This "Odious" — he bad man? Roy:
A name that has a direct, barely-hidden meaning to it. The first, second/third/middle/nth, last, or full name says something primal about the character. Often has multiple layers. To hide the meaning a bit, use an alternate spelling or foreign equivalent. Instead of writers having to make up random words or think of real names, they can use mythological names or old words.
As an example, it is common to use for heroic characters names associated with hunting. So, apart from Hunter, which is a valid first and last name in English, you can use a translation to another language (Jäger, or the phonetic Yeager); the name of a predatory animal (Wolf, Hawk) or a translation of that (Wolfe, Lupin, Lupis, Wulf); or Orion, the constellation of The Hunter. Which is kinda cool, which is why this can double up with Awesome McCoolname
Sometimes used more subtly; the Meaningful Name
only becomes obvious in hindsight, but when the clincher is revealed it's a moment of "Now how did I miss that?"
can manifest this naturally, but may make the character look arrogant if the symbolism is too blatant. This can be a problem with bestowed names
as well; although the character didn't create it, if he accepts
it without much objection
, the effect is similar.
Very common in cartoons
, where the meaning is most times not hidden at all, except that the target audience may not have the vocabulary to get the joke.
Also common in Anime
, since Japanese names have a lot of obvious literal meaning to start with. See notes at Theme Naming
Real-life examples of this are often referred to as "aptronyms". The magazine New Scientist
refers to it as "nominative determinism" in a tongue-in-cheek manner, and encourages people to send examples in. The proper name for this trope is "charactonym".
This goes back to the Bible and probably turns up in the books of other religions, due to the way that names in many different cultures had significance beyond the merely cosmetic.
Compare Named After Somebody Famous
, Prophetic Names
, Steven Ulysses Perhero
, They Call Him Sword
. If the name is explicitly a description, it's a Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom
. Can also be related to Dead Guy Junior
if the naming is intended to symbolize a deceased in-universe character's legacy in some way. See also Names to Run Away From Really Fast
, which is about names indicating being a Badass
and heavily overlaps with this trope, and Punny Name
, which many of these names fall into as well. If it's just the initials that are meaningful, you have a Significant Monogram
. Contrast with Nonindicative Name
. Also compare/contrast with Ironic Name