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aka: Named Weapon
Wouldn't bother, lad. Swords are named for the great deeds they've done in battle. Bilbo:
What are you saying? That my sword hasn't seen battle? Balin:
Not sure it is a sword, to be honest. More of a... letter opener.
In some contexts it is appropriate to give a weapon a name. Usually but not always it is magical, or at least special of some kind. The most famous of these are Public Domain Artifacts
, but sometimes they're just ordinary weapons. Swords seems to be most common, but most kinds of weapons can be given names. Legendary Weapons
will usually fall into this.
If the name is just a personal nickname and not something that is recognized by the world at large, it's I Call It "Vera"
This trope mostly shows up in Speculative Fiction
but also shows up in that strange thing we call Real Life
Stock Weapon Names
is a Sub-Trope
of this, when the weapon appears in several different forms, in several different stories. Names Given to Computers
is superficially similar to this, though computers usually actually use their names on networks.
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Myth & Legend and Real Life (They can be hard to separate at times)
- Norse Mythology has Odin's spear Gungnir, Thor's hammer Mj÷lnir, and Loki's/Surt's sword (or wand) Laevateinn. For weapons wielded by mortal heroes we have Sigurd's sword Gram and the cursed sword Tyrfing, heirloom of the berserker Angantyr and his descendants.
- From the Nibelungenlied, the Middle High German version of the saga of Siegfried the dragon-slayer, we have his sword Balmung. In the Scandinavian version, the Saga of Sigurd the Dragon-Slayer, the sword is called Gram, while Richard Wagner called the sword of Siegmund and Siegfried in the Ring of the Nibelung Notung (or Nothung, in 19th century spelling).
- Beowulf's own sword, Naegling, and the one he borrowed, Hrunting.
- Arthurian Legend is full of them: Arthur's sword Excalibur, naturally, but also Lancelot's sword Anadight/Arondight and Gawain's Galatine. Early Welsh versions call Arthur's sword Caledfwlch, and also give him a dagger called Carnwennan, a shield called Wynebgwrthucher (or Prydwen), and a spear called Rhongomyniad (or Ron.) The Middle English Alliterative Morte Arthure gives him a second sword, Clarent, meant for peaceful purposes (e.g., ceremony) rather than war.
- El Cid had two swords: Tizona and Colada
- The [Bhagavad Gita] has many. Sri Krisha has a conch named Panchajanya, Arjuna had Devadatta, Bhima had Paundra, Yudhishthira had Anantavijaya. Arjuna also had the bow Gandiva.
- Boleslaw III of Poland carried a sword named Grus.
- The ceremonial sword of Polish kings, Szczerbiec. The name refers to a jagged chip in the blade, attributed to it being symbolically used to mark King Bolesław's conquest of Kiev. Reality is mundane: The sword is dated to 300 years after the conquest, it wasn't chipped against the gates, but as a result of rust, and the blade itself is actually combat-worthy. History has no record of accidental limb removal or bodily injury, though.
- Ali, Muhammad's son-in-law, carried the two-pointed sword Zulfiqar.
- Irish myth gives us the sword Caladbolg (which some pundits believe is the original version of Excalibur), C˙ Chulainn's spear Gae Bolg, and his sword Fragarach or Answerer. There's also the sword Moralltach, or the Great Fury, wielded by Aengus Ëg.
- Korean Mythology has Yonggwang-geom(Sword of Dragon's Light), belonging to Sun god Haemosu. Also, General Kim Yushin, who united three kingdoms of Korea, had a sword named Cheonryonggeom (Heavenly Dragon Sword), that was blessed by two stars (by shining their starlights on the sword). According to legends, it even flew from its scabbard and into Kim Yushin's hand when he was furious.
- Ssangyonggeom (Twin Dragon Sword), two swords belonging to General Yi Sun-shin who saved the country from 1592 Japanese Invasion. Ssangyonggeom are now lost, but Jewon-Geom (which is a staggering two-meters long), Yi Sun-sin's ritual sword still exists.
- Among the Three Imperial Regalia of Japan is the Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi, aka "Sword of the Gathering Clouds of Heaven", which contrary to popular belief is a double-edged tsurugi, not a katana. It dates to long before the katana, or even its immediate predecessor the tachi, was invented. Mythology says that it was found in the tail-bones of Orochi when Susano (god of storms) slew it. Then it bounced around Japanese mythology until it eventually comes into possession of the Emperor. Notable in that this sword was later renamed 'Kusanagi', aka "Grass-cutter", in the legend where an Emperor saved his own life in a fire by cutting off the grass fueling it. Supposedly the current Emperor still has it. And no, you can't look at it.
- Several in Romance of the Three Kingdoms, including Lu Bu's Sky Piercer and Guan Yu's Green Dragon Crescent Blade.
- There are three swords, all named, that are nowadays the stuff of legend. A part of the legend says that they are cast of the same steel. (Curtana bears the engraving "My name is Curtana, of the same temper as Joyeuse and Durandal")
- Durandal, the sword of Roland (aka Orlando, if you're Italian), a paladin in the service of Charlemagne. The sword's hilt was said in The Song of Roland to contain a tooth of Saint Peter, the blood of Saint Basil, hair from Saint Denis, and a scrap of Mary's clothing. The tale has Roland last using it to hold off an army of 100,000 long enough for Charlemagne's army to retreat into France.
- Roland's Uncle Charlemagne wielded Joyeuse, a sword said to shift in colours and was supposedly one of the most beautiful swords in existence.
- The last was Curtana (Or Cortana), wielded by Ogier. This sword was known as the broken sword or the sword of mercy; legend says its tip was broken by an angel to prevent a wrongful execution.
- A fourth from the same epic, reputedly (in the epic, at least) inspired by Charlemagne's use of a named blade, was the blade PrÚcieuse/Precious, wielded by the Saracen king Baligant.
- Among the insignia of the Holy Roman Empire (now in Vienna) is the Holy Lance, better known to many English-speakers as the Spear of Destiny. It was carried into the victorious battle of the Lechfeld against the Hungarians by Otto the Great.
- The Southeast Asian Keris blades (especially the masterwork ones and/or those which are supposedly magical in nature) almost always bore names, although often the names are simply denoting its make and kind. Well-known examples are Taming Sari (a Sumatran one, belonging to the historical figure Hang Tuah) and Setan Kober (a Javanese one, belonging to a Javanese hero). One legend averts this, however; The famed "Keris Mpu Gandring" which played a large part in the history of Singosari kingdom in Java, had no formal name since it was unfinished at the time it was used to kill its creator (of which the Keris is known as from thereon).
- The Crusaders named their trebuchets during the Siege of Acre (in the Third Crusade) "God's Own Sling" and "Evil Neighbor;" the defending Arabs countered with "Evil Kinsman."
- Another famous named trebuchet was Edward I Longshanks' "Warwolf" used during the siege of Stirling Castle. A replica of it can be seen today at Caerlaverock Castle.
- "The Gadget" was the first nuclear device ever detonated, in the Trinity test. It got its name because it was not a deployable weapon, but stationary on a tower, and because revealing words like bomb were not used for fear of espionage.
- The "Fat Man" and "Little Boy," the nuclear bombs dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima, respectively.
- In the old days before industrialized steel production, quite a number of cannons and other artillery pieces were given individual names inscribed on the barrel when they were cast (rather as could happen to bells, which were often cast at the same foundry). Examples ranging at least until the Napoleonic Wars can be seen e.g. in the court of honour at the H˘tel des Invalides in Paris. Other examples include the early big cannon "Faule Grete" (Lazy Meg) used by Elector Frederick I, the first Hohenzollern ruler of Brandenburg, to knock down the walls of the castles of his Quitzow foes in the second decade of the 15th century, "Faule Mette" (likewise) of Brunswick, "Dulle Griet" (Mad Meg; apparently Margarets were popular namesakes for bombards) of Ghent, and "Pumhart von Steyr" of Austria. Another Margaret, the giant mediaeval bombard Mons Meg, can be seen today on the ramparts of Edinburgh Castle. A bombard from Flanders, known as "the Lion", is famous for exploding and causing the death of King James II of Scotland in 1460 during the siege of Roxburgh Castle.
- Daniel Boone (possibly apocryphally) named his custom rifle "tick licker" because he claimed to be able to shoot a tick off an animal without hurting it.
- Little David was a test mortar for American aerial bombs in World War II. Modified as a field piece for Operation Downfall, the Japanese surrender meant that it never saw use in the field.
- Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are four training cannons used by the cadets of the Virginia Military Institute in the Civil War; they are still on display today.
- Older Than Dirt: In the New Kingdom Egyptian story of the conquest of Joppa, a fiction that may or may not be based on a true story, the Pharaoh Men-kheper-Re has a named staff/cane. He secretly hides it in the luggage of the guy he sends to put down a revolt, and it allegedly has special powers. The protagonist (Djehuti) uses it to kill the rebel leader, but unfortunately the text is damaged so the name and special powers of this weapon are unknown. The name seems to end in "...tautnefer."
- Hereward the Wake had a sword named Brainbiter.
- Humpty Dumpty was a cannon that sat atop the walls of Edinburgh Castle. It was the largest cannon in the castle's arsenal, but one day, it had a great fall, and all the King's horses and all the King's men couldn't put Humpty together again...
- Tsar Bomba, the largest nuclear bomb ever detonated.
- The name is derived from Tsar Pushka, a massive (19.5 feet long, 35 inch bore) bronze cannon built at the Kremlin Armoury in 1586. Tsar Pushka was never used in combat, though it seems to have been test fired at some point in its history, and was probably built as a demonstration of Russia's prowess at bronze-casting.
- Norse warriors of the Viking era had a tendency to name their weapons, in imitation of their Migration Era ancestral heroes. Examples crop up by the hundreds in the sagas, which are all part real history, part heroic legendry (the proportion varies from pure history to mostly fiction). Just one confirmably historical example would be Grasida ("Greyside"), which began as a sword, was broken and then reforged into a spear that went on to serve Gisli, son of Sur, for the rest of his life. Part of this is due to the tendency in Norse poetry to name everything: the kettle the cook uses in Valhalla, the different chains the gods try binding the Fenris-wolf with, each of the rocks they attach those chains to, the thread used to sew Loki's lips together, and on and on.
- In many militaries, such as that of the United States, along with those countries' military academies and military schools, recruits and cadets are issued rifles that they are required to name.
- Most IT people name the machines they manage.
- Most people who manage their own domains name all the computers on the domain for easy reference. This edit was made on a computer named Gurthang.
- Ships, submarines, sailboats, and their remote-controlled counterparts all tend to have names. Sometimes they are named in honor of someone special to the captain, other times it's just to make it easier to refer to the craft. It's so common that it's considered bad luck to change the name of a ship.
- For example, in 1944 the escort carrier USS Midway (CVE-63), which had been in operation for a year already, was renamed USS St. Lo in order to free up the name, taken from the most significant naval battle of the war, for the new supercarrier USS Midway (CV-41). Afterward, the ship was considered to be cursed for having been stripped of her name. Two weeks later St. Lo was sunk by a kamikaze.
- The British muskets of the Revolutionary War were called Brown Bess, although Bess is a corruption of buss (gun) as in blunderbuss.
- The WWI-era German howitzer Big Bertha — though this is a type designation, not a name for a specific weapon as many think. There's also Schwerer Gustav/Heavy Gustaf. The youngest, Long Gustaf, could have ranged London from the French coast, but was damaged in a bombing raid and never completed.
- The largest gun ever created is the Nazis' 80-cm. cannon. They called it Dora. It and Heavy Gustav were the only two of their (unnamed) type.
- The "Katyusha" rocket launchers used by Russia during World War II. (Also called "Stalin's Organ" by the Germans.)
- The M65 Atomic Cannon was given the nickname "Atomic Annie".
- In World War I the French troops typically nicknamed machine guns "Rosalie." There was even a song about it.
- Warplanes were and are often painted with pet names and naked women, almost enough to cross into true Companion Cube territory. Although still somewhat prevalent, it began to die out during the Korean War when an Air Force general's wife became indignant.
- The vast majority of United States Army equipment in World War II had alphanumeric codes followed by a generic description, such as the "Medium Tank M3". Over the course of the war, most gear acquired names from soldiers and commanders, such as the Medium Tank M3 being named the "(General) Lee" by US soldiers and "(General) Grant" by UK soldiers. Sometimes the names were slightly less than flattering, like the aforementioned M3 Lee being nicknamed a "grave for seven men" by tankers in the Soviet Union. The trend was averted in later years with official names (like the modern M1 Abrams)
- By tradition warships are allowed more grandiose names than merchantmen being often named after items of religious or ideological significance (Constitution), or simply warlike qualities (victory, conqueror, devastation, and so on). In the Athenian navy at Salimis there was a trieme that translated roughly to "liberty" and another two named "rape" and "pillage".
Anime & Manga
- All shinigami imprint their soul onto an asauchi to produce a zanpakutou. Most shinigami can never move beyond this stage, but some talented shinigami develop enough of a bond with their weapon to learn its name which is the key to unlocking their power in the form of shikai. A small proportion of shikai users are so talented that they can unlock a Super Mode called bankai. This entails forming a very strong bond with their zanpakutou which in essence means coming to terms with the truth about themselves, warts and all. Normally it takes a minimum of decades after having achieved shikai to unlock bankai, and over a century to master its use, but Urahara invented a way to "cheat" and unlock bankai in just three days...or die in the process.
- Arrancar are hollows that have ripped off their masks in search of shinigami-like power. As a result, they possess zanpakutou, but unlike shinigami zanpakutou, the Arrancar weapons are neither a Talking Weapon nor an Empathic Weapon. They are locks, restraining the Arrancar's true form. In short, the Arrancar themselves are the true weapon. The exception is Starrk, whose true zanpakuto is not his sword at all, but his Fraccion, Lilynette.
- Quincies name their weapons. However, there's no suggestion of sentience to either the traditional Energy Bow or the more modern Energy Weapons. The practice is clearly a cultural tradition.
- Crimson Spell gives us the cursed sword Ygg Veilund, which only members of the royal family of the Alswieth can use at all (though even they suffer a curse if they use it).
- The Wave Motion Gun magic wands from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, such as Nanoha's Raising Heart and Fate's Bardiche. It's quite possible they named themselves.
- The artifacts from Mahou Sensei Negima!. In Latin, of course. Also, Setsuna's sword is called Yunagi.
- Arguable example: Most of the guns used by Alucard and Seras in Hellsing are named, though the names are seldom mentioned and appear not to be universally known.
- Naruto features a few of them. Most notable is Kirabi/Killer Bee's Samehada.
- Orochimaru also uses the Kusanagi (see above) at one point.
- And let's not forget Zabuza's sword, the Kubikiribōchō/Executioner's Blade.
- Each of the swords wielded by the Seven Ninja Swordsmen of the Mist are named. Appropriately enough there are seven of them.
- The Weapons in Soul Eater all have names, justified by the fact they're shape-shifting humans. Many names are appropriate to their Demon Weapon nature. There's one recurring character who uses regular swords, and he mentions no names. Presumably because it would take a while.
- The Volt Weapons that the Pandora use in Freezing. For example Satellizer's is named Nova Blood.
- One Piece has the Meitou (swords famous enough to have a name). Zoro has had four: Wado Ichimonji, Yubashiri (destroyed), Sandai Kitetsu and Shuusui.
- In Infinite Stratos, the personal I.S. machines of the main characters are all named.
- Escaflowne in Escaflowne.
- In High School DÎD, every single Sacred Gear has a name and an ability that comes with it. The protagonist wields the Boosted Gear gauntlet which is one of the most powerful Sacred Gears in this series which is capable of doubling the power of the user every ten seconds.
- Lupin III's Samurai companion Goemon has a legendary sword:
- Dansai Bunri no Crime Edge: All killing goods have a rather long name that describes what they do such as Kiri's scissors (The crime edge of cutting and severing) and Yamane's needle (Injection of Coma Death).
- InuYasha: It's a cultural tradition for warriors to name their weapons. Therefore every significant weapon that becomes connected to a warrior is named. Tellingly, a named weapon tends to also be an Empathic Weapon; their degree of sentience may be quite limited depending on the weapon, but they do at least have the ability to choose or reject wielders who may want to become their masters.
- In Sword Art Online, several of Kirito's weapons have names, most notably Dark Repulsor. He keeps it far longer than he should, going to a great deal of effort to keep it upgraded despite its low level, simply because he thinks a sword with that name is destined to defeat the final boss. It doesn't. The Big Bad of the first arc shatters it during their duel, and Kirito then uses his wife's fallen Royal Rapier to finish him.
- From The DCU's various Outsiders series, there's Katana's sword, Soultaker.
- In Marvel, there's the Black Knight's Ebony Blade.
- Also the Valkyrie's Dragonfang.
- And the Odinsword.
- The lord of the Fire Giants wields Twilight, the Sword of Doom.
- Prince Valiant wields the Singing Sword, Flamberge.
- In CrossGen's Way of the Rat, Bhuto Khan's army has a massive cannon at their disposal, which is dubbed the "Finger of God."
- Cutter's sword New Moon in ElfQuest. He's about the only character in the series we actually see name his weapons, though (in one backstory issue, he had a knife he dramatically called "Blood Drinker" when younger); if anyone else bothers to do so, even elves who are named for their favored weapons in turn, we don't find out about it.
- Two in With Strings Attached: Blackfire, the Hunter's BFS, and Brox's Kiss, a pink shortsword that can make members of the opposite sex fall in love with you.
- The Immortal Game has a lot, many of them meaningful. Rarity's Vorpal, Celestia's Zenith and Luna's Nadir, Unimpressive's Vindictive, Titan's Singularity, Terra's Exogenisis, Esteem's but initially Valiant's Carsomyr, Astor Coruscare's Sangrophile and Twilight Sparkle's Equinox.
- The Powers Of Harmony has several, most of which have some kind of association with their owner: Celestia's Nova, Luna's Perigee and Apogee, Tendoncutter's Cardinal Blades, Granny's Aconitum.
- In Past's Playmate Godric Gryffindor stated that if a weapon was magical, it was given a name. In addition to Excalibur, we also have Libur, Mordred's sword; Kaleiri, a dagger and Leirin, a fancy longbow.
- In The Horse Soldiers, a Confederate artillery battery consists of the guns Peter and Paul.
- In Gods and Generals there is a four-gun Confederate battery consisting of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Those are the names of the battery of cannons at the Virginia Military Institute.
- Green Destiny, the super-sword in Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
- A very important part of Alice's quest in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland is the recovery of the Vorpal Sword. (Yes, that is its name.)
- Orcrist and Glamdring in The Hobbit. Discussed by Bilbo and Balin when Bilbo hears Elrond describing the history of those swords and he looks down at his own elvish sword. Balin then tells him not to bother because only swords are named for their deeds and Bilbo's sword was "more like a letter opener".
- Bilbo did eventually name it "Sting" after some spiders referred to it as such.
- The giant cannon in the opening siege scene of the Hungarian animated film Treasure of Swamp Castle (Szaffi) is called Brunhilda.
- In Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows, the Germans use an artillery cannon on the escaping Holmes, Watson, and Gypsies, dubbed "Little Hansel."
- Most weapons don't have their own names in the world of Astral Dawn, but there are a few that do.
- Magali, one of the Aash Ra, created the Sword of Fracture from her own extradimensional energy. Though it is made of pure energy, the sword appears as a physical sword with a beautiful crystal blade.
- Another weapon from the series was never intended to be used as a weapon. Even so, Devlyn used the Unified Stone to greatly increase his power. He became more powerful than any high spirit and had gained the power he needed to remake the world.
- J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-earth world (The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and The Silmarillion) is filled with this trope: Some especially cool weapons get several names, a few examples:
- Gandalf's (previously Turgon's) sword Glamdring ("Foe-hammer").
- Thorin's acquired weapon Orcrist ("Goblin-cleaver"), the companion sword to Glamdring. (The Orcs call Glamdring and Orcrist "Beater" and "Biter" respectively.)
- Bilbo names the elven dagger he found Sting. He got the idea after the giant spiders he attacked with it while invisible shrieked that they were being stung by something.
- Morgoth's great hammer Grond, whose name was also used for an Orcish battering ram in the Siege of Gondor.
- Gil-galad's spear Aeglos.
- Elendil's Narsil, broken in two as Elendil fell on it while falling to Sauron and reforged by the Elves into Aragorn's Andűril, Flame of the West.
- In Peter Jackson's film adaptation, Narsil is shattered into many shards, after Sauron steps on it.
- Eomer's sword G˙thwinŰ.
- Fingolfin's sword Ringil; sister-swords Anguirel and Anglachel (later when wielded by T˙rin Turambar known as Gurthang, "Death Iron"), and knife Angrist; Tuor's axe Dramborleg.
- Beren's sword -inherited from his father Barahir-, Dagmor.
- Beleg's bow, Belthronding.
- In his minor works, Giles' weapon Caudimordax ('Tailbiter') in Farmer Giles of Ham.
- In fact, in Middle Earth protocol apparently requires you to formally introduce your sword or other weapon to opponents and prospective allies alike, e.g. "Here is the sword that was broken and is forged anew!"
- The Long Ships also has several named weapons, most significant are the (not magical but very high-quality) swords Redbeak and Bluetongue. Another sword is named Lullaby, and an axe is named Widowgrief.
- The characters in The Wheel of Time mostly keep their swords unnamed, except for Callandor — but that's only incidentally a sword.
- Towers of Midnight introduces Mah'alleinir, a magic hammer.
- Memory Sorrow And Thorn has the titular three swords, but a few more ordinary ones crop up as well.
- Elric of MelnibonÚ has his cursed sword Stormbringer and it's "sister" Mournblade.
- In A Song of Ice and Fire, the rare and valuable Valyrian steel swords generally have Meaningful Names, usually tied in to the Animal Motif or motto of the House they've been passed down through.
- Examples of such Ancestral Weapons include Longclaw (bear/wolf motif), Brightroar (lion motif), Ice ("Winter is coming"), Dark Sister (wielded by an Action Girl), etc.
- A once-significant rival royal branch was named "Blackfyre" after a sword their bastard founder inherited, taking it as a sign that his father wanted him to inherit the throne.
- Some other swords are named as well, some of them "special" weapons (Dawn), some just because the owner likes them (Needle).
- There is a Running Gag about Royal Brat Joffrey giving his swords ludicrously crass and grandiose names like "Hearteater" and "Widows' Wail", which only throw his complete lack of military experience into sharp relief.
- The "Widow's Wail", however, turns out to be ironic, because Joffrey dies the same day as he names the sword, leaving his freshly wed wife a widow. One who rather pointedly doesn't wail.
- The Hound on the other hand, isn't a fan of this practice.
Arya: He's still got it. My sword. Needle.
. Of course you named your sword.
Arya: Lots of people name their swords.
Hound: Lots of cunts.
- The characters of Snow Crash learn that it's a good idea to listen to Reason.
- Heralds of Valdemar character Alberich, a weapons training master, sourly notes that he hates this trope. People get overconfident, and then when they don't have the named weapon they don't fight well enough with unnamed ones. He won't let his pupils practice with any weapons but those found in the salle, and if he finds out that one of them has picked a favorite sword or whatever he has it melted down. He's a good guy, just so you know.
- In the same universe, there is the sword named Need. She's a sword an ancient mage/fighter bound her soul to.
- Pops up a couple of times in the Tortall Universe. Alanna picks up the strange magic sword that she calls Lightning in Song of the Lioness. Later she sacrifices it, and it's not mentioned if she named any of her other sword. There wasn't another named weapon until the end of the third book in the Protector of the Small quartet; Alanna gave Kel a sword, Kel dubbed it "Griffin," Kel never mentioned it again, since she preferred her glaive.
- Subversion in the Star Trek novel Time For Yesterday: Kirk asks Spock's son Zar whether his sword has a name. The reply is telling.
"Name? Zar looked puzzled for a moment, then understanding dawned. "Oh, you mean a name like 'Excalibur' or 'Fred', something like that?". The gray eyes were bleak. "It's doesn't have one, Jim. 'Killer' maybe, because that's what I use it for. Frankly I hate what I do with it, but I've learned to be damned good at it. Lately, none of use has had much choice."
- The Dresden Files has the three swords of the Knights of the Cross: Amorracchius, Fidelacchius, and Esperracchius. (That's Love, Faith, and Hope.) Amorracchius is suspected to have once been Excalibur...
- And Esperracchius is Durandal. Fidelacchius is Kusanagi.
- There's the Blackstaff, the official weapon of the White Council's enforcer. Currently the position is filled by Ebenezer McCoy.
- In the Book of Swords series by Fred Saberhagen, there's twelve "Swords of Power" and each one has a different name related to its magical ability (Woundhealer, Doomgiver, Dragonslicer...) Add Dual Wielding in and the situation gets Serial Escalation. The full list:
- Knowing a jivatma's name is necessary to unlock its powers in Sword-Dancer.
- Jack Chalker's Dancing Gods fantasy series has a magic sword named Irving.
- Judge Dee carries a heirloom blade 'Rain Dragon' — and knows how to use too. Definitely a case of Authority Equals Asskicking.
- In Chris Roberson's Warhammer 40,000 Blood Ravens novel Dawn Of War II, Wisdom. Explicitly described as a rare sword so marvelous as to have a name.
- In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, Percy's sword, Riptide/Anaklusmos, Luke's sword Backbiter, Clarisse's spear Maimer (or Lamer).
- In the sequel series The Heroes of Olympus, we can add Jason's first sword, Ivlius (Julius when Anglicized) and Piper's knife, Katropis (The Looking Glass).
- In C.S. Goto's Blood Ravens trilogy, Rhamah's Vairocanum. Made from part of a Wrecked Weapon that had been Forged by the Gods.
- In Chris Roberson's Imperial Fists novel Sons of Dorn, Taloc wants to get into the fight so he can name his sword, which is a Rite of Passage. Which is why he is deeply pleased when he gets it back at the end.
- In the first Safehold book, Off Armageddon Reef, Merlin presents Cayleb with a katana much like the one he himself uses (i.e. incredibly sharp and made of a nearly indestructible hi-tech alloy). Cayleb can't resist asking if the weapon has a name, like in tales of past seijin. Given the name of the one giving Cayleb the sword, it should come as no surprise that Merlin names it Excalibur.
- One of the main characters in Michael Chabon's Gentlemen Of The Road had a Viking ax "whose name, cut in runes along its ashwood haft, translated roughly as 'Defiler of Your Mother'."
- The cannons on the Sophie are all named by their crews. Notable is Barett Bonden's gun Sudden Death.
- In C.S.Lewis's 'The Chronicles of Narnia'' Peter Pevensie wields Rhindon, a sword given to him by Father Christmas.
- His Dark Materials has the Subtle Knife, which has various other names in various myths in various Alternate Universes. One of the most impressive is "ĂsahŠttr", meaning "god destroyer".
- In the Midnighters universe, weapons with a 13 letters long name cause aggravated damage to the darklings.
- A serious example being "Resplendently Scintillating Illustrations", yes that is three 13 letter words.
- Monster Hunter International features Abomination, a fully automatic shotgun with a silver-inlayed bayonet and a grenade launcher. The sequel introduces Leviathan, a Kraken-sized harpoon gun.
- The Stormlight Archive has two named Shardblades Oathbringer and Sunraiser that we have seen so far.
- Karl May's Old Shatterhand had two guns, one a rare, but at least theoretically not unique Henrystutzen (Henry short rifle), the other named the Bńrent÷ter (bear-slayer). His friend, the Apache chief Winnetou, used the unerring SilberbŘchse (silver rifle), so named because it was decorated with silver nails all over. The comic relief character Sam Hawkens said he wanted to be buried with his rifle, the somewhat temperamental Liddy.
- In The Chronicles of Amber, Corwin's sword Grayswandir is inscribed with a portion of the Pattern, which comes in handy on at least one occasion. Also Merlin's strangling cord Frakir and Brand's sword Werewindle.
- In Glory Road, by Robert A. Heinlein, Oscar Gordon names his sword "Lady Vivamus", after the inscription on it, 'Dum vivimus, vivamus!' (While we live, let us live!).
- The Mistborn Adventures contains a really awesome gun named Vindication.
- Dragaera has the seventeen Great Weapons, Empathic Weapons so powerful they can kill even the gods. The names they're referred to by the main characters are shortenings of their original Overly Long Names given to them by their creators. For instance, "Magical wand for creating death in the form of a black sword" is shortened to simply "Blackwand".
- Inheritance Cycle has the swords of the Riders be named in the Ancient Language. Most of the names are apt, including some that predict the owner's fall the the dark side. Eragon manages to accidentally name his sword by its True Name. Brisingr. He sets it on fire. A lot. Sometimes on purpose. He considered naming it sheep-biter. Eragon is a very silly individual.
- From The Legend of Drizzt, the title character wields two magical scimitars titled Twinkle and Icingdeath. Icingdeath is a case of Named After Somebody Famous (it was the nickname of the dragon whose hoard Drizzt recovered it from), while Twinkle had that name when he got it. Catti-brie has a longbow named Taulmaril and an intelligent sword named Khazid'hea. And Artemis Entreri has another intelligent (but less chatty) sword called Charon's Claw.
- Gaff and the Slasher are the battle spurs that belong to Chauntecleer the rooster in The Book of the Dun Cow. They are only worn during times of war.
- In the Chronicles of Prydain, Prince Gwydion wields the magical sword Dyrnwyn, whose name is inscribed on its blade.
- In John C. Wright's The Count to the Eschaton, the Chimerae name their weapons once they have killed. Menelaus, feigning to be one of them, tells them of his stone Rock. Later, he realizes that it stems from intelligent weapons.
- The Testaments from Of Fear and Faith seem to all take the appearance of Cool Swords and are named after the positive trait they represent (Love, Faith, and so on).
- Ultimate Hero has 'Fate' and 'Mortality', weapons designed to kill superbeings.
- In Gene Wolfe's "Book of the New Sun", torturer Severian is given an exquisitely made headsman's sword named "Terminus Est" (this is the line of division). The sword is signed by Jovinian. It is not magical, but incorporates a channel of mercury to reduce the inertial moment of the sword held at the top of the upswing.
- In Gene Wolfe's "Wizard Knight", the knight Able searches for the sword "Eterne". This sword is decidedly magical; whenever it is drawn the spirit of each undeserving previous wielder is conjured to fight for (or against) the current wielder.
- The Hammer And The Cross has a lot of them: Brand's axe Battle-Troll, Shef's halberd Thrall's-Wreak, Cwicca and Osmod's ballista Dead Level, Erkenbert's trebuchet War-Wolf, and others.
- The sword Sikanda in The Neverending Story. Bastian named it in order to claim it. As a human, only he had the ability to give things their rightful name and with that name, things had pasts and their own stories.
- Subverted by Fafrhd and the Gray Mouser in Fritz Leiber's series. While they both names their swords, the names stay the same no matter how often they're lost and replaced with different, but similar ones.
- In Exalted, it's customary for daiklaves and other artifacts to be named by their wielders. Given that the aforementioned wielders are demigods who can reasonably expect to live for at least a few centuries and acquire quite a reputation in the interim, many of these weapons have attained legendary status in their own right.
- The Name enchantment in GURPS: Magic prevents a device's magic from functioning if the user doesn't know its name.
- Warhammer40000 brings us Anaris "The Sword of Dawn Light" The greatest work of Vaul forged when Vaul accepted a bet with Khaine that he could forge 100 of the greatist swords ever in a set time. Realizing that he could not deliver, he hid a mortal sword in with the 99 divine ones. Realizing that Khaine would come for him, he poured all his skill into making Anaris. Anaris allowed the crippled forge god Vaul to challange the god of war Khaine (before he got the title Kahla Mensha) and avoid a Curb-Stomp Battle [he still lost]. Later used by a Eldar named Eldanesh (brought to him by Falcon) to challange Khane to personal combat. Khaine crushed him, and his brutal killing of Eldanesh earned him the ititle Kahla Mensha Khaine (Bloody Handed Khaine) and he became cursed to drip the blood of Eldanesh from his hand for all time. It is speculated to be currently in the possesion of Commander Farsight of the Farsight Enclaves.
- Huron Blackheart sports the "Tyrant's Claw" a power-fist with a heavy-flamer built into it's palm.
- Abaddon the Despoiler sports the Talon of Horus taken from the Warmaster himself after his death in one hand, and the demon sword Drach'nyen in the other. Pretty much every demon sword has it own personal name however, since their basically the result of a demon hammered into sword from or a possessed weapon. Also, the Chapter Master of the Flesh Tearers has a giant two-handed chainsword called Bloodreaver.
- The majority of human technology in the universe is an ancient or passed-down relic of some kind, including spaceships. Almost every space marine wields a weapon or armor that was named by somebody else.
- Speaking of spaceships, all ships in Rogue Trader that can be obtained by the player is assumed to be older then dirt and have a aged machine spirit. This can prove interesting when you notice the guns start firing themselves or the engine puts itself back together.
- Open any Codex. Find any Special Character for that army. In their Wargear section you're almost guaranteed to find one or two unique, named weapons.
- Most of the legendary equipements representing storyline characters' weapons in Magic: The Gathering are named. Most of them are in the Kamigawa block but it happens sometimes since then.
- 7th Sea requires magic weapons created by the Laerdom (rune-drawing) Sorcery to be named.
- Dungeons & Dragons sourcebooks will usually have at least one of these, and that doesn't even consider homebrew weapons.
- Each of the five hundred and seventy-two Abhorrent Weapons wielded by the Excrucians in Nobilis has two names: one for the Excrucian host and one to mock Creation.
- In Magic: The Gathering, we've got Oathkeeper, Tatsumasa, Tenza, Unscythe and Elbrus, which doubles as a Tailor-Made Prison for a monstrous demon, Withengar.
- Not seen often in BattleTech, but several 'Mechs and Vehicles get named by their pilots or crews in the Technical Readouts. Some exceptions, however, are seen in the gladiatorial games of Solaris VII, including Yen-Lo-Wang, the Centurion of father and son Solaris Champions Justin Allard and Kai Allard-Liao, or WidowMaker, the Dire Wolf of Col./Galaxy Commander Natasha Kerensky.
- The trio of weapons used by the ranger Talion and his bound Elven wraith companion in Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor. Being in the Lord of the Rings universe, they have appropriately epic names and origins; Urfael is Talion's personal sword, Acharn is half of his dead son Dirhael's sword which Talion uses as his dagger, and AzkÔr is the elf's bow.
- The vast majority of wargear in the single-player mode of Dawn of War II is named. Justified as a good 90% of all human technology in the Warhammer 40,000 universe is some form of ancient relic or passed down weapon. It's understandable that basically every found item is named or at least has a story behind it.
- Very oddly averted in the case of the one item in the series that should by all rights have had a name; the Daemon Sword, usable by Eliphas the Inheritor. Considering that daemonic weapons in this universe are the result of literally putting a powerful daemon of Chaos in a sword or axe or something, they tend to be named after that particular daemon. Yet, Eliphas' blade is drably named simply as the 'Daemon Sword'.
- Any game based on Dungeons & Dragons will have examples of this trope: From Baldur's Gate for instance we have Blackrazor, Carsomyr, Celestial Fury, Crom Faeyr and Lilarcor.
- Likewise Final Fantasy, although it is important to note that not all FF weapons with an odd name are Named Weapons: Many are simply names for types of weapons.
- All of Irvine's guns are named after battleships, and in FFXII they are named after stars.
- The Final Fantasy weapons are unique in that the best are consistent from game to game, while the weapons that are unique to a specific game tend to be either very powerful or plot-important. For example, Excalibur, Masamune, and the Ultima Weapon are all very powerful in Final Fantasy 3 through 7. The Mythgraven (or Legend) sword is plot-important in 4 (and can be reforged into the Excalibur; second or third strongest sword, depending on the remake), and so on.
- Most attainable weapons and all Keyblades in Kingdom Hearts have a name.
- World of Warcraft has many, most notably perhaps Frostmourne, Arthas' sword.
- Nowadays, the most notable is probably the "Sword of 1000 Truths" due its depiction on South Park.
- Inverted later with Heaven's Fall, Kris of A Thousand Lies.
- the Ashbringer...
- While many weapons have their own names, only a handful are important from a lore perspective. Apart from Frostmourne and Ashbringer (which cannot be obtained by players), there are a handful of Legendary weapons that require a huge effort to obtain, typically weeks of raiding for one weapon for one player out of the up to forty involved. Others involve alternating between very difficult single accomplishments (such as killing the final boss of a raid), or killing many other lesser bosses for the quest items they drop.
- Arthas drops a number of named weapons, each once wielded by a major character or organization from lore that he fought against (for example, "Warmace of Menethil", wielded by his father).
- Soul Series has Soul Edge and Soul Calibur. Every character has also their own named weapons, like Ivy's Valentine or Voldo's Manas & Ayus.
- Edge Master averts this because he believes that weapons are nothing more than tools and that a strong soul is what makes a strong warrior. All of his weapons are nameless.
- SoulCalibur II's Weapon Gallery implies at some point he came across Xianghua ad gave her a jian to replace the one that Soul Calibur had been masquerading as in thanks for vanquishing Soul Edge and Inferno. Xianghua in turn does not name the weapon herself out of respect for his philosophy.
- Nearly all mid-tier weapons onwards in the Dark Cloud series, whether they are swords, bracelets, guns, or hammers.
- Due to the very nature of the works it's based on, (see Literature), The Lord of the Rings Online adapts this trope in a few ways. First, like most MMOs various special characters, quest rewards and drops feature unique names. Second, any crafted weapon of sufficient quality allows a crafter to "name" it, with the name appearing as a field for that weapon's tooltip. Finally, with the introduction of "Mines of Moria" a Legendary Items mechanic was introduced, allowing players to acquire special weapons with their own advancement (first by drops, then by crafting) that allowed, among other things, the ability to rename your weapon on a "reforge". Unlike the crafting example however, this name is displayed predominantly at the top in the actual item name's section of the tooltip.
- Fallout 3 features a wide assortment of small, big, unarmed, melee, and energy weapons, but the ones with names (Ol' Painless, Vengeance, Eugene,) are always better than their mundane counterparts.
- Fallout: New Vegas does this with weapons like Maria, Ratslayer and The All-American while including some totally unique weapons like Euclid's C-Finder and "That Gun". The 'always better than their mundane counterparts' aspect is less true, though (due to the introduction of the modular upgrading system — the named weapons can't be upgraded, while their mundane counterparts can).
- Titan Quest has two tiers of such weapons; the Heroic and Legendary weapons. While some do have mundane names (e.g. Chromatic Staff), there are other, more impressive-sounding weapons (e.g. Magebane)
- The Elder Scrolls series has many, including the dagger Sufferthorn and the katana Goldbrand.
- And Umbra, an evil sword that steals souls, including that of its wielder over time.
- Sunder and Keening, which are plot items in Morrowind
- Volendrung, the Hammer of Might that led a tribe of dwarves to Volenfel, which was later renamed to... Hammerfell.
- In addition to those and dozens of other legendary weapons like Chrysamere or the the Ebony Blade, any enchanted weapon can be given a name, and even some, like the Blade of Woe, that are simply mundane knives or swords.
- All weapons in Fate/stay night not only have a name, they do cool stuff when you call the name out. Example, Excalibur turns into a Wave Motion Sword and Gaebolg stabs you in the heart, no matter what.
- The series' ultimate weapon plays with the trope: it is a sword so powerful that it has the capability to annihilate the entirety of Earth and everything on it. However, as it preceded humanity, it has no name, unique among all the weapons in the game. Gilgamesh calls it "Ea", but admits that that is just his name for it, not its "true" name (which doesn't exist).
- Not only does NetHack have multiple pre-named artifact weapons, but it also allows you to give a name to any weapon, and even nonweapon items. A running gag among players is to use an absurd item (like a thoroughly-rusted tin opener) to do in Vlad the Impaler, widely considered to be a Breather Boss at most, and subsequently naming the joke item "Vladsbane".
- It actually goes further. Certain weapons, the act of naming them something in particular MAKES them an artifact. Orcrist and Sting from elven broadsword and elven dagger respectively.
- In Diablo II, all magic weapons are named. Names in yellow are random Noun+Verber; names in green are part of a set (and usually named for the set); names in brown are unique epic-level weapons. As a quest reward, you can ask a person to inscribe one of your objects with your name.
- In The Godfather: The Game, the level 3 upgraded weapons have special names: "Saturday Night Special" for the .38 snubnose, "Assassin's Pistol" for the pistol, "Python" for the Magnum (though this probably refers to the Colt Python rather than being a unique name), "Dilinger" for the Tommygun and "Street Sweeper" for the shotgun.
- The Fire Emblem games usually have names drawn from legends for legendary weapons; lesser named weapons may also appear in some games, such as Lyn's Mani Katti from the seventh game and Ephraim's Reginleif from the eighth.
- Deus Ex: Invisible War has a few, such as the Hellfire Boltcaster.
- Quest for Glory has Soulforge.
- Castlevania has the Vampire Killer; a whip which does just that. For bonus points the series is quite stuffed with various other Public Domain Artifacts from the mythology section.
- Legacy of Kain gives us the Soul Reaver, key plot element in many games. In a more minor example, the axes Kain wielded in the original Blood Omen were called "Havoc and Malice".
- In Team Fortress 2, you can now do this your weapons, even with names other than "Sasha". The standard names given to unlockable weapons largely follow this style as well, as opposed to being mundane descriptions or technical-sounding model names, though they are not unique.
- Creatures in Dwarf Fortress occasionally name their own weapons if they kill a historically significant figure, giving the weapon semi-artifact status.
- The Legend of Zelda series has a few, chief among them the Master Sword, also known as The Blade of Evil's Bane.
- Dragon Age: Origins has several, including two specifically forged for the player: Starfang and Vigilance. (Both are available only in DLC expansion packs.)
- Many weapons in Warriors of Might and Magic, including: Wild Winter, Bravery and Angel Arm.
- The Devil Arms are named in the Devil May Cry series, such as Lucifer in DMC4 and Nevan in DMC3, plus most of the playable characters' weapons (Rebellion with Ebony and Ivory for Dante, Yamato for Vergil, Red Queen and Blue Rose for Nero). The exceptions would be most of Lucia's weapons and some of Dante's firearms in DMC2.
- Touhou: Youmu has Roukanken and Hakurouken. Tenshi has the Hisou no Tsurugi, though that's as much a description as a name. Miko presumablynote has the Shichiseiken. Fanon gives Remilia and Flandre Gungnir and Laevateinn respectively, but canonically they just have spellcards named for them.
- In RuneScape players can earn the daggers Wolfbane (stops the men and women of Canifis from transforming into werewolves when equipped) and Keris (hits harder on a race of giant beetles known as kalphites), the axe Balmung (hits harder on the aquatic dagannoth species) and the swords Silverlight (good against demons), Darklight (Silverlight stained with the blood of a certain demon, lowers the defence of demons) and Excalibur (raises player's defence, or can be enchanted to heal players after performing certain tasks).
- Asura's Wrath gives us Augus's sword, Wailing Dark.
- The Neverwinter Nights series has literally hundreds of these. Small wonder, since it's based on D&D.
- Basically every weapon wielded by Kratos in the God of War-series counts as these: Blades of Chaos/Athena/Exile, Blade of Artemis, Spear of Destiny, Blade of Olympus... the list goes on and on.
- All the weapons carried by the hero(es) in the Onimusha-series are named weapons... well, maybe excluding the "Normal Sword".
- Shin Megami Tensei is big on this trope. Raidou games, the first two core games and Shin Megami Tensei: Strange Journey include the possibility of creating legendary weapons, some of which are mentioned above. Persona 3 includes the Weapon Fusion system, in which particularly strong Personae are fused into Nihil weapons to create Named Weapons of awesome power (such as Michael's Sword, Metatronius, or Vajra).
- The Valis Sword and its counterpart, Leethus.
- In the Kirby series, Meta Knight's powerful sword is named Galaxia. Another sword of his, called Master, appears in Kirby and the Amazing Mirror, where it serves double duty as the game's Eleventh Hour Superpower.
- Every single artifact and relic in Might and Magic VI to VIII has a name. This includes a fair number of weapons. There are also a couple of items that technically aren't artifacts or relics, but have unique names, some of which are weapons.
- The Sims Medieval has a few, like Goblinsbane and Wyrmslayer, as well as the Doomsword.
- Let us not forget Half-Life 2 and Father Grigori's Annabelle
- Most Legendary Weapons in Borderlands 2 Also have names, some examples include "The Gub, Maliwan Helfire, and Storm Front."
- In Skullgirls, famous wrestler Beowulf's folding metal chair is so famous that it received the name "The Hurting", a play on his namesake's "Hrunting".
- Dark Souls and Dark Souls II have named weapons aplenty. These are usually weapons crafted from boss souls or dropped by them under special circumstances. To emphasize the effects of the passing of time between the games, a few of the named weapons and armor in the first game lose their names in the sequel. The Abyssal Greatsword of Artorias for example is known only as the Majestic Greatsword in the sequel, and is now just a fossilized blade gathering dust. Either that, or their names are the only part of their history that anyone still remembers. Havel's set for example still retains its name, but no one knows who or what "Havel" was anymore.
- In RWBY, pretty much every character has some kind of bizarre and badass weapon. most of which are named. They range from a sniper-rifle-scythe called Crescent Rose to a kusarigama-pistol-katana-whip-scabbard-ribbon-sword-thing dubbed Gambol Shroud to a simple pair of rifle and sword christened Wilt and Blush. They have to be seen to be believed.
- In Sluggy Freelance, Torg's talking sword thinks the idea of naming weapons is stupid, though it confesses that over the years it has picked up a few, like "Weeping God," "Unholy Evil Death Bringer," and "Chaz." Torg decides to call it Chaz.
- In Darken, Komiyan picks up an intelligent weapon called Blackshard. Whether Shard is strictly a weapon is debatable, since it (he?) has since taken over the body of a drow.
- Penny Arcade: "Will you face me? This tube goes by many names, some you are worthy to hear. The Waking-Dragon, coiled, as spring dawns. Hawk's-Harvest, seizing prey in the tall summer grass. Autumn-Razor, the patient hunter. The Famine-Of-Winter, that kills the babe at it's mother's empty breast. So, will you face me? I, who hold the very reigns of the world?"
- Most alchemized weapons are named in Homestuck: "You make the BARBER'S BEST FRIEND". And, later, "You make a weapon called FEAR NO ANVIL".
- Amical from morphE has an enchanted flintlock pistol named Fivesies. It's quite magical.
- In a Biter Comics strip, a samurai preparing to fight explains to his foe how doomed he is, as he faces the mighty Giumetsu, The Soul Taker.
- Adventure Time has the great hero Billy, whose sword is (presumably) called "Nothung", after Siegfried's sword in Der Ring des Nibelungen (the same sword that's referred to as Gram and Balmung in the Myth & Legend section). However, since this is a show for kids who would never get the reference, it was probably just an excuse to have Billy shout "No tongue!" every time he calls his sword.