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Embarrassing First Name

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Lupin: And this is Nymphadora.
Tonks: Don't call me Nymphadora, Remus. (shudders) It's Tonks.
Lupin: Nymphadora Tonks, who prefers to be known by her surname only.
Tonks: So would you if your fool of a mother had called you "Nymphadora".

Similar to Embarrassing Middle Name and Embarrassing Last Name, this trope covers instances when a character has a first name that they don't like to be called by. Such characters use a variety of tactics to avoid their real first name:

  1. Getting a nickname (often one that hints at their embarrassing name).
  2. Picking a new first name.
  3. Claiming their middle name is their first name.
  4. Insisting that everyone call them by their last name.

This does not necessarily need to cross Unfortunate Names territory. Most of the time, the first name is a very normal one that only sounds embarrassing to the bearer, especially if the bearer is trying to be intimidating or respected but has a too humble name; when this applies to a villain, see Tom the Dark Lord. A Giver of Lame Names causes this. Who Names Their Kid "Dude"? is a frequent cause as well. If people continue to call the character by that first name anyway, it may lead to a Do Not Call Me "Paul" scenario.

Compare Real Joke Name, and Fluffy the Terrible. Contrast Awesome McCoolname.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kotetsu in Anima Yell! finds her name interesting because her name isn't girly at all — it refers to a famous blacksmith and, by extension, a sword made by him.
  • In Aruosumente, Jasmin Fiorella really hates his name, especially his first name, blowing up on Lante every time the latter calls him that — naturally, Lante is not fazed.
  • One of the students in the titular Assassination Classroom is named Justice Kimura, a name given by his police officer parents that he's embarrassed by. He instead tells everyone to use the Alternate Character Reading for his first name, "Masayoshi".
  • Moe Suzuya in Asteroid in Love doesn't like her first name, and particularly dislikes how customers of her family bakery calls her "Moe Moe". This is why she insists her schoolmates calling her "Suzu".
  • In Attack on Titan, it turns out that "Porco" is not an Affectionate Nickname for Galliard, but his first name. He understandably dislikes it and prefers being addressed to as "Galliard". Pieck is the only one who continues to address him as "Porco" despite him telling her to stop calling him that many times.
  • In Bakugan Dan's last name is "Kuso". "Kuso" essentially means "shit". It's odd since the series is Japanese so they should know what it means, and it's a kid show at that. note 
  • Hanai from Big Windup! has "Azusa", which is commonly given to girls, for his first name. He hates it so much that he makes his own mother call him by their family name instead.
  • Bleach: Ichigo. Sure, the kanji reading amounts to "protects one thing" but the name is also homonymous with "strawberry" (and his hair is orange). Even worse, it's also a girl's name. It doesn't help him maintain a badass image. Characters and even the manga-ka in chapter titles are not above exploiting this. He's even called "Berry-tan" to his face by Mashiro. Lampshaded when he first meets Ikkaku who takes note of his name because they share "Ichi-" as part of the name, concluding it's an awesome, lucky omen for both of them. Ichigo observes that he's not used to that kind of reaction when admitting what his name is.
  • Bocchi the Rock! has Ikuyo Kita, who hates being referred to by her first name since she thinks it's too old-fashioned and it makes her name sound like a pun (Kita Ikuyo can be read as "I'm here! Let's go!").
    Kita: (laying down on the floor in despair) My full name is "Kita Kita".
  • Umibozu from City Hunter prefers to go by that nickname (meaning sea monster) or his old codename Falcon (mostly used by people connected to his time in the US, including his wife) rather than his real name Hayato Ijuin. That's not because Hayato is a strange name, but because it's utterly normal-and so completely embarrassing for a gigantic Professional Killer whose strong points are demolitions and enough strength to do Guns Akimbo with a machine gun and a bazooka.
  • D.Gray-Man has badass, Jerkass, sword-wielding Mr. Fanservice Kanda Yu. Calling him by his first name will lead to swift annihilation.
  • Dragon Ball:
    • In the original Japanese version of Dragon Ball (the original), Bulma hesitatingly says her name when Goku asks what it is. This is because she originally thought her name was embarrassing because of what it sounded like (in the manga; in the anime, Goku just though it was a "funny name"). All of this got lost in both the Vancouver dub and in Funimation's redub. In the original, Bulma is called Buruma, which is a Japanese pronunciation of "bloomers", a type of women's underwear (compare her son Trunks, her daughter Bra/Bulla, and her father Dr. Briefs).
    • Then Dragon Ball Z introduces Goku's original name, Kakarot, used for his original purpose, when he was sent to Earth to cleanse all life from it. He rejected that name after rejecting his mission, but Vegeta and a few villains still refer to him by that name, even though he'd rather they not. Come the end of Dragon Ball Super: Broly, he tells Broly that it’s okay to call him by that name, however.
  • The Token Mini-Moe of Flame of Recca was very reluctant in giving her name to the heroes. The reason? Her name is Ganko (Stubborn). Cue much taunting and laughing from The Hero and The Big Guy.
  • Nasa Yuzaki of Fly Me to the Moon dislikes how his name is the same as the acronym for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. Because of that, he obsessively studies in order to become a great man, hoping that once he does, people will no longer make fun of his name.
  • Gou Matsuoka from Free! is considered to be referred to by her first name due to having a boy's name. She wants to be called Kou, as it sounds more feminine, but no one else calls her by that name.
  • Strangely enough, both of the main characters in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Steel Ball Run: Jonathan Joestar (who changed into Johnny specifically because of the nickname JoJo) and Iulius Caesar Zeppeli (yes, that Julius Caesar).
  • K has Misaki Yata and Saruhiko Fushimi (Saru means "monkey"), who allow each other to use those names, and very few others... of course, once they become enemies, they use the names to taunt each other, though it maintains an air of intimacy and a suggestion that they will someday get back together.
  • Run-Run in Magical Circle Guru-Guru is utterly embarrassed by her name, which is the Japanese equivalent to "La-La". She can get violently angry if people constantly repeat it or, worse, sing it. She will also do all in her power to prevent people who don't know her name from ever learning it and is annoyed by Nike's persistence in the matter.
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam has a male lead named Kamille, who naturally hates his feminine-sounding name. He eventually falls in love with a girl named Four, who has similar issues with her name (in her case, because it signifies that she is a number rather than an individual). In fact, the entire reason Kamille got involved in the war between the AEUG and Titans is because he assaulted a Titans soldier (his future Rival Jerid Mesa) who remarked on his name and got arrested for it.
  • An episode of Mushi Shi features this. During it, Ginko meets a man who is determined to capture a rainbow. He tells Ginko that his father was actually able to touch a rainbow once and even took it home, where it remained until it disappeared. As a result, he became obsessed with finding it again and became extremely excited whenever it was going to rain. He even named his son after the Rainbow. His name became the source of ridicule for him growing up. His father apologized on his deathbed and wrote down a new name for his son to use before explaining that he was only trying to name him after something precious to him. His son refuses the new name and ultimately finds the Mushi.
  • Juliet Nao Zhang of My-Otome strongly dislikes her first name, and everyone except Shiho (who strongly dislikes her) and some of her gang members call her "Nao".
  • Negima! Magister Negi Magi:
  • Oddman 11's Shiraishi is on a Last-Name Basis with almost everyone, a fact unknown to the audience and the protagonist until she is called by her actual name on a whim by Fujou. There seems to be nothing wrong with it, but she tends to get violent whenever it's used.
    Setsu: Shiraishi, is 'Kirara' your first name? It's cute.
    Shiraishi: Call me that one more time and I'll pierce your hymen with my fist.
  • The main character of the manga Okama Report is named, well, Okama, which more or less means "gay guy."
  • Ranma ½ actually uses this as a plot point for one character: one Chinese village has a tradition that the person who gives a newborn baby its first bath must be the one to name it. Unfortunately, this gave panty stealing pervert Happosai the chance to name a baby, and since he loves women's garments so much he thought that the perfect name for a little boy would be Pantyhose-Taro. Unsurprisingly, Pantyhose-Taro hates his name, and is on a constant quest to force Happosai to give him a new one, since Happosai is the only one who can change it. Unfortunately, his own choice of replacement first names aren't much better.
  • In the Read or Die OVAs, Nancy "Miss Deep" Makuhari is embarrassed by her Western first name and prefers to go by her code name. Though she also finds her code name a bit embarrassing as well, as she muses that it sounds like a porn star's name (in the original Japanese, she just complains that it isn't "cute").
  • In Shadow Star, Shiina Tamai writes her first name in katakana (phonetic characters) because she hates the kanji used for it, which is read as "empty husk" or "a seed that shall never sprout". It actually becomes a critical plot point near the end of the manga.
  • Sleepy Princess in the Demon Castle: The Demon Cleric goes by "Demon Cleric" because he's embarrased by his real name, Leonard, which he shares with an infamously ill-behaved demon. Only a handful of people know his real name, and a whole chapter of the manga revolves around him trying to prevent Syalis from learning it when she insists on helping him fill out a registration form.
  • Sound! Euphonium has a character named Sapphire who's embarrassed by it, but the reason isn't due to the name itself. Her name is a cutesy "kira-kira name", which means the pronunciation is different than the kanji would imply. It's written 緑輝 — the kanji for "green" and "shining", which can be read in multiple waysnote  — but it's pronounced "Safaia", like the English word. Because of the confusion this causes, she prefers to just be called "Midori", the first kanji.
  • The Story Between a Dumb Prefect and a High School Girl with an Inappropriate Skirt Length has Poemu Kohinata, who hates her first name and prefers to go by her surname, though she eventually lets Sakuradaimon call her by it. Her friends call her "Po-chan".

  • "Melvin" was an inherently funny name used quite a bit by the comedy duo Martin and Lewis, and was Lewis' character's name in the film Sailor Beware.
  • In various old Finnish radio shows hosted by Pertti "Spede" Pasanen, the parrot G. Pula-aho prefers to be called as such. In a later episode, he is forced to reveal his first name to the police: Gunhild (a female name). According to him, a baby parrot is so small that even with a magnifying glass you can't tell its gender.
  • Comedian Stephen K. Amos was born in St. Stephen's Hospital, "so you can imagine how hard my parents worked to come up with my name". He's not the one with the embarrassing name. That would be his twin sister, Hospital.
  • In his book Bad Habits, Dave Barry claimed that this is the reason some classic artists went by just their last names. Examples include "Beauregard Rembrandt" and "Buford Michelangelo". (In reality their popular names are their first names: Rembrandt van Rijn and Michelangelo Buonarroti.)

    Comic Books 
  • Archie Comics:
    • Jughead and Jellybean Jones are named Forsythe and Forsythia respectively. In one story, Jughead goes out of his way to keep Jellybean's name from being revealed to the public via billboard, and both characters have had stories where people who try to call them by their real names ended up with misfortune. Oddly, in Jughead's case, his distaste for his name is partly because any girl who hears it thinks it's suave and romantic and starts chasing him. Even odder, Reggie seems to suffer a string of continuous bad luck whenever he mentions Jellybean's real name, making him warn everybody not to say it, thinking it's a curse.
    • In the first comic Archie insists on being called "Chick" instead of "Archibald" or "Archie". This is never mentioned again.
  • When Batman foe the Penguin first revealed his full name, he said, "Yes, my name is Oswald Chesterfield Cobblepot. And, please, no jokes." Although many would consider his middle name and surname more embarrassing than the first one...
  • Few characters in the Brit series of comics realize that the title character's name is short for Brittany.
  • Deadshot's first name is Floyd. Even Harley Quinn thinks it's weird how the most dangerous marksman in the world is named that.
  • Death: The Time of Your Life: Boris's real name is Endymion. When the other characters learn this he immediately says he prefers Boris.
  • It turns out that Galactus's first name is Kirby.
  • Gen¹³ team member Grunge has the unenviable first name Percival. He doesn't like his middle name, Edmund, much either — he goes by "Eddy" at times but he mostly prefers the name "Grunge."
    • In the continuity reboot of The Wild Storm, the not-yet-appeared Grunge's name comes from the fact his mother was a big fan of King Arthur, and wanted to name all her kids after the Knights of the Round Table. Fortunately, she only had two. Her husband's killer regards the fact that Grunge's dad named him Percival a greater horror than the man trying to squish his brain.
      John Lynch: "Percival". What the hell's wrong with you people?
  • In Knights of the Dinner Table, Crutch is a tough as nails biker and ex-con. It turns out his given name is Leslie.
  • In The Scorpion, Hussar's first name is Aristotle. His father thought it would help him become a great philosopher.
  • In Preacher, badass Irish vampire Cassidy goes by his last name. His first name: Proinsias (the Irish form of "Francis", but that wouldn't help his image any). "It's... a perfectly respectable Gaelic name... Oh Jaysis, Jesse, don't tell anyone!"
  • Quasar's first name is Wendell, and whilst he doesn't exactly hate it, he was apparently called Elvis (his middle name) in college.
  • The Sandman (1989): In the spinoff mini-series Death: The Time of Your Life, Foxglove's "minder" is Boris, who partly fits the trope of a Scary Black Man. Unfortunately, there are some things you can't hide from Death, so when in the course of a conversation she addresses him by his real name, Endymion, he hastens to point out to everyone present that he really prefers to be called Boris.
  • Sonic's name is a nickname in the Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics). Sonic is embarrassingly referred to by his father as "Maurice". It is quickly revealed to be merely his middle name, and Sonic interrupts his father before he can give his son's birth name, implying that it's unspeakably worse. Ken Penders has revealed that he planned on it being Ogilvie.
  • Spider-Man supporting character Flash Thompson, who has been a big part of the feature from the very first story. Roger Stern eventually revealed that his real first name is Eugene.
  • Volume 2 of DC Comics's Star Trek series introduces Federation protocol officer R. J. Blaise, assigned to Kirk to rein him in after a number of high-profile interstellar incidents in quick succession. It's never revealed during her original appearance what "R. J." stands for, though when she whispers it to Uhura while the pair are relaxing on shore leave, it's made clear to be quite embarrassing, with Uhura trying hard not to laugh. It's finally revealed by Kirk (whom she told it to off-camera during a tryst) when she returns a number of years later in a story in Star Trek Special #1: Raspberry Jam. Hilariously, the name was the result of a reader contest run by the series editors.
  • In the Tintin comics, the first name of Captain Haddock is only mentioned once (in the last finished album, no less). The Captain gets momentary amnesia after getting hit on the head, and when told by Tintin that his first name is Archibald, he snarks and says that the name is ridiculous. This might explain why nobody ever calls him by his first name otherwise. (Then again, few people get called by their first name in the series, except Tintin, who doesn't seem to have any other name, and minor characters like Igor, Irma, and Allan.)
  • Wonder Woman (1987): Thomas Asquith Randolph has what would be a perfectly acceptable first name to most, but given his aspirations as a magician he refuses to be called by or respond to Thomas or any derivatives, instead going by Asquith.
  • In the X-Force sequel mini-series Dead Girl, Dead Girl finally admits to Dr. Strange that she can remember that her first name is "Moonbeam". Apparently, her parents must have been hippies.
  • Jubilation Lee in X-Men. Her friends call her Jubilee.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Dog from Footrot Flats has a given name so embarrassing that he refuses to let it ever appear in the comic, and tends to attack anyone who tries to say it. In fact it's (Cyril)
  • The title character of Frazz is actually Edwin Frasier.
    Caulfield: Then why do you call yourself "Frazz"?
    Frazz: Because my first name is Edwin.

    Fan Works 
  • In "Attack on Titan A New Path'', several people joke that Eren's name sounds like a girl's, to his irritation.
  • The Lightning Man in Calvin & Hobbes: The Series is eventually revealed to have the first name "Percy". The heroes struggle not to laugh when they find out.
  • Fallout: Equestria: Even in a world with rather ridiculous names, "Applesnack" stands out. Rainbow Dash burst out laughing when she heard it. It's no wonder he goes by his nickname, Steelhooves.
  • In a (pre-Alpha) Homestuck fanfic, Bro's first name turns out to be Calvin, with "Charles" (the name he used in the author's previous Bro fics) being only his middle name.
  • In Kira Is Justice, Justin's real name is Justice. Let's say it's both suitable and ironic since he's Kira.
  • A Harry Potter round-robin story, The Most Private Journal of Auror Captain Harry James Potter, features a character with the name "Liar Whore Who Sucks Men’s Screaming Souls Out Through Their Penises" — known as Lia for short. Of course, since she's a succubus, her name is more like a job description... at least until she's accidentally bound to Harry.
  • In Muggle Fairy Tales are Mad!, as Hermione is telling the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, Ron Weasley mentions that he has an uncle named Jklngszkrtpbt whose twin sister is named Gordon (which is embarrassing because 'Gordon' is a girl).
  • In Nine Lives One Love, the Grand Highblood's real name is Hakuna Makara. This is even lampshaded at one point.
    You call him by his given name, knowing full well it'll tick him off. Hakuna hates his name because it sounds stupid as fuck, and he's right.
  • In Origins, a Mass Effect/Star Wars/Borderlands/Halo Massive Multiplayer Crossover, a villain is introduced as "The Lady," a mysterious figure who exerts power over Cerberus and other less-than-upright individuals by providing them with advanced technology. This person has immense power, wielding a combination of Siren abilities and the Dark Side of the Force. Her name (in an Aerith and Bob setting)? Sarah. It turns out this has special meaning from her creators, "Selfless Servant of the (Eridian/Forerunner) Mantle", that just happens to translate, but still... Played for Laughs several times, though she accepts it over time and other characters stop teasing her about it.
  • In the Shaman King fic Oversoul, Kali's spirit guardian's name is Chikushou. It sounds and is even spelled like a Japanese swear word. As a result, she usually just goes by Chi.
  • In Prison Island Break, Shadow the Hedgehog 's full name is "Ursula Leslie Robotnik", which is why he insists that everybody call him Shadow, but Sonic occasionally embarrasses him with it. At one point he explains that it means "Oops, we expected a girl." Worth pointing out that Leslie used to be a boy's name.
  • In The Rainbow Connection, Stormy hates her old name "Trista" and doesn't know why her parents named her it:
    Stormy: Kind of reminds me back to when I was a baby. Before I became Stormy...
    Rainbow Brite: Oh, you mean when you were called Trista?
    Stormy: Don't say that! I hate it when people call me that name!
    Rainbow Brite: But I think it's a nice name!
    Stormy: No, it isn't! I much prefer the name Stormy... at least that's what everyone else knows me by anyway. I don't know why my parents named me... ugh... Trista.
  • Total Drama All-Stars Rewrite: Duncan reveals that Lightning's real first name is Rudolph in the four partner, much to the latter's dismay.
  • In Total Drama Legacy, when Brick reveals that his real name is Gunther, Drew remarks that he now understands why everyone calls him "Brick", because, in his words, "nobody would ever want to be named Gunther."
  • In Haruhi Suzumiya canon, Sasaki's given name is unknown, so when Fujiwara asked her what it was in You Got HaruhiRolled!, the writer decided to give her the name of... Zelda. She's so embarrassed about this that even her mother is on a Last-Name Basis with her.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the film adaptation of Coraline, we have Canon Foreigner Wyborne Lovat who shorten his name to "Wybie" since it otherwise sounds like "Why were you born?"
  • Implied to be the case with Keith in Hoodwinked! as it doesn't sound evil enough. Whenever the Big Bad gives orders to his minions, it begins with a lot of tasks for everyone and ends with "Keith... Change that name of yours!".
  • In Tangled, the thief Flynn Rider's true name is Eugene. He changed his name because he thought it wasn't cool enough and it's implied so people wouldn't realize that he is a bastard.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Bud's real first name in The Abyss is revealed to be Virgil.
  • Against All Flags: When Hawke asks Pirate Girl 'Spitfire' Stephens her actual name, she makes him promise not to laugh before admitting that is Prudence.
  • Dusty from The Apple Dumpling Gang is actually named Magnolia. Dusty is her real middle name, though.
  • In Beyond the Lights, Kaz's first name is actually Kazaam. His parents thought it "sounded African".
  • The reason why The Dragon in Bon Cop, Bad Cop 2 hates being called Michel, going by his nickname Mike instead. David, however, keeps calling him that just to piss him off.
  • Cobra's title character is actually named Marion Cobretti. He lampshades it at one point when he explains, "I'd prefer something a little tougher... like Alice."
  • Rubber Duck from Convoy reacts with embarrassment when he is addressed to by his whole real name which is Martin Penwald.
  • Crackerjack: When Dave tells Jack he is planning on joining the club, Jack tells him he is already a member, as Jack had used his name as part of his scam to score extra parking spots. When Dave asks him why no one at the club had mentioned this to him, Jack says its because he took it out under Dave's real name: Albert David Jackson.
  • In The Dark Knight Rises, John Blake goes by his middle name. His real first name is Robin.
  • In Down And Derby, the main characters break into antagonist Ace Montana's house, and learn from a trophy plaque that Ace is short for Stacey.
  • Ash from the Evil Dead movies. His real first name is actually Ashley... which is probably why he goes by Ash even as the clueless yuppie from the first movie.
  • Fletch: "My name is Irwin M. Fletcher. I write a newspaper column under the name of 'Jane Doe.' What the heck, it's better than Irwin."
  • Hilts, from The Great Escape. Actually, he'd prefer Captain Hilts, but please, just don't call him Virgil.
  • Indiana Jones series:
  • "Bud" White's real name is Wendell in L.A. Confidential.
    They stick you with a name like "Wendell", you look for an alias.
  • Lady in Cement: When Tony Rome asks hulking bruiser Gronski (played by the 280 lb. Dan Blocker) his full name, Gronski replies "Waldo Gronski". When a disbelieving Rome questions "Waldo?", Gronski defensively replies "Waldo!" as if daring him to make something of it.
  • In Life of Pi the main character is named 'Piscine' after a French swimming pool. Unfortunately this is pronounced very similarly to the English word 'pissing', as his classmates are quick to point out. He shortens his name to 'Pi' as a result.
  • In Lockout, Snow never uses his first name. His old man was a big John Wayne fan, so he named him Marion.
  • In Love at the Christmas Table, Sam tries to downplay that his full name is Samwise.
  • In Meet the Parents, Greg's real first name is Gaylord. His parents also call him "Gay".
  • And then, of course, there's Michael Bolton, poor put-upon office worker (and not the "no-talent ass clown") from Office Space. "Why should I change my name? He's the one who sucks."
  • Boss Spearman in Open Range, the boss of the cowboy outfit simply goes by "Boss" all the way until right before the climax, where he (very reluctantly) finally reveals his actual name, Bluebonnet, to his best friend and partner Charlie after ten years of working together, and only because they believe they're likely going to die in the finale showdown. And even then, only after a fair amount of coaxing from Charlie and it is immediately followed by Boss making him swear to never tell anyone on the off chance they live.
  • In Quantum of Solace, the agent sent to pick up James Bond in Bolivia only gives her name as "Fields," and deflects further questions about it. Given that the credits give her first name as Strawberry, it's hard to blame her.
  • Raising Arizona: The main character H.I. McDunnough is always referred to by his first two initials, usually pronounced as "High." When writing a Dear Jane letter saying goodbye to his wife, he signs it, after a moment of hesitation, "Herbert."
  • Mervyn, the Sheriff of Rottingham from Robin Hood: Men in Tights. It's revealed during his wedding, and the officiant is the first to giggle at the nerdy name.
    • Another character's family had their last name changed to Latrine before the movie took place. It used to be Shithouse.
      "It's a good change."
      • Funny enough, this was asked by Prince John; due to his actions, the King has declared that all the toilets in the kingdom are to be renamed "Johns".
  • In Rocky Mountain, Capt. Lafe Barstow asks Jimmy Wheat why the initial on his sign-up papers was 'B'. Jimmy explains that his actual first name is 'Buck': meaning that his real name is actually 'Buck Wheat'. Barstow then makes a joke about him being named after a pancake.
  • In Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, the Pontipee brothers were all given names from the Bible in alphabetical order. Since there was no "F" name, the sixth brother got stuck with Frankincense. He violently insists on being called Frank.
  • Roy O'Bannon from Shanghai Noon hides his whole real name, too, which happens to be Wyatt Earp. Judging by Chon Wang's reaction upon this, it is a truly embarrassing name.
  • The dominatrix from Shortbus is named Jennifer Aniston.
  • Star Wars: The 2014 novel Star Wars: Tarkin reveals that Emperor Palpatine's first name is "Sheev". Since his first name is never said in the films, one can assume he doesn't like that name, and for good reason.
  • Stripes: "The name's Francis Soyer, but everybody calls me Psycho. Any of you guys call me Francis, and I'll kill you."
    Lighten up, Francis.
  • In Ten Inch Hero, Priestly's first name is Boaz and Tish is short for Platisha. None of their friends know this about them because they hate their given names so much. Priestly's boss doesn't even know his first name.
  • In The Whole Town's Talking, Wilhelmina Clark prefers going by Clark.
  • In The Wrestler, Randy "The Ram" Robinson hates being called by his real name, Robin Raminski, partly because it's an embarrassing name and partly because he can't give up his wrestling alter-ego.

  • Several protagonists from novels by Robert A. Heinlein.
    • Glory Road has Evelyn Cyril Gordon, who went by E.C., often elided to "Easy", and later by "Scar" after he was injured in the Vietnam War. Which got misheard by his employer, the Empress of the Nine Universes, so he became "Oscar".
    • The Puppet Masters has "Sam", a secret agent who goes through several false identities. Only late in the novel does he go right up to his father and ask, "Dad, why did you name me Elihu?"
    • The Number of the Beast has Dejah Thoris Burroughs, who goes by D.T., or "Deety", and her husband Zebadiah John Carter, who goes by "Zebbie". Both names are a Shout-Out to the John Carter of Mars novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs, heavily lampshaded
    • Tunnel in the Sky has Dr. Jesse Evelyn Ramsbotham, saddled with a complete Gender-Blender Name package of an Embarrassing First Name and an Embarrassing Middle Name. The text speculates he might have been an athlete rather than a scientist had he a pair of masculine names.
  • In Loveless Pip finds her real name "Felipa" too "girly" and prefers going by "Pip".
  • Terry Pratchett likes this trope.
    • Ermintrude from Nation changes her name to "Daphne" at the first possible opportunity.
    • Pratchett also likes inversions, e.g. Agnes in Discworld and Kirsty in the Johnny Maxwell Trilogy, both of whom are disappointed by their very ordinary-sounding names and insist on going by others.
    • Moist von Lipwig. He's learned to live with it, though, and his fiancée Adora Belle comments that it must be his real name because nobody would choose it for their false name.
    • Speaking of Adora Belle Dearheart, she also counts, being a cynical, cranky chain-smoker stuck with a cutesy name. She basically has an embarrassing first name, an Embarrassing Middle Name, and an Embarrassing Last Name all in one.
    • One Man Bucket in Reaper Man. He comes from a tribe where they name you after the first thing your mother sees when you're born, and his full name is One Man Pouring A Bucket Of Water Over Two Dogs. It's his slightly older twin brother you really have to feel sorry for, though.
    Windle Poons: Don't tell me, "Two Dogs Fighting"?
    One Man Bucket: Two Dogs Fighting? He'd have given his right arm to be called Two Dogs Fighting.
    • Magrat Garlick also hates her first name (which was supposed to be Margaret, but her mother couldn't spell it properly) thinking that it sounds like "something that lived in a hole in a riverbank and was always getting flooded out". She tried to avert it for her own daughter, but thanks to her trying to avoid it slightly too hard the baby winds up being formally named Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling. (In Lancre, Esmerelda is not considered an embarrassing name, or at least no one would dare to suggest that it was since it's the real name of Granny Weatherwax.)
    • This trope is actually very common in Lancre, due to a combination of three traditions regarding names:
      • First, the tradition of giving children names that you like the sound of, without bothering to find out what they actually mean (one girl very narrowly avoided being dubbed Clamydia Weaver).
      • Second, the tradition that your official name is whatever the priest doing the christening ceremony says after "I christen you...", which - in addition to the aforementioned Princess Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling - has led to a farmer named James What the Hell's That Cow Doing in Here Poorchick ("Moocow" to his friends), King My God He's Heavy The First, and presumably many more.
      • Third, the tradition that once a name is officially given, there is no way to change it (other than moving out of Lancre).
  • The 1632 series features three kids whose parents were hippies, and thus are all named after Tolkien characters (Faramir, Gwaihir, and Elrond); their father later sobers up a bit and gives them the pseudonyms of Frank, Gerry, and Ron so they don't get beaten up at school.
  • Mr. Krupp, aka Captain Underpants, is named Benny. When forced to reveal this, he is met with giggles from all the students. It gets even worse when Professor Poopypants forces him to change his name into the even more ridiculous "Lumpy Pottybiscuits".
  • The protagonist from Anna Dressed in Blood is "Theseus Cassio Lowood" — a name that came from his father's love of Greek Mythology and his mother's love of Shakespeare. He insists people call him "Cas".
  • Stacey of The Baby-Sitters Club doesn't reveal her real first name (Anastasia) to the rest of the club until Book 13. Whenever it's mentioned thereafter, it's either because she's in trouble or as a source of hilarity.
  • In Beyond The Magic Sphere, the main character's name is S.B. Fields. She refuses to tell anyone her real first name, which turns out to be Strawberry.
  • Case from The Black Company series only goes by his last name, thanks to his mother's penchant for naming all her children after flowers - girls and boys.
    My name is Case. Philodendron Case. Thanks to my Ma. [...] A girl named Iris or Rose, what the hell, hey? But I got a brother named Violet and another brother named Petunia. What kind of people do that do their kids?
  • Black Widowers: The solution to "The Fourth Homonym" hinges on the real name of the dying man's eldest son, Frank. His given names are B. Franklin. The Widowers assume that the B stands for Benjamin until Henry points out that he would no reason to be embarrassed by the name Benjamin or not to use Ben as a nickname. His father was fascinated by Roman history and his eldest son's first name as actually Brutus.
  • The Blood Guard: Ronan's first name is Evelyn, his mother having named him after her uncle. He can't stand it and prefers to go by his middle name.
  • The male lead of Bludgeoning Angel Dokurochan is named Sakura. Poor guy.
  • Bruce Coville's Book of... Magic: Phoebe Byrd in Byrd Song hates that she was named after her father's favorite bird, since it makes her a prime target for mocking.
  • Call Me Sunflower: Sunny's real name is Sunflower. When she was in preschool, the other kids thought flower names were really cool, but by kindergarten they'd all outgrown them, including Sunny. Now she is Only Known By Her Nickname.
  • The Cat Who... Series:
    • James Mackintosh Qwilleran had his name legally changed, as revealed in book #16 (The Cat Who Came to Breakfast), when he admits the truth to Liz Hart when she's doing a numerological reading of his name. Few other characters — possibly none other than Arch Riker — know that his birth name was Merlin James Qwilleran. Book 22 reveals that it came from his mother being a fan of Arthurian Legend.
    • Polly's real name is Hippolyta, and she mentions that her "poor sister Ophelia" had a rough time of it in school. Her father was a Shakespearean devotee, and gave all of his children names from the plays.
    • Invoked in book #17 (The Cat Who Blew the Whistle) by a character named Letitia, who hates her name, and who mentions that her best friend has it even worse, being named Lionella.
  • This is the plot of children's book Chrysanthemum. The titular character loved her name until she began school. The other kids began teasing her for having a long name and being named after a flower. Eventually, Chrysanthemum learns to like her name again when her teacher reveals her name is "Delphinium" and she wants to name her child "Chrysanthemum" if they're a girl.
  • Lupe dy Cazaril, the protagonist of The Curse of Chalion. The book has a fantasy setting where naming conventions aren't quite as we know them, but it's clear that "Lupe" is considered embarrassing In-Universe both because the protagonist doesn't use it unless he has to and because of the other characters' reactions when it does come out. It means "wolf" and people used to make fun of him by howling like wolves.
  • The Curse of the Blue Figurine: Byron "Fergie" Ferguson feels this way about his first name — as he explains to Johnny in his debut scene (in book 2 of the series), "I wish you'd call me Fergie, on account of nobody in their right mind wants to be called Byron."
  • Ty Grady in the Cut and Run series goes by his middle name for the most part, his legal first name being "Beaumont." According to his mother, he developed a fondness for nicknames when he was four because he disliked his own first name so much, even flat out refusing to tell his partner what it was.
  • The protagonist of Daddy-Long-Legs was named Jerusha Abbott by the superintendent of the orphanage where she grew up; she doesn't like the name, which the superintendent got from a tombstone, and after she leaves the orphanage she starts going by "Judy".
  • Security Officer V. Stelmach from Deathstalker. Much speculation on behalf of Captain John Silence and Investigator Frost as to what the V Stands for. Turns out it stands for "Valiant," and he's somewhat ashamed that he hasn't lived up to his name, ending up only a Security Officer (rather like a political officer.) His similarly-named siblings have all made much greater strides towards living up to their names than he has.
  • Theodor Fontane's Der Stechlin has two examples.
    • Dubslav von Stechlin, the main character, hates his first name because it is a name atypical of Brandenburg (the province of Prussia in which he lives) and typical of the neighbouring province of Pomerania.
    • Czech supporting character Nils Wrschowitz dislikes his first name partly because it is Northern Germanic and does not fit with his Slavic surname, but more importantly because his father named him after the 19th-century Danish composer Nils Gade, whom he, as a very pronounced Wagnerian, has come to detest. Wrschowitz thus went to the effort of earning a doctorate in music so that he could print "Dr. Wrschowitz" on his calling-cards without the embarrassing first name. In the novel, he is shown so touchy about his first name that people are advised not to mention anything or anybody Scandinavian in his presence as he will suspect you of obliquely reminding him of his Danish first name!
  • Dick Francis recurring character Christmas "Kit" Fielding goes exclusively by his nickname. He and his twin sister Holly were born on December, 25th.
  • It's a mild example, but Mr. London from Dinoverse gets annoyed when his students call him Bob. One of his students, upon discovering this, introduces him to people by saying they should call him that.
  • Doctrine of Labyrinths: Mild-may-your-suffering-be-at-the-hands-of-the-wicked. (His mother got religion.) He goes by Mildmay.
    • He also mentions knowing a prostitute originally named "Fly-from-fornication-and-blasphemy"; apparently, "Butterfly" went over better with her clients.
    • Corbie apparently isn't too happy about having been named "Gartrett," either.
  • In Don't Call Me Ishmael!, Ishmael blames his social awkwardness and various misfortunes on his first name, diagnosing himself with ‘Ishmael Leseur’s Syndrome’. When he gains confidence later in the series his name becomes much less of a problem for him.
  • Durarara!!: A running gag has people making fun of Mikado Ryugamine's extremely pretentious name (it literally translates as "The Emperor of Dragon Peak"). At least one person thought it was a really awesome name. Most people, however, (including Mikado himself) want to ask Who Names Their Kid "Dude"?.
  • Every time Izaya's name is mentioned to a person who doesn't know him, it's commented upon. He was going to be named 'Rinya' if the reading of his name did not go through.
  • The male lead in David Palmer's Emergence tells the narrator, with a suggestive smirk, "Just call me Adam." She thinks that's pretty cheesy (they're both eleven years old), but doesn't blame him nearly so much after she finds out his parents christened him "Melville Winchester Higginbotham Grosvenor Penobscot-Jones IV."
  • Lucifer C. Dye is the protagonist of The Fools In Town Are On Our Side by Ross Thomas. He would go by his middle name, but that's "Clarence."
  • Freakonomics examines the Real Life case study of NYPD officer Loser Lane and (to a lesser extent) his brother Winner. In regards to the former, "Although he never hid his name, people were uncomfortable using it. 'So I have a bunch of names,' he says today, 'from Jimmy to James to whatever they want to call you. But they rarely call you Loser.' Once in a while, he said, 'they throw a French twist on it: ‘Losier.’' To his cop friends, he is known as Lou."
    • For added Irony, his brother Winner is notable for his impressive criminal record.
  • Nick of Gone Girl's full name is actually Lance Nicholas Dunne. He's gone by "Nick" ever since he was a kid since he thinks the name "Lance" makes him seem like even more of a punchable douchebag than his face already does.
  • Good Omens: Pepper's full name is Pippin Galadriel Moonchild, a relic from her mother's hippie phase. Don't call her that, though.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Nymphadora Tonks, "who prefers to be known by her surname only" ("So would you if your fool of a mother had called you 'Nymphadora'"). While her mother Andromeda presumably uses this first name, and her father and husband call her "Dora," everyone else uses Tonks.
    • Voldemort's actual name, Tom Marvolo Riddle, also counts as he has a very common first name and dislikes anything that makes him common. His real name is also a constant reminder of his Muggle heritage, something he really wants to distance himself from.
    • Harry's grandfather was named Fleamont, which was his great-grandmother's maiden name. She didn't want the name to die out. According to supplemental material, people made fun of his name so much that he became an extremely accomplished dueler by the time he left Hogwarts.
  • Robinette Broadhead is the male protagonist of Frederik Pohl's Heechee Saga.
  • Slartibartfast of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It's not so much embarrassing as just "not important".
  • Red, one of the titular protagonists of Hope and Red, was named Rixidenteron by his artistic mother. Years later, making his way as a thief in the slums of Paradise Circle, he sticks to "Red" to hide his privileged background.
  • In Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer, the title character changes her name to Hope at the age of 13. She absolutely hated her original name: Tulip.
  • The title character of Horatio Hornblower thinks his first name is pompous and ludicrous, and nicknames just make it worse. He uses simply "H." as a signature on personal correspondence.
  • In The Hunger Games, while the people themselves don't seem to mind, Katniss notes that a lot of District 1's denizens should be embarrassed by their names, the likes of which include Glimmer, Marvel, Cashmere, and Gloss. This doubles as Hypocritical Humor, given District 12 has some bizarre name, such as Peeta the baker. Pita bread? Then there's the likes of Beetee and Wiress in District 3. Plus a tribute named Woof in Catching Fire, though it's implied he's named after the weft component in weaving.
  • Idlewild: Doom the vampire. Aloysius Doom.
  • In the Inspector Morse detective novels by Colin Dexter, Morse refuses to tell anyone his first name: the closest he comes is when he jokes that it's Inspector. Only in the penultimate book in the series is it revealed that his name is Endeavour.
  • This is a staple of P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster books. This is likely due to Pelham Grenville Wodehouse disliking his first two names intensely, hence his use of initials.
    • Jeeves' first name was eventually revealed to be Reginald. This is shocking not because the name doesn't suit him, but because we always assumed Jeeves didn't have a first name. Brinkley/Bingley's tendency to call him "Reggie" made matters even more embarrassing for all concerned.
    • In "Big Money", the rich man's name is T Patterson Frisby. What does the "T" stand for? Torquil. Naturally, he doesn't use it, after all the bullying he got at school.
    • Nearly everyone in the Drones Club has a nickname, which makes the most sense for characters like "Tuppy" (Hildebrand) Glossop.
    • In Thank You, Jeeves, "Chuffy" Chuffnell has gone his whole life concealing that his first name is Marmaduke.
    • In one book, Lemuel Gingulphus Trotter goes by his initials, and has refused a knighthood because he could not stand the thought of being "Sir Lemuel". At one point, Bertie and Jeeves unsuccessfully try to blackmail him over this.
    • In his Establishing Character Moment, Psmith tells Mike, "In conversation you may address me as Rupert (though I hope you won't)". This becomes Hilarious in Hindsight when he gets a Sudden Name Change three books later ("Ronald", since Leave it to Psmith was set at Blandings Castle and there was already a character there named Rupert.)
  • In Keys to the Kingdom, the main character's best friends in his new school are called 'Leaf' and 'Branch'. Branch goes by 'Ed' instead.
  • Nonopherian Fisk from the Knight and Rogue Series, who's so strictly on a last-name basis that his Heterosexual Life-Partner has to learn his first name from his sister.
  • In KonoSuba, Darkness absolutely hates her real first name Lalatina. At one point Kazuma threatens to do something so horrible and embarrassing to her that it'll make her want to die of shame — a real feat considering she's a hardcore masochist who literally gets off on being insulted and humiliated. Naturally, what he meant was revealing her real name to all their friends, and when they praise her heroism ("Three cheers for Lalatina!") she actually curls up and wishes herself dead.
  • The title character of Yann Martel's Life of Pi is named Piscine Molitor Patel (after a swimming pool in France that his uncle greatly admires). He shortens this to Pi Patel to escape the inevitable schoolyard taunts about "Piscine" sounding like "pissing."
  • Lily and Dunkin: Dunkin is teased for his real name, Norbert.
  • In Little Women, Laurie's actual first name is Theodore. That's not bad in itself, but considering that his friends used to call him "Dora", it's not surprising that he went with a variation of his last name, Laurence.
  • Melvin O'Neal, better known as Boots, from Gordon Korman's Macdonald Hall series.
  • The Duchess of Abrantès devotes a long paragraph of her Mémoires to saying how she thinks her husband's first name (Andoche, a very rare Burgundian first name) was ridiculous and didn't even rhyme with anything besides brioche. She makes a point of only calling him by his last name afterwards.
  • In Mercy Thompson's Silence Fallen, the leader of the goblins (he is not the Goblin King) is not terribly happy that his parents named him Lawrence. He says it makes him sound like a wimp.
  • One The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency novel mentions, in passing, a former classmate of Mma Makutsi's, whose parents saddled him with a name meaning "Look out, the police have arrived" in Setswana. Apparently, he tried very hard to get people to call him something else...
    But names, like false allegations, stick, and he had gone through life with this unfortunate burden, reminded of it every time he had to fill out an official form; looking away so that the person examining the form could be given the opportunity to smile, which they all did.
  • Diana Gabaldon's Outlander has a few examples:
    • As if "Percy" wasn't silly enough, Lord John's lover/stepbrother in Lord John and the Brotherhood of the Blade isn't actually named Percival, but Perseverance.
    • In An Echo In The Bone, we meet brothers Herman and Vermin. This trope is speculated upon. A little more excusable given that they are in actuality the sisters Hermione and Ermintrude. And in A Breath Of Snow And Ashes, Roger christens a little girl, who the family names in his honor... Rogerina.
  • The main character in The Outsiders is named "Ponyboy" and his brother is "Sodapop". These aren't nicknames; they're identified as their actual names. They seem reasonably comfortable with them, though.
  • The protagonist and titular characters of Percy Jackson and the Olympians attends by Percy, as his first name is Perseus, ironically, named after a demigod that is disliked by his father Poseidon.
  • Isaac Asimov's Profession: Tevelyn's first name is Armand, but he never uses it. When he was eight, he went by "Stubby", discarding that as he grew up and forcing his friends to be on a Last-Name Basis with him.
  • Jube Stump in the Redwall installment Mattimeo; "Glad you like it. I don't." It's short for Jubilation, his father's response when Jube was born after they already had ten girls. The previous book has Brother Alf becoming Abbot and having to reveal that his full name is Mordalfus.
  • In addition to a near overpowering affinity for The Dark Arts and a related prophecy about becoming the most fearsome Evil Sorceress in several generations, the heroine of The Scholomance series by Novik is stuck with the name Galadriel Higgins. El growing up on a hippie commune in Wales did not help, at all.
    Just think about the 'love me and despair' version.
  • The very end of The Sherwood Ring reveals that Pat Thorn's real first name is one of these — Peaceable, named after his ancestor.
  • Characters in the Skulduggery Pleasant series choose their own names, so at least a few characters give themselves names without fully knowing their meanings, or names they later regretted.
    Valkyrie: Gravid. What does that name mean, anyhow?
    Gravid: It means meaningful.
    Skulduggery: It also means pregnant.
    Gravid: I didn't know that when I chose it
  • In the YA vampire novel Team Human, the protagonist, Mel, tells us fairly early that her name is not short for Melanie and she's not going to tell us what it is short for, except that it was arrived at in the same spirit of experimentation that saw her brother named "Lancelot". Eventually, her best friend gives her a Full-Name Ultimatum and reveals it to be Mellifluous.
  • In Terra Ignota, Mycroft comments early on that while his own first name used to be one of the most common (presumably due to Sherlock Holmes fans), his past conduct made it so that it lost popularity and people named Mycroft are inclined to go by other names in public, like Mycroft Guildbreaker going by Martin Guildbreaker instead. Once the reader learns that Mycroft's a serial killer, this makes a lot of sense.
  • Gratuity "Tip" Tucci in The True Meaning of Smekday. Gratuity's mom wasn't all that bright, and didn't know what the word Gratuity meant.
  • In The Turbulent Term Of Tyke Tiler by Gene Kemp, Tyke often refers to one teacher using "my real name, the one I hated", without saying what it is. At the very end, we learn it's Theodora.
  • In The Twilight Saga, Bella is constantly correcting people if and when they call her Isabella. Her Rule 63 Spear Counterpart Beau also corrects people if they call him Beaufort.
  • Villains by Necessity: "Arcie" comes from "R. C.", for Reinhart Corallis, much to Arcie's embarrassment when it's revealed near the end.
  • In Void City, the vampire Veruca's name means "wart". Her nickname, "Froggy", is no better.
  • In Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, Lieutenant Koudelka ("Kou" to his friends) and Miss Droushnakovi ("Drou" to her friends) are embarrassed at their wedding when they have to publically admit to their first names, Clement and Ludmilla. (Drou continues to go by her nickname even though she chooses to take her husband's last name)
  • The first sentence in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is "There was a boy called Eustace Clarence Scrubb, and he almost deserved it." Though there's no indication that he objects; it's the only name he's ever addressed by.
  • The War Against the Chtorr. Colonel Badass Elizabeth Tirelli is always referred to by her nickname Lizard (a pun on 'Liz'), even by her boyfriend.
  • The Wheel of Time:
    • Tomboy Min Farshaw hates her full name, Elmindreda, which is most notorious as a folklore character who is shallow and flighty — not to mention very, very girly.
    • Another example is Zarine "Faile" Bashere, who hates her first name because to her it's a name for a woman who reclines on cushions while eating grapes. Her chosen name means Falcon.
  • In White Plume Mountain by Paul Kidd, the tough-as-nails ranger known only as The Justicar is eventually revealed to have been named Evelyn by his birth parents.
  • In Wish, Charlie Reese's full first name is Charlemagne, which she thinks is a stupid name for a girl.
  • In The Witchlands, Cam considers "Camilla" to be one. Merik initially assumes that's because she doesn't want anyone to know she's a girl, but it turns out it's because Cam's transgender and doesn't want to be referred to by a very traditional female name.
  • Witch Week takes place in a world where witchcraft is a serious crime. Dulcinea Pilgrim is a girl who is named after the most famous witch in history, so it's small wonder she goes by "Nan" and has asked the headmistress of her school to keep her real name a secret. Of course, the headmistress forgets...
  • In The Year of the Rat, two of the characters' faithful cows are named no less than Disease and Death because they took part in a half-ritual carnival involving the banishment of disease and death.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Absolutely Fabulous: Eurydice Colette Clytemnestra Dido Bathsheba Rabelais Patricia Cocteau Stone, or "Patsy" for short.
  • Angel: Lorne's full name is "Krevlornswath", and even he isn't too fond of the shortened nickname. (He has green skin, which apparently made some people think of Lorne Greene.)
  • ANZAC Girls has Pat Dooley, whose first name is, of all things, "Norval". Those who are on a First-Name Basis with him invariably call him Pat, and understandably so.
  • Most of the characters from Are You Being Served?. Mr. Humphries's full name is "Wilberforce Clayborne Humphries". Mr. Harman's first name is "Beverly". Mr. Rumbold's first name is "Cuthbert". Mr. Lucas's first name is "Dick", which everyone else seems to find hysterical.
  • Barnaby Jones: J.R.'s full name is Jedidiah Romano Jones. He hates being called by his first name; naturally that's the name Barnaby typically uses.
  • Leonard Hofstadter from The Big Bang Theory once revealed he hates his first name, because the last syllable sounds like "nerd". To make things worse, his middle name is Leakey (after Louis Leakey, the famous anthropologist his father used to work with - nothing to do with his history of bed-wetting).
    • Also, Sheldon's father apparently thought this about Sheldon.
      Sheldon: [re-telling a fight between his parents] "Stop yelling! You're making Sheldon cry!" - "I'll tell you what's making Sheldon cry: that I let you name him Sheldon!"
  • In Boardwalk Empire, Enoch Thompson is called "Nucky" by everyone. In the first episode, when a woman says that she would like to name her unborn child after him, he responds: "Enoch? You couldn't possibly be that cruel."
  • Bones: Lab rat Angela Montenegro went for almost ten years without revealing that her actual name is Pookie Noodlin, given to her by her father.
  • In the series finale of Boy Meets World, Mr. Feeny reveals that "Cory" is actually short for a much more embarrassing name. Fortunately, none of the other characters are around to hear it.
    Mr. Feeny: So, Mr. Matthews...
    Cory: You think we've known each other long enough for you to call me Cory?
    Mr. Feeny: I think we've known each other long enough for me to call you Cornelius.
    Cory: Ssh! Mr. Feeny, come on! Not even Topanga knows that!
    • Another episode showed Feeny knowing the real name of professional wrestler Vader as Leslie (although it's actually Leon in Real Life...) Amy Matthews also refers to him as Francis at one point, and he doesn't correct her.
    • And, of course, there's Topanga.
  • Cheers:
    • Late in the show's run, Vera reveals that Norm's first name is Hillary; not only did the name sound embarrassing, but he was also named after his grandfather who "once killed a man for laughing at him". (When Cliff asks him if that story about his grandfather is true, Norm replies, "Not exactly – he was a surgeon and he sort of botched an operation.")
    • Carla's boyfriend Eddie's real name is Guy. Pronounced "Ghee".
    • In one episode Carla's mother insists that Carla follow the family tradition of naming one of her sons after her (Carla's) father with her mother's maiden as the middle name. Problem: Carla's father's name was Benito and her mother's maiden name was Mussolini. In the end her son Gino agrees to change his name legally, while keeping Gino as a nickname.
  • Chelmsford 123: Badvoc's twin brother reveals that's just a nickname and Mungo deduces, after it's revealed all of the former's siblings were named after herbs, that Badvoc's real first name is "Rosemary".
  • Lt. Provenza of The Closer has yet to reveal his first name. ("What's your first name?" "Lieutenant.")
    • An affadavit later shows his full name as "Louie M. Provenza".
    • Peter Falk gave the same answer when asked what Columbo's first name was. (A close-up of a badge seen in the second episode reveals it to be "Frank", though this wasn't clear until the show came out on DVD.)
  • One of the murder victims in Lessons for a Perfect Detective Story is called Kabuko ("child of turnip").
  • CSI Diebenkorn "D.B." Russell. Enough said.
  • Doc Cochran from Deadwood has the first name of Amos. He won't allow Merrick to print it in the vaccine announcement.
  • On Desperate Housewives, Mike and Susan name their son Maynard, after Mike's deceased grandfather. Susan's not happy about this and would have preferred Connor, afraid for what her poor son will have to suffer through in school. They compromise by calling him MJ (the 'J' standing for "James", the name of Mike's other grandfather).
  • Myron Lawrence Finkelstein from Dharma & Greg, who usually goes by his middle name.
  • In Diablero, Elvis' first name is actually Heliodoro, which he despises.
  • Baby Sinclair of Dinosaurs is named 'Ah Ah I'm Dying You Idiot' by the Great Elder just before he drops dead. The new Elder decides that 'Baby' is a much better name.
  • Doctor Who
    • Dorothy Gale McShane prefers going by "Ace", possibly because she doesn't think an Action Girl should be called Dorothy.
    • One of the UNIT scientists goes by her last name, "Osgood". When the Doctor and Osgood team up in "The Zygon Inversion", she reveals (after an awkward conversation in which the Doctor lies that his first name is Basil) that her first name is Petronella.
      The Doctor: Let's just, ah... stick with what we had.
    • "Orphan 55": One of Bella's charges against her Missing Mom is that she named her "Trixabelle".
  • Sully in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman goes by his last name all the time. His first name is Byron. Even his dead wife, in her sole appearance in Mike's dream, calls him Sully, although that may be a reflection of how Mike thinks of him.
  • Due South's second Ray goes by his middle name; his name is actually Stanley Kowalski. His father "had a thing for Marlon Brando." The themed naming is exacerbated by an ex-wife named Stella.
  • Earth☆Star Voyager: Dr. L. Eugene is not happy being named Leland. He'd rather be called "Dr. Eugene" to avoid using his name.
  • Feel Good: Laura got her birth name Lava due to her mother being high at the time. She hates it, and changed this as soon as possible.
  • Firefly has fearless transport pilot Hoban. Hoban Washburne, that is, better known as "Wash". As he puts it in the Serenity novelization, "Why would anyone call themselves Hoban?" The trope is notably averted by Jayne, who seems manly enough to pull off a name that sounds exactly like "Jane".
    River: Jayne is a girl's name.
    Jayne: Well, Jayne ain't a girl! If she starts in on that girl's name thing, I'll show her good and all I got man parts.
    Simon: I'm trying to think of a way for you to be cruder. I just... It's not coming.
  • Spike in Flashpoint tries to avoid mentioning his real name if he can help it, though Parker calls him by it when he gets cocky. It's Michelangelo.
  • Beulah Lisa Wilkes, Will's once-fiancée on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.
  • In Friends Chandler's first name is considered embarrassing, though not so embarrassing that he doesn't use it. In one episode, they name one of Phoebe's brother's triplets after him:
    Chandler: So uh, now that little Chandler turned out to be a girl, what are they gonna name her?
    Phoebe: They're gonna call her Chandler.
    Chandler: That's kind of a masculine name, don't you think?
    Phoebe: Works on you.
    • He also has an embarrassing last name:
      Chandler: From now on, I have no first name.
      Joey: So - you're just Bing?
      Chandler: I have no name.
    • Not to mention his middle name. In short, the reason Chandler uses his first name is because it's the least embarrassing of his embarrassing names.
      Ross: Chandler Muriel Bing. Boy, your parents never even gave you a chance, did they?
    • When Ross and Rachel discuss the name of their as-of-yet unborn child. They agree beforehand that if the other person doesn't like the name, for whatever reason, they can call "veto" on it. The argument goes on for long enough that eventually Phoebe pipes up with "Is it just me, or is 'Vito' starting to sound really good?"
  • Jesse's real first name on Full House was Hermes. He begged his mom to change it after being teased so much in kindergarten.
  • In the Game Shakers episode "Shark Explosion", it is revealed by Trip's mother that his first name is Grover. He is visibly embarrassed when his mother calls him that.
  • Get Smart:
    • Chief unwillingly reveals his first name, Thaddeus, under oath.
    • Also, Hymie the robot.
      Maxwell Smart: Hymie?
      Hymie: My father's name was Hymie.
  • Glee: "And then I thought of the best baby name ever: Drizzle." Jackie Daniels was also in the running. To be clear, they don't actually end up naming the baby Drizzle; they name her Beth.
    • Later on in the series, Quinn's first name is revealed to be Lucy.
  • Good Luck Charlie: PJ's first name was meant to be Patty John, after his grandfather. However it turns out he's legally named Potty John on his birth certificate due to his father being so nervous he couldn't write the name properly. PJ points out how he's named after two words for toilets.
    • Bob then goes to get it corrected. But deja vu happens, and PJ's legal name becomes "PP Duncan".
  • Cappie from Greek. We know that his real first name is embarrassing for a long time before we learn what it actually is; eventually it's revealed that his full name is Captain John Paul Jones, thus making Captain his first name.
  • iCarly: "Fredward" Benson. No wonder he goes by "Freddie". Also, Gibby's full name is Orenthal Gibson.
  • Inspector Morse's first name was not revealed for some time on the show, because he was embarrassed about it. Even lovers only called him "Morse". His first name was eventually revealed to be Endeavour — a combination of his having a Quaker mother and a father who really admired Captain Cook. When an old friend from his university days shows up, it's revealed that his student nickname was "Pagan", because he refused to give his Christian name.
    • Series 3 pathologist Grayling Russell also fits the trope.
    • In the prequel, the younger Morse doesn't use his first name either — despite it being the name of the show.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia: "Mac" McDonald's first name is revealed to be... Ronald. Yes, his real name is Ronald McDonald.
  • Janda Kembang: Seli is embarrassed of her full first name "Seliatun" since Neneng mocks it as boorish which in turn doesn't fit Seli's belief that she is upper-class.
  • Adam Klaus in Jonathan Creek turns out to be using a stage name when his older sister Kitty arrives and refers to him exclusively as Chester, not a name with much credibility for a stage illusionist. (Kitty's Scottish accent throws suspicions on Adam's supposed American-ness as well.)
  • One episode of Kids Incorporated revealed that the character who had previously been known only as "The Kid" was embarrassed by his traditional African first name, Rahsaannote . After a Very Special Episode taught him not to be ashamed of his heritage, everyone started calling him Rahsaan... right up to the end of the episode, after which it was never mentioned again. The guy left the show shortly afterwards.
  • Kirby Buckets: Kirbert Buckets goes by "Kirby" for a very good reason.
  • Knots Landing: Mack's first name is Marion. This was not revealed to the audience until Season Eight, Mack's fifth season, when Karen reads a letter supposedly written by Anne (which she never sent to Mack) mentioning his first name in "The Inside Man". Karen's lack of reaction indicates that she was, unsurprisingly, already aware of this even if the audience weren't.
  • Andy (a girl) in Kyle XY, who lets everyone believe that her name is short for Andrea... it's actually short for Andromeda.
  • Lab Rats: Principal Perry's first name is Terry (nickname for Teresa), noting that she is female.
  • In one episode of Life Support, the character Penne finally gets her revenge on her parents for giving her an awful name by sending them to Germany and getting them arrested under its strict child-naming legislation.
  • Dr. Leslie Arzt from Lost.
    Hurley: I think Leslie's a bitchin' name.
  • MacGyver always seemed embarrassed by his first name. Even former lovers only ever called him "MacGyver" (his grandfather called him "bud"). In one of the show's final episodes, his first name was revealed to be "Angus", which isn't really all that embarrassing. His embarrassment was probably based on the name originally scripted for him, which was "Stacey".
  • Uncle Phil from Mad About You thought he was dying and made the Buchmans promise to name their first son after him. He then revealed that his real first name was "Deuteronomy". He didn't hold them to their promise.
    • When his "dying" proved to be a false alarm, he revealed that his reasoning was sound if a little odd-Deuteronomy is such an unusual name that there would never be any of the confusion in child identification that so plagues the parents who were foolish enough to name their child "Joe".
      • Later they ended up naming their daughter Mabel, which could be argued was a lateral move at best (at least their relatives were very disappointed when learning about the chosen name).
  • Magnum, P.I.: Rick Wright refuses to go by his real first name of Orville in the present day, as in the show's very first episode, Magnum has to threaten to reveal it to all of Hawaii to get Rick to cooperate with him. However, this was not always the case: flashbacks show that he answered to it without any problems while serving in Vietnam.
  • In one episode of Married... with Children a male stripper who calls himself Raul admits to Al that his actual name is "Wilbur" when he returns Marcy's wedding ring (after she lost it while tipping him).
  • Kazimieras from Mighty Med goes by "Kaz" for a good reason, even keeping his full name hidden from Oliver for years.
  • In Modern Family, Gloria and her mother and sister want her and Jay's son to be Fulgencio, it being the male family name, which Jay hates and wants the name Joseph. The baby is eventually named "Fulgencio Joseph", though he and Gloria both agree to call the baby "Joe".
  • In Mr. Belvedere, the title character's first name is Lynn.
  • In the Korean drama series My Lovely Sam-soon, a major part of the series is devoted to Kim Sam-soon's embarrassment about the name "Sam-soon", which roughly means "Third daughter".
    • Sam-soon isn't weird because of its meaning. In Korean the meaning of a name doesn't really matter in Korean. Any name with either "Sam" or "Soon", is considered either embarrassing or old-fashioned.
    • Sam-soon can also mean "thirty years", and the character Kim Sam-soon is thirty years old.
  • In The Nanny, C.C. Babcock's real name is Chastity Claire.
  • In NCIS, Leroy Jethro Gibbs rather insistently goes by Jethro with those who are on a First-Name Basis with him, such as Ducky. Only his father, until his death, ever called him Leroy.
  • Bill McNeal from NewsRadio was actually Evelyn William McNeal.
  • Nicky, Ricky, Dicky, and Dawn: Anne Harper's first name is really her middle name; her real first name is Chantelle.
  • Night Court:
    • In one episode, Dan Fielding reveals that his real name is Reinhold (the creator of the show was Reinhold Weege.) Also, Fielding is actually his middle name; his real last name is Elmore. (The guy who tells everyone this in the episode also mentions that Dan played the accordion as a child. The guy really didn't like him.)
    • Bull's real first name is Nostradamus, with his mother claiming she named him after "the hunchback (Notre Dame?)."
    • When Mac and Quon Li's daughter is born, she wants to name her after the storybook horse Flicka. They make it her middle name after Renee.
  • Boycie in Only Fools and Horses is actually named Aubrey Boyce. Even his wife calls him Boycie.
  • Our Miss Brooks: Stretch Snodgrass's real name is "Fabian".
  • Power Rangers Ninja Storm has Waldo Brooks — known as "Dustin" to his friends.
  • On The Pretender, Dark Action Girl Miss Parker once threatened to shoot someone who was about to reveal her first name (hardly an empty threat). Her first name is unknown to this day, though it might be Angel.
  • William Andrew Phillip Bodie, in The Professionals only ever went by the name "Bodie".
  • Punky Brewster's actual first name was Penelope. When the bailiff in the debut story arc "Punky Gets A Home" announces it in a custody trial, she interrupts and insists on being announced as Punky.
  • Rizzoli & Isles: Det. Frost's first name is Barold. He normally goes by Barry.
  • The Conners' old friend Ziggy on Roseanne was named Norbert. Even worse, his mom used to call him Norby.
  • In Saved by the Bell, a visiting ex-girlfriend greets Slater as "Albert Clifford". When his friends repeat the name incredulously, he grimaces and says, "That's why I shortened it to 'A.C.'"
  • Saved by the Bell: The New Class: In one episode, Eric Little's first name is revealed to be Cornelius.
  • Dr. Cox of Scrubs has the first name Perry. This isn't notable (and probably not said) until you know that he hates apparently 'gay' names like Quinn or, well, Perry.
    • His first name is actually revealed to be Percival, for which Perry is short. His full name is Percival Ulysses Cox.
  • Seinfeld:
    • Kramer infamously went several seasons before finally revealing his first name was Cosmo.
    • Also, Elaine dates a man who shared his name with serial killer Joel Rifkin. After one too many embarrassing moments, he opts to change it. This leads to his breakup with Elaine as neither likes the other's choices for a new first name.
  • Space: Above and Beyond: Colonel T.C. McQueen never goes by any other name than "Colonel" or "Sir", to cover up the fact that T.C. stands for Tyrus Cassius.
  • Dr. McKay of Stargate Atlantis prefers to be addressed by his middle name, Rodney, because his first name is Meredith. His colleagues have a field day when they find out, thanks to his sister's insistance on calling him that. An Alternate Universe McKay goes a step further and prefers to be called Rod; Rodney could never get anyone to call him that, but Rod is considered far more awesome. For reference, "Meredith" is a Welsh male name (from "Maredudd", meaning "great lord"); while it transitioned through gender-neutral to predominantly female in anglophone countries, it remains primarily masculine in Wales and can be spelled either "Maredudd" or "Meredudd".
  • The show Supernatural has Crowley...whose real name is Fergus Roderick Macleod. He hates this name, especially because his demon minions make fun of him behind his back and call him Lucky the Leprechaun, which, as Bobby points out, is stupid because his name is SCOTTISH, not Irish.
  • From Teen Wolf, we don't actually know Stiles' real first name, but his lacrosse coach knows, and he's sure that it constitutes child abuse. ("Stiles" derives from his last name, Stilinski.) In season six, Stiles' first name is revealed to be Mieczysław. Got to agree with Coach on this one.
  • In A Touch of Frost, Detective Inspector Frost is known to all and sundry by the obvious nickname of Jack, despite his real name being the normal-sounding William. He prefers it that way.
  • The Vicar of Dibley: Geraldine Granger's actual first name is revealed to be Boadecea, although this is inconsistent with the later revelation that her name is actually Geraldine Julie Andrews Dick Van Dyke Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Chim Chiminey Chim Chiminey Chim Chim Cher-ee Granger.
  • Willow: Upon growing up, Elora Danan's known as Dove, and had been renamed Brünhilde. She's not fond of being called this or Elora. Willow agrees with disliking Brünhilde.
  • Samantha Spade acknowledged in Without a Trace that her mother named her after the Maltese Falcon character.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: Herschel Larritate? Seriously?
  • There's an episode of The Wonder Years in which one of the characters is challenged to find out the name of the school psycho. Eventually he discovers the guy's name is Florence. Hence the craziness.
  • Fox Mulder of The X-Files once told Scully that he made his parents call him Mulder. Interestingly, his middle name is the perfectly normal William. When his parents actually show up, though, they call him Fox — in fact pretty much everyone but Scully and the Lone Gunmen calls him Fox occasionally, and he never seems to have a problem with it.
  • It's hard to tell if the real name of The Kid in the cowboy drama The Young Riders is embarrassing, but we can assume so, given the lengths to which he goes to conceal it. After he whispers it to his friend, Teaspoon, who's officiating at his wedding to another of the Riders, Lou (Louise), Teaspoon looks perplexed and aghast before deciding just to go with Kid instead. Must have been bad!

  • The 'Boy named Sue' from the song of the same name (written by Shel Silverstein and Covered Up by Johnny Cash). Of course, it's stated to have just made him into a badass, by making him get mad and fight everyone who called him that. And trying to kill his dad for naming him that.
  • In "Queer Bungle Rye" a sailor on shore leave met with a "damsel who skipped up and down," who pawned a child on him under the pretense that it was bootleg liquor. He decided to christen the kid for some reason and gave it the song title as its first name.
    Says the parson to Jack "That's a mighty queer name"
    "I'll be damned then" says Jack "at the queer way he came
    Smuggled up in a basket and sold on the sly
    And the name that he'll go by is Queer Bungle Rye-Raddy-Rye"

  • Luna Black from Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues was named during a 'mystical' phase that her parents went through. While she doesn't mind the name itself, its origin is a source of shame for her.
  • In the League of Intergalactic Cosmic Champions Sailor Evil's full name is Griselda Ethylene Evil and she didn't want to be known as Sailor Griselda.
  • Survival of the Fittest:
    • Anaesthesia "Anna" Grout.
    • Arguably Dacey Ashcroft, although replace embarrassing with 'too feminine'.
    • V4 character Yelizaveta 'Bounce' Volkova, even though that's just the roughly corresponding Russian name for Elizabeth.


    Video Games 
  • In Ar tonelico: Melody of Elemia, gunman Jack Hamilton decided to change his name after leaving the Teru Tribe. His real name? Harmonica.
  • EXTRAPOWER: Attack of Darkforce: Blackberry is not pleased at all that her old friends back in Ispares still remember her as Agnes.
  • Samantha "Sam" Pearce of Backyard Sports hates being called "Samantha."
  • Nagisa (a male cop) from Battle Arena Toshinden 3 gets teased by Tracy for his girly first name, and he hates it.
  • Bug Fables: General Ultimax's real name is revealed to be Fuff.
  • In Conker's Bad Fur Day, The Grim Reaper's first name is...Gregg.
    Gregg the Grim Reaper: And don't laugh!
  • Boo Hooly in Dragon Quest Heroes: Rocket Slime.
  • In Epiphany City, Superb Man's real name is Herbert, much to his chagrin.
  • Fallout
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy XII: Balthier's true name is eventually revealed to be Ffamran mied Bunansa. It's not clear whether he considers it embarrassing because he hates his father or because the name itself simply sounds stupid even in a fantasy world where the likes of Penelo and Vaan are real names.
    • World of Final Fantasy has espers' names parsed as "[Race Name] [Personal Name]". Consequently, Bahamut Tiababylo roaring at Hauyn for calling him by his personal name falls under this trope.
  • The player character in Freelancer usually goes by his last name Trent, as opposed to Edison. When he's introduced by his full name, he's quick to assert "It's just Trent."
  • Gun Witch: After finishing the second set of potions, Beretta explains how she, a gun-using witch, got her name, and why she hates it:
    Beretta: Hmm... For one I hate my name. It's so dumb! My parents are both weapon manufacturers. Specifically guns and ammunition. My dad's worked in a factory for so long he's been promoted to manager. That's how I got my name too. My dad looves the stupid Beretta pistols.
    I wish they named be something normal!
  • Halo Wars' title screen text scroll claims:
    Nobody knows the Arbiter's given name is 'Shirley'note .
  • The iDOLM@STER: Cinderella Girls has Arisu Tachibana, who despises her western-inspired name and insists people simply call her Tachibana. If the player gets her Relationship Values high enough, she allows the Producer to drop the Last-Name Basis.
  • Pecker the monkaw from Jak and Daxter. He blames it on the fact that his mother was "very vindictive." You gotta wonder what Pecker did as a baby to make his mother name him that.
  • In Jolly Rover James' full name is Gaius James Rover.
  • In L.A. Noire, your partner during the Homicide cases is Rusty Galloway and hates being called by his real first name, Finbarr.
    "I don't care if you were knocked a bit loopy, you don't call me 'Finbarr.'"
  • In Mass Effect 3, Jacob Taylor (assuming he survived the second game) is starting a family. Since you saved their lives, his girlfriend wants to name the baby after you. The problem is, your first name is player chosen, so the baby's name would end up as Shepard Taylor.
    Shepard: Um...thanks?
    Jacob: I'm gonna talk her out of it. No offense.
    • According to the Mass Effect Datapad App, the poor kid's name ended up being even worse since Brynn instead opted to name her after Admiral Hackett. Hopefully, Jacob was able to talk her out of naming their daughter Hackett Taylor.
    • Since Shepard's first name is player-chosen, and thus never spoken by any of the cast, the player could invoke this trope by giving their Shepard a truly embarrassing first name (and given the senses of humor of most gamers, it's probably happened more often than not.)
  • Otacon from Metal Gear Solid prefers to be addressed by his nickname, as he claims to dislike his actual name, "Hal". Somehow being named after the supercomputer from 2001: A Space Odyssey is more embarrassing than choosing the abbreviation for "Otaku Convention" as your nickname. Go figure.
    • Ironically, as soon as he becomes romantically attracted to Naomi Hunter in MGS4, he insists that she call him Hal. Which she does.
  • Darth Malgus in Star Wars: The Old Republic only lets his wife call him Veradun, and even then only in private.
  • The Final Boss of the SNK crossover fighting game NeoGeo Battle Coliseum is named Goodman. Yes, Goodman. Doesn't that just strike fear into the hearts of men?
    • The male lead is named Yuki, as well. For the record, that is pretty much exclusively feminine.
    • This is coming from SNK, which named one of the most difficult bosses in video gaming... Geese. After a while, you forget how weird it sounds.
  • In Paper Mario, your final partner is a Lakitu who prefers to be called "Spike", but is really named Lakilester.
  • While it's never really touched on in either the games or the anime (probably because it wasn't an issue in the original Japanese), the male Magma Admin in Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire/Emerald has the decidedly feminine name "Tabitha". Similarly, the manga-only Aqua Admin (both Team Magma and Team Aqua have two male admins in the manga as opposed to the one in the games and anime) is named "Amber".
  • Emperor Tachyon, the Big Bad from Ratchet & Clank Future: Tools of Destruction.
    Ratchet: Your name is Percival?!
  • It's revealed in Red Dead Redemption II that Bill Williamson's first name is actually Marion. His name is likely a nod to John Wayne whose birth name was Marion.
  • The Player Character in Shoot Many Robots is named Pickles Walter Tugnutt, but he just goes by his middle name.
  • In Sin and Punishment, the main male character is named Saki which is a feminine first name. It doesn't help that his styled hair makes him look like a girl.
  • Hisui Hearts of Tales of Hearts, whose name is a girl's in Japanese and translates to the equally feminine "Jade". For some reason, Hisui himself is only called out on this passingly (in a sidequest where the revelation of his name tears down a badass bruiser image he'd built), and his predecessor Jade Curtiss in Tales of the Abyss not at all.
  • In Tony Hawk's Downhill Jam, slow-witted skating burnout Crash's real name is Gaylord Ootbagh. Ouch.
  • The World Ends with You:
    • "Beat"'s true first name, "Daisukenojo", is so stupid, Neku wasn't even able to recognize it as a name when he first heard it (he thought 777 was cursing at Beat). What's especially painful for him is that it's just a more sucky version of the perfectly nice Japanese name "Daisuke". Had his parents just held back the last two kana, they would have saved him a lot of suffering.
    • Resident Manipulative Bastard Mr. Kitaniji counts as well. His first name is Megumi, which is a unisex name, but it's more typically used as a girl's name than as a boy's. The manga based upon the game goes further, implying that the childhood trauma of being teased for having a girl's name was one of the driving reason behind Kitaniji's ultimate goal.
      Konishi: But I thought you hated your name due to getting picked on about it sounding feminine?
      Kitaniji: Konishi! Salt. Wounds. Stop.

  • Roast Beef of Achewood was initially believed to be a girl when he was born, so his parents gave him the name of Cassandra. No wonder he became The Woobie.
  • The Adventures of Dr. McNinja: The titular doctor's first name is not known to anybody but himself. There's a wizard involved, it's a whole thing. The last arc of the series reveals that his first name is Patrick. Not an exceptional case of this trope, but the first person he reveals this to has the given name Sparkledancer, and finds it bland.
  • Another Gaming Comic brings us "Joe Chaos", whose actual name is Irving. Not so bad. Then we have Dang, whose name eventually turns out to be Davros.
  • Fox Maharassa in Boy Meets Boy is actually named Kailen. This is also his Berserk Button, as demonstrated here.
  • Dicebox: Molly's first (and legal) name is Benecia. The cost of not responding to it is that she has to wait twice as long in the course of official things such as reregistering to be a citizen because she has to go back and put her name on the list again. For a routine interview consisting of five questions.
  • In Educomix, Headmaster Poppington's first name is Dooby, and Spikeclops' first name is Spikeclopstopher.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Susan's full name is Tiffany Susan Pompoms, in contrast to her serious personality.
  • Marion Mighty from Everyday Heroes used to go by "Marko". These days, his wife just calls him "Em".
  • Nathan from Electric Wonderland almost never goes by his real name for reasons the comic hasn't gone into much detail about. Most people call him, "NJ" (which he once said stood for "NinJa"). Aerynn calls him, "Nate," since she had discovered that to be his real name (his official bio also lists it as such), but he doesn't like being called that either.
  • In Freakangels, KK's real name is Kolfinnia Kokokoho. Considering that Kolfinnia means winter in some Norse language and Kokokoho means Night Owl in Japanese, it's actually a well-intended name. Of course, that doesn't stop KK from being extremely angry at anyone who calls her that.
  • In General Protection Fault, Trudy Trueheart's original name (She had it legally changed) is Moonbeam Gertrude Glowerhausen. (Hippie parents, y'see.) Anyone who learned this information would not live long enough to share it.
  • From Gunnerkrigg Court, George Parley. It's embarrassing because she's a girl. Her father was a famous psychic who filled out the birth certificate before she was even born and got everything right except the gender, but they found the whole thing so funny that they didn't bother to change it.
  • The eponymous Hanna of Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name doesn't seem to be embarrassed at all by his name, but the question of why he wouldn't go by his middle name to avoid confusion is answered when his full name is revealed to be Hanna Falk Cross.
  • Darklight from The Heroes Of Middlecenter uses Darklight to cover up her real name, which is... Daffodil.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons: Devils are bound by giving them a mask and a name; the more names, the weaker the devil. After Allison wins a drinking game against an extremely powerful ebon devil, he breaks their deal and becomes an unbound devil. She grabs a nearby mask and starts to bind him. But since she's still very very drunk, she ends up naming him Princess Mamoru Moonshine Jagermeister Jack Jack Daniels Timothy Tim Bill Freddy Mercury Blueberry Luna, Esquire. She also turns him female in the process.
    Princess: Wait... that's my name? Seriously? oh my goooooood
  • Richard from Looking for Group doesn't really hide his first name, but he still tries to confuse anyone who'd ask him by concealing it in a hurricane of nicknames. And of course, calling him Dick is just asking for being fwooshed.
  • Ash Upton of Misfile whose real first name was Ashley even before the titular Misfile turned him into a girl.
    • Somewhat justified... "Ashley" used to be a masculine name before it was predominantly feminized late in the 20th century.
  • The protagonist of Nuzlocke Comics simply goes by "Ruby". It's not until he receives a letter in the middle of the Pokémon White playthrough that you learn his first name is Ruberto.
  • Although Kestrel from Queen of Wands isn't ashamed of her name, twelve years of public school convince her not to let her friends name their daughter after her.
  • In a Questionable Content strip, it is revealed Raven's first name is Blodwyn (her parents are Welsh), prompting amused reactions.
  • Blossom from Rhapsodies has the first name of Petronilla. While she doesn't go out of her way to keep it a secret she prefers that it's only known as an initial. There is also Clarence Gage.
  • Sleepless Domain: Heartful Punch considers her real name, Kokoro, embarrassing because of how cute it sounds — for all the pink and hearts that adorn her Magical Girl outfit, she's a Tomboy brawler to the core. She prefers to go by her magical girl title Heartful Punch, or HP for short. The only person she's given explicit permission to use it is Undine. Not even the other members of the Magical Girl Power Training Club, who HP is otherwise closest to, ever use it, and react in shock when Undine calls her by "the Forbidden Name".
  • In Sluggy Freelance, there is:
    • Riffington (a.k.a Riff).
    • Torg, who fully intends to continue the tradition by naming his first son or daughter "Zorg", despite already anticipating his child's complaining.
    • The God of Destruction was originally named Kozoaku, but his true name has been changed twice to make it harder to summon him. The second time he is renamed, Gwynn chooses "Poopypants", much to his annoyance.
    • There is also Slaughteresa, who's mother presumably wanted it to be a Meaningful Name. Slaughteresa herself prefers to just be called Teresa.
  • S.S.D.D.:
    • Dr. Jeremiah Cook despises his first name, largely because his mother gave it to him and he doesn't like her very much.
    • Tessa's adoptive parents named her "Angel" (ironically); she had it changed when she was an angsty teenager.
  • In What's Shakin', the evil fire god's name is Fred. This is lampshaded with the heroes saying, "Wow, worst villain name ever!"

    Web Original 
  • Chronicle of the Annoying Quest has Voliostromort Guy. He hates his first name, so only goes by his surname. Voliostromort sounds like a great name for a warlock.
  • Skunky Beaumont from Doug not only lost his Ghost status after Disney took over, he also got a truly embarrassing first name, namely Walter.
    • In fact, most characters in this show should feel more embarrassed about their names than about their skin colors, but probably the only other character to whom this applies would be Skeeter (a.k.a. Mosquito) Valentine.
  • DSBT InsaniT: For Bill, it's an Embarrassing Beta Name from the actual DSBT. It's nearly said a couple of times by characters like Alex or Koden, but he always cuts them off.
  • Subverted with 'Doobs', Amir's rival from Jake and Amir. His full name is Penis Anthony Dubligné, but neither he nor Amir sees his first name as embarrassing, which baffles Jake.
    Jake: 'Doobs'?
    Doobs: My name is Penis Anthony Dubligné.
    Jake: And the nickname you gave him to make fun of him was 'Doobs'?
  • The Blyndeff siblings in Epithet Erased. While never stated in the show or books themselves, side material and Word of God states that Molly is actually short for "Molly-Wolly-Doodle-All-the-Day", while Lorelai is short for "Lorelinebacker". Spending just five seconds with their father should explain how this happened.
  • The full name of Dr. Poque, the Big Bad of Mega64, is "Dr. Diarrhea Poque", as revealed at the end of episode 4 of season 2. Derek and Rocko find out much earlier on in the first season's second episode, though the name wasn't actually revealed then. Rocko does comment that it sounds like "some kind of butt disease," however.
  • Joe Hokage in Naruto: The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show. Ordinary compared to other examples on this page, but he still gets mocked for it ("Joekage").
  • Tech Infantry has Andrea Treschi. It's a guy, but he's not too concerned about the name. On the other hand, there's Corporal Tess. Corporal Reichenspurger Tess, whose parents moved from a planet that followed the Asian custom of "family name first" to one that followed the Western custom of "family name last". The bureaucrat processing their paperwork screwed hers up, so she just has everyone call her by her "last" name.
  • According to To Boldly Flee, The Cinema Snob's first name is Bradakin. This is a portmanteau of Snob's actor's first name, Brad, and Anakin Skywalker, to continue the spoof of the Star Wars movies his character centered on.
    • On the other hand, while everyone else thinks Terl's first name is embarrassing (it's Ferdinand), Terl himself is quite proud of it.
    • According to Atop the Fourth Wall The Movie, 90's Kid's real name is Evelyn.
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Yami Bakura's real name is Florence. He hates his name, and it's one reason why he's evil. In one of the Evil Council videos, he has a dream where some of his greatest wishes come true: among them, Florence being voted one of the manliest names ever. (This is the result of 'Ascended Fanon', as Bakura only mentioned that his parents wanted to call him 'Florence,' but the fans just latched onto it.)

    Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog portrays Miles "Tails" Prower as "hating" his real name. In the episode in question, "Tails' New Home", not only does Sonic threaten to reveal that to everyone if he didn't bail, but it also caused Sonic to realize he had been duped by Robotnik. note 
  • On Adventures of the Gummi Bears, the evil Duke Igthorn's secret first name was... Sigmund. Duke Sigi Igthorn.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Nicole goes by her middle name because her first name given to her by her overbearing parents is "Doctor".
  • On American Dad!, Snot's real name is Schmuley. Not that Snot is such a good name, either.
  • Arthur:
    • Binky doesn't even remember his name as everyone calls him "Binky". When he learns it is "Shelly", he hates it and spends the episode learning to appreciate it.
    • D. W. doesn't like to be called by her real name, Dora Winifred.
  • In the Biker Mice from Mars episode "Hard Rock", Hard Rock's girlfriend Darla reveals that her boyfriend's real name is Booboo. The Biker Mice waste no time in making fun of him for it.
  • The titular character on Bounty Hamster is named Marion. When he admits it to Cassie, she's more surprised than anything.
  • In one episode of CatDog, where the characters prepare for the impending Apocalypse, a few of the Greasers take the opportunity to exchange emotional confessions. Cliff confesses that his name is short for "Clifford", and Lube follows suit by confessing that his real name is "Ignatius". After the latter confession, Cliff promptly kills the mood by laughing hysterically at Lube.
  • Evil, ambitious Mad Scientist and high school principal Cinnamon J. Scudworth in Clone High. Yes, he is the primary antagonist of the series, and, yah, he's male.
  • On Codename: Kids Next Door, the episode "Operation: S.L.U.M.B.E.R." revealed that Numbuh 86's real name was Fanny. Cue butt jokes. The jokes would have been considerably worse if she'd lived in the UK... which, judging from her Scottish accent, she probably has.
    • Numbuh 2's first name is Hogarth. He goes by Hoagie, which isn't much better.
  • In an episode of Courage the Cowardly Dog, Muriel is kidnapped and forced to make kilts for a gnome-like man. Eventually, Courage discovers that the guy hates both his first and last names: Rumpled Kiltskin. When Muriel finds out about this, she suggests he legally change his name, suggesting "Rumplestiltskin". The guy actually thinks that's a good idea, and suggests the two become business partners. It Makes Just as Much Sense in Context, as much as the show does in general.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In the episode "A Boy Named Sue", Mandark revealed that his hippy-dippy parents had named him Susan, much to his humiliation. The title of the episode is itself derived from the song written by Shel Silverstein and sung by Johnny Cash, about a boy who wants to kill his father for naming him Sue. It doesn't help that when Dexter meets Mandark for the first time, he has long hair and wears a girly dress, and Dexter calls him a little girl, despite Mandark's insistence that he is a boy. And when Dexter asks him what his name is and Mandark gives an affirmative answer, Dexter starts laughing at him. This, apparently, is what sets their rivalry into motion. Though his introductory episode had him introduced as Ivan Astronomonov.
  • On Drawn Together, Captain Hero's first name is Leslie.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty Emily Dickinson Jones in Duck Dodgers is a subversion; while Dodgers finds it funny, Emily himself insists that the 25th-and-a-half-century no longer has gender-specific names and genuinely has no problem with his mother naming him after her favorite poet.
  • Duckman:
    • Cornfed combines this with an Embarrassing Middle Name—his full name is Willibald Fieval Cornfed.
    • Duckman hates being called by his first name, Eric.
  • DuckTales (2017):
    • Hubert, Dewford and Llewelyn Duck are the given names of Huey, Dewey and Louie Duck. Though only Louie seems to be incredibly embarrassed by his.
    • Originally their names were going to be Jet, Turbo and Rebel before their mother Della disappeared before they hatched. One can argue whether the names Della had chosen, or the names Donald went for once he became their legal guardian, are more embarrassing.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • In "Fairly Odd Baby", Cosmo and Wanda throughout the episode give different possible names for their baby (not finding out the sex until the very end). Initially pregnant Cosmo wants to name it "Barf-olemew" due to his constant morning sickness.
    • One name quip after the baby is born:
      Wanda: Cosmo! You're scaring little Tallulah.
      Cosmo: Well, I'd cry too if my name was Tallulah.
    • In "Anti-Poof", since the first fairy baby is named Poof, his anti-fairy version is named Foop. Foop comments multiple times that he hates his name.
    • In "Polter-geeks", we learn that Mr. Turner's name was "Mom" when he was younger. Given that, the fact that his nickname was "Dad" as a kid makes perfect sense. Mrs. Turner's name, "Barnaby", is at least a little better, and Mr. Turner thought her name was beautiful.
    • "Dimmsdale Tales" gives us a hint that Mr. Turner's current name is embarrassing for him. When Timmy tells two stories about characters named Cosmo and Wanda, his dad criticizes him for using the same name twice. Timmy renames them to Carlsbad and Wandalin, and Timmy's dad says they're stupid names.
      Timmy: What's your first name?
      Timmy's Dad: Ooh, I see your point!
  • Philip Fry's brother in Futurama is named Yancy, after his father and great-grandfather. During one episode, Fry finds a statue dedicated to "Philip J. Fry," which Fry believes is due to Yancy taking his name after his disappearance, to replace his own embarrassing name. The statue honors Yancy's son, named after his beloved uncle, who had gone missing when frozen.
  • On Goldie & Bear, the Big Bad Wolf's real name is "Aloysius," but he warns the title characters to never tell anyone when they find out. They promise him that to them, he'll always be "Big Bad."
  • Gravity Falls: Downplayed. Dipper Pines only goes his nickname, rather than his real name of Mason, but this is mostly because everyone (including his parents) have called him Dipper for so long (after the Big Dipper-shaped birthmark on his forehead) that his birth name now feels unnatural. His real name isn't even mentioned in the series, only being revealed in a book released months after the series ended.
  • On Harvey Girls Forever!, Audrey lets it be known that her older sister Zoe's name is short for "Zoelisha". Her middle name being "Bertha" isn't much better.
  • Curly from Hey Arnold! is Thaddeus Gammelthorpe.
  • The Hotel Transylvania: The Series episode "The Naming of the Shrew" reveals that Mavis' Aunt Lydia's real given name is actually Poopsie and she assumed the name Lydia so people would take her seriously. Unsurprisingly, her fearsome reputation takes a nosedive when this secret of hers slips out.
  • Kim Possible:
    • Dr. Drakken was born Drew Theodore P. Lipsky, as if any one part of that wasn't bad enough on its own.
    • In "The Ron Factor", the villain Gemini's real name is revealed to be Sheldon and the twin sister of the Global Justice director, Dr. Director, real name: Betty.
  • In Lilo & Stitch: The Series, it's revealed that Pleakley's first name is... Wendy. While he insists that it means "powerful warrior" on his planet, it still earns him lots of chuckles, and he refuses to go by it unless he has to.
  • On Mike, Lu & Og, Mike Mazinsky doesn't like to be called "Michelanne".
  • In Mixels, the Principal of Mixopolis Middle School has the first name of "Knave", as in the peasantry class. Mixadel was able to guess it purely out of insulting him with the term.
  • Molly of Denali: Mac McFadden's real name is Aloysius, something only Andie points out (to tease him) in "Molly and the Great One".
  • My Little Pony:
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar, Dr. Blowhole's first name is Francis.
  • In Phineas and Ferb's Cliptastic Countdown, we find Major Monogram's first name is Francis, much to the amusement of Dr. Doofenshmirtz (who isn't really one to talk, considering his first name is Heinz).
  • From the Randy Cunningham: Ninth Grade Ninja episode "Stank’d to the Future":
    Howard: His name is Dickie, and he hates his parents, I'm assuming cause they named him Dickie.
  • Recess: The episode "First Name Ashley" reveals Spinelli's first name is Ashley. While she does like it, as she was named after a beloved grandmother, she was hiding it to avoid being forced to join the school's snobby clique of preppy girly-girls called "The Ashleys".
    • Other examples include Conrad "Connie" Mundy and Irwin Lawson. Like Spinelli, they also go by a Last-Name Basis.
  • Twister from Rocket Power hates it when people call him by his first name, Maurice.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle's "Fractured Fairy Tales" has a segment about a young girl named Tussinelda Wolfenpinkle, "but she had such lovely gold curls that everybody called her Goldilocks, which was probably just as well."
    • In "Son of Rumpelstiltskin", the titular character goes through the same motions as his father. The princess admits defeat, but demands to know what his name is before she hands her child over. He realizes he doesn't know and spends the rest of the short trying to find out. When he discovers his name is "Rumpelstiltskin", he's too embarrassed to go back and claim his prize.
  • Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles: Brutto's first name is Francis. When an A.I. reveals this to the team, he threatens them if they make fun of it.
  • In Sanjay and Craig the boys' Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Mr. Noodman's first name is Leslie.
  • While he never expressed any dislike for his real name, Shaggy from Scooby-Doo almost never went by his real name of Norville Rogers... for some incomprehensible reason.
  • Milhouse Van Houten from The Simpsons, named after Richard Milhous Nixon. It was the most unfortunate name Matt Groening could think of for a kid.
    • In the episode where Lisa learns Italian, his middle name is revealed to be Mussolini.
    • The first name of school bully Jimbo Jones is revealed to be "Corky" in one episode. Another episode has Nelson calling him by the far less embarrassing and more justifiable "James." That Other Wiki and a few other resources, however, show Jimbo's full name as "Conrad James Jones."
  • On South Park only the In-Universe press refers to Butters Stotch as "Leopold".
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In the episode "Plankton's Army", the titular character's first name is revealed to be Sheldon. Karen mocks him mercilessly once she learns this.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil: In the supplementary book "Star and Marco's Guide to Mastering Every Dimension", it's revealed that Flying Princess Pony Head's first name is Lilacia.
  • Lars Barriga from Steven Universe doesn't like when his parents call him by his actual first name, Laramie.
  • Stōked: Reef's real name is Leslie. He's not happy about it.
  • While it may have been a reasonable first name when the comic books were first written, the Animated Adaptation of Teen Titans pokes fun at the fact that Beast Boy has the first name... Garfield.
  • In Time Squad, we have Buck Tuddrussel, whose first name is Beauregard, as revealed in "Kubla Khan't".
  • In Tiny Toon Adventures, one of the few sure ways to get a rise out of perpetually cool Babs Bunny is to refer to her as "Barbara-Anne".
  • Total Drama World Tour uses this in a Villain Sucks Song:
    "She steals and lies, and she's evil, bros, and her real name isn't Blaineley! It's Mildred!"
    • In Total Drama: Revenge of the Island, Beverly turns out to be the real name of B, who's male.
  • On T.U.F.F. Puppy, Francisco's real name is Francesca because his mother wanted a girl.
  • In season 5 of The Venture Bros., panicky bodyguard Sergeant Hatred reluctantly reveals that his first name is Courtney, thanks to an old-fashioned mother. Despite being an ex-villain, accidentally growing breasts, and being highly emotional, "Hatred" suits him far better.
  • The Mmmmmmmmmporg from Wakfu is a nigh-unstoppable, super fast and strong behemoth of a man who was considered a living weapon to unleash against a rival city, able to move so fast he leaves a stream of fire behind. All of this is fine and dandy until we learn that his actual name is Marilyn, which makes the entire stadium he's in burst into prolonged roaring laughter. Unfortunately, said laughter makes him go into an Unstoppable Rage.
  • Cartoon or comic, Will Vandom of W.I.T.C.H. can never escape her real name. In the comics, it's "Wilhelmina" and in the first episode of the cartoon, it's revealed to be "Wilma". The comics made an example when Will flipped out over her relatives calling her baby brother (named William) "Will"... and then, they all started calling her "Wilhelmina" once they found out her real name, much to her displeasure.



Sasha, Percy and Braddock learn that Grime's real name is Grimothy.

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Main / EmbarrassingFirstName

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