Larry: Oh golly... Eh, what's your name?
They've never given me a name. I've been around since show one and I still don't have a name.
A major character is never referred to by their actual or full name, instead being addressed by a title
, or Only One Name
. Reasons for this vary, but it often serves the function of making a character seem more mysterious or eccentric.
In older (pre-1900 in North America; pre-1970 in the UK) fiction, a narrator may refer to a character (especially an older or more socially prominent character) by his or her surname
. This is because at that time first names were much less commonly used socially than they are now; a young character may not even know the first name of an older character he or she is not related to. It was also common in that time to blank out
the names of real people to avoid lawsuits and the like. This is often true in Japanese media set in the modern day as well, as first names are seen as being incredibly personal and sometimes not even used by close friends who still opt to use the surname. Interestingly, the reverse is true if the work is set in some periods of Japanese history where the size of many of the clans that dominated society meant that it was hard to figure out who you were talking about if you just used the surname so given names were used more instead. In other Asian media however you will often hear people referred to by their first names all the time, but almost never by their last names - partly because of the low diversity of surnames in many Asian languages.
A common joke is to do The Un-Reveal
on the full name.
This trope can be somewhat justified
, however, due to Nominal Importance
: It's difficult enough for the writers to come up with good names for the main protagonists; it would be incredibly
painstaking to come up with equally good names for a cast of characters who exist solely as part of the setting and serve no further purpose to the narrative.
Another common variation is for a series where a child is the main character to have parents only referred to as Mom and Dad
Sometimes, a main protagonist will have no name to add to their mystique.
Or it may be because they can't be named
When this trope is applied to work titles themselves, not just character names, it's No Title
Compare The Trope without a Title
, You Know The One
, and I Know Your True Name
(which may be a reason for this). Contrast Only One Name
, Everyone Calls Him Barkeep
, and I Am Not Shazam
. Compare and contrast The Scottish Trope
, for where characters know a name, but actively avoid saying it. See also Nameless Narrative
. When a character genuinely has no name whatsoever (as opposed to it not being given in the work), then they are The Nameless
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- X-Men comics have several examples:
- Wolverine was known only as Logan (and he was around for several years before even that much was revealed). He had amnesia, and no one knew what his real name was. In his origin series, Wolverine's name was revealed to be James Howlett, having stolen the name 'Logan' from his family's groundskeeper, who turned out to Wolverine's biological father. This information is not used in most adaptations, although in X-Men Origins: Wolverine Sabretooth refers to him as 'Jimmy', and his full name is the same as it is in the comics.
- Rogue spent a large portion of her existence known only as that, but it was revealed in 2004 to be Anna Marie. She once used the alias Anna Raven, which consists of the first names of her and her foster mother, Mystique.
- Bishop's first name was revealed to be Lucas during the X-Treme X-Men series.
- Sage is yet another X-Man to not have a full name. Tessa is believed to be a part of her name, but it is unknown as to whether this is her first name, last name or even just an alias.
- Magneto's real name, Max Eisenhardt, was only "revealed" in 2008. For most of his existence, he has been known by the "aliases" Magnus or Erik Magnus Lehnsherr. Quotation marks because this is a retcon; "Erik Lehnsherr" was his real name when it was introduced, and continues to be in the film series (where we even see his parents calling him Erik as a child).
- X-23 wasn't named at all in her first comics appearance in NYX. This was actually invoked in-universe, as well: She didn't receive her "real" name, Laura, until Sarah Kinney names her in the very last pages of Innocence Lost #6. She was thirteen years old before she was given a name other than her Facility codename/designation.
- In The Dandy comic "Blinky", the titular character is only ever called Blinky; his real name is never revealed. In fact, the comic implies his name actually is Blinky.
- In the Transformers comic series "The War Within: The Dark Ages", a character is introduced who is only ever referred to as "the Fallen," as his name was taken away from him by his fellow Transformers after he betrayed Primus and sided with Unicron. This is especially significant since Transformer names are not only personal labels, but usually define their entire purpose, personality, and/or function. (In the novel "Transformers Exodus", his original name is given as "Megatronus Prime.")
- His archfoe The Joker may or may not be named Jack… or maybe Joe. However, not even he himself is sure, due in part to his Multiple-Choice Past.
- Ra's Al-Ghul left his real name behind centuries ago (as, presumably, did Vandal Savage), and is referred to only by his title. But Vandal Savage's real name was Vandar Adg, it's just eons out of date and used only in cave days.
- DCU character who embodies this trope: The Phantom Stranger. This is the title used for copyright purposes, and whenever he is listed as a guest star in someone else's book. In the stories themselves, he is almost always referred to as "The Stranger" when the speaker wishes to be specific, or "my friend" when brevity is in order (and he happens to be present). Neil Gaiman used "Brotherless One" or descriptives, such as "your friend in the white turtleneck" in The Books of Magic. In a single exception, Jan or Zayna expressed amazement that almost the entire Justice League of America attended a particularly momentous gathering, "... except the Phantom Stranger."
- In Dennis the Menace (UK) (as featured in The Beano), Dennis's parents are simply known as "Mum" and "Dad". The creators once claimed in response to a reader's letter that his parents were actually named "Dennis's Mum" and "Dennis's Dad" at birth. This is true for all parents in The Beano except for Les Pretend's dad called Des.
- Alter Tse'elon, the Israeli Defense Force Colonel Badass from Y: The Last Man. Her parents had already lost two children when she was born, so they followed an old Jewish superstition of keeping her real name a secret so that the Angel of Death couldn't find her. After Yorick realizes she's a Death Seeker, she announces her real name to the crowd. It's Yedida, by the way.
- Agent 355 from the same comic. She eventually whispers her name in Yorick's ear, but it's never revealed to the readers. Word of God says you can find it somewhere hidden in the book. The popular fan theory is that it's Peace, since that's written on her gravestone.
- V from V for Vendetta. (S)He states: "I do not have a name. You can call me V"
- In The Immortal Iron Fist, the ninja-servant girl who is Orson Randall's daughter was never named, due to rather restricted freedoms. According to her, she'll have made a name for herself by the time Danny sees her again.
- In Warren Ellis' breakout series Nextwave, a protagonist is named only "The Captain"; following his gaining powers, he discovered that almost every name which began with "Captain" had been used or was unusable; eventually, he settled for "The Captain", only to find that the name was also taken, and was forced to pay the original Captain for its use. Due to his abusive childhood, depression, and alcoholism, he refuses to divulge his real name; his teammates theorize that he may not even remember it. Ellis' original pitch also notes that the character "has been every crappy Marvel character with the word "Captain" in front of their name".
- In the original Stanley and His Monster, Stanley called the monster "Spot" but his actual name was never revealed. In the Post-Crisis reboot by Phil Foglio (consisting of an origins issue and a miniseries), it was explicitly established that he didn't have a name.
- Garth Ennis seems to love this one, with characters like the Pilgrim, the Saint of Killers, the Female, the Frenchman, Arseface…
- The Hunter in The Grievous Journey of Ichabod Azrael (and the Dead Left in his Wake).
- Frank Miller's Ronin.
- Star Trek: Crew is an IDW miniseries by John Byrne about the life of Majel Barrett's character from "The Cage," who was only referred to as "Number One." Byrne manages to go through the entire series (and a few guest appearances in his other Star Trek books) without ever once revealing the character's name. Indeed, for most of it, he couldn't even call her "Number One," as that was simply a nickname for her rank in "The Cage."
- Katy's younger sister in Katy Keene didn't have a name in the first run. The two revivals gave her different names, but neither was mentioned often.
- Ghost of the Thunderbolts erased all record of his original identity after he became Ghost. When he recounts his origin, every mention of his original name is blacked out.
- Doctor Strange's faithful servant is known only as Wong. Lampshaded in a comic Defenders series when Nightmare asked if 'Wong' were his first or last name — and followed up Strange's exasperated silence with "You don't know, do you?"
- In The Smurfs, both the comic books and the cartoon show, there are important characters in the stories that don't have any names.
- The Sage and The Minstrel in Groo the Wanderer have never been given proper names, to the point some speculate that those ARE their names and they are possibly magical spirits of some sort (Sage, even flashbacks, always seems to be an old man, and the head of Minstrel's lute changes panel to panel). Famously also, Sage's dog didn't have a name for much of the book's run, and after a running gag of persistent questions about it in the letter's page, Sergio and Mark gave him the name of ANOTHER running gag from the letter's page ("Mulch").
- In Kid Eternity, the protagonist was originally only known as "the Kid," and his grandfather was only referred to as "Gran'pa." This only changed years later when the series underwent Canon Welding with the Shazam series, and the Kid became Christopher "Kit" Freeman (Freddy's younger brother).
- Daredevil has a kid in his 50th Anniversary issue, which is set in a Distant Future. We never learn the identity of the kid's mother.
- In Raymond Briggs' The Man, the title character's real name is never revealed. He claims not to have one.
Eastern European Animation
- In Son of the White Horse, only the main character Fanyűvő and his brothers Kőmorzsoló and Vasgyúró get names. Everyone else just has to make do with nouns.
Films — Animated
- In Disney's Sleeping Beauty, Princess Aurora's father is named King Stefan, but her mother is never called anything but "the Queen". Some children's books published about the movie give her the name "Leah," which many fans have adopted. Weirdly, she doesn't even get listed in the credits of the film at all. In fact, the Disney archives have absolutely no record of the name of the actress who provided her voice, making her a really nameless entity!
- In The Polar Express, the main character goes on the train and makes friends with three other kids; of the group, only one is named, and even then only at a plot-crucial moment more than halfway through the movie. (It's the lonely boy, Billy.) The credits refer to the others as Hero Boy, Hero Girl and Know-It-All Kid. Meanwhile Hero Boy's little sister, Sarah, gets a name despite only appearing in two scenes at the beginning and end.
- In Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the Huntsman, the Queen, and the Prince do not have names. However, old press material lists the Queen's name as Queen Grimhilde and merchandise released over seventy years later finally gives the Prince's name as Florian.
- In the original story (the one Disney used to create his story), there were 100 dwarves, and none of them were given a name.
- The doll of Snow White's prince that can be bought at the Disney store is labeled "the Prince," Cinderella's is labeled "Prince Charming," and Belle's is labeled "Beast."
- In Beauty and the Beast, it's never revealed just what the Beast's name is. The fandom went and named him Adam anyway. That's because "Adam" is the name given by the creators.
- In An American Tail, Fievel's parents are only ever referred to as "Mama" and "Papa" Mousekewitz.
- In Fievel's American Tails, Papa's name is revealed to be Bernard, but Mama's is still not given. (Hopefully it's not Bianca.)
- The Mayor from The Nightmare Before Christmas (though some of the merch calls him Hizzonor). Most of the citizens also seem to not have names (The Clown With The-Tear-Away-Face, The Wolf Man, etc.).
- Jack Frost's sister in Rise of the Guardians is never named. This led to a lot of confusion within the fandom, because her actress also voiced another character named Pippa, who isn't named on-screen, so some viewers accidentally assigned the name to the wrong character.
- An Extremely Goofy Movie has "Beret Girl". One of the few original characters in the movie who appear at the dancing scene in the credits and the girlfriend of one of the main characters, the movie proves extremely shy about telling us what her name is. Even the credits list her as "Beret Girl".
- The BIONICLE Direct-To-DVD movies left a handful of characters unnamed, but these were revealed via credits, bonus features and the toy names. The third movie, however, decided to give an unnamed character a name: the high-ranking Keelerak spider that runs errands for Sidorak and Roodaka was suddenly called Kollorak. The name appears nowhere else in canon and probably wasn't even given a legal check, which is the standard with the official Bionicle names. But Word of God claims it's canon.
- In Mulan, Mulan's horse is never named until near the end of the movie.
- In Rio 2, the leader of the loggers razing the Amazon is only ever referred to as "Mr. Big".
- In The Book of Life, none of the Detention Kids are given names except Sasha, but in the supplementary material everyone but "Goth-kid" is given a name.
- Classified from Penguins of Madagascar. He tells Skipper that his real name is classified, but Skipper takes it literally and calls him Classified for the rest of the film.
- The Bog King from Strange Magic never has his name revealed. Presumably he's not actually named Bog King.
- The Broons. Only the older kids have names. Their parents are Maw and Paw Broon (and Paw's father is Grandpaw Broon), and their younger siblings are The Twins and The Bairn.
- In Calvin and Hobbes, the parents names are never revealed nor is the family last name. The full names of Rosalyn, Moe and Miss Wormwood are never told either. Susie Derkins is the only character whose full name is revealed. Word of God says that this was intentional on Watterson's part, because, as far as the strip was concerned, Calvin's parents were only important because they were Calvin's Parents.
- This is part of the reason why Watterson scrapped the Uncle Max character after his first appearance—it was altogether too awkward that Max couldn't refer to his brother by name.
- Dilbert examples:
- The Pointy-Haired Boss does not have a name. Since most of the characters in the strip are his employees, Scott Adams gets around by having them refer to the character as "the Boss" and address him as "sir". In one episode of the animated show, the Boss signs a delivery form. The delivery man looks at the clipboard incredulously, and says "that's your name?" We never see what it is, however we later hear he signed as "Eunice". The same episode established that his name is NOT "Eunice" (it's his alias for line-dancing) or "Bob Johnson" (which he uses for mail fraud).
- Dilbert, Wally, Alice and all the other major human characters seem to simply have no last names. In this strip, two characters introduce themselves with their full names and then Alice introduces herself as... just Alice, as though that were the only name she had.
- The hyper-intelligent Garbage-Man: In an early strip, Dilbert tells another character his Garbage-Man's name is "Gus Simpson", but this may have been before the character of the Garbage-Man was fully developed, and could refer to someone else.
- 'The Dog' in Footrot Flats has such an Embarrassing First Name that he never allows it to be said or revealed in any way in the comic, and holds a grudge against Aunt Dolly for giving him the name.
- Peanuts examples:
- The full names of Marcie and Schroeder, and Pig-Pen's real name, are never revealed.
- Other characters were given last names, but these were hardly ever used, meaning that these characters effectively remained without surnames for most readers. For example, Peppermint Patty's surname (spoken only once) was "Reichart" (pronounced "rike-hart").
- The Little Red-Haired Girl's name is never revealed in the comic strip, though at least two of the animated specials ("It's Your First Kiss, Charlie Brown" and "Happy New Year Charlie Brown") called her "Heather". However, despite writing the specials himself, Schulz considered both the name and her appearance (in the strip she was The Ghost) non-canonical.
- Almost no adults in the strip are given names, and in the animated specials, they don't even have intelligible voices. One minor exception in the strip is Linus' teacher, who we know as "Miss Othmar".
- The girl who sits next to Rerun in school is never referred to by name, despite being a fairly major character for the last few years of the strip.
- The Scamp newspaper comic makes the odd decision to state the fact that Lady and Tramp never got around to giving Scamp's siblings names. The comic runs for two months before they decide to address this fact and actually decide to start giving them one.
- The Argentinian Mafalda has the titular character's parents remain nameless (except for a single strip in which her mother's name, Raquel, was mentioned). Another notorious point is her surname, which no one really cared much for- until a strip where a school test of hers was shown, including what appeared to be an M after her name. Or half of it anyway, the rest was cut off by the panel's boundaries.
- Done in Bally's Playboy pinball, which identified its Playmates simply as "Miss ________" ("Miss January", "Miss September", etc.). Also done in Stern Pinball's Playboy, which shows photos of Real Life Playmates, but only identifies them as "Miss January," etc.note
- In America's Most Haunted, none of the ghost hunters are given any names in-game.
- Ultimately subverted in Strange Science; the Mad Scientst antagonist is never named directly, but a small nametag on his lab coat identifies him as "Dr. E. Shock".
- Lights... Camera... Action!, a Pinball game themed around filming an action movie, the name of the film and the names of the stars are never given. The film's main characters are also never properly named, and are only identified by their playing card-based nicknames.
- Ford Prefect is a name picked by The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy researcher due to a misunderstanding about Earth. In the books it's revealed he never learnt to pronounce his own name (his father was the Last of His Kind following the Collapsing Hrung Disaster of Betelgeuse VII and named his son in the now extinct Praxibetel dialect), and the kids at school called him Ix (meaning "Boy who is unable to explain what a Hrung is, or why it should choose to collapse on Betelgeuse VII").
- Many characters in Plautus's work, including the protagonist of Casina, whose name is only found in other documents, not in the script.
- Most of the characters in Into the Woods. With the exception of Cinderella's stepsisters, the only characters who have proper names are the ones who get them in their original fairy tales.
- The protagonist of Kismet is identified in the Dramatis Personae only as "a public poet, later called Hajj." (The poet is identified as "Hajj" once in a case of Thoroughly Mistaken Identity.) In the Ronald Colman film version, he's Hafiz, but again this name is spoken only once, in a moderately loud scene with many people talking at once, and it easily slips past your conscious perception.
- None of the characters in the play 12 Angry Men have names. In the script, they are referred to only as "Juror #1", "Juror #2", etc.
- In Agnes de Mille's Ballet Fall River Legend, Lizzie Borden is known only as "the Accused."
- In Jonathan Rand's Check Please short plays, the two leads are only given the names of Guy and Girl in the script and are never called by any name on stage.
- In the Reefer Madness musical, the man who provides the Framing Device for the story is never reffered to by name; most just call him "The Lecturer".
- Generally if there's a Narrator in a stage show they won't be given a name beyond their function, although they can have other names besides 'Narrator', such as the Stage Manager in Our Town or the Leading Player in Pippin.
- The Time Of Your Life has a character identified as "Kit Carson" in the Dramatis Personae and who introduces himself as Murphy. Given the wild stories he tells, even he might not even remember his real name.
- Occurs at least three times in the works of Gilbert and Sullivan. There's the title character of The Mikado and both the Pirate King and Sergeant of Police in The Pirates of Penzance.
- The authority figures in Büchner's Woyzeck are only referred to by their position (Captain, Doctor, Drum Major).
- In 1776, only two characters—the Courier and McNair's assistant Leather Apron—are unnamed because they're the only characters invented completely for the play. (Even the background members of Congress have names, though they're only in full detail in a souvenir playbill.)
- In King Island Christmas, with the exception of Oolorano, Little Eir, and Father Carroll, the characters are identified only with their role in the community (Schoolteacher, Newlywed Husband, Bachelor Man, Diet Woman, etc.). The character "Little Eir's Mother" is handled both ways; she is usually notated in the score as such, but is called Mary in dialogue twice (once each by Oolorana and Newlywed Wife).
- In Company, no one is given a surname.
- Ballets, having no dialogue, often lack names for characters even on the cast list:
- In Agnes de Mille's ballet Rodeo, all of the named characters share this trait: the Cowgirl, the Rancher's Daughter, the Head Wrangler, and the Champion Roper.
- De Mille did the same thing in Fall River Legend (the Accused, the Pastor, the Speaker for the Jury, etc.).
- BIONICLE's Big Bad was known as "the Makuta" for most of the line's run, which the fans originally thought was his actual name, until it was revealed to be the name of his species. Eight years into the story, the writer named him Teridax, which caused such a massive uproar from the fans that he has since refused to give out the name of the other big villain, the Shadowed One. The members of the latter's organization, the Dark Hunters are also mostly known by code names, since LEGO couldn't afford to clear the rights for so many unique names. In fact, there are many toyless characters who have no name for the same reason. One of the few nameless toys is the Rahkshi of heat vision from the brand's last setline.
- At one point in Kagetsu Tohya Kohaku shows up for the school festival and doesn't really know what to put for her surname, so she just writes Tohno. She, and Hisui by extension, don't actually have last names. Or at least, they don't remember their families or childhood. Ciel's last name is also never given and Ciel also happens to be a pseudonym. Her real first name is Elesia, something mentioned only in passing. It's something a bit more important in her case, marking her as someone who doesn't entirely belong.
- From the Ace Attorney series, Calisto Yew. Her real name is never given, the only thing we know about it for certain is that it absolutely is not Calisto Yew. Or Shih-na.
- He's been around for 5 games and counting, and no-one knows his honor's name. Or his brother's, who is also a judge.
- There's a hypochondriac who likes to impersonate doctors. He's gone by Dr. Hotti and Dr. Hickfield, but we don't know his real name.
- One character is even "The Bellhop Who Swore The Affidavit".
- Gumshoe's boss (the guy who invented the Blue Badger) is only ever referred to as Chief.
- Despite being the Big Bad of Dual Destinies, we never know the name of the Phantom. Then again, this isn't unexplained, because he comments that he lost and forgot his identity long ago, and now only lives by the personality of whomever he impersonates.
- In the Murder Mystery Jisei, the protagonist's name is never mentioned, even though you are able to see his face and body. He is also the only character in the game who is not voiced.
- In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors you learn the true identities of the other participants of the Nonary Game. Except for Seven.
- But even then, only Ace, Santa, June, and the 9th Man get their full names revealed. Lotus only receives a last name and the others have only first names. One of these eventually gets a canon full name as of the sequel (WARNING: Spoiler is for both games): Junpei Tenmyouji. The rest have full names that were given to them by the creator, but which he considers to be more of a "possibility" than true canon.
- In Juniper's Knot both characters stay unnamed through the story. The concept of names doesn't even come up.
- None of the protagonists in Blank: A Vinylmation Love Story have names.
- For most of The Man With The Terrible Eyes, the Man doesn't know what his name is. He eventually learns that it's Alan.
- Parodied by How to Write Badly Well in the aptly titled "Refuse to give names to characters."
- Kate in KateModern revealed in the fourth episode that her name wasn't really Kate. Her real first name, Genevieve, wasn't revealed until episode 88, "Birthday Surprise", while her surname, Strathcarron, wasn't revealed until episode 163, "Prime Suspect". Several other major characters' surnames have not been revealed, including Charlie, Lauren, Sophie and Terrence, but it is not implied that there is any mystery behind those names.
- There's also the Watcher and the Shadow, whose lack of names befit their status as anonymous Order agents.
- An anonymous member of Danya's terrorist organization is never referred to by name by his colleagues. On the board, he's commonly called 'The Mystery Man'.
- In Tales of MU, the ruler of the old empire is always referred to as The Unnameable One. One of Mackenzie's professors also has never been named in canon, but that's more of a subtle Running Gag.
- MUniverse tradition has it that the sound denoted by "kh" is reserved for the names of the gods, and that it is blasphemy for anyone who is not a god to have it in their name. As an immortal vampire, the Unnameable One is old enough to predate this tradition, and is named Khulrakh.It is blasphemy to call him by his name, and an insult to a sitting emperor to call him anything but his name. Thus, he is Unnameable.
- Additionally, there's The Man/Mack's Father.
- Sarge in Red vs. Blue is only ever called... Sarge. We have no idea what his actual name may be.
- In Episode 17 of Revelation, it's revealed that his name is actually Sarge.
- In the Colour My Series, neither the protagonist nor his love are given names.
- The little girl who became the gun of Atop the Fourth Wall has lost her name.
- It is later found: Margaret.
- The title character of Pittsburgh Dad hasn't been given a name, though his wife (Deb) and next-door neighbor (Tom) have.
- Parodied in the case of Rookie from Batty Battalion, he tries to tell the others his name, but no one cares and resorts to calling him Rookie.
- None of the characters of Fanpro have official names. Naming them seems to be optional in fan works, and they are generally just distinguished by their numbers.
- It took 33 episodes of Welcome to Night Vale for Cecil's full name to be revealed (it's Cecil Gershwin Palmer. Probably). Carlos the Scientist, Intern Dana, Old Woman Josie, Telly the Barber, and Kevin are all still going without surnames. Some characters, such as The Man In The Tan Jacket, The Traveler, and The Faceless Old Woman Who Lives In Your House, don't have names at all, and all the angels are simply referred to as "Erika."
- Ultra Fast Pony:
- In "The Best Episode Ever", Applejack realizes that her character in the play doesn't have a name, and she breaks character to ask if it's important.
- In "Derp and Destruction", Derpy Hooves mentions a few times that she doesn't know if Derpy Hooves is actually her own name or not. (This is almost certainly a reference to how, in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, Derpy's name was mentioned in one episode, then edited out of all subsequent broadcasts. And she commonly makes appearances in various EU material and merchandise, which all go to strange lengths to avoid officially naming her.)
- Manatee Girl The Movie has Hunky Marine Biologist Boyfriend...who is known only as Hunky Marine Biologist Boyfriend.
- Played with in Killerbunnies, as technically, any Killerbunny born, raised, or used in a lab for laboratory use don't normally have names, aside from their identification codes, which wouldn't be a name, unless it is counted as such, as would be the case with Test Subject 001892300012 ("Lucy"), Experiment XI0014101 ("Marigold"), and Child #999 ("Lilith"). However, this, according to Word of God, is subverted in the case of Michealenne, as that is the name on one of her ID tags.
- The category 1 hurricane that resulted from the 1991 "perfect storm" note was never given a proper name. This was done on purpose so there wouldn't be confusion among the media and the public, as most of the damage and attention was from and on the initial nor'easter, while the hurricane's damage was limited to power outages and slick roads (the single death the hurricane caused was due to a traffic accident). The name it likely would have been assigned was Henri.
- The Onion applies this to a natural disaster.
- The last member of the Yahi tribe of Northern California could only have his name known after a friend from his tribe introduced him to an outsider. Since he was the last one of his tribe, there was no one to introduce him, and he became known as "Ishi," "man" in his language. His real name will never be known.
- Harry Truman's middle name was just the letter S. If you look closely at his name in e.g. textbooks you'll notice that it's 'S' instead of 'S.'.
- An interviewer asked Truman about whether the S was supposed to have a period or not. Truman said he didn't really care either way.
- Fridge Brilliance. The initial for the name "S" would be "S.". His initial is longer than his name.
- It's said to have been a compromise between the names of his paternal and maternal grandfathers.
- Likewise Johnny Cash, born J. R. Cash. He apparently assumed "Johnny" because the USAF wouldn't accept initials as a valid name.
- The college basketball player and coach Abe Lemons claims to have been born A. E. Lemons, and when it was told he needed a first name, he just put a "B" between the A and the E. Supposedly he later regretted not renaming himself "Ace".
- Also Ulysses S. Grant, who was born Hiram Ulysses Grant and had his name changed as a result of an error when applying to West Point. His friends called him Sam.
- This also made his initials U.S. Grant. Quite useful when leading the Union army and later running for President.
- Not to mention the word spelled out from each of his first initials doesn't exactly strike fear into the enemy.
- None of the members of synthrock band The Birthday Massacre use their real names. For example, there's Chibi on vocals, Rainbow and Falcore on guitar, O. E. on bass, O-en on keyboard, and Rhim on drums.
- The band actually did let Chibi's given name slip when one of her bandmates called her by it during an interview. It's Sarah.
- And now O-en has started calling himself Owen.
- Members of Black Metal bands tend to go by aliases, with some famous examples including Count Grishnack, Euronymous and King ov Hell. If the band becomes sufficiently well-known the members' real names will usually come out sooner or later, though a few bands (e.g. Deathspell Omega) have managed to keep their members' real identities a secret.
- In the band Lordi only Mr. Lordi's real name is known to the public, and he won't reveal his real face. The rest of the band is entirely anonymous in their civilian identities, and the media has agreed to keep it that way.
- The members of The Residents have always remained completely anonymous and have always worn masks (most famously the eyeball mask, top hat, and tuxedo outfit) in performance and other media.
- The Man in the Iron Mask (not that historians haven't tried to figure it out).
- One of the hallmarks of urban legends is the absence of names. For instance, http://darwinawards.com/personal/personal2000-39.html . An unnamed man at an unnamed company is killed by an unnamed robot. Hmmm.
- At least that one is probably based on the death of Kenji Urada, the first man ever killed by a robot.
- Prince the Artist Formerly Known as The Unpronounceable Symbol formerly known as Prince.
- In ancient China, poorer women often were not given first names. The syllable "shi" (approximatable by combining the "sh" sound with the "ir" sound in "bird"), loosely translatable as "from the ___________ family", would be added to their maiden name. For example, if Miss Wu marries Mr. Li, she would be Li Wu Shi.
- So did the ancient Romans. The woman would simply be called by the feminine version of her father's name. For example, Julius Caesar's daughter is Julia.
- Natives of the South American rainforest seldom bother to name wild plant species unless they're either useful or harmful, as there are so many different plants there that keeping track of them all would be too confusing.
- K2, the second tallest mountain in the world, is known as such based on quick notes from a surveyor marking noteworthy peaks on the mountain range ("K1" and "K2" were the two tallest). The locals never gave it a name and the K2 designation is still widely used for it, though China eventually started to officially refer to it as Qogir. Not surprisingly, most people still just called it K2.
- Israel’s arguably most famous blogger, Eishton, started writing in December 2011. Despite being questioned by the police and causing a lot of controversy by defying the Badass Israeli trope and proving that the leading cause of death in the IDF is suicide in a three year research, thereby leading the army to take further precautions to prevent suicide among its soldiers, he managed to avoid having his name revealed somehow.