aka: Unfortunate Name
"Make sure that all the C's are destroyed, so that the rascals can have no further means of abusing my name."An Unfortunate Implication where a name of a character, person, or thing unintentionally offends. If you ask someone their name, and they give you an answer that fits this trope, chances are you won't take them seriously. You will then find out that yes, that really is their name. No joke. Or it may be a joke, but it still is seriously their name. Characters under this trope are saddled with a name that realistically, you wouldn't expect a parent to name their kid or, for someone who's of a certain name, they'd choose to go by. This is the kind of name that gets kids made fun of in school — which leads them to snark "Never Heard That One Before" when the jokes continue into adulthood. Yet, it also happens to be Truth in Television, in many unfortunate cases. Generally, when imposed (fictionally or otherwise) on someone, this will lead to a Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?. Real Joke Name is another possible outcome. Comes in a variety of forms:
— George Cockburn, Royal Navy Rear Admiral, destroying a U.S. newspaper during the burning of Washington, D.C. in The War of 1812
- Double Entendre — The name is one that fits into the Double Entendre trope. Eg. Pussy Galore
- Phrase Name — Where the first name and/or last name may sound perfectly normal on its own, but put them together and they make a phrase that sounds like a joke, a trait you wouldn't want to be associated with, or sounds just plain stupid. Eg. Dusty Rhodes
- Pop Culture Name — An example of this trope being the result of someone being named after a famous pop culture character whose name would ordinarily not enter consideration for use. Examples include Optimus Prime, Kal-El, or ESPN. In this case, the name is already popular, but it isn't something you'd think to call someone under regular circumstances.
- Rhyming Names — The first and last name rhyme with each other.
- Unfortunate Coincidences — Regular names that happen to match coincidentally with famous or infamous figures from real life.
- Unfortunate Meaning — someone thought the name sounded nice, but apparently had no clue that the name they gave their child describes a disease or a woman's genitalia. (Many of these are urban legends or outright deliberately racist comments; usually, the more defensive the teller gets about these, the more likely he knows they're false.)
- Have a Gay Old Time — Linguistic drift can hit names quicker than some folks would like. If a name later gets adopted for a sexual term, those who had the name before the drift run afoul of this (those named after, however, run into one of the above issues instead). Eg Dick, Fanny, Gaylord
- Gender-Blender Name — Many names (at least, in American English) were once relatively common and unremarkable as names for male children, but in recent years have become more common for girls, sometimes with minor spelling differences. In the real world there are male Stacys, Danas, Courtneys, Kellys, and Ashleys, and yet you only see those names in fiction on women (on the other hand, there are female Chrises, Pats, Lees, and Terrys and yet, they're only male names in fiction). Likewise, Leslie Nielsen was a man. So someone with old-fashioned parents, or simply a desire to name a baby after an ancestor, might wind up with a "girly" name, such as Mary. Conversely, unfortunate women may end up with a "guy" name; though they are mostly more fortunate.
- Fun with Acronyms — when the initials spell something silly or offensive.
- Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle — The name is okay, maybe even good and auspicious in its own language, but doesn't travel well. Maybe it sounds like a curse or a pronoun; bonus points if it's shouted dramatically in the work. Eg. Wang - "King" in Chinese, dick jokes galore in English.
- Ironic Name: The name that specifically means something is the exact opposite of your character.
- Anime and Manga
- Comic Books
- Live-Action TV
- Professional Wrestling
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Comics
- Web Original
- Western Animation
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- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series has Dr. Brainstorm, whose Obviously Evil name is lampshaded:
- Ebony Darkness Dementia Raven Way. The author was presumably trying for an Awesome Mccoolname-cum-Darkness von Gothickname, but she ended up with a name which, translated to Layman's Terms, is "Black Black Senility Bird Direction".
- RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse has its main character Trixie Lulamoon, who always wishes to be addressed by her first name (unless she is drunk, then her second name). Apparently, there is a childhood rhyme that is the cause behind the name being unfortunate.
- In the Fallout: Equestria universe it is something of a tradition for named Steel Rangers to have embarrassing food-based names such as Cottage Cheese and Butterbean.
- Golden Retriever, Twilight's assistant in The Demesne Of The Reluctant Twilight Sparkle. Twilight eventually grants her a literal license, "as a civil servant of the highest order", to kick the flank of anypony who teases her about her name within the bounds of the demesne.
- Gensokyo 20XX has Ren's brother Baka and Ren could never really figure out why and always thought it was because he wasn't very bright, though he also did note that, according to his father, that was the name only he responded to and the name stuck. However, true to his name, he isn't really very bright.
- A Fine Mess. Dennis' boss is named Mr. Wardell Flecken, a shortened version of Fleckenshicker. Dennis asks, "Is that like Shickenflucker?"
- Southland Tales The main character from Boxer Santaros' screenplay is called Jericho Cain. Now pronounce that quickly.
- Poor Lord Gastrous from Barbie Mariposa was named after his ample stomach.
- Sherlock Holmes: "Lord Blackwood" is one thing, but if you had to live with a name like "Lord Coward", you might have turned to villainy, too.
- Emperor Palpatine. A respectable name: imperious, meaningful, and just plain cool. His first name is Sheev. And now you know why he was on Last Name Basis for thirty-seven years.
- The villain of Red Eye is named "Jackson Rippner." Fitting for Jackson, to be sure, but who in their right mind would inflict such a name on their kid? (Apparently, he expressed similar views to them. Right before he killed them.)
Religion and Mythology
- Invoked in The Bible—to demonstrate His wrath at idolatrous Israel, God has the prophet Hosea give his children symbolic names. The first son, Jezreel, is named for a valley where Israel's evil kings have shed blood, and where God promises they will be punished in turn; his daughter is named Lo-ruhamah, "not pitied," because God is through being merciful; and the youngest son is Lo-ammi, "not my people," to foretell that God will eventually send Israel into exile among the nations.
- Similarly, the prophet Isaiah named his younger son Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz, which means "spoil quickly, plunder speedily," again to foretell Judah's coming doom. His older brother Shear-Jashub ("a remnant shall return") lucked out and got a happy prophecy.
- Kopreus was an uncle of king Eurystheus of Mycene, who had the job of delivering Eurystheus' orders about what the next Labour was going to be to Herakles. "Kopreus" means "dung-heap".
- Also Uranus, father of the Titans, but not in the original language. In Greek, Uranus (or more properly Ouranos) means "sky" or "heaven". Ironically, it was one of his private parts on the opposite side that got abused in a famous myth.
- The name Nimrod was not an unfortunate name in Bible times, but has become so these days because of its association with dimwittedness.
Stand Up Comedy
- Dana Carvey had a stand up comedy commercial featuring Charles Manson Hitler.
- It was a routine from a cable standup comedy special riffing on the unfortunate name of President Barack Hussein Obama. (It might as well have been "Iraq Hussein Osama.")
- Apparently the Lear family (as in "Lear Jet") named one of their daughters "Shanda!"
- And then there is the wonderfully named town of Intercourse, Pennsylvania!
- A more comedic example would be Eromanga, Australia.
- To avoid a mixture of this trope and Embarrassing Middle name, actress Olivia Jane Cockburn (despite her surname pronounced as "co-burn" ) chose the screen name Olivia Wilde.
- French long-distance runner Gaylord Silly.
- Vecna Technologies is a health care IT company. The name comes from the Czech word for "eternal", but those familiar with Dungeons & Dragons will recognize it as the sobriquet of the infamous wizard-king turned lich turned god of secrets and dark magic. Hopefully the company won't get involved in limb or ocular replacement.
- A small village in Austria has gained considerable popularity in the English-speaking world for its name: Fucking (the German pronounciation rhymes with "booking"). This popularity let to the road sign at the entrance to the village being stolen repeatedly by tourists as souvenirs, which in turn resulted in taxes being raised to pay for replacement signs; Fucking has slighly more than 100 citizens, and each sign costs 300 Euro to replace. It went to far that in 2004, a vote was held on whether or not the village's name should be changed, but the citizens of Fucking voted against it.