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Sesquipedalian Smith
Sallah: Please, what does it always mean, this... this "Junior"?
Professor Henry Jones: That's his name. (points to himself) Henry Jones (points to Indy) Junior.
Indiana Jones: I like "Indiana".
Professor Henry Jones: We named the dog Indiana.

When a character needs a name that tells the audience right away how awesome they are, this trope is one way to do it. The character will have a first name that's interesting and long - at least three syllables long - contrasted by short and unremarkable last name.

Similarly to Mister Strangenoun, the first name is sometimes a cool-sounding noun that isn't normally used as a name. It could also be a made-up word, or an actual name, but only one that's rare enough to still sound unique.

For the last name, "Smith" and "Jones" are the two most used, but any one-syllable name that sounds common and unremarkable also works.

Keeping up with the Joneses:

Anime and Manga

Comic Books
  • Desolation Jones - While this is not the character's name, the series title fits the bill.


  • Coraline Jones.
  • Jupiter Jones of The Three Investigators.
  • The Discworld novels are prone to this, with characters such as Eskarina Smith and Legitimate First (can't blame a mother for being proud). Young witches also often go through a phase of reinventing themselves with elaborate first names.
  • An inverted example in the Malazan Book of the Fallen: Ben Adaephon Delat, aka "Quick Ben."

Live-Action TV



Video Games
  • Eulogy Jones from Fallout 3.
  • TimeSplitters has an entire family of these spread across all three games and several centuries. The three that are introduced are Peekaboo Jones in 1965, his great-great-grandfather, Elijah Jones from the 1800's and Mordecai Jones from the Robot Wars in the 2200's.
  • Temple Run and its sequel has Indiana Jones's Captain Ersatz Montana Smith.

Web Comics

Web Original
  • "Springboard Jones, the Divin' Detective! Vomitorium Jones, the Pukin' P.I.!" - Ludic Log

Western Animation

Real Life
  • Orlando Jones.
  • The civic center in Atlanta, GA is named for one Boisfeuillet Jones. No, really.
  • Cleolinda Jones.
  • Rashida Jones, the daughter of Quincy Jones.
  • The actress January Jones.
  • Aphrodite Jones.
  • Seventeenth-century architect Inigo Jones.


Comic Books
  • Sierra Smith, a Western private eye in The DCU.


  • Older than Television: Northwest Smith from C. L. Moore's early science fiction.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Zacharias Smith
    • Hepzibah Smith
  • Terry Pratchett has two Indy parodies: Howondaland Smith, Balrog Hunter in Discworld and Alabama Smith in Only You Can Save Mankind.
  • Predating Indy is Innocent Smith, of Manalive.
  • Sci-fi author Robert A. Heinlein was very fond of this trope, most often with the surname "Smith". His characters included Valentine Michael Smith, Woodrow Wilson Smith, and Johann Sebastian Bach Smith.
  • Waxahachie Smith
  • Eddington Smith, the soft-spoken bookseller in the Cat Who... books.
  • Septimus Smith from Mrs. Dalloway. Woolf lampshades this trope:
    London has swallowed up many millions of young men called Smith; thought nothing of fantastic Christian names like Septimus with which their parents have thought to distinguish them.
  • Elmer Brown Mason's Pulp Magazine swamp-guide Wandering Smith.

Live-Action TV

Video Games

Real Life

Other Surnames:

Comic Books
  • Jubilation Lee
  • Batman's Hamilton Hill
  • Amadeus Cho
  • Manchester Black, Superman's nemesis in the landmark Action Comics #775
  • Jefferson Pierce, AKA Black Lightning, one of the first major African-American superheroes.



Live-Action TV

Professional Wrestling


Video Games

Web Comics

Web Original
  • Warrick Kaine, Laurel Brant, and Brother Right, to name a few from The Descendants.

Western Animation

Real Life
  • Orangejello Brown and Lemonjello Brown. Well, except not.
  • Capability Brown (not his real name)... and his Discworld counterpart: Bloody Stupid Johnson (his less famous contemporaries being Sagacity Smith and Intuition de vere Slade-Gore.
  • Former US President Rutherford Hayes
    • Preceded by Ulysses S. Grant, though his full name was Hiram Ulysses Seward Grant.
  • Some Naming Guides actually suggest giving longer names to children born in families with a small surname.
  • Harrison Ford. Seems like the Indy connections have come full circle.
  • Keanu Reeves
  • Immanuel Kant, philosopher.
  • Elijah Wood, actor.
  • Cameron Crowe, film director.
  • Julianne Moore, actress.
  • Montgomery Clift, actor.
  • Susannah York, actress.
  • Mackenzie Crook, actor.
  • Oliver Platt, actor.
  • Timothy Spall, actor.
  • Naomi Watts, model and actress.
  • Alejandro Sanz, singer.
  • Vivien Leigh, actress.
  • Josephine Tey, author of mystery novels.
  • Ezekiel Hart, politician and entrepreneur.
  • Gregory Peck, actor.
  • PenÚlope Cruz, actress.
  • Thelonious Monk, musician.
  • Lucian Freud, painter.
  • Virginia Woolf, writer.
  • Fairuza Balk, actress.
  • Elisha Gray, inventor.
  • Rosamund Pike, actress.
  • Marian Keyes, romance novelist.
  • Deborah Kerr, actress.
  • Adelaide Kane, actress.
  • Angharad James, 17th century Welsh poet.
  • Awadagin Pratt, concert pianist.
  • Mahershalalhashbaz Ali, an actor who played Mombasa in Predators.
  • Sufjan Stevens, musician. Has a brother named Marzuki Stevens and a sister named Djohariah.
  • Nick Clegg has three sons, named Antonio, Alberto, and Miguel. Apparently, his Spanish wife, Miriam, insisted on this trope if all three were to have the surname "Clegg."
  • Vannevar Bush, 20th century American engineer.
  • Supermodel Elle MacPherson has played this straight and inverted. She was born Eleanor Gow. Her parents divorced when she was young and her mother married a man named MacPherson. Eleanor took the last name and shortened her first name for balance.
  • Common in the NFL, with strange names combined with average or short surnames, such as D'Brickashaw Ferguson, Ndamukong Suh and Laveranues Coles.
  • BBC Radio 4 newsreader Zeb Soanes' full first name is Zebedee.
  • Giancarlo Stanton, baseball player. His full name is "Giancarlo Cruz Michael Stanton", but for the early years of his professional career he was simply known as "Mike Stanton". After the 2012 season, he insisted that he be referred to on a First Name Basis.

Secret Public IdentityNaming ConventionsShe Is the King
Serving SuggestionAdded Alliterative AppealThe Several States

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