXT power
- Hilariously though it seems the name has caught on, enough for the mechanic who maintains Barnaby's hi-tech suit to add a rabbit-shaped logo onto it.
- In anohana: The Flower We Saw That Day, a girl named Naruko is nicknamed "Anaru" as a child, a contraction and shuffling of her first and last names. As a teenager, she's incredibly embarrassed by it. Why, you ask? Remember, in Japanese, there's no difference between a "l" and a "r"...
- One minor character in Kyou Kara Ore wa!! got the nickname of "Perizoma Mask" due an unluckily placed bandage he received as part of Mitsuhashi's realization he could stand up to bullies (not that Mitsuhashi remembers how he realized that or that he ruined Perizoma Mask's life).
- In HeartCatch Pretty Cure!, Tsubomi is given the derogatory title "The Weakest Precure in History", due to the fact that, when she first transforms, she spent the entire moment just running and flailing.
- Yutaka Itazu in Eden of the East got his nickname of "Panties" due to him becoming a total recluse who walks around only in a shirt and underwear after losing his only pair of pants.
- In Kyoukai no Kanata, Hiromi calls Akihito "Akkey". He gets embarrassed by that, mainly because it sounds like a nickname of a washed-up idol to him.
- In Saki Shinohayu -dawn of age-, Kousuke, Shino's uncle, hates it when a pawn shop clerk calls him "Richardson," since he's no longer in that band.
- In High School D×D, the Heavenly Dragons Ddraig and Albion get nicknamed "Breast Dragon Emperor" and "Butt Dragon Emperor" since their hosts Issei Hyoudou and Vali Lucifer have fetishes for breasts and butts respectively. Both dragons are so embarrassed by this that they go into a Heroic BSOD whenever it is mentioned.
- In one of the X-Wing Series comics, we see that Wedge Antilles' childhood nickname was Veggies. He doesn't seem to mind◊ when his childhood friend Mirax calls him that, although she tells him not to use her childhood nickname, Myra.
- Deliberately invoked in Strikeforce: Morituri by Pilar "Scaredycat" Lisieux and William "Scatterbrain" Deguchi; they gave each other embarrassing code names as part of a dare.
- In Nth Man: The Ultimate Ninja , Dr. Yagyu calls John "Peachy", after Momotaro the Peach Boy. John himself teases the Soviet Colonel Novikova by calling her "Novi-cakes."
- A version of the McGregor story told in the "Folklore" section below occurs in an Issue #14 of Transmetropolitan. A rather sad-looking guide talks about all the things he helped to build inside a building...and then someone calls out, "Hey! Bill Chimpfucker!"
- Then there's the first President seen in the series: known only as "The Beast" (as in we never learn his real name unlike his successor, Gary "The Smiler" Callahan). The name was given by Spider Jerusalem as an apt description of his attitude, and it apparently stuck too well, as the man himself laments: "Because of you, everyone calls me 'The Beast' now. The press, my staff, my own fucking children."
- Sonic the Hedgehog plays with this one a bit: Sonic, Knuckles and the Chaotix are introduced to Knux's baby brother. However, once they realize that the kid's gonna be nicknamed "Kneecaps", it's Knuckles who flips out after Sonic and the Chaotix (including Knuckles' girlfriend) burst out laughing.
- In the All There in the Manual "The Complete Sonic Comic Encyclopedia", it reveals that the Acorn lineage had nicknames for its kings. Of them, three of them had nicknames connected to bad choices. Those were Theodore the Bereaved (he lost his first son due to an accidental shooting), George the Foolish (nearly eradicated his own army in a foolish attack) and Maximilian the Cursed (getting hit with bad moments after bad moments after Robotnik exiled him in his coup.)
- Captain Mar-Vell would often insist he be called by his actual name and not Captain Marvel. (Despite the fact that it was the title of his own comic.)
- Daily Planet editor Perry White really hates being called "Chief".
- Matt Murdock intensely disliked being called "Daredevil" as a child (he was perceived as a bookworm by his classmates, and they called him that to be sarcastic), but through the logic of comicbooks chose to call himself just that after gaining superpowers...
- The name "Doctor Octopus" was actually originally a derogatory name that Otto Octavius' co-workers called him behind his back, a pun on his actual name inspired by the four-armed apparatus; he knew about it, but barely cared. After the accident that bonded the invention to him and granted him mental control over it, he adapted the insult as his nom de guerre as a way of showing contempt towards them.
- The Penguin's nom de guerre also began as an insult. He was teased as a child because he was fat, short, and had a big nose, not to mention that his mother insisted he always carry an umbrella, because his father died of pneumonia after being caught in the rain without one. "Penguin" was a common insult. After his mother died and her long illness cost him so much that the bank foreclosed on their store, he tried to turn to crime, only to be laughed at by a gang of thugs who used the same insult. Fed up with it all, he decided to embrace the insult; he dressed like a penguin, customized his ever-present umbrella into a high-caliber firearm, went back to the gang, gunned down their leader, and took over, completing his Start of Darkness.
- She-Hulk is usually flattered by people who call her The Jade Giantess or The Glorious Green Glamazon. However, calling her "Shulkie" is a good way to get a fat lip (or worse).
- X-Man Fabio Medina got saddled with the nickname "Goldballs" due to his power to create the same. He begged his teammates to stop using it or it'd stick. He eventually claimed it as his X-Men codename.
- A mutant named Hachiman was sent after the Geraci crime family at the time when The Punisher became their don. Because he uses an axe alongside with his mutant powers, he has gained the nickname "Hatchetman", which he resents.
- In Uncanny Avengers, Daken tells Sunfire that in Japan he's seen as an embarrassment and they gave him an appropriate nickname, "Hot Sake". This is particularly insulting because only low quality Sake is served hot; the heat helps conceal the flaws.
- Eugene Thompson's nickname "Flash" was changed into one in one of the sillier retcons during Brand New Day. Originally it had been used in reference to his prowess on the football field, now it became a reference to a case of premature ejaculation on a high-school date.
- In the Harry Potter/Dragonriders of Pern crossover The Queen Who Fell to Earth the dragons liked to give non-riders descriptive nicknames. Until she became a rider, Hermione's nickname was "Fuzzy One," while Sirius' was "Smelly Dog."
- In the short "Beyond the Impossible", Pilot Jorge Strauss got his nickname "Dropper" because he accidentally dropped his weapons shortly after take-off in a training flight in his A-10 Warthog, while trying to retract his landing gear.
- Paper Mario X: Meta Knight does not like to be called Mettie.
- Prison Island Break: Knuckles is nicknamed "Fuckles" (though no one other than Shadow says that to his face) while Silver is nicknamed "Preacher".
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series has Socrates refer to Stupendous Man as "Stupey".
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan fiction Our True Colors, Pinkie Pie gives Scootaloo the nickname "Loo-Loo". Scootaloo is not amused.
- In the Transformers/My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic crossover Applebloom: Transform and Roll Out!, Applebloom reveals that Scootaloo's mother calls her " her little pumpkin-doodlebug" while trying to convince Scootaloo that she's really Applebloom (Applebloom having just found out she's a Shapeshifting Robot Girl).
- In Frozen Hearts, Heinrik, one of Hans' brothers, has the nickname, "Heinie," while Johan Jorgen, a pirate, has the nickname "Jo-Jo". The latter responds to the former calling him by his nickname by threatening to respond in kind.
- In the Saki doujin, Joint Training Camp, Himeko Tsuruta gets annoyed at Awai calling her "Tsuru-hime", a reference to her name and her Combination Attack with her best friend and Club President Mairu. After telling Awai to stop, Himeko reluctantly accepts Awai calling her "Himeko".
- In Sly Wits Paradise, because of Celestia's heroic act of jumping down the mountain ridge to save a pegasus foal without any wings, the pegasi started to call her 'Pink Plummet'. Celestia didn't like that one bit.
- Though, she later used that nickname to bruise the pegasi's pride for not stepping up to the challenge of being chased by her.
- In My Family And Other Equestrians, the protagonist is given the nickname of Bones by his father, which he obviously hates. Soon, even Princess Celestia is using this nickname to mock him.
- In Faith No More, Faith refers to her Watcher, Diana Dormer, as DD. More than once a character has noted her nickname doesn't refer to her initials.
- In Repairs, Retrofits and Upgrades, a The Legend of Korra fanfiction, Asami is dubbed "noodles" by Iroh due to an odd metaphor regarding the development of international relations and technology, and her place in it.
- In Pacific: World War II U.S. Navy Shipgirls, Phoenix has the really funny-sounding nickname of "Phoo-bird", something she doesen't like being called in public.
- In Bugsy, the title character hates being called Bugsy, which refers to his temper. The Real Life Bugsy Siegel did not like the name either.
- "Babyface" Nelson in O Brother, Where Art Thou? hates being called Babyface, as the real man did.
- In cut scenes of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope, Luke is called "Wormy" by his friends on Tatooine. You can see why he dropped it later.
- The Blind Side: Both in the film and in Real Life, Michael Oher hates being called "Big Mike", because he originally wanted to be a basketball star and basketball stars aren't supposed to be that big.
- In The Last Crusade, Indiana Jones, aka Henry Jones Jr., hates being called "Junior" by his father, Henry Jones Sr. His father, in turn, can't understand why his son likes being nicknamed after the family dog.
- Buford 'Mad Dog' Tannen from Back to the Future Part III. In fact, calling him 'Mad Dog' is a Berserk Button with him.
- In Inglourious Basterds, Smithson Utivitch was rather disappointed to learn that the while the Nazis know his squadmates as Aldo the Apache and the Bear Jew, he is known as "The Little Man" amongst his enemies.
- In Notting Hill, when William Thacker takes his new girlfriend, film mega-star Anna Scott, to a dinner party with some of his friends, the friends make sure that Scott knows that William's nickname in college was "Floppy", and that the situation was not pretty.
- In Basic Instinct, Nick is called "Shooter" by a lot of people. It refers to a previous incident in which he accidentally shot and killed a bunch of tourists, which he is still haunted by.
- In Alienł, Aaron is called "85" by the inmates. It refers to his IQ score, which they found out when they took a look at his personnel file.
- We're the Millers: Boner Garage (although she doesn't think it's embarrassing).
- In Men in Black 3: Boris the Animal.
- In Hot Fuzz, "Cousin Sissy" is revealed by Angel to be one for Simon Skinner, though it turns out Everybody Knew Already.
- In Big Game, Morris keeps on calling Oskari "Small Shoes", much to boy's displeasure, as small footprints are the first thing he notices about him while tracking him.
- In The World's End, Oliver Chamberlain earned the nickname "O-Man" due to his birthmark being shaped like a 6. He got so annoyed that, as an adult, he had it removed via laser surgery. When Oliver is replaced by a blank, which uses an unaltered copy of his DNA, he is spotted due to the mark returning.
- In the Norwegian film Turn Me On Dammit, Artur pokes Alma in the leg with his erect penis, earning her the nickname "Pikk-Alma" ("Dick-Alma").
- In Mickey's Twice Upon a Christmas, Max hates it when Goofy calls him "Maxie" because it's childish and he's trying to make a good impression on his girlfriend Mona.
- In Strange Magic, a love potioned Dawn calls The Bog King "Boggy Woggy Kingy Wingy", much to his frustration.
- A young man is walking through a small village one day and decides to stop by a bar and have a beer. He walks into a bar, and sees a grizzled old man, crying into his beer. Curious, the young man sits down and says, "Hey old timer, why the long face?" The old man looks at him and points out the window, "See that dock out there? I built that dock with my own two hands, plank by plank, nail by nail, but do they call me McGregor the dockbuilder? No, no." The old man continued, "And see that ship out there? I've been fishing these waters for my village for 35 years! But do they call me McGregor the fisherman? No, no." The old man continued, "And see all the crops in the farms out there? I planted and have been farming those crops for my village for nearly 45 years! But do they call me McGregor the farmer? No, no." The old man starts to cry again, "But you screw one goat..."
- In Lord of the Flies, a character is known only by his nickname, Piggy, which he hates.
- Milkman from Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon is called this his entire life after a neighbor caught his mother breastfeeding him long after he was too old to be breastfed.
- In Anansi Boys, friends and family keep calling the main character "Fat Charlie," even after he's lost weight. But that can happen when your father is a Trickster god who sang the world into existence. His nicknames tend to stick.
- Mrs. Weasley from Harry Potter is forced to admit that her husband calls her "Mollywobbles" when they are alone, in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince.
- In the same book, Lavender refers to then-boyfriend Ron as "Won-Won." His friends' reactions are predictable.
- In the stories of P. G. Wodehouse, many members of the Drones Club have nicknames of this sort. In some cases, however, the real names they have replaced are even worse.
- In the Blandings Castle novel Heavy Weather, Lord Tilbury is annoyed when Galahad Threepwood, who knew him in his youth, calls him on his old nickname, "Stinker".
- In The Baby-Sitters Club there is Boontsie (Stacey), Sunshine (Dawn) and Shannie (Shannon)
- In Black Legion, Lheor hates being called "Firefist". Unfortunately for him, people calling him like that is a Running Gag in the first book. It turns out he got the nickname when a malfunctioning plasma cannon exploded in his hands during the most traumatic event of his life.
- In the X-Wing Series novels, Wedge's first astromech had the designation "Mynock".
"Are you called Mynock because you draw a lot of power?"Urgent whistles and tweets were translated to a scrolling line of text at the very top of the screen. "A pilot once said I screamed like a mynock when we were in combat. A slander, Commander.""I can understand that. No one likes to be thought of as a space rat."
- In a later book, Wedge finds out that his screaming in battle is indeed distracting, and has his mind wiped.
- In The Emigrants the reason why Arvid moves to America is to escape the rumors that he had sex with a cow, and the nickname the rumor earned him - the Bull at Nybacken.
- Several characters in The Pale King have unusual nicknames, like ‘Irrelevant’ Chris Fogle, Ms. 'Iranian Crisis' Neti-Neti, David 'The Young Man Carbuncular' Wallace, and Diablo the Left-Handed Surrealist.
- Half Moon Investigations is named for the small-for-his-age protagonist's Embarrassing Nickname, Fletcher "Half" Moon.
- Touchstone in Sabriel. Mogget gives him the name, and Touchstone finds it quite annoying, (it's a fool's name) — yet he can't argue with it.
- Fisk's oldest sister calls him Nonny in Rogue's Home.
- The Rifter: John has been transported from Earth to the world of Basawar. In the Basawar language, John sounds rather like Jahn, which is a word for an animal with a tawny coat, a name for a pet; John is blond, and when he says his name, people take it to be a contemptuous nickname; he is repeatedly sneered at for that. John is willing to put up with it because of his habit of extreme self-effacement. Eventually, after John becomes part of a Fai’daum fighting unit, the commander insists that he has to have a more dignified name, and settles on Jathibaye. It's a symbol of how much more humanely the Fai'daum behave than most of the rest of society.
- In The Dresden Files, names have power, so Harry enjoys giving silly nicknames to powerful entities. The more imposing the adversary the sillier the nickname - the Knights of the Blackened Denarius, a group of people possessed by fallen angels, become "the Nickelheads," and the skinwalker so powerful and so fundamentally wrong that looking at it with magical sight sent Harry into hysterics became "Shagnasty." This habit nearly gets him killed when he tries to nickname Archangel Uriel "Uri," since the "el" in his name refers to God. (However, Uriel is fine with being called "Mr. Sunshine.")
- A Song of Ice and Fire is rife with nicknames that are Bad Ass out of universe, but are hideously embarrassing In-Universe:
- Tyrion Lannister has been scorned his entire life for being a dwarf, and does not like to be called The Imp.
- Meanwhile, his brother Jaime has never lived down being The Kingslayer.
- Poor Brienne. "Brienne the Beauty" is a cruel nickname given to her because she's so homely.
- Rumour has it it's best not to call Oberyn Martell The Red Viper in his hearing.
- Aerys II Targaryen's thoughts on being given the entirely accurate nickname of The Mad King have gone unrecorded, however...
- Lord Walder Frey is called the Late Lord Frey because of showing up to a battle when it was almost over, assuring the winning side that, of course, he had intended to help them the whole time. It's also appropriate in light of his refusal to die, his heir having died of old age waiting.
- Sam's first nickname is the Lord of the Flies-esque Ser Piggy. His second nickname, on the other hand, is Slayer (though the poor guy's managed to convince himself it's an Ironic Nickname).
- Conversed in Letters to His Son. Lord Chesterfield warned, well, his son never to do anything which mimicsnote would use to give him one. That's why he regarded perfect manners, style etc. as so important.
- In Bernard Glemser's The P.R. Girls, Sue, who is the head of the department of public relations for a major Hong Kong hotel, is woefully called upon by a Chinese girl who keeps saying, "Oh, Miss Sue!" This causes people to give her the nickname "Missue" which she hates.
- The titular Artemis Fowl hates being called "Artie". He allows his mother and Juliet to call him that. And later on, Holly calls him by it, which causes him some confusion.
- Horatio Hornblower's wife Maria calls him "Horry." Hornblower doesn't like his first name anyway, so when Maria starts calling him that he's rather mortified. (Not that he says anything about it.)
- Honor Harrington isn't overly fond of being called The Salamander. And then in the Beginnings short story "A Call to Arms'', we meet Lieutenant Travis Uriah Long, whose nickname progressed from Travis Oolong (U. Long) to Travis Tea, until it reached it's current form: Travesty.
- On her first night, Beka of the Provost's Dog trilogy gets nicknamed "Fishpuppy" because she gets tripped headlong into a pile of fish offal. The whole neighborhood finds it hilarious and the baker even makes her a couple of fish-shaped loaves, to her mortification. (Though she still takes the bread.) Later she's embarrassed to be called the complimentary "Terrier," but she grows to like it so much that Pounce accuses her of preening. She's also not fond of "Bloodhound" at first because of the exhaustion and emotion she went through.
- The title character of the Dan Shamble Zombie PI stories is actually named Dan Chambeaux, and hates his nickname because it makes him sound like a decrepit, rotting "shambler", not the well-preserved specimen of walking dead he is.
- In Flashman and the Redskins, Flashman is adopted by an Apache tribe and, due to his horseback skills, is named White-Rider-Goes-So-Fast-He-Destroys-The-Wind-With-His-Speed. Unfortunately for convenience it's shorted to He-Who-Breaks-The-Wind or Wind Breaker. Given how Flashman farted his way down the Valley of Death at Balaclava you could say it's appropriate.
- In The First Law series, the Northern "Named Men" get their names based on some distinguishing feature or act, and those names aren't always badass:
- In the original trilogy, the Cowardly Lion of the group is acurately if insensitively dubbed Forely "The Weakest".
- Caul Shivers got his name because in his early days as a warrior, he got up during the night to urinate and fell into an icy stream. He later jokes/claims that the name was given becaue his enemies shiver at the sight of him, which ironically, eventually turns out to be true, given the later trajectory of Shivers' life.
- In his POV, the Old Soldier Curnden Craw initially connects his nickname to the fact that things always stuck in his craw when he was younger. However, later on, it is revealed that the name derives from the fact that after surviving his first battle, he almost died at the feast after after choking on a chicken bone.
- In Don't Call Me Ishmael!, bullies transform the protagonist's name from 'Ishmael Leseur' into 'Stalepiss Manure'.
- Journey To Chaos: Tiza's apprentice mentor, Sathel, calls her "cocoon" because she is not a full fledged mercenary. This never fails to provoke a blush and a protest from her.
Live Action Television
- Angel: Wesley was "Head Boy" at Academy. He seems blissfully unaware of the connotations - which is understandable, as Head Boy (and Head Girl) is an extremely normal title in British schools.
- In Smallville, Lois sometimes calls Clark "Clarky" when she is annoyed. It gets even funnier when Tess picked it up.
- Desperate Housewives: Danielle is known as Little Miss Van de Tramp at school. She came up with the nickname herself, but only because it was nicer than what people were calling her.
- In Frasier, Niles begins to tease Daphne about her childhood nickname "Dappy" and is about to tell Martin when Martin responds "Is it worst than 'Piles'?"
- On Cheers, the gang finds out that Rebecca's college nickname was "Back Seat Becky".
- "Foxhole Norman" from Band of Brothers, which says all you need to know about his combat competence. Bill Guarnere is occasionally referred to as "Gonorrhea" (but mostly as "Wild Bill").
- Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide is made of this trope.
Mose: Hey Coconut Head, would you mind not calling me Mose?Coconut Head: Sure, Jennifer. And hey, would you mind not calling me Coconut HeadMose: Get a decent haircut and we'll talk.
- In the pilot episode of Freaks and Geeks, Bill's mom writes a love note on the outside of his lunch bag in which she refers to him as "Little Man."
- In one episode, Sam gets nicknamed "Dr. Love" after he's unable to identify any parts of the female reproductive system in health class.
- Michael from Salute Your Shorts was forced to admit his grandparents called him Moosh-Moosh.
- And the counselor, Mr. Lee, was called "Ugh", as in "Ugh Lee" ("Ugly"), but all the campers only call him "Ugh," probably to keep him from getting too mad.
- On Cousin Skeeter, it was revealed that Skeeter's horrifically embarrassing elementary school nickname was "Sugar Booger."
- In The Big Bang Theory, Howard's mother and eventually Bernadette call Howard "tushie-face," something which Leonard immediately posts to Twitter upon hearing.
- When he was picked to fly to the International Space Station, Howard wanted a macho nickname among the astronaut group so he programmed Elton John's Rocket Man as his cellphone ringtone and had Raj call him while he was in a teleconference with real-life astronaut Mike Massimino. Unfortunately his mother chose that moment to tell him to come and eat his Fruit Loops. Guess what his nickname turned out to be?
- Sheldon was mortified when Penny found out that his "Meemaw" (Grandma) called him "Moonpie."
- How I Met Your Mother - two words: Robin Sparkles!
- Or just try the episode where a coffee barista writes down Barney's name as "Swarley" and everyone calls him that for the rest of the episode. They also call him Swarles, Swarlos, Swarles Barkely, Bob Swarley, mon, Swarhili, Swar-lay, and Swar-wait for it-ley.
- In Charmed, after making out with a guy under the bleachers in high school, poor Phoebe ended up with the nickname "Freebie".
- In Friends Chandler's old girlfriend calls him "skidmark".
- Monica was also called "big fat goalie" when she played field hockey.
- Skins: "Nips," Tony's less-than-flattering nickname for his girlfriend.
Michelle: Stop calling me 'Nips,' Tony.Tony: It's a funny name! I've seen a few nipples, Nips, and yours are fucking hilarious.
- Veronica Mars.
- Cassidy "Beaver" Casablancas. A nickname so loathed, protesting against it was one of the last things he did before killing himself. Presumably nicknamed as such because his father and older brother were both nicknamed Dick and liked to torment him.
- The Principal's son, Vincent, is nicknamed Butters by his peers. And he isn't bitter about it at all.
- Major Margaret "Hot Lips" Houlihan, on M*A*S*H. The origin of the nickname is explained in the original novel and film: she gets it after a sexual tryst between her and Frank Burns (during which she implores Burns to "kiss my hot lips") is broadcast to the rest of the camp over the P.A. system.
- Weirdly, in the series some of Margaret's old flames are familiar with this nickname, suggesting that she may have earned the same nickname independently of the 4077 in some unreferenced and unrelated Noodle Incident.
- Burns himself is frequently referred to as "Ferret Face", a name that apparently originated with his own brother.
- Also from the novel/film there is 'Spearchucker' Jones, whose nickname has a very embarrassing backstory (and its not the one he gives, either). Oddly enough he seems to accept it in good humour.
- In the That '70s Show episode "Magic Bus", to Hyde's horror, the gang learns that Jackie (his girlfriend) calls him "Puddin' Pop".
- Then, of course, there's Eric's "Dr. Pee Pee."
- Eric also gets called "Foreskin" from time to time (his last name is Foreman). In one episode, it's revealed that Donna started that one, not knowing how much it would stick.
- Also, "Tater Nuts" for Kelso.
- Then, of course, there's Eric's "Dr. Pee Pee."
- Castle's ex-wife refers to him as "kitten". Then Beckett overheard.
Castle: I definitely saved your life. And you know what that means, don't you? It means you owe me.
Beckett: Owe you WHAT?
Castle: Whatever I want. And you know exactly what I want, don't you? You know what I really, really want you to do... never, EVER, call me kitten.
- In another episode, Castle jokingly answers the phone by saying, "No-Hassle Castle." We only hear his side of the conversation, but apparently Beckett threatens to start calling him that.
- Detective Ryan on Castle is sometimes called "Honey Milk" after his revelation of the drink his girlfriend sometimes makes him at night.
- Mr. Rumbold on Are You Being Served? had the rather unflattering nickname of "Jug Ears".
- Arthur "Two-Sheds" Jackson in Monty Python's Flying Circus. He's a composer who once told his friends that he's thinking about buying a second garden shed, so they started calling him "Two-Sheds". To his dismay, everyone asks him about the sheds.
- "Fat" Neil on Community.
- "Tinkle Town", Jeff's nickname from when he was a boy.
- Hornblower: Horatio's fellow midshipman of a bully calls him "Snotty" and his wife Maria "Horry". The first one is clearly meant to be offensive, but Maria genuinely doesn't know that he dislikes it.
- Lord Flintshire, aka Shrimpie, from Downton Abbey. He's a perfectly dignified sixtyish British aristocrat. Apparently his siblings also had sealife-themed nicknames, but he got stuck with the really bad one.
- On CSI: NY, Danny's nickname for Lindsay, "Montana," started as one of these. Lindsay disliked the constant reference to the fact that, unlike the rest of the team, she hadn't grown up in New York, and considered equivalent to calling her a hick. When Danny realized how much it bothered her, he stopped for a while. Eventually, as the two of them got closer, it became an Affectionate Nickname.
- On The West Wing, CJ's Secret Service code name is "Flamingo," which is presumably a reference to how tall and thin she is. Some of the men try to reassure her that a flamingo is a beautiful bird, but she always replies, "No, it's a ridiculous-looking bird!"
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- When introduced, the vampire Spike was said to have been known as "William the Bloody", which seems to be one of those Names to Run Away From Really Fast. A few seasons later, we learn that it was given to him when he was an effete, meek, mama's boy due to his "bloody awful" poetry.
- The Anointed One's nickname "The Annoying One," courtesy of Spike.
- Anne gave herself the name Chantarelle to sound more mysterious. She later gets extremely embarrassed after discovering that "Chantarelle" is a type of fungus.
- In NCIS, Tony DiNozzo comes up with a new nickname for his fellow agent Timothy McGee almost every episode. None of them are very flattering. McGee is particularly ashamed of "Elf Lord" (his online gaming name).
- In one episode of The Brady Bunch, Mike reluctantly tells Carol that his was "Hot Lips" in high school.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation gives us Reginald Endicott "Broccoli" Barclay. Captain Picard orders everyone to knock it off with the nickname—right before calling him that. In front of the bridge crew.
- Warehouse 13: Steve 'Jinksy' Jinks also picks up the nickname 'Poopypants' due to being a bit more serious and less prone to goofing off than his fellow Warehouse agents. He loosens up over time, but never manages to lose the nickname.
- Another Period: Newly-hired maid Celine is promptly (and arbitrarily) dubbed "Chair" by family matriarch Dodo Bellacourt. In a later episode, head butler Peepers threatens to re-dub her "Water Closet" if she doesn't toe the line.
Mythology and Folklore
- A Dark Ages viking king whose Northern English fief was located in York was called Ivar the Boneless. No one knows why: it has been suggested that he was really limber, or that he had cartilage instead of bones, or that he was legless, or maybe he had erectile difficulties. He was renowned for wisdom, as well as for being a beserker on the battlefield. One of the theories is that he had brittle bone disease, the same thing that Samuel L. Jackson's character in Unbreakable, and Joker in Mass Effect, have.
- According to Eric Bogle's "Introduction Song", the members of the band's nicknames are 'Wee Short-Arse' (Eric), 'Garbage Guts' (Brent) and 'Old Dogs Balls' (Andy).
- "Nugget" for Owen Hart, thanks to Shawn Michaels.
- Chris Jericho once referred to Crash Holly as "Elroy Jetson", and fans began chanting "El-Roy" at Crash, much to his dismay. He eventually came to embrace it later on.
- To anyone who didn't know the context, that he had gone an entire year without anyone in Ring of Honor kicking out of it. "Mr. Small Package" was such for Bryan Danielson.
- This happened once where CM Punk called Daniel Bryan "Goat Face" in regards to his massive beard. This went on to become the number #1 trend worldwide and now it's stuck amongst the fans. Bryan... hasn't been taking it well.
- Doug Berman, the producer of Car Talk, has many. And Ray lists most or all of them during the credits of the show:
Ray: Our esteemed producer is Doug "The Subway Fugitive" "Not-a-Slave-to-Fashion" "Bongo Boy" "Frog-Man" "Punkin Lips" "Cute-Cute-Cute" Berman.
- Li'l Bit and Uncle Peck from How I Learned To Drive.
Li'l Bit: In my family, if we call someone Big Papa, it's not because he's tall. In my family, folks tend to get nicknamed for their genitalia.
- Backyard Sports: "Why does everyone call me Fella?"
- Dungeon Keeper: The Horned Reaper tends to get called "Horny" a lot... but never to his face.
- Luka, as the personal Butt Monkey of Bayonetta, get the nickname "Cheshire" bequeathed upon him. It's better than most, but he still hates it.
- In Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal, a smitten Courtney Gears gives Dr. Nefarious (yes, the one and only) the nickname of "Snookie Wookums." Yes, he hates it.
- Ōkamiden's main character, Chibiterasu, is a magnet for these. He gets one each time he meets a new partner. They are, in order: Mutt, Squiddy, Pooch, dude/boy and Pork Chop. His reaction to each one is priceless.
- In BlazBlue, while she mostly doesn't mind, the nickname "Boobie Lady" does unsettle Litchi a bit.
- On the other hand, Noel does not appreciate Tao calling her "Lacking Lady".
- Taokaka also calls Valkenhayn "Butter Boy" and Bullet "Butt Lady".
- In a non-Taokaka case, Tsubaki once gave Jin the nickname "Jinny the Kisaragi", which gave him some manner of irritation. Kagura caught on and started calling him "Jinny" as well, much to his consternation.
- In Modern Warfare, John MacTavish is nicknamed "Soap". Given how nicknames are given in Real Life, it must make people wonder how he got that nickname. Also, after being promoted into Captain in part 2, he never mentions his nickname, and thus after being addressed by Captain Price (his senior in part 1) as "Soap" after saving him from the gulag, MacTavish's subordinates could be heard asking "Who's Soap?" Captain Price even lampshades this trope by asking in the first game "What the hell kind of name is Soap anyway?"
- It's a British nickname, meaning he was straightedge, never got in trouble. Squeaky Clean.
- In Kid Icarus: Uprising, Palutena refers to Pit's Mirror of Truth counterpart Dark Pit as "Pittoo"note , in order to tell them apart. Dark Pit is obviously annoyed by this, especially when Pit starts doing it on a regular basis.
- In Disgaea, Vyers has the "Mid-boss" nickname given to him by Laharlnote , in yet another example of No Fourth Wall on that series. It doesn't help that, from that point on, everyone in the game start calling him by that name, and his name on the dialogue box changes as well.
- In Tales of Graces Hubert is granted the affectionate title of "Little Bro" by Pascal. Probably doubly sucks as Hubert has a raging crush on her.
- Persona 4 Arena gives the Persona 4 characters a series of embarrassing taglines for the fighting tournament, like "Sister Complex Kingpin of Steel" for Yu, or "The Carnivore Who Discarded Womanhood" for Chie.
- In Shikkoku No Sharnoth Charlotte calls Mary Kitty once or twice, resulting in this. Later, M starts calling her Kitty as well right before the minigames involving monsters chasing her start, prompting her to yell at him for calling her such a thing.
- In Little Busters!, Komari starts calling Kurugaya Yui-chan. Not only is she horrified with this nickname, she doesn't even realize she's been referred to at first because no one ever calls her by her first name.
- Also, the combat system rests on the fact that winners are supposed to give embarrassing nicknames to the losers. As the only way to get rid of a nickname is to reach the top of the battle rankings, this gives the impetus to keep fighting.
- In Katawa Shoujo, Hisao comments early on that he's never liked the nickname "Hicchan", which Misha typically uses when referring to him, and his parents once use on a note, but never objects to it after that.
- In Something*Positive, PeeJee's full name is Penelope Jennifer. Her father later reveals he chose this name just so he could call her Penny-Jenny. Needless to say she loathes it.
- Subverted in The Cyantian Chronicles, in which one character goes by the nickname Twinky, which most sane people would consider embarrassing. The fact that his legal name is Clive S. Lewis may or may not have something to do with it.
- In Looking for Group, Richard hates being called "Dick".
- Although it seems to be growing on him...
- In Impure Blood, given that Roan is called the Abomination,
- Resident Cloudcuckoolander David of Bittersweet Candy Bowl calls his history teacher "Mr. Poodle of Noodles."
- Eerie Cuties: For Ace, this crosses over into Dude, Where's My Respect? territory, since Nina and her sister, Layla refuse to call him by his name. Nina insists on referring to him as "Puppy" despite knowing how it upsets him. While her sister refers to him as either "mongrel", or more commonly, "the mutt".
- A fairly early Nodwick story arc involved several people Yeagar had bullied as a kid forming an organization to seek revenge. The "injustice" suffered by the leader, Borthomew MacForte was being given the nickname "Fart-Foot McPoot" in reference to his embarrassing foot odor.
- Air Force Blues follows Air Force tradition in saddling pilot characters with embarrassing callsigns, with the main character Capt. Ken Dahl being called "Barbie," which he thinks is just a joke about his name but actually comes from an incident where he sang "Barbie Girl" over the radio to an entire air base.
- In Sunstone, Lisa is yet to enjoy any of her older brother Mike's names for her. The ones we hear are Betty, short for Elizabeth, which is not Lisa's name, and Lassie in reference to her BDSM collar (which, if it wasn't for Mike's ignorance to the collar's significance would be down right offensive).
- In El Goonish Shive, Diane's nickname is Barbie. She used to like it... when she was six.
- In Brains, the protagonist Alison sees 'Al' as this, since it's a holdover from the days of fighting off the zombie hordes; shorter names meant quicker reaction times. And now her crush continues to call her that, out of sheer habit.
- In Dream High School, Corliss, The Ditz, calls you G-dow (you joked that your name was Grok, Destroyer of Worlds. She believed you and calls you by those initials) and calls Gavin Gav-Gav.
- Marik from the Abridged Series calls Bakura either "Fluffy", "Florence", or on one occasion "Kitty".
- Daphne Diller, the indestructible private eye in Metro City Chronicles, does not like it when people call her "Daffodil".
- Tobuscus has a pal, Gabe, who shows up in several of his videos. Toby has dubbed him Gabebuscus, which unfortunately sounds a lot like Gaybuscus. The face Gabe makes when Toby calls him this indicates that he, unlike Toby, is not amused.
- Ghost from True Capitalist Radio hates being called a "hambone". It's ironic since Ghost initially used the term to make fun of people who he deemed to be fat, lazy moochers who contributed nothing to society. He encouraged his listeners to use the term in public whenever they saw a "fat, jelly ass", but the trolls who call into his show during the Radio Graffiti segment began to use the insult against him.
- The Custodian of If The Emperor Had A Text To Speech Device is called Little Kitten by his fellow Custodes, even after they find out that he's their Captain-General. As he has No Name Given, "Kitten" turned into his Fan Nickname as well and even Alfabusa uses it out of videos.
- In his Super Paper Mario Let's Play, Chuggaaconroy reveals that his mother used to call him Mimikins when he was young. Went back to bite him at the end of the LP.
- In Worm, the superhero Lady Photon is usually referred to by the media as Photon Mom, which she loathes.
- In We Are Our Avatars, Marcia Shyneet believes that Slacker Magician is an embarrassing nickname, since it gives anyone the idea that Marcia's a slacker. However, Seth and Kohaku thought it was interesting and gave Marcia a pep-talk.
- Fairy Tale Friday's version of Thumbelina was nicknamed "Cockchafer" in college.
- During the Phantom Blood shorts in Vaguely Recalling JoJo, Jonathan calls Dio Debu note during his attempt at coming up for a nickname for Dio. Dio finds it embarrassing because he does not like being called fat and suggests that Jonathan should call him Chanel instead.
- Okay these are pretty terrible: Fenturd, Fentoad, Fentoenail, and the list goes on. Yep These are some of Danny's many very disturbing/embarrassing nicknames. And those are half as bad compared to the nicknames like Invis'o-Bill. The one he hates the most.
- Zuko ("Zuzu") of Avatar: The Last Airbender.
- Flashbacks in The Legend of Korra show that Toph was still calling Aang "Twinkle-Toes" when he was 40, despite his protests.
- One episode of The Weekenders concerned Tino picking up the nickname "Pumpkin Pie" as it's B plot (which tied into the A plot of Tish's name being used as a colloquialism).
- In the second season episode "Vengeance", Carver is given the nickname "Pickle Toes" as the result of a prank; much to the delight of Lor.
- In The Simpsons episode, "Homer's Enemy", Homer gave Frank Grimes the nickname "Grimey", which he hated. Eventually, he was buried under that name.
- In another episode, Lisa pretends to be a boy and is given the nickname "Toilet".
- In "The Crepes of Wrath," Principal Seymour Skinner is called 'Spanky' by his mother, prompting laughter from all the school children.
- In another episode, Lisa pretends to be a boy and is given the nickname "Toilet".
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, Lucius really hates being called "Lucy".
- In Robot Chicken, the G.I. Joe team gives their new sniper recruit Calvin the nickname of "Fumbles" and humiliating him because of his clumsiness when introduced to the team. He responds by defecting to Cobra, shooting them all in the head, (except Duke, who he leaves alive, when Duke starts pleading to be killed too, saying "No. No, you live with it.") and saying Who's Laughing Now?.
- In one episode of The Critic where Doris threatens to reveal why Duke's nickname in college was "Puddles".
- Sylvia in Wander over Yonder is nicknamed 'The Time Bomb' due to her competitiveness during the Galactic Conjunction 6000 causing her to become angry leading to her 'exploding', Messing up and costing her the race.
- Luke Cage, in The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes, hates getting called, "Power Man."
- Stanley: In his youth, Dennis the goldfish, being small for his age, was nicknamed "Dinky".
- In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, three male Jerk Jock Pegasi call Rainbow Dash "Rainbow Crash" and Fluttershy Klutzershy.
- Pound Puppies (2010): In the episode "The K9 Kid", police academy dog Sarge refers to Squirt as "Pizza Breath", a nickname he gained by eating out of a pizzeria dumpster while living on the street.
- Archer: the titular character's codename is the less-than-manly "Duchess". His spy-boss mother claims it was randomly generated, and the fact it was also the name of her beloved dog is purely coincidental.
- In W.I.T.C.H., when the girls learn the story of the team before them, Hay Lin begins to scribble down their names (Cassidy, Halinor, Yan Lin, Kadma and Nerissa) and use their first initials to come up with C.H.Y.K.N. (pronounced "chicken"). She can't help but wince at that.
- Many famous gangsters hated their nicknames.
- Bank robber George Nelson hated to be called "Baby Face." Bit of a Berserk Button, actually. He tried to get people to call him "Big George" Nelson, but, seeing as how he was only 5'4", that never really caught on.
- "Bugsy" Siegel and "Bugs" Moran. Their nicknames referred to their tendency to "bug out."
- Charles Arthur "Pretty Boy" Floyd
- "Scarface" Al Capone. He liked to claim that his scars were war wounds, but he really got them in a knife fight as a kid.
- James "Whitey" Bulger really hates being called his more famous moniker since it was given to him by the police because of his platinum blond hair, and always instructed those close to him to call him "Jim" or "Jimmy." Since being caught, convicted and put in prison he's apparently changed his mind and now asks that fellow inmates call him Whitey, presumably for the celebrity factor. Also one of many reasons Howie Carr has his unending hatred is that he continually calls him Whitey purely to piss him off.
- Caligula was the childhood nickname of Roman emperor Gaius Caesar, (it means something like "little boot" referring to how he'd been made a small Legionnaire's uniform for when he went on campaigns with his father as a child that including a tiny set of boots) which he reportedly disliked.
- Some time later, there was an emperor who had the nickname "Caracalla" after a type of cloak he was fond of wearing. Though he didn't care for the nickname it was probably for the best; if his nickname had reflected his personality in any more profound way, we'd be talking about the Edict of Paranoid Fratricidal Tyrant.
- People with Italian last names that begin or end with "cucci" can end up being called that by people who aren't familiar with the slang term it sounds like. Embarrassing indeed.
- Along the same vein, Yonah and Yonatan are common Jewish names (the Hebrew versions of Jonah and Jonathan respectively). Boys with these names often end up with the nickname Yoni.
- Elvis Presley hated when people called him "the King", believe it or not. Raised a Christian, he would tell anyone who did that there was only one true King.
- Military pilot callsigns are usually this—either based on an embarrassing incident for the pilot or a pun on their name. If a nickname sounds great at first, there's usually a story behind it that will make the pilot blush. The more heroic or impressive callsigns people think of when they think of fighter pilots are reserved for people who have earned their fellows' respect.
- In the Air Force, 'Slag' sounds like a pretty bad-ass name... until you realize why nobody wants it: It's an acronym that stands for Screams Like A Girl.
- In Britain it also means dirty whore.
- And in metallurgy terms it refers to the waste byproducts of the smelting process that you throw away.
- Sometimes inverted if the person has an embarrassing name. 'Pink Floyd' was Commander Pink; 'Big Man' was Commander Chubb, the CO, who did not get to choose his own name so chose to fit the name.
- F-16.net has a sizable collection of pilot callsigns and the demeaning meanings behind them.
- In the Air Force, 'Slag' sounds like a pretty bad-ass name... until you realize why nobody wants it: It's an acronym that stands for Screams Like A Girl.
- Brian Davison, drummer from the proto-prog group The Nice, somehow acquired the nickname "Blinky", which he wasn't too fond of.
- Silent film comedian Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle disliked his nickname and discouraged anyone from calling him as "Fatty" off-screen.
- Fraternities are known to do this. It can vary from friendly ribbing to nigh-on hazing depending on the fraternity and chapter.
- Much like in the Band of Brothers example, if someone has earned a derogative or embarrassing nickname while serving in the military, they probably have done something to deserve it. More prominent outside of the airforce where nicknames are less common and epithets are usually earned.
- The Hash Names of members of the Hash House Harriers are usually chosen to fit this trope.
- Professional snowboarder Shaun White has sometimes been referred to as "The Flying Tomato" because of his long red hair. Reportedly, he hates the nickname.