An Overly-Long Name is a bane of Puny Earthlings, many of whom broke their tongues in the attempt to pronounce it, even if they somehow manage to memorize it.
Some beings with overly long names realize that it would quickly become frustrating if every second person they told their full name to struggled in vain to pronounce it correctly, and thus offer a shortened version. For comedy value, this shorter version may be a mundane human name, such as Bob or Max. Can overlap at times with They Call Me Mister Tibbs.
The trope namer is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, although it's not a confirmed example. While it was revealed by the Pythons that Tim the Enchanter was scripted with another name that John Cleese could never remember, there is no evidence of it being long or unpronounceable. Also see Translation: Yes.
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Anime and Manga
Ren and Miu in DearS are called Ren and Miu because those are fragments of their absurdly long full names. Interestingly, "Ren" means "nothing" in the DearS language, which confuses and angers Miu. Takeya gave Ren her name because it's the first number of her ID number; this ends up being a plot point. Whereas Ren uses the first part of her ID number as her name, Miu uses the last part.
In Psychic Academy, psychics are called by the names of their psychic eminences. The average eminence name is four words long. Thus they're generally referred to by the first word in the name. The main character's brother has a six-word name - which gets shortened to Zero ("Zerodyme" is the first word).
In the anime version of Trigun, Vash The Stampede's full name may or may not be "Valentinez Alkalinella Xifax Sicidabohertz Gumigobilla Blue Stradivari Talentrent Pierre Andre Charton-Haymoss Ivanovicci Baldeus George Doitzel Kaiser III".
Bart: What's your name? Jim: Well, my name is Jim, but most people call me... Jim.
In District 9, the only one of the Starfish Aliens referred to by name is called "Christopher Johnson"; according to Chistopher's blog, this is because humans assign human names to aliens. In the context of the movie's rather obvious allegory, this reflects some nasty history: the practice of white Europeans forcing "Christian" names on the natives wherever they went, as a form of cultural imperialism.
In The Fifth Element, the Fifth Element's name is 'Leeloominaï Lekatariba Lamina-Tchaï Ekbat De Sebat'. Also known as Leeloo.
Stella the Skunk: So, you got a name? Tiger the Persian Cat: Yes. It is a Persian name, for I am Persian. I was born Prince Tigeriess Mahmood Shabaz. Stella: Ooh, that's a mouthful. Can I just call you Tiger?
A variant is in the Tom Hanks rom-com Splash: when he asks his new friend (Daryl Hannah) for her name, she tells him. Unfortunately, she's a mermaid, and her name consists of several syllables at a pitch which breaks glass. And they're in a television store. She suggests he call her "Madison" (after seeing a Madison Avenue street sign) and he agrees ("Good thing we weren't on 132nd Street").
Played With in A New Hope. Luke comes into possession of two droids bearing a message for an Obi Wan Kenobi, and deduces that the message might be meant for Ben Kenobi, an old hermit that lives near Luke's homestead. Ben and Obi Wan do indeed turn out to be the same person.
Zeb in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, the fourth Oz book. He's a normal human child, mind you. The Wizard himself is an example, being called "the Wizard" because his full name is nine words long and calling him "Oz" (the first two initials) would just be confusing.
And be rather rude... Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs. (O.Z.P.I.N.H.E.A.D.) But one wonders why he didn't just suggest "Oscar Diggs" or "Oz Diggs".
The Ents in The Lord of the Rings. Treebeard's full name might take days or weeks to tell - even if he were willing to share something so personal. Of course, this is also because they talk really slowly. (Entish is an untranslatably slow language, and names are very descriptive in said untranslatably slow language.)
According to Treebeard, Entish runs on the principle that the longer something has been around, the more words it takes to describe it (considering it rather offensive to call a hill 'a hill' for instance). In an early draft of The Lord of the Rings, Treebeard mentions that Tom Bombadil, the oldest living being in the world, has the longest of names. (In other words, beings in Entish don't have names so much as they have stories.)
Ford Prefect's birth name was apparently so complicated that Ford himself never learned to pronounce it - his father was the Last of His Kind and Ford never picked up the language (Dad died of shame). His childhood friends nicknamed him Ix.
Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill in Animorphs. They call him Ax or Ax-man. And the governor called him Aximili.
Andalite names aren't entirely analogous to Western humans' first, middle, and last names: Ax's brother is Prince Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul, and when Ax mentions his parents' names, it's the middle sections that are the same - one parent has "-Sirinial-" and the other "-Esgarrouth-".
The original full name of the godlikeascended being called The Ellimist was Azure Level, Seven Spar, Extension Two, Down-Messenger, Forty-One. He went by "Toomin" in casual conversation - "Ellimist" was originally his online gaming screenname.
Some clarification may be in order here-The Ellimist's species comes from a planet with an apparently inhospitable ground level, and they live on chunks of crystal held aloft by the combined efforts of perhaps ninety percent of the community's population at any given time. Free-flight time is strictly scheduled so that their crystal doesn't crash and kill everyone. So his given name is, in fact, a job designation and an address.
In the later Foundation novels, the inhabitants of Gaia have long names but are referred to by a single syllable from that name. For example, Blissenobiarella is called "Bliss", and this is not even a very long name by Gaian standards (nor would a "Bliss Nobiarella" be long by Western standards). Since the use of a single syllable is a cultural thing, she feels uncomfortable using the full names of other people even if they have short names, so she often calls Trevize "Trev" and Pelorat "Pel".
The Chiss in the Star Wars Expanded Universe have long names, but may allow others to address them by their "core names". The most famous one is Grand Admiral Mitth'raw'nuruodo, otherwise known as Thrawn. Chiss who haven't given permission are irritated when non-Chiss use them. It's more or less stated in Outbound Flight that sharing the core name is a little personal, but Thrawn disregarded this to the point that as of the Hand Of Thrawn duology, not a lot of people knew he had more name.
"Perhaps my core name would be easier for the average fleet officer. Call me Thrawn."
In the Discworld book Thud!, Constable Salacia von Humpeding, like most vampires, has several pages of names... but she prefers to go by "Sally".
In another of Pratchett's works, Strata, an alien character says "My name is sixty-three syllables long, but you may call me Silver".
Fred the sentient white hole from Diane Duane's Young Wizards series. His name starts with "Khairelikoblepharehglukumeilichephreidosd'enagouni", and his full name is probably a lot longer than that.
Then there's Ed the shark (full name Ed'Rastekeresket t'k Gh'shestaesteh). And Filif (Filifermanhathrhumneits'elhhessaifnth) the tree-like alien. And, too, S'reee (S'reee a!hruuniAoul-mmeiihnhwiii!r) the humpback whale. The author really likes this trope, it seems.
Roshaun almost completely inverts this trope; his full name consists of a laundry list of fancy alien titles and honorifics (The longest we see is Roshaun ke Nelaid am Seriv am Teliuyve am Meseph am Veliz am Teriaunst am det Wellakhit). He insists on reciting the full version whenever introduced, and attempts to get everyone else to call him by this too, mostly because of his royalty complex, rather than offering a shortened name. Naturally, Dairine ignores this.
No kidding — in her Star Trek novels, most of her aliens' names get shortened considerably. For example, the Romulan Commander Ael i-Mhessian t'Rlaillieu. "Call me Ael." Or the Delphine scientist Hwiii ie'ee u-Ulak! ha'. It's pronounced "Wheee!"
The tinker gnomes of Dragonlance have names that fill several volumes in the great library of Mount Nevermind, which include their full family tree and any notable accomplishments from their lives. When talking amongst each other, they use a shortened version which "only" takes about a minute to say. The other races have a tendency to only use the first 2-3 syllables of a gnome's name, a practice they find demeaning.
Even the name of the Tinker Gnomes' mountain falls under this trope — it's only called Mount Nevermind because the first human explorers made the serious mistake of asking their gnome guide where he was from. After the first six or seven seconds of rapid pronuciation, they interrupted with 'Nevermind', which the gnomes then adopted as the official name of the mountain for reasons of aesthetics.
In Wild Cards, Doctor Tachyon's actual name is Prince Tisianne brant Ts'ara sek Halima sek Ragnar sek Omian of House Ilkazam (and that's just his first name; his full name would list his genealogy for the last thousand generations). The American scientists and military men he makes first contact with are endlessly corrected on how it's said, and mispronouncing it is quite the insult. So he is given the much-simpler nickname Dr. Tachyon.
One of the main characters in Empire Of The Ants trilogy by Bernard Werber is an ant called 103 683. In the third book, the other ants decide to just refer to her as 103 since they find it is a bit too long.
In The Horse and His Boy, the talking horse Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah is more commonly referred to as Bree, though he himself finds his companion's name, Shasta, quite a mouthful.
In Clan of the Cave Bear, the name a five-year-old foundling gives to her adopted people is impossible for them to pronounce, so she lets them call her Ayla (which some still have trouble pronouncing, with variations like Aargha.)
"Ayla" is actually her name, but instead of pronouncing it with the emphasis on the first syllable like we would, the closest any of the Clan can come is "AyLA", with emphasis on the last syllable. It's explained that the Clan have very limited vocal range, so even Ayla's simple name is too hard for most of them to pronounce. It's possible the introduced herself the same way Jondolar does in later novels - with her mother's name and cave number after her name, then decided her first name would be enough.
Or, for Americans, Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking, or some variation thereof depending on the adaptation.
In M. M. Kaye's The Ordinary Princess, Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne of Phantasmorania is generally known as Amy. It suits her better.
Averted in The Griffin Mage Trilogy by Rachel Neumeier. Each Griffon has three names, each being at least three syllables long, and is addressed using all of them as often as possible. When only one name is used it is used in full, Griffons do not have nicknames, and feel that short names are unsuitable. For instance, the female protagonist Kes is dubbed Kereskiita by them.
The Liaden Universe series features the Clutch Turtles, a very long-lived race whose names double as lists of their accomplishments. A newly-hatched turtle will have a name only a few words long, but a mature turtle's name might take several hours to say. One of the main characters in the series is... (deep breath), "Eleventh Shell Fifth Hatched Knife Clan of Middle River's Spring Spawn of Farmer Greentrees of the Spearmakers Den: The Edger." And that's the short form of his name, "used by the Clans of Men on those things called visas." His human and Liaden friends just call him "Edger".
Karl May's Hadschi Halef Omar Ben Hadschi Abul Abbas Ibn Hadschi Dawuhd al Gossarah aka Halef
Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo in Tikki Tikki Tembo changed how an entire society named children because of his long name.
Naming conventions in The Culture range from the rather eccentric names the Minds (particularly ship Minds) give themselves (generally, they are referred to by their passengers as Ship, and by others when being spoken of by a diminutive or initialism after first being introduced, although there are some which have more conventionally named avatars) to the more structured system(s) used by the drone and pan-human population ("planetary system of origin"-"objector planet within said system"sa "Given name" "chosen name" "surname" dam "childhood home". The author's name under this system would be Sol-Terrasa Iain El-Bonko Banks dam South Queensferry), which is usually shortened to one or two elements in conversation.
In The Cobra Trilogy, the alien Trofts have complex names relying heavily on Punctuation Shaker; recognising that humans find them hard to pronounce, they usually go by a descriptive alias such as "Speaker One" or "Warrior". They are particularly impressed when some humans do manage to pronounce their proper names.
Lynn Reid Banks' book Harry the Poisonous Centipede first introduces the main characters by their centipede names, which are both unintelligible strings of consonants. The narrator goes on to say that they will just call the two "Harry" and "George".
The Kurshken in The Seventh Tower all have names like this, and offer shorter names when they introduce themselves to be polite. This also applies to some of their words ("roro" = "roroqquolleckechahen").
In John C. Wright's The Hermetic Millennia, Mickey's full name is much longer. Soon after he gives Menelaus permission to use it, he tries to tell something is as sure as that his name is Mickey, and Menelaus points out that it's not.
Live Action TV
Doctor Who had a character whose full name was "Romanadvoratrelundar". The Doctor told her she could either shorten it to "Romana" or else he would just call her "Fred". He then went on to call her "Romana", even though she said she would prefer "Fred". At an earlier stage in the script's development, he was going to shorten it even further to "Romy."
In "The Long Game", the Editor introduces "Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe. I call him Max." Although he's referred to as Jagrafess afterwards. There was only one successful take of that line: the actor simply could not get it right.
The Doctor Who New Adventures novel Lungbarrow had Quencessetianobayolocaturgrathadeyyilungbarrowmas, the 422nd Kithriarch of the House of Lungbarrow. The other Time Lords call him Quences. Also, Leela's given Time Lord name is Lady Leelandredloomsagwinaechegesmia.
Subverted in "Voyage Of The Damned" where we have Bannakaffalatta, whom the Doctor asks if he can call Banna. Bannakaffalatta refuses.
In Star Trek: Voyager, Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One tends to go by the name "Seven of Nine" or just "Seven". When Janeway suggested the shortened form, she found it 'imprecise, but acceptable'.
In Farscape, when John Crichton meets Joolushko Tunay Fento Hovalis, she asks her "what her friends call her". Her answer is: "My whole name". John, however, starts calling her Jool, and he's promptly imitated by the rest of the Moya crew.
However, when Crichton meets the soon-to-be Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Jool, Sikozu Svala Shanti Sugaysi Shanu, she doesn't object to being called only Sikozu.
The Host on Angel has a name – Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan. But you can call him Lorne.
A variation occurs in Stargate Atlantis. The Wraiths are all No Name Given to humans, so Sheppard has taken to naming individual wraiths with common mortal names. So far we've had Bob, Steve, Michael and Todd. McKay wants to pick the name of the next Wraith.
Don't forget Kenny.
Parodied and exaggerated on The Mighty Boosh, when Vince meets a mysterious man in the forest with a door in his gigantic afro hair. The man starts listing off various pseudonyms that he has gone by. After the show cuts to another scene and back again, he's still going. (He gets his own episode in Series 2, incidentally, and his face adorns that DVD...)
"Some call me... Cillit Bang."
Babylon 5: The true name of the Shadow species was 10000 sounds long and completely unpronouncible.
Dr. Mahesh Vijayaraghavensatanaryanamurthy from Crossing Jordan. "Bug" for short.
A Swedish Chef sketch on The Muppet Show has the Chef's uncle (played by Danny Kaye) reveal the Chef's actual name, which is a long string of gibberish. The uncle then adds, "We call him Tom."
The Vicar of Dibley gives us (Boudicea) Geraldine Julie Andrews Dick Van Dyke Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Chim Chiminey Chim Chiminey Chim Chim Cher-ee Granger. Mostly just known as 'Vicar'.
When the Tenctonese were let out of quarantine into the Los Angeles area, they were all given thoroughly mundane names to assimilate better into society.
Though someone in the naming department had a dry sense of humor, considering that George was originally named Sam Francisco, and the mentally addled janitor was dubbed Albert Einstein.
In one of the TV movies, a recently-arrived Newcomer was named Norman Conquest. Cathy comments that the immigration people must be scraping the bottom of the barrel.
In That Seventies Show, we have Fez, whose entire name took the entirity of a school bell to pronounce, and of which we only know the group said they would never remember. This leads to Foreign Exchange Student being his name as an anagram, changed to a z for sound. Fun fact, when he was stating his name that we never hear during the bell, and you only see his mouth moving, his only reciting the casts name.
Forgotten Realms has some dark elven Houses with official and shorter common names. Try to say three times, for example, "Drizzt Daermon N'a'shezbaernon", and you'll see why "Do'Urden" was used more often. For that matter, archaic High Drow as a whole is reserved mainly for ritual or official use and so different from the everyday dialect that few drow but priestesses can understand it.
Habitual among Tau in Warhammer 40000, whose names tend to grow longer with age and achievements, but usually go by their abbreviated rank and one of their name parts. Shas'O Vior'la Shovah Kais Mont'yr, for example, is better known as simply Commander Farsight.
This is, however, nothing in comparison to the accumulated names of senior Adeptus Custodes (the Emperor's personal guard), whose names are inscribed onto the insides of their armour starting at the collar and wind around the inside. Some are so long that they fill all the available space on the inside of the armour and wind round onto the outside - Constantin Valdor, Captain of the Custodes and personal acquaintance of the Emperor and several Primarchs, had a name over 1900 elements long.
Used twice in Mass Effect, by the hanar Delan (Full name: Delanynder) and the turian Lilihierax, who prefers to be called Li since nobody bothers to get his name right.
In the case of Delanynder, that isn't even his true name; hanar only use their "soul name" with people they are close to, adopting a "face name" for regular interaction. That is, EVERY hanar uses this trope.
Then there's The Illusive Man. One guess what hisFan Nickname is.
Salarians seem like this at first, with each one's full name including their home city, planet, cluster etc. But they are actually a subversion, since the last two names on that list are their family name, and personal name. Think of it as an extended introduction, telling someone what province/state and city you live in.
Everquest features an efreeti lord by the name of Lord Doljonijiarnimorinar, who is usually just called "Lord Bob." Or, on at least one server, "Lord Poofy-Pants."
Omega-Xis: "The name's Omega-Xis, but humans get it all wrong, so just call me "Mega""
In Darkened Skye, the female Tikniki befriended by Skye and Draak has a overly long and nigh-unpronounceable name (at least Draak didn't have trouble pronouncing it) ending with the syllables "nee-noo", such that Draak remarks: "What's say we call her 'Neenu' ".
Andre Laurent Jean Geraux, the foreign exchange student in Persona 3, adds immediately after his introduction, "Zey call me Bebe!" The game uses this exclusively afterwards (though in the epilogue, a teacher notes his confusion when giving you Bebe's letter, since his real name was on it).
Nrvnqsr Chaos in Tsukihime. It is supposed to be read as "Nero Kaos".
Played with in Carnival Phantasm EX Season where Nero is asked by a shop assistant what his name is for a receipt and then asked how to spell it. After thinking about it for a while he gives up and writes Nero, saying "This will do."
The Druidic Knight of Castle Crashers has a lot of confusion regarding his name. According to the leaderboard his name is Snakey.
In Star Control 3, the Daktaklakpak are very proud of their racial name, claiming that it is actually a complex mathematical equation completely descriptive of their race. If the player asks for a "short form", they reply that Daktaklakpak is the short form. Just don't call them Daks.
In Starslip Crisis, Mr. Jinx's name is unpronounceable in our language. As well as in his language.
In the prequel book Start of Darkness, Redcloak and his brother tell Xykon their names are Redcloack and Right-Eye after seeing him kill a potential ally for having too long of a name.
In the webcomic Good Ship Chronicles, alien crewmember Mike's real name supposedly requires two tongues to pronounce. Then again, he's from Glidden, Wisconsin, so maybe not.
Word Of God (via author commentary) is that he was purely pulling the interviewer's (the comic is presented as a documentary) leg. He does that kind of thing all the time. Also, Mike's species possesses only one tongue.
The Metroid sprite webcomic Planet Zebeth has the hilarious Trabnagian tribe, the members of which all have ridiculously long names. The first one to appear introduces himself shortly as Syracuse, and his real name is Syracuse von Alfredo Jacobson Smith de Sanguine Jones the eighth of the Trabnagian tribe. And that's shorter than average.
In "That Which Redeems", Torg's talking sword finds the idea of being given a name rather stupid, but of the possible names it lists, Torg later uses "Chaz" instead of "Weeping God" or "Unholy Evil Death Bringer."
In "Oceans Unmoving", The Grays stranded in Timeless Space go by human-sounding names like "Face" and "Murdock". It's later revealed Face's unpronounceable real name is "Steeeeeeve". In contrast, when Murdock pronounces his actual name, it's so alien as to cause the record being made of him to break down for a moment.
Parallel Dementia has a fire demon...called Tim (although he used to be called Marchosias).
One of the villains from T. Campbell's Fans! was a succubus like creature named Casseopia, a being who fed off of music. When interrogated by two members of Rikk's team, one of whom calls her Cassie, she answers, "My name is not yours to shorten!"
Meighen: God, did we sound this bad when we were into new age?
Girl Genius has Zola, known as Zola La Sirène Dorée, whose given name is Zola Anya Talinka Venia Zeblinkya Malfeazium.
El Goonish Shive has an Immortal who chose as the "full name" for herself Pandora Chaos Raven. The "Chaos" part was given by her last minion when she didn't give him any other and her appearance to him fit the name accordingly. According to one of the other Immortals (who goes by Jerry), they usually take random mythological names anyway (Hilarity Ensues when two "Zeus"es meet).
In Nicky510, Nicky calls his alien friend ELF. His real name is Zeelistarpquietzlystermugonnealtröphyremenlelltrepidoorzynqilbroomnelpéleôzmeñofopadotacrañiolysanodriameliaströphelglûterongsaurosynemerclingtipkliölf. After he heard that, he called him Ölf. Or Olf.
Yuan, in MSF High Forum, is technically known as: Alex Brenniar Cyndi-ver2.3 Darleen Epsilon Fuhmot Grendalia Heather Ickven Japhkins Kendra Leeanne MOS-bot Nina Oxford Pippi Quiggles Rx#4447 Stephene Trona Uxknalwea Vauntrinua Wegener Xepher Yuan Zandreanixabliotutophyc XII the 4th. She is also, however, insane.
From Tales of MU: "I am Delia Daella d'Wyr, daughter of Daella Degra d'Wyr, daughter of Degra Daura d'Wyr..." and on, through a whole score of generations of matriarchs. She concluded with, "Those who style themselves as my friends call me Dee."
Odolwa: So, you have discovered where we were hiding the princess... But that is now irrelevant. Because you will never defeat me- Masked Jungle Warrior Odolowa... Odolwerrr... Odol... Odballer... Bill.
Animaniacs: Dot's full name is "Princess Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Banana Fanna Bo Besca the Third".
Princess Kidagakash from Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Unable to pronounce her name, Milo asks if she has a nickname. It's Kida. (The man is a linguist, and can't handle four syllables?)
Hey—give him some credit, after all, they do fit a specificcouple oftropes... Why are we surprised that he's getting flustered talking to a pretty girl?
Futurama: "In the time it would take to pronounce one letter of my true name, a trillion cosmoses would burst into existence, and wane into eternal night." ...and that's why they call him Nibbler.
In the old MTV cartoon The Head, a young man wakes up one day to find that his head is grossly enlarged. Turns out a mostly-benevolent alien purple goblin is hiding inside and can pop out at will. The goblin introduces himself like this: "My name is [string of odd noises], but you can call me Roy.".
Ivor The Engine: Ivor's official title is The locomotive of The Merioneth and Llantisilly Rail Traction Company Limited.
Jimmy Neutron, where an alien girl tells Jimmy her comically convoluted real name (including a high-pitched wail in the middle), then offers to let him call her "April." He goes through her real name himself to make sure he has it right, at which point she insists on the nickname.
My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Princess Celestia's niece has the full name of Princess Mi Amore Cadenza. This rather fancy name is adapted as Cadance for the general public. She also seems to personally prefer Cadence over her full name, and "cadenza" is simply the Italian root word for "cadence" anyway.
Teen Titans has Larry from "Fractured"'. His real name is nosyarG kciD. But Beast Boy had trouble pronouncing it, so he suggested the alternate name, which Larry liked.
In Young Justice, like her uncle the Martian Manhunter, M'gann M'orze takes on the human name Megan Morse which just happens to be her favourite TV character.
In "Come Back, Little Monster" on PB&J Otter, when Jelly finally meets the manatee properly, he tells her that his name is (makes screechy manatee noises) but says she can call him "Kevin."
In the Winnie the Pooh franchise, Lumpy's full name is Heffridge Trumpeter Bumpet Heffalump the Fourth, but he (usually) can't remember it, so everyone calls him Lumpy.
Jackie Chan got what would eventually be his stage name while working as a construction worker in Australia, as the foreman had trouble pronouncing his birth name (Chan Kong-Sang).
He's not the only Chinese person to do so, many Chinese (and some other Asian nationalities as well) have both Chinese and Western names. This is especially true of those working in jobs where they are in regular contact with foreign co-workers.
The final presidential election debate in 2008 introduced the entire United States to S. Joseph Wurzelbacher, more easily remembered as Joe the Plumber.
Siddig El Tahir El Fadil El Siddig El Abderahman El Mohammed Ahmed El Abdel Karim El Mahdi, who first shortened his name to Siddig El Fadil when he became an actor, and later simplified it further to Alexander Siddig.
Antonio Griffo Focas Flavio Ducas Komnenos Gagliardi de Curtis of Byzantium, His Imperial Highness, Palatine Count, Knight of the Holy Roman Empire, Exarch of Ravenna, Duke of Macedonia and Illyria, Prince of Constantinople, Cilicia, Thessaly, Ponthus, Moldavia, Dardania, Peloponnesus, Count of Cyprus and Epirus, Count and Duke of Drivasto and Durazzo, actor, poet, composer... better known as Totò.
More a matter of having an unpronounceable first name than an overly long set of names (although the surname is pretty unwieldy by itself), but Alabama State basketballer Grlenntys Chief Kickingstallionsims Jr. uses his middle name. The last name is still there.
Marie-Joseph Paul Yves Roch Gilbert du Motier, Marquis de La Fayette... better known to Americans simply as Lafayette.
Common when dealing with the ancient Romans. For example, dealing with one particular family:
First, there is Gaius Julius Caesar, more commonly known by only his last two names.
Next was his adopted son, Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus, the first Roman emperor. ("Augustus" is not a name, but rather a title bestowed upon him by the Senate.)
Formerly known as Octavian
Then there was Tiberius Claudius Nero, later known as Tiberius Julius Caesar Augustus.
...Who is not to be confused with Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Germanicus (later Tiberius Claudius Drusus Nero Caesar Augustus Germanicus Brittanicus).
There is also, of course, Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, whose birth name was Lucius Domitius Ahenobarbus.
And finally, we have Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, who is known not by any of these names, but by his childhood nickname Caligula.
A common problem with Roman names. Most Roman families chose among just a few names for boys—for example, if a Julius Caesar had two sons, he'd almost invariably name them "Gaius" and "Sextus". For women, it's even more confusing—all the daughters were just called by the family name (every daughter of Marcus Antonius would be called "Antonia"). Informally, the daughters might be known by nicknames to keep them straight, but if you see a reference to "Agrippina", it might be any of a number of Agrippa's daughters or granddaughters.
Lake Chargoggagoggmanchauggagoggchaubunagungamaugg — a little lake in Massachusetts with a very long name. It more or less means "fishing place at the boundary/neutral meeting grounds", which New England humor has translated to "You fish on your side, we fish on our side, nobody fish in the middle".
The lake is most often called Webster Lake, after the town it's located in.
One famous child in China was almost named @. Yes, @.
More precisely, it was to be Wang "At"(Chinese: 王@, Pinyin: Wáng "at"). Apparently, it was a pun on the Chinese phrase for "love him" ("@" is pronounced as "ai-ta", which is similar to 爱他, literally "love him").
In a similar vein, there is a young girl in the San Francisco Bay Area called La-a, pronounced Ladasha although this lacks the extra level of punning wordplay. However, this is more than likely an Urban Legend.(It's not. "The dash ain't silent.")
A well-known child in Singapore (of Javanese ancestry) was named "Batman bin Suparman."
Suparman is a common Javanese name, and there is a politician named "Betmen Sebayang" in Central Java.
A Swedish couple once tried to name their child Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116. It was pronounced Albin. When they were forbidden, they tried to call him "a". Also pronounced Albin. Both of these were in protest of the naming laws.
There's the town of Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch in Wales in the UK, which is rendered on road signs as "Llanfair P.G.".
Greek was the lingua franca of the eastern Mediterranean in antiquity. Hebrew has some sounds and naming conventions that give Greek speakers fits (in particular, Greek doesn't have a "sh" sound). So many biblical Jewish figures are now known by Greekified versions of their names—"Moshe" became "Moses", "Shlomo" became "Solomon", and most notably, "Yeshua" became "Jesus"*
Or Joshua, depending on which Yeshua you're dealing with
. If a Jew did any traveling, he'd be pretty likely to also have a Greek name just to make it easier on other folks—so Sha'ul ("Saul") of Tarsus went by the handle "Paulus" ("Paul").
Many Catholics have many more names than their public persona admits to. German composers Johannes Chrysostomus Wolfgangus ("Wolfgang") Theophilus ("Amadeus") Mozart and Johann Baptist Joseph Maximilian ("Max") Reger, for example.
Kenny Baker recalls that when his kids were younger and met Harrison Ford they had trouble pronouncing his name. Harrison's response was to say "Call me Peaches."
Ioseb Besarionis dze Dzhugashvili, known to the world by another name.
Nikita Khrushchev was often called "K" in the press.