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Fluffy the Terribles in literature.


  • Aeon 14: The colony ship Intrepid carries the most advanced and powerful multi-nodal Artificial Intelligence ever constructed, a computer personality so powerful that can he actually predict the future to a limited extent. His name? Bob.
  • One of the titular genetically-engineered, fanged, clawed, fast-moving, intelligent, bloodthirsty, and very, very hungry creatures in the novel Ancestor by Scott Sigler is referred to in the narration as "Baby McButters." (She was born from an ordinary cow whom one of the human characters named Molly McButters).
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  • The Avatar Chronicles: In Epic, Injeborg names a guard dog "Bouncy".
    "Bouncy?" B.E. groaned with disgust. "Inny, it's an ethereal guard dog. It can detect astral projections and ethereal walkers, let alone invisible and hidden creatures. It can savage a troll single-handedly, and you've called it Bouncy?"
  • The Anti-Hero protagonist of the Burke novels by Andrew Vachss has a hulking Neapolitan mastiff named Pansy. This is intentional, as authorities are automatically suspicious of dogs with names like "Killer" or "Satan", and tough guys are reluctant to report that they were savaged by a dog named "Pansy".
  • Most warships built by The Culture. In fact, most ships built by the Culture. Becomes a plot point and a sign of how the Culture Minds think. Take Grey Matter: a semi-serious joke about how diplomacy and politics is often... yeah, you get it. But, that's not what other Culture Minds call the officially renegade Grey Matter in or on anything official. Try the more indicative "Meatfucker" — for its interest in all things genocide, warfare and torture... and, how much they don't rate this.
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  • In The Deed of Paksenarrion, Paksenarrion rides a huge black warhorse, which she received as part-payment for a job. The horse will gladly kick and bite anything, and is considered unmanageable by the setting's best horsemen. She calls him Socks.
  • The Demonata: Gregor. The giant cockroach. That kills children and eats people while they're still alive. The name is actually a reference to The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka, proving that Lord Loss at least has a sense of humour.
  • One of the major plots in The Diamond Age revolves about a Chinese crime lord suspected to deal in child trafficking, but he is actually 'rescuing' tens of thousands of abandoned baby girls and raising them in secret over many years, with heavy use of nano technology, to be an army of Tyke Bombs. As the Chinese love to give flowery names to things, he calls them the Mouse Army. Even with some at the age of twelve they become the largest and by far strongest army in the civil war.
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  • In Victor Milán's The Dinosaur Lords, Snowflake is rather small — for a Tyrannosaurus rex. He's the feared battle-mount of Duke Falk von Hornberg, and named for his albino colouration.
  • A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore, has the protagonist become the owner of a pair of hellhounds. He finds on their collars the names "Alvin" and "Mohammed".
  • Discworld
  • An Empathic Weapon sort-of example from Dragaera: The owner of the Great Weapon Godslayer thinks that its/her name is melodramatic and instead calls her by the name of the person whose personality she has (from eating her soul, no less). Thus, we get a magical knife that can and does destroy souls entirely accidentally, eliminates magical effects, and was designed to kill the Demon Goddess Verra (who, despite the title, is not a villain, exactly)... and it's referred to as Lady Teldra.
  • In Dragon Bones, Ward intentionally invokes this by calling the fierce stallion he inherited from his father (who died through the horse's fault) "Pansy". However, as Pansy was only a frightened horse, and aggressive mainly due to the abuse at its former owner's hands, not evil, Ward eventually manages to make the name more fitting.
  • The Dresden Files:
    • The series features Harry's massive, evil-hunter mastiff/dog-a-saurus cross and is actually a Foo dog, which is so reliable in its abilities that his glare could be used as evidence in the highest White Council courts named "Mouse", whose bark can send shocks through multiple dimensions. Dresden describes this as 'every cell of his body flinching' or something like that. It also scares the ectoplasmic piss out of every other supernatural being in the local vicinity. He also survived a hit from a speeding van and was only mildly inconvenienced at worst by a gunshot wound. Unless there's danger present, he's just a Big, Friendly Dog. The dog is far smarter than a human, and in Changes, we find he considers the ultra-powerful wizard Harry HIS familiar. In Dresden's defense, Mouse's name was appropriate back when he was a puppy small enough to fit in Dresden's coat pocket. Mouse just literally outgrew his name. In Skin Game, Hades explains the etymology of his own dog's name to Harry (See Myths & Religion below), and uses it as a point of comparison between the two of them. They're wardens of immense supernatural prisons, and they give their super-powered pets cute names.
    • In Peace Talks, Harry names his spirit daughter, who nearly killed him by being born "Bonnie". Unfortunately, we never get to see how her mom would have reacted to this.
  • Ayla from the Earth's Children series of novels set in the last ice age has a gigantic cave lion pet named Baby.
  • During one of the Give Yourself Goosebumps books, you might find yourself in front of a crossroads that splits into a road to safety and one to doom. If the one you chose turns into a living snake and is guarded by a huge talking scorpion... Congratulations! You made it to the Serpent Safeway! The scorpion acknowledges that most people entering think they are in the doom path at first.
  • In Hannah Tinti's The Good Thief, Ren becomes pals with a man named Dolly, whom he meets under unpleasant circumstances. Somewhat inconveniently for all concerned, Dolly is a murderer-for-hire who has no qualms whatsoever about his profession.
  • In Good Omens, by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman, Adam, the young man who is fated to become the anti-Christ names his dog "Dog". Dog, however, is a hell hound. This slowly becomes a subverted trope when Dog becomes as harmless and friendly as his name suggests, because this is his name.
  • The Orphan Disposal Agency in Sean Cullen's Hamish X series are led by Mr. Candy and Mr. Sweet. All the other agents we see keep this in mind.
  • In Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the entrance to the tunnel leading to the titular stone is guarded by a giant, slobbering three-headed dog named Fluffy, which Hagrid got from a Greek chappie.
    • Other similarly terrifying creatures with cutesy names appear throughout the series; Hagrid has a tendency to treat dangerous supernatural creatures as if they were fluffy little housepets. He's half-giant, and they usually respond quite well to such treatment. The more dangerous the animal, the cuter the name. See Norbert the dragon.
    • One of these pets, unfortunately, was a subversion, and is what got him expelled, originally, as revealed in The Chamber of Secrets. As a student, he kept an Acromantula named Aragog (not a cute name at all) which was blamed for being Slytherin's Monster. (Actually, Tom Riddle simply shifted the blame to Aragog to draw attention from the true Monster, the Basilisk; ironically, spiders are terrified of the Basilisk). Hagrid later helped him escape to the Forbidden Forest; still, Aragog may have caused a disaster even if this didn't happen. When Harry, Ron went to ask him for advice in Chamber of Secrets, he told them what he knew, and did not himself try to kill them (resisting his natural instinct out of respect for Hagrid), but had no inclination to stop his numerous offspring from trying to attack them for food.
    • On the other hand, he named his extremely friendly but cowardly sissy dog Fang.
  • In Hiero's Journey and The Unforsaken Hiero, Hiero's morse (a giant, combat-trained, mutant moose/riding animal) is named "Klootz." During one fight, it caves in the skull of an equally-large mutant bear with one kick.
  • Non-animal example, the Honor Harrington spaceship the HMS Hexapuma, named for the apex predator of his home world, is referred to by its crew as the Nasty Kitty. The crews of various space navies have a tendency to give cutesy nicknames to warships that could de-populate a small planet.
  • Hoot: Leroy "Curly" Branitt hires a set of Rottweilers to (unsuccessfully) guard the construction site he's in charge of. Three are named Max, Klaus and Karl. The last one is this trope - his name is "Pookie Face".
  • Idlewild: What do you call a humanoid with bat wings, claws, and no face? Popeye.
  • In John Ringo's Legacy of the Aldenata there is a supertank the size of a city block that shoots rocket sized shells with an anti-matter core that's named "Bun Bun". On the other hand, it is named after that Bun Bun.
  • The Legend of Drizzt: One of Drizzt's swords is a magical artifact of near-divine power (a +5 Defender for those who speak Dungeons & Dragons). He calls it Twinkle.
  • In Life of Pi, due to a mix-up at its arrival, the Bengal tiger earned the name "Richard Parker", the name of the hunter who actually caught him. The hunter's name on the application was listed as "Thirsty (the intended name of the tiger) None-Given".
  • The Long Earth series has humanoid Blood Knight wolf-like creatures called ... Beagles. Each with names like Snowy and Li-Li.
  • Kumiko's enormous London bodyguard in William Gibson's Mona Lisa Overdrive.
    "My name, you see," he said, as though this would immediately reassure her, "is Petal."
  • This appears in the 2nd book of the Monster Hunter International series. One of the protagonists reveals that, years ago as a child, she befriended a Shoggoth, a horrible creature originating from the Cthulhu mythos. She named the creature Mr. Trash Bags and it became friendly with her, probably because she didn't treat it like a monster. It eventually came to care for her and fought to protect her even though she's an adult now. Still, the creature is every bit as horrifying as it was described originally and its primary goals are killing and eating people.
  • The titular "kittons" of Cordwainer Smith's "Mother Hitton's Littul Kittons" are not very nice at all, and kept heavily sedated to avoid ... accidents.
  • A side character in one of the My Teacher Is an Alien books is an astonishingly huge alien that takes up the better portion of a house. He is called Big Julie by the protagonists, the only portion of his true name they are able to figure out. This appears to be a Shout-Out to "Big Julie," a mobster character from Guys and Dolls. To give an idea of Big Julie's proportions, the only thing the characters ever see of him is a gigantic eyeball filling up a doorway into the part of the house he inhabits. When the aliens vacate the house, they extract him by cutting him into bits, beaming those aboard their spacecraft, and putting him back together.
  • One of the most competent and dangerous late additions to Skeeve's associates in Myth Adventures is Aahz's cousin, an alert, agile, and highly-professional bodyguard/mercenary who floors Guido with one blow upon first encountering him. As a Pervect, this lethal individual's real name is quite long, but for short she goes by Pookie.
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four has the dictator, a Josef Stalin stand-in named "Big Brother".
  • Penryn and the End of Days:
    • The highly dangerous, crafty spymasters who seemingly got their eyes (and hands) just about everywhere? Their names are Tweedledee and Tweedledum.
    • Pooky Bear, the extremely mighty archangel sword who has only got two equals in all the worlds.
  • Percy Jackson and the Olympians:
    • There's Mrs. O'Leary the hellhound.
    • Also, Percy calls the Ophiotaurus "Bessie"... which, while cute, is a monster capable of destroying the gods.
    • And Percy, after seeing the monster Typhon, hopes that he is instead "Our giant friend, Leroy".
  • Rainbow Six: Rainbow sounds like a nice peaceful thing... but in this case it's a multinational elite-of-the-elite special forces anti-terrorist team.
  • Redwall: The Long Patrol has Lady Cregga Rose Eyes. Sounds like a cutesy name, right? Except it's applied to a badger, the single biggest, toughest species in the books (in the entire series, the only creature that could truly match one in a fight is a wolverine), who almost universally suffer from the Bloodwrath, which gives them scarlet Glowing Eyes of Doom and turns them into unstoppable berserk juggernauts when it seizes them. Lady Cregga's bloodwrath, by contrast, is always on.
  • Robin Hood's best friend is the hulking muscleman John Little, who goes by the nickname "Little John". He's not a guy you mess with.
  • In the ancient Roman novel The Satyricon, one character has a hulking watchdog whose name translates as "Puppy" and apparently, this was a joke also found in some earlier satirical works. This makes this trope Older Than Feudalism.
  • From A Song of Ice and Fire we get Shaggydog aka "Shaggy", a vicious, dark and growing more massive by the day dire wolf... who had the extreme misfortune to be bonded to (and named by) a hot-headed, three-year-old boy. He's actually the most feral of all the dire wolves; which makes sense, as the young Rickon has turned somewhat feral himself due to both the lack of parental supervision and the trauma of being both three and four in the middle of a civil war.
    • Arya Stark names her sword "Needle" mostly so she can get away with calling her initially under-the-table practice of swordplay "doing needlework" with full honesty when asked by Sansa or Septa Mordane what she's been up to.
  • Lizzie is attacked by a mechanical hyena named Tansy in Spider Circus.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's The Star Beast, the eponymous critter is called Lummox. Admittedly, 'he' wasn't too impressive ... until after that time he ate a Buick...
  • Starship Troopers: One of Rico's squadmates is a man nicknamed "Kitten". "Kitten" is an all-round Nice Guy, but he is also a fully trained Mobile Infantryman, and fully capable of killing someone in twenty ways without breaking a sweat.
  • Zig-zagged in Temeraire. Most dragons are given impressive Latin namesnote . However, Captain Harcourt's egg hatched unexpectedly early, so she had nothing prepared... leading to her dubbing her huge acid-spitting dragon Lily. Lily is just about the sweetest and most gentle character in the series, but she is also a twenty-ton, combat-trained, acid-spitting dragon.
  • Tortall Universe:
    • Kitten the dragon (though her real name is Skysong). She's a fairly nice dragon, but she is rather badass.
    • Keladry of Mindelan has a bad-tempered scarred gelding with a mean streak. He's a small warhorse who is (eventually) trained out of biting people for no reason, but is still worth a squad in combat. After he catches a would-be horse thief's arm in his mouth, Kel tries to dissuade the man by saying "He's not for sale or for stealing. He'll kill you. He's killed men before, he doesn't seem to find it difficult." The horse's name is Peachblossom.
  • Most of the villains in Warrior Cats have Obviously Evil names like "Scourge" and "Clawface". The Big Bad of Yellowfang's Secret is a tom-cat named "Marmalade", which means nothing to cats but is cutesy-sounding to readers. The main villain of Crookedstar's Prophecy is a she-cat with the unassuming and sweet sounding name of "Mapleshade", who also happens to be one of the most feared cats in the series.
  • Betsy's dancing bear, Petunia, from The Whipping Boy.
  • Dally Rumpe, the Big Bad of The Witches of Bailiwick. A powerful, cackling. usurping sorcerer. Named Dally Rumpe.
  • In The Witchlands, one of the character has a pet mountain bat, a giant winged snake with the head of a bat that could chomp a man in half. Its name? Blueberry.
  • The Master-Shark from the Young Wizards series, Ed'rashtekaresket, is quickly dubbed "Ed" by one of the wizards.


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