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The ruler has an unflattering nickname.

This work is a proposed Trope, Tropers can vote and offer feedback in the comments section below.
Proposed By:
MrInitialMan on Jul 27th 2011 at 4:13:29 AM
Last Edited By:
InTheMirror on Mar 16th 2019 at 3:55:17 AM
Name Space: Main
Page Type: Trope

A monarch is given a nickname that is simply unflattering.



Western Animation

  • Mentioned on The Villain Sucks Song in Robin Hood.
    Too late to be known as John the First]] note 
    He's sure to be known as John the Worst.

Real Life

  • Charles II of Spain was known as "The Bewitched".
  • Ethelred "The Unready" of England
  • Ibrihim "The Mad" of the Ottoman Empire
  • Juan Carlos "The Brief" of Spain. Yes, THAT Juan Carlos. It didn't stick.
  • John Lackland "The Softsword" of England
  • Ferdinand The Good (AKA Goodinand The Finished)

Feedback: 11 replies

Jul 27th 2011 at 7:47:05 AM

Mentioned on The Villain Sucks Song in Robin Hood.

Too late to be known as John the First
He's sure to be known as John the Worst

Jul 27th 2011 at 10:58:33 AM

This article from Cracked might help - real-life royalty ranging from Harald the Lousy and Ivar the Boneless, to Alfonso the Slobberer and Henry the Impotent... oh yeah, and Constantine the Dung-Named, but that's a ridiculous-sounding nickname no matter HOW you look at it.

Jul 28th 2011 at 12:22:26 PM

Juana la Loca (Joanna the Crazy) of Castile.

Jul 28th 2011 at 1:10:55 PM


  • The title character in John Moore's Bad Prince Charlie.
  • Guy Gavriel Kay's novel The Lions of Al-Rassan has King Sancho the Fat.

Are we including Evil Overlords in the list? There's probably a lot in that category.

Jul 28th 2011 at 1:13:42 PM

That last one was invoked, though.

Jul 28th 2011 at 6:18:49 PM

  • Get a low enough score at the end of one of the Civilization games and you will receive one of these.

Jul 28th 2011 at 6:30:21 PM

Caligula's real name was esentially a coglomeration of names of previous rulers of Rome. "Caligula" is Latin for "Little Boots", a name he got from soldiers because he was given a little uniform with little armour when his father took him into war.

Jul 30th 2011 at 2:19:49 PM

Bump. Bump-bump it up!

Mar 15th 2019 at 2:54:21 AM

Maurice Druon's The Accursed Kings series charts the collapse of fourteenth century France under a series of weak and ineffectual monarchs. In quick succession, Louis X is also known as "the Halfwit" and a later king is "The Makeshift"

Mar 15th 2019 at 5:10:22 AM

Why must it be a monarch, though?

Mar 16th 2019 at 5:15:22 AM

^ Because monarchs are more important than others — story-wise, and an unflattering nickname shows how utterly they failed their subjects. Rulers usually strive to be known by flattering epithets, like the Great or Lion Heart or Good King, no?

We have many nickname tropes, but this would be a very specific subtrope.