Non-Indicative Name

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Because "South American Cavy Rodent" just doesn't have the same ring to it.

"I was just thinkin'. About goldfish. Even though they are called 'goldfish' they aren't gold-colored, are they? They are red, right? The 'blue light' on traffic lights too, aren't they green? Things like that make me sick..."
Yuno, Hidamari Sketch

Have you ever noticed how sometimes, pickles are really salty?

That's the sort of thing this article would be about if it were a Self-Demonstrating Article. But it isn't. That would be silly.

A birthday cake is a cake you eat on your birthday. That makes sense. But a butterfly is not a fly, a peanut is not a nut, and a ten-gallon hat can't even hold one gallon of liquid. Words or combinations of words like this whose meaning has nothing to do with their name are known as misnomers.

Mostly for historical reasons the misnomer sticks and nobody—or almost nobody—bats an eyelid when it is used, since it is well accepted and people know what it means; this particular variant is a common result of calling Smeerps "rabbits". A Cloudcuckoolander character and punster tropers are likely to hang a lampshade on these from time to time, complain that contents of the tin differ from the label (or that the tin itself is not made of tin), and that there's no baby in baby food.

When the name once fit but no longer does, see Artifact Title. If the name is itself an element of deliberate deception, it may be Doublespeak or a Super-Fun Happy Thing of Doom.

For series with nonindicative names, see Word Salad Title and Never Trust a Title. For songs, see Non-Appearing Title. Fluffy the Terrible, Deathbringer the Adorable, Ironic Name, and Ironic Nickname are subtropes of this.

Contrary to Exactly What It Says on the Tin. See In-Name-Only when this trope applies to the title of a derivative work.


While explanations for misnomers are welcome and encouraged, please resist the urge to make a Justifying Edit.

Looking to have fun with misleading names? See I Thought It Meant, for misleading trope names, and I Thought That Was, for misleading work names.

Examples Subpages:

Other Examples:

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  • Garfield: "Aphrodite" isn't a name that fits a mule that "had three legs, a glass eye, and one tooth".

    Films — Animation 
  • In How to Train Your Dragon, the dragon Toothless has teeth. Being retractable, they're mostly hidden, and show up when he eats or attacks. Hiccup's father Stoick is not The Stoic. And Hiccup never gets hiccups (though in the series it's explained that runts are named Hiccup.)
  • EVE's job in WALLE is to look for living plants on Earth, which is the one place she shouldn't be looking according to her name (Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator).
  • One edition of Dingo Pictures The Countryside Bears, the only version released on DVD rather than a PlayStation disc, is titled Winky the Little Bear as a pun on the title of the franchise it knocks off, but there are no actual characters named Winky; the main character being named Teddy.
  • The Princess and the Frog: Doc Facilier's "Friends on the Other Side", who are not exactly friendly...
  • Flounder from The Little Mermaid is not a flounder (a flat gray fish that disguises itself as the bottom of the sea floor), but some sort of yellow tropical fish with blue stripes.
  • Similarly, Marlin from Finding Nemo is actually a clownfish like his son, Nemo. This was lampshaded about halfway through the film when Nigel the pelican tells Gill that Nemo's father shares his name with that of "a popular sport fish." Also, Dory is not a dory, she's a blue tang.
  • The DC Universe Animated Original Movies eventually settled on only making movies with "Superman," "Batman" or "Justice League" in the titlesnote , because those were the ones which sold best. As a result, their names sometimes wind up where they don't really belong.
    • Batman: Assault on Arkham. The name would suggest that Batman is the lead character, but in reality he has barely twenty minutes of screen time and spends most of that screen time as the Hero Antagonist to the Suicide Squad, the real stars of the movie, with Deadshot in particular being the unofficial protagonist.
    • Likewise, Justice League: The Flashpoint Paradox only features the Justice League as a group for five minutes near the beginning, though you could justify it saying that we see the various members' states in the dystopian timeline. The Flash/Barry Allen is the main character.

Alternative Title(s): Nonindicative Title

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/NonIndicativeName