Veronica: Easygoing Veronica Mars, that's what the kids at school call me.
Keith: ...You know how fat men are sometimes called "Tiny"?Nicknames and other forms of names hung upon a person by others can be a strange thing. They can be random names, or they can be shortened forms of full names, or they can suggest something about the person, like the Hulk. And then there's the case where the nickname deliberately does not describe the person. The most famous one is probably the name "Tiny". Any guy called "Tiny" will invariably be either morbidly obese or eight feet tall with more muscles than a Mr. Universe contest. The same is true for "Shorty" or "Pipsqueak" or any variation on a name or nickname implying "very small." Very popular in Australia, where a bald man will be called "Curly" and a redhead "Bluey." Also popular in the Chicano (Mexican-American) culture, where a rotund man will be called "El Flaco" ("The Skinny Man"), a light-skinned woman will be called "La Negra" ("The Black Woman"), etc. A subtrope of Non-Indicative Name. See Ironic Name for when the given name, not the nickname, is ironic. For something similar applied to pets and animals, see Fluffy the Terrible and Deathbringer the Adorable.
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- A cereal commercial with a monkey mascot has a friend giraffe called Shorty.
- This Spanish Sprite commercial shows a group of school friends reuniting, and thanks to growing up their old nicknames are all now this. For instance "Shorty" is now quite tall, "Fatso" is skinny, and the woman at the end was known as "Bear".
Anime & Manga
- Ruki of Comic Girls is flat-chested, but her editor imposed the Pen Name of "Big Boobies Himeko" on her as she's writing josei manga. In a slightly deconstructed case, this is why she has A-Cup Angst.
- Officer Hiromi Yamazaki of Patlabor is roughly 6'3" 250 odd pounds (about 2 meters and 100 kilos). In fact he's too big to pilot most of the mecha (can't fit in the cockpit). He's also a gentle soul (with a Gender-Blender Name) who would have been a fisherman like his father, if he didn't get seasick. Half-pint Genki Girl officer Noa Izumi refers to him as Hiromi-chan using the diminutive usually reserved for cute girls and pets.
- Although that is usually more an indicator of the speaker than the person they're referring to- lots of young girls call their older brothers, who could be insanely manly and fully adult, "onii-chan" because THEY'RE cute girls. Noa fits that bill rather well.
- Likewise, Bleach's Kenpachi Zaraki, is NOT the sorta man to be called Ken-chan/Kenny (that is, not by anyone besides Yachiru).
- When Gatchaman of Science Ninja Team Gatchaman came to America as Battle of the Planets, portly Ryu Nakanishi was renamed Tiny Harper.
- One Piece:
- Fleet Admiral Sengoku "The Buddha" is tactical genius, who is not especially nice. However, he does turn into a giant statue of Buddha.
- More typically, Oars Jr. is nicknamed "Little Oars" by his crewmates despite being twice as large as normal giants.
- Though Little Oars' name is somewhat explained as Oars/Oz (who Luffy and his crew fought earlier) is positively massive. Compared to him, Little Oars really is little.
- Early on in the series, Luffy makes the off-handed discovery that the Grand Line is sometimes referred to as "Paradise". Considering that every other scrap of information given about the ocean around that time was is that it's a Death World of the highest order, and that it lives up to that reputation later, when the story actually gets there, it seems like an example of this. However, several hundred chapters later, the nickname is brought up again as its origin is revealed: it was given by pirates who have explored the New World, another stretch of ocean that's basically the Grand Line's badass big brother. Even more physics-defying madness and far more dangerous pirates that makes the Grand Line look like, well, paradise by comparison.
- The island of Little Garden, a Lost World full of dinosaurs and other prehistoric beasts. Apparently, it got its name because, it's like a 'little garden' compared to the giant creatures living there.
- Soul Eater has Marie Mjolnir. Her nickname is the 'Crushing Weapon', which one would have thought fits with her surname and the understandable presumption that her Weapon form is a big hammer. Not only is said form that of a tonfa, but her specialty is speed ('Izuna' increases the speed of her meister through electricity... somehow). Though she can still hit really hard.
- Death Note has two examples of this if you take the successor's codenames as nicknames. Mello is violent and short-tempered, while Near is stoic and autistic. This was an accident as Near's and Mello's names were mistakenly switched by the editor. The codenames were originally Meaningful Names.
- Smile in Occult Academy is a rather surly guy who pretty much never smiles.
- One of the many gangsters in Black Joke is a black gangbanger called Smart Ice. He really is pretty brainy and on the up-and-up, but according to the translators' notes, the English word "smart" is often used in Japan to mean "slender", which Ice is anything but. Even though he's operating out of Japan, he doesn't seem to be aware of the irony.
- Ping Pong: Tsukimoto, the resident stoic, goes by the nickname "Smile". However, it is eventually revealed that the nickname wasn't always ironic. On the contrary, Hoshino gave Tsukimoto that nickname due to the fact that he was always smiling when they were playing table tennis.
- Kroesus from Bamse got this nickname as a joke as he never had money. He eventually became the richest man (actually, vole) in town, making the Ironic Nickname fitting.
- "Happy" Sam Sawyer was never happy nor did he ever smile. But Nick Fury is a smartass.
- The Kindly Ones in The Sandman. Which is actually a historical nickname for the beings in question (or at least one of the many trios of mythological crones Gaiman conflated into his characters). It is a pretty common practice in many cultures to refer to scary supernatural beings by friendly-sounding names to avoid angering them. See The Fair Folk for another example.
- Big Figure is actually a dwarf.
- "The Comedian" was once a wisecracker who wore a jester's costume in his youth. The name became ironic later, as he turned into an unstable, cynical nihilist.
- In the Iron Man comics, Happy Hogan is named thus because he was originally drawn with only one expression. It didn't stick.
- Sharpshooter Maximilian "Twitch" Williams in Spawn got his nickname during his academy days "because he doesn't, ever".
- In the Blood Bowl comic, "Tiny" McFearsome of the Chaos All-Stars is actually a subversion — they call him tiny because he's the runt of the litter. You should see his brothers!
- Tif et Tondu: The hairy one is the one whose name suggests baldness and vice versa.
- Matt Murdock picked up the nickname "Daredevil" in school — because he was very cautious and averse to physical activity and sports.
- Pvt. Elliot Taylor was called "Lucky", because he was always clumsily bumping into trouble. Eventually he stepped on a land mine; you might say he was lucky to have survived, but considering he was turned into a slow-witted, mute Frankenstein's Monster for the Creature Commandos, not really.
- In The Authority, the biggest, most muscular of Kev Hawkins' SAS buddies is naturally called "Tiny".
- Hack/Slash's "Super Sidekick Sleepover Slaughter" arc features a group of teenagers who decide to become superheroes. One of them, Daisy, becomes the Fearless Flamingo — an intentional bit of irony, as she's cowardly, insecure, chubby, and shy (i.e., anything but fearless and nothing like a flamingo). Funnily enough, she becomes fearless over the course of the story, but abandons the Flamingo identity to become Sister Nightmare thereafter.
- A rather vicious Alternate Universe counterpart of Big the Cat in Archie Comics' Sonic the Hedgehog is called "Smalls".
- Spider-Man - Mary-Jane famously calls Peter "Tiger" despite him being a snarky / socially-awkward nerd.
- Twig from Fallout: Nuka Break is only skinny compared to the other denizens of Vault 10, who are all Fat and Proud after decades of living on all the fast food their Nuka-Cola food replicators could provide.
- In The Prayer Warriors, this applies to weapons. William has a sword called "Forgiveness" and Draco Malfoy has an axe called "Peace". They and the rest of the Prayer Warriors slaughter non-Christians, including those who are unarmed, those who surrender, and even a few who try to do a Heel–Face Turn.
- In Sylvia the Sylveon, Vapor, one of Sylvia's brothers. While he does want the evolution from which his name derives, it's not the one he gets.
- In Harry Potter Pokemon Master Hagrid's Snorlax is called Tiny.
- In Persona 5, the main character's code name "Joker" reflected his unique power and his status as the team's trump card. In The Evil Queen, Akira is given the code name because Karasu notes that it's the perfect cover for a serious and brooding individual like him.
Films — Animated
- Cars 3: Jackson Storm refers to McQueen as "Champ", mocking the fact that Lightning is falling behind Storm's more high-tech generation.
- The Rustler Alameda Slim from Disney's Home on the Range isn't exactly, and Lucky Jack is a jackrabbit who lost his foot, which are believed to bring good luck.
- In Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, Alex finally reunites with his lost parents when he and his friends find themselves in Africa after a failed plane ride back to New York. During a ceremony, Alex (who unbeknownst to him thinks its a dance-off) must fight and defeat another lion as a rite of passage into the pride as alpha lion. Alex's father's scheming rival, Makunga, tricks him into parring with a lion named "Teetsi". When the time comes for the rite of passage, Alex does indeed choose Teetsi, who turns out to be something like the Incredible Lion Hulk, and defeats him in one blow.
- In Oliver & Company, the gang's Dumb Muscle is named Einstein.
- Honest John in Pinocchio is a con man, and predictably, not at all honest.
- The Nicelanders from Wreck-It Ralph are quite rude and hostile toward Ralph (especially in Gene's case). Generally a case of the Nice Character, Mean Actor trope.
- Young Fred in Yellow Submarine is an elderly man.
Films — Live-Action
- Sent up (ha) in the Starsky & Hutch movie, where they conclude that a guy is not the Big Earl they're looking for on the grounds that he's not big enough for it to be an accurate name, and too tall for it to be ironic. When first suggesting it's an ironic thing, Starsky mentions knowing a seven foot tall guy on the Vice squad called Tiny. Incidentally, the real Big Earl turns out to be a pretty tall dude.
- In Snatch., Brick Top's hair is grey. Also, Gorgeous George is rather unattractive.
- In The Departed, the character Frenchie is actually from Britain. When asked if his real name is Mr. French, Costello states that it is not.
- Doubling as a Real Life example, Curly Howard of The Three Stooges is completely bald, though the nickname is from before he shaved his head for the act.
- Little John in Robin Hood: Men in Tights parodies this.
- In Muppet Treasure Island, the last two pirates in the roll call scene are "Big Fat Ugly Bug-Faced Baby-Eating O'Brien" and "Angel Marie". O'Brien is an attractive (but deep-voiced) lady pirate, and Angel Marie is a big ugly Muppet monster.
- In Alfred Hitchcock's The Secret Agent, the Hairless Mexican is neither hairless nor Mexican. However, in the novel Ashenden, on which the film was based, the character actually was a hairless Mexican.
- All the girls of Sucker Punch. We never find out their real names, just what they're called in the Brothel fantasy:
- Babydoll - the girl is twenty years old and only looks like The Ingenue, but is actually quite crafty.
- Sweet Pea - she's the most cynical and sardonic of the group
- Rocket - she dies when her jet pack fails to work.
- Blondie - she is played by the brunette Vanessa Hudgens.
- Amber - she is played by the Asian-American Jamie Chung. Also the name means "fierce" when Amber is quite nervous and submissive. Plus she's the pilot in all the action scenes.
- In Top Gun, Commander Heatherly's callsign "Jester" is almost certainly an example of this, given that he's played by Michael Ironside.
- Angel Eyes of The Good, the Bad and the Ugly sports a perpetual narrow-eyed sneer.
- Subverted with Mr. Sulu in Star Trek III when a security guard insults him by calling him "Tiny." Sulu certainly is much shorter than the security guard, but it doesn't stop him from completely kicking the guy's ass. "Don't call me Tiny."
- Heroin Bob from SLC Punk! was named as such because he wouldn't touch drugs and was afraid of needles.
- Manumana in Necessary Roughness is a huge Samoan whose name means "runt of the litter." Subverted in that it's actually not ironic — apparently the other men in his family are even bigger than him.
- The prisoners in Mean Machine include the short, skinny Massive and the large, strong, and noisy Mouse.
- In Red Tails, "Pretty Boy" is a German ace pilot with a long, ugly Dueling Scar on his face. Two things of note: One, he would be pretty if not for the scar, and two, Lightning gave him the nickname before he ever saw his face.
- All of the Airmen have nicknames, and most of them are appropriate — Joker cracks wise, Junior is very young, and Lightning is flashy. Easy, however, is a tightwad who doesn't seem to know how to relax.
- In Revenge of the Nerds 2, an Alpha Beta member called "Tiny" insists his name is ironic, but only gets laughed at by his friends. He later tries to give himself the overcompensating nickname "The Meat".
It's a reverse nickname! You know, like they call red-headed guys "Blondie" and right-handed guys "Lefty"!
- In Full Metal Jacket, Gunnery Sgt. Hartman gives Pvt. Brown, a black recruit, the nickname "Private Snowball."
- In Lord of Illusions, the sadistic sorceror Nix names himself "the Puritan". He doesn't even aspire to purity, except maybe pure malice.
- There's an odd example in the movie Cyborg Cop 2, with the drug lord Fats. He's not fat, but he's also not especially skinny. Even so, other characters talk about him as though he were a huge fat guy — you get the feeling that either Fats lost a lot of weight recently or they couldn't find a fat guy to play the part and nobody bothered to change the script.
- In The Last Witch Hunter, Kaulder calls 36th Dolan, who's well into his seventies, "kid". Played with in that for Really 700 Years Old Kaulder, 36th Dolan really is a kid.
- Similarly to the book (mentioned below), Flight of the Intruder features "Razor" as an ironic nickname. While the book character gets the name due to his Porn Stache, the film character gets it from being a baby-faced Ensign Newbie who doesn't look old enough to shave. By the end of the film, his nickname is changed to Straight Razor.
- Possibly the Ur-Example, Little John, Robin Hood's best friend and Number Two. The nickname is little more than an inverse of his actual name (that is, John Little). Depending on the particular interpretation of the legend, he could be more than 185 cm (6 feet) tall and weigh over 90kg (200 pounds) - in an era when many men would have been around 160 cm (5 feet 3 inches) and weighed perhaps 55 kg (125 pounds). Lucky for Robin that Little John was one of the good guys...
- In Reaper Man, during his tenure as a mortal, Death befriends a group of old men in a small farming community, including a fellow known as Gabby Wheels, who (as can be expected, from this trope) never says anything.
- Similarly, Short Street in Ankh-Morpork is, in fact, the longest street in the city.
- Ankh-Morpork's last king known for his predilection for torture is known as Lorenzo the Kind, a darkly humorous reference to his other well-known trait, being "very fond of children".
- In C. S. Lewis' That Hideous Strength, the National Institute of Co-ordinated Experiments is not NICE at all.
- In Robin McKinley's novel Beauty, the titular character's real name is Honor, but as a child made the comment that "I'd rather be Beauty," and the nickname stuck. Ironic in that while her two elder sisters are extraordinarily beautiful, Beauty herself is extremely plain, awkward, and gangly. She fits her nickname better later on, however.
- In the Odd Thomas novels, Odd is friends with a writer named Little Ozzie. Little Ozzie is over 450 pounds, and only named "little" because his father, Big Ozzie (who is fifty pounds lighter than his son) is still alive.
- A Song of Ice and Fire has several of these.
- Small Paul and Giant are huge and short, respectively.
- Brienne the Beauty and Pretty Meris are both ugly.
- Raff the Sweetling is a really horrible person.
- The Tickler is a Torture Technician.
- Little Walder is much larger than his cousin Big Walder. Little Walder is, however, a few years younger than Big Walder, so it still kind of fits.
- Subverted, however, by Sam "the Slayer," who believes that his nickname is intended to be mocking until a friend points out that, unlike other ironic nicknames, Sam's is actually true.
- Jorah Mormont has been called Jorah the Andal in Essos. When in fact Jorah is from the North, which makes him a descendant of the First Men who resisted the Andals.
- Jack London's book White Fang features a character called "Beauty" Smith. The author's descriptions of the character are, shall we say, less than favourable.
- In The Dresden Files, Harry's typical response to anything ridiculously huge is to name it "Tiny." This has included both a gruff bigger than an elephant and an undead Tyrannosaurus.
- There is also Harry's dog Mouse, who is roughly three-and-a-half feet at the shoulder and tips the scales at about 200 lbs. When Mouse was a puppy he fit in Harry's coat pocket so the name wasn't ironic at first, it just became that way.
- In Isaac Asimov's Lucky Starr books, the protagonist's Side Kick is called Bigman. He's 5'2", and sensitive about height jokes. (Oddly enough, Bigman seems to be his legal middle name—maybe his parents were compensating for something?)
- Subverted in the X-Wing Series. The pilot "Runt" is pretty big and considerably stronger than a human, but that nickname followed him from his homeworld. For his species, he's practically a dwarf. It's stated that his species are almost never starfighter pilots because they don't fit in the cockpit, and even Runt is a little cramped.
- In The Last Dragonlord and Dragon and Phoenix, the youngest Dragonlords are traditionally called "Little One" regardless of size. One of them, a woman the size of a child, delights in calling the youngest one "Little One" to the point of rarely using his name to his face. He's about seven feet tall. On meeting the next two successive youngest Dragonlords, she is relieved to see that both of them are still taller than her.
- All the King's Men features the burly political operative Tiny Duffy, whose commitment to extending traditional Louisiana politics' cronyism to Willie Stark's administration once causes Stark to evict him from his office with a shotgun—primarily because evicting him with anything short of firearms would have been physically impossible.
- Ironic Nicknames are practically mandatory in the Brigands MC.
Biker names were usually ironic. Little George was the size of a house, Fats as thin as a rake and Teeth had nothing but squishy gums and a couple of brown molars at the back.
- In Les Misérables, Fantine names her little girl Euphrasie in a moment of romantic inspiration, but soon she calls the babe "Cosette" all the time (which means, basically, 'pampered' or 'indulged' in French). Then she leaves her child with the Thenardiers, who verbally and physically abuse the child, starve her, and force her to work for her keep — all the while still calling her "Cosette," little Indulged. And Cosette becomes the name by which she is known her entire life, except in the most official moments.
- The Wayside School series has this with the three Erics. Basically, there's three kids named Eric in the main class. One, Eric Bacon, is a skinny guy, one, Eric Fry, is an excellent athlete, and one, Eric Ovens, is a fairly nice guy. Bacon is called "Fatso", since Fry is bulky and Ovens is pudgy. Fry is called "Butterfingers" and is constantly forced on right field, because Bacon is weak and Ovens is clumsy. Since Bacon and Fry have insulting nicknames, they're irritable jerks, which leads to Ovens being called "Crabapple." It's a little surreal, honestly.
- Flight of the Intruder brings us Razor, so named because of his Porn Stache, and Cool Hand, who when he's not flying, suffers from stress-related palsy.
- Leslie Thomas' detective Dangerous Davies is so named because he's considered harmless by most local villains.
- In one story, Dangerous investigates the background of a very short man called Lofty. This turns out to be a subversion, because the little guy had stolen the identity of the real Lofty who was a six foot two beanpole.
- Fat Charlie from Anansi Boys isn't fat at all, and he never was. He was a bit pudgy between age ten, when he was bedridden with illness for a month, and fourteen, when he started eating a little less and exercising a little more. However, since the name came from his father Anansi, it stuck.
- In the Dragaera series, one the gangsters working for Vlad was nicknamed "The Healer". This is a reference to an incident in which he approached a recalcitrant debtor with a club and said something like "I see your head is whole. How about I heal it for you?"
- 'Pudge' in Looking for Alaska, called such because he's skinny.
- Big Sam and Little Sam in L. M. Montgomery's A Tangled Web. Not intentionally — Little Sam is the younger by ten years.
- In the second novel of the Riftwar Cycle, Jimmy nicknamed the humorless Nightmaster of the Mockers Laughing Jack.
- In Stephen King's The Eyes of the Dragon, "Thomas the Lightbringer" is the tool that Flagg plans to use in order to plunge Delain back into Dark Age Europe.
- Tiny, the titular dog of a children's series who's actually huge.
- In The Gospel of Loki, Odin's brother Honir is nicknamed the Silent "for his apparent ability to speak without ever stopping for breath".*
- Steapa Snotor of The Saxon Stories. Snotor means "the clever", and Steapa is anything but.
- One gang leader in an early Garrett, P.I. novel is a human known as Gorgeous, who is ugly enough to impress ogres with his looks. Garrett's own sort-of-grandmother (she used to date his grandpa and outlived Garrett's real one) is an extremely homely old lady called Handsome.
- Halo: Contact Harvest continues the theme of the Prophets from Halo having ironic names. The Prophetess of Obligation neglects some of her duties due to her pregnancy, the Vice Minister of Tranquility (the future Prophet of Regret) is extremely combative, and the Prophet of Restraint knocks up a lover when he's legally forbidden from breeding.
- The biggest and strongest soldier in Sven Hassel's World War II tales is called Tiny. At the same time, his childishness makes the nickname apt.
- Journey to Chaos: There's a forest cleric whose known as "The Sterile Tree". Eric discusses this with his advocate; given how many different kinds of life live on, in and under them; trees are definitely not sterile.
- The Saga of the Faroe Islanders: Thrand's nephew Thord is called Thord the Short, but actually he is exceptionally big and strong.
[H]e was called Thord the Short; yet he was the tallest of men and moreover he was thickset and very powerful.
Live Action TV
- Our Miss Brooks: In "Wild Goose", Miss Brooks refers to Dumb Jock Stretch Snodgrass as "the brain."
- Dexter featured Little Chino, a huge man who actually survives Dexter's murder attempts. Twice. During one of them, he rips through enough tape to subdue a normal man, and the last time he's taken by Dexter you see none of him except for parts of his face, due to Dexter never making the same mistake twice.
- An episode of Walker, Texas Ranger featured the team investigating several hackers. One guy was named "Tiny" (or something), and the guy sent to talk to him ended up being beaten up by a huge behemoth of a guy. In contrast, a guy named "Big Hack" was... a dwarf.
- In Veronica Mars Season Two, there is a janitor nicknamed Lucky. They nicknamed him that because he went to Iraq and was injured (which could mean he was lucky in not dying or unlucky in getting injured in the first place). Even more ironically, he ends up going off his rocker, starting a school shooting with a gun filled with blanks, and then gets shot dead by a security guard in an episode entitled "Happy Go Lucky."
- In Scorpion, Happy is the one with anger issues.
- This trope applies to the nickname of Detective Constable "Dangerous" Davies, protagonist of The Last Detective series of mysteries and is discussed in the episode titled Lofty (see the Literature section above).
- In the TV mini-series Oktober the goons from the multinational pharmaceutical company pursuing the protagonist belong to its "Ethics Division".
- In an episode of Cheers, a "Tiny" comes in and sits at the bar near Cliff, who, upon learning of his nickname, points out the concept behind it. "Tiny" tells him, "You're Smart!" Cliff takes it as a compliment, until "Tiny" points out that that's his Ironic Nickname for him.
- In one episode, Temperance learns that her paramour (who seems unwilling to have sex with her) is nicknamed "Peanut." Turns out he's embarrassed about his giant penis.
- Also, Temperance itself is something of an ironic name: one of the Seven Cardinal Virtues (very Christian, which she isn't), it has to do with being mindful of others and one's surroundings (she's not), practicing self-control (she's calm, to be sure, but she really doesn't know when to shut up), and being abstemious and moderate (while she doesn't drink that much, her sex life can hardly be seen as abstemious or moderate...not in a negative way, but definitely immoderate). Her birth name, changed by her unrepentantly criminal parents, was Joy, and she still has severe personal issues due to spending her childhood a string of foster homes.
- Used in The Wire, Season 4. Herc is looking for a gangster named Little Kevin (who is in reality tall and overweight), and has the man in question up against a wall. When asked if he is Little Kevin, Kevin replies, "Do I look little to you?" Herc then lets him go, and decides to apprehend everyone under 5'10 and 180lbs as possible candidates.
- "Sweet" Dee on It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, who is anything but.
- On Top Gear, James May's "Captain Slow" nickname is now rather ironic since he's had the opportunity to take two different Bugatti Veyrons (record-setting fastest production cars) to their top speeds.
- This trope was actually invoked in the Top Gear vs D-Motor episode. May was "Captain Slow", and Richard Hammond was "Lofty".
- May has also dubbed Jeremy Clarkson "the world's most practical man" on occasion.
- Young Mr. Grace from Are You Being Served?. So called because despite being ancient, he's nonetheless still younger than his brother.
- Eureka has a large insectoid robot nicknamed "Tiny".
- Monk had a character named Fat Tony, a gangster who Sharona gets a crush on. He was a fat as a kid and grew up incredibly fit but he's still called "Fat."
Sharona: Why can't you just call him Big Tony?
Gangster: We already have a Big Tony.
Gangster: ... Big Tony.
- Smiler from Last of the Summer Wine who was always downbeat. And when he does smile (mostly to laugh) it is very, very creepy
- In Sons of Anarchy, Happy is extremely serious as well as the club's most ruthless killer. He embraces his nickname by tattooing smiley faces into his chest for every kill he makes.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Spike doesn't like being called "William the Bloody" because it actually referred not to his infamous brutality as a vampire but to his bloody awful poetry as a human.
- On The X-Files, Mulder's nickname at the FBI is "Spooky". Doesn't seem that ironic until you learn that his work with the supernatural isn't how he got the nickname. Before the X-Files, he was an amazing profiler for the Violent Crimes Section, so amazing it was spooky.
- Game of Thrones: Jon Snow is mockingly dubbed "Lord Snow" by Ser Alliser Thorne because he is a highborn bastard son of a lord raised with a young lord's upbringing. Jon's title as "Lord Snow" is no longer an ironic nickname when he's elected Lord Commander in Season 5.
- In Chappelle's Show's "Player Haters" sketches, the ugliest hater (he has an award for it and everything) is called Beautiful. That said, he's a preening narcissist who seems to believe his nickname describes him perfectly.
- Person of Interest:
- Fusco has Finch's number saved as "Mr. Good News".
- Subverted in the case of the Brotherhood member Mini. He would have Team Finch believe it's because of his large muscular frame, but in fact it's short for Dominic, which they know as the name of the Brotherhood's leader.
- In Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Mirror Universe version of Miles O'Brien is called "Smiley." He's a very unpleasant and unhappy man who never smiles. That his nickname is ironic is a coincidence — Mirror Sisko simply didn't like the name "Miles" and altered it slightly.
- Once Upon a Time: The exiled giant Antoine gets handed a Dwarf pickaxe, which are magically inscribed with the name of the Dwarf it belongs to. The name that appears? "Tiny." Then again, he actually was small compared to most giants, who called him "Tiny" long before the pickaxe did.
- On Psych. In "Black And Tan: A Crime of Fashion", "Black and Tan" are the pseudonyms used by Shawn and Gus to infiltrate a fashion show. However, Shawn (a deeply tanned Caucasiannote ) is "Black" and Gus (an African-American) is "Tan". How dare you assume otherwise?
- "Curly" Watts from Coronation Street. His hair could not have been straighter.
- In the episode "Folsom Prison Blues" (S02, Ep19) of Supernatural, a very large prisoner is named Tiny.
- One episode of Elementary is set into motion by the murder of mobster "Handsome" Bobby Perdillo, who was very fat and ugly. Sherlock assumes the name '"Tiny" Bobby Perdillo' was already taken.
- In London's Burning, one character is nicknamed "Charisma", because he has no charisma.
- The Deuce gives this a twist when Vincent cheekily dubs one his bouncers "Black Mike" to differentiate him from his other bouncer, who is also named Mike. Black Mike is black, but so is the other Mike.
- Silicon Valley: One of the salespeople hired by Jack Barker to Pied Piper is Jan "the Man." She's something of The Lad-ette and apparently quite proud of the nickname, since she uses it whenever she introduces herself.
- Sharpe: Captain "Sweet William" Frederickson. "Sweet William" is a stock character from English folksongs, whose usual function is to be a love-struck or broken-hearted young idiot. Captain Frederickson, on the other hand, is a grizzled, heavily scarred Sergeant Rock, who also happens to be fiercely intelligent, well-read and something of an intellectual, and also possesses an unexpected artistic streak.
- A black gangster in Boardwalk Empire is known as "Chalky" White, a pun on both his skin colour and last name.
- Black Boy, who is noticeably paler than most people in the Caribbean, where he most frequently wrestles. He later became better known as Diamante.
- "Sweet" Saraya Knight, a loudmouthed, obnoxious, psychopathic Heel.
- The ring name of Joan “Chyna” Laurer is a reference to fine china’, which is delicate and fragile…something the former bodybuilder was decidedly not.
- Comedian Mark Forward has a bit where he brags about his high-school nickname "Gorgeous Mark", and then laughs about how they all made fun of the fat kid by calling him "Tiny". Cue sad realization about his own nickname.
- Stage Door by George S. Kaufman and Edna Ferber has "Big Mary" Harper, whose height reaches only about the elbow of "Little Mary" McCune. The irony of their nicknames is lampshaded:
Bernice: Listen, why is the little one called Big Mary and the big one Little Mary?
Olga: Nobody knows. Will you for heaven's sake stop asking questions?
- In Warhammer 40,000, Konrad Curze, the Night Haunter, Primarch of the Night Lords Legion had a pair of master-crafted lightning claws whose true name (if any) were unknown. What does his Legion call them? Mercy and Forgiveness. The irony is readily apparent for any follower of 40k, but for those who aren't: Konrad Curze was an Ax-Crazy Serial-Killer Killer who, within a year of landing on his homeworld of Nostramo, managed to clear it of crime by using violent, murderous terror tactics to punish criminals and deter corruption amongst officials.
- Tiny Tiger from the Crash Bandicoot games is massive.
- The pilot of SSV Normandy from Mass Effect was called "Joker" because he never smiled in flight school. Amusingly, the irony is something of an Informed Attribute by the time of the game's events, as Joker tells...well, jokes, in every conversation you have with him since he no longer feels the need to prove himself.
- In Beyond Good & Evil, the man who fronts for the IRIS Network is a blind man named "Peepers." He even has an eye on the front of his shirt.
- Secret of Evermore's Ancient Rome/Egypt mishmash world has Tiny. Guess what he looks like. (Hint: he has a mohawk.) Hell, they even lampshade it in his introduction (provided you see him before the Coliseum fight):
Tiny: Tiny likes irony.
- The instruction manuals and some other side materials for Army Men will often refer to Colonel Grimm as "Happy" Jack, and then (sometimes within the same sentence) mention his depression over how long the current war has dragged on.
- In Backyard Sports, Dante Robinson is called "Stretch" even though he can't stretch at all because he's really short.
- Wing Commander's Chris "Maverick" Blair got the call sign as an ironic take on his by-the-book flying. Todd "Maniac" Marshal on the other hand, did not.
- More of an Ironic Title: all of the High Prophets in Halo. Truth is a complete liar and psychopath. Mercy shows no mercy to the humans or Elites, and was given none by Truth. Regret didn't regret anything he did, even after he was dead. With Truth at least it was intentional, as he chose the name to remind of himself of his own lies and hypocrisy.
- Little Eddie, the first boss of MadWorld, is the second or third largest boss in the game, easily 15 feet tall and covered in rock hard muscle. Commentator Kreese Kreeley doesn't understand why they call him that when he's so big, leading Howard "Buckshot" Holmes to explain in detail the very concept of irony to him.
- Tiny, the Stone Golem in the popular Warcraft III map Defense of the Ancients: All-Stars. Sure, he starts off (true to his name) as a tiny golem, but levelling up his Ultimate Ability increases his size (and damage) while lowering his attack speed.
- Donkey Kong Country: Tiny Kong. In her first appearance she was Dixie Kong's little sister and really was tiny, but then she hit puberty. Now she's one of the taller Kongs.
- Super Mario Bros.:
- Mega Man
- A fireman is a rescue worker trained to extinguish fire. Fire Man from the first Mega Man 1 game on the other hand, is a robot who starts fires.
- Proto Man's Japanese name is "Blues", even though his suit is mostly gray and red. The name is a reference to the musical genre of blues and not to the color blue.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim:
- The headmistress of Riften's Honorhall Orphanage goes by the name of "Grelod the Kind". Far from being kind, she's one of the absolute cruelest people of all of Skyrim, and her sobriquet is meant as an ironic insult by the townspeople of Riften. She's so mean that should she die, not only do the orphans she ostensibly cares for all cheer her death, but it is not regarded as a crime, no matter the means of death. She was so wicked that the Dark Brotherhood planned to off her, at least until you do it yourself.
- There's also Kesh the Clean, a Khajiit who worships Peryite, the Daedric Prince of diseases.
- Susannah the Wicked, a barmaid from Windhelm, is actually a Nice Girl towards the player and the Dunmer population who are treated like second-class citizens. Her murder by Windhelm's resident Serial Killer leaves the city poorer for her loss.
- One of the small groups of Undaunted one can find in the bars of The Elder Scrolls Online has a rather small wood elf and a huge high elf, collectively known as "the Twins".
- "Trusty" Patches from Dark Souls is perfectly trustworthy. You can always trust a dishonest man to be dishonest, after all. Even Lautrec can't stand him.
- "Hawkeye" Gough the archer is completely blind. Of course, it used to be unironic before he lost his sight, and he can still snipe a moving dragon out of the sky even without it.
- Also, there's Patches's Expy from Dark Souls II, "Mild-Mannered" Pate. Sure, he acts mild-mannered, but only to trick gullible saps into getting themselves killed setting off booby traps in his place, or acting as a nice distraction for enemies, so he can loot all the prizes for himself.
- At the start of Kingdom Come: Deliverance you fight a large bandit leader named Runt who wields a club bigger than you are.
- One of the heroes in Superhero League of Hoboken is Captain Excitement, who is so drowsy, lethargic and boring that his mere presence can put animals and some humans to sleep. His biography mentions that his nickname is deliberately ironic.
- Mallik the Unscathed from World of Warcraft, who is the first of the Paragons of the Klaxxi to fall in battle when he's killed by Imperial Vizier Zor'lok at the end of the Klaxxi storyline.
- In Dragon Age: Inquisition, Varric gives a couple of companions ironic nicknames. The Iron Bull is dubbed "Tiny", and while "Chuckles" was appropriately used for a Snarky!Hawke in Dragon Age II, here he applies it to the constantly serious Solas.
- In Fallout 4, you have to rescue Nick Valentine from Triggermen mob boss "Skinny" Malone. As Nick observes, "The name's kinda ironic."
- In Fire Emblem Fates Asugi's nickname for Rhajat, the incredibly gloomy Dark Magical Girl is, of course Sunshine. However, Rhajat's supports do show that while not exactly a ray of sunshine, she's much nicer than she lets on.
- In the Borderlands 2 DLC Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, the White Knight in Tina's Bunkers & Badasses game is represented by Roland, the only black Vault Hunter.
White Knight: If you ask me why I'm the White Knight, I may have to punch you in the throat. Fair warning.
- Shadowrun Returns Hong Kong: Your sometime employer is a Triad mid-level boss known as "Kindly" Cheng. "Kindly" is a complete hard-ass who manages to turn an overly ambitious underling into a gibbering wreck with a few words.
- Ysengrin from Gunnerkrigg Court is referred to by one of his underlings as "the Very Nice Man." Ysengrin, the borderline-psychotic wolf-tree. Yeah... He's actually shown to be reasonably nice and significantly intelligent and caring, provided you're not an enemy.
- In Sluggy Freelance a very fat guy and a very short guy host the "Broadman & Midget" radio show. Turns out the short guy's Broadman (real name Brouderman) and the fat guy's Midget (a.k.a. Mike Midgetski). They both seem completely unaware of the irony.
- In Beyond the Canopy, Pedro has a several-stories-tall robot named Tiny Tin. (Though Pedro may be referring to the robot's ability to fold up into a handheld size, in which case it's not ironic at all.)
- In The Order of the Stick, invoking this trope is a common punishment for betraying the Thieves' Guild. "Eagle-Eyed Pete" was blinded, while "Appendix Steve" apparently suffered a much less troublesome fate. When Pete betrayed an old cleric friend of his, that cleric made a quip about calling him "Brainy Pete" before enacting his revenge.
- Despite being a carpenter by trade, Handy from Happy Tree Friends has stumps for arms. The name winds up being both descriptive and ironic.
- Kid Speedy of Homestar Runner. The goal of the "Videlectrix" game starring him is simply to not get last place; forget winning.
Who's faster than Kid Speedy? EVERYBODY!! This little fatso is the slowest poke in the bunch. —In-universe advertising
- Meredith Hemmings of Survival of the Fittest v4 is occasionally referred to as "Merry". She isn't.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender: Pipsqueak and the Duke. Guess which one is the Gentle Giant and which one is the little kid. Go on, guess.
- In the Hanna-Barbera series Top Cat, the dimmest member of TC's gang is named Brain. The Latin American Spanish dub managed to make it more hilarious by renaming him "Demostenes", after the Greek philosopher.
- The three Erics in Wayside all have different nicknames... specifically, unflattering nicknames that invariably describe the other two. In most of those cases, it was because the kids believe that, because a nickname describes the other two Erics, it must describe the third.
- Tiny, a female Tetramand (Fourarms' species) in Ben 10.
- In Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "Who Let The Dogs In?", Bloo's friends all find a whole litter of abandoned puppies and begin naming them. Finding the whole thing ridiculous, when Bloo is given the rights to name one of them, he named him Stupid. Turns out, Stupid's the smartest of the imaginary puppies, being the one who can talk.
- In a Robot Chicken sketch about Big Jim, Zorak mentions the reasoning for the name. There's also "Eagle-Eye" Smith, a bumbling blind man who rarely even knows where he is.
- One of Mordecai and Rigby's coworkers in Regular Show is a fat little guy called Muscle Man. This is a special case because he is quite strong (his daily tasks are very physically taxing, he likes to work out, and at one point turns to protein supplements as a comfort food). Eventually, it's revealed in "Power Tower" that he was once a bodybuilder, and that his old nickname stuck with him after he got out of shape (Mordecai assumed it was supposed to be ironic).
- In an episode of Heathcliff and the Catillac Cats, Hector tried to take over the gang, and Wordsworth and Mungo sided with him. Riff-Raff didn't argue, but said his old friend "Shorty" who was coming to visit might, and claimed it was an Ironic Nickname, claiming Shorty was a monster who weighed a ton. After wearing themselves out trying to prepare for this, Shorty actually showed up, and it seemed to be a subversion, as he was pretty short. (Although, as Hector found out the hard way, Shorty also knew Karate; "short" didn't mean "weak".)
- Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog has Rocket... the sloth.
- Transformers Generation One
- The inveterate braggart Sky Lynx, whom Springer calls "Commander Modesty."
- Inferno, an Autobot who's vehicle form is a fire truck; he's a lot better at putting out infernos.
- Curly from Hey Arnold! has black hair in a bowl cut — like Moe, not Curly.
- The Simpsons gives us Handsome Pete, who looks like a deranged, miniature version of Krusty the Klown. As the Simpsons episode guide says:
Irony: He ain't all that handsome.
- An example occurs in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Pickles" when the quite obese Bubble Bass approaches the counter at the Krusty Krab.
Squidward: Let me guess, Tiny. A small salad?
- In the Classic Disney Shorts Officer Duck, Donald is given the order to bring in Tiny Tom, who turns out to be Pete.
- Invoked in Gargoyles, when Elisa, after having her memories erased, calls the aptly-named Goliath "Tiny" as soon as she sees him.
- President George Washington has long been known as the "Father of His Country", but he had no children of his own. Since his wife had four children from a previous marriage, this has led to suppositions that he was sterile.
- Speaking of Martha Washington, she consistenly, throughout their marriage, referred to George as "my old man", in spite of being a year older than him.
- One famous branch of the Roman gens (clan) Julia probably got their cognomen (secondary name) Caesar from the nickname of Numerius Julius, which would mean "hairy". Since it is known that many men of the family suffered from a very early onset of baldness, this probably started as a joke (rather like calling the bald guy "Curly"). Or at least it became one for later generations.
- Tom "Tiny" Lister, an actor who is also a very big, very muscular, very cross-eyed, very, very Scary Black Man.
- Tiny Ron, a seven-foot-tall actor who's had a number of bit Hollywood roles (probably most notably Maihar'du in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine). In Police Squad!, he's so tall, his head won't even fit in the camera frame.
- National Basketball Association
- 1970s player Nate "Tiny" Archibald was 6'1"—not tiny in the general population, but small compared to most NBA players.
- Gheorge Muresan, who along with Manute Bol is the tallest player in league history at 7'7", had the nickname of "Ghitza" which translated to "Tiny".
- In Australia up til recently, it was fairly common for friends of a redhead to nickname him/her Bluey.
- MLB relief pitcher Heathcliff Slocumb at some point picked up the nickname "Smoke 'em." He really couldn't.
- The famous Roman orator, statesman and historian Publius Cornelius Tacitus. His cognomen "Tacitus" means "silent".
- One of Sonny Barger's lieutenants in the Hells Angels leadership was a hulking brute called Tiny.
- Curly of The Three Stooges was bald.
- As was the Curly in the 1970s Harlem Globetrotters.
- In Futurama, his counterpart is called Curly Joe after the Stooge's replacement.
- The pirate Henry Every was supposedly nicknamed Long Ben (the man's exact name is not exactly clear), the Long part because he was fairly short.
- While it was not ironic when it was first named, the "Pont Neuf" ("New Bridge") is now the oldest bridge in Paris.
- 1960s Australian Rules Football strongman (i.e. thug) "Delicate" Des Dickson.
- 1920s Australian rugby league player Edwin Stanley Brown was so pale they nicknamed him… the "N-word".
- Abbye "Pudgy" Stockton was an attractive, muscular strongwoman.
- 1960's and 1970's NASCAR racer DeWayne Louis "Tiny" Lund was 6'5' and weighed about 270.
- Snooker player Steve "Interesting" Davis was nicknamed so by Private Eye because he was seen as a dull public speaker.
- During World War II, the overly huge Panzer VIII was named the Maus (Mouse). The original name was the far more appropriate Mammut (Mammoth), but the development crew nicknamed it Mauschen (Little Mouse) and this was adapted into its final name. The even more ludicrously huge Landkreuzer P. 1000, which never made it past the drawing board (the Maus itself barely did, with only 1 and a half prototypes existingnote ), was named the Ratte (Rat).
- Masi Oka originally got his name from a teacher who called him "Messy Masi" after getting tired of trying to say Masayori. While the "messy" part is normally an accurate description of his handwriting, there are a couple of pieces of autographed Heroes memorabilia out there where the only remotely readable piece of handwriting is Masi's Japanese (his English letters are still largely illegible).
- LBJ was originally mocked as "Landslide Lyndon" because, on his first election to the Senate he won very narrowly. He won the Texas Democratic primary by 87 votes, in an election where over a million votes were cast statewide, and he happily embraced the nickname after winning his seat by a landslide in the State elections, something he would repeat in the 1964 Presidential elections.
- The scientific name of the blue whale is Balaenoptera musculus, where "musculus" could be translated to muscle, but also "little mouse".