Outgrowing the Childish Name
Often, diminutive versions of names are used for children; however, their usage may diminish as the child ages, sometimes at the child's own request. If this occurs to a character in-series, it's usually either a sign of Character Development
or the character trying to seem more mature than he really is.
The character's childhood nickname may end up becoming an Embarrassing Nickname
as an adult. Compare to Meaningful Rename
, which includes cases in which the character's name actually changes when they become an adult.
Films — Live Action
- In the film Under The Same Moon (La misma luna), the protagonist's mother comments that he is growing up so quickly that she will soon have to start calling him "Carlos" instead of "Carlitos". He stays Carlitos for the duration of the movie, though.
- Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: The Human Torch is known as Johnny Storm for all of the first film. In the second, he has embraced the money that comes with sponsorship, and because "focus groups say Johnny skews young", decides to go by John Storm instead since he doesn't want "hero to children" to outweigh "ladies' man".
- In Lady Bird, the titular character abandons her self-proclaimed nickname and starts going by her given name, Christine, when she goes to college, a time when she starts to realize the negative effects of her previous stubbornness.
- In episode 3453 of Sesame Street, Baby Bear decides to change his name to "Not-a-Baby Bear", because he isn't a baby anymore and doesn't want his friends to get the wrong impression. He soon finds out the disadvantages of changing his name, such as not getting a package of instant porridge from his Grandma, and how different his fairy tale, "Goldilocks and the Three Bears", sounds. He soon learns from his friends that your name doesn't always have to mean what you are, and that Papa Bear went through a similar experience in his childhood, as his name was also "Baby Bear" once. These persuade Baby Bear to be proud of his original name.
- In Animal Crossing New Leaf, if you upgrade their shop to T&T Emporium, Timmy and Tommy will start going by their full names (Timothy and Thomas) on the town billboard.
- In Valkyria Chronicles, Welkin dislikes being addressed as "Welkies".
- Tales of Berseria: The childish character Laphicet, going by "Phi" until that point, requests that the nickname be abandoned because he finds it too childish. (It's difficult to categorize this one because Laphicet is 1) an angel who was incarnated only 3 years ago, and 2) the Replacement Goldfish for the main character's younger brother, and sharing his name. And his resistance to the nickname "Phi".)
- Kenta from No Need for Bushido at one point gets mocked for having "a baby name" but this turns out to have a tragic origin, since his entire clan was wiped out when he was a child so he was never able to receive a "proper" adult name. It symbolizes how he's never moved on from the tragedy and how it's stunted his emotional maturity.
- Cyanide & Happiness references this with "The life cycle of Roberts", outgrowing nicknames Bobby, Robby and Bob in succession.
- In Alice Isn't Dead, the episode "The Factory" has the narrator enter the titular factory and meet a young man named Jackie, except every time she loses sight of him and finds him again he grows several years older, and when she addresses him as "Jackie" after he becomes middle aged, he requests to be called "Jack" instead.
- In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "The Bride To Beat", Bloo fears that Mac is outgrowing him and decides to act like an adult. This includes changing his name from "Bloo" (short for "Blooregard") to "Bob".
- SpongeBob SquarePants:
- In an episode where SpongeBob begins wearing longer pants, and thus seems more like a mature adult rather than a Manchild, his sophisticated peers begin referring to him as "SpongeRobert".
- In another episode, Barnacle Boy does a Face–Heel Turn because Mermaid Man keeps treating him like a kid, despite both of them being elderly, and demands to be known as Barnacle Man.
- There's a woodchuck character on Animaniacs who wants to be taken seriously as an actor and insists on being called Charleston instead of the Embarrassing Nickname Baynarts.
- The Flintstones: Whenever Fred tries to act sophisticated, he tends to calls himself and Barney "Frederick" and "Bernard".
- After starting college in Ben 10: Omniverse, Gwen starts going by "Gwendolyn".
- Discussed at the end of the Teen Titans episode "The Beast Man". Beast Boy mentions that, after what he experienced in the episode, maybe he should change his superhero name to "Beast Man".
- Mickey Mouse (2013): In "The Fancy Gentleman", Mickey is taught to act more refined and starts calling himself and Minnie "Michel"note and "Minifred"note (one of the very few times their full names have been referenced in-series).
- Enzo Matrix in ReBoot calls himself just Matrix after growing up in the games, as well as becoming cynical and hating the naive child he used to be.
- In The Legend of Korra, Bataar Jr. wants to drop the latter part of his name, which also symbolizes his falling out with his family.
- Real life child stars Billy Mumy, Ricky Nelson, and Ricky Schroder dropped the "y" from their names when they became grown up stars.
- This trope is usually averted in Mexico and other hispanohablante countries. Unlike in Anglophone countries, the hypocorisms and apodos stick beyond adulthood and many times these will stay with the person until death.This article mentions this aversion of nickname, diminuitive, and shortened name outgrowing in Mexican culture.