troperville

tools

toys


main index

Narrative

Genre

Media

Topical Tropes

Other Categories

TV Tropes Org
random
Names To Run Away From: Foreign Language Names
A form of Names to Run Away From Really Fast: Languages besides English can be quite open when coming up with names you normally wouldn't give your child.

See also Ancient Dead Languages.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

Yue

A word meaning a 'tragic accident' or 'lethal occurence'. Though, this name is given to children who died either before birth or shortly thereafter. Still some parents don't quite get it. It's more widely known to be the Chinese name for "moon."

    Anime and Manga 
  • Angel Sanctuary's Katou's seldom mentioned first name is Yue, given by his father, because he was not his child, but the result of his mother's betrayal. It didn't finish him off after birth, but in the course of the series he gets killed - or most often kills himself - four times total.
  • Yue from Cardcaptor Sakura counts as well, since as the Judge he had the power to strip away the memories and emotions of everyone Sakura knew and loved. Sakura certainly seemed intimidated by him, though that may also have been due to his appearance and emotionless facade.
    • Yue's name in CCS is actually meant to be Chinese and carries the meaning of 'moon', not the above mentioned meanings (it's a symbolism going back to his creator—Clow Reed's symbol was the Moon). Could still be sort of playing with this meaning, though.
  • Yue Ayase from Mahou Sensei Negima! averts the majority of this trope, despite all signs that she might.

    Literature 

    Western Animation 
  • Princess Yue from Avatar: The Last Airbender. Both meanings ("tragic accident" and "moon") apply: she nearly died at birth and was only saved by the power of the moon. During her Heroic Sacrifice, she gave up that bit of energy to save the moon's life, died, and was reincarnated as the Moon Spirit.

Jafar

From the Arabic Ja`far, meaning, of all things, "brook." Probably gained its notoriety from Ja'far ibn Yahia al-Bamarki, about whom read below.

    Film 

    Videogames 

    Western Animation 
  • Jafar, the evil vizier in Aladdin.

    Real Life 
  • The original Jafar, the one they were all named after, was Ja'far ibn Abi Talib, who was of all things a pious warrior and a cousin/companion of the Prophet Muhammad. Yep.
  • Ja'far ibn Abi Talib's great-umpty-great nephew, Ja'far ibn Muhammad al-Sadiq, was the Sixth Imam of Shi'a Islamnote  (being a descendant of Ali ibn Abi Talib and the Prophet's daughter Fatima) and one of the founders of Islamic jurisprudence. As indicated by his laqab (nickname), he was noted for being upright, honest, trustworthy, and not in the least bit interested in actually ruling (despite claiming to be the legitimate leader of the Muslims).
  • Ja'far ibn Yahya al-Barmaki, aka the Grand Vizier Jafar, was a Persian nobleman and the Grand Vizier (i.e. Prime Minister) of the Abbasid Caliph Harun al-Rashid. He was executed under suspicion of having an affair with the Caliph's sister Abbasa. He appears in the Arabian Nights as a sort of detective (in a tale often cited as the Ur Example of the Detective Story), but his patronage of learning—specifically the revival of Greek and Persian science and the encouragement of the paper industry, recently arrived from China—may have led to a reputation as a sorcerer: hence the villainous connotations.
    • It wasn't exactly "having an affair with Abbasa." Harun al-Rashid basically told Ja'far and Abbasa to get married but not to sleep together. He then flipped out when they disobeyed him. (And whether this story is true is quite debatable; his family were likely just executed for having too much power and therefore being a threat to the caliph's power.)
  • Muslim Spain actually did have a vizier named Ja'far who usurped the throne in the Middle Ages.

Geist

A common Bad Ass name. It translates as "ghost" or "spirit," but people/things named Ghost tend to be far less threatening... unless of course you've built up your tech tree.

    Anime and Manga 
  • MD Geist
  • Signum from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's can summon the Panzergeist (Armored Ghost).
    • This is more commonly translated as "Tank Spirit", which is more accurate given the effect that it has.
  • In the new .hack manga and video game series, ''.hack//Link'', one of the Big Bad's minions is thus named. It's interesting to note that within Schicksal all members other members are named after musical instruments in German, making Geist the Odd Name Out. This later proves to be a quite Meaningful Name when it's revealed that Geist is actually Saika's brother in the real world, as well as the person who sent a virus replica of Aura named Death Queen Aura into The World R:X.

    Film 

    Literature 

    Tabletop Games 

    Videogames 

    Webcomics 

    Real Life 
  • The Geisterbahnhöfe in the days of the Berlin Wall were quite creepy.
    • Duh. German uses Geist- in the same way as English. Geisterstadt is 'ghost town'.

Mal-

The syllable mal- means "bad", "evil" in many Romance languages, being derived from Latin malus (with the same meaning). It also appears in many English words, as in malicious, malign, malevolent, malignant and (yes, these words exist) maleficent and malfeasant. Malefica particularly is Latin for "witch".

    Anime and Manga 

    Comicbooks 
  • Minor Marvel Comics Mad Scientist Doctor Malus, who grants super-powers to deserving C-list mooks.
  • Malice is the name of two supervillainesses, one in effect the Dark Invisible Girl.
  • Rogue of the X-Men is called Malicia in French, an obvious reflection of her status as a former supervillain.

    Film 

    Literature 

    Live-Action TV 

    MMORPGs 
  • The villain of the MMO Wizard 101 is named Malistaire.

    Tabletop Games 

    Theatre 

    Toys 
  • Malum, desert-wandering antihero from BIONICLE.

    Videogames 

    Webcomics 

    Western Animation 
  • El Tigre features a gigantic monster named El Mal Verde (The Green Evil).
  • The DCAU Superman series had Superman free a trapped Phantom Zone Kryptonian named Mala. Any Spanish speaking viewer knew immediately where the episode was going.
  • The witch Maleficent, the villain of Sleeping Beauty from 1959. As one of the most (maybe the most) distinguished Disney villains, she also appeared in the Kingdom Hearts video game series.

    Real Life 
  • Malaclypse the Younger note , one of the writer of Principia Discordia. You don't want to mess with someone named 'Mal-apocalypse' who wrote a book of 'discord'.

Tod / tot

The German words for "death" and "dead" are "Tod" and "tot" respectively (long vowel). People with names that look or sound like it tend to be scary.

    Comicbooks 
  • Frau Totenkinder in Fables, who was every nameless evil witch from fairy tales, and in the story is mostly good but very sinister.
    • Possibly inspired by Friedrich Rückert's Kindertotenlieder (Children's songs of the dead), some of which were set to music by Gustav Mahler.
  • Otto Von Todt, the first vampire met in Requiem Vampire Knight.

    Film 

    Literature 
  • Mr. Tod, the fox in Beatrix Potter. (Though since "tod" is a traditional North English dialect word for "fox," that one may just be a coincidence.)
  • Sweeney Todd, legendary London serial murderer.
  • The Young Adult series Chronicles of Vladimir Tod. The title character is a teenager, in many ways a very ordinary young man, dealing with all the growing-up issues any boy his age does—-except he's also half-vampire.

    Video Games 

    Real Life 
  • Tod Slaughter, an actor in the early-to-mid-twentieth century who specialized in Card Carrying Villains, including Sweeney. His real surname was "Slaughter", but he added the "Tod".

Others

Russian (and Slavic, in general) names seem to be frequently used in Western fiction for bad guys, probably due to the Überwald and Red Scare tropes. See also the Vlad examples under Conquerors

    Comicbooks 
  • Ra's Al-Ghul is Arabic for "The Demon's Head."
  • Lobo. Even on earth, it conjures the idea of a rabid wolf, but on his planet, it translated into "He who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it."
    • Why did his planet even need a word for that? How common can that actually be that they need a single word to describe it?
      • Czarnia was born on a peaceful planet, so they had to take a word from the Proud Warrior Race Always Chaotic Evil Khund, where enjoying the taste of your enemies entrails is expected.

    Fan Works 

    Film 
  • The Big Bad of the Seven Swords wuxia movie is named 风火连城 (Feng Huo Lian Cheng), which translates to "Wind and Fire All Over the City", or "city-razing firestorm"...so yeah.
  • Count Dooku in the Star Wars prequels is named after "doku", the Japanese word for "poison".

    Literature 
  • In Scottish, "Thrawn" means a combination of obstinacy, assertiveness, and more than a hint of willful perversity.
  • A variation: Granny Weatherwax's name in certain dwarven dialects translates to "Go 'Round The Other Side Of The Mountain". She's also known in some tongues as "She Who Must Be Avoided".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Hugo Panzer, from "Chuck vs. First Class".
  • Guerrero, from the TV Show Human Target. Spanish for "warrior."

    Videogames 
  • "Mathias Cronqvist", anyone? You know, Dracula? Mind you, that's a real name, but "Cronqvist" certainly sounds intimidating.
    • Mind you, it translates roughly as "crown-twig." Then again, if you get creative with it, you could interpret it as "a branch in the crown of a tree," which would imply that he's just better than you.
  • Skeith from .hack. It means "shadow". And for added Run Away Now points, it carries the Boss Subtitle "The Terror of Death".
  • In The Adventures Of Rad Gravity, Kakos' name vaguely hints at him being the true Big Bad. The final planet is named Telos, the Greek word for "end".
  • The bosses Sonnenblume (German for sunflower), Loewenzahn (dandelion), and Alraune (mandrake, a hallucinogenic nightshade) in P.N.03.
  • Any of the Spanish-named monsters in Resident Evil 4: Del Lago, Garrador, Novistador, Regenerador, etc.
  • Doku (see Count Dooku above), the Big Bad of the Xbox remake of Ninja Gaiden.

    Webcomics 

    Web Originals 
  • Adele Couteau, a volent doctor on a proboards RPG site called Eclipse913.
  • Worm has Moord Nag, whose name, translated from Afrikaans, means "Murder Night."
    • Averted with the Thanda, a feared group of Indian supervillains who naturally use Hindi and Arabic words instead of English for their code names, whose titles translate to such terrifying titles as "Repeat," "Instant" and "Embassy."

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • One of Hitler's generals was called Manteuffel, a name broadly translating as Man-devil. This also comes into English as the name of the sinister country mansion in Daphne du Maurier's Rebecca - Manderville. Mrs deWinter, you cannot say you were not warned.
  • General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Translated from the original German, the name means "Iron Hewer".


Ancient Dead LanguagesNames to Run Away From Really FastConquerors

random
TV Tropes by TV Tropes Foundation, LLC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available from thestaff@tvtropes.org.
Privacy Policy
57073
23