When robots, computers, and other machines appear in fiction, there are a few common ways for them to be named. See also A Mech by Any Other Name
, Names Given to Computers
and Law of Alien Names
When done straight, a phrase describing the machine's function is shortened to an acronym, or made the name itself.
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Anime and Manga
- Alpha from Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou named herself after her model name, since it was still pretty rare when she was created.
- Eradikator 6, the Exterminators and the Protectors from the Marvel Universe.
- Beta of The Last Starfighter
- Both Ash and Bishop from the Alien franchise have names containing SH, possibly to indicate they are Synthetic Humanoids. Falls apart in Alien: Resurrection with Annalee Call though, unless C-near-L stands for Cybernetic Lifeform or similar.
- There's also the A-B-C pattern to think about.
- And Prometheus would continue this pattern with "David".
- AUTO from WALL•E is short for Autopilot.
- So is WALL-E himself. Waste Allocation Load-Lifter: Earth Class.
- The robots in Short Circuit belong to the SAINT (Strategic Artificially Intelligent Nuclear Transport) line, but each one is simply known by its model number. The main character is Number Five, who gains sentience from being struck by lightning. At the end of the movie, he decides to give himself a human name, choosing "Johnny" from the pop song "Who's Johnny". But he thinks it sounds cool to keep his number too, so he settles on "Johnny Five".
- Desk Set (1957) featured the Electro-Magnetic Memory and Research Arithmetic Calculator, known as EMERAC (or possibly EMMARAC) for short.
- Pern's computer "AIVAS" (Artificial Intelligence Voice-Address System)
- Hatchworth of Steam Powered Giraffe plays this straight with a name describing his function. Additionally, The Spine plays with this trope, having a name based on his skeletal structure. And Rabbit's name references robotic glitches, which she is prone to.
- GLaDOS, the Genetic Lifeform and Disk Operating System from Portal. Her name might also be a variant of "Gladys", as in the naming scheme below.
- Only a handful of Robot Masters of Mega Man aren't called "Something man", where something describes some kind of theme related to their powers or function.
- Mega Man X is named after the numeral variable (x) because of his limitless potential to adapt and change.
- The various Mavericks of Mega Man X use a two-word descriptive naming formula comprised of an adjective describing an ability of theirs and their species (IE, Armored Armadillo is a heavily armored robotic armadillo, Flame Stag is a fireball-tossing robotic deer, etc.). This only applies to the eight animalistic bosses per game that grant weapons, however, and not to more humanoid named enemies such as Sigma.
- All Terrain Armored Combatants or ATACs, from the PS1 game Vanguard Bandits.
- In Tron 2.0, a particularly knowledgeable Tower Guardian program is called I-No.
- Persona 3 has Aigis, whose name reflects that she is both an Artificial Intellgience and an aegis (Ancient Greek for a protective garment or a protector). And in the extra chapter you meet Metis, whose name is Greek for wise or skilled.
- Appearing in Persona 4 Arena, Labrys, named for the shape of her preferred weapon (a kind of Ancient Greek double-headed axe).
- EDI, short for Enhanced Defense Intelligence and pronounced "ee-dee," in the two later Mass Effect games is a shackled AI with a female personality, hardwired into the Normandy SR-2. Her primary purpose is running the ship's cyberwarfare suite. Joker is forced to remove the shackles late in Mass Effect 2 to save the ship, and she remains loyal.
- Robo, the, um robot party member from Chrono Trigger.
- M.I.K.E., from Etrian Odyssey Untold, stands for Memetic Installation Keeper Engine.
- Futurama's Bender (whose full name is Bender Bending Rodriguez, since he was built in Mexico, and "bending" is his middle name).
- Quite a few fit: Flexo, Angleyne, Roberto (the robber)...
- Uniblab of The Jetsons, given that his purpose was to blab on the employees to Mr. Spacely.
- The BOYZZ bots of The Bots Master all had names based on their programmed skillsets.
- XR from Buzz Lightyear of Star Command is an X-Perimental Ranger. ER makes slightly more sense but forget that, X is just cooler. (And you won't confuse it with Emergency Room.)
- Truth in Television. X is the universally recognized letter to let people know that something is a prototype, or "experimental" equipment. That's why experimental planes are called X-Planes and have designations like "X-10" or "XF-1". It's similar to how fighter jets tend to have F in their designation.
- Mechanical Lifeforms aren't immune either, just ask Transformers such as Bonecrusher, Onslaught, or Ruination. But if you pick one of those three, phrase it very, very carefully.
- Linguo, from The Simpsons, whose function is to correct grammatical errors.
- The early vacuum-tube computer ENIAC (Electronic Numerical Integrator and Computer), and its successor EDVAC (Electronic Discrete Variable Automatic Computer).
Alternately, a common word or name is made into a relevant backronym.
Anime And Manga
- Miyu for "Multiple/Merciful Intelligential Yggdrasil Unit" (depending on whether it's the Hime or Otome universe) from the Mai Hi ME.
- J.A.K.E., short for "Jungle Assault Killer Experiment", from The DCU.
- A.D.A.M., short for "Ambient-Energy Dampening Actualization Module", from the Marvel Universe.
- D.A.R.Y.L. ("Data Analysing Robot Youth Lifeform") from the movie of the same name.
- The titular artificial woman from the film S1m0ne is, in fact, Sim(ulation) One.
- The Iron Man movies turn Tony Stark's butler Jarvis into a computer named J.A.R.V.I.S. The novelization reveals that it's "Just A Really Very Intelligent System".
- In the comics, Tony had a computer called H.O.M.E.R. (Heuristically Operative Matrix Emulation Rostrum).
- The comics also featured I.S.A.A.C.
- HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) - technically a HAL 9000, but no others ever appeared in the series — from 2001: A Space Odyssey.
- GERTY from Moon.
- V.I.N.CENT, short for "Vital Information Necessary, CENTralized", from Disney's 1979 movie The Black Hole.
- AMEE ("Autonomous Mapping Exploration and Evasion") from the science fiction film Red Planet.
- Most of the robots from WALL•E fit in this catagory:
- WALL-E - Waste Allocation Load Lifter - Earth Class
- EVE - Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator
- M-O - Microbe Obliterator
- Parodied on Friends with C.H.E.E.S.E.:
Joey: I'm up for the part of Mac Macaveli or "Mac". I'm a detective and I solve crimes with the help of my robot partner. He's a Computerized Humanoid Electronically Enhanced Secret Enforcer or "C.H.E.E.S.E."
Rachel: So... Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E.?
Joey:That's the title! Yeah! You know, they really lucked out that the initials spell cheese.
Chandler: That is lucky.
- Mr. R.I.N.G. ("Robomatic Internalized Nerve Ganglia") from Kolchak: The Night Stalker.
- Parodied on Mystery Science Theater 3000 when Joel reveals to Crow in a flashback that his name actually stands for "Cybernetic Remotely Operated Woman." After Crow flips out that he's really a woman, Joel reveals it as the elaborate set-up for a joke.
Crow: Boy, I feel like Morey Amsterdam.
- On Power Rangers S.P.D., a Girl of the Week named Sophie is revealed to be a "Series One Processor Hyper Intelligent Encryptor."
- From the same series, there's R.I.C, the Robotic Interactive Canine.
- S.A.M. ("Super Automated Machine") from Sesame Street.
- SELMA (Specified Encapsulated Limitless Memory Archive) from Time Trax.
- R.O.B, the Nintendo robot who has made cameos in several games. Stands for "Robotic Operating Buddy", since it helps you play games.
- KOS-MOS, in Xenosaga. Her name is not only a backronym, it's also a recursive acronym. Kosmos Obey Strategical Multiple Operation Systems.
- In the same series, MOMO is an acronym for Multiple Observation Mimetic Organicus.
- In the video game Song Summoner: the Unsung Heroes, Z.E.R.O.'s name isn't actually an acronym; he's named after Ziggy's brother Zero, and as a reference to the fact that his serial number (SGNB00000000AA) contains many zeroes.
- The GDI tactical control AI throughout the Command & Conquer: Tiberium series is the Electronic Virtual Assistant. Nod has the Computer-Assisted Biologically-Augmented Lifeform, as well as LEGION (known to be an acronym as well as another of Kane's self-indulgent Biblical references, but never expanded upon in the game).
- In Infinite Crisis Mecha-Superman is a Kryptonian Artificial Lifeform, also known as K.A.L.
- The titular robot from B.O.B., whose name doesn't appear to stand for anything.
- Parodied on Dragon Tails. Bluey creates the Christmas Holographic Refracting Illusion System, and names it...Barry.
- The CyborgName website bacronyms your name and sells T-shirts with the robot names on them. This wiki translates as "Transforming Versatile Technician Responsible for Observation, Peacekeeping and Efficient Sabotage".
- Efficient Sabotage? Uhhh...
- Yes, extremely efficient sabotage.
- Television / Videogame Trope Repository Of Perpetual Entertainment Subversion
- H.E.R.B.I.E. ("Humanoid Experimental Robot, B-type, Integrated Electronics") the robot from the De Patie Freleng Enterprises version of The Fantastic Four (1978).
- The comic also featured H.U.B.E.R.T., short for Hyper-Ultronic Brain Employing Randomized Tracings.
- Parodied with GIR on Invader Zim:
Zim: "GIR"? What does the "G" stand for?
GIR: I don't know...
- MAR-10 from Dexter's Laboratory.
- All of the robot characters in WALL•E, including the main character ("Waste Allocation Load Lifter, Earth-class"), EVE ("Extraterrestrial Vegetation Evaluator"), but
- E.A.R.L., short for "Electronic Automatic Robotic Lighthouse", from The Simpsons.
- There is also C.H.U.M., short for "Childlike-Humanoid-Urban-Muchacho."
- I.S.R.A.E.L., short for "Intelligent Smart Robot Animation Eraser Lady", from the Drawn Together movie.
- B.E.N., short for "Bio-Electronic Navigator", from Treasure Planet.
- The B.A.T.s ("Battle Android Trooper") from G.I. Joe.
- F.L.U.F.F.I. from Bionic Six.
- JANICE, from Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles, stands for "Junctioned Artificial Neuro-Integrated Cybernetic Entity".
- In Carmen's backstory in Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego?, The Chief's name is revealed to be an acronym meaning "Computerized Holographic Imaging Educational Facilitator." Back when he worked with Carmen, he was a robot.
- N.I.G.E.L. from Godzilla: The Series stands from Next-millennium Intelligence Gathering Electronic Liaison.
A string of numbers and letters, often containing at least one hyphen.
- In Marvel Comics, Machine Man's official designation when he was built was X-51, but he much prefers the name his adoptive father gave him, Aaron. In fact, addressing him as "X-51" is probably the fastest way to make him angry at you.
- RRU-9-2 from The DCU.
- MX39147 from Alpha Flight.
- SJ3RX, better known as Red Ronin, from the Marvel Universe.
- From The Matrix's expanded media, the first robot to intentionally kill a human was named BI66-ER.
- Star Wars has R2-D2 and C-3PO among innumerable others.
- B-4, Data's idiot older brother.
Picard: "Dr. Soong's penchant for whimsical names seems to have no end."
- Buck Rogers gives us Twiki, from the robot's alphanumeric designation: TWKE-4
- The title character in Eric Frank Russell's 1941 story "Jay Score" is revealed to be a model J.20 robot on the final page.
- Although not robots, Lois McMaster Bujold uses this for the names of several genetically engineered life forms. In Ethan of Athos, Terrance's full product number includes Terran-C, and Janine's number includes J9. In "Labryinth", Miles meets Nine, the last survivor of ten prototypes. She is later renamed Taura. The Quaddies from Falling Free all have names derived from their serial numbers as well. The names vary from traditional (Tony) through unusual-but-not-unheard-of (Silver) to decidedly odd (Pramod).
- If we allow Greek letters as well, the early Power Rangers seasons have Alpha 5 and Alpha 6.
- On Red Dwarf, Kryten (obviously) as a more "normal" first name, but his full name is Kryten 2X4B-523P.
- He's named after the title character in the J.M. Barrie play The Admirable Crichton, about a butler who takes charge when he and the family he serves are shipwrecked on a desert island.
- In one episode, he claims that he shortens it to Kryten since he thinks "2X4B" is a dorky middle name. But not as bad as an acquaintance of his, called 2Q4B.
- From Chrono Trigger, R-66Y AKA Robo.
- The W-Series in Super Robot Wars, despite coming up with normal sounding names, they have their own robot names, which ranges from W00 to W17, in order of the creation sequence.
- ν-13, the Yandere Robot Girl SNK Boss of BlazBlue.
- And that's not a V. That's the Greek letter "nu", which happens to be the 13th letter of that alphabet. (Looks identical in many fonts.)
- The E-Series robots from Sonic the Hedgehog all have this style of name, with E followed by a number.
- E-102 Gamma, and E-123 Omega are the main examples.
- Clank has at least three names; two of them are strings of numbers (one his serial number and the other his actual name, XJ0461) and the last— well what do you think it is?
- It seems that the standardized format for designating robots in Gunnerkrigg Court is through single-letter model designations (H-Models for the horse robots, HL-Models for the heavy lifting robots, S-Models for the "Seraph" robots, etc.). Individual robots get numbers appended to their model name: the robot that Annie built is S13, and the Super Prototype of the S-Models is S1.
- Though there are multiple exceptions: see every other subsection of this page.
- K-10, KIT-9, and COCKA-3 from the "Go God Go XVII" episode of South Park. They are supposed to be close to things you'd read as an actual word; if K-10 and KIT-9 switched numbers, they would be read like "canine" and "kitten," in reference to the species they are designed after. Similarly, if COCKA-3's number was one less, it'd be "cockatoo."
- X-J9 In My Life as a Teenage Robot. She doesn't like the name much and prefers to be called Jenny.
- Robot X-1 from Futurama.
- Elita-1 from Transformers
A similar string of numbers or letters which resembles a word or name, either as written, or when read aloud.
Anime And Manga
- Done as an Actor Allusion in the Transformers Animated fanfic Return to Cybertron, where Sari is told by Perceptor that her original protoform designation was T4R4-5RT0N6.
- Nobody Dies has the Reego, who have taken names from their Roman Numeral designations — Ⅰ is Una, Ⅱ is Due, Ⅲ is Tres, and Ⅳ is, well, Ivy. The Ree, though a clone/bioroid line instead of robots, probably also count, as they are also named after numbers (from Rei=0 on up), and three of the Evangelions (or their AIs) have nicknames based on their unit numbers: Ichi, Zwei, and Go-kun.
- The writers of a number of AI:Artificial Intelligence fanfics have decided to go with this theme when it comes to Mechas, for example Joe is usually given a serial number that starts with JO and the mass produced Davids and Darlenes are referred to as DA models. Mecha O Cs include Danny (DY), Drew (DR), Ralphie (RP) and Kurt (KR).
- Probably invented by Isaac Asimov with his US Robotics stories: NDR = Andrew, LNE = Lenny, etc.
- The Bolos created by Keith Laumer usually have three-letter designations (sometimes with numbers) and nicknames derived from those designations: Unit LNE (Lenny), JSN (Jason), SPQR (Senator), DAK (Das Afrika Korps), and RML-1138 (Rommel) are typical examples. The last two appear in unrelated stories.
- T-ELOS, also from Xenosaga.
- The CL4P-TP General Purpose Robots in Borderlands are normally referred to as "Claptraps".
- Or "Intergalactic Ninja Assassin"
- O2-JOY, from Noitu Love.
- Ma3a (Mathreea) from Tron 2.0.
- Jak X: Combat Racing has UR-86, a robot designed to takes out its opponents. UR is obviously "you are" and "to 86" means to get rid something. The death bots in Jak 3: Wastelander are referred to as UB-86 (never stated in-game, but mentioned in the strategy guide).
- Mecha Wonder Woman in Infinite Crisis has the designation D1A-NA.
- Princess Voluptua's valet, W-2: 9000 from The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! is a reference to the W2 tax form.
- In Bob and George, the original robot characters named N4-T3 and C1-14D-L1N6, which just happen to look like Nate and Chadling, respectively.
- Schlock Mercenary has some fun with this one. For those not sufficiently familiar with Roman numerals, the other names mentioned are, in order: "Gavin", "Xavier", "Algernon", "Kacey", "Victor", "Allen", "Michael", "David" and "Michelle".
- Genetically engineered life forms, actually, but Sequential Art gives us 5C4RL37, V 10 L 37, 4M83R, and J 4 D 3
- Not actually a robot, but worth mentioning: XLR8 of Ben 10 fame.
- NOS-4A2 From Buzz Lightyear of Star Command. It's an energy vampire, and its model name when spoken aloud sounds like Nosferatu.
- GICU2 the short-lived transforming security robot from DuckTales.
- The Mighty Orbots, Tor, Bort, Bo, Boo, Krunch and Ono had names that reflected their personalities.
- Tor was the strongman.
- Bort was the shapeshifter with an identity crisis, and his name is a partial anagram of the word robot.
- Actually, except from Ono and Krunch, all of the Orbots' names are partial anagrams of "robot."
- Bo and Boo were mischievous twins.
- Ono was the babysitter figure, who tended to preface every scolding of the others [including their human leader] with "Oh, no!"
- SPRX-77 from Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go is mostly pronounced as simply Sparx.
Slightly mutated terms related to math, machinery or electronics.
- Clanky from Backyard Sports
- And, on that note, Clank.
- Curly Brace and protagonist Quote, the robots from Cave Story, are named after punctuation marks.
- Calculon from Futurama.
- Also Dot Matrix from ReBoot.
- Cynthia, the synthoid from Batman Beyond.
- Arcee, the first female character from Transformers. Her name is RC (Remote Controlled) phonetically.
Anime and Manga
- As a Shout-Out to Asimov, robots in The Big O also preface their names with the initial R. The one most often encountered was R. Dorothy Wayneright.
- The robots in Isaac Asimov's robot novels all had the first initial R. (for robot) in front of what appeared to be near-human first name/last name name builds.
- When Annie builds a robot in Gunnerkrigg Court, she simply names it Robot, and he answers to this from then on. It's later revealed that his original name was S13.
- Also, Robox. Who is basically a box on legs.
- The Robot Devil, of all robots. And Robo-Puppy.
- Robot Jones from Whatever Happened to Robot Jones?.
Something-tron or Something-bot
Film - Live
- The Orgasmatron in Barbarella, invented by Duran Duran
- Futurama's "Hedonism-bot".
- And Reverend Preacher-bot, Beelze-bot, Kwanzaa-bot, and dozens more!
- Bunnie Rabbot of Sonic the Hedgehog is another cyborg example of this naming convention.
- In an unpublished story for the Archie Sonic continuity, it was to be revealed that her actual name was "Scarlett O'Hare".
- Megatron (who later becomes Galvatron) of Transformers
- Lots of Transformers characters or places have the "-tron" or "-bot" naming convention: Autobot, Transbot, Cybertron, Banzai-tron, Velocitron...
- Subverted with Team Umizoomi's Bot. His name is simply Robot for short.
References to other pop culture, or actual human names.
Anime and Manga
- Chachamaru Karakuri in Mahou Sensei Negima!: her name is written with the Kanji for "tea", while "Karakuri" are a spring-powered, tea-serving doll mainly used in Japan's Meiji period. Meaningful Name indeed.
- Most robots from Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou choose their own, usually human-sounding, name. Kokone is one such example.
- Skeets from Booster Gold, he's a small yellow flying security bot with a laser, you figure out why he's called Skeets.
- Which is to say the flying targets at shooting ranges, which resemble him. Not the hip-hop slang kind of skeet. (Also a kind of target shooting, but not the kind you're thinking of.)
- Zane Gort from The Silver Eggheads by Fritz Leiber, a robot author (creator of the popular Dr. Tungsten series), whose name is an homage to Zane Gray and to Gort, the alien robot of The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951). Also, his lady-love, the government-built censor-robix, Miss Phyllis Blushes. (She's plated in pink anodized aluminum. Zane, on the other hand, is blued steel.) (And "robix" is that setting's term for a female robot. Robot sexuality is one of the amusing features of the setting.)
- Marvin, the Paranoid Android, from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
- Chrono Trigger hat trick: Prometheus AKA R-66Y AKA Robo.
- Legion in Mass Effect 2, named after the bible passage for it's Mind Hive nature.
- Eva Core, Cerberus's successor to/replacement for EDI in Mass Effect 3, is named for an actual human in the game's background who was once affiliated with Cerberus. As the robot Eva was designed as an infiltrator, basing it on a real person (albeit one who had been dead for some time) may have helped with fabricating identification and so forth.
- Lincoln from Coga Suro. Later robot names follow a Greek mythology theme [Styx, Persephone, Hades].
- Speaking of Styx, there's also Mr. Roboto.
- The robot cows from Gunnerkrigg Court are all named Elsie with a number (for example, Elsie 113). This was apparently chosen because "Elsie" sounds just like "L.C.", which stands for Laser Cow.
- Also a reference to the Borden Company's cartoon mascot, Elsie the Cow.
- Winslow and Momo from Questionable Content