In Real Life
, parents tend to use the entire nine months between conception and birth to think up nice names. They buy baby books, make compromises, and if they don't know the sex of the baby then they'd choose one for each gender, just to be prepared, or maybe they go for something of an ambiguous gender
But not in media or TV shows... In most media, parents go the entire
nine months- without even thinking or talking about this important issue. When it finally
comes to the birth, one of the parents says "What should we call him/her?" and then they patch together a name right on the spot while holding their child- with minimal, if any, need for discussion on the matter between the two parents. A Line-of-Sight Name
or Dead Guy Junior
names are very common. Naming it after the mother or father's deceased parent is a particularly common option.
While it does sometimes happen
in Real Life
that parents wait to the last minute to name their child, usually because they want to be inspired upon finally seeing the child, or one of them is fixed on a name that the other can't stand, it seems highly unlikely that it is as common as the trope's frequency implies.
Compare Line-of-Sight Name
, Meaningful Name
Anime and Manga
- A chapter in Oi Shinbo revolves around the Official Couple deciding on names for their twins after the birth. The male lead has to be extra convincing to explain the Meaningful Name he's giving his daughter.
- In Dragon Ball, Goku and Chi Chi had a hard time thinking of a name for their firstborn son after he was born. Until Chi Chi's father realized that the baby responded the best to Goku's grandpa Gohan's name and the rest was history.
- Present in poor Lucy's background in Servant × Service. Her parents couldn't pick a name, and asked for suggestions from people they knew. They still hadn't decided on any from said list of names when their daughter was born... so they gave her all of them.
- In Baby Blues, Wanda and Darryl's third child is only named Wren, just because a bird flew into the window while Wanda was recovering in the hospital.
Film — Animated
- In Ultimate Re-Imaginings, Claire reveals to Blair that her mother only named her Blair because she was on painkillers at the time and thought it sounded 'cute.' Madame Masque later confesses to Blair that she barely remembered the girl's birth when asked if she remembered her name.
Film — Live Action
- In Ice Age 3, Manny and Ellie have apparently not decided on what to name their child in the entire 22 months of pregnancy that an elephant-sized animal like the Woolly Mammoth will probably undergo. After the baby mammoth's birth, Manny suggests they name her Ellie, but Ellie decides on the name "Peaches", which was their code word for Ellie to tell Manny she was going into labor.
- This happens at the beginning of Star Trek, when Kirk's parents are naming him. He's named for his maternal grandfather, and his middle name is his paternal grandfather's.
- In the third Star Wars prequel movie, Padme doesn't name her twins until they are born, and she's dying.
- Subverted in the sequel to Meet the Parents, where a new mother is clearly about to name her son after her male nurse, only to stop when she sees that his name is "Gaylord."
- The Parasol Protectorate: Alexia and Conall Maccon don't talk about baby names at all for the entire time Alexia is pregnant, and name their daughter on the spot after she's born. Until that point Alexia just called her the 'infant-inconvenience'.
- Justified in A Song of Ice and Fire. With the Grim Up North conditions behind the wall, the mortality of children is so high that naming one that hasn't yet grown enough to walk is considered Tempting Fate.
- In I Should Have Seen It Coming When the Rabbit Died by Teresa Bloomingdale, Teresa gives birth to her 3rd child. Her husband comes into her hospital room saying "That baby isn't Jimmy!". Her initial response is "Well, it certainly isn't Mary!" (They'd picked the name James for a boy, Mary for a girl. They did use those names for later arrivals.) They finally decide the baby is Michael.
- Happens a lot in the Book of Genesis. Probably the most memorable examples would be Jacob's sons, but other examples abound.
- Most of those would be arguable (maybe Jacob's wives did plan in advance?), but Benjamin was almost certainly this trope, since his name literally means "Born in the wilderness." For that matter, Jacob himself: his name means "Heel" because he was born clutching his twin brother's foot. (Said brother was named Esau, "Hairy," which he was.)
- In To Sail Beyond the Sunset, Maureen and Brian had chosen a name ahead of time for one of their children ... trouble was, they'd assumed Maureen was carrying a girl and the kid was male. Since the birth took place as Presidential election results were being announced, the baby was named Woodrow Wilson Smith. (Justified as there weren't any scientific prenatal tests for gender in 1912, though you'd think they would have picked a backup male name just in case.)
- Community: After Chang helped Shirley through her child delivery, she decides to name her baby after him. Then she realizes how unfortunate "Ben Bennett" sounds, but sticks with it anyways.
- Ross names his son Ben after a series of mishaps which befall Ross and his ex-wife's partner at the hospital while she's busy having the baby; at one point there is a janitor's coverall involved which has the name "Ben" on it. Prior to that they were feuding over what to name him.
- Also from Friends: Rachel and Ross had decided on a name before the baby was born but realized it didn't fit. When Monica tells Rachel that she plans to name her own future daughter Emma, Rachel likes the name so much that Monica lets her have it.
- Later, when the woman giving birth to the child they are adopting then has a second child (unknown twin), they name the boy after Monica's father and the girl after the childrens' birth mother, Erica, despite the fact Monica has thought up a ton of names beforehand.
- Clare on LOST doesn't name her baby "Aaron" until after he's born, resulting in a "whodat" reaction from Charlie after she uses the name for the first time.
- Mad About You: Paul and Jamie name the baby Mabel, after a remark by Jaime's mom. "Mothers always bring extra love." It's the topper to a bunch of parenting advice she gives them, all of which have Fun with Acronyms as mnemonic devices except that one (until Jamie notices it).
- In The Secret Life of the American Teenager, this happens three times.
- Amy gives birth to her son at the end of the first season and, having not thought about any names, her sister offers up the name John. (Possibly justified in that Amy hadn't been certain for most of the pregnancy that she wouldn't give the baby up for adoption.)
- In the second season, Amy's brother Robbie is born, and is named on the spot after her grandfather.
- At the end of the third season, Adrian and Ben's daughter is stillborn. They hadn't discussed names at all during the pregnancy, but it is revealed the following season that they named her Mercy.
- Murphy Brown went even further, having gone through multiple names for her unborn child during her pregnancy and kept going even after he was born. Eventually she names him "Avery" after her recently deceased mother.
- On Roseanne, Jackie bemoans the fact that she's in labor and hasn't even picked out a name yet. Her mother Bev cheerfully suggests that she just pick anything and get it changed later if she wants. She then reveals that they actually did this with Jackie, who was originally Marjorie. Actually, she admits that they may not have gotten all the paperwork done for that, and suddenly Jackie is freaked out that she doesn't know her own name either.
- Justified on Angel—Darla wanted to just get rid of her pregnancy, but can't, Angel just found out the child existed and nobody was sure if it would even be a baby or some sort of demonic monster, since vampires aren't supposed to be fertile in the first place. Then half of L.A.'s supernatural community was hunting them for some reason, and a full episode after the baby was born Angel just sort of announces that his name is Connor when the doctor asked.
- Danny and Lindsay on CSI NY don't agree on their baby's name even after she's born. Danny says 'Lucy' and Lindsay says 'Lydia'. (it's said in the next season to be Lucy).
- Toby on the The West Wing names his daughter 'Molly' after a secret service agent who died on the same day his daughter was born.
- Susan and Mike on Desperate Housewives discuss what to name their son before deciding to name him Connor...until Mike's grandfather dies and he wants to name their son in his memory. The problem? His name was Maynard. Despite Susan's distress and discomfort over the choice, and attempts to change it, she has a change of heart after Mike explains how much his grandfather meant to him. Thankfully, the kid is referred to as "MJ" in following seasons.
- The only time baby names are mentioned for Crichton and Aeryn's baby in Farscape is during a brief joke in The Peacekeeper Wars. They end up pulling a Dead Guy Junior at the end of the movie and naming him D'Argo Sun Crichton.
- Bakuryuu Sentai Abaranger: Just prior to returning to Dino Earth, Asuka and Mahoro name their baby daughter (Who was around for quite a few episodes) "Mikoto" after the deceased Abarekiller
- Stargate Atlantis: It is unclear how last minute the decision was for Teyla, though she could be excused for not focusing on baby names while she was kidnapped. Regardless, she names her child, several hours after his birth, Torren John Emmagan, for her father and her teammate (plus her own last name.)
- In Being Human, George and Nina's daughter remains nameless for the first few weeks of her life. The delay is partly due to the fact that the werewolf gestation period is unexpectedly much shorter than the human gestation period and partly due to the fact that George and Nina are major targets of the vampires' plan for world domination. George manages to name the child "Eve" as he dies.
- Wakka and Lulu's son in Final Fantasy X-2 doesn't get named unless you complete a sidequest, and if you fail or skip the quest, then Rikku jokes that the kid might go nameless until he hits puberty.
- By the way, if completed, the kid's name is revealed as Vidina, Al Bhed for 'future'. Not bad, considering that a year ago, the father was racist toward the Al Bhed.
- In The Legend of Zelda: Oracles of Ages/Seasons, there's a farmer, his wife, and their unnamed newborn son. They decide to let you, a complete stranger, name their child for them.
- Queen Victoria's parents wanted to name her Georgina in honor of her uncle, Prince George of Wales, but he vetoed it at the christening and suggested they name her after her mother instead.
- In places that have a high infant mortality rate, it was not uncommon for that culture to adopt a custom of not naming their baby (until it was a month old) until it was older, just in case it died later on.
- It's also not uncommon for parents to name a baby as an afterthought if the baby isn't the gender the parent(s) were hoping for and/or the baby turned out to be two (or more) babies, and the parent(s) weren't prepared with multiple names, or if they just weren't flat out aware they were expecting at all.
- Certain names relate to the date of a child's birth—for example, "Natasha" and "Noel(le)" traditionally were given to children born on Christmas. In many African cultures it was common to name a child a certain name depending on what day of the week (s)he was born.
- Other names of this type are Pascal, Pascale, Pasquale, Paschalis (Easter) and the French Toussaint (All Saints' Day). The names Dominic, Dominique, Domingo etc. are frequently used for children born on a Sunday, at least by Catholics.
- Another thing common among Christians of various denominations is to name a child after a saint on whose day it is born or baptized or after one or more of its godparents.
- In Jewish custom, a baby isn't given its name until the 8th day of its life, when it's formally dedicated and boys are circumcised. In Biblical times, this included going to the temple and offering a sacrifice, though it's naturally a bit different today.