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Family Theme Naming
Beetle's brother is named "Chigger"? Really? As you may or may not know, Hi and Lois's Lois is Beetle's sister, so we have to wonder what her real name was — Ladybug? — before she got married and fled this sad, creepy family for good.

Sometimes, authors give their characters related names. While Theme Naming adds a sense of unity or cohesiveness to the work, it doesn't always make much sense in-universe. Family Theme Naming is when the names of related characters follow a pattern or fall into a category. Somewhere along the line, a character would have had to make the decision to name his or her children something that resulted in Theme Naming. This could result in similarly named siblings or span the entire family tree.

A subtrope of Theme Naming. Theme Twin Naming is a subtrope. See also Alliterative Family.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Pretty much all the male Nobis in Doraemon are named after their last name.
    • Nobita, Nobisuke, the other Nobisuke, Nobirou, Nobiru...
    • However, the English Dub kept Sewashi in line. Toby, Noby, (presumbly) Toby Jr., Soby.
  • In InuYasha, the three named characters from the demon slayers' village — Sango, her younger brother Kohaku, and their pet Kirara — all have names referring to semi-precious stones (coral, amber and mica, respectively). Additionally, Kikyou and her younger sister Kaede both have names that begin with K and refer to plants (bellflower and maple).
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Son Goku and his sons—Gohan and Goten. Further, the kanji for "ku" in Goku's name (空) means "sky" and the "ten" in Goten's name (天) means "heaven."
    • Later, Gohan ("rice") marries a girl named Videl and have a daughter named Pan ("bread"), another intentional pun on Akira Toriyama's part.
      • Videl herself is an anagram of "Devil", as her father is named Mr. Satan. Furthermore, according to Toriyama in the Super Exciting Guide: Character Volume, Mr. Satan is just a stage name; his real name is Mark. In Japanese, the name (Maaku) becomes an anagram for Akuma (Devil/demon), thus continuing the family's supernatural naming convention.
      • And Pan is actually a triple-themed name: the food puns for Gohan's side of the family, the powerful/mythical theme from Videl's, and the musical theme from Piccolo, who was Gohan's surrogate father for much of the series.
    • Goku's wife was named Chi-Chi (milk/breast) because her father is the "Ox King." Their family is a reference to cows.
    • King Piccolo and all of his children (Tambourine, Drum, Cymbal, Piano, Piccolo Jr.) who are all named after musical instruments.
    • The Briefs family (Bulma/Bloomer, Dr. Briefs, Trunks, Bra) who are named after undergarments.
    • Krillin later has a daughter named Marron. Both names are puns on chestnuts.
    • The Namekians (Dende, Nail, Cargo, Moori, Slug), who are all named after snails.
    • The Saiyans, who are all named after vegetables (Raditz, Kakarot, Broli, Paragus), with the royal family and planet all being named "Vegeta."
    • The Ginyu Force are all named after dairy products (Ginyu—Milk, Burter—Butter, Jeice—Cheese, Guldo—Yogurt, Recoome—Cream).
    • Majin Buu and his two masters (Bibidi and Babidi) are all named after the Cinderella Song, "Bibidi Babidi Boo
    • Frieza (Freezer)'s family (his father King Cold, his brother Cooler, and his ancestor Chilled) are all given cold-themed names. The exception is Kuriza, Frieza's son in the parody Neko Majin Z ("Kuri" means chestnut, and refers to the pointed top of Kuriza's head).
  • In Pokémon, Misty and her sisters are named after flowers.
  • In Gamaran, the (probable) Big Bad Naosada Washizu, the Daimyo of Unabara, has about 30 sons. All of them have a name starting with Nao (Naoyoshi, Naoshizu, Naoie and so on).
  • The main heroes in Sorcerer Hunters are named after cakes: Carrot, Marron, Gateau, Chocolate and Tira (Misu).
  • Hunter × Hunter: The five Zaoldyeck children. From oldest to youngest: Illumi, Milluki, Killua, Alluka, and Kalluto.
  • Bleach is absolutely rife with this:
    • The Kurosaki siblings have names that are homonyms (same pronunciation, different kanji) for plants. Ichigo's name references a plant grown for its fruit, his sisters are named for plants that do bear edible fruit but which are valued more as ornamental plants than fruit-bearing plants. (Ichigo = "strawberry"; Karin = "flowering quince"; Yuzu = "citron"). Their mother Masaki's name is also based around flower blooms.
    • The Shiba siblings all have names composed of a classical element and a type of bird: Kaien = "sea swallow"; Kuukaku = "sky crane"; Ganju = "rock eagle".
    • The Kuchiki clan have color-related names. Ginrei = "silver", Soujun = "green/blue", Byakuya = "white".
    • The Ishidas use a samurai naming convention where the son "inherits" a character from his father's name. They also have names alluding to their Quincy heritage: Souken = "soul bow", Ryuuken = "dragon/imperial bow". Uryuu = "rain dragon" seems like the Odd Name Out but the "rain" character may allude to his signature attack, Licht Regen ("Rain of Light").
    • The Inoue siblings have a celestial theme. Orihime = "Vega", the heavenly weaver princess of the Tanabata legend, and Sora = "the sky".
    • The Kotetsu sisters (Isane and Kiyone) have sound-themed names.
  • In Naruto, male Senju in the Warring Clans Era all had architecture-themed names ending in "-ma", possibly playing off their key role as one of the two main founding clans of the Konoha-gakure.
  • It's revealed in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha Vi Vid that Vivio Takamachi's original was Sankt Kaiser Olivie Sägebrecht, whose nickname was "Vivi".
  • In Digimon Adventure, brothers Yamato and Takeru are named after Japanese folk hero Yamato Takeru. For bonus points, the movie "Our War Game" shows that their grandmother lives in Shimane, the same place as Yamato Takeru.
  • In Magi - Labyrinth of Magic, the Kou emperors named their children after their names. The first emperor Hakutoko's children have "Haku" (white) while second emperor Koutoku's children have "Kou" (red).

    Comic Books 
  • In Silex and the City, the members of the principal nuclear family are Blog Dotcom (father), Spam Dotcom (mother), Web Dotcom (daughter) and Url Dotcom (son).

    Fan Works 
  • Zany To The Max has this with the eight Warners: Yakko, Wakko, Pakko, Makko, Dot, Jot, Zak, and Ko. (Zak and Ko's names can be combined to fit the pattern.) In one episode, Yakko explains how this Theme Naming came to be.
  • The Draconequi in the Pony POV Series have this with both Names to Run Away From Really Fast (Havoc, Entropy, Discord, Strife, Anarchy, Pandemonium, Destruction, Rancor, and Fluttercruel/Cruelty (Discord's Child By Mind Rape with Fluttershy)), and the siblings all having at least one name starting with D (Discord, Disruption, Disorder, Desire, Destruction, and Disruption).
    • From the 7 Dreams/Nightmares Gaiden, Sweetheart's siblings are named Peaches, Cream, and Cheese. She also has this with her children, Lion Heart, Pure Heart, Brave Heart, and Wild Heart.
  • Alicornundrum: Killdeer, a young royal griffin Nyx meets at the international summit, has a family tradition that gives the names of bird species to their griffin bodies and snake species names to their sentient snake tails, with Killdeer's snake tail being named Adder.
  • In Stallionsof Harmony Verse all Bluebloods are named after some sort of titles. Examples include: Prince, Duke, Tzar, Caesar and many so far not announced. One exception being King, which is a taboo.

    Film 

    Literature 
  • In Harry Potter, the Black family seems to follow Stellar Theme Naming. There are a few exceptions, notably Narcissa, but she passed it on to the Malfoy family through her son Draco and his son, Scorpius.
    • Some have speculated that the Weasleys' names are based on Arthurian mythology. The father is named Arthur and his daughter's full name, "Ginevra," is an Italian form of Gueneviere. However, the only other name that comes close to fitting is Percy, which Fanon has incorrectly claimed is short for "Percival."
    • Lily and Petunia Evans.
      • This is passed on when Harry names his daughter Lily.
    • According to Pottermore, every member of the Ollivander family has a "G" name.
    • Albus, Aberforth, and Ariana Dumbledore.
  • The members of the Holt family in The 39 Clues are named after famous people in American government: Three are named after presidents (Eisenhower, Madison and Reagan), the mother is named after a famous first lady (Mary-Todd is too uncommon a name to be a coincidence) and the son is named Hamilton.
  • The Larkin sisters of Jo Walton's Small Change trilogy are all named after William Shakespeare characters.
  • In The Saxon Stories, Utrhed's father, son, brother and one cousin (and presumably most of his paternal ancestors) are all named Uthred.
  • The Great Brain: Brothers Sweyn, Tom and John all have the same middle name (Dennis) as do their father and all Fitzgerald men.
  • Nearly everyone in the Next family of the Thursday Next series is named after days of the week. There's the titular Thursday herself, her mother, Wednesday, and her son and daughter, Friday and Tuesday. Thursday's daughter, Jenny, is the only striking exception to the pattern. That's because she doesn't even exist, and is only a mindworm that Aornis placed on her. Uncle Mycroft and Aunt Polly Next are also exceptions, as are Thursday's brothers Joffy and Anton.
  • Jean McDevitt's 1940s juvenile novel Mr. Apple's Family has Mr. and Mrs. Apple naming their children Macintosh, Jonathan, Delicious, and Snow, all for varieties of apples. The baby ends up named Ann — "An Apple".
  • Honor Harrington: Albrecht Detweiler and his sons, whose names run alphabetically in order of seniority. Also a subverted case of Theme Twin Naming, since all of Albrecht's sons are clones of him.
  • James Herriot's semi-autobiographical books feature two brothers named Siegfried and Tristan by a Wagner-loving father. The real-life brothers who inspired the characters are not an example of this trope, though.
  • Most families in A Brother's Price tend towards giving their kids completely unrelated names, but the two sisters of the Tern family who we see are Raven and Hawk.
  • The Hunger Games: Katniss and her sister Primrose, both named after plants.
    • Peeta (as in pita bread?), the baker's boy, has two brothers whose names are never revealed. Fandom loves to speculate what their names are. Popular suggestions are Wheaton, Rye, Basil or Crusty. Wackier suggestions include Bagel, Pastry, Baguette or Dough (which may or may not be pronounced as "Doug").
  • In the Black Company novel The Silver Spike we learn that Case's full name is Philodendron Case and that all of his seven sisters and four brothers are named after flowers:
    "A girl named Iris or Rose, what the hell, hey? But I got a brother named Violet and another brother named Petunia. What kind of people do that to their kids? Where the hell are the Butches and Spikes?"
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen series gives us the sisters Envy, Spite and Malice. If there was another one she'd be called Venom.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, lots of families fall under this. Rhaegar, Rhaenys, Aerys, Aemon and so on for the Targaryens; Tyrion, Tywin, and Tytos for the Lannisters; and many more.
  • The Hobbit has Dwalin and Balin (brothers), Fíli and Kíli (brothers), Óin and Glóin (brothers), Bifur, Bofur and Bombur (cousins), and Dori, Nori and Ori (brothers). There's also Thorin, son of Thrain, son of Thror.
  • In the Firebird Trilogy, the royal Angelo family has traditionally been named after Netaian birds.
  • 1066 and All That:
    "Canute had two sons, Halfacanute and Partacanute, and two other offspring, Rathacanute and Hardlicanute, whom, however, he would never acknowledge, denying to the last he was their Fathacanute."
  • Spoofed with the Carter family in the Discworld series by Terry Pratchett. The daughters are named after virtues: Hope, Chastity, Prudence, and Charity. After that they got confused and thought that the sons should be named after vices: Anger, Jealousy, Bestiality, Covetousness and Deviousness. This being Discworld, they all have personalities which are the exact opposite of their names. For example, Hope suffers from depression and a sense of existential alienation and angst, Chastity is a uhh..."Seamstress" in Ankh-Morpork's seedier districts, while Anger is a calm and reasonable fellow and Bestiality is known for his kindness towards animals.
  • In the Alcatraz Smedry books, all the Smedrys have the names of prisons (Bastille, Leavenworth, Quentin, etc.). Subverted in that the prisons are really named after them; the secret cabal of librarians that runs the world is trying to discredit them by choosing traditional Smedry names as the names of prisons.
  • In Ricky Ricotta's Mighty Robot, Ricky himself is named after Ricky Ricardo from I Love Lucy. His cousin, aunt, and uncle are named Lucy, Ethel, and Fred, after the other central characters of the show.
  • In Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon, the Dead family have Biblical-themed names: Milkman Dead's sisters are Magdalene (called Lena) and First Corinthians, his aunt is Pilate (after Pontius Pilate), and his cousin is Hagar (Abraham's maidservant). And of course, there's Solomon, the ancestor of the Dead family.
  • The title character of The Ordinary Princess and her six sisters are all named after jewels.
  • In Ann M Martin's Ten Kids No Pets, each of the children's names follow letters of the alphabet. In fact, they're named in order of their birth order/order of names in the baby book (i.e., the 1st child is given the 1st name under A, the 2nd child is given the 2nd name listed under B, etc.)
  • In "De skandalösa" by Simona Ahrnstedt, Venus Dag och Natt comes from a family, where all the kids are named after Roman deities.

    Live Action TV 
  • Burt from Glee named his son Kurt.
  • In the Leave It to Beaver Reunion Show, Eddie Haskell's son is named Freddie. In the Revival series Still The Beaver it's changed to Eddie Haskell Jr.
  • The Bob Newhart Show: Howard Borden is the odd one out in his family — he has two (unseen) brothers: Gordon Borden the game warden and Norman Borden the Mormon doorman.
  • In the MTV series Finding Carter, the titular heroine and her siblings all have names of U.S. presidents. Her twin sister Taylor, brother Grant, and Carter was born Lynden. Even after her kidnapping her new mother kept with the theme by renaming her Carter.
  • Desperate Housewives: All the Scavo kids have names beginning with P.
  • In Wonderfalls, the Tylers are named Darren, Karen, Sharon, Aaron and Jaye.
  • Subtly done in Seventh Heaven, Reverend Camden and his wife Annie give all their children Biblical names: Matthew, Mary, Lucy, Simon, Ruth (always called Ruthie though), Samuel and David.
    • Does Lucy fit in to this?
      • St. Lucy. Patron saint of Light and diseases of the eye. Maybe the writers just thought, "Close enough"?
  • Due South Harding Welsh and his brother, Wilson, named after US presidents.
  • In TwoAndAHalfMen, Kandi's parents are named Andi and Mandi.
    • Lampshaded by Charlie:
      Wait a second. It's Mandi, Andi, and Kandi?
  • In Home Improvement, Al has a brother named Cal. And his mother is Alma.
  • As of Power Rangers Samurai, Skull from the original show has a son named Spike. To be fair, "Skull" is a nickname, and... well, we're hoping "Spike" is too and he didn't actually name his son that.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • The Ericksen family. The males have names that start with Mar (Marvin Sr., Marvin Jr., Marcus, Marshall and Marvin W.), while females end with a Y (Judy, Ashley, Lily and Daisy).
    • Barney's father Jerome and his new family; his wife Cheryl, daughter Carly and son Jerome Jr.
  • "Keeping Up Appearances" has Hyacinth Bucket and her three sisters Daisy, Rose and Violet.
  • In Charmed, women of the Halliwell family seem to all have names starting with P: The main characters Piper, Phoebe, Prue, and later Paige; their late mother Patty, and their grandmother Penny. While Piper gives her sons non-thematic names, Phoebe (in the comics) has two daughters whom she names PJ and Parker.
  • Eerie Indiana: In the episode "Who's Who", Marshall and Simon happen upon a girl named Sara Bob. Her brothers are Lou Bob, Moe Bob, and Bob Bob. Her father is called Dad Bob.
  • Nicky Ricky Dicky And Dawn For the boys, it was themed.

    Radio 
  • Cabin Pressure's Hercules Shipwright is named for the aircraft, not the mythological character. His brothers, Wellington and Harrier, are also named for aircraft... but his sister's name is Sarah, because his father was "eccentric, not mad."

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • Sonic the Hedgehog has a small family all named after dairy products: Cream the Rabbit; her mother, Vanilla, and her Chao, Cheese. Other Chao associated with Cream were named Chocola and Milk.
  • In Stacking, all the members of the Blackmore family except Charlie have names beginning with A.
    • Charlie's middle name is Alistair.

    Web Animation 

    Webcomics 

    Web Original 
  • In Noob, the player whose online Saphir ("sapphire" in French) turns out to have a sister in Season 5. The sister in question uses Rubis ("ruby" in French) as her alias.
  • ProtonJon reveals in a livestream that his sister's name is Jen.

    Western Animation 
  • After Orion Pax and Ariel were destroyed in Transformers, they were rebuilt into Optimus Prime and Elita One, both of which translate into pretty much the same thing.
  • The titular brothers from the Bolekand Lolek cartoon.
  • Popeye has Olive Oyl and her family (Nana, Castor, Cole).
  • In DuckTales, Donald's nephews are named Huey, Louie and Dewey. Also their female counterparts, April, May and June.
  • In Kim Possible, Kim, Bonnie, Shego, and Ron's families fit this trope
    • Jim, Kim, and Tim Possible from the Possible Family. They also have an uncle Slim who appears in one episode.
    • Ron and Han from the Stoppable Family.
    • Shego, Hego, Mego, and the Wego Twins from the Go family (though these seem to be superhero/villain codenames rather than personal names).
    • Bonnie, Connie, and Lonnie from the Rockwaller family.
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, every pair of siblings in the main cast shares a syllable in their names: Zuko and Azula, Sokka and Katara, Ozai and Iroh.
    • Not only that, but all of Zuko's direct family line have names containing a Z. Zuko and his sister Azula, their father Ozai, grandfather Azulon and great-grandfather Sozin.
    • Every member of Sokka and Katara's family (as well as most of the Southern Tribe) have a 'K' in their names: Katara, Sokka, Hakoda, Kya, and Kanna.
  • Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup from The Powerpuff Girls all have cutesy names that have double consonants and begin with B. Also, two of them are named after flowers.
  • With Punny Names on Disney Junior's The Hive - Buzzbee, big sister Rubee, and Babee
  • On Rugrats Grandpa Lou's sons names are Stew and Drew. The twins' names are Phil and Lil.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?: The Dimwiddle siblings' names are Andy, Mandy and Randy.
  • The Jolly family from Casper's Haunted Christmas, consisting of father Noel, his wife Carol and daughter Holly.
  • Cousins Ben and Gwen Tennyson, along with Gwen's older brother Ken. This seems restricted to their generation, though.
  • On The Simpsons, Ned Flanders' wife was named Maude, and their kids are Rod and Todd, all of which (most likely intentionally) rhyme with "God".
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The Apple family, as to be expected, are all named after types of apples and food made from apples.

    Real Life 
  • All of Jim-Bob and Michelle Duggar's children (stars of TLC's reality show 19 Kids and Counting) have names beginning with the letter J: Josh, Jana, John-David, Jill, Jessa, Jinger, Joseph, Josiah, Joy-Anna, Jedediah, Jeremiah, Jason, James, Justin, Jackson, Johannah, Jennifer, Jordyn-Grace, Josie, and the stillborn Jubilee.
    • Josh's two children with Anna Duggar have an M theme: Mackynzie and Michael.
  • Faith, Hope and Charity Cardwell, according to the Guinness Book of Records, are the longest-lived set of triplets.
  • George Foreman's sons are named George Jr., George III, George IV, George V and George VI. Two of his daughters are named Freeda George and Georgetta.
    "I called them all George because I was worried that when I was older I might suffer from memory loss. I would have called my five girls George, too, but my wife said she thought that was overkill. When one of them is naughty, I shout 'George!' and that one knows who I mean. The only time it is awkward for me is when a teacher calls up and say we have a problem with George, and I have to ask them which one."
  • Sylvester Stallone's kids are the late Sage, Seargeoh, Sophia, Sistine and Scarlett. When Stallone's mother heard about Sistine's name she laughed that Sylvester's never seen the Sistine Chapel.
  • Paul Anka's five daughters all have names starting and ending with the letter A: Amelia; Anthea, Alicia, Amanda, and Alexandra.
  • Bill Cosby's five children all were given names starting with the letter E, according to him for Excellence: four daughters Erika, Erinn, Ensa, and Evin, and late son Ennis.
  • National Football League coaches and 2013 Super Bowl contenders Jim (San Francisco 49ers) and John Harbaugh (Baltimore Ravens); their parents Jack (college football coach) and Jackie, and their sister Jonie (married to a college basketball coach). Three of Jim's six kids are Jay, James, and Jack (after his grandpa).
  • Late owner of the LA Lakers Dr. Jerry Buss: his mother's name was Jackie; his first wife was JoAnn; his kids are Johnny, Jim, Janie, Joey, Jesse, and Jeanie (who's engaged to former coach Phil Jackson).
  • Non-alliteration version: Super Fun Night actress Rebel Wilson and her siblings Anarchy, Riot, and Liberty. (Actually Annachi and Ryot.)
  • Actress Poppy Montgomery and her four sisters are all named for flowers - Daisy, Marigold, Rosie, and Lily. Subverted with their only brother, Jethro.
  • Except for Rob Kardashian, who was named for his father, all of Kris Jenner's kids have a "K" as their first initial.
  • Model Karlie Kloss has three siblings, all of whom have "K" as their first initial, too.

Theme NamingNaming ConventionsShout-Out Theme Naming
    Theme NamingLetter Motif

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