There's the Word Salad Title
, and then there's this
. This isn't so much of a salad as the diced carrots on top
of the salad. This trope comes into play when the creators deconstruct words, rearrange letters, or create new terms to name their works. This usually takes one of three forms:
- A bunch of syllables tossed together
- Two or more words combined in an unusual way.
- A common term that's been altered or rearranged.
This is usually justified by the Rule of Cool
, and related to As Long as It Sounds Foreign
. Sometimes the title is random due to ease of trademarking a non-generic word. See also The Unpronounceable
, which is this trope taken Up to Eleven
. The proper noun version of Perfectly Cromulent Word
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- Dozens of merged (and unmerged) companies and prescription drugs have meaningless, merged names. Partly because you can copyright and trademark, say, "Avaya," but not "telephone". Same goes with internet domains.
- "Verizon" is a combination of
"vertical" veritas (Latin for truth) and "horizon".
Anime And Manga
- Lucky Number Slevin combines the common phrase "lucky number seven" with the main character's name: Slevin. The "L" in Slevin is often replaced with an upside-down 7.
- The Spanish film Crimen ferpecto, which translates as The Ferpect Crime. The main character, who is characterized by his scrupulous attention to detail, is attempting to plan the perfect murder and rents a bunch of crime films for research. He is dismayed that one film is ironically mislabeled, "The Ferpect Crime," as he can't afford such mistakes. Some foreign markets renamed it The Perfect Crime, removing the joke.
- Se7en is, for no particular reason, often spelled with a numeral 7 in place of the v.
- Rock N Rolla is spelled like a stylized version of "rock and roller." It's a fictional underworld term used in the film, and is juxtaposed with one of the main characters, who is a literal rock and roll musician.
- After Two Fast Two Furious came out, the third movie in the franchise (The Fast And The Furious Tokyo Drift) was doomed to be known as "3 Fast 3 Furious" on theatre marquees everywhere. One parodist took it to its logical extent by releasing a fake trailer for 3 3ast 3 3urious.
- Gothika is called Gothika for reasons known only to the person who named it.
- The fifth film in the Final Destination series of films at one point was going to be called 5nal Destination ("Five-nal Destination?"), but public backlash led to the film being renamed simply Final Destination 5.
- TRON: Legacy was supposed to be called "TR2N", but nobody liked it.
- R100's title is a play on Japanese film ratings. A rating of "R100" would be a film that is unsuitable for audiences under 100 years of age. Within the film, its own supposed director states that no one under 100 will like the film.
- Works featuring the name of an Eldritch Abomination or such in their title usually fit this trope:
- Neal Stephenson likes this trope:
- Cryptonomicon combines the title of HP Lovecraft's fictional Necronomicon book with "cryptography."
- Anathem combines "anthem" and "anathema." In the book's world, it's a song sung to people who are leaving a monastic order, either by choice or exile.
- Reamde: The book's plot is started by a computer virus containing a readme file that is misspelled "reamde."
- Bunnicula is a mashup of "bunny" and "Dracula". Yes, the title character is a vampiric rabbit.
- Ro.Te.O. It was originally just a made up word that popped into the creator's mind, but then the main trio's names were built based on that made up word so it stuck.
Live Action Television
- Kamen Rider OOO uses this trope to lampshade the ongoing Kamen Rider gimmick of multiple mix-and-match forms for the hero - each form has three modular parts, head, arms and legs, and interchanging them means adding together the names and sometimes parts of the names of all three parts to provide a way of referencing each form. Just to confuse things further, body part names can come in either Gratuitous English or regular Japanese. For starters:
- The default TaToBa form refers to the Taka (hawk) head, Tora (tiger) arms and Bata (grasshopper) legs
- Tora arms can also be part of RaToraTah form, made up of Raion (lion) head, Tora arms and Cheetah legs
- Another form, SaGoZou, refers to Sai (rhinoceros), Gorilla and Zou (elephant). And so on.
- Kuwagata (stag beetle), Kamakiri (mantis) and Batta = Gatakiriba, the green, insect themed form.
- Super Sentai has always named teams [Theme]ranger, but as the "ranger" gets cut more and more, it's possible for newcomers to the franchise to not know why titles nonsensically end in "ger" as less and less of the word is apparently needed in the eyes of the producers. Abaranger, Dekaranger, Magiranger, Boukenger, Gekiranger, Go-Onger, Shinkenger, Goseiger, Gokaiger, and Go-Busters (yes, with an S). At first we wondered if having an R in there somewhere would be the extent of the Ranger suffix from then on, but the following seasons got the G back, with Kyoryuger and ToQGer.
- IDM Artists seem to like this trope:
- Aphex Twin has "Icct Hedral," "Druqks," "Flim,"(sic.) and "Heliosphan," among numerous others. Weirdly, he's been known to intermix his gibberish titles with titles from real languages, particularly Cornish.
- Autechre, a band that fits this trope itself, has tens of songs like this. "Pir," "Altibizz," "PlyPhon," and "Ccec" are just a few of many.
- The same goes for Plaid: "Tearisci," "Eyen," "Sincetta," and "Crumax Rins" are some of the more obvious ones.
- Subverted within the IDM genre by Venetian Snares. The track titles from Rossz csillag alatt szuletett may all look like this trope in action, but no, that's actual honest-to-goodness Hungarian. And as if that weren't enough, he used some Hungarian titles on Detrimentalist as well.
- Mouse On Mars has albums titled Agit Itter It It, Niun Niggung and Pickly Dred Rhizzoms. The track titles on these albums are further examples.
- European folk band Qntal admit that their name means nothing, and it was simply a selection of letters they thought looked nice.
- Hip-Hop artist Aceyalone.
- Funk music from The Seventies, for some reason.
- "Hyperbolicsyllabicsesquedalymistic " by Isaac Hayes, Parliament's "Aqua Boogie (A Psychoalphadiscobetabioaquadoloop)" - actually, a lot of George Clinton's songs.
- "Promentalshitbackwashpsychosis Enema Squad (The Doo-Doo Chasers)" by Funkadelic, which uses...doo-doo as a metaphor.
- "Prisencolinensinainciusol" by Italian artist Adriano Celentano in 1972
- More recently but in the same vein: Outkast's "Spottieottiedopalicious" and "Southernplayalisticcadillacmuzik."
- The "Jackson 5ive" did this with a distinctive logo that appeared on some of their albums, and on other promotional materials (and on the TV show). However, it was otherwise spelled normally as "Jackson Five" or "Jackson 5".
- Ruins has such song titles as "Djubatczegromm" and "Bliezzaning Moltz". Kōenji Hyakkei, another band with Tatsuya Yoshida, uses similar titles for most of their songs; examples include "Graddinoba Revoss", "Vallczeremdoss", and "Qivem Vrastorr". (Note that one of Yoshida's main musical influences is the band Magma, who used an actual conlang for their song/album titles and lyrics.)
- The Police's "De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da".
- "Thela Hun Ginjeet" by King Crimson. (It's an anagram of "heat in the jungle".)
- "Paracetamoxyfrusebendroneomycin" by Amateur Transplants, sung to "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious" from Mary Poppins and a portmanteau of the generic names of various common pharmaceutical drugs.
- Deadmau5 (pronounced "dead mouse" or "Deadmau five". He pronounces it both ways.)
- Many of Extrawelt's songs have German word puree titles.
- Look up Sum 41 song "Hyper-insomnia-para-chondroid".
- The song titles on Skinny Puppy's The Greater Wrong of the Right and Mythmaker albums.
- The album Nespithe by Finnish Technical Death Metal band Demilich, an anagram for The Spine generated by reversing the order of three-letter clumps of the phrase. It also contains a song entitled "Erecshyrinol", an anagram for "No Lyrics Here" generated using the same algorithm.
- "Bawitdaba" by Kid Rock.
- The British punk rock band Splodgenessabounds seems to fit this perfectly.
- So do the British New Wave band Spizzenergi, or Spizz Energi, or Athletico Spizz 80, or Spizzoil, or Spizzles. (The band had one heck of a time sticking to just one name.)
- "5ive Gears in Reverse", by Elvis Costello.
- Californian guitarist Willie Oteri in 2000 released an album entitled "Concepts of Mate Ma Toot". Matema is, according to Oteri, a word for "supreme being" in some African language, while Matoot is - still according to the musician - an ancient Finnish deity. Also, he recorded it with Mike Malone, Brannen Temple, Chris Maresh and Chris Tondre. Taking the first two letters of the last names of each musician you get... Ma Te Ma To Ot.
- In 2009 Oteri released, this time with Dave Laczko, an album entitled "WD-41". The songs are called "G-9", "J-1", "U-5", "BB-2", "Q-1", "W1-A" "W-5" and "W1-B".
- The band Geggy Tah, kind of: They intended it to mean nothing, but while on tour in Scotland, they found out that they had accidentally picked a name that means "mouth thanks" (or "shut up, thanks"). "Geggy" and "Tah" were actually childhood nicknames of main members Greg Kurstin and Tommy Jordan, since both had younger sisters who had trouble pronouncing their names when they were young.
- Chumbawamba: The band is known for making up different origins for their name to see if people will buy it, but the truth is they just picked some nonsensical syllables as an alternative to having a name that would end up sounding dated.
- The Mars Volta seem somewhat fond of made-up portmanteaus: There's the albums Amputechture ("amputation" + "technology" + "architecture") and Noctourniquet ("Nocturnal" + "tourniquet"), as well as the song title "Dyslexicon" ("Dyslexic" + "Lexicon").
- Styles of Beyond has several song titles which are a mix of Xtreme Kool Letterz, Word Salad Title, and this.
- Coldplay's 2011 album Mylo Xyloto is pretty much this, and the band itself has admitted so.
- Witch House/Electropop duo Purity Ring seem to like this trope, with titles like "Lofticries" (Lofty + Cries), "Belispeak" (Belly + Speak), "Grandloves", or "Fineshrine".
- Savant's song from the album Invasion: Problemathematicalculatorture.
- Sebadoh, who got their name from nonsense syllables Lou Barlow would often use when working on songs before the lyrics were finished.
- Spoon's Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga - the album title was originally the Working Title for "The Ghost Of You Lingers", and was supposed to sound like that song's staccato piano part.
- Kishi Bashi sounds like some random syllables strung together, but is in fact a variation on the only member of the band's name - K. Ishibashi.
- The band Jamiroquai got their name from combining the word "jam" with a more phonetic spelling of the Native American tribe Iroquois.
- Ministry's album Animositisomina: They started with "animosity", dropped the "y", then turned it into a palindrome.
- Buke And Gase are a duo named after their instruments - baritone ukulele and a guitar-bass hybrid. They were originally Buke And Gass, and presumably changed the spelling to make pronunciation of the name less ambiguous.
- Torche's Meanderthal ("meander" + "neanderthal")
- Phil Collins' Sussudio. He just like the way it sounded, but retconned it into a girl's name.
- Sixties folk-rock band Fapardokly, whose name mashes together syllables from each band member's name: Merrell Fankhauser, Don Parish, Bill Dodd and Dick Lee. The strange part is that their ungainly, hard to pronounce name basically exists due to Executive Meddling: When the band recorded the material that would make up their only album, they were performing under the name Merrell & the Exiles, but once the group dissolved, it came to be released by a small label under an entirely different artist name - maybe it was thought that their original name wasn't unusual or "psychedelic" enough.
- Tricky's album Maxinquaye was named in honor of his late mother, Maxine Quaye.
- Independent record label Jagjaguwar - the name was chosen via a Dungeons & Dragons character name-generating program.
- The title of Aerosmith's instrumental "Krawhitham" is a portmanteau of the last names of the members of the band who wrote the song - Joey Kramer, Brad Whitford and Tom Hamilton.
- J-Punk band Tsushimamire got their name by pureeing their band members' names. Mamire also means "mixed up" in Japanese.
- The Genesis album Abacab, along with the title song from said album. As for where the title came from, it came about when they were recording the title song; they had three different musical sections (sections A, B, and C) and would arrange them in different ways. At one point, the way the sections were arranged spelled out "Abacab", so they decided to use that for the title. (The finished song ended up having a very different arrangement of sections.)
- Wooden Shjips (the J is silent)
- Godspeed You! Black Emperor's debut album is F♯ A♯ ∞ ("F-sharp, A-sharp, Infinity). The rest of their albums are Word Salad Titles.
- Frogger. Yes, the player controls a frog, but the additional letters go unexplained. (It's a verb. To Frog. Thus you are a Frogger)
- Jardinains! and the sequel Jardinains 2!.
- Metroid is this, though there is some disagreement as to what exactly the constituent words actually are. Some say it is partly derived from "meteoroid" or "asteroid" to evoke the outer space settings, some say it is partly derived from "android" to evoke Samus Aran's Powered Armor, some say it is partly derived from "metro" to evoke the artificial and/or subterranean settings with "-oid" being used as a suffix meaning "similar to" (i.e. similar to a metro).
- Nexuiz, a slight alteration of the word "nexus".
- Portal's predecessor, Narbacular Drop, contains a completely meaningless word in the title so as to facilitate web searches.
- Pu Li Ru La
- Many Pokémon (including the title itself) fit this. While some are fairly obvious, others are actually almost a real word. Magnemite, for instance, is one letter away from magnetite.
- Qix and its sequel Volfied
- The majority of (more or less) abstract puzzle games, such as Tetris, Quarth, Zoop, Pnickies and so on.
- "Wii" was chosen because it is easy to say (despite the fact that the phoneme for [wi] ヰ is obsolete in Japanese, replaced by [ui] ウィ/ウイ), is a homophone for "we," and the two i's look like two players. The gaming community staged a short rebellion over the name, preferring the earlier code name "Revolution," but the name stuck.
- Similarly with the "Wii U" name: because in many languages "w" and "u" are used for the same phoneme, because "u" is an upside-down "n" (for "Nintendo"), and because of a game-making philosophy reemphasizing the role of the individual gamer whether through more hardcore experiences or through Asymmetric Multiplayer (as Reggie Fils-Aime put it during the E3 2011 reveal, "It's a system we will all enjoy together, but also one that's tailor-made for you.").
- Xevious (pronounced "ZEH-vee-us"). All the games in the series are named after Arc Words in a Constructed Language.
- The text-based game ZZT was so named to appear at the bottom of Usenet listings.
Web Original / Web Comics
- Dr. Zanasiu in the online RP Darwin's Soldiers was named by pounding random keys on a keyboard.
- 5ideways. During its run the author referred to the fans as "5idewinders".
- xkcd mentions in its FAQ that it doesn't stand for or really mean anything. note
- Early on, many the strips of The Daily Derp had this sort of a title, based off changing random letters in the eponymous phrase. "Phe Duxly Derp", "Tma Daily Berp", "Th3 Drily Terp"...
- In ChalkZone, they have only 2 winter holidays combining Ramadan, Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas: Chrishanukkamas and Ramakwanzadan.
- Christmas and Kwanzaa have fixed dates, and Hanukkah also has a fixed date, but on the lunar calendar so it is always starts between Nov 27 and Dec 26, but Ramadan falls 11 or so days earlier each Gregorian year because they don't have a leap year. In 2012 it will be in July and August.
- Dali's painting entitled "Galacidalacidesoxyribonucleicacid" (though Gala was the name of his wife, and the "deoxyribonucleic acid" part is commonly known as "DNA" and not at all gibberish.)
- The ice cream brand Häagen-Dazs means nothing. It's a meaningless phrase that was just made to look Scandinavian to be exotic— it's an American company. It does not, for the record, look at all Scandinavian to actual Scandinavians people.
- The photography company Kodak has a meaningless name, chosen because it was snappy, easy to remember, and founder George Eastman was a big fan of the letter K.
- Sony just hashed together a name that would be easy for all their potential customers around the world to pronounce.
- Remedy, a temporary personnel service, changed its name to one less cromulent: Aquent purports to mean 'not a follower' from Greek a– (which, strange but true, is related to English 'un–') and Latin sequent. To this occasional former employee, who has a bit more Latin and Greek than the genius who came up with that, it only suggests watering.
- Henry Schoolcraft coined many place-names from syllables of Indian languages plus Latin and Arabic. Lake Itasca in Minnesota, which he considered the source of the Mississippi, is named from Latin veritas ('truth') and caput ('head').
- The last place-name in the English alphabet (at least in the US) is Zzyzx, California.
- The extinct primate Ekgamowechashala is a combination of the Lakota word "igmu" (cat, itself an idiom), "wicasa" (man), and the diminutive "la". The orthography makes this difficult to see.
- After a Ben Franklin variety store in New Ulm, Minnesota lost the franchise rights, the owners swapped the N and B on the sign, then turned the N sideways, to spell out "Zen Franklib". The company still thought it was too close, so the store became "Zen Rfanklib".
- For a very brief period around the tuirn of the millennium, the Royal Mail was renamed "Consignia". It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time to someone, but the name change was widely and publicly ridiculed by practcally everyone and the government hit the Reset Button inside of three months.
- The Ku Klux Klan's name contains no actual English words. "Ku Klux" is thought to be a corruption of the Greek word "kuklos," meaning "circle." (Or it may be an onomatopoeic representation of a Dramatic Gun Cock.) "Klan" is obviously just a "kool" misspelling of "clan."