Follow TV Tropes


A Kind of One

Go To

Some mythological creatures are more famous than others, but a few are so famous that their entire species has been named after them in the popular consciousness, in a kind of mythological malapropism — or, alternatively, a singular creature proposed as a unique aberration is adopted by other stories as if it were a species.

Related but distinct from Single Specimen Species, since the original creature may have less-famous forgotten relatives, or the original creature might have been solitary and then turned into a race by later authors. Either way, there's not just one anymore.

However, A Kind Of One may be portrayed as a Single Specimen Species in each subsequent work, following the original; in which case it may be a case of Call a Smeerp a "Rabbit" since the characters have never seen it before, but the readers have. For instance, someone encountering a creature for the first time may Call a Pegasus a "Hippogriff".

Contrast the inversion, A Dog Named "Dog", where a character is named after their species instead of vice versa, and Last of His Kind, when there were more in the past.

A number of cases of this trope have become widespread and ubiquitous enough to have their own pages:

  • Classical Chimera — The classical Greek Chimera, originally a one-off freak of nature, is usually seen in fantasy as a whole species of many-headed monsters.
  • Feathered Serpent — The original was a single god worshipped by a number of Mesoamerican peoples under a variety of names, like Quetzalcoatl and Kukulkan.
  • Hellhound — Although many infernal and ghostly hounds of folklore were not thought to be individual beings, many fictional hellhounds are explicitly based on Cerberus, who was very much a singular entity.
  • Medusa — Although there were always at least three gorgons, Medusa was the personal name of just one of them.
  • Our Hydras Are Different — The Lernaean Hydra was a single monster in Greek myth, but often appears as a whole species in fantasy works.
  • Our Minotaurs Are Different — In the original myth there was only one "Minotaur": Asterion, the Bull of Minos. In many works, it becomes the name for an entire species of bovine humanoids.
  • Pegasus — Note that this is a borderline case. Only one Pegasus existed in Greek myth, but the term was used to refer to entire species of winged horses in Roman and Medieval bestiaries and natural histories.
  • The Phoenix — European folklore popularly said that there was only one phoenix — in fact, the idea of a single creature sustaining itself in an eternal, closed and sterile circle was a central point of the myth — but in fiction, it's often an entire species of fiery, immortal birds.

The trope name is a reversal of "one-of-a-kind".

See also Trope Namers, Ur-Example, Public Domain Character.


    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z: Frieza, his relatives King Cold, Cooler, Chilled and Kuriza, and presumably his Alternate Universe counterpart Frost are mutants of an unnamed race. In Dragon Ball Xenoverse and its sequel, players can create custom characters of Frieza's race... which is just called Frieza Race.
  • High School DD:
    • There are four Satans, mostly because that's actually just a job title. Specific subtitles include Leviathan of Foreign Affairs. (The original ruler of hell you're looking for is Lucifer; his bloodline's still around.) Otherwise it's averted, almost every aspect of the Crossover Cosmology is properly researched with their appearance and abilities clear based on their myth. Even the Heaven faction, a slurry of everything Abrahamic, uses individuals and hierarchy based in scripture.
    • There's also a Welsh dragon named Ddraig. Given how rare and powerful dragons are, it's entirely possible that he's not named after generic the generic Welsh word for "dragon", but that the Welsh language got its word for "dragon" from his name.


    Fan Works 
  • A particularly common type of Original Character within Kirby fanon is a lookalike of the titular character, usually of a color different than the pink hero (but not always) and who may or may not be wearing a hat. As the species have no official name, many had taken the likening of calling them "Kirbies" after the pink puffball himself, and some of them consider Meta Knight and Galacta Knight to be ones themselves simply because of their uncanny resemblance to Kirby (and, in Meta Knight's case, has been revealed to have a face similar to Kirby's under his mask).
  • Under the Northern Lights: Several of the monster species in the story are based on singular beings from Norse myth, which the author compares to how fiction usually handles Greek monsters.
    • Hraesvalgs, flying, wind-shaping spirits resembling a cross between eagles and maggots that possess corpses, are based on Hræsvelgr, a giant eagle that creates the wind and whose name means "corpse-swallower".
    • Mokkurkalfes, ice golems created by reindeer magicians using clay from a frozen river and an enemy's heart, are based on Mökkurkalfe, a man built by giants out of clay and the heart of a mare.
    • Nidhoggs, ice-breathing, wood-eating serpents that try to devour Tarandroland's forests each winter, are based on the dragon that gnaws on the roots of Yggdrasil.
    • Ratatosks, squirrel-like gossip spirits used as spies and informants, are based on Ratatosk, the squirrel who ran up and down the World Tree to ferry insults between Nidhogg and an unnamed eagle.
    • Skolls, northern relatives of the diamond dogs that breathe ice, eat light and heat, and want to make winter last forever, are based on Sköll, a wolf that chases and tries to eat the sun.
    • Tursos, in a break from the Nordic trend, are plague-spreading sea monsters based on Iku-Turso, a sea-dwelling horror said to be the father of disease from The Kalevala.

    Films — Animated 
  • Tigger from Winnie the Pooh is a good example of this trope. When Pooh asks what he is on meeting him, he says he is "The One and Only Tigger". However, The Tigger Movie is entirely about subverting this trope in the most heart-wrenching way possible.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Yoda from Star Wars probably deserves a mention here, since his species name was never revealed, and any other member that shows up is invariably referred to as "a yoda". George Lucas himself is said not to want the species named note , and so it's almost universally referred to as 'Yoda's Species'. At one point he was even reluctant to allow any other characters of Yoda's Species to be introduced, and even after relenting on this very few others have appeared. Apparently he hasn't shared his reasoning for why Yoda's background should be so mysterious.

  • Frankenstein: There are dozens of different kinds of Golems and reanimated humans, but Mary Shelley's Frankenstein's Monster has become a catch-all term for them all.
  • "Dracula" has been occasionally used as a synonym for "vampire" since Bram Stoker's work was published, usually in a playful context. For example, in Desmond Dekker's 1964 humorous song "Dracula", he warns the listener "Do not fall in love for that girl, she is a Dracula."
  • Sometimes in The Moomins stories, one isn't sure if the word used to refer to a particular creature is its personal name or the name of its species. This is often academic if that is the only example we meet. The most obvious example is the Hemulen — later stories establish there are definitely other Hemulens, such as the Park Keeper, and it's not even clear if "the" Hemulen is even always the same one. (There are almost certainly at least two Fillyjonks referred to as "the" Fillyjonk in different books.)

    Mythology — Classical 
  • The Chimera was a unique creature, a child of Echidna and Typhoeos (aka Typhon) in one version of the Greek myth. It's now synonymous with Mix-and-Match Critters (and has a similar meaning in Real Life genetics), and various fantasy games such as Dungeons & Dragons include a species of monster inspired by the original individual.
  • Empusa was originally a daughter of Hecate with flaming hair who seduced men before drinking their blood and eating them. She was eventually demoted in mythology to a class of spirits called empuse, who served Hecate by guarding roads against unwanted travelers. Later, they were further demoted to a kind of hobgoblin that bothers Greek farmers in the form of various animals. Empusa's other parent, Mormo, was similarly a single spirit who bit bad children that was generalized in to the Mormolyceion.
  • The Hydra — again, the original myth has it as a singular creature (another child of Echidna and Typhon, incidentally, meaning it and the Chimera were technically sisters) so tough that it took Heracles a labor to beat, yet it is often a random encounter in many a Role-Playing Game (though usually not a weak encounter). Lexicographically, "Hydra" just means water serpent, and is also the name of a genus of tiny underwater animals. The Hydra of Greek myth was more formally known as the Lernaean Hydra.
  • Lamia was a queen of Libya who became a child eating demon in Greek mythology. Over time she came to be generalized into a broad category of succubi, vampires, and other monsters called lamiae. It also became a name for witches and harlots. "Lamia" or "Lamiae" in the neoclassical sense are usually described as: a) demon women who change into snakes, b) demon snakes that change into women or c) strange half-woman half-snake demon things. The last is by far the most common in Japanese pop-culture, and sometimes they are not even demonic at all. They are also very, very clingy.
  • Medusa was only one of three Gorgons, her sisters being Stheno and Euryale.
    • The God of War series alternately refers to the monsters as Medusas or Gorgons, but Euryale is fought in the second game.
    • Stheno was a random encounter in (of all things) Final Fantasy Mystic Quest, the super-short kiddie-lite version of Final Fantasy.
    • Magic: The Gathering had a creature with the type Medusa in an early expansion, but all Gorgons released since have been typed as such (and that earlier Medusa is now legally one too).
    • Stheno is also a boss encounter (a leader of naga-like snake people) in City of Villains.
    • NetHack also gets it right in that "Medusa" is a boss and there is only one of her. Better yet, her lair includes a statue of Perseus...
    • Ditto several Castlevania games, which almost makes up for having "Medusa heads" as mooks in almost every installment.
    • Averted in The Kindly Ones arc of The Sandman (1989), where Lyta meets the two remaining sisters who are still in mourning for Medusa.
    • They also show up (or at least images of them do) in Fate/hollow ataraxia, though like Medusa before they assumed their monstrous forms.
    • Medusas are a monster race in Dungeons & Dragons, apparently female-only; the 2nd edition Monstrous Manual included a male-only version with the power to restore petrified things to normal, suggesting they were a single species dovetailing their abilities. Since this was stupid and reduced the terrifying impact of the medusa, they are almost uniformly forgotten or ignored. 4th edition adds male medusas back. They don't have snake hair and have a venomous gaze instead of a petrifying one. Gorgons, meanwhile, are metal-headed bulls that breathe petrifying gas.
    • The "bull" version of the gorgon probably originates from Edward Topsell's 1607 zoological text, The Historie of Foure Footed Beasts, where he uses the term 'gorgon' to refer to a creature with metallic scales and extremely poisonous breath, which seems to roughly correspond to what Pliny described as 'catoblepas' (which itself may have originally been a very distorted description of a wildebeest). The D&D version may include some cross-pollination from the fire-breathing Bronze Bulls that Jason and the Argonauts had to deal with.
    • Pardus has a jellyfish-like species named Medusanote  for its petrifying abilities... and its stronger relatives, Stheno and Euryale.
    • As of Unseen Academicals there's "a Medusa" in the Ankh-Morpork City Watch (although previous references in Guards! Guards! and Feet of Clay talked about gorgons).
    • Warhammer has both Gorgons ("Ghorgons", in the Beastmen army) and Medusae ("Bloodwrack Medusae" in the Dark Elf army). The latter are the common snake-bodied, snake-haired she-monster type (though their gaze causes rapid exsanguination, rather then petrifaction), while the former are savage many-armed forest giants similar to giant mutant minotaurs. In fact both are derived from mythological roots — originally a Gorgon (a name which, in Greek, simply means "terrifying") was just a savage lumbering beast, akin to the Middle-Eastern Humbaba. It was only later that the word became attached to Medusa and her sisters, and became their species name.
    • Heroes of Might and Magic 3 also has both gorgons and medusas, in different alignments.
    • Titan Quest wholly averts this as not only do normal Gorgons appear but Medusa and her sisters serve as bosses and the player's introduction to the race.
  • The Minotaur was originally — again — a unique monster, the result of an affair between Minos' wife in a sex-bot shaped like a cow and a magical bull from out of the ocean. Granted, this one does make some sense at least: "Minotaur" means bull of Minos, and in some versions the original Minotaur's proper name was Asterion, which would kind of make "Minotaur" even more of a descriptive, species-like name in the first place.
  • Oedipus the King: Inverted. Sophocles, who was familiar with the many unique monsters in Greek mythology, treats "the Sphinx" as a unique monster. However, in Egyptian Mythology where he took inspiration for the creature, sphinxes are a species with many members. Incidentally, like the Minotaur mentioned above, the Theban Sphinx had a name as an individual: she was called Phix.
  • Pegasus. There was only the one in myth, but has since become synonymous with pterippi ("wing-horse"), or Pegasi, or "pegasoids". Interestingly, Pegasus was more or less Medusa's son... and Poseidon's. Poseidon raped Medusa in Athena's temple, Medusa becoming impregnated in the process. Athena was furious and she turned Medusa into a Gorgon as a curse (Medusa's sisters shared in her punishment because they helped Medusa sneak Poseidon in.) When Perseus cut off Medusa's head, Pegasus was born out of her neck.
    • Notably, "pegasi" are one of earliest cases of a singular being turning into a whole species, as this goes as far back as Roman folklore. Pliny the Elder's Natural History describes the Ethiopian pegasi (Pegasoi Aithiopikoi — learned Romans wrote in Greek), which supposedly lived in subsaharan Africa. These creatures showed up with some regularity in Roman and medieval bestiaries afterwards (although here they were termed Pegasi Aethiopici — learned Europeans wrote in Latin). They also had the peculiarity of possessing antelope-like horns, but good luck finding any pegasi in modern fiction with that trait.
    • In Dungeons & Dragons (older versions at least), each Medusa killed has a chance of spawning a Pegasus in this way.
    • In Percy Jackson and the Olympians, the Pegasi are stated to be descendants of the original Pegasus (who is immortal). The original is mentioned several times, and his twin brother Chrysaor (who is not a winged horse, but humanoid, also immortal) appears as well. The original, unique winged horse shows up in the last book of The Heroes of Olympus.
    • A third of the ponies in all generations of My Little Pony are Pegasi, sometimes referred to as Pegasus ponies.

    Mythology — Other 
  • Fenrir, also known as the Fenris Wolf, was one of the three children of Loki in Norse Mythology. He was bound by the gods using a rope made of impossible things called Gleipnir. When he was not released from the bindings he bit off Tyr's hand. In many fantasy settings Fenrir is often just a very high tier type wolf monster often with some amount of ice magic.
  • Krampus is a single, one-of-a-kind creature in Germanic mythology, but an entire race in Hungarian folklore, with at least 4 named individuals.
  • Depending on the story, The Phoenix is often portrayed as being mortal, but only one existing at a time, usually reborn from its own ashes. Other times, it's a more simple example of this trope, with several existing even if they are all periodically reborn.
    • Some authors try to get around this by calling them "firebirds" as though they were a separate species, and sometimes cutting out the immortality piece. (Note: the "Firebird" of Russian fairytales is still the only one of her kind.) But there is something of a "precedent" in similar magical, and/or fire-based birds from other mythologies such as Fenghuang and Suzaku. This also counts for the Native American Thunderbird.
    • The Discworld demonstrates them as a species that migrate together, causing auroras in the sky, and explaining that one of anything couldn't last long, especially in a Fantasy Kitchen Sink world where everything has predators.
    • In the Marvel Universe, it's sometimes been claimed that there's not only just one Phoenix in the universe, but only one across all universes. Though given that such a concept makes it hard to do What If? stories about The Dark Phoenix Saga (one of the most iconic of all X-Men stories and thus fertile ground for alternate retellings), they seem to have quietly retconned that idea years ago. And even within the main Marvel Universe the "only one Phoenix" concept is kind of cheapened by the fact that fragments of the Phoenix can be split off and still have vast power, and the Phoenix can take on more than one human host simultaneously.
  • In most, if not all, pre-Columbian Mesoamerican mythologies, there was only one Feathered Serpent, the serpent god known as Quetzalcoatl by the Aztecs, Kukulkan by the Yucatec Maya, and Q'uq'umatz by the K'iche' Maya. In modern fiction, it has become very common for the terms "feathered serpent" or "coatl" to refer to an entire species of snake-bird chimeric beings, more often than not simply magical beasts or a species of relatively weak (i.e., mortal-level) intelligent beings.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Heartland Pro Wrestling's Shark Boy, who became popular in various IWA promotions, OVW, WCW and more eventually found himself a Shark Girl. In TNA it was eventually revealed there was a whole family of Shark Boys and Shark Girls. More Shark Girls have shown up in SHINE and another Shark Boy popped up in IWRG and CMLL.

     Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • In general, most mythological beings included in the game are treated as entire and sometimes fairly widespread species even when their inspiration was a singular being — chimeras, medusas, hydras, sphinxes and minotaurs are all examples of this. The jabberwock, which by what information the poem provides was also a singular monster, is likewise interpreted as an entire species of monsters.
    • In a meta example, 1st Edition included six varieties of demons in its Monster Manual, each one designated as "Type 1", "Type 2", etc. These type designations were also accompanied by the parenthetical names of infamous members of their type, such as "Balor" or "Vrock". When later editions abandoned the "Type __" naming system, the game's writers simply re-named each of the six varieties after these examples, so the "Type 1 demon" became the "vrock", etc. The Tarrasque is a variant. Almost every setting has one at most (hence why it is the Tarrasque)... but since many of the settings are at least nominally connected, that means there are multiple Tarrasque, you just wouldn't see more than one at a timenote 
    • Planescape's second Monstrous Compendium downplays this with monsters of legend, unique and legendary specimens of monster species such as chimeras, sphinxes or medusas. These are the living archetypal examples of their respective species, powerful and legendary and only found in isolated lairs in the Outer Planes, and only one exists of each kind.
      Hydras, chimeras, gorgons, medusae — any number of bashers have encountered these creatures on the Prime Material Plane, but there aren't so many of 'em out on the Great Ring. In fact, there's usually just one, and that's the archetype for all monsters of this sort, the one they made up all the stories about.
  • Magic: The Gathering: The Legendary Creature classification, which defines some cards as referring to specific individuals rather than generic examples of something, was only introduced after the game had been out for some time. As such, many early cards depicting individual people use their names as their creature types, and allow multiple instances to be in play at once. Examples include Ali Baba, Ali from Cairo and Aladdin from Arabian Nights and Uncle Istvan from The Dark. In the case of Arabian Nights, this was later explained by a sort of Retcon in the Magic novels stating that the plane of Rabiah was split into 1001 Alternate Universe versions of itself, so that there are actually supposed to be 1001 copies of each of these guys running around. However Uncle Istvan was introduced after legendary creatures already existed but was designed beforehand, and as he's from the original default setting of Dominaria he doesn't get the excuse 1000 extra copies.
  • Pathfinder:
    • Creatures such as medusas (i.e., Greek gorgons), euryales (i.e., snake-bodied Greek gorgons), minotaurs, pegasi, phoenixes, hydras, chimeras, scyllas, cipactlis and so on all appear as full-fledged species, despite their mythical inspirations all being unique entities.
    • Sthenos are an interesting example of this. At a first glance, they're very similar to medusas and euryales in being a species of snake-haired humanoids named after one of the three Gorgons. However, originally, there was only one Stheno, a specific euryale who was just named that — however, the original Stheno died while trying to escape her current deity for a less tyrannical one, after which her faith caused her hair-snakes to each turn into a new being, creating a new species who chose to name themselves sthenos in memory of their foremother.
    • The vydrarch is an in-universe case of this. The one that attacked the city of Korvosa and was slain was originally thought to be a singular, one-off monster, but rumors later emerged that there might be more roaming the seas.
  • Warhammer has many, many examples. Besides the Gorgons and Medusae, there are examples of Hydras, Chimeras, Minotaurs, Phoenixes, Pegasi and pretty much all the standard fantasy versions of this trope. Of special note is the Kharybdiss, however — a species of sea monster in Warhammer derived from the whirlpool-causing individual monster Karybdis in Homer's Odyssey. Karybdis' traditional mythological partner Scylla does inspire a Warhammer monster, but it is a unique individual (the Chaos Spawn Scyla Anfingrimm), rather than a species (in fact the Kharybdiss bears some similarities with Homer's description of Scylla).

    Video Games 
  • Age of Mythology allows players to raise armies of mythological creatures, that even have fairly correct Latin scientific names (all Half-Human Hybrid are Homo x — the Minotaur is Homo taurus — others take their known genus — the Nemean Lion is Leo biaxomus, the Pegasus is Equus pegasus, the Phoenix is Aquila inferna — and when no real life animal exists, a Latin word becomes the genus — the Chimera is Draco chimera, the Medusa is Gorgon chrysaorus).
  • Quite common throughout the Super Mario Bros. universe:
    • Yoshi is a species of dinosaur most often referred to as "Yoshis" in all games with others of his kind.
    • Toad(s), though they used to be called Mushroom Retainers
    • Birdo(s).
    • Kamek is an inversion: in the original Japanese, that is the generic name of the enemy type that is known in English as Magikoopa. In the West, it became the proper name of one particular Magikoopa, Bowser's right-hand man.
    • Bowser's Japanese name, Koopa became the name for the species of turtle-people he belongs too, in Japan they're simply the Turtle Tribe. Bowser's Japanese and English name are eventually merged into "Bowser Koopa".
  • Dragon Ball Online has some examples:
    • One of the healer's sub-classes is literally called Dende, based on the original Dende.
    • Many of the species that one comes across are named after the original character that was of that species, such as the Giran and the Buyon.
  • The Prometheans from Monster Sanctuary are named after Prometheus, who was the first corpse Victor reanimated and the first to gain free will.
  • Exaggerated in the Shin Megami Tensei series, where every demon (which includes gods, angels, fairies. and other supernatural beings) is one of many of the same demon. It's possible to encounter half a dozen Rangda and Barong, fight Vishnu with another Vishnu, and dissuade Oberon from joining your party because another Oberon is already in the party. Conversations with NPC demons suggest that they are the same demons from the myths, but no explanation is given.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog: The Flickies are named after a bird named "Flicky" from a previous Sega game of the same name.
  • Spyro 2: Ripto's Rage!: Potentially, supposedly the name of the Riptocs comes from their leader Ripto.
  • Same as Age of Mythology above, Titan Quest turns several unique mythological monsters (mostly from Greek Mythology) into veritable races, such as the Gorgons, Minotaurs and others. Oddly enough, a few creatures are unique, such as the Chimera, the Manticore and Talos.
  • Puyo Puyo:
    • Implied for Hohow Bird, whose dialogue indicates he's part of a species. Yet, no other Hohow Birds have appeared in the franchise.
    • Donguri Gaeru the round frog is actually part of a species of identical-looking acorn frogs, which was hinted at in the games and eventually shown in the Light Novel Satan's Space Amusement Park. While never outright confirmed, the one who appears in the games seems to be the same one every time, as characters frequently express familiarity with him.

    Web Animation 
  • The Cheat from Homestar Runner looks vaguely like a short, fat miniature cheetah; he's been referred to as "a The Cheat" (always with the article) and no other creature resembling him has ever been seen (except in Cheat Commandos, which is purely metafictional, note  so all the Cheat Commandos characters may be depictions of him). One cartoon shows him hatching out of an enormous egg along with "a lifetime supply of fishsticks" and one of the video games has Strong Bad referring to his "hot mom", though, so possibly there are others.
  • In Eddsworld, demons are referred to as "Satans".

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Vilgax's species from Ben 10 actually has more than one name. "Chimeran", "Chimera Sui Generis", and "Vilgaxian". Although justified in that Vilgax conquered his planet, and renamed it after himself.
    • Terroranchula is both a character and an alien species.
  • A rather odd example in Futurama. Observing his behavior, Leela names a pet oh-so-cute creature "Nibbler". What does his species ultimately turn out to be called? "Nibblonians". Possible explanations include that they all do like eating things, thus making them a Descriptively-Named Species, and that the species name is only heard by psychic translation, so it may just have been their choice for her.
    • Leela herself is an aversion as she initially believes herself to be the only alien of her species. It turns out she's a human mutant.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has several straight examples from Classical Mythology.
    • Pegasi are the most prevalent example being one-third of the pony population. Cockatrices, minotaurs, phoenixes, chimeras and orthros as a species are also either seen or implied.
    • There also a few inversions: in Aztec Mythology, the ahuizotl was an entire species, but in the show, Ahuizotl is the name of one individual villain. Similarly, The Arimaspi were a tribe of one-eyed people from Greek legend, whereas in the show, Arimaspi is the name of a single cyclops-like creature.
  • In the Rick and Morty episode "Childrick of Mort", Rick fights against a Zeus. Not against Zeus himself from Classical Mythology; a Zeus, named Reggie, who apparently comes from an entire species of god-like beings with dominion over lightning who are all "Zeuses".
  • Occurs in-universe in Steven Universe: When Steven introduces himself by name to Peridot, she refers to him as "the" Steven— Peridot's society lacks individual names and thus she thinks that's a species that's replaced humans. Steven tries to explain he is a human, and he lists several others humans on Earth, including Lars, Sadie, Connie, the mail man, his father, and Onion "...I think". This just made Peridot think those were other types of humans. So when Topaz and Aquamarine come to Earth, ordered by Yellow Diamond to collect more humans for the Human Zoo, they look for "a 'My Dad', a 'Connie', a 'Lars', a 'Sadie', a 'Mailman', and an 'Onion I think'."
  • In T.U.F.F. Puppy, the Cartoon Creature species Keswick belongs to are also called "Keswicks".
  • Numerous characters on The Venture Bros. refer to all vampires as "Draculas," with the exception of Jefferson Twilight, Blackula Hunter, who explains that he refers to black vampires as Blackulas because he can't think of a better name to distinguish them from other vampires.

    Real Life 
  • Caesar. It started as part of one man's family name, then became a term for emperors, spawning both Czar and Kaiser. Hilariously, Julius Caesar once proclaimed "I am not King, I am Caesar" in response to followers of his trying to proclaim him King of Rome — that's right, he insisted on being called "Caesar" as a show of humility.
  • Renard, in France. The old French word for fox was "goupil". At the same time, there was a series of popular medieval stories about the Cunning Like a Fox and literal anthropomorphic fox) Renard (or Reynard or Reynaud, i.e. Ronald) and his clashes with the wolf Isengrim. Because of a Speak of the Devil superstition that held that saying the name of a fox might cause it to appear and attack barn animals, people began to refer to all foxes as "Renard" until it stuck as the common name for the animal in French.
  • The popularity of Pixar's Finding Nemo has led to common/orange clownfish (Amphiprion ocellaris/percula) and regal tangs (Paracanthurus hepatus) being consistently referred to as "Nemo fish" and "Dory fish" respectively. This tends to drive aquarium-keepers up a wall.
  • The French word for jellyfish is méduse (Medusa). Same goes for Polish: meduza. And Finnish ("Meduusa"). And Spanish, in which is just "Medusa".
  • The Sun, the Moon and the Galaxy... are the generally-accepted proper names of Earth's sun, moon and galaxy, after they turned out not to be unique. The Galaxy is usually called the Milky Way, which is a loose translation of "galaxy" into English. Science fiction often refers to the Sun and the Moon as "Sol" and "Luna", which is just the same thing, but with Latin instead of English.
    • Doesn't help that many people, and even some sci-fi writers, confuse "sun" with "star". There is only one sun, i.e. the star of the sol system, which is only one of an indescribable number of stars across the universe. Even when only used to refer to stars that specifically have planets orbiting them, there is still an indescribable number of them.
    • The same can be said of the planet Earth, which just means "dirt" or "the ground", though this hasn't stopped the perception of Orphaned Etymology situations in fantasy works that use the classical Natural Elements.
    • Moon has had a a topsy-turvy relationship with this trope in scientific literature. First, natural satellites were called planets (in other word, the Moon was a planet), but that quickly fell out of use with a need to separate the ones that orbited the Sun from the ones that orbited the ones who orbited the Sun, so satellite became predominant. Then Sputnik was launched, and it became a losing battle to refer to that kind of satellite as man-made or artificial satellites, and while natural satellites sees use it can be a bit unwieldy or too wordy... so scientific literature drifted towards the more common usage of moons (with Earth's Moon being, well, the Moon).
  • Two examples are the words "ocean" and "psalm," which, while not categories of one, are categories with specific, defined members. An ocean is one of four/five specific bodies of water, depending on how you count the area around Antarctica. A psalm is one of the 150 songs or poems in the Book of Psalms. There presumably are not and can never be any other oceans or psalms.
    • This also doesn't count oceans that existed in earlier geological epochs (such as Panthalassa), oceans predicted to arise in future epochs via continental drift, the subsurface oceans on Europa and Enceladus that have yet to be explored or named, Oceanus Procellarum on the Moon which isn't really an ocean, or any oceans which may be discovered on Earthlike extrasolar planets in the future.
    • The split of the world oceans into multiple oceans is an example, too, as for the Ancient Greeks, the okeanos was one body of water encompassing the world.
    • There are other Hebrew poems who share most if not of the literary qualities of the psalms, and (in the NT) Greek passages written in stylistic imitation. These are usually called "canticles", but is there really that much difference?
  • The elephant Jumbo didn't name any animal species, but his name did become a synonym for "huge".