A variety of Meaningful Name, this is when the birth name of a character matches up with the powers they get or the role they take later in life.
Usually, their real name can be shortened or scrambled into their Code Name, but sometimes it's more a thematic link.
For anime heroes, if a character has an element somewhere in their name, they will almost always use that element in battle when they grow up. Hikari/Hikaru, meaning "light/shining", is especially prophetic.
Most common in Silver Age comics, although it still shows up from time to time.
With villains, this trope frequently coincides with Idiosyncrazy. Prophetic Names is the more general case, where names reflect a character's status, abilities, personality, or other features. A character who just never bothers with a pseudonym has a Secret Public Identity. See also Sue Donym for real people who do this. Compare Astonishingly Appropriate Appearance, which is when the appearance rather than the name is meaningful.
For those who don't understand the title:S.U.Perhero.
In Naruto, Naruto Uzumaki's name references both the Naruto whirlpools (Naruto no Uzushio, Uzumaki is a different word for whirlpool) and Narutomaki, a type of fishcake decorated with spirals (which themselves reference said whirlpools) usually found in Ramen, the character's favorite dish. His trademark move is the Rasengan, a ball of spiraling chakra and air. You might think that this was intentional in-universe, since since his mother came from the Land of Whirlpools and his father invented the Rasengan, so whirlpools and spirals were thematically relevant to the entire family. Except that they actually named him after a character from their mentor Jiraiya's first novel.
Cowboy Bebop: Who'd have guessed a kid named 'Vicious' would turn out to be a belligerent jerk?
There's a good chance that it's not his real name, though.
The main characters in Magic Knight Rayearth and Sailor Moon both have the relevant elements in their names. Sailor Uranus, Neptune and Pluto go a step further: their family names are the names of their planets in Japanese (minus the suffix "-sei"). The Inner Senshi (except Venus, who was created earlier for Codename: Sailor V) have their elements in their surnames minus the "-sei."
Sailor Venus's name doesn't contain "gold/metal," the Chinese element that the planet Venus is named after in Japanese, but she does have love, which is the subject matter that the goddess Venus rules over.
Bilingual Bonus in Magic Knight Rayearth. In the Japanese version (of the manga) it's mentioned "Shidou Hikaru" means 'Shine on the Road' as a significant name. While in the English version they use "Rayearth", Hikaru's mecha/monster/familar as the significant name with the same meaning.
In Jubei-chan, Jiyu Nanohana (nicknamed "Jiyuu-bei" or "Jubei" by her father) not only inherited the power of Yagyu Jubei, but also the ability to free souls from a 300 year curse of hatred. "Jiyuu" means "freedom" in Japanese.
In one translation had his given name as "Greg," with "Speed" being a nickname. It was used as an explanation behind the "G" on Speed's shirt, which is really due to the character being called "Go Mifune" in the original Japanese.
Not fully utilized in Pokémon. "Ash" simply sounds like "Satoshi", though fire is a common theme among Japanese heroes (though it might be based on the tree-based names of the Professors). "Ketchum" on the other hand is a word play on "Catch 'em"; "Dawn" carries on the light-themed "Hikari", not expressed in her Pokemon, but reflective of her appearance in Diamond & Pearl; "May"/"Haruka" does seem to use some spring-themed Pokemon. "Misty"/"Kasumi" is a straight example - the names are equivalent, and she is heavily water-themed; "Brock" has the obvious "Rock".
In the German version Brock is named Rocko.
All gym leaders have names that are puns on the type of Pokemon they train (including former gym leaders Brock and Misty).
Dr. Black Jack eventually admits that his alias is derived from his actual name, Kuroo (Kuroo = Kuro o = Kuro otoko = black man)
In Mai-HiME, Mikoto turns out to be a prophetic name (mikoto means "lord").
Yu-Gi-Oh!, when read, can have two meanings: "Games King" or "King Yugi". Guess who grows up to be the King of Games? And who's Sexier Alter Ego is a Phaaroh (An Egyptian King). It would be more difficult to name a minor character from Yu-Gi-Oh! whose name has nothing to do with their deck.
Death Note loves this trope. Villain Protagonist Light Yagami's last name literally means "night god", and his first name is written (in a slight subversion of the typical "Hikari" naming) with the symbol for "moon". Similarly, his disciple and proxy late in the series has the last name Mikami, the pronunciation of which can mean "eye god" or "seeing god" (though unlike Light's last name, this meaning is concealed by different kanji symbols). And Light's rival, L, has the real name L Lawliet, which is intended to be pronounced "low light".
The eponymous character in Soul Eater actually came from a family of musicians who didn't even know they had weapon's blood. Although as Not! clarifies, his last name was originally Evans and not Eater, his first name is still actually Soul. It's a very literal-minded name to give a Weapon, and the idea he was somehow given it without his parents knowing he was a Weapon is just baffling. And unfair to the poor kid. Not only do you have pointy teeth and unusual looks, but your name makes you sound like a monster. NOT explains away the sheer number of cases of this trope, because - as with Soul Evans - students register at the school with whatever name they like. As a result we get a mish-mash of 'normal' and unusual names throughout the cast.
In Yoroiden Samurai Troopers(Ronin Warriors in the US) Shin wears the armor Suiko, which just so happens to be imbued with the virtue "shin".
Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Hayate Yagami has the last name Yagami, as in the Death Note example above, but it's written with the kanji for "eight gods." Still, Hayate is the mistress of the Book of the Night Sky.
In the Italian dub of Saint Seiya, almost all of the bronze saints that serve Athena bear a constellation-related name since they're little children. On both Lost Canvas and Next Dimension, it's revealed that the previous holy war's Pegasus saint was called Tenma, which is Japanese for "Pegasus". Justified in Lost Canvas, in that he was born destined to be the Pegasus saint, and his parents knew it.
Despite being spoofed in the first episode of Tiger & Bunny ("So you're Wild Tiger? I see that you took it from your name, Toratetsu." "It's Kotetsu, sir."), Kotetsu actually did base his superhero name on his actual one, which contains the kanji for tiger in it.
One Piece. The marine Smoker gets a double dose of this. His powers are smoke-based and he has the habit of smoking. Of course, it might be a nickname. We also get the swordsman Zoro, Kuma (japanese for "bear") with paw-pads in his hands, Killer who is good at killing people(Word of God confirmed this name was due to lazyness), Capone Bege who uses a mafia-look and the pirate king Gold Roger and his second-in-command Silvers Rayleigh.
This is taken a step further in a fair few of the animal themed names such Monkey D. Luffy, who is very agile and unpredictable, his father Dragon who is considered the most dangerous man alive etc.
Most Devil Fruit users get a nickname based on what their power is, like Fire Fist Ace, or Blue Peacock Aoikiji (who is an Ice man) etc. Black Beard also gets a mention as he had the nickname Black Beard before he ate the Yami Yami No Mi and became a Dark based devil fruit user
Banana no Nana: Trust the girl with banana powers to be named Oba Nana.
Edward ("E.") Nigma: The Riddler. This was later retconned into a stage name, with his real name being Edward Nashton.
Harleen Quinzell hooked up with the Joker to become Harley Quinn (harlequin, a type of clown). Lampshaded in the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Mad Love", when they flash back to how she and the Joker first met: the Joker points it out, to which she replies that a lot of people bring it up.
And the best part is, it's implied the only reason the Joker chose to corrupt her is simply because he liked her name and thought it would be funny. That's it.
Julian Gregory Day, as in the Julian calendar and the Gregorian calendar, became Calendar Man.
The Clock King has been named William Tockman in the DCU and Temple Fugate in the DCAU (a play on "tempus fugit", latin for "Time flies"). In the Teen Titans comic, Blue Beetle speculates that the new Clock King is named "Rolex Chronoberg".
Victor Fries (pronounced "freeze") became Mr. Freeze after an accident made him incapable of surviving in anything but subzero temperatures. In his origin story in Batman: The Animated Series, he is employed by Mr. Boyle (pronounced "boil").
Warren White, known as "The Great White Shark" because of his ruthless and illegal business practices, later adopted this as his villain name when he developed a shark-like appearance due to severe frostbite.
Lock-Up, real name Lyle Bolton.
Roscoe Chiara, the Black and White Bandit; his name is a play on the shading technique "chiaroscuro", and he's a colorblind former artist.
Mary Louise Dahl, who takes on the personality of her TV character, Baby Doll.
The real names of Tweedledee and Tweedledum are Dumfrey and Deever Tweed.
Crimesmith aka Dr. Ryan Smith.
Dr. Simon Ecks AKA Doctor Double X
One also has to wonder what Humphrey Dumpler's (who would develop an obsession with disassembling and the reassembling things) parents were thinking in naming him as such.
Roy G. Bivolonote Roy G Biv is a common mnemonic for the colors of the spectrum: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet. was the Rainbow Raider. Even amongst comic book fans, this is considered over the top.
The first Trickster, James Jesse, invoked this trope. As an admirer of Jesse James from childhood, he decided to pull the modern equivalent of train robberies by robbing airplanes—in midair.
Axel Walker, the second Trickster, got his start when he found his predecessor's equipment in storage—including his signature antigravity shoes, often referred to as airwalkers.
Doctor Occult is actually named Richard Occult. And his "better half" Rose Psychic? That's her real name, too.
Peter David parodied this trope during his run on Young Justice, when mild-mannered archeologist Nina Dowd was transformed into The Mighty Endowed. In addition to mind-control powers, she had very impressive... tracts of land.
Though the Calculator was given the name Noah Kuttler in his later appearances, creator Bob Rozakis has said in interviews that his Silver Age secret identity was "Calvin Q. Later".
The world's greatest escape artist, Mister Miracle, has the name Scott Free. However, this was an intentional joke; the name was given to him by Granny Goodness because of his attempts to escape her. What real name, if any, his father Highfather might have given him is unknown; Mr. Miracle has indicated that he himself doesn't know. (New Gods excel in theme naming.)
Donna Carol Force, generally known as "D.C.", became the electric-powered heroine Sparx.
Angle Man, a Wonder Woman rogue who can warp space into an Escheresque nightmare with the use of his mysterious impossible triangle Angler device, was born Angelo Bend.
Mentioned in an issue of JSA All-Stars. An aspiring supervillain wants his codename to be Mister Blue, due to his ability to turn into a blue mist. Icicle points out that his real name (Hayes, sounds like Haze) is already the perfect codename.
Do you think I'd call myself Icicle if my real name was already something like Frost or Winter?
Is it any coincidence at all that Guy Gardner became a Green Lantern?
Or that a guy named Sinestro goes bad?
A number of new characters in Geoff Johns' run qualify too, including Sinestro Corps members Karu-Sil ("carousel"; she's surrounded by animals) and Kryb (literally steals babies - also a Visual Pun as her ribcage protrudes through her back, like a crib), and Red Lantern Atrocitus (The Berzerker using Blood Magic).
When the Metal Men got human secret identities as per a retool towards the end of their original comic book run, they were given the names Guy Gilden (Gold), Ledby Hand (Lead), Jon "Iron" Mann (Iron), Mercurio (Mercury), Tinker (Tin), and Tina Platt (Platinum). Makes you wonder if they understand the purpose of secret identities...
Dr. Charles McNider, the DC precursor to the Daredevil by 23 years, fought crime under the nom-de-guerre of 'Doctor Mid-Nite'. Again, a possible case of intentionality, since the persona was originally created to get back at the criminals that ruined his natural eyesight.
Sort of a meta-example: Superman: Secret Identity takes place in a world where Superman comics exist, and a couple with the surname Kent decides it would be funny to name their son Clark. As a teenager, Clark mysteriously acquires the same set of powers as Superman. When he starts fighting crime, he wears a Superman suit, figuring that if anyone sees him and claims to have been saved by Superman, they won't be believed.
Donna Troy has gone by Troia since shedding her Wonder Girl identity.
Dr. Jason Woodrue becomes the Floronic Man, a plant man with a rather tree-like appearance.
In the Bloodlines crossover, we are introduced to the non-powered hero Joe Public, who promptly gets powers that make him stronger when he's surrounded by people. His supranym choice thus proved creepily
The video game goes further. "It's like he's asking for it!"
In the limited series Spider-Man/Doctor Octopus: Negative Exposure, the warden of Riker's Island is named Warden James Warden. (When the photographer who arrives to interview Dr. Octopus mentions the irony of that, the warden says, "Yeah, like I've never heard that before").
Erik Magnus Lehnsherr became Magneto, the X-Men's archnemesis/ally, with magnetic powers. A later Retcon has it that his birth name is "Max Eisenhardt". Eisen is German for iron. In fact, when he first appeared, and for nearly two decades after, he was just Magneto. "Magnus" was the first civilian name he was shown using, in the flashback story in Uncanny X-Men #161 (published 19 years after #1). Whether or not it was part of his birth name depends on the writer, but in the revised continuity he did definitely go by "Magnus" before he called himself "Magneto".
Doctor Doom, the Fantastic Four's nemesis. "Doom" is his real surname (Von Doom, to be precise), though he never actually completed his doctorate. His Ultimate Marvel counterpart is Victor Van Damme, and "Doctor Doom" is a nickname.
Johnny Blaze gained hellfire powers to become the Ghost Rider.
Another demonic Marvel hero is Daimon Hellstrom, known by the codename Son of Satan (which he literally is) and Damien Hellstorm. As you might expect, he's kind of got a lot of issues. His surname was deliberately chosen by his demonic father as part of his human guise.
Stegron, who turned into a stegosaurus-like creature.
Jubilation Lee. AKA, Jubilee, a mutant with fireworks powers.
Cain Marko (mark of Cain), Xavier's evil stepbrother who mistreated him, later to become the Juggernaut.
Xavier himself, leader of the X-Men (supposedly named for the "X-factor" mutant gene, not Charles' initial, so it counts). His secret super-hero codename is "Professor X" (no one would ever suspect they were the same guy). Also relates to the similarly-pronounced "savior," as this man has proven to be for generations of mutants. This was played with by Neil Gaiman in his 1602 miniseries: "Xavier" became "Javier" and "X" became what the "witchbreed" were branded with when they were persecuted. And in the first-ever issue of X-Men, Xavier explained that he named his protege the X-Men because their mutations gave them an eXtra power. (It was The Silver Age of Comic Books. That's just how things were then.)
Emma Frost is an interesting case. Her name is "Frost" and she dresses in white, but has telepathy. Downplayed later when she gained a secondary mutation to turn into a diamond-like (or ice-like) substance. In the mid-90s, she had a story arc with X-Men member Iceman in which she ended up inhabiting his brain for some time. The chances of a romantic relationship happening afterward were hinted at repeatedly, but the endless opportunities for kitschy fan names ran rampant, which is possibly why the relationship never materialized. And in the film, she is played by January Jones, which sounds like a comic-book name.
The Vanisher, an X-Men villain (and now a member of the newest Darker and Edgier version of X-Force) with teleporting powers. His real name is Telford ("Telly") Porter. No, really.
Doctor Strange is not just a cool name for the Sorcerer Supreme, the most powerful magician in the Marvel Universe; it's also just his actual name and title — Dr. Stephen Strange, M.D. (he was a neurosurgeon before becoming a sorcerer).
Team America aka Thunderiders: R. U. Reddy was a trick motorcyclist, whose name was also his catchphrase/challenge to the audience: "Are you ready?"
The kids in Power Pack actually have the last name "Power". One of them hangs a lampshade on it who she appears at a former superhero support group in Runaways: "Hi, I'm Julie Power, and yes, that is my real name."
Ulysses Solomon Archer, star of the trucking series U.S. 1.
A very occasional nemesis of Spider-Man: Johnny Ohnn, the Spot.
In his native language, Black Bolt's name is Blackagar Boltagon. He just happens to dress in black and have bolts from his head.
In a moment of Genre Savvy, Spider-Man confirmed that a suspicious recurring character was a villain by using the internet: Googling "spider" and "arrow" allowed him to realize that Miss Arrow is in fact the mass of pirate spiders (genus "Ero", a homophone for arrow) that took over his shed skin from The Other.
Dennis Golembuski, from The Hood, pretty much had no other choice in life but to take "The Golem" as either a superhero or supervillain name. He chose the latter.
In Marvel Comics, Monica Rappaccini, Mad Scientist and A.I.M.'s expert on toxins shares a name with the very similar Dr. Rappaccini in Nathaniel Hawthorne's Rappaccini's Daughter. She even a daughter with a toxic touch, similar to Beatrice Rappaccini; Carmilla Black, the second Scorpion.
Marvel 2099's X-Nation'', included a girl with ice powers called December Frost. It's unknown whether this is her birth name, however.
Wolverine villain Cyber has the real name Silas Burr.
Small-time crook Basil Elks became "the Basilisk" as a supervillain.
Similarly, you know anybody named Zebediah Killgrave isn't going to be a nice guy, and you gotta wonder why, with such a Badassreal name, he bothered with a codename at all (especially if the best he could do is "The Purple Man.")
Luke Cage: Hero for Hire villain Mace. Real name Gideon Mace. His hand was a mace (the spiked weapon) that shot mace (the incapacitating spray).
James Howlett became the lupine-influenced feral superhero Wolverine. It's not as well known, as Wolverine's preferred civilian name is "Logan" a name given when he did Black Ops work for the government.
In the Richie Rich comic book, a scientist named Phil Lament becomes the supervillain Dr. N.R. Gee after plastic surgery turns him into a living light bulb.
In fact, Richie Rich might just count here; after all, his defining character trait is that he's filthy, stinking rich. Also, his parents, Richard Rich & Regina Rich.
The same goes for his whole supporting cast, pretty much. Dr. Keenbean is a genius, Mayda Munny and Reggie Van Dough are also rich, Freckles Friendly has freckles and is friendly, and characters who frequently cross over with him are Dot Polka (she's obsessed with dots) and Lotta Plump (she's big. No, really! Shocking, I know. Of course, she could bench press a Sherman tank without breaking a sweat, so maybe it's all muscle like The Kingpin.) Basically, the overwhelming majority of names in the Harvey Comics universe are this.
Mr. Monster's real name is Dr. Strongfort Stern. That's "strong" in English and French ("Strong-strong Star" being his full name). He's strong, got that?
Makes you wonder why they didn't give him the last name Stark, which would have been the trifecta: "strong" in English, French, and German.
Empowered's real name is Elissa Megan Powers. This explains why her friends call her "Emp" even when out of costume, and, indeed, the nickname came first; she chose her supranym based off it.
Thomas S. "Tommy" Arashikage from G.I. Joe; his surname literally translates from Japanese as "Storm Shadow", his G.I. Joe Code Name.
He's not the only example though. Alpine's real name happens to be Albert Pine.
Mike Allred's Madman is a man brought back from the dead and reeducated by a mad scientist. The scientist supposedly christens his adopted son after his heroes, Frank Sinatra and Albert Einstein — or Frank Einstein.
Elijah Snow of Planetary has the ability to lower temperature to point of freezing someone solid. Fellow Century Baby Jenny Sparks, leader of The Authority, had control over electricity. Her other "Jenny" incarnations also had powers that matched up with their names.
Judge Dredd has a rather appropriate surname for the foremost enforcer of a dystopian police-state. Given that the character originated as a cynical inversion of the typical strong-jawed crime-fighter, the lack of subtlety in this example can be assumed as entirely deliberate.
Goofy as Super Goof in the Disney comics.
From the "They weren't even trying" file - in Gen13: What were the odds that someone named "Sarah Rainmaker" would gain weather control powers? She's a Native American, see, and as we all know they all have names like that, right? Right?
The same book gave us the slightly less on the nose Caitlin Fairchild, who imaginatively fights crime with the Code Name "Fairchild." The manifestation of her powers gave her enhanced beauty and a perfect physique.
And Burnout's nickname was "Burnout" before he gained fire powers.
Noble Causes: Race Noble (speedster), Zephyr Noble (controls winds), Rusty Noble (originally just super-strong but when he died his consciousness was transferred into a robot body), Frost (ice powers).
From 'Valiant', and astronaut who gained super-strength (and super-density) just happened to be called Simon Strong.
British serial comics do this a lot. Some of the more subversive examples are from the anti-comic Viz, where characters like Johnny Fartpants (there's always a commotion in his underpants!") rub pages with super-humans like Buster Gonad, a youth who in early adolescence was hit in the testicles by a radioactive meteorite, thus forcing his testes to expand to an unfeasibly large size. This spoofs more mainstream children' comics which have less outrageous characters with more anodyne superpowers.
Daria fiction often uses an OC Stand In called "Burnout Girl" due to her druggie appearance. Her Fanon surname is Burns.
In Romance And The Fate Of Equestria, this phenomenon is called "name science" and is a frequent topic of in-universe discussion. Princess Luna claims that names are far more influential to a pony's destiny than cutie marks. This is described as a branch of magic that few ponies know about and most consider pseudoscience, likely to explain the Genre Blindness that occurs in the show itself.
In Batman (1989), the Joker's real name is Jack Napier, a play on "jackanape", an outdated word for "fool" or "jester."
In The Final Cut, the main character, a "cutter" who edits the recorded memories of the deceased for their families, is named Alan Hackman.
In Gangs of New York, Bill Cutting is a professional butcher and an expert knife fighter.
In The Maltese Falcon, we have tough, hardy "Sam Spade", exotic foreigner "Mr. Cairo", and a fat, unpleasant fellow called "Gutman".
In The Incredibles, the older son has the power of super-speed. His name? Dashiell Robert Parr, or 'Dash' for short. The other kids have subtler allusions to their powers; Violet (as in "Shrinking Violet," because of her shyness at the beginning) whose power is invisibility and generation of forcefields, which are tinted violet. Ultraviolet is also a type of light that is invisible to human eyes. and Jack-Jack has a wide variety and is a "jack of all trades".
The name of the killer in The Jackhammer Massacre? Jack.
StormShadow's last name is Arashikage, which means "Storm Shadow".
Agatha Christie has a character named "Harley Quin" who is basically a man who appears, helps the protagonist to solve a mystery (mostly by guiding him to see things from a different POV with well-aimed, seemingly innocent questions) and then disappears. Yes, this was BEFORE the DC guys used the same name for a feminine character - well, they did add an "n" to it.
Gone has this, with Mary and her brother John becoming foster parents for pretty much all children under five. Eventually they earn the nicknames Mother Mary and Brother John.
The Harry Potter books are chock-full of these, with pretty much every name having some sort of meaning to it.
Lord Voldemort's birth name is Tom Marvolo Riddle, which anagrams to "I am Lord Voldemort." In-story, the anagram is actually where he got the name from. "Vol de mort" also means "flight from death" or "theft from death" in French, which is fitting, since Voldemort's ultimate goal is to escape death and become immortal.
Remus Lupin. "Lupus" is Latin for "wolf", while "Remus" is the name of one of the mythical founders of Rome, who was raised by a wolf. Remus Lupin turns out to be a werewolf. One wonders why his wizard parents would give him a name like that, given that it was practically begging for him to get bitten by a werewolf.
Fenrir Greyback. "Fenrir" is a monstrous wolf in Norse mythology. Then again, he may have chosen that name for himself, given how much he enjoys being a werewolf.
Sirius Black can turn into a black dog (Sirius is the dog star). Bellatrix, his cousin, is named for the nearby amazon star. Guess what; she's a formidable dueller and Voldemort's second-in-command. In fact, most of the Black family are named after stars or constellations. "Bellatrix" also means "warlike".
Goyle is named after a Gargoyle (he's built like a stone and presumably rather ugly).
Dumbledore comes from an archaic word for a bumblebee, and according to Word of God Dumbledore likes to hum to himself.
Sybil Trelawney: The word sibyl probably comes (via Latin) from the Greek word sibylla, meaning prophetess. Trelawney is a character from Treasure Island who notoriously thinks he knows what he is doing but doesn't at all. Fitting much?
It's even more evident in the Italian version: Trelawney's name becomes Sibilla Cooman, and the Sibilla Cumana was a legendary Roman prophetess.
Completely averted in the Finnish version, in which she becomes "Punurmio". That's nonsense at a first glance, until you realise "tree" would translate as "puu" and "lawn" could be translated as "nurmi". (The -o is an ending similar to -ey.) This is not the first time the translator demonstrated more creativity than background knowledge.
Minerva McGonagall: Minerva is the Roman Goddess of Wisdom and War, counterpart of Athena. McGonagall's last name comes from poet Sir William Topaz McGonagall, known as "Scotland's Worst Poet".
"Malfoy" derives from 'mal foi'', which means "bad faith" in French. This fits them throughout the series, but especially as the story progresses and they become more and more reluctant to serve Voldemort. Naming a child Draco might seem like a deliberate attempt to put him in Slytherin, and given the family history it probably was. It also nicely ties into the Black Stellar Name tradition, as his mother was named Narcissa Black before her marriage.
Then there is Snape: snape (v.) - 'to be hard upon, rebuke, snub,' c.1300, from Old Norse sneypa 'to outrage, dishonor, disgrace.' And, of course, snake. "Severus" means "stern" in Latin.
Apparently Snape is one of several names which was picked from the gazetteer of an atlas - it's the name of a village in Suffolk. Strangely enough said village has never played up their Harry Potter connection.
Gilderoy Lockhart. 'gilderoy' is from the French for 'golden king', as well as being the name of a famous English highwayman (according to Word of God). It's also "gilded", as in false gold. Lockhart is for the way all the girls and women swoon after him ('lock heart').
Lampshaded in Curse of the Wolf Girl by Kalix when reading a comic, Curse of the Wolf Girl. "How could she be named Wolf before getting turned into a werewolf?!"
Neal Stephenson's Snow Crash takes a meta approach by naming its main character Hiroaki "Hiro" Protagonist. It's somewhat justified by the fact that it's an assumed name matching the character's thrill-seeking nature.
Reversed a bit in Good Omens, in which the serpent of Eden is named Crawly, but changes his name to Anthony Crowley later on because it "just wasn't him." His assumed name is itself a reference to Aleister Crowley, a famous occultist who liked to spread rumors about his Satanic indulgences for a laugh.
He also attempted to invoke the trope in-universe, by calling the supposed anti-Christ "Warlock".
And the real Antichrist is called Adam. Kind of obvious, wouldn't you think?
Doc Savage, the Man of Bronze, is an interesting case, since he was allegedly based on a certain Richard Henry Savage.
James Joyce: the Trope Namer. Stephen Dedalus must - like Daedalus - not fly too close to the sun i.e. he must wait for his brilliance to emerge.
Redwall does it a lot, though Brian Jacques often draws on Old English so it's not so noticeable. On one occasion he actually did it unintentionally: in The Bellmaker a character who is imprisoned in his own castle is named Gael, which is very similar to "gaol", the Old English word for jail.
The Honor Harrington books have "Robert Stanton Pierre", who leads a very French Revolution-like overthrow of a government, complete with a Tennis Court Oath, a Committee of Public Safety, and a Reign of Terror.
Lampshaded particularly hard at the end of the novel introducing the aforementioned changes, when the last line of the novel mentions orders being signed in his name as 'Rob. S. Pierre'
Reversed in Being There. The protagonist's name is Chance, he apparently has no given last name, and as he is a gardener, he always introduces himself to other people as Chance the Gardener. When he meets Eve Rand and tells her his name, she hears it as the more conventional Chauncey Gardiner. The author explains that Chance doesn't question it in part because many people on TV have two names (actor and character). This plays differently in the film: Chance is having his first alcoholic drink just as she asks the question, and he chokes on it as he answers, so it does come out sounding like Chauncey Gardiner. Either way, Chance is too dim to realize this misunderstanding, so the new name sticks.
Played with in Catch-22, where a man named Major Major Major is accidentally promoted to the rank of Major due to a clerical error, and a file clerk short-stops all attempts to correct this because he thinks it's funny. Major Major Major Major can never be demoted or promoted from a rank he didn't earn.
Subverted by Terry Pratchett in the Discworld novel Lords and Ladies. A man named Weaver is actually the village's baker, Mr. Thatcher works as a carter, etc. Furthermore, Mr. Carter's first name is Bestiality. (His parents had several daughters named Chastity, Prudence, etc. When they had their first son, they got confused.) The narrator informs us that Chastity Carter grew up to be a... Seamstress, and that Bestiality Carter is, in fact, very gentle and kind to animals.
Played straight and Lampshaded in Mort, wherein the eponymous character becomes Death's apprentice. When Death learns of Mort's name, he comments: What a coincidence.
Also played straight in Small Gods by Saint Ungulant. He's not a saint of any particular god; his full name is Sevrian Thaddeus Ungulant, and when someone pointed out his initials, "...it all seemed rather inevitable."
In Sliced Bread 2, a fictional blog written from the perspective of a superhero's assistant, the Big Bad turns out to be named Rafhaiel Thing.
Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency has many Coleridge allusions in it; fitting, then, that one character's name is Albert Ross (though this fact is well camouflaged in the text). And let's not get into how Dirk means "To Stab"...
Roald Dahl's book Going Solo has a fake Sikh on a boat to Africa named U.N. Savory. Granted, it has nothing to do with the rest of the book (although he could be considered "unsavory" by lying to everyone on the boat that he was Sikh).
Spider Robinson wrote several stories involving two characters who in their first appearance are introduced as having been named Lester Moore (pronounced "more") and Mary Gluham (pronounced "gloom") before marriage, and having swapped surnames afterwards to become Les Gluham and Mary Moore.
And James Spector gains the power to raise from the dead (like a spectre) and the power to kill with his gaze (spec- at least indicates vision).
There are a lot of these in the Wildcards 'verse. It's justified in-universe as the alien virus that triggers super powers (and super-deaths/disabilities) is strongly influenced by the subconscious.
Scullion in Porterhouse Blue - the name is an old word for "servant" and Scullion is a zealous servant of the college. (A throwaway line suggests that he might actually be descended from the original college servants back in The Dung Ages.)
Wayside School Gets a Little Stranger has a secondary character whose real name is Dr. Pickell. The reason everybody calls him "Dr. Pickle" is that he hypnotizes his patients by dangling a pickle-shaped pendant in front of them.
Philonecron, the antagonist of the Cronus Chronicles series. His name literally means "lover of death," from the Greek philo-, meaning loving, and nekros, meaning death or corpse.
In Keys to the Kingdom, Arthur Penhaligon, like Arthur Pendragon, is a mere mortal with an ordinary upbringing who turns out to be the heir to rule over a (in Penhaligon's case celestial) people.
Word of God reveals this to be more of an Invoked Trope, as it turns out mages actually change their name to match their power. For example, Laeshana was Lahana before her fire-magic manifested.
Also worth noting that this rule explicitly doesn't apply to the unaligned mages of the royal house. Kethel, Tathilya, Alaric, etc can keep their birth names. Laeshana's becoming unaligned has sparked a controversy in the court of Caederan over whether she should stay Laeshana, revive her birth name of Lahana, or rename herself to Lorahna.
Live Action TV
One of the eponymous heroes from Heroes is a Japanese man named Hiro. Supposedly named after Hiroshima, but we all know what it really means...
It's worth noting that Hiroshima was destroyed by a nuclear explosion, and his mission in Season 1 to stop New York from being destroyed by a nuclear explosion.
Lampshaded by Hiro's friend, who ironically calls him "Super-Hiro".
The first of The Tomorrow People in the 1990s remake to come into his powers was named "Adam Newman". Adam as in the name of the first man, and Newman as in "New man" — first of a new species of human.
Season 4 of Blake's 7 opened with a one-episode villain who introduced himself as Dorian and subsequently turned out to have an immortality McGuffin in his basement. It's never established whether he was born with that name or deliberately picked it as an alias.
The lead character on Strange Luck was Chance Harper, who grew up to be a Coincidence Magnet of epic proportions. Justified in that he was the sole survivor of a plane crash when he was very young, so was given the name "Chance" by his adoptive parents in rememberance of his miraculous escape.
The Doctor is the man who makes people better. And his arch-nemesis is The Master; "a psychiatrist's field day". It's stated in Season 6 that the universe got the word doctor from the Time Lord himself, so in this case, he named his own profession.
Ken Gemberling, the hero of Fat Guy Stuck in Internet, finds out from a prophet that his "Internet Name" is Fat Guy Stuck in Internet.
Wanda from Corner Gas had to visit a dentist in one episode. The dentists she looked up were named Dr. Hurtz, Dr. Payne, Dr. Yankum, and the first name of a fourth one was Lance.
According to Alex in Wizards of Waverly Place, wizarding parents invoke this by naming their kids things they want them to be when they grow up, hence why Justin has a teacher named Teacher. It doesn't always work as, as their wizarding doctor is named Butcher.
Justified, lampshaded, and discussed in an episode of The Office (US), where Dwight skips work to go visit Jan behind Michael's back, with the excuse that he had to go visit the dentist. Michael finds out, and presses Dwight to confess. When asked what the name of Dwight's dentist is, he makes up the name "Crentist" on the spot. Michael immediately points out how similar this name sounds to the word "dentist", and Dwight tries to cover with the excuse that perhaps the name is the reason why he became a dentist.
In the failed pilot of "Poochinski" Peter Boyle's character in a fatal accident has his soul transferred into the body of a dog. Take a wild guess what his surname was.
Parodied by Internet humorist Seanbaby in this article (Warning, possibly offensive):
The letter came from a man named Scott Seomin. And yes, with a name like Seomin, you really only have two choices for your career: sperm doctor or gay. Expecting anything else would be like naming your kid Max Q. Infant Launcher and thinking he wouldn't grow up to invent the baby catapult.
Les Luthiers has the XVIII Baroque Composer Johann Sebastian Mastropiero. Who sometimes was called Wolfgang Amadeus Mastropiero and Petrov Ilich Mastropiero.
Eccentric Lindburgh baby kidnapping amature "investigator" John F. Condon frequently invoked this in his letters to the editor, signing them J. U. Stice, L. O. Nestar, L. O. Nehand, and P. A. Triot. When he got involved with the investigation he used the name "Jafsie", made of his initials. After he failed to catch the kidnappers he took to dressing in obvious disguises and shouting "I am Jafsie! That's the guy I saw at the ransom drop!" at random people.
Borderline case: Val Venis, the wrestling porn star. However, this could "really" be a porn-star-style stage name. More of less confirmed during his run under the actual wrestler's name of Sean Morley. He transitioned into the gimmick and back to Val Venis with no questions asked.
Henry O. and Phineas I. Godwinn, pig farmers
Further examples of this include some masked men in Hustle, such as Kevin Randleman going as the masked hero "Randle-man" or Mark Coleman as "Cole-man".
One of the earlier names that Hulk Hogan took was "Terry Boulder", a close name to his real one, Terry Bollea.
In an Saturday Night Live skit featuring Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson as a terminally incompetent Superman, Jimmy Olsen comments on how much his secret identity-keeping has improved: "At least he's not calling himself 'Supe R. Man' anymore."
This is Older Than Feudalism: In The Bible, many figures have names that determine their destiny, and some have their names changed to change their destiny, the thinking being "saying it comes before seeing it". in Matthew 1:21 an angel tells Joseph to name the child "Jesus". The statement in Matthew 1:21 "you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins". The name "Jesus" means "Yahweh Saves", as Jesus was destined to die for the salvation of mankind.
Also something of an appeal to the 'everyman' idea: at the time, Joshua (which eventually was transliterated to "Jesus") was an extremely common Hebrew name, on par with naming your prophet "John Smith" in the US in the 1800s or 1900s — sort of a very generic "patriotic" type of name. Though this sort of comes around in a circle, since it was a popular name BECAUSE it meant "deliverance" at a time that Judea was a subject state of the Roman Empire under fairly strict rule with regular rebellions.
Likely as a homage to comic book superheroes, like many things in the setting, Freedom City's Doctor Tomorrow was born Tomas Morgen. "Morgen" means tomorrow in German (it also means morning, but that's beside the point).
Fletcher Beaumont is the Bowman. (A fletcher is an arrow-maker, and "Beaumont" is an almost exact homonym.) In fact, three generations of Fletcher Beaumonts have been the Bowman - Fletcher Beaumont was Bowman I in the Golden Age, Fletcher Beaumont Jr. was Bowman III in the Silver Age, and Fletcher Beaumont III is the current Bowman IV. (Bowman II was Tim Quinn, formerly the Kid Sidekick Arrow.)
Scion tends to give its sample characters these kinds of names as reflection of their divine parentage. Sometimes they're fairly subtle (Brigitte de la Croix, Scion of Baron Samedi, after the Baron's wife Maman Brigitte and his tendency to hang out at the crossroads), other times... not (Horace Farrow, Scion of Horus, and yes, the last name's pronounced exactly the way you think it is).
A minor villain with ice powers, named Frazil, in a Savage Worlds setting Peacekeepers has his name listed as Joshua Coldwater.
Romeo and Juliet has a good natured and good humoured character called Benvolio which translates to good-will neatly describing his motivations. It can also mean Peacemaker, which is also apt given lines like "Halt fools, put up your swords, you know not what you do."
Similarly, Malvolio is a villainous (and also somewhat incompetent) character in the play Twelfth Night. He is, in fact, pretty much the exact opposite of Benvolio.
The eponymous Assassins of the Assassin's Creed games are both named after birds of prey (specifically, eagles). Fitting, with the way their skills and work clothes make them look like eagles.
In City of Heroes, consider Belladonna "Ghost Widow" Vetrano, who was an assassin in life, or Tammy "Numina" Arcanus, a mage who survives in astral form after her body was destroyed.
Jim Temblor has earth control powers, just like his father, Bill "Faultline" Temblor.
RuneScape: Almost all skill tutors. Firemaking tutor is called Marcus Everburn. Smithing tutor is called Martin Steelweaver. Hunter tutor is Ayleth Beaststalker, and so on.
The Sega Genesis video game Contra: Hard Corps (itself an example of this, a military take on the word "Hardcore", also referring to the game's legendary difficulty) has 2 selectable characters exemplifying this trope: Ray Poward (whose primary weapon is the classic Laser from the original Contra) and Brad Fang (a wolf-man).
In Planescape: Torment, Ignus became obsessed with fire, became a pyromaniac and then became a living being consumed by flames with the power to create flames from himself. It's most likely an Invoked Trope, however, as the game indicates that he gave himself the name because of his obsession with fire.
There's also Morte, who's a floating human skull. Just in case the player doesn't get it, one of the things he says when selected is "[[Anvilicious: Morte. As in Latin. For death.]]"
In the Pokémon games, most (or all, some are just more of a stretch if you believe them at all) of the Gym Leaders and some other powerful trainers such as the Elite Four have meaningful names related to the type of Pokémon they happen to grow up to exclusively train.
The original games give us: the painfully obvious Brock; Misty, the Water-type master; Lt. Surge; Erika, referring to the Erica genus of heathers, is a grass-type trainer; Koga, after one school/style of Ninja arts, trains Poison-types; Blaine similar to blaze,(and he lives on a volcano that later erupts!); and Giovanni (pun on geo) for Earth-types. In the Elite Four, we see Bruno, similar to brawn, Fighting-type; Agatha of the Ghost-type; and Lance, a weapon used by knights, trains Dragons-types.
Gen II. continues the trend with Falk(on)er; Bugsy (guess); plain-jane Whitney and her normal-types; Morty, a death-pun and Ghost-type trainer; Chuck the Fighting trainer; trope appears to be averted averted with Steel-type user Jasmine, who doesn't train Grass-types - until a closer look at her name's second syllable; Pryce; Clair the Dragon-type leader's name comes from dragons' lair; Koga's daughter/replacement Janine (reverse the syllables); and in the Elite Four, Psychic-specialist Will (as in -power); and the Dark-specialist Karen comes from a corruption of "darken" as well as her philosophy of using your favorite Pokemon, the ones you truly care for.
For the third round, we meet Roxanne, a Rock-type trainer; Brawly (guess correctly or get punched); Wattson; Fire-user Flannery; Norman, a Normal-type trainer; Winona's Flying-types soaring on the air currents; and Watery Wallace and Juan. The punnier-than-usual Hoenn Elite Four & Champ throw at us Pheobe's fearful Ghost-types calling out to Greek god Phobos as well as "phantom"; cold lady Glacia; and Drake the Dragon man; with sometimes-champion Steel/Rock-user Steven Stone.
In part 4, of Sinnoh we have the poorly disguised Roark (Rock); Gardenia, also a kind of flower; a Fighting-type melee with Maylene; the Crasher Wake (though given his Masked Wrestler persona that might be a pseudonym); Fantina uses Ghost-type; oh, yeah, and Byron, steel type. If you don't get that one, Byron->Iron->Steel! Then we have CandICE; and there's Volkner too, he's a real shocker. For the Elite Four there's Bertha who is an Earth-user; and Lucian's Psychics may use confusing illusions or cause hallucination; Flint, a Fire-type user is the most obvious one in Elite Four of Sinnoh. Platinum reveals that Flint only chose to train Fire types after learning a flint is something used to spark fires.
During Episode 5 of Unova, we get the edible trio of Cilan(tro), (water)Cress, and (spicy) Chili; the incredibly subtle Burgh; Elesa, the expert of electricity; Clay; Skyla; Brycen; and Drayden, who apparently trained in the Dragon's Den in Gen. II. For the Elite Four we are also introduced to Shauntal, mistress of Ghosts; Grimsley, a foreboding Dark-user gambler; and Marshal, the martial-arts expert of the Unova Elite 4.
Black 2 and White 2: Several characters' names has some sort of meaning (Roxie, user of toxic poison types; marine Water-type trainer Marlon, whose name resembles that of a fis; and so on). English names for protagonists not named after a version: Brendan (sounds like "land", May (sounds like "bay"), Lucas (comes from the German "lux", meaning light), Dawn (self-explanatory), Hilbert (means "bright in battle"), Hilda ("battle maiden"), Nate and Rosa (resonate), Calem (calm) and Serena (serene).
World of Warcraft has more pun NPC names than you can shake a stick at — such as zeppelin officer Hin Denberg.
While Dr Eggman has a lot of egg named devices, these are mostly named after himself given his ego to stick his name and face on everything. However, his original American name, Dr Robotnik, counts, when you consider what all his enemy forces are.
The protagonist in the Genesis version of D.J. Boy is named "Donald J. Boy." This is not entirely consistent with the original arcade version though, where the two player characters were named Bob and Tom.
The title character of the Amiga game Benefactor is named Ben E. Factor.
Golden Sun: Dark Dawn gives us Rief (specializing in liquid water), his older sister Nowell (heavily hinted to be An Ice Person), and the furry girl whose name always refers to a light in darkness (Stella, Sveta, etc.).
Halstron Balestrom became the shockingly storm school professor in Wizard101. Dalia Falmea becoming the fire school professor appear to be this at first glance, but it's actually because she's a fire elf.
Mortal Kombat features Sub-Zero, the Chinese Lin Kuei assassin with ice powers. Two characters, a pair of brothers, have used this identity. Mortal Kombat 9 reveals their birth names are Bi-Han (which means "cold"), and Kuai Liang (roughly meaning "flash freeze").
It's the same with Burnt Face Man: a.k.a. Burt Faceman.
Incredibly prominent in 8-bit Theater. Black Mage's full name is Black Mage Evilwizardington. Guess what profession he adopted? This applies to all of the protagonists (Red Mage, Fighter, Thief) and many other characters. Dragoon even lampshades this in Episode 692.
Muffin: "A spear? Through my brain? My... only... weakness...!" Dragoon: "And that's why they call me Dragoon. Also, it's my name. So, that's another good reason people usually call me Dragoon. I don't answer to Sebastian."
A discarded project by S. Sakurai of Muertitos and Gorgeous Princess Creamy Beamy would have starred Theresa Henrietta Underthighs, who became the superheroine Thunderthighs — disturbingly close to being an actual occurrence of the trope title.
From Strawberry Death Cake, Sir Winston S. Moosington receives a curse that turns him into a woodland creature - but not a wolf....
Erfworld's Parson Gotti is an anagram of "protagonist". This is mostly significant in the comic's World of Pun setting because Parson is from our world, and his name was decided outside of the influence of the setting's "Signamancy," which leads to everyone having a name that is this trope (for example, Jillian Zamussels, the warlord/barbarian, and King Don, head of the vampire/mafia mashup side Transylvito).
The Easy Breather has Christopher David Light ("see the light", who has the power to... glow) and Ruth Ellen Seaver, alias the Operator, a cellphone-themed villain.
Referenced in Questionable Content#699. Whether Penelope Gaines really is Pizza Girl, making this an actual example, is yet to be determined, though it seems unlikely that plot thread will be taken up again. If not, though, she was definitely named after her for the sake of the joke, making it an Inverted Trope.
Actually that team just has really lazy superhero names based on their real names, professions, etc. Her name isn't appropriate for her superhero identity, she just uses it as part of her "secret" name anyway.
Invoked over and over in Everyday Heroes. Mr. Mighty's real name is Marion John Mighty. (Word of God has it that his grandfather, after gaining superpowers, legally changed his surname to "Mighty".)
There is also Mr. Mighty's arch-nemesis, Dr. Dooley Unpleasant; reformed villain Dr. Odious (and his music-loving son, Mel Odious); Simon Burke Davidson, commonly known as S.B.D. (he emits a terrible stench when turning invisible); and Carrie Pelosi, who has an enormous head of hair (and whose last name literally translates as "hairy").
For what it's worth, Roy's family was explicitly named after their sword, making him an Inversion. Maybe Durkon comes from a long line of Thor's priests as well?
Additionally, in a real-life feudal setting, commoners don't typically have family names, and are named for their profession, role, or professional accomplishments (Greenhilt for a hereditary sword, Thundershield because he's a cleric of a thunder god that bears heavy armor) and noble families are usually named for their hereditary lands or mythological origin (starshine for a celestial ancestor). So it's actually pretty close to Truth in Television until you get to Belkar Bitterleaf, who is named just to seem fantasy-ish and badass.
In the Whateley Universe, Anna Raquel Parsons has low-level powers from a squirrel spirit. Phase suggests the name 'Aquerna' from the Middle English word for squirrel. (Phase knows junk like this.) The trope gets lampshaded when Anna's friends try to turn her name into an anagram that includes her codename 'aquerna'. The best they can come up with is 'Aquerna plans sonar', which everyone agrees is stupid.
In Small Problem, Debby Small becomes six and a half inches tall.
In the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the real name of the Disney-sponsored superhero Tinkerbelle is Tina Kerri Bell. Las Vegas superhero Argent is really names Harry Silver. Doctor Ka, an Egyptian-themed mystic hero, is actually named Doctor Anthony Fairo ("Pharoah"). Super-athletic martial arts hero Elite is really Primo Best (Yes, his name is "First Best", and his hero name is "Elite".)
In Tales of MU, the main character is named Mackenzie Blaise and she is a half-demon with fire powers.
"Jubilee, so called because she was born to Chinese-American hippies who named her 'Jubilation Lee,' so her mutant name was really convenient and it matched her mutant power really well."
Lampshaded in thisCracked article: "William Shockley was probably named by the same people that write Batman comics, because he invented the transistor. (Rejected names: John Electron, Brian Semiconductor.)"
Maureen Biologist. Think of what Poor Mr. and Mrs Biologist would have thought if their daughter went into physics. Or specialized in birds.
It's not just members of the team, one episode showed Canyon's college geology professor, Grant Granite.
Parodied in Tiny Toon Adventures, "Superbabs", wherein Babs Bunny, as Superbabs, protects the general metropolitan area. The other characters realize at the end of the short that she must be someone they know.
Plucky Duck: Now who do we know named "Super"?
Transformers Animated has the supervillain Headmaster, who uses a machine to replace robots heads and take over their bodies, whose real name is Henry Masterson. There's also Nanosec, real name Nino Sexton; Angry Archer, real name A. A. Archer; and Professor Princess, real name... Professor Penny Princess, PhD. She's a girl genius!
It's noteworthy here that the Angry Archer is named after real-life Transformers brand manager Aaron Archer.
And while Slo-Mo's real name is never given, she's modeled on Hasbro creative consultant Samantha Lomow.
Really, Prometheus Black/Meltdown is probably the only human villain not suffering from this trope, most likely because he's the only one who isn't used for comic purposes. Maybe "Colossus" Rhodes, too, since his name's just a pun. (Wordof God declares that Black and Meltdown were originally meant to be separate characters.)
The comic-only villain Crossroads, real name Roland Cross, also qualifies.
Kinda the odd one out there, isn't it? "Thunder" isn't a name that suggests stealth. Or is it Thunder as in undercover?
On an episode of The Simpsons, Duff Beer spokesman Duff Man had given up the job and went back to being "plain old Barry Duffman".
Also, Comic Book Guy created a superhero called Everyman, whose real name is Avery Mann.
X-Men: Evolution: Lance Alvers, AKA Avalanche with the power to create earthquakes; and Todd Tolenski, AKA Toad, with the powers of, well, a frog.
The name of The Venture Bros. immediately (and usually ironically) evoke a sense of adventure. Brock Samson is a long-haired strong man. Pete White is an albino scientist. Before his arms and legs became invisible, Phantom Limb was known as Hamilton G. Fantomas. Wherever a character's real name is revealed, it's almost always a pun on what they do. Of course, it's all done with a loving wink at the Gold and Silver Ages of comics that made this a trope in the first place.
Basically all characters in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, including background ponies. Their names always match either their personality, special talent, or both. For example, Fluttershy. What kind of name is that? Clearly, one for a shy pony, who flies, and whose special talent involves butterflies.
For bonus points towards this trope, every pony discovers their special talent while growing up, so those ponies whose names don't reflect personality have a good hint what their special talent will be. ...Or would if it weren't for universal Genre Blindness on the matter.
It also opens up some interesting naming conventions, such as Mayor Mare and Granny Smith. Both are quite appropriate given who they are (Mayor Mare is female and is a mayor, while Granny Smith is named after a type of apple due to being in the Apple Family and is, well, old). However if taken at face value this means that either they have completely different names growing up (or at least, what remains of their names is really, really generic) or you'd have to imagine two kids named "Mayor" and "Granny".
Some surnames are based on the occupation of the first person to bear them, such as Smith, Miller, Cooper, Carter, Taylor, etc. If the occupation has been passed down in the family, it'd be natural that there would be a smith named Smith.
Dr. Travis Doom teaches physics and computer science at of Wright State University. He once stated that one of the reasons he became a professor is so he could be called Dr. Doom.
Stephen Ireland played for Irish National Football Team.
Arsene Wenger is the current coach of Arsenal FC.
Pekka Pouta is a meteorologist and channel 3 weatherman in Finland. Pouta means "clear weather" in Finnish.
In a similar vein, KABC weatherman Dallas Raines. Unlike most other weathermen with punny names, this is actually his given name. Rumor has it that various Texas-based television stations have been throwing offers at him for quite some time.
The same is true of WWOR weatherman Storm Fields, formerly of WABC New York. His father was also a weatherman, which might explain the rather punnish given name.
Former Fox Chicago weathercaster Amy Freeze — who was a general-assignment reporter before one of her early stations noted her last name and asked her to move to the weather team.
Guess what position Reggie Corner plays for Buffalo?
Ryan Longwell is a place-kicker, currently for the Minnesota Vikings. Just to hammer it home, he holds the record for longest field goal ever made by a Green Bay Packers player.
Alge Crumpler and Jeremy Shockey are all tight ends.
Mack Strong plays fullback. Scott Player has a fairly generic name. Shame Wolf Blitzer never played football.
After years of searching, the Green River Killer turned out to be named Gary Ridgeway.
According to rumors, actor David Tennant got into acting specifically because he wanted to play The Doctor. Whether or not this is true, guess which Doctor he did eventually end up playing? Yup—the Tenth one.
Invoked Trope: Averted as he was forced to take a stage name when he first got into acting, years before the New Series started.
One natural reaction to finding out about the record set for the world records for three Olympic footraces in 2008 was "Come on, you mean to tell me that a guy named Usain Bolt won the dash?"
There's an allergist in Calgary named Joel Doctor, making him Dr. Doctor.
Michael Pollan is a writer specializing in works about botany and gardening.
The man who initially claimed circumcision could prevent AIDS before we even knew what HIV was, was named Aaron Fink.
Not sure how this is an example. Yes, "fink" means an informer, but with negative implications (much like "snitch").
It's an example because he was spreading lies to promote his opinion.
Or it could be interpreted as a hint to his potential idiocy as by pronouncing his name close to "I don't think".
US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.
One of the most famous members of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police was Sam Steele, and he was as steely as his name both as a constable in the West and in charge of the detachment during the Klondike gold rush.
With a name like Thomas Crapper, you pretty much knew he would be a plumber. In fact, he was the most celebrated plumber of all time who helped popularize the flush toilet and paved the transition from outhouses and wells to indoor plumbing. The story that the term "crap" comes from army slang that came from toilets in Europe designed by Thomas Crapper is an urban legend. "Crap" goes back to Middle English.
There is a comedian, probably most famous for appearing on both versions of Whose Line Is It Anyway?, called Colin Mochrie - pronounced "Mockery".
There's also his son, Luke Mochrie, who does humorous movie reviews for Channel Awesome.
The current Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales is Igor Judge, Baron Judge (thus, addressed as "Lord Judge").
And indeed the Lord Chief Justice from 1802 to 1818 was Edward Law. There is a current Lord Justice of Appeal whose last name is Laws, thus, Lord Justice Laws.
Sir Michael Lord is, as of 2010, about to be made a life peer. He will probably choose some other title to go by rather than his surname, as he would be 'Lord Lord'.
Not a straight example, but the president of the Mars Society has the somewhat Martian-sounding name Robert Zubrin.
Noted neurosurgeon and owner of the best supervillain name of all time, Lord Brain.
Neurobiologist Michael H. Thaut.
From the NHL, Bob Wall, a retired hockey defenseman. The NHL currently has Michael Wall, a goalie who is currently a free agent.
Also in the NHL, we have winger Dwight King, appropriately having played his whole career to date with the Los Angeles Kings.
From 1994 until 1999 Kazakhstan's minister of education was Vladimir Shkolnik. In Russian his surname means "schoolboy".
Drew Brees of the New Orleans Saints is somewhat appropriate for an NFL quarterback.
Ulysses Simpson Grant, an American Civil War general. His initials do tell you what side he fought for.
His legal name was Hiram Ulysses Grant, but when an Army recruiter wrote his name wrong, he never bothered to get it corrected.
He once famously granted an opponent "no terms but unconditional and immediate surrender." Afterwards, "people thought they knew what the initials in his name stood for" (namely, "unconditional surrender").
Viktor Krovopuskov is a famed Soviet/Russian fencer, winner of 4 gold medals. His last name means "blood-letter".
A case of government corruption in New Jersey involved a politician named Mr. Cheatem.
There was a Soviet, later Russian envoy in Afghanistan called Zamir Kabulov.
Murdered South African white-supremacist leader Eugene Terreblanche. Translate that from Greek and French, and you get, roughly "best-born white land." Uncanny. To make matters worse, "Eugene" is etymologically related to "eugenics".
The director of the 2012 Spiderman reboot? Yea, his name is Marc Webb.
Tod Slaughter, portrayer of various murderers, villains and maniacs in early cinema melodramas, including the first (1936) film version of Sweeney Todd. Not only is his last name Slaughter (and yes, he was born Norman Carter Slaughter), his adopted first name Tod is both his most famous character's last name (more or less) and the German word for "death".
Amelia Earhart (pronounced AIR-HEART) was a pilot.
The air traffic reporter for Denver's KUSA is also named Amelia Earhart. Yes, she's related to the original one.
The chief meteorologist of the Central Florida News 13 team is known as Jeff Day.
German professional first division football (that's soccer) side Wolfsburg has had Wolfgang Wolf as a coach for some years.
A German sexual therapist goes by the name of Gisela von Hinten (literally from behind).
The head of McMaster University's Centre for Steel Research is named Dr. Irons.
Frank Fish, marine biologist.
Hungarian paleontologist, Attila Ősi (ősi = ancient, prehistoric).
Simon Cowell, who likes giving people rude comments.
Lampshaded by one American Idol hopeful who auditioned with a rap that she wrote herself, when she pointed out his usual sternness and bad mood with the lyric, "S., Cowell, that makes scowl." He was not amused, and she did not go to Hollywood.
Email newsletter This is True sometimes presents cases of this, under the heading "Freaks of Nomenclature". One example is an electrocution victim named "Robert Crisp".
The name Payne seems to amusingly lend itself to many occupations those with the name go into.
One of the writers of the gross-out comedy film The Babymakers, about a man trying to break into a sperm bank to retrieve his own sperm that he'd donated years ago, is named Gerry Swallow.
Actor Burt Ward famously played Robin in Batman - i.e, Batman's ward.
Similarly Martin Jarvis, who shares his last name with a famous comic book butler, was the voice of a famous comic book butler, Alfred, in Batman: Arkham City. He also played a famous literary butler, Jeeves, in the TV movie By Jeeves. Even better: Alfred's father is named "Jarvis".
Self-described Gentleman Thief Apollo Robbins. Though some say he's also an Impossible Thief; while having a conversation with some of Jimmy Carter's Secret Service agents, he pulled out the then-President's itinerary. One agent angrily claimed Robbins did not have the proper authorization to see that, and proceeded to pull out his badge...only to find it in Robbins' hand. He then walked up to the head of the security detail and handed him his watch, his badge, and the keys to Carter's motorcade.
Husband and wife Richard and Millard Loving were the plaintiffs in the Supreme Court case Loving vs. Virginia that legalized interracial marriage across the United States.
Tim Duncan is a professional basketball player who has made more than a few dunks over the span of his career.
The Visual Effects Art Director on Pacific Rim at ILM is named Alex Jaeger.
The greensperson (crew member in charge of acquiring plants and trees for a film set) on The Cabin in the Woods is named "Glenn Foerster". Writer-director Drew Goddard and writer-producer Joss Whedon mention on the commentary how thrilled they were at his name.