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Constantly Changing Name

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"Well, today I'm Lydia... Last week I called myself Rebecca, but I also like Rachel..."
Lydia, Peanuts

A name, be it of a person, place or thing, is often changing. The frequency of the changes can vary from years to days, but the name has to be changed at least more than once.

The name can be changed for any reason, be it someone who doesn't want to be found or someone changing their name constantly just for fun. This may lead to difficulty for others to find the person, place or thing in question.

Compare with I Have Many Names, where a character has many names, titles or monikers accumulated over time but is usually referred to by multiple at once. Not to be confused with Sudden Name Change, when a name is suddenly changed with no explanation in-universe. For other renaming tropes, look for Meaningful Rename.


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  • The "Rock Notes" bit from Monty Python's Contractual Obligation Album features a summary of the career of a band that has undergone copious break-ups, reformations and name changes:
    "Dead Monkeys" are to split up again, according to their manager, Lefty Goldblatt. They've been in the business now ten years, nine as other groups.
  • In one of Rodney Dangerfield's earliest stage routines, he jokes about how he got his stage name. Seems he bought it from a guy on the street who told him, "It's good to change your name. I'm always changing mine. Here, try 'Rodney Dangerfield' for a week. If you don't like it, you can bring it back." "I tried it, I didn't like it. I went to bring it back, I couldn't find the guy! He changed his name!"
  • In the Firesign Theatre's Further Adventures of Nick Danger, the mysterious femme fatale from the gumshoe's past is variously Melanie Haber, Audrey Farber, Susan Underhill ... and Betty Jo Bioloski (but everyone knew her as Nancy).

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers: Hank Pym went through many superhero names, including Ant-Man, Giant-Man, Goliath, Yellowjacket, and The Wasp.
  • Daredevil: A Running Gag in Daredevil (Mark Waid) is that Kristie keeps changing the name on the door of the law firm every time it appears.
  • In the old DC Comics series Hero Hotline, team strongman Sturgis Butterfield was constantly changing his hero name; over the course of the six-issue series he was alternately Mr. Muscles, Brother Bicep, and Mr. Mighty, and those are just the ones mentioned on-panel.

    Comic Strips 
  • Peanuts: Lydia, who Linus had a crush on, changed her name almost every day. One day she introduced herself as Jezebel then immediately changed her name after Linus informed her of Jezebel's fate in The Bible.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The LEGO Movie: Wyldstyle's name is revealed to be the last in a long line of names like: Darkstorm, Gemini, Neversmile, Freakface, Snazzypants, and has been changed to many others. Before the film's climax, she reveals that her real name is actually Lucy to Emmet, who thinks it's a great name. From then on, the name Lucy sticks permanently.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Cheap Detective. The character played by Madeline Kahn has a compulsion to give different names for herself. During the span of one minute, she claims that her name is Denise Manderley, Wanda Coleman, Gilda Dabney, Chloe Lamar, Alma Chalmers, Alma Palmers and Vivian Purcell, and finally decides on "Carmen Montenegro". She later says that she's "Miss De Vega" and claims to be her own sister. She finally says her real name is Mary Jones.
  • One, Two, Three : Macnamara's driver takes him and Ingeborg to the Grand Hotel Potemkin in East Berlin, formerly known as the Grand Hotel Goering and before that the Grand Hotel Bismarck.

  • In The Kingkiller Chronicle, the main love interest is constantly burning bridges and changing her name. She asks Kvothe to use the name he met her as, Denna, but to everyone else she uses a different name every few weeks.
  • In Warrior Cats, most Clan cats will have their name change at least twice during their life to reflect their rank in the Clan. As a kit, their name ends in -kit (Bluekit, Nightkit, etc); at the age of six moons when they begin their warrior/medicine cat apprenticeship, their name ends in -paw (Bluepaw, Nightpaw). Once they earn warrior or medicine cat status and are considered an adult, they receive a more unique suffix (resulting in names like Bluefur, Nightpelt, Fireheart, Jayfeather, Leafpool, etc). If a cat becomes the leader of their Clan, they receive the special suffix -star (Bluestar, Nightstar). There are also rare occasions where a cat's name is changed an extra time due to a significant injury, the idea being that the new name suits them better (such as Sparrowpelt becoming Halftail).
  • In Tolkien's Legendarium (and especially elaborated on in The Children of Húrin), Túrin went through nine other aliases during his adult life. He justified it as an attempt to keep his family's curse at bay.
  • The protagonist in Ben Croshaw's novel, Will Save the Galaxy for Food has no permanent identity, and only goes by aliases. In the first book, he is known as "Jacques McKeown" (which is actually the name of another character he's impersonating). In the sequel, Will Destroy the Galaxy for Cash, he goes by the name "Dashford Pierce".
  • Discworld:
    • Crash, Noddy and Scum in Soul Music are constantly changing the name of their Music with Rocks In group (Insanity; The Whom; Lead Balloon; etc.), in the conviction that the perfect name is out there somewhere, before eventually performing as Ande Supporting Bandes.
    • A Downplayed Trope with Boxed Crook Moist von Lipwig, who used to have a variety of names as a professional conman, most notably the hanged swindler Albert Spangler, but also the "lack-of-confidence-trickster" Edwin Streep, the solidly respectable Tresspass Hatchcock, and several other aliases, including one that existed purely as a name to have a forgery kit stashed under ("Mr Robinson's Box"). Following Spangler's "execution" at the start of Going Postal, however, he is stuck being Moist von Lipwig, a situation that initially makes him feel like he's naked in public.
  • Sephora from Post-High School Reality Quest has spent the last four years changing her name every time she gets a new boyfriend. She's been previously known as Angelica, Octavia, Lynn, and Marie. Buffy doesn't even know her real name. It's Mary Anne Jarvis.
  • Whateley Universe: Darcy Blake:
    The great Breakthrough needs no help against any obstacle, be it a brick wall or a word problem!"
    "Ah, I thought your code name was, um..." Calliope could not actually recall, but she was certain that it was something different.
    Nina's friend snickered. "She changed it again. The junior-high kids all have a little more of a grace period before they're stuck with whatever they picked, and Darcy's on her fifth so far."

    Live-Action TV 
  • On Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Buffy spends some time living in Los Angeles under her middle name, Anne. While there, she meets a minor character from a previous episode who is currently going by Lily, a name chosen by her boyfriend. Before she was part of a vampire-worshiping cult and called herself Chanterelle; before that she mentions having been in another cult as "Sister Sunshine." At the end of the episode she changes her name to Anne, which she uses throughout her appearances in Angel. Incidentally, the shooting script for her original appearance says that her birth name is Joan Appleby.
  • Fawlty Towers played with this in its Couch Gag: each episodenote  began with an establishing shot of the titular hotel, with the letters on the sign either partially missing or rearranged into something nonsensical like "Farty Towels" or "Flowery Twats".
  • Hill Street Blues: Belker constantly hauled in a black guy for purse-snatching. When he asked the suspect for his name, he always gave a different one, sometimes the name of a famous person like Robert Q. Lewis or F. Scott Fitzgerald, but he also once gave his name as Curtis Interruptus! Sadly, he gave Belker his real name as he died in the cop's arms, mortally wounded, and asked him to break the news of his death to his mother.
  • Parks and Recreation:
    • Andy constantly renames his band, though it is most often known as "Mouse Rat", which is a huge contributing factor to the band's lack of success, since anyone who likes their music can't find them by name.
    • The workplace scapegoat, Jerry's real name is revealed to be Garry, he just never corrected his boss on the first day of work when the boss mistakenly called him Jerry. This trope kicks in when his name gets changed from season to season to various names rhyming with -arry until he eventually winds up as Garry again.
  • On Psych, Shawn gives Gus and himself a new alias when they introduce themselves to people each episode.
  • In Supernatural, Charlie takes on new aliases whenever she moves around. The second time she meets the Winchesters, she mocks them for thinking the name she gave them the first time was real. However, they continue to call her 'Charlie' anyway, so for the viewers that name sticks.
  • On Superstore, Amy has a different name tag every episode until her promotion to manager because she doesn't like strangers knowing her real name.
  • Leverage Sophie, having spent a lifetime as a professional (and recreational) grifter and conwoman, has made a habit of this trope. Over the course of the show, several of her old acquaintances are met in the course of different jobs and cons, and not one calls her by the same name.
  • On Star Trek: Voyager, The Doctor goes through a phase of this in his early exploration of his identity beyond his original programming, before eventually settling on what everyone calls him anyway. The finale shows a future where he finally settles on "Joe," the name of his human wife's grandfather; however, it's not clear if this still happens when the timeline is changed.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer 40,000's Grey Knights Space Marines Chapter, the military arm of the Inquisition's Ordo Malleus, are said to have their names changed periodically. This is apparently done as another line of defense against the daemons that they fight, given that I Know Your True Name holds sway over the setting.

    Video Games 
  • Fallout: New Vegas: various long-lived ghoul characters (pseudo-immortal zombies created by radiation) reveal that they have constantly changed their names for years after getting bored of their old ones, just to break up the monotony of continually living for hundreds of years.
  • Fallout 4: Deacon is a justified example, given that he's an agent of the Railroad; its his job to blend in wherever he goes.

    Web Animation 

  • The Darths & Droids version of Han Solo, who was initially introduced under the name Greedo, before shooting Han Solo (the movie Greedo) and taking his identity. Lando knows him as Freddo, because that's the name he used on Bespin. It's implied he takes his identities in alphabetical order; by the time of the strips based on The Force Awakens, he's got up to X, taking the name of a female bounty hunter called Xasha. And dies under the name Zeppo, possibly due to running out of options to be someone else. This is confirmed in the strip's take on Solo, in which he conveniently keeps running into people whose identities he can steal, in order. And before he took his first one, Alberto, he had no name.
  • In Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name, the Supporting Protagonist is a zombie(?) with Ghost Amnesia. Since he can't remember his name, Hanna keeps switching what he calls him, hoping that one of the names will jog his memory. They're usually something very unlikely, like "Galahad."

    Web Videos 
  • Phelous: One recurring character is his version of a character from an animated adaptation of White Fang, being an easily annoyed bear that constantly changes his name depending on what he's feeling:
    I'm a bear. And I'm red. That's why they call me "Red Bear".
    I'm a bear. A very tired bear. That's why the call me "Tired Bear".
    I hate myself, too. That's why they call me "Self-loathing Bear".

    Western Animation 
  • In earlier seasons of Archer, it was a Running Gag that Cheryl kept changing her name for varying reasons (for instances, adopting the name "Cristal" for one episode in order to make herself sound more "ethnic" to attract the attention of the new black employee, or becoming "Cherlene" in order to pursue a country-music career.) Eventually, she reverted to just being "Cheryl".
  • In Over the Garden Wall, Greg has a frog and tries to figure out the perfect name for it; he changes it numerous times over the course of the story, sometimes going through two or more in an episode. In the end, Wirt names it after Jason Funderberker.
  • One of the vignettes in the Peanuts TV special Charlie Brown's Christmas Tales has Linus fall for a girl who changes her name every day. When writing her a Christmas card, Linus decides to just address it to "her".
  • The Secret Show: The chief of U.Z.Z. has his name Changed Daily for security purposes. It’s always changed to something ridiculously silly, such as "Nighty-Tighty La-La". Even when he goes missing, his pre-recorded message for such a contingency is also a silly codename (Pineapple Chunks).
  • A Running Gag of The Weekenders was the pizza place constantly changing its name... and its theme. Characters actually don't have a difficult time finding the pizza place though, because it's a building.