Spell My Name with a "The"
"Hmm, I'm not sure about 'Hulk' for a kid. Although I do like the sound of a name beginning with 'the'."
Some people want you to put a "The" before their name. Avoid these people
. For two particularly ominous versions, see The Master
and The Butcher
A form of Insistent Terminology
. May overlap with Third-Person Person
In Japanese media, many works will feature a "THE" followed by the rest of the title in Japanese characters.
Compare The Magnificent
, where the "the" goes in the middle—and which is not always bad. See also Red Baron
, The Trope without a Title
, and The "The" Title Confusion
, where it is unclear whether or not something should begin with a "the".
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- Inversion: A late-1990s ESPN commercial series stars Mike O'Malley as "Rick", bemoaning that "everyone calls me The Rick."
The Anime and The Manga
- Chazz Princeton from the dub of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX.
- The original was similar, with Manjyome constantly correcting people with "Manjyome san da!" (roughly translated to "That's Mr. Manjyome, to you!"). Unfortunately, too many of the offenders completely misinterpret this as him trying to say the Engrish "Thunder", and thus twisting it into his nickname.
- The Ninja from Kinnikuman.
- Kinnikuman is a series that likes to throw a lot of inappropriate "The"s at the start of characters' names, although they're normally omitted in translation. The most bizarre example is "Big The Budo". Much to the confusion of most English speakers, "The Budo" is the character's base name, not "Big".
- The girls' official designation in Zettai Karen Children is "The Children."
- The World (ZA WARUDO), Dio Brando's Stand. This name doesn't seem to mesh very well with what it does. However, The World, as with many other Stands, has a Tarot motif, with almost all of them having a "the"
- Dio himself is this trope Up to Eleven: He refers to himself as "Kono Dio-sama" which roughly means "this magnificient Dio"
- Read or Die features a heroine with code name "The Paper". Please do not snicker at the pronunciation in the Japanese dub.
- Epically lampshaded by Anita who explains her job to Nenene as being her "The Bodyguard".
- In D.Gray-Man, the Earl of Millennium is referred to in this way. It's even included in the character profiles from the Japanese official materials as part of his name.
- In Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam, Scirocco's final mecha is named the The O (no, that's not a typo). It appears to be something to do with 'theos', the Greek word for 'god'.
- Sword Art Online: Kirito mentions that one can identify high-level Bosses by this trope, such as "The Gleam Eyes" or "The Skull Reaper".
- The subtitles for Saki have Amae Koromo refer to herself as the Koromo, possibly to point out that she isn't doing it to be cute.
- Accelerator from A Certain Magical Index is often referred to as 'The Accelerator
- After the main event of Blame, the main character is referred as The Calamity.
- In the Tournament Arc of Shaman King, Tao Ren names his team The Ren team. When "team" is said after the name of a team, it becomes "the The Ren team". It is usually said before, as with "Team X-Laws" or "Team Funbari Onsen", but Tao Ren chose to name it "Team The Ren" specifically so that either way, it's his team.
- While Hei from Darker Than Black doesn't have a "the" before that name, one of his other names is "The Black Reaper".
- In Bleach, Kenpachi declares there is nothing he cannot cut because he's "The Kenpachi" during his fight with Gremmy Thoumeaux.
- One of the magazines in Shueisha's Margaret line is called "The Margaret".
- Whether he's "Dio Brando" or simply "DIO", in Jojos Bizarre Adventure, he constantly refers to himself as "Kono Dio". One way of translating it could be as "The Dio".note
- While likely a quirk of the Portuguese, this trope is nonetheless inverted in one of the Brazilian dubs of Sailor Moon, during her In the Name of the Moonnote speech, she says "Sou uma Sailor Moon!", which literally translates to "I'm a Sailor Moon!".
The Comic Books
- As the page quote shows, The Incredible Hulk, often referred to as "The Hulk" as well. Amusingly, it's barely used in self-descriptions due to Hulk Speak.
- The Goddamn Batman and The Joker, The Riddler, and The Penguin, though occasionally the articles get dropped when they are being spoken to directly. It's even lampshaded in one issue of Superman & Batman: Generations, when he is talking to Alfred's ghost. "The" Batman. You must be the only one who uses the definite article anymore.
Or is it just "Batman"? Batman:
, then leaves] Selina:
Your choice, of course!
- Spider-Man villain The Shocker. Not to mention The Sandman, The Kingpin, The Green Goblin, The Hobgoblin, The Jackal, The Lizard, The Rhino, The Tinkerer, The Vulture, The Rose, The... Of course, Spidey would never settle for being outdone by his enemies. The Webslinger, The Wallcrawler, Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man...heck, one version of him even monologues to himself that he is The Spectacular Spider-Man (or even The Amazing Spider-Man)!
- What? He's not The Your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man?
- The Corinthian from The Sandman.
- Although despite the title, the Sandman himself is an aversion. He is usually called Dream, or Morpheus.
- The Dog from Footrot Flats, who refuses to respond to his real name (whatever it is).
- In the UK's weekly anthology comic The Beano, any character referred to with a "the" in their title actually has it in their name. Dennis the Menace has parents referred to as Mr & Mrs. The Menace, Ivy The Terrible's have been called Mr & Mrs The Terrible (although admittedly Mr/Mrs Terrible is more usual), along with Mr/Mrs The Minx, Mr/Mrs The Dodger. However they have also all been given other names on occasion, so these names might not be considered canon.
- The Drummer in Planetary. First name the, second name Drummer.
- The original alias of Oroku Saki in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles was actually "The Shredder". As time went by and subsequent media adaptations left their mark on the franchise, he is now more commonly referred as simply "Shredder".
- The Flash counts too.
- J'onn J'onzz is almost always referred to as THE Martian Manhunter, not just "Martian Manhunter". Or just the Manhunter. Or the Manhunter from Mars. Point is, he's always a "the".
- The Mandarin from Iron Man
- Also The Iron Man, but only he calls himself that.
- Actually, Tony Stark doesn't call himself that, he calls the armor "the Iron Man" as a way of distinguishing himself from his weapon system.
- THE Punisher has fought THE Russian, THE Mongolian, and THE Mennonite.
- Nobody can stop The Juggernaut from being mentioned here!
- Of Transformers' Original Thirteen Primes, two things stand out about The Fallen (real name Megatronus Prime). The other is that he's perpetually on fire.
- During the Young Justice: Sins of Youth story arc, Klarion the Witch Boy, took this trope Up to Eleven by insisting that you address him as Klarion Bum Bum Bum The Witch Boy.
- In The DCU, God himself uses this for most of the names he uses/aspects he appears in, The Source, The Presence, The Hand, and The Voice. Wally doesn't use it, presumably because it would clash with the unassuming persona of that aspect.
- In Brian K. Vaughan's SaGa Freelancers have names in the format of 'The <Word>'. Notable in that "The" is always capitalized and is almost always included ("Good luck, The Will"). Her being called "The Stalk" also gives Marko pause and makes Alana immediately realize she's a Freelancer when they first encounter The Stalk. Other known Freelancers include The Import, The March, The Fluke, and The Brand.
The Fan Works
- The Hunter in With Strings Attached. Quite pointedly, as evidenced by the following exchange:
John said over his burden, "We're lookin' for a hunter, actually."
The blond man smoothed his mustache and gazed thoughtfully at the ceiling. "A hunter? I'm sure I can find someone here to accommodate you… hm…."
"Didn't he say the hunter?" George said to John.
The blond man's eyes snapped down. "The hunter? You mean—the Hunter?"
"Yeah, I’m sure we mean the Hunter," John said. He sighed and shifted Paul to a slightly more comfortable position. "Of course it's gotta be the Hunter. We always get the the's."
- The Baron in Through A Diamond Sky, leader of the Resource Hog Gang.
- Comedic example: Alternative Gods has "The Matt." There's also "The L" which is much more menacing.
- In The Wizard in the Shadows this trope meets The Magnificent in a torrent of cool names: (Emrys) The Avenger. (Harry) The Darkness Slayer. (Sirius) The Marauder. (Théoden) The Defender. (Théodred) The Green Knight. (Éowyn) The Wraith Killer. (Eirian) The Doom Singer.
- Perfection Is Overrated, has The Usurper, although Natsuki once just calls him "Usurper," as well as The Advisor also known as The Avatar.
- The Disinfector from Marie D. Suesse And The Mystery New Pirate Age!.
- The Shining Armor Arc of the Pony POV Series has a background character known only as The Lord Flasheart. Asking him for advice on dating is advised against.
- In Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure, our heroes refer to Billy the Kid as "Mr The Kid" (and Joan of Arc as "Ms Of Arc").
- The Chad in the Charlie's Angels movies.
- The Greg Wilson. Who did The Hottie & the Nottie, which should tell you something, and from the same film, "The Jesus."
- The Big Lebowski: "The Dude," though he's actually addressed as just "Dude." Jesus also refers to himself once as "The Jesus."
- The co-creator of Repo! The Genetic Opera has been quoted as saying "I think if you asked Pavi, he would say his first name is 'The'."
- The titular character of the El Mariachi trilogy has No Name Given, so other characters call him "El Mariachi", or by the third movie, just "El".
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum has Miles Gloriosus, who does not technically insist on a The, but other characters are compelled to give him one (or two). Fun fact: Latin doesn't even use articles like English does!
- From Where The Heart Is:
Jimmy: We're broke, we're desperate, we're hopeless... The fag doesn't pay, the Shit doesn't pay...
Chloe: Don't call him "the fag!"
Daphne: Don't call him "the Shit!"
Shitty: At least I'm "the Shit." You're just a shit.
- The Passion of the Christ. Justified, since "Christ" wasn't originally a name, but rather a title meaning "anointed" (in Greek, equivalent to Hebrew "Messiah").
- The Wolf (Winston Wolf), in Pulp Fiction.
- A pretty bad example is Attack of the The Eye Creatures. The title was originally supposed to be "The Eye Creatures," but it was given the prefix "Attack of the" without removing the "the" that was already there. They Just Didn't Care.
- Groundhog Day: Subverted.
Phil: I'm a god. I'm not the God... I don't think.
- The villain in Hackers insists on going by his hacker handle, "The Plague." When he corrects a security guard played by Penn Jillette, the guard responds, "Sorry, Mr. The Plague!"
- Done with an Insult Backfire in Kung Fu Panda.
Tai Lung: "You can't defeat me! You're just a big...fat...panda!"
Po: "I'm not a big, fat panda...I'm THE big, fat panda!"
- The Chief in Fanboys:
The Chief: The Chief likes to refer to himself in the third person. It causes confusion, especially with the bitches.
- In Cars, one of the racers is Strip Weathers, AKA "The King". At one point, Lightning McQueen calls him, "Mr. The King".
- Extra credit for referring to The King's wife as "Mrs. The King."
- The Once-Ler in the 2012 The Lorax adaptation is an odd case in that, while Ambiguously Human in the original, he's a seemingly normal man in this version, yet he's still only ever referred to as "The Once-Ler".
- In You Don't Mess with the Zohan, the titular character is sometimes referred to with a "The", although he himself doesn't do that. His archnemesis The Phantom is always referred to with a "The", except when it's revealed that his Embarrassing First Name is Fatoush.
- The Drake, the gang boss in Hobo with a Shotgun. Insisting on this is one of his less deranged characteristics.
- The "La" part of La Muerte from The Book of Life’s name basically means "the".
- The Mule from Isaac Asimov's Foundation series.
- The Cadpig from The Hundred and One Dalmatians. She's mostly referred to as just "Cadpig" in the sequel, "The Starlight Barking". She's still a Little Miss Snarker, though.
- Anne McCaffrey's Talents series has The Rowan. So named because she was found in the ruins of The Rowan Mining Company and with no known name, was referred to as "the Rowan child", and eventually she came to think it was her name.
- Subverted in The Adventures of Blue Avenger, in which the protagonist wants to change his name to "The Blue Avenger," until it's pointed out that "The" would end up being his first name, after which he drops the "The" and becomes just "Blue Avenger."
- Matilda's Sadist Teacher, The Trunchbull.
- According to Trivial Pursuit, Winnie-the-Pooh's middle name is "The".
- Although it's not a person's name, special mention must go to ...the Woodpecker from Going Postal. Spelled not only with a "the", but with a Dramatic Pause as well.
- In Peter S. Beagle's "Tamsin" there is The Billy Blind. Not a Billy Blind, but The Billy Blind.
- According to Watson in "A Scandal in Bohemia," Irene Adler is always "The Woman" - never "a woman" - to Sherlock Holmes. This becomes an important point of contention in the fandom, since in "The Five Orange Pips" Holmes makes reference to being fooled by "a woman," and fans have debated whether or not he is referring to Adler.
- Subverted by the band "Tiffanys" in the German novel Fleisch ist mein Gemüse. Everyone but themselves keeps calling them "Die Tiffanys" ("The Tiffanys").
- Richard Adams's The Plague Dogs has The Tod. The concept of names is alien to him as a wild animal, and The Tod (fox) is simply what he is.
- The Lord of the Rings:
- While plotting to betray Frodo and get his hand on the Ring, Gollum briefly fantasises about being known as The Gollum. Sauron is also called "The Lord of the Rings".
- When the wizard Radagast mentioned to Gandalf that he's heard of some place called "Shire," Gandalf corrects him, "The Shire." This even though in the Common Speech (Westron), which all the characters spoke, the Shire was simply named Sûza, without an article. According to The Peoples of Middle-earth, the Hobbits actually refer to their home country as Sûzat (with a final t), which translates into "the/this Shire," as opposed to Sûza, which is just "shire."
- El Zorro. We don't call him "El," though.
- In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born", Constantius also goes by "the Falcon." He doesn't insist on the "the" though.
- The Macquern in Zuleika Dobson is always referred to as, well, The Macquern — except by Zuleika, who insists on calling him Mr. Macquern instead.
- If he was the head of a Scottish clan, then "The Macquern" would be his official title, so it's possible that Zuleika was deliberately yanking his chain by calling him plain "Mr." - any man in his clan would be "Mr. Macquern", but only one could claim to be The Macquern.
- In Sharpe, partisan leaders (following the Real Life examples below) give themselves titles such as "El Matarife" (The Slaughterman). Lampshaded in one instance, where Sharpe's teenage sidekick wants to be a partisan leader when he grows up, and has already chosen his title.
- The Leewit from The Witches of Karres by James H Schmitz. You do not want her to whistle at you, which she might if you call her just "Leewit". Then again, she might whistle at you anyway. As it turns out, the Leewit was named according to a tradition restricting the name to one living person, and that the name is a descriptive word. It then turns out that the Leewit is the originator of this tradition, and that the word 'Leewit'' means "like the Leewit".
- From Star Trek: Vanguard, each of the elite ''Serrataal'' among the Shedai; e.g. The Maker, The Wanderer, The Myrmidon, The Apostate.
- The Warhammer 40,000 Night Lords saga includes the Exalted, a chaos space marine/tzeentchian daemon gestalt. For bonus alienation factor, it is only ever referred to as an "it". Calling it by the host's birth name of Vandred is a major Berserk Button.
- In A Connecticut Yankee In King Arthurs Court, Hank Morgan comes to be known as The Boss; he's pleased with this, because "there were very few THEs — the king, the queen, the Pope — and I was one of them."
- The Jackal from The Day of the Jackal. This is partly the consequence of his name being a secret even from the reader. Before he got his code name he was called the Englishman.
- In Patrick Rothfuss' The Nameof The Wind, the main character Kvothe encounters a man who calls himself The Chronicler to which Kvothe replies, "I asked for your name, not your profession." When Chronicler does give his full name and identity, Kvothe then replies, "Oh. So you are the Chronicler."
- A Song of Ice and Fire:
- Many nicknames that can stand alone begin with "The," such as the Imp, the Mountain That Rides, the Sword of the Morning, the Mad King, the Kingslayer, and the Red Viper. Whether the nicknames are flattering or embarrassing is a mixed bag.
- The mountain clans in the North don't really consider themselves as nobility, even though Winterfell does. They prefer to be addressed as The Norrey, The Flint, etc. instead of Lord Norrey and Lord Flint. They (and many in the North) refer to Lord Stark as "The Stark" or "The Stark in Winterfell".
- The cover of Rik Mayall's semi-fictionalised autobiography Bigger Than Hitler, Better Than Christ names him as The Rik Mayall.
- In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, the Pevensie children refer to the Creepy Housekeeper, Mrs. Macready, as The Macready, although she doesn't call herself that, of course.
- All of the Insequent from The Last Chronicles of Thomas Covenant have titles like this: the Harrow, the Ardent, the Mahdoubt, etc. These are not their true names, however.
- Lawrence Smith, in Robert A. Heinlein's Double Star, bills himself as "The Great Lorenzo" Smythe, "the One-Man Stock Company", "Pantomimist and Mimicry Artist Extraordinary". He actually is a very capable actor and impersonator, though down on his luck at the beginning of the story, from bad luck and bad judgment.
- The Dark Tower. Roland Deschain, a.k.a. "The Gunslinger".
- Less often done in the "hero pulps", but often in the paperback original series of the 1960's to 1980's. The Executioner, the Penetrator, the Sharpshooter, the Liquidator, the Destroyer, the Butcher, the Nazi Hunter, the Terminator, the Revenger, the Avenger, the Protector, etc., stand as examples. Many retrospectives on the paperback original trend (e.g. Jeff Siegel's The American Detective: An Illustrated History, Sons of Sam Spade, Geherin in American Private Eye, Warren Murphy's article in The Fine Art of Murder, Murder Off the Rack's Matt Helm article) derisively point out how common the agent noun series title turned out.
- In the Chris Crutcher novel Whale Talk, TJ's real name is The Tao Jones. His teacher doesn't believe at first that his first name is actually The. His biological mother gave him his first and middle names.
- In Watership Down, the grand old leader of the (doomed) old warren is named "Threarah" ("Lord Rowan-Tree"), but the rabbits invariably call him "The Threarah".
- The Ruby's Song trilogy has a character called The Jackman. It is not clear why he's called this.
- In Veniss Underground, the Gollux insists on calling itself the Gollux, because it is the only one of its kind that Quin made.
- In Paul Robinson's Instrument of God the people in that world are all dead, and live in different "countries" based on the language they can think in, the English Section, the Spanish Section, the French Section, etc. The means to travel between them is a road named "The." The full name of the travel path is "The Road."
- The Agents in the Ahriman Trilogy seem to have a penchant for this with The Surgeon and The Axe-Man.
The Live-Action TV
- In Workaholics, Ders (Anders Holmvik) is usually just called Ders. But when he reaches a certain level of drunkness, he's called The Ders-and this a bad thing. According to Blake, he "fucked a koi fish in the mouth outside a P.F. Changs until it died". Adam mentions the last time they partied with The Ders we got them on-stage at a Seven Mary Three concert. Blake remembers this differently, saying he "bumrushed the stage, head-butted a female security guard, and dedicated a song to his dad." Blake spends Ders' 25th birthday trying to get him to slow down instead of becoming the Ders-which he does anyway, with a battle yell. He promptly snaps out of him when a guy punches him the face, though.
- In Smallville, Lois Lane subverts this when operating as "Stiletto".
Lois: (annoyed) It's just "Stiletto". There's no "the".
- Played straight, and subverted in Scrubs. First there's The Todd. Then there's the janitor, who, although never referred to by name, is not called the janitor. He's called Janitor, like it's his name. (Taking it so far that when he impersonates a doctor (which happens more than any of us would do well to dwell on), he calls himself Dr. Jan Itor.)
- In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Takes His Medicine", jerkass medicated Monk demands to be called "The Monk".
- The Bruce Dickinson from the "More Cowbell" sketch. Possibly to say "The Iron Maiden guy has nothing on me!"
- Inverted with Stephen Colbert's Running Gag about the newspaper USA Today. It started with the character mistakenly referring to it as The USA Today. Now he makes a game out of getting as many "the"s and "today"s into the sentence as possible.
- Dead Ringers' version of the Fourth Doctor gave his first name as "The".
- The Stig, a mysterious racing driver in Top Gear whose face is never shown, although they sometimes just refer to him as "Stig" and he doesn't seem to mind.
- Some say that his first name really is "The". (Which would make sense, as they call each other "Clarkson" and "Hammond" all the time.)
- Bunk "The Bunk" Moreland from The Wire.
- In the Corner Gas episode "Tax Man," a tax man repeatedly demands to be not referred to with a "the".
"I'm a tax man, not the tax man. Saying 'the tax man is just a little dehumanizing!"
- On The Muppet Show, Lew Zeeland typically addressed Kermit as "Mr. The Frog".
- Elsewhere, on both The Muppet Show and The Sesame Street, Kermit signs all his formal communications as "Kermit T. Frog; As with Winnie The Pooh, "The" is actually their middle name.
- In Doctor Who, the Meddling Monk, the Valeyard, the Rani... it seems renegade Time Lords like this trope.
- Don't forget the Doctor. Referred to in-universe:
- And the Master.
- Also the Corsair, who has never appeared onscreen but was mentioned in passing in the episode "The Doctor's Wife".
- In "The End Of Time," we meet more Time Lords; the only names we get are "The Visionary," "The Partisan," and a few others known only by titles that we can't be sure are names versus descriptors.
- Though, actually, all renegade Time Lords give themselves names in this fashion. It's just what they do.
- Reference by the Doctor about The Library. "So big it doesn't need a name; just a great big the."
- In the Eerie Indiana episode "Zombies in P.J.s", convenience store owner Mr. Radford makes a Deal with the Devil with a man calling himself "The Donald". Well, this guy might not be the actual devil because he apparently had a boss, but said boss probably was.
- From Seinfeld: "Love The Drake!"
- From Charmed, The Source, The Triad, The Elders, The Seer.
- Mike "The Situation" in Jersey Shore.
- The Cat on Red Dwarf. We only meet one other member of his race - not named, but lack of name not brought up - so we don't know how they distinguish themselves.
- Comedy news correspondent (Saturday Night Live, The Daily Show) A. Whitney Brown would say he hopes to one day be "THE Whitney Brown."
- The Prophets on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine exclusively refer to Sisko as "The Sisko". Which becomes kind of hilarious when you start thinking about his several no-nonsense kick-ass actions throughout the series.
- They also call Grand Nagus Zek "The Zek," but they only mention him once in the entire series, so it goes mostly unnoticed.
- Also, in the TNG episode "Who Watches the Watchers?", Picard is referred to as "The Picard"
"I believe I have seen the Overseer. He is called 'The Picard.'"
- During the writer's strike, Jon Stewart's show was just A Daily Show. When the writers returned, they once again became The Daily Show.
Jon Stewart: Oh, definite article, how I've missed you!
- Some shows have this with episode names, such as Seinfeld, and (technically) Friends.
- Invoked by TV Guide with a short-lived 1970s game show called The Better Sex. TV Guide normally omits "The" from titles beginning with that word, but they realized that people might balk at seeing "Better Sex" in the listings.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 combines this with Mysterious Middle Initial; yes, Crow T. Robot's middle initial stands for "The".
- In the UK at least, The Weakest Link became just Weakest Link after about a year on air. For some reason, although they removed the definite article from the show's logo, the chain link it was previously attached to remained, even though it was now redundant.
- High-ranking Fae figures in Lost Girl have titles - not names - like this, such as The Ash and The Morrigan.
- The Fonz on Happy Days.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- A demon mistakenly referred to as "The Gnarl" is actually just named Gnarl.
- The Three ("Angel")
- The Judge.
- The First Evil.
- Not to mention The Slayer. Though starting with the second season, there were actually two or more Slayers due to supernatural Loophole Abuse). With the exception of the third season, the latter part of the seventh season, and the eighth season, any Slayers other than Buffy were usually Put on a Bus somewhere.
- Kamen Rider Kabuto has Kamen Rider TheBee. Not a gag, an ego thing, or a title that takes the place of a name like the Doctor Who examples; it's just what he's called, perhaps because Kamen Rider Bee sounds kinda lame.
- In one episode of The Tick, Tick is applying for a super hero license. When asked for his name, he says "Well, that would be The Tick." When the interviewer says she means his real name, he replies "Oh, well, that would be...The Tick."
- Mocked on The Drew Carey Show where Kate is dating a wrestler called The Disciplinarian (played by Triple H), who the gang has hired to promote their beer during his wrestler promos.
Are you going to believe a guy whose first name is "The?"
- Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!: "Starring LeVar Burton from 'The Star Trek.' "
- Invoked in the "Some Say" boast of The Stig in 8.08 of Top Gear.
Some say that his first name really is "The"
- The short-lived 1967 western Dundee and The Culhane. Yes, the co-title character called himself The Culhane.
- Averted in Firefly. An Alliance officer in the episode "Safe" calls Serenity "the Serenity". Inara is quick to correct him, saying that it's just Serenity. This is absolute Truth in Television, at least in the west: ship names are supposed to be treated like a person's name.
- The overly cocky original quarterback of the Bulldogs in Bella And The Bulldogs refers to himself as "the Troy".
- Adam Adamant Lives: Adam's archnemesis is The Face.
- U2's The Edge—but everyone calls him The Edge anyway.
- Eels (currently) have a band member nicknamed "The Chet".
- The The pretty much subverts this trope.
- Decades later, we got The/Das, meaning almost the same. note
- A band-naming riff that plays with this trope was found in a number of L.A. bands in the mid-1960s, starting with Thee Midniters, who were followed by Thee Enchantments, Thee Montclairs, Thee Atlantics, etc. The "thee" trend was revived in the 1990s, with Thee Headcoats, Thee Hypnotics, etc.
- In an episode of KYTV, a quiz host disqualifies a contestant in a "Name the Tune" contestant for identifying a song as Beatles' "Yellow Submarine", insisting that it is The Beatles' "Yellow Submarine".
- Inverted with art punk band Yeah Yeah Yeahs.
- Similarly, the band Pixies are named just that, not The Pixies.
- Also, rhythm group All Mighty Senators. Woe be on you if you call them The All Mighty Senators.
- It's not The Simple Minds either, nor is it The Faces or The Wings.
- Nor is it The Talking Heads. They even titled a live album after it: The Name Of This Band Is Talking Heads.
- Nor is it "the" Eagles.
- Nor is it "the" Dixie Chicks.
- Nor is it "the" Editors.
- Nor is it "the" Deftones.
- Nor is it "the" Eurythmics.
- Nor is it "the" Stars.
- Nor is it "the" Scorpions.
- Nor is it "the" Gorillaz.
- Although sometimes "the Gorillaz" is used as a catch-all term for both the (fictional) band and all its (real) contributors...which is still wrong.
- Nor is it "the" Arctic Monkeys.
- Nor is it "the" Foo Fighters.
- Nor is it "the" Sick Puppies.
- Nor it is "the" Carpenters.
- Maybe it's "the" The Sweet. Not even the band itself is sure.
- Relatedly, "A" Tribe Called Quest
- Apparently, The Mascara Snake, who played clarinet for Captain Beefheart.
- Before Pink Floyd switched from blues to prog rock, they were The Pink Floyd.
- In interviews, members of the band sometimes refer to it just as "The Floyd". So do some fans.
- Before Status Quo switched from psychedelic rock to three power chords per song, they were The Status Quo.
- They are also sometimes referred to as "The Quo"
- According to Liam Howlett, it has always been The Prodigy, and the word the was only removed to fit within the displayed logo.
- Ardent fans of The Tragically Hip will correct you, if you either drop "The" from the band's name or don't capitalize it.
- "The" Smashing Pumpkins can't seem to make a decision.
- Melvins are also a bit inconsistent - their album artwork and shirts usually render their name as just "Melvins", but on occasion it will be "The Melvins". And of course when they worked with Jello Biafra, the collaboration was billed as Jello Biafra And The Melvins, probably just because it sounded better. A slight Lampshade Hanging is done on the front cover of A Senile Animal, which features the text "(A) Senile Animal by (The) Melvins".
- Insane Ian’s wife and sometimes-collaborator is known as "The Stacey".
- The Great Luke Ski
- Apparently, the dislike of this trope (Specifically having fans calling him "Mr. The Game") is why the rapper-formerly-known-as The Game is now known as Game. Also, you probably just lost it
- For some reason, the front cover of Sonic Youth's Sister bills them as The Sonic Youth - not only did they never have a "the" in their name before or since, but they're also credited as just "Sonic Youth" elsewhere in the same album artwork.
- Québécoise folk singer La Bolduc (where "Bolduc" was simply her last name).
The Professional Wrestling
The Radio Drama
- Twice Averted in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. First, in episode 7:
Receptionist: You're Zaphod Beeblebrox? The Zaphod Beeblebrox?
Zaphod Beeblebrox: No, A Zaphod Beeblebrox. Haven't you heard, I come in six-packs.
- And then later, on Brontytoll, upon discovering a gigantic statue of Arthur Dent:
Bird: You're Arthur Dent? The Arthur Dent?
Arthur Dent: I don't know if I'm The Arthur Dent, but That Arthur Dent is me.
- Who knows what evil lurks in the hearts of men? The Shadow knows.
- In the Im Sorry I Havent A Clue spinoff Hamish And Dougal: You'll Have Had Your Tea? the Laird's full name is, apparently, "The McCoist Of McCoist Of That Ilk". (See also clan chiefs below under Real Life.)
The Tabletop Games
- Exalted: Abyssal Exalts, traditionally 'sacrificing' their names and replacing them with titles, sometimes begin their new titles with The.
- Being Exalts embodying death, destruction and decay, they also tend to be names you run away from. Given that titles have a tendency to be flowery, poetic, and overwrought, they make you wonder if they might be names someone ran away with... or at least got carried away with. None the less, 'the' seems used as a division between Name and Title in most of the game's parlance.
The Video Games
The Web Animation
The Web Comics
- The Comics Irregular's The Hyperstig.
- Magellan has The Man Who Can, who constantly has to remind people to remember the 'The' in front, along with other parts of his nomme de guerre.
- Scary Go Round gives us The Boy, along with his parents, The Mother and The Father.
- Every character in The Way of the Metagamer 2: In Name Only.
- The Hulking Shyster and The Leering Gobbler from A Moment Of Peace have 'The' names because they each represent their species of monster.
- The Las Vegas Tsunami from The Dugs features a protagonist known only as "The G.M." meaning General Manager. There have been several moments hinting at that the man's initials are also G.M.
- Impure Blood The Abomination — though one of the first things asked on his rescue is his true name.
- Played around with in Schlock Mercenary: Ship names are generally referenced as "the" (IE, the Touch-And-Go), though occasionally "the" is omitted (see the Real Life section below on ship names). In many cases, however, the AIs of the various spacecraft share their name with the ship itself (exceptions exist, such as Ennesby during his stint as AI of Serial Peacemaker or Petey). In which case the ship might be spelled with a "the," but the AI is not (IE, the AI of the Athens is just, Athens).
- The Hizrim from morphE refers to The Mage Asia Ellis and The Thatcher Mage as The all of The time.
The Web Original
- Larry Damone's codename at Whateley Academy in the Whateley Universe is 'The Man Called Vengeance'. You have to say the whole thing. Really.
- Bladedancer's new roommate is The Crimson Comet!!!, complete with definite article and punctuation, apparently.
- in Protectors of the Plot Continuum, most of the Flowers are known by "The" plus species name, including some of the Firstborn, who are the only Flowers with proper "names". There is also the Mysterious Somebody, though he did secretly have a proper name, being a clone of Joruus C'baoth.
- As the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is a superhero setting, there were a ton of these: The Wonder, The Sculptor, The Warlock, The Bishop, and most especially the Blood Red King. El Buho (The Owl) is a Mexican example.
- Steve and Larson of Ten FTW use 'The Twitters' and 'The Facebooks' and add it to years (e.g. 'The 08').
- Speaking of which, Facebook started out as The Facebook, before dropping the "The".
- Plenty of Creepypasta monsters and Humanoid Abominations apparently also like to spell their names with a "The", including The Rake and The Slender Man, amongst others.
- The Architect of Shadowhunter Peril. Beware.
- Rage Comics will often address nouns as "le (noun)" "le" being French for "the".
- Worm has the Simurgh, the third Endbringer.
- raocow does this sometimes as a running gag, after it was popularized with the "Song of Mr. the Duck". One of his nicknames among the fans has subsequently become "Mr. the Cow".
- Strippin's channel name is actually TheStrippin, although he only did this because the name "Strippin" was already taken. He almost never refers to himself by his channel's full name.
- "End Times" has The Archivist.
The Western Animation
The Real Life
- The Arabic names for God (in Islam and the Baha'i Faith) all begin with Al- which means "the".
- Consequently, any Arabic name that starts with "Al" is automatically this.
- "The Lord", a common Judeo-Christian name for God.
- The Hebrew version is haShem, which means "The Name."
- In Celtic Mythology, The Morrigan and The Dagda.
- What about His Holiness, The Dalai Lama?
- As well as il papa himself, The Pope.
- Can also extend to inanimate objects and/or ideas. Ask the more pretentious faculty or alumni of The Ohio State University, who almost seem to be distinguishing themselves from some other, inferior Ohio State. It actually is officially chartered with "The" as part of the name, but the emphasis placed on "The" is an effective way of annoying the fans and alumni of their football rivals like the University of Michigan, which of course guarantees that Ohio State fans will always continue the practice.
- The University of York (in the UK) is very particular about its name, because York University is in Canada.
- Two for one: "The Citadel, the Military College of South Carolina" is the official name of that school in Charleston.
- Of course, then there's The U. (Most state schools will refer to themselves as this, so if you're telling someone outside your state what college you went to and say The U, they'll have a totally different school in mind. Or they might not have a clue at all—for example, none of Kentucky's universities is ever locally referred to as "The U".)
- The players who played at the University of Miami introduce themselves as being from "The U" during the opening of Sunday Night Football broadcasts on NBC. This is because of the "U" logo on the side of the school's football helmets. Football fans generally understand this but it might confuse those who are just casual fans. And don't even get into Miami of Ohio.
- The University of Utah has extra justification for being called The U, but also goes by The U of U.
- The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.
- The Lincoln University in Pennsylvania added the The to its name in 2013 to distinguish itself from other universities with Lincoln in their names.
- Donald Trump, a.k.a. "The Donald"
- David "The Hoff" Hasselhoff.
- Some American Indian names are given in this way, such as the early 19th century Cherokee war leader The Ridge.
- According to Martin Brodeur's autobiography, legendary ice hockey bust Alexandre Daigle likes to be called "The Daigle".
- Like the T-shirt says, "I'm not A bitch, I'm THE bitch!"
- There are several countries like this, including The Gambia, the Sudan, the Philippines, the United States, the UK, and just about any country that starts with "The Republic" or similar. Also, many geographic regions are like this too, especially places that used to be the (former). In some cases, the name doesn't make much sense without the definite article (e.g. the Philippines, the US, the UK, the Czech Republic), while some seem to just have it there (I'm looking at you, Sudan and Gambia...)
- Some countries take a definite article in Arabic. These are not always the same ones that take a definite article in English. Iraq, for example, is literally "The Iraq." This is also the reason (the) Sudan takes the definite article: in Arabic (the language of most Sudanese), it's Al-Suudaan, "The Sudan", with "Sudan" meaning "Land of the Blacks" (since the Sudanese are for the most part Black).
- And it's not just Arab countries that get this weirdness: Austria is Al-Nimsaa ("Al" being "the", and "Nimsaa" from Niemcy, a common Slavic name for German-speakers; it probably came from South Slavic via Turkish), and Argentina, which is Al-Arjentiin.
- The same happens in some Spanish dialects, like Argentinian and Peruvian Spanish: Some countries are named with the Spanish article El (The) as Argentina (La Argentina), Peru (El Peru), Japan (El Japon), Canada (El Canada), etc. On the other hand, other dialects, like the Mexican one, avoid this like a plague, since it's considered outdated speech. The only exception to this rule is India (La India), albeit it's starting to fall into disuse in some circles.
- And subverting this: despite being The Ukraine in the popular mind, the country is merely "Ukraine," due to 19th century translations ("Ukrayina" derives from a term for "Borderland"). While the Ukrainian language had no articles, the Ukrainian translators just assumed you were supposed to put one in English. "The" has been falling out of usage as of late, with "Ukraine" gaining popularity.
- Similar things have happened to (the) Crimea.
- Old colonial names for different countries often had this, as they were often seen as regions that were expanded into rather than sovereign states: "The Canadas", "The Belgian (or French) Congo", etc. Sometimes, different English-speaking countries will use these names (i.e. Argentina vs. The Argentine). As well, names like "The Americas", "The Koreas", and so forth exist when there's more than one of a country or continent, and they're both/all being referenced at once.
- The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia does have this trait, but in a really weird way; due to the Macedonian naming dispute, the UN has to make a huge number of compromises so as not to piss off anybody, and one of them involves officially sorting the FY Ro M under "The".
- The painter Doménikos Theotokópoulos was known as El Greco: an archaic Spanish word for "the Greek" (he worked in Spain).
- Bill Murray tells a story about calling to accept an invitation for a pro-am golf tournament, and being asked "Are you THE Bill Murray?" and replying "Well, I'm A Bill Murray." When he shows up without his packet and badge and the guard won't let him in, he talks the guard into calling the director to tell her that Bill Murray's at the gate, and she shoots back "Is it A Bill Murray?"
- Using this trope for first names is not uncommon, cross-linguistically.
- It's canon in Modern Greek, among many other languages. Ancient Greek also could use an article with a name, especially if the named was famous ('the Socrates').
- Italian is somewhat weird about first names, the article before is considered canon only for female first names. While the construction is identical (and it is often used informally) it's considered a grammatical error to use it before male names.
- In the informal Spanish of various countries, people are often referred to with the definite article — "El Manuel fue a la tienda" ("The Manuel went to the store") is a perfectly valid sentence, albeit technically incorrect grammatically.
- It's the same in Portuguese: "O Manoel foi à loja". Also while people use to call their parents mom and dad in english it's usual to call them "O pai" ou "A mãe" (the father, the mother). Like in "O pai perguntou que horas você chega em casa" (The father asked what time you'll get home".
- Spoken non-formal German (varying a bit by region) often uses the definitive article together with names (first, family, and full): "die Marie", "der/die [Herr/Frau] Schmidt", "die Marie Schmidt". It's also common as 'standard usage' in various German dialects (sometimes with added inversion of family and first name). Additionally the article can be used with famous people.
- "Le / La + first name" also works in French, though it's not considered "standard".
- Similarly, "Le / La + surname or nickname" is sometimes seen as a sobriquet for a notable person. This applies not only to French but other European languages; for example, Italian actress Gina Lollobrigida was sometimes nicknamed "La Lollo".
- In Hungarian, using "a", the equivalent of "the", before names ("a Tibor, a Klára") was originally considered rude, but lately it seems to be becoming prevalent in all but the most formal of situations.
- This is a rule in Catalan, except for some western dialects. For example "La Maria va anar a la botiga ahir" (The Maria went to the store yesterday) not just "Maria". There is even a special subset of "personal articles" en, na and n' for names, used especially frequently in the Balearic dialects.
- In fact, the cross-linguistic frequency of occurrence, combined with the fact that nouns have to have determiners in most formal models of syntax, and the fact that we can use an explicit determiner in rare cases in English (e.g. "The James who I met at the party yesterday must have been the same James you met last weekend."; also, the humor in the Bill Murray quote depends on knowledge of the pragmatics of usage of the explicit determiner), has led linguists to posit a special "before-proper-nouns null determiner". In other words, everyone is using an equivalent of the word "the" before proper nouns; it's just that the pronunciation of it is nothing at all.
- El Cid (a Spanish term with an Arabic etymology) is almost always called El Cid or the Cid.
- Bonus Point: Cid is Spanish term for Arabic "Sayid", which means a noble man: a Master. So El Cid means The Master.
- The WB Television Network, and its successor The CW. Most affiliates leave "The" out of their local branding.
- The Donway is a road in Toronto, Ontario whose numerical addresses all have the "The" at the front of "Donway". The address of Don Mills Collegiate Institute, for example, is 15 The Donway East.
- Similarly The Queensway. The address of St. Joseph's is 30 The Queensway.
- One historic street in Richmond, Virginia is known locally as "the Boulevard", although its street signs read only "Boulevard".
- Diseases on the east coast of Canada often get this nomenclature, as in: "Oh, she's down with a right case of the pneumonia, she is."
- Gout is commonly referred to as "the gout" in many areas, including areas which don't stick a "the" in front of other diseases.
- When things that are famous throughout the world are named in untranslated Spanish the Spanish equivalent to "the", "el" for male nouns and "la" for female nouns, is made part of the name for mistake, in that way what shall be "the niño current" is known as "the el niño current" despite being known in Spanish as "La corriente del niño."
- Actor/Comedian The Greg Wilson, known for bit parts in Ugly Betty, Modern Family, Bones, and The Hottie & the Nottie.
- Partisan leaders in the Peninsular War were frequently known by titles beginning "El", such as "El Empecinado" (The Undaunted) and "El Medico" (The Doctor... probably not that one).
- A number of brands of Scotch (e.g. The Glenlivet, The Macallan) do this.
- The Dalles, Oregon
- La Center, Washington, a rare example of an English word city name with a Spanish definite article. ("La" can also be a French definite article.)
- La Conner, Washington appears to use this trope, but the "La" is actually in honor of Louisa Ann Conner, an early settler.
- Any Spanish word city name that starts with any of the four definite articles:
- El: masculine singular (Ex: El Cerrito in the San Francisco Bay Area, El Camino Real throughout California, and El Centro in southeastern California)
- Los: masculine plural (Ex: Los Angeles in SoCal and Los Banos in the San Joaquin Valley)
- La: feminine singular (Ex: La Jolla, a neighborhood in San Diego, CA)
- Las: feminine plural (Ex: Las Vegas, NV and Las Cruces, NM)
- Similar things occur in other languages too, for instance in French you have "la France", "Le Havre", "Le Mans", "les Halles" and "les Gobelins" (neighborhoods in Paris), "les Pays-Bas" (the Netherlands) and "les Cornouailles" (Cornwall). Not that these articles are treated like normal articles, so "I come from Le Havre" is "Je viens du Havre".
- Speaking of les Pays-Bas, in Dutch you also find a number of persons and places which feature definite articles, such as "De" (e. g. in the surname De Jong) or "Het" (as in the palace Het Loo), the latter occasionally shortened to "'t". Sometimes the article will be inflected in ways that have fallen from use outside the field of name, e. g. to "Den" as in Den Haag (The Hague) or Den Bosch. Occasionally you even see the article as a genitive, reduced to a little "'s", as in the full names of the last two cities, 's Gravenhage ("the Count's Wood", implying either a hedge or an enclosed land preserve) and 's Hertogenbosch ("the Duke's Forest").
- Holders of UK peerage titles are strictly The Lord Loveaduck or The Lady Day, to distinguish them from non-peers who might have those titles; e.g. the younger sons of a Marquis (Lord Sebastian Flyte) or the wife of a Knight (Lady Elspeth Flashman.)
- Similarly, but oddly different at the same time, a baroness can refer to herself as The Baroness (name) if she earned her title under her own merit.
- The Manolo is the big fan of the definite article. (Also the shoes.)
- Clothing retailer Gap used to be "The Gap", but officially dropped "The" in 1986.
- The chief of a Scots clan will usually refer to himself or herself in this way: the chief of Clan MacFarlane, for instance, is "the MacFarlane". (If a chieftainship descends to someone who doesn't have that clan name as their surname - say, to the child of a woman who married outside the clan - the new chief is expected to change his or her surname to match.)
- Similarly, the eldest male in an Irish family will sometimes be called "The X". So the patriarch of a family called Egan might be called "The Egan."
- Presumably to show its specialness in relation to the other planets, Earth is often called The Earth, whereas you rarely if ever hear a native English speaker use the phrase "The Mars". Similarly, The Sun and The Moon - to distinguish them from every other sun and moon out there.
- Alan Davies on QI: "But it has got one moon! It's called the Moon!"
- George W. Bush inspired mockery when he claimed to use "the Google."
- Before Toronto's multipurpose indoor stadium was renamed Rogers Centre, its management inverted this trope by insisting that you not call the building "The SkyDome". You were to refer to it as "SkyDome". One hopes Bret Hart (above) never mentioned SkyDome back in the day.
- A similar inversion applies to the London art gallery known to almost everyone as "The Tate Gallery". In 2000 it was renamed "Tate Britain", to distinguish it from the new "Tate Modern", and they had a campaign to encourage taxi drivers to correct anyone who asked to go to "the Tate".
- One of the five boroughs of New York City, the Bronx.
- A common Verbal Tic in northeastern France is to refer to people as "the [name]". It pretty much marks the speaker as a backwoods hick.
- Passed into the New World with the La Bolduc example above.
- A street in San Jose, California is officially named "The Alameda".
- The Embarcadero in San Francisco.
- On the West Coast of the US, it is not uncommon for people to precede highway numbers with "The", e.g. "The 405" instead of just "405". This practice is especially popular in Southern California.
- Both exemplified and inverted by the Christian Science Church, officially the "Church of Christ, Scientist". The main church of the movement in Boston, often called by Christian Scientists "The Mother Church", is officially The First Church of Christ, Scientist. According to the movement's governing document, all other churches in the movement—which are legally branches of The Mother Church—are specifically prohibited from using "The" in front of their names.
- Inverted by The Home Depot. In Quebec, they omit "The" from their name so that it can be more cross-compatible with Québécois French.
- Most people insert "the" in front of ship names, thus we have the Enterprise or the Intrepid. However at least in the west, a ship name is supposed to be referred to as if it were a person's. Therefore it's actually grammatically correct to avert this trope (see the Firefly example above).
- An exception are the two American destroyers, USS The Sullivans (DD-537 which fought during World War II, and the later DDG-68), in which the name actually is spelled with a "the" (the ships are named for the five Sullivan brothers killed during the sinking of USS Juneau).
- It is always "the NACA", with each letter pronounced individually instead of "na-ka". However, it is never "the NASA", nor should the letters be pronounced individually. Unless the speaker is European, in which case all language formalities go out the window.