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Exactly What It Says on the Tin
aka: Exactly What It Sounds Like

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What, did they run out of movie titles or something?

A title should tell you what a movie, show, episode of a show or product is about or does. Sometimes, though, the premise or plot of the story is all right there in the title. That's when you can say that the story is "Exactly What It Says on the Tin". Thus, this trope.

The names of action shows designed for children tend to have this as a distinguishing feature, as do many pornographic films, but it certainly doesn't stop there.

This trope also shows up in naming. An object or organization that does exactly what its name says falls into this trope through sheer power of doing Exactly What It Says In Its Name. Also applies when minor characters in films and TV shows are given names that are nothing more than a brief description of what they do or look like. For example, a character named simply "Flower Deliveryman" or "Girl in Red Dress".

The title comes from the long-running "Does Exactly What It Says On The Tin" TV advertising campaign for Ronseal Quick Drying Woodstain, a British product for staining wood, which is known to dry quickly (and other Ronseal products, but the woodstain was first). This became a figure of speech through their extremely straight-forward TV ads. More on which may be found at That Other Wiki.

Direct opposite of Word Salad Title, but not necessarily mutually exclusive with it. Direct opposite of and mutually exclusive with Non-Indicative Name.

See also In Which a Trope Is Described, a Victorian version of this trope. A Spoiler Title or Excited Title! Two-Part Episode Name! may feature some degree of this. The characters might point out the thing with a Title Drop. If a title is going for this kind of transparency in description, it may also be Shaped Like Itself; but Shaped Like Itself tends to fail at actually being descriptive in the way that Exactly What It Says On The Tin always is. Adjective Noun Fred titles easily lend themselves to this.

Contrast In Name Only, Artifact Title, and especially Never Trust a Title. Compare Meaningful Name, A Dog Named "Dog", and Straightforward (an ad that says what the product does; no more, no less).

This trope is only for titles or names given deliberately by authors or marketers. All Real Life examples go in Titles or Advertising section. This is not a trope for the names of things in general.

When adding examples to this page, there are some notes to keep in mind:

  • Just because it may be obvious to you doesn't mean it's obvious to everyone. That next-door neighbor you never talk to? Tell her the title and see if she can give a one sentence description of the plot. If not, then the title is NOT Exactly What It Says On The Tin. This also means that if you feel the need to explain it, it probably isn't this trope.
  • As a rule of thumb, for this trope to apply to a work you generally need a paperthin/non-existent plot, an overly descriptive title, or both.
  • It isn't enough for the title to just be relevant or accurateeverything meaningful has to be conveyed in the title. However, only the meaningful parts need to be in the title; the title doesn't have to be the entire script of the movie.
  • Note: Many examples on this page actually do not qualify and we are in the process of slowly cleaning it up. Please help us by removing examples that don't fit when you see them.
  • Make sure you add title examples to "title examples", and in-universe examples to "in-universe examples".


Title Examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • Ronseal Quick Drying Woodstain: Trope Namer, as its advertisement claims it does what its name is — It stains wood (for protection from the elements), which dries quickly. The advertising was distinctive for simply declaring these properties, and leaving it at that.
    • The German company Lugato does this quite a lot. They offer products like "BAD-SILICON WIE GUMMI"note  ("bathroom-silicone like rubber"), "TROCK'NE MAUER SILICON-IMPRÄGNIERUNG" ("dry wall silicone finish", a finish to keep walls (masonry) dry) or "WEISSES HAUS KUNSTHARZ ROLLPUTZ 0,5 MM" ("white house synthetic resin roll-on plaster 0.5mm" obviously makes your house white and has a thickness of half a millimeternote ).
  • Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes — as the box indicates, the full name is even more Exactly What It Says on the Tin: they're Kellogg's Sugar Frosted Flakes of Corn used to be this at least in the USA and Canada, but the word "sugar" was dropped in the 1980s making it less of an example. There's also the frosting-free version, Corn Flakes. A lot of store-brand versions of popular cereals follow this trope. Averted in other markets where they are simply known as "Frosties".
  • The product description of Nestlé's "Buncha Crunch" candy is "Bunches of crunchy milk chocolate."
  • McDonald's Ranch Chicken BLT, is a chicken sandwich with bacon, lettuce, tomato, and ranch sauce.
  • There's a popular restaurant in Philadelphia's Reading Terminal Market called "Dutch Eating Place". As long as you're aware that "Dutch" means "Pennsylvania Dutch" (i.e. German) and what that entails (and if you're in Philly, you should, and if you don't you should learn), there's nothing else you need to know about it.
  • Invoked by early 1990s ads for Listerine, with the tagline "It says what it does / It does what it says".

    Anime & Manga 
  • This applies to a lot of isekai titles, and Light Novels in general, since it's become trendy.
  • One-shot manga often use this naming method to convey the premise to prospective readers.
  • Also very common with romance and harem light novels, especially of the aforementioned isekai genre. This is partly to frontload the description so that readers could get what they wanted quickly and easily, as such books became very popular very quickly and literally hundreds of new titles were released over a very short period of time.
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You is about a boy who is destined to meet and fall in love with 100 girls, in the process deconstructing many of the Harem Genre clichés in increasingly ridiculous ways.
  • All of the episode titles for Baccano! are very straightforward. For example:
    • "The Vice President Doesn't Say Anything about the Possibility of Him Being the Main Character" (Episode 1)
    • "Ladd Russo Enjoys Talking a Lot and Slaughtering a Lot" (Episode 4)
    • "The Rail Tracer Covertly, Repeatedly Slaughters Inside the Coaches" (Episode 6)
  • Bottle Fairy: Four fairies who live in bottles are the main characters.
  • Bungo Stray Dogs has an organisation that goes by the name 'Port Mafia'. Three guesses as to what it is.
  • The Japanese version of Dragon Ball Z is particularly bad, with episodes such as "Here comes Satan's Army! Mr. Satan Gets Beat In One hit..." in which Mr. Satan tries to fight Cell, only to get beat in one hit, or "Pitiful Frieza Cannot Stop Shaking" in which pitiful Frieza cannot stop shaking. This is probably because, due to excessive fillers, very little happens in some episodes, and in addition, the Japanese episode titles are all really long, so it's fairly common for the episode title to describe exactly what happens in the episode. It could also be because it is assumed that all the viewers has already read the manga so they just explicitly state whenever something will happen for example "Transformed at Last!! Son Goku, the Legendary Super Saiyan".
  • Mamoru Hosoda's films tend to be self-explanatory with their titles, what with them being called The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Wolf Children, and The Boy and the Beast.
  • Several Go Nagai works had Crossover movies and mangas with titles pretty much informed those works' fans all they needed to know:
  • Trigun: The subtitle on the manga says Deep Space Planet Future Gun Action! Try to guess what the series is about.
  • Devil Hunter Yohko is about exactly what the title says. Yohko Mano is the 108th Devil Hunter in the Mano Family line. As such, it's her sacred duty to protect humanity from demonkind.
  • Girls und Panzer is about... girls und panzers.
  • Episode 36 of Inuyasha is titled "Kagome Kidnapped by Koga, the Wolf Demon!", which is exactly what happens in it.
  • Ping Pong the Animation
  • Witch Hunter Robin is about a girl named Robin who hunts witches.
  • Ditto with Vampire Hunter D.
  • Combat Mecha Xabungle. The main Humongous Mecha is named Xabungle. It frequently engages in combat.
  • Futsuu no Joshikousei ga Locodol Yattemita: "Ordinary High School Girls Tried Being Local Idols." That's the premise right there.
  • Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid is about a dragon who works as a maid for a woman named Kobayashi.
  • In My Dress-Up Darling, the series’ original Japanese title is a full description of Marin and Gojou’s character and relationship, thus the premise of the entire series. The Bisque Doll Who Fell In Love: Gojou became his grandfather’s disciple in making dolls after he grew so enamored with their beauty, Marin is an aspiring cosplayer who loves the aspect of producing clothing and pieces in her cosplay; Gojou found in Marin his perfect doll to produce clothing for, Marin found the perfect tailor to produce her cosplay, and so the bisque doll falls in love.
  • Sgt. Frog: The Swedish title, Keroro, Grodan Från Rymden (Keroro, the frog from space).
  • Miss Koizumi Loves Ramen Noodles stars a girl with the surname Koizumi, and features her obsession with ramen.
  • In Another World with My Smartphone. The protagonist is killed by God and sent to another world. Guess what he gets to bring with him.
  • The Red Ranger Becomes an Adventurer in Another World is exactly what it sounds like: a tale about a Hot-Blooded Red Ranger who ends up trapped in a fantasy world after the final climactic battle with the Rangers' enemies, and uses his Ranger powers to become an adventurer while he looks for a way home - much to the confusion of the otherworld's residents, who have absolutely no context for sentai heroes or their powers.
  • Bikini Warriors. Not much room for interpretation. It's mostly an ad for a figurine series of the same name.
  • Space Battleship Yamato is about the battleship Yamato... IN SPACE!
  • Bloom Into You has an extra chapter called "Her Sister's Perspective," which has Rei Koito, Yuu's older sister, as the PoV character.
  • Dragon Goes House-Hunting. And if that isn't self-explanatory enough, the cover art is a dragon reading a book titled "Buying Your First Home (Without Failing)."
  • I Couldn't Become a Hero, So I Reluctantly Decided to Get a Job is literally that. Raul (the first person protagonist), could not become a hero (no more demons to slay), so he reluctantly (VERY reluctantly) decided to get a (shitty) job.
  • The Devil is a Part-Timer! The devil works part time at MgRonald's. Not the case for the original title, though, which translates to something considerably less specific: "Overlord At Work."
  • There's an ero-manga called Drawing While Masturbating. The cover depicts the lead girl doing, well, that.
  • Kuroko's Basketball: So, what's the main character's name, and what sport does he play?
  • Notari Matsutarou, localized as "Rowdy Sumo Wrestler Matsutaro."
  • I Married My Best Friend to Shut My Parents Up is about a young woman who marries her best friend because she's tired of her parents' efforts to hook her up with a successful husband.
  • The Hero is Overpowered but Overly Cautious is about a goddess who summons a hero with spectacular stats, but is ridiculously over-careful no matter the situation.
  • The Island of Giant Insects. Not surprisingly, these inflated insects aren't very friendly.
  • I Think Our Son Is Gay, in which a mother realizes her son is probably gay. (Fortunately, she's not the least bit bothered by it.)
  • The Misfit of Demon King Academy isn't quite an example until you tack on its lengthy subtitle: "History's Strongest Demon King Reincarnates and Goes to School with His Descendants."
  • One-Punch Man is about a man who becomes a superhero because he is able to beat anyone he fights with one punch. The conflict comes from the fact that he gets bored easily winning all the time, is otherwise lazy and unmotivated, and life lessons don't stick most of the time. Contrary to expectation, it's only loosely a Protagonist Title because his hero name isn't One Punch Man. It's Caped Baldy.
  • A Lazy Guy Woke Up As A Girl One Morning is about a high schooler named Yasuda who wakes up to find that he's been turned into a girl. Much of the comedy is about the problems he faces now that he's been transformed into the opposite sex, and how he always takes the path of least resistance.
  • Suppose a Kid from the Last Dungeon Boonies Moved to a Starter Town, in which a kid from... yeah. As one would expect, he becomes the strongest person around, and hijinks ensue.
  • Death Note: "Note" is what the Japanese call notebooks. The Death Note is a notebook that can kill people.
  • Vtuber Confucius is a Taiwanese manhua where the famous sage Confucius and his disciple Yan Hui are transported to modern times, and Confucius ends up becoming a Virtual YouTuber named Ren Zi to make ends meet and spread his philosophical teachings.

  • Many abstract expressionism paintings do this, like Mark Rothko's Sienna, Orange, and Black on Dark Brown.
  • Alexandre Cabanel's The Fallen Angel is about Lucifer, who just fell from Heaven and is salty about it.
  • Allegory of the Four Seasons: The painting's subjects are four people who each represent one of the year's seasons — summer, spring, autumn, and winter.
  • Most of Franz Marc's paintings are this, especially his animal paintings, for example the Small blue horse. A notable exception is also his most famous (and lost) painting, ''The Tower of Blue Horses, where the title is an analogy to the composition of the painting, as the (blue) horses are arranged in a tier to the right of centre, towering over each other.
  • The Lights Going On And Off by Martin Creed.
  • Dogs Playing Poker. It's a series of paintings of dogs that are playing poker. Or, at least, gambling and socializing in a manner where you could technically call it "playing poker".
  • The painting (originally, a photograph) Dog Looking at and Listening to a Phonograph. Better known as His Master's Voice, which is not indicative.
  • Emanuel Leutze's paintings tend to be self-explanatory in titles:
  • Most of the famous paintings tend to be known this way. Daffodils is a picture of some daffodils.
  • Artist's shit by Piero Manzoni, an Italian conceptual artist. The artwork consists of 90 tin cans aptly labeled: Artist's Shit, Contents 30 gr net, Freshly preserved, Produced and tinned in May 1961. Now that's an example.
  • The "Rape Tunnel", a sequel to the artist's previous work, the "Punch You In The Face Tunnel", in which the artist constructed a tunnel, and would attempt to perform the specified action on anyone who walked through it. (Happily or sadly, the whole thing was actually a hoax; he never actually built either of them, just pretended he had.)
  • "Girl with a Pearl Earring", by Johannes Vermeer, is a painting of, well, a girl with a pearl earring.
  • JMW Turner's paintings included "Slave Ship (Slavers Throwing Overboard the Dead and Dying, Typhoon Coming On)", "The Fighting Temeraire Tugged to Her Last Berth to Be Broken up", and "The Battle of Trafalgar, as Seen from the Mizen Starboard Shrouds of the Victory". It does not take a genius to figure out what's being depicted.
  • A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte is a painting about people relaxing on La Grande Jatte in the afternoon.
  • "Take the Money and Run", a work by Danish artist Jens Haaning. The original commissioned work was meant to feature two framed piles of money, comparing the annual wages of workers in Denmark and Austria. Instead, Haaning delivered... two empty frames. While the museum director admitted he laughed when he saw it, a deadline was issued for the money to be returned, and when it wasn't, the museum took Haaning to court. The artist was ultimately forced to return the money and pay court costs — with his own fees deducted.

  • Invoked by Janeane Garofalo ("just as it says on the tin") in If You Will, regarding Cake
  • Paula Poundstone's award-winning HBO show was called "Cops, Cats and Stuff". Guess what Paula talks about?
  • Norm MacDonald's DVD entitled "Norm MacDonald: Me Doing Stand-Up" is a good example.
  • Jimmy Carr's live DVD titles are, in order of release: "Jimmy Carr Live", "Jimmy Carr Standup", "Jimmy Carr - Comedian", "Jimmy Carr In Concert", "Jimmy Carr Telling Jokes", "Jimmy Carr Making People Laugh", "Jimmy Carr Being Funny", and "Jimmy Carr Laughing and Joking".
  • Joshua Ladgrove:
    • His 2015 Melbourne International Comedy Festival Show, "Joshua Ladgrove Talks at You for 52 Minutes in Exchange for Some of Your Money".
    • His 2014 show, "Come Heckle Christ", invited the audience to do exactly that.
  • Eddie Izzard, discussing the Death Star in her "Death Star Canteen" sketch:
    "What's that star? That's the Death Star! What's it do? It does death!"

    Comic Books 

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
The Great Mouse Detective was later re-released as The Adventures of the Great Mouse Detective, which is still Exactly What It Says on the Tin while being three words longer and adding no additional information.

    Films — Live-Action 

    Myths & Religion 


    Print Media 
  • True Story and related confessions-type magazines, including True Confessions: Purportedly. Many of these confessional-style stories were actual submissions by readers, but re-written, while others were complete fiction (thus inverting the trope); however, they typically followed a "sin-suffer-repent" formula, wherein the main character (these stories were always first person) explains her background, makes a poor life decision (such as marrying someone rumored to be a domestic abuser), suffers the consequences, things come to a head and the main protagonist takes steps to change her situation. After the situation is resolved, the main character explains the lessons learned, that she is (usually, but not always) unembittered by the negativity, and then explains what happened later (often, but not always, a positive, sunny outcome, with the bad guys in jail or having finally had their comeuppance/suffered negative consequences, such as jail or death). Many of the stories were from young women or teen-aged girls who had become stuck in bad relationships, although one memorable story was about a teen-aged girl who was trapped in an abusive familynote .

  • Binary Break gives us Columbus, Indiana's most notable landmark: The Large Arch. It's an arch that's large.
  • Mystery Show is a show about host Starlee Kine solving mysteries.
  • The podcast LeVar Burton Reads is exactly what it sounds like: LeVar Burton reading a piece of short fiction. (It is, essentially, an audio-only form of Reading Rainbow but with stories that are more mature in tone.)

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Steel Cage match, a match inside a steel cage.
  • WWE's "Table, Ladders, and Chairs" matches. No points for guessing what 3 items are implemented in these.
  • I Quit Match, get your opponent to say the words, and there are no count-outs, disqualifications, or pin-falls.
  • Flag Match. Jan. 20 2012 WWE Friday Night Smackdown during the Flag Match between Ted DiBiase Jr., representing America, and Hunico, representing Mexico where Cole explains this.
    Michael Cole: The Rules are simple. You gotta climb the pole, grab the flag, and you win, right?
    Booker T: You just told them the rules.
  • The Big Gold Belt. Subverted in that it's actually silver with gold plating, though from a distance of more than a few feet it looks completely gold. Starting in the early 2000s, the original Big Gold was replaced with all-gold cast copies, and the WWE versions would follow suit.
  • Boiler Room Brawl, any guess where it takes place.
  • Ring of Fire - a variation of the Inferno match, where the fighters are in the ring that is surrounded by fire. Luckily, the ring match allows pin-falls and submission, instead of setting someone on fire.
  • The Naked Women's Wrestling League, a defunct erotic women's wrestling organisation, was exactly what it sounded like- women wrestling in the nude (referees wore black-and-white striped shorts only). The interesting thing was that it was exactly what it sounded like, as aside from the lack of clothing and camera work focusing even more on the Male Gaze than usual, it featured trained female wrestlers putting on actual legitimate wrestling matches, rather than just using it as an excuse for untrained pornstars to engage in lesbian sex in the ring. Sure, the quality of the in-ring action wasn't much to write home about, but it was also surprisingly straight-laced and unsexualised (or at least no more so than normal women's wrestling) despite all the female flesh on display. It was the Naked Women's Wrestling League, after all.

    Puppet Shows 

  • Played with on I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue, which features a regular round called One Song to the Tune of Another. Despite the fact that the game is as self-explanatory as one could possibly hope for, one of the show's Running Gags is the chairman's completely unnecessary attempts to explain the rules, usually by means of a hideously convoluted metaphor.
    "Perhaps the simplest way to understand this is to think of a song as a jam roly-poly, with the tune being the sponge, obviously, which is rolled up neatly to contain the jam, or words. It would be perfectly possible to unroll the sponge and scrape out the jam, which might be strawberry or raspberry, and to replace it with a different jam taken from a second roly-poly, perhaps a summer fruit compote or even orange marmalade, although obviously you wouldn't want to use the thick cut variety as that would have lumps of peel sticking up through the sponge. But please don't get bogged down on fruit preserves, teams. The type isn't important. What you should be concentrating on is the state of the sponge pudding that's been unrolled: it would doubtless be damaged and possibly broken in places as a result of the unrolling and scraping. So I know exactly what you're thinking, teams: Where does a useless old pudding come into this?" [Beat] "At the piano, Colin Sell!"
  • "I Was a Communist for the FBI" about an FBI agent(played by Dana Andrews) going undercover in a Communist party cell. Loosely based on a true story and was also a film.

  • The Fan Controlled Football League (FCF) promotes themselves as "eSports and traditional sports colliding together" and works like it does by having the fans vote through a mobile app on important things for the sport of indoor football like play-calling, drafts, rules, team names, and seasonal awards throughout each season played.
  • Many football/soccer teams throughout the world are simply known as the name of their city followed by Football/Soccer Club.
  • The basketball team Motor City Muslims is a team from Detroit (a.k.a. Motor City) where every member is a Muslim.
  • The Lingerie Football League, a women's American football league where the players wear lingerie. Subverted in its renamings to the Legends Football League and later the X Leaguenote .
  • The Worcester Worcesters, an old MLB team from the late 19th century, had a very on the nose name, to say the least.

    Tabletop Games 
  • GURPS stands for "Generic Universal Role-Playing System." This is a system to govern roleplaying games, in any genre, in any setting, and dealing with any subject matter. According to the creator, Steve Jackson, he intended to replace the term (originally a placeholder) with a more imaginative title and just couldn't think of anything.
  • There is a French amateur tabletop RPG called Lycéenne JDR (High School Girls RPG). It's a game in which you play girls in high school. And there is an extension called Magical Girl, allowing you to play a Magical Girl Warrior.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • There's a monster called a Trap Eater that eats, uhm, Traps. (That's how you summon it, you send an opponent's Trap Card to the Graveyard. In the anime, this is expressed by the monster literally eating the Trap.)
    • Negate Attack. It lets you prevent an opponent's monster from attacking, then ending the Battle Phase.
    • Blue-Eyes White Dragon is a dragon with a vaguely white color scheme (though tends to be animated and shaded in light blue) with blue eyes. Its support cards and variations, the various With Eyes of Blue spellcasters as well as other Blue-Eyes dragons, all tend to have descriptive names - Blue Eyes Alternative White Dragon is treated the same as the original but has an added effect, Blue Eyes Chaos Dragon has an effect similar to other Chaos named monsters, Azure Eyes Silver Dragon has a metallic appearance...
    • Similarly Red-Eyes Black Dragon is a black dragon with red eyes. Its infant form is called Black Dragon's Chick. Equipping the Metal Coat Spell card to it allows it to be upgraded to Red-Eyes Black Metal Dragon. Red-Eyes Black Flare Dragon is on fire. Red-Eyes Flare Metal Dragon is on fire and has metal plates on its body. Fusing it with Meteor Dragon (itself an example, being a dragon with a meteor for a shell) subverts this, though - Meteor Black Dragon is actually purple. Which is its own trope.
  • The Awful Green Things From Outer Space: They are indeed awful, green, and from outer space.
  • Warhammer 40,000: By way of Artifact Title, the game used to be a Setting Update for Warhammer (specifically, set 40,000 years into the future). Further editions made each more distinctive, until the Warp and the powers of Chaos are all that's left in common.
  • Dungeons & Dragons. You often go into dungeons with a party and dragons are one of the many creatures you can encounter.
    • A lot of the spells in the game works like this. Floating Disk is a floating disk, Create or Destroy Water creates or destroys water, See Invisibility lets you see invisibility, Fly gives you flight and its less powerful but nevertheless useful cousin Feather Fall lets you and a number of companions fall slowly enough to avoid fall damage.

  • Waiting for Godot. That's it. Samuel Beckett, in general: among his other works are 'Act Without Words I' (an act without any spoken words), 'Act without Words II' (another act without any spoken words), Breath (a play just featuring the sound of someone breathing), 'Play' (a play), and 'Film' (you get the idea).
  • The Persecution and Assassination of Jean-Paul Marat as Performed by the Inmates of the Asylum of Charenton Under the Direction of the Marquis de Sade. Yes, all that is the play's title. However, among theater geeks (about the only people who have heard of it), it's usually just shortened to "Marat/Sade".
  • There's a very off-off-off-Broadway show called Naked Boys Singing. Yep. That's it.
  • A show advertised on this very wiki, Old Jews Telling Jokes.
  • A Coupla White Chicks Sitting Around Talking: A description that could fit more than a few TV shows, as well.
  • Cat out of the bag was a man releasing a cat from a bag.
  • Dutch artist Wim T. Schippers often uses this trope:
    • He made a play called "1. don't smoke; 2. don't eat; 3. smoke; 4 eat". In this play, five men enter the stage four times. The first two times they don't do anything, the third time they smoke a cigarette and the fourth time they eat a sandwich.
    • He is also the creator of the "Peanut Butter Floor" which is a floor entirely made out of peanut butter.
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's early opera The Abduction from the Seralgio. Plot: The main character is trapped in a seraglio and has to be abducted from it.
  • The Play That Goes Wrong presents us with a play (within a play), in which everything that can go wrong does go wrong.
  • The tragedy, Death of a Salesman, follows the series of events that would eventually lead to the death of a salesman.

    Theme Parks 
  • At the Disney Theme Parks:
    • The Great Movie Ride was a ride about great movies.
    • Soarin' Over California is solely about guests flying over the various sights of California. Likewise, it's successor, Soarin' Around the World is about soaring over various parts of the world and nothing else.

    Visual Novels 
  • The names of a few arcs from When They Cry does this mixed with Spoiler Title:
    • From Higurashi: When They Cry we have the Atonement Arc (Tsumihoroboshi-hen) where Keiichi remembers his actions from the Abducted by Demons arc (Onikakushi-hen) and asks for forgiveness and the Massacre arc (Minagoroshi-hen) where everyone in the village is massacred by the Big Bad, Takano, and her troops. The Eye-Opening arc (Meakashi-hen) can also be this on a meta level since it reveals the truth about the Cotton Drifting arc (Watanagashi-hen) and is the first of the answer arcs.
    • From Umineko: When They Cry we have the End of the Golden Witch where Beatrice dies and the Requiem of the Golden Witch where Beatrice (or at least the concept of her) is buried.
  • Burly Men at Sea is about three stout brothers exploring the seas around the island where they live in a boat.
  • Zero Escape: Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, in which nine people have nine hours to escape a ship through a series of nine doors.
  • The Murder of Sonic the Hedgehog: Amy's hosting a murder mystery party. Guess who the murder victim is?
  • Slay the Princess is a story in which you attempt to slay the princess. The game has Multiple Endings depending on how well you did towards this goal, but the princess and attempts to slay her form the core of all of these endings.

    Web Animation 
  • Banana-nana-Ninja!
  • Battle for Dream Island: 20 contestants battling to win an island named Dream Island. That's literally it.
  • Homestar Runner: The short "Strong Bad is in Jail Cartoon", as the name implies, features Strong Bad going to jail. In fact, Strong Bad goes to jail twice; he breaks out, goes on a crime spree, then gets caught and sent back to jail.
  • Magical Border Patrol: It's got a magic border, being patrolled.
  • The Mario Pissing video indeed features Mario taking a piss, with a Goomba calling him out for not jumping on him like he’s supposed to.
  • Zombie College


    Web Original 

In-Universe Examples:

    Anime & Manga 

    Asian Animation 

  • Invoked by comedian Ed Byrne as an introduction to a series of jokes about religion and homosexuality: "Let me explain what God Hates Fags are about, for those of you who didn't know what to expect from Snakes on a Plane. 'Hmm, I haven't been this mystified by the title of a film since The Mummy Returns!'"
  • Australian comedian Steve Hughes tells a joke claiming that this trope is the attitude Australians have towards naming most of the things in their country, citing examples such as the Sydney Harbour Bridge ("It's a bridge, it's in Sydney, and it spans the harbour!"), the Snowy Mountains and the Great Sandy Desert ("Took us ages to think of a name for that!"), the states South Australia and Western Australia, and the Northern Territories.
  • Eddie Izzard's take on horror films: "It's like those people who go camping in millions of films."
    Person 1: Lets go camping in The Forest of Death and Blood.
    Person 2: Whoa, Whoa, Whoa. Whoa. The Forest of Death and Blood, isn't there a story behind that name?
    Person 1: Why yes, if one goes there they die of death and blood.
    Person 2: I'll pass on this...

    Comic Books 
  • Parodied in Evan Dorkin's Bill & Ted's Excellent Comic Book: When Bill and Ted take Death to see Planet of the Apes, he asks "What's this movie about?" "Dude," answers Bill; "it's about a planet of apes!"
  • Ghost is a ghost.
  • Youngblood (Image Comics): Troll wasn't this trope, until Alan Moore retconned him into being, literally, a centuries-old troll.
  • The Southern Knights' member Dragon is a dragon who can disguise himself as a human.
  • Gold Digger: Cheetah is a were-cheetah.
  • Marvel Comics:
    • Lampshaded with Speed from Young Avengers:
      Patriot: I'm sorry: "Speed"?
      Speed: Nice fit, don't you think?
      Hawkeye: What's wrong with "Speed"? It tells you everything you need to know in one syllable.
    • A similar lampshade came when Molly Hayes (a kid with super strength) gut punches The Punisher (a guy with no powers but guns). Molly is sorry as "how was [she] supposed to know he didn't have powers?" Victor Mancha's response "you think he's got some punishy force?"
    • The Asgardian Enchantress: Yes, she's an Asgardian, and very much yes, she is an Enchantress.
    • Dead-Girl: She's a dead girl.
    • Flat-Man: He's a flat man.
    • Mr. Immortal is a man who is immortal.
    • Giant-Man: He's a giant man.
    • Gorilla-Man: He's a man who is now a gorilla.
    • Invisible Woman: She's an invisible woman, though the name doesn't mention her forcefield powers. However, it was the full extent of her powers when first created and named — the forcefields came later.
    • Human Torch: is on fire.
    • Sandman: He's a man made of sand.
    • Speed: He has speed powers.
    • Strong Guy is a strong guy.
    • Two-Gun Kid: He was a kid with two guns. Now, he's a young adult...with two guns.
    • Silver Surfer: He's silver, and he rides on a surf board.
    • Some of the mobsters Daredevil had to fight during his career. Aside from his sworn enemy, The Kingpin, he has also crashed with the holders of such creative nicknames as The Organizer, The Boss and The Masked Marauder.
    • Speaking of mobs, the famous trio of mob enforcers is called The Enforcers.
    • Subverted with Skrull-spy-who-has-gone-native-and-is-now-a-hero, The Crusader, who emphatically tells his protegé not to use a name which suggests your power set (and weaknesses). Freedom Ring... whose powers were derived from his ring... really should have listened.
    • Howard the Duck is a duck named Howard.
    • Dragon Man is a humanoid dragon creature.
    • Squirrel Girl is a girl with the characteristics of a squirrel.
    • Foolkiller is a man who kills... Well, take a guess.

  • And from DC Comics:
    • The best example would probably be Dogwelder. He welds puppies to people.
    • A fair number of DC's villains. Captain Boomerang uses boomerangs, the Fiddler plays a violin, the Toymaker makes (high-explosive) toys...
    • Man-Bat
    • Beast Boy
    • The Metal Men
    • The Flash's villains Captain Cold, the Mirror Master, and Weather Wizard. It's like they did it on purpose.
    • Abra Kadabra. Apparently it's not even an alias, but his actual name. Also, pretty much his entire power-set.
    • Martian Manhunter: is a Martian that hunts down bad guys.
    • Green Arrow: dresses in green and shoots arrows.
    • Black Lightning: a black guy who can control lightning.
    • Deadman: His super-power is that he's dead.
    • Many members of the Legion of Super-Heroes exhibit this trope (in the original version, while the "Reboot" and "Threeboot" retcons deliberately avert it). Lightning Lad throws bolts of lightning, Triplicate Girl splits into three separate bodies, Invisible Kid turns invisible, Bouncing Boy bounces, Matter-Eater Lad eats all forms of matter, et cetera.
      • It's somewhat of an invoked trope in-universe, as the Legion's usual naming convention is a deliberate imitation of their 20th-21st century inspirations: Superman, Wonder Woman, Batman, Hawkgirl, Elongated Man, etc.
      • When it's averted, there's usually a very specific reason:
      • Lar Gand's alias of Mon-El was given to him by Superboy when he mistakenly thought Gand might be a long-lost relative (Mon=found him on a Monday + El=Kal-El's family surname).
      • Braniac 5 is trying to rehabilitate the name of his infamous ancestor(s)(always Braniac, depending on the version may include Braniacs 2 and 4).
    • Cyborg is a cyborg. In fairness, the word was a lot less commonly used when he first appeared in the 80's.
    • Doom Patrol has had a few of these: The Chief is the leader of the team, Robotman is a man who became a robot, Danny the Street is a sentient street called Danny, and Beard Hunter is a guy who hunts for... Well, take a guess.
    • The Worldkillers from Last Daughter of Krypton are biological weapons created to kill worlds.
    • Subverted in the Supergirl story arc The Girl with the X-Ray Mind. When she hears the name of the "Plant Scourge" device, Supergirl guesses it scourges all plant life. Then she finds out it turns all animal life into plants.
    • In Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom, Darkseid's soldier Cyberpak's weapon are flesh grenades: explosive fleshy lumps growing on his arms which he can tear off and throw.
    • The Legion of Super-Heroes!: The Television Trouble-finder owned by the titular team is a broadcasting device which finds trouble.
    • As Gail Simone often reminds people, King Shark is a shark.
  • One of the supporting characters in Grim Jack went by the name Goddess. It was eventually shown that she was indeed one, specifically from one of the African myths.
  • No prizes for guessing what animal Alexander Lemming from The Beano is. Also from The Beano Roger the Dodger who as the name suggests tries to dodge things mainly work.
  • In Sex Criminals, Suzie refers to the totally silent, frozen-time post-orgasm world as "The Quiet".
  • Paperinik New Adventures has a few examples:
    • The Evrongun is the standard emotion-draining sidearm of the Evronians, and has a genetic scan that allow them to be used only by Evronians (generals also have Evronguns that can be used only by their owner).
    • The Evroncannon is a larger Evrongun.
    • Paperinik's Extransformer Shield is a shield that can transform and has lots of extra functions.

    Comic Strips 
  • Parodied in My Cage. When buying more generic groceries, Norm asks what's in the box labeled "Food".
  • Calvin and Hobbes: When Calvin is assigned to give a report on a newspaper article, he chooses: "Space alien weds two-headed Elvis clone."
    Calvin: Actually, there's not much left to explain.
  • In one comic of Tina's Groove, Chef Carlos begs the waitresses to help him by telling the plot of a movie, because last night he told his girlfriend he was out watching a movie when he really wasn't.
    Tina: What was the movie?
    Carlos: Snakes on a Plane.
  • Many of Dick Tracy's enemies are like this. Flattop, Pruneface, Shaky, Mumbles, etc.

    Fan Works 
  • Calvin & Hobbes: The Series:
    • "Operation Spy on the Slimy Girl".
    • "Calvin's Never Before Eaten Foods" from "Help Wanted" as well.
  • Retro Chill: Dr. Brainstorm's "Defeat Current Dictator and Give User Control all at the Same Time" device.
  • In Equestria: A History Revealed, the Lemony Narrator cites references from a book called, "How the Sea-Pony Wished Upon a Star and Unknowingly Started Racial Prosecution Under an Emergent Fascist Regime: A Collection of Filly’s Tales and Legends that Start Off Whimsical but End in Destruction and Death".
  • HZD Terraforming Base-001 Text Communications Network: The fic's title is the name of the groupchat that GAIA made. It's pretty clear that she was just being entirely literal; it's a text communications network for the first Zero Dawn terraforming base. The "H" is less clear, since "Horizon" isn't mentioned in-universe, but it's probably a Creator In-Joke.
  • Turnabout Storm has Twilight's How to Be a Lawyer in 24 Hours. Of course, being conveniently titled is one of its lesser "features".
  • In A Very Potter Musical, the incantations for most spells are like this. For example, the spell to produce an Indian burn is "Indian Burn Hex!"

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Invoked in HBO's Conspiracy (2001) by Otto Hofmann, Chief of the SS Race and Settlement Main Office, who after introducing his title self-consciously adds "we deal with matters of race and settlement."
  • The following conversation from Snatch. shows that sometimes a nickname can be exactly what they say on the tin.
    Tony: Boris?!! As in Boris the Blade? As in Boris the Bullet Dodger?
    Avi: Why do they call him the Bullet Dodger?
    Tony: [pauses, gives Avi a look] Because he dodges bullets, Avi.
  • Used similarly (and humorously) in Lucky Number Slevin: "Why do they call him the boss?" "Why do they call you the Rabbi?" "Why do they call him The Fairy?"
  • Used similarly in Lock, Stock & Two Smoking Barrels, with "Nick the Greek" who is... Greek.
  • Boris Blavasky, a.k.a Boris The Butcher from The Man Who Knew Too Little, is a hitman famous for brutal and messy hits by night. But his title is not a metaphorical one as might be supposed. By day, he is the owner and proprietor of a butcher's shop.
  • Pacific Rim: Take a shot in the dark what the Kaiju Knifehead looks like.
  • Star Wars:
    • The All Terrain-series of walkers, on multiple levels. They are called walkers because they move on legs instead than wheels, treads or repulsors. The third and fourth letter in the popular name of any walker describe their purpose (AT-ST, for example, is a Scout Transport, while the famed AT-AT is an Armored Transport, armored enough that normal ground artillery can't damage it). Finally, the first and second letter stand for "All Terrain"... And Star Wars: The Clone Wars shows the AT-TE, usually fielded on flat terrain, used in multiple odd terrains, such as mountain but vertically and outer space.
    • Similarly, the SPHA-series of walkers. SPHA stands for Self-Propelled Heavy Artillery and they're just that, vehicles that carry artillery heavy enough to take on starships, with an additional letter specifying what kind of artillery (the SPHA-T has a Turbo laser, the SPHA-I has an Ion cannon, the SPHA-V has an Vehicle destroying laser, the SPHA-C carries Concussion missiles, and the SPHA-M has a Mass driver).
  • Idiocracy is not itself an example, but...



    Tabletop Games 
  • Cards Against Humanity: The makers of the game released a joke expansion called the "Bullshit!" pack, which they outright admitted was literal bull shit. Anyone curious or foolish enough to try ordering it got a box in the mail that looked like a CAH expansion, but contained nothing but a lump of dried cow dung.
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • For every monster with an obscure or entirely nonsensical name, there's another one or two monsters that's exactly what it says on the tin — take a wild guess what Blooddrinker Oozes, Invisible Stalkers, or Flame Snakes do. This can get particularly amusing when players, upon encountering a strange monster for the first time, start referring to it by a name that turns out to be what it's actually called in the Monster Manual.
    • Owlbears. They're... bears... with owl heads. You can't get more tinny than that.
    • The infamous "Brain-in-a-Jar"? A brain in a jar.
    • Same goes for prestige classes: for every Initiate of the Sevenfold Veil and Green Star Adept, there's a Frost Mage or Exotic Weapon Master.
    • The standard Ring of Invisibility allowed its wearer to become invisible. The joke Invisible Ring, on the other hand, is itself invisible.
    • Likewise, in 3.0, there is an item called "Ring of Death Immunity". It's a magic ring that makes the wearer immune to Death. Not Death Effects. Death. Also qualifies as a Game-Breaking Powerup.
  • The Troubleshooters in Paranoia. They find trouble, and shoot it.
  • BattleTech's resident Butt-Monkey, the UrbanMech is a mech designed to fight in urban environments. The Hatchetman and Axman are mechs that unsurprisingly, wield a hatchet and ax, respectively.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • The Pointless Button in the asdfmovie series is completely pointless.
  • The hosts of DEATH BATTLE! give a Lampshade Hanging on the equipments in Strider being a little too descriptive with their names when going through Strider Hiryu's profile in his match against Ryu Hayabusa.
    Wiz: He uses his Medical Tech to heal wounds. The Climb Sickle to, well, climb. The Jump Tech to... jump... higher.
    Boomstick: I guess they don't have a Thesaurus at the ninja school.
  • The Demented Cartoon Movie has a lot of these: the Auto Romeo Maker, the Kamikaze Watermelon, the Make-The-World-Blow-Up Button, Mr. Large Generic Blunt Object, the Crash-Yourself-Into-A-Brick-Wall Race, etc.
  • Mister Brave from Dusk's Dawn has bravery as his element, as he gallops through a storm to save Star Whistle.
  • Fresh Guacamole is about a man preparing exactly that.
  • The Dangeresque trilogy from Homestar Runner features a henchman called Killingyouguy, whose task is to kill you. Incidentally, he's a guy.
    • There's also The Cheat, something that gets lampshaded regularly, as in the early cartoon "Where's The Cheat?"
    Strong Bad: Lessee what we got in here. Nope, he's not here. Though I see he has been cheating on his New Year's Resolution. (pulls out a pack of cigarettes) Though I can't really blame him. You know, because he's The Cheat.

  • Girl Genius:
  • Penny Arcade, regarding The Time Machine.
  • There is a moment in Daisy Owl when her teacher meets her father, Mr. Owl.
    Teacher: I didn't expect you to be an actual owl...
  • In Scandinavia and the World, King Europe builds an Extremely Large Telescope. He then writes on it in white paint "European Extremely Large Telescope". Even better? That is its actual name.
  • Questionable Content, while not an example in itself, has a few:
    • The Filler Strips character Yelling Bird, whose only purpose is to yell obscenities at the author.
    • Hannelore's father (who lives in space) owns a spaceship named Spaceship, and a space station named Station. Station explains that Hannelore went through an "overly descriptive phase," and the names stuck.
      Hannelore: I called my dad "Science Daddy" until I was seventeen.
  • In The Way of the Metagamer, there's a town called "Townwithanequipmentstoreaplacewithmapsandatavernofcourse". Guess which three things are located in said town.
  • In Homestuck, troll movies are apparently named this way, due to the troll civilization being so old that all the good movie titles are taken.
    EB: wait...
    EB: this is the title?
  • Sluggy Freelance:
  • xkcd suggested an all-action action movie called "River Tam Beats Up Everyone."
  • In Chapter 3 of Paranatural, Isaac wears a T-shirt with "CLOTHING" written across it. Clothing-brand clothing.
  • Basic Instructions features a superhero named Rocket Hat. Guess what his superpower is.
  • In Goblins, a pair of adventurers have collected a wide array of curses from a dungeon crawl called the Cursewalk. Bowst (the fighter) adds that he wasn't expecting that, to what Forgath retorts that the name "Cursewalk" should have tipped him off.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    • The setting is pretty lazy about its location names. There's the Northern Continent (it's to the north), the Southern Continent (it's to the south), the Western Continent (guess), Greysky City (it rains a lot), Cliffport (a port on a cliff), Redmountain Hills (lots of hills and mountains, all red), the Oracle of Sunken Valley (he lives in Sunken Valley, which is itself pretty self-explanatory), so on and so on. This is pretty much the same as real life; most locations have blandly descriptive names, even if they're in a foreign language and seem more interesting.
    • Played for laughs in the Kickstarter-backer story How the Paladin Got His Scar. All of the Southern Continent was once under the control of the Ancient Empire, before it splintered into the modern countries (including Azure City, where much of the plot takes place). No one knows why they called themselves the Ancient Empire.
  • In one of the tie-in comics to Team Fortress 2, "WAR!", a visit to the messy, paranoid BLU Soldier leads to a shotgun pointed over an overturned table and the ultimatum that if they are not a tomato soup wholesaler or a new delivery man from the rib place, the interloper is in for a world of hurt. Close inspection of some of the boxes and containers on the floor reveals that the Soldier is, indeed, a longtime customer of an establishment called "THE RIB PLACE".
  • 8-Bit Theater: Sarda's "spell that hurts Black Mage".
    Black Mage: When Sarda casts a spell to hurt you and you learn that spell, you learn to cast a spell that hurts you.

    Web Original 
  • The final round in Pappy's Flatshare Slamdown is the Quick-Fire Round. The standard opening lines for that round's very slow jingle sums it up: "This is the quick-fire round. It's a round that goes really quickly".
  • The Antagonists in Battle Action Harem Highschool Side Character Quest are an alien force invading Earth.
  • Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog has the Evil League of Evil, led by Bad Horse. He's bad. And a horse.
  • The Dutch Gamesite named Gamekings once had an item named: A look into the kitchen of Rockstar (which besides the literal meaning means something like: A look behind the scenes of Rockstar) Little did viewers know that they indeed showed the kitchen of the Rockstar studios.
  • Parodied by The Cinema Snob, when he comments on a film titled Death Bed: The Bed That Eats, that he and everybody else in the world should know what to expect. Turns out it's an artsploitation flick with pretensions of seriousness and relatively minimal gore. It does have a bed that eats, at least.
  • One episode of Agents of Cracked has Swaim being asked to make a Facebook for the site, and he assumes this trope is in effect. The result screams, faintly, in its bloody box. They end up having an intern make "the other kind" of Facebook instead.
  • Subverting this is something of a meme on 4chan, where users will deliberately misname images as a joke (e.g. a .gif of Jackie Chan punching a guy will be labeled as "Bruce Lee Practices a rider kick," and the like).
  • A sketch by LoadingReadyRun mentions the film 300 People Having Sex. Pretty straightforward, even for porn.
  • Cracked readers retitle movies in this manner in If Movie Titles Were Honest.
  • Kneecapper from Super Academy, who wields a sledgehammer. Now consider that he's an aspiring superhero...
  • Many A True Nerd has his Fallout: New Vegas Kill Everything run, where he plays Fallout: New Vegas... and kills everything.
  • A great many SCP Foundation objects are EXACTLY what they say on the tin. The Hard-To-Destroy Reptile, a Machine, a Miniature Dump Truck, a Cowbell, Knowledge, living LEGO, the 13 Inch Chef's Knife, a Ball of Green Slime...
  • Dad: Dad works at Work, eats canned food called "Food", shops at Store, and may even go out to eat at the Restaurant with his family, Mom and Daughter.
  • Mahu: In "Frozen Flame", the court mage known as Mr. Storm of course uses lightning and thunder as his main powers.
  • Pissed Off Angry Gamer: He calls his GameCube the ShitCube. The reason? Because IT'S A PIECE OF FUCKING SHIT!
  • In an early Oxventure episode, the characters are brought on-board with the quest by making a joke of the fact that the MacGuffin objective can somehow meet all of their individual, completely-disparate personal goals. This leads to it being dubbed later The Chalice Of Everything Everyone Ever Wanted *.

Alternative Title(s): REALLY Self Explanatory, Aptly Named, Exactly What It Sounds Like, What It Says On The Tin, Exactly What They Say On The Tins, Just That


Censor Kaiser

Guess what he does...

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Main / ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin

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