Only Known by Initials

Some people are Only Known by Their Nickname, others are on Last-Name Basis, while some people are primarily known to the public by their initials or their initials plus their last name. The reasons may vary. Perhaps they have an Embarrassing First Name they'd rather not use, and maybe they have an Overly Long Name that needs to be abbreviated. Others may think it sounds classier, and some may prefer the fact that it is more gender neutral.

This was particularly common among Real Life English male writers of the early 20th century, especially academics like A.J. Ayer (philosopher) and A.J.P. Taylor (historian). You do still find some English writers who go by initials today, possibly because of the resulting intellectual associations - like A.N. Wilson or D.J. Taylor.

It's also sometimes found with Real Life female writers, often to hide (or at least make less obvious) the fact that they are female.

Examples include:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • C.C. from Code Geass (its pronounced C-two)
    • The same goes for V.V.
  • T.K. In the dub version of Digimon Adventure, (his full name is Takeru Takaishi, in the Japanese, at least).
    • And the dub of Digimon Frontier has J.P., likewise known as Junpei in the Japanese version.
  • Angel Beats! has the American TK.
  • T.R. (Thomas Riley) Edwards from Robotech. Some sources erroneously assume that he has a hyphenated last name (it's true that Riley is usually a last name). However, if this was the case, he would be properly known as T. Riley-Edwards.
  • V.T. (Victoria Terpsichore} from Cowboy Bebop. She made money charging people to guess her name, until Spike worked out who she was.

  • The Gumby Theatre "Cherry Orchard" sketch from Another Monty Python Record features L.D. Gumby, M.J. Gumby and R.S. Gumby in starring roles.

    Comic Books 

  • DC from That Darn Cat! is only once referred to by a censored version of his full name, not counting the title, and is never referred to by his real full name, on account of it being profane.
  • Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny: JB (Jack Black) and KG (Kyle Gass). Pronounced Jables and Kage.
  • L. B. "Jeff" Jeffries from Rear Window.
  • H.W. in There Will Be Blood.
  • J.J. Mc Clure from The Cannonball Run films.
  • Played for Laughs in Down with Love. When Barbara meets the high-ups of the company publishing her book for the first time, they introduce themselves as E.G., C.B., C.W., J.B., J.R. and R.J. When Barbara replies with "Okay!", E.G. says that O.K. couldn't make it, he and T.B. are having breakfast.
  • T. S. Quint from Mallrats.
  • J. F. Sebastian from Blade Runner.
  • Mary Kate from Epic, frequently only referred to as M.K.
  • Sheriff J. P. Harrah (Robert Mitchum) in El Dorado.
  • Raising Arizona: H.I. McDunnough is called "Hi" by everyone. We only learn his actual name when he writes a letter saying goodbye to his wife, signing it "Herbert."
  • In Crossworlds, A.T. is only ever referred to by his initials, except at the very end, when the Queen calls him "Alex". We still don't know what the "T" stands for.
  • In Thank You for Smoking, Nick's boss is only known as BR, which he started being called while in Vietnam. As Nick puts it, "everyone who knew what it means are all dead." In the book the film is based on, his full name is mentioned early on but everyone still refers to him as BR.

  • PK Pinkerton in The Western Mysteries, is only known by the initials PK or by the nickname Pinky, as part of the author's attempt to create Ambiguous Gender.
  • Subverted with Mr. A.E. Pessimal from Thud!, as this is actually his full name.
  • Superman: Last Son of Krypton. One of Lex Luthor's henchwomen is named Barbara Tolley, but insists on being called "B.J." even though her middle name is Arabella.
  • Also subverted with BKR, the villain of Rod Albright Alien Adventures. This is his whole name, and none of the other aliens seems to think it odd.
  • Robert A. Heinlein's The Number of the Beast. One of the characters is named D.T. ("Deety") Burroughs. She goes by her initials because she's embarrassed by her real first and middle names: Dejah Thoris (her father Jacob was a fan of the John Carter of Mars books).
  • Y.T. in Snow Crash, though the author does explain what it stands for once, when incidental character hears it as "Whitey" and is considering taking offense ("Actually, it stands for Yours Truly, but if he can't figure that out, fuck him").
  • TS Garp in The World According to Garp. He's officially named for his father—except his mother never knew his father's first name, only his army rank. "TS" stands for "Technical Sergeant." Everyone just calls him Garp.
    • In The Film of the Book, teen Garp tries to convince his girlfriend that it stands for "Terribly Sexy."
  • Members of the V.F.D. in A Series of Unfortunate Events are referred to only by their initials to preserve anonymity. This results in complications, as The Unauthorized Autobiography demonstrates during a transcript of a meeting, and in The Penultimate Peril when a total of three characters have the legitimate and undisguised initials J.S..
  • In Harry Potter, R.A.B. Regulus Arturus Black
  • In the Wizard of Oz books, the wizard reveals that "O.Z." is actually part of his initials. His parents named him Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkle Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs, noting that it isn't longer simply because they ran out of names. He abbreviated it to Oz because using all his initials would spell out O.Z.P.I.N.H.E.A.D., and he wouldn't attract the right kind of attention calling himself a pinhead. The movie Oz: The Great and Powerful names the character Oscar Diggs, but makes no reference to his many middle names or the nickname.
  • In Left Behind, Tyrola Mark Delanty is referred to as T.
  • In the Dale Brown novel Day of the Cheetah, J. C. Powell is a hotshot test pilot known for pulling off impossible maneuvers. "J. C." are not his initials, but only his mother calls him "Roland". After one incident, an officer is heard to exclaim "Jesus Christ!", to which J. C. replies with a totally deadpan "Thank you, Sir." Hence...
  • In the Venus Prime series, one of the major characters is Prof. J.Q.R. Forster. It's not until the last book that anyone bothers to ask him what the initials stand for, at which point he reveals that they don't actually stand for anything; his parents couldn't decide on a name, so they gave him initials as placeholders.

    Live Action TV 
  • JT (James Tiberius) Yorke from Degrassi: The Next Generation.
    • Degrassi also has KC Guthrie. Unlike JT, KC's full name has never been revealed, but Fanon is that it's Kirk Cameron Guthrie.
  • DJ (Donna Jo) Margaret Tanner from Full House.
  • DJ (David Jacob) Connor from Roseanne.
  • GOB (George Oscar Bluth) from Arrested Development.
  • JJ (Jennifer Jareau) from Criminal Minds.
  • B. J. Hunnicut from Mash. Lampshaded in an episode where Hawkeye tries to learn what "B. J." stands for, only to find "B. J." on all of his friend's military records. When Hawkeye asks who would name their kid "B. J.", B. J. answers "My mother, Bea and my father, Jay!"
  • C.C. Babcock on The Nanny, as is much of her family (sister D.D., mother B.B.). Her full name, revealed in the finale, is Chastity-Claire Babcock
  • JD (John Dorian) from Scrubs
  • DJ from The Latest Buzz
  • B.J. and the Bear. The title character B.J. (Billy Joe) McKay.
  • B.A. Baracus on The A-Team We know from the pilot ep. that his given first name is "Bosco", and that "B.A" is shorthand for his nickname, "Bad Attitude", but eventually it is revealed that his full name is "Bosco Albert Baracus."
  • JJ (James Jr.) Evans from Good Times
  • A.J. (Andrew Jackson) Simon from Simon & Simon.
  • In The West Wing, Claudia Jean Cregg is nearly always referred to as CJ Cregg. The rare exceptions are usually either formal occasions or wry comments.
  • JK (pronounced Jake) from Kamen Rider Fourze. In #36, his real name is turned out to be Kaizou Jingu
  • Power Rangers has two: T.J. Johnson from Power Rangers Turbo and Power Rangers in Space, and RJ from Power Rangers Jungle Fury. Their full names are Theodore Jay Jarvis Johnson (as revealed in the "Forever Red" team-up episode), and Robert James (revealed by a children's book and never used on the show), respectively.
  • JB Reese in VR Troopers.
  • Melanie and Lindsay's (and Michael's, since he's the biological dad) daughter, J. R. (Jenny Rebecca) on Queer as Folk.
  • D.B.Russell on CSI. Kind of justified, since his first name is Diebenkorn.
  • A.J. (Albert Jethro) Chegwidden on JAG. Prior to the season four episode "War Stories" his staff didn't know what A.J. was short for.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard had Cooter's cousins, LB and BB, who appeared from time to time.
  • The "Batsman of the Kalahari" sketch from the last series of Monty Python's Flying Circus sends up the tendency of cricketers to be known by their initials. Some of the players include V.E. Pratt, M.J.K. Pratt, B.B.C.T.V. Pratt, and Y.E.T.A.N.O.T.H.E.R. Pratt.
  • B.P. Richfield from Dinosaurs. In "Earl's Big Jackpot", it's revealed that his first name is Bradly.
  • Played with in the pilot of The Beverly Hillbillies: Mr. Drysdale gets a call that the gardeners he'd hired to spruce up the mansion he'd procured for his newest, biggest client ("J.D. Clampett") were being held at gunpoint by "outlaws"note  When he gets to the jail where the "outlaws" are being held, he grabs one of them by the collar and demands to know what they did with J.D. Clampett.
    Jed: [Annoyed] I'm Jed Clampett, and I'd appreciate it if you'd let go of my Sunday shirt! note 
  • J.L. (Jason Lochenbar) McCabe, the titular Fatman from Jake and the Fatman.
  • JJ (James Junior) from Good Times

  • ZP Theart, former lead singer of DragonForce. Rumour has it that "ZP" is legally his first name, though.
  • Starflyer 59. On The Fashion Focus, Leave Here a Stranger[[note]]Everybody Makes Mistakes was released between these two albums, and it didn't follow this pattern, and every album since then, the various band members have just been credited by their first initial and last name.
  • Poison guitarist CC Deville.
  • JC Chasez of *NSYNC.
  • CJ (Christopher Jospeh) Ramone of The Ramones
  • AJ McLean of Backstreet Boys.
  • DJ Bonebrake, drummer for LA punk band, X.
  • kd lang. Although in some lyrics to her songs she refers to her actual first name (ex. "The Mind of Love": "Where is your head, Kathryn?")
  • Soul Coughing's M. Doughty, although once the band broke up, he started releasing solo albums as Mike Doughty.
  • D. Boon of Minutemen (short for Dennes)
  • J. Mascis of Dinosaur Jr.

    Newspaper Comics 

  • In Joy Wilt Berry's "Human Race Club" series of LP's (also known as the "No More..." series), Abraham Lincoln Jones (the second-in-command) is known as "A.J.".note 

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Wrestling companies are/were generally referred to by their initials. WWF/WWE, WCW, ECW, AWA, UWF, TNA, ROH, PWG, ...
  • AJ Lee (April Jeanette, her real first and middle names)
  • Her husband, CM Punk (he says it stands for "Chick Magnet")
  • WWF jobber PJ Walker, (Peter Joseph, his real first and middle names)
  • AJ Styles (Allen Jones, his real name)
  • Jim Ross, who became "Good Ol' JR" when he came to the WWF
  • ECW wrestler CW Anderson.
  • 80's wrestler DJ Peterson.
  • JT Southern, who wrestled in WCW, Memphis and other territories.
  • WCW wrestler JW Storm (Jeff Warner, his real name)
  • Rapping WCW wrestler PN News (Paul Neu, his real name)
  • TL Hopper, the wrestling plumber (the initials stood for "Toilet Lid")

  • Archibald MacLeish's modern take on the story of Job: Job (and the play) is called J.B.

    Video Games 
  • Deus Ex has J.C. Denton, which is actually a code name. This is a hold over from the development when it was an ambiguous name to support the option for a female PC (it was latter dropped to lack of space for the voice acting for her and the he/she brother/sister lines) and as a Significant Monogram.
  • Halo 3: ODST has the Rookie; the only traces of any kind of name he has are the initials J.D.
  • C.J. (Carl Johnson), from Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas.
  • B.J. Blazkowicz of the Wolfenstein series. His first name is William, often shorted into Bill.
  • Dungeon Fighter Online has the Slayer trainer, G.S.D.
  • M. Bison, E. (Edmond) Honda and T. (Thunder) Hawk in "Street Fighter"
  • Resident Evil – Code: Veronica has D.I.J., a mouse who is intelligent enough to keep a diary.
  • Your character from the arcade Punch-Out!! series only has a descriptor of "Challenger", and you enter three initials to name him when starting play.

    Western Animation 
  • Top Cat is often (but not always) known as TC.
  • TJ (Theodore Jasper) Detweiler from Recess. A movie stated that he got his name because apparently, a young kindergarten kid named Gus Griswald said he'd call him TJ because those were his favorite letters in the alphabet.
  • In Arthur, the protagonist's little sister D.W. (short for Dora Winifred). Lampshaded in an episode where she gets lost in the White House and her parents are describing her to security
    David: Her name is D.W.
    Security: That's it? Initials? You didn't give the kid a whole name?"
    David: Um, well...*sweats nervously*

  • One of the cartoons from The Disney Afternoon had the initials of D.W. (which goes by the official superhero name of Darkwing Duck, who is really Drake Mallard, his alter ego in disguise). LET'S GET DANGEROUS!
  • J.T. Marsh from Exo Squad.
  • A.J. from The Fairly OddParents!.
    • Head Pixie is often referred to as H.P.
  • PJ Pete (Pete Pete Jr.) on Goof Troop, because he shares his father's name and they are both very prominent (and very different) characters. His father calls him "Junior" instead on a very small number of occasions, but even when he's yelling at him (which is a lot) he chooses the initials route and reserves the other for those rare occurrences where he's being or pretending to be affectionate with him.
  • DJ (Devon Joseph) from Total Drama Island.
  • JB (McBride, the Judge) from Brave Starr. Nobody knows what her initials mean!
  • I.M. Weasel and I.R. Baboon from I Am Weasel. Also count as Punny Names.

    Web Comics and Web Original 

    Real Life - Writers 
Note: When adding new examples, please list the person's full name after their initials, in order to preserve consistency.

    Real Life - Other Famous Individuals 
  • P. T. (Phineas Taylor) Barnum
  • JM J Bullock, who is only JM J because Jim J Bullock was already registered with the Screen Actors Guild
  • T. K. (Thomas Kent) Carter
  • J. P. (John Pierpont) Morgan
  • C. C. H. (Carol Christine Hilaria) Pounder
  • C. C. (Carsten Charles) Sabathia - pitcher for the New York Yankees
  • M. Night Shyamalan - real name Manoj Shyamalan; the "Night" was just added to sound cool.
  • J. E. B. (James Ewell Brown) Stuart
  • O. J. (Orenthal James) Simpson
  • S. E. (Sarah Elizabeth) Cupp
  • W. C. Fields - real name William Claude Dukenfield
  • P. Z. (Paul Zachary) Myers
  • British film director J. Blakeson
  • Back when Lord Baden-Powell formed the Boy Scouts, a bunch of girls wanted in on the fun too. But they couldn't sign up using their real names because they were, you know, girls. So they signed up using their initials (and dressed like boys when they were accepted in.) Eventually, the girls got their own group, the Girl Scouts.
  • J. E. (Josh Eric) Sawyer, game designer behind Icewind Dale and Fallout: New Vegas. However, he does go by Josh Sawyer as well.
  • J. T. (James Thomas Patrick) Walsh, character actor.
  • Indycar racing has had a few such as A.J. Foyt, A.J. Allmendinger, and J.R. Hildebrand.
  • D. B. (Daniel Bernard) Sweeney
  • J. J. (Jeffrey Jacob) Abrams, current director of the Star Trek and Star Wars movie franchises.
  • D. W. (David Wark) Griffith
  • Subverted with former professional basketball player and coach K. C. Jones. "K.C." is his real name.
  • Inverted with actress Maggie Q. "Q" stands for "Quigley".
  • Filipino actors K. C. (Kristina Cassandra) Concepcion and J. C. (John Carlo) de Vera
  • Brigitte Bardot: If you said B.B. in the Fifties and Sixties everyone knew you were referring to her.
  • J. K. (Jonathan Kimble) Simmons, famous for his portrayal of J. Jonah Jameson Jr.
  • D. L. (Darryl Lynn) Hughley, actor, comedian and political commentator
  • L. (Lafayette) Ron Hubbard, creator of Scientology
  • J. J. (Justin James) Watt, superstar NFL defensive lineman
  • J. C. (James Cash) Penney (Jr.), founder of the American department store chain now doing business as JCPenney
  • W.E.B. (William Edward Burghart) DuBois, sociologist and co-founder of the NAACP.
  • Madame C.J. Walker (took her husband's name: Charles James Walker; real name Sarah Breedlove), fashion designer, social activist.
  • W.C. (William Christopher) Handy, Father of the Blues.