Trivial Title

Most stories get their titles from the main plot or the name of the main character, but this is when the author takes an incidental element from the story and gets the title from that.

It may be an unimportant character, an unimportant plot point or something that doesn't come up until late in the story.

Keep on mind that some of these are examples where the literal thing to which the title refers is not that significant, but the title also describes the theme (or one of the themes) of the work, so it's not really trivial. In these cases, it may overlap with Justified Title.

A subtrope of Non-Indicative Name. Sister trope of Deceptively Silly Title. May be a consequence of Artifact Title. Can be used to avoid a Spoiler Title.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Bleach: Many people assume that it's named after Ichigo's bleached-looking bright orange hair, but Word of God states that the word 'bleach' is meant to be evocative of the color white, which contrasts with the color black, which is the main color of the main characters' uniforms. So the title refers to the complementary color to their uniforms just to make it more interesting and artistic. The final arc begins to reveal just how important this theme actually is to the story as a whole; as it turns out, the title may look innocuous but it's actually highly significant.
  • Charlotte: None of the main characters share the name with the series. The name actually comes from the comet that flies past Earth every 75 years trailing dust that falls onto Earth. This dust is what gives children their powers.
  • Odin: Photon Space Sailer Starlight: The UK English dub is retitled Odin: Starlight Mutiny. Although there is a mutiny for about three minutes, it's a very nonviolent mutiny and involves nothing more than locking the captain, bosun, and ship's doctor in the officers lounge. The mutiny is not the central plot of the movie but the mystery of the planet Odin and the malevolent machines of Asgard are the actual focus of the story. Oh, and the officers are released after the crew proves that they can't even stage a competent mutiny, let alone man the ship themselves, something the officers anticipated, hence their nonchalance during the incident. The mutiny was really just a plot device to ensure that the crew answer the Call to Adventure (Odin!) instead of obeying orders and going home; notably, the Captain was relieved that the mutiny took this decision off his hands as he obviously also wanted to answer the call as well.

  • In the Troma movie Plutonium Baby, the titular plutonium baby doesn't appear until right at the end.
  • The Subspecies series is named after a small race of creatures who barely factor into the movies.
  • Cave Dwellers: The actual cave dwellers are shown very briefly in the movie. The rest of the plot revolves around a journey made by a character named Ator to save his former mentor from the bad guy. The scene with the cave people is just a brief detour. It's worth mentioning that it was originally Ator l'invincible 2 (Ator the Invincible 2, also released in the US as Ator, the Blade Master or The Return). Cave Dwellers is just the title that Venture Films International slapped on it when they got the distribution rights. Of course, since the VFI version was the one featured on Mystery Science Theater 3000, it's the most famous one.
  • The movie Chocolate is about an autistic girl beating people up to pay for her mother's chemotherapy. She also happens to like chocolate, though that doesn't affect the plot in the slightest.
  • In The Ghost of Frankenstein the Ghost is on screen for about 60 seconds.
  • The title of the British movie Divorcing Jack refers to how the protagonist mishears the last name of composer Antonín Dvořŕk. However, the composer isn't really significant to the plot either, "Dvorak" is merely a clue that leads the protagonist to some information he was looking for, which has nothing to do with Dvorak or his music.
  • Midnight: Even with its fairy-tale allusion, the stroke of midnight doesn't play a major role like in Cinderella.
  • The Room: The action doesn't all happen in one room, and there's nothing special about Johnny's living or bedroom, or about any other rooms featured in the movie.
  • Rush Hour: There's a Title Drop in the first five minutes and the kidnapping that sets the plot off occurs during rush hour... but that's about it.
  • A Fish Called Wanda is named after Ken's pet fish, which has very little to do with the plot. Certainly less than the human Wanda.
  • Bart Got A Room is a statement regarding the least popular student in the school, who still managed to get a hotel room for him and his date after the prom. Bart himself only appears briefly in the film.
  • Only one scene in Fargo takes place in Fargo.
  • The titular bees in The Spirit of the Beehive are only featured in one scene.
  • For its initial US release, Rock & Rule had its title changed to Ring of Power, referring to Mok's ring which only comes up in one scene near the start when he uses it to find the singer he needs for his plan and then it's never used again.
  • Heaven's Gate is a very nihilistic take on The Western in which evil ranchers set about murdering immigrant settlers. The film climaxes with an epic battle. The movie is named after the skating rink in town, which has nothing to do with anything.

  • The Winter Queen, the first book in the Erast Fandorin series of detective novels. The title is a random reference to the hotel where Fandorin stays while in London. Averted with the original Russian-language edition, which is titled Azazel after the secret society which is central to the plot.
  • Discworld
    • The Fifth Elephant: Despite the enraged plummeting pachyderm on the cover of some editions, to say nothing of the title, the book is not actually about an elephant. Well, it is about an elephant, but a metaphorical, not literal, one. OK, OK, there is a literal elephant, but it's a legend of something that may or may not have happened millions of years ago. The titular Fifth Elephant lost its footing on Great A'tuin's shell in prehistory and collided with the Disc, breaking apart its Pangaea-type supercontinent and being responsible for Uberwald's fat reserves; and is also a Uberwaldian phrase meaning "something that is not what it seems".
    • While octarine is an interesting aspect of the early worldbuilding in the Discworld books, it's not especially important to The Colour of Magic.
    • The Light Fantastic refers to the anti-light glow in the Octavo room, which is likewise not very significant to the story.
  • The Silence of the Lambs refers to an anecdote told in the story. It's also a Title Drop as the last words of the novel (not of The Film of the Book).
  • In The Cat Who Walks Through Walls, the eponymous cat is a very minor character which shows up near the end and doesn't do much, apart from walking through a wall or two.
  • State of Fear. The title refers to the thesis that the U.S. government and the media are collaborating to keep the public in a near-constant panic, ensuring their continued power. This thesis was completely overshadowed (both in the novel, and in the Real Life media controversy surrounding the novel) by the secondary point that global warming in particular is just a hoax—the latest such hoax used to perpetuate the state of fear.
  • Gardens of the Moon refers to a story Apsalar's father used to tell her when she was a child. It has no impact on the book's story and only is mentioned by her at the very end once.
  • Trainspotting contains just one instance of trainspotting. But that's still one more than The Film of the Book. Though, with the film now having undergone some Pop-Cultural Osmosis, "trainspotting" has come to be a euphemism for taking heroin. So in that sense the book contains a great deal of trainspotting.
  • Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire is about Harry being entered into a contest called the Triwizard Tournament against his will; the titular Goblet of Fire is just the device that picks contestants and only shows up for about two chapters, as opposed to some important MacGuffin.
  • Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince arguably counts, because while Severus Snape is important to the book and the series as a whole, him being "the Half-Blood Prince" is rather incidental, save for backstory and irony.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who:
    • The episode "The Bells of St John". The title refers to a throwaway line about the TARDIS phone and has nothing to do with the Evil Wi-Fi plot at all.
    • The title of the series itself is a subversion. The question "Doctor who?" has always been a clarification to new audience members that his name is just "the Doctor" and not "Doctor [surname]." But after series 6, the question—and therefore, the title—has been given significance as The Reveal of his name and the end of the universe (probably).
  • Every episode of Two and a Half Men is named for a line of dialogue in the script, forming a sort of reverse Title Drop... however, more often than not the line in question is the weirdest and most random line in the episode rather than one that has anything to do with the episode's plot.

  • Allegedly the reason the Goo Goo Dolls' Iris is named that is because of the line in the chorus "And I don't want the world to see me", because you see with your eyes...and the iris is part of the eye.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer is named after Sigmar's hammer Ghal Maraz (Skull-splitter), but it sees relatively little use in the fluff, being one weapon among hundreds used by one faction among a dozen.
  • Warhammer 40,000 was originally just Warhammer Recycled In Space, but now the franchises are noticeably different. Warhammers are still used, but just by certain characters of a faction or two. "40,000" refers to the whole 41st Millennium, as the in-universe present year is actually 40,999 AD (and has been the 'present' for all editions of the game).


    Video Games 
  • Sherlock Holmes: The Case of the Rose Tattoo: The game is named after a tattoo you find during a corpse examination, which is important for identifying the corpse. Apart from that, the tattoo has no relevance to the plot and isn't mentioned again.
  • In The Elder Scrolls the eponymous artifacts are only a background element in the first three games and play only a small role in one side questline in the fourth. However, Skyrim has one as an important piece of the puzzle in the main quest: it allows you to travel back in time to learn the Dragonrend Shout. Its first DLC, Dawnguard, also makes them important, as three are required to complete the main quest.
  • Dubloon is titled after the currency used in the game that has no bearing to its plot.
  • Marvel: Avengers Alliance does feature The Avengers, but also features several Marvel superheroes who are not Avengers. The name of the team is hardly used in the game. Instead, the heroes are joining S.H.I.E.L.D..

  • Terra refers to the United Earth Coalition space station Terra which also has Sol's jumpgate. So far the only importance to the plot is that it's the place where Alex and Rick's fighter squadron is based. They leave it behind after chapter three and the pair are shot down a dozen pages later.
  • Disscused in Allen The Alien; Elanis complains about these types of titles, directly referencing "The Scarlet Ibis"note .

    Western Animation 
  • Adventure Time: "Mama Said" doesn't seem to have anything to do with anything until the end. After the King of Ooo knocks himself out trying to fly on a mushroom pizza, the Banana Guards randomly break out singing a verse of "Mama Said" by the Shirelles.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: The episode "The Triangle" refers to the instrument Gumball was assigned to play, but the episode focuses more on Gumball's jealousy over Darwin's talent, and him subsequently being accused of trying to sabotage Darwin's performance.
  • Mr. Bogus:
    • The episode "No Snooze Is Good News" had very little to do with actual sleeping, as Bogus's fantasy life while asleep is only acknowledged in the second act.
    • Likewise, the episode "Hipster Tripster" has absolutely nothing to do with actual hipsters.
    • While the episode "Bogus In Bogus Land" references the fact that we see Bogusland for the first time, this only happens in the first act of the episode.