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Gender-Blender Name

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Her dad was a psychic who pre-ordered her birth certificate. He only got one thing wrong.

"I tell ya, life ain't easy for a boy named 'Sue'."
Johnny Cash, "A Boy Named Sue" (written by Shel Silverstein)

Most of the time, one can guess somebody's gender by reading their first name. Most first names have a well-defined gender, such as Alice or Robert.

...Well, most.

Sometimes the only name you get is an ambiguous abbreviation, such as Sam. Or a gender-neutral name, such as Dominique or Claude in French. Or worse, a name whose "default gender" changes from one country/language to another (or even over time in the same country!), like "Andrea" which is typically female in the U.S. and other Anglophone countries, in Spanish-speaking countries, and most European languages but typically male in Italian (in Greek it means "manly"). Then there are names where the gender is only indicated by the spelling, such as Tony/Toni, Adrian/Adrienne or Francis/Frances.

Titles and initials can be misleading too, since many are assumed to be male. Expect a Samus Is a Girl reaction when the actual gender of the title bearer is revealed. note 

Transgender people may keep or choose a first name that is at odds with their gender and presentation. Though many choose to change to a more masculine or feminine name, this is entirely optional.

... And last, there are names which have no cultural ambiguity, but were chosen for the sole purpose of being the opposite gender. Usually played for laughs, but not always.

A frequent variation occurs when writers who skimped on research of a foreign culture's naming conventions inadvertently give a woman a masculine name or (less commonly) a man a feminine name. Russian characters are particularly vulnerable to this. (Confusingly, "Sonya" and "Tanya" are female names but "Sasha" and "Valya", being diminutives of Alexander/Alexandra and Valentin/Valentina respectively, are gender-neutral and "Nikita" is a male name, even though they all end with the same vowels — "я" ("ya") being a separate letter from "а", which matches its Latin lookalike — which, in most Russian names and words, take the feminine grammatical gender.)

Older works (or period pieces) sometimes may cause this trope to modern audiences. Names like Leslie, Ashley, Lauren, and Whitney are typically considered feminine names in the present day, but they were originally considered masculine names.

If a character is fated to become a permanent Wholesome Crossdresser or the victim of a Gender Bender accident they will typically have had names like this, because Fate is just funny like that.

Can sometimes be considered the Embarrassing First Name or the Embarrassing Middle Name.

Tomboyish Name is a Sub-Trope. Moustache de Plume is a similar trope, where a female author goes by a male pen name or uses an ambiguous form of her real name.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Aruosumente: Jasmin Fiorella. Lante claims that came about because Jasmin's mother wanted a girl, but he could be lying just to see Jasmin lose his cool, as Jasmin hates the name.
  • Asteroid in Love: As lampshaded by Ao herself, together with her Boyish Short Hair in the past (she's now in Girlish Pigtails), this is why Mira mistook Ao as a boy for years after seeing her once as children. "Ao" is an unisex name, but more likely used by males.
  • The protagonist of Ayakashi Triangle is a boy-turned-girl named "Matsuri", which is a predominantly feminine name—his specific spelling "祭里" is almost exclusively feminine. This is never commented on, but is probably one reason he can use the same name even for his female identity, and convinces Suzu's family (who hadn't seen him in years) he was always a girl.
  • Bleach:
    • Ichigo Kurosaki. His father tells him it means "the one who protects"; true to form, it's written with the kanji for "one" and "protect", but is a homonym for the Japanese word for "strawberry". Just don't try to bring this up in front of him.
    • Berenice Gabrielli is a guy according to the Viz translation and the anime.
  • Blue Exorcist: The name "Rin" is normally for girls, though there are rare occasions when it is used for guys. In his case, the name is spelled with the kanji for "phosphorus" and belongs to the resident Anti Anti Christ lead...who can cook and has other rather feminine traits.
  • Bludgeoning Angel Dokuro-chan: The Butt-Monkey main character's name is Sakura which means "Cherry Blossom". But there are rare cases in which it's a guy's name.
  • Cowboy Bebop: The petite female hacker of the team is called Edward. It's part of a ridiculously long name which Ed chose for herself because she thought it sounded cool. It was Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV. Even though her real name is just Francoise Appledelhi.
  • Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba: Sasamaru, one of the first named demons Tanjiro faces, is acually a girl, despite the fact that her name ends with the masculine -maru suffix.
  • In Fairy Tail, three of the main characters are diminutive, sapient catlike creatures called "Exceeds". All three have gender-blending names to some extent:
    • The most prominent of the three is Happy, which is a fairly unisex nickname. Natsu chose the name based on what everyone was feeling after the conflict over his egg disappearing was resolved.
    • In Japan, the prissy, stuck-up female Exceed is named... Charles. It's pronounced in the French style, like the first half of "Charlemagne". When the manga/anime was localized, she was given the feminine variant, "Carla", appropriately.
    • The biggest, strongest Exceed, with a coat as black as pitch and a completely ripped human-sized body, is called... Lily. Granted, his full name is "Panther Lily", which is suitably more epic, but everyone tends to just call him by the last part of his name unless they're being formal.
  • Doraemon: Nobita's New Dinosaur: The Time Patrol agent who spends much of the movie getting into Nobita's way is named Jill. Yes, he's a dude. Really. One could argue it's due to futuristic naming conventions being different from the present, but Jill's female superior is named Natalie.
  • Free! is Gender-Blender Name: The Show; all the main male characters have feminine names: Haruka, Makoto, Nagisa, Rin, and Rei. And the main girl is named Gou, through she prefers Kou.
  • Fruits Basket:
    • Tohru's name is more often given to boys, which is occasionally lampshaded. A flashback reveals that her father gave her a typically masculine name in order to emphasize her femininity, comparing it to adding a little salt to something sweet to enhance the flavor. Other characters tend to refer to her with the masculine honorific "-kun" as a result, and also because creator Natsuki Takaya considers it "a more dignified form of address" for her.
    • Akito is another girl who was given an intentionally masculine name, since she had to be passed off as a boy due to her mother Ren's petty jealousy.
    • Some of the male characters have names that are usually feminine, such as Ayame and Megumi.
  • Gunslinger Girl: Rico and Claes are given male names by their handlers, who are somewhat uncomfortable working with brainwashed underaged girl killers, so the names help to disassociate them.
  • Hunter × Hunter: Meruem is an Arabic form of the name Mary.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
  • Jujutsu Kaisen: Megumi Fushiguro. His name Megumi is mostly feminine.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War: This is used as Family Theme Naming for the Shirogane siblings, with the older brother being named Miyuki and the younger sister named Kei. No one ever comments on it.
  • Kamisama Kiss: Tomoe is a white haired Bishōnen although Tomoe is a female Japanese name.
  • Lucy-May of the Southern Rainbow: Lucy's male teacher is named Mackenzie. During the setting the anime takes place in (1800s Australia), "Mackenzie" was more commonly used as a men's name. However, in the modern era, it's often used as a feminine name.
  • Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam: Kamille Bidan. It might be a country-dependent choice given his French-sounding last name, but Kamille's sensitivity about his name causes all sorts of things to happen in this series. Indeed, there may not even have been a Zeta Gundam if he were named Bob. In another example, the head of Anaheim Electronics's name is Melanie Hue Carbine, but no one makes a fuss about his name.
  • My Dress-Up Darling:
    • The male lead is called Wakana Gojo. Wakana is more often a female Japanese name, so this goes in line with his admiration for Hina dolls despite being a boy.
    • A cosplayer named Akira appears later in the manga. Her name is mostly unisex but more commonly male, and due to the fact that she specialized in male cosplays and used the pronoun Ore in her social networks, Gojo assumed that she was male at first.
  • My Hero Academia: There's a character called Invisible Girl, but whose real name is the masculine Tooru. Word of God says that Tooru was originally supposed to be a boy, but he decided that this character's gimmick was more amusing for a girl.
  • Pokémon Adventures: Ruby and Pearl, though the fact that these are female names is never noted in-story. Ruby actually reflected his external personality, although Pearl did not (They gave him the character "hard will as a diamond" that reflect Diamond's "rounded emotions as a pearl"). Platinum might count; while it's not a real name, it doesn't really sound feminine. All of these came about because the protagonists are named directly after the titles of the video game series the manga's based on.
  • Ranma ½: Ukyo Kuonji is a girl, but due to her name and her somewhat tomboyish nature, Ranma grew up believing she was a guy.
  • Rave Master: Lucia Raregroove, the ultimate Big Bad. Yes, he has a girl's name. Since he's the embodiment of darkness, his name also means light. His stepbrother's name isn't much better.
  • The Rose of Versailles: The protagonist is a woman named Oscar — she is the youngest of six girls and her father always wanted a boy, resulting in her being Raised as the Opposite Gender.
  • Sailor Moon: The two more "masculine"-acting soldiers among the Sailor Senshi are named Makoto Kino (Sailor Jupiter) and Haruka Tenoh (Sailor Uranus); the former is a Huge Schoolgirl who loves martial arts, while the latter is a Butch Lesbian. Both names are traditionally male boys' names; however, since then, both names have become feminine enough to be considered "blender" in the opposite way in Free!.
  • Team Medical Dragon: Dr. Katou's first name is Akira, which is typically a male name. She mentions receiving a tie as a gift from some business associate who doesn't know her personally, but assumes that she's a man due to her name.
  • Urusei Yatsura: There are Ryunosuke (who's a girl with a very masculine name) and Nagisa (a boy with a name that's technically gender-neutral but used more often for girls). They also both fall under Wholesome Crossdresser and are engaged to each other.
  • Zoobles: Cooper, Randy, and Ron are all female Zoobles with traditionally masculine names, though Cooper and Randy both do have tomboyish traits.
    • Worth noting that in merchandise, Randy was originally male, but was changed to female in the anime.

    Asian Animation 
  • A female Flower Angel character has the name Saveli, which is considered a masculine Russian name. It fits her considering her tomboyish personality.
  • In Infinity Nado, one of the characters is a feminine-looking male named Pandora, which is typically a female name. Much of the lore behind the character and his role in the story is similar to the story of Pandora's box, hence the name.

    Comic Books 
  • The Vertigo era of Animal Man features a woman named Ray as a minor character.
  • Charlotte Gage-Radcliffe from Birds of Prey is nicknamed "Charlie".
  • In Gargoyles' comic continuation, Brooklyn and his wife have an egg which he calls "Egwardo" as a joke. Word of God says that it will eventually hatch into a daughter, however, who will be named Tashi.
  • Gender Queer: A Memoir: After eir mother says she'd originally planned Robin as Maia's name whatever eir sex, Maia gets taken with the idea, pondering several gender neutral names to use. None take though, so e remains Maia.
  • Subverted in Serenity: Leaves on the Wind. Zoe tells Kaylee she's naming her newborn daughter Hoban after her father (cue WTF from Kaylee), but she was joking: the kid's real name is Emma.
  • While a valid Japanese name, Oroku Saki from Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is a man with a feminine name. Hence, the Japanese dubs generally rename him to Sawaki.
  • Stephanie "Stevie" Trevor, a Wonder Girl from DC's Multiverse. She's the daughter of Wonder Woman and Steve Trevor.

    Fan Works 
  • In Kyon: Big Damn Hero, the Tsuruya family doctor is called Sakura. Yes, he's male.
  • Tales of the Undiscovered Swords: This being a Touken Ranbu fanfic, all the unreleased swords featured in the series receive male personifications, even ones with nowhere near masculine names like Himetsuru Ichimonji, Hatsuzakura and Sasanoyuki.
  • Prison Island Break changed Shadow's full name to "Ursula Leslie Robotnik". He claims that it means "Oops. We expected a girl."
  • Mario in Animatronic Horror: Kyel Afton is a male character, but his first name is actually a feminine name of Scottish origin.
  • In Masks Within Masks Subject Seven is female, but takes the name Steven as a human.
  • Played With in Goldstein. Yehudah, raised in an Orthodox Jewish community, assumes that someone named "Dove" would be male, since it reminds him of the Hebrew name "Dov" (pronounced like "grove"). He likewise assumes that "Basil" is Floral Theme Naming and thus feminine.
  • Pokémon Reset Bloodlines has a boy named Midori, who upon introducing himself to Ash even lampshades how it's a rare name for a guy ("Midori" in Japanese is traditionally a female name).
  • In Full Circle, Oscar's Number Two is a girl named Oswald.
  • Sword Art Online Abridged: Agil, Scary Black Man Gentle Giant, is for some inexplicable reason named "Tiffany" in this version.
    Agil: If I might interject.
    Kibaou: And who the Hell are you?
    Agil: I am known by many names. "Mountain Slayer." "Thunder Lion.""The Chocolate Axe." But you? You may call me... Tiffany.
    Kibaou: T-Tiffany, huh? That's a... pretty masculine name.
    Agil/Tiffany: [deadpan] Shouldn't be. It's a woman's name.
    Kibaou: ... 'Kay, I don't know how to talk to you.
    Agil/Tiffany: Good, then you can shut up and listen.

  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked: Simon has an alter ego referred to as "Simone".
  • Bloodthirsty: Grey and Charlie, who are a lesbian couple, both have gender neutral/boyish names.
  • The couple in The Blue Lagoon name their son Hannah because Paddy Button had told them about his cousin's baby by that name. In the 1980 film, they name the baby after Paddy. In the second book, the sailors call him Dick after his father, and his friend Katafa calls him Taori.
  • In Casino Royale (1967), Peter Sellers plays a baccarat expert recruited to play James Bond, with the name Evelyn Tremble. Vesper Lynd asks him straight off if that isn't a woman's name. ("...No, it's mine, actually.") Of course, there was also the writer Evelyn Waugh.
  • Julia gets quite a shock in Date Movie when Grant's "best man" Andy turns out to be an extremely attractive woman.
  • The gynecologist brothers from Dead Ringers are named Elliot and Beverly. It's implied that their parents gave Bev a girl's name to help set their identical twins' childhood experiences apart from one another.
  • Doctor in Trouble: When lying to the Master-at-Arms as to why he is in Ophelia's cabin, Dr. Burke that "Ophelia" is his name:
    Master-at-Arms: And your name would be?
    Dr. Burke: "O'Brien". O. O'Brien.
    Master-at-Arms: "O"?
    Dr. Burke: "O".
    Master-at-Arms: "O" for... "Oswald"?
    Dr. Burke: No, no, no. "Ophelia". (Beat) Er... Mother wanted a girl, you see.
  • Duck Butter: Sergio is a woman with a traditionally male name.
  • The Eiger Sanction: George is a woman. No explanation is given as to why she's named that.
  • The Evil Dead (1981): The main protagonist may go by "Ash," but his friends much more frequently call him "Ashley." The only time he's referred to as "Ash" in the first film is by one of his friends after they've become possessed.
  • The Firechasers: Despite the name, Intrepid Reporter Toby Collins is a woman. Oddly, not one character ever comments on it or is surprised that Toby is female.
  • Although Edith, a male character from Ghost Dad, claims his first name is a boy's name, he also explains he was named after his grandmother.
    Sir Edith Moser: It's pronounced edd-ith!
  • Dr. Ryan Stone, played by Sandra Bullock, in Gravity.
  • It's a Wonderful Knife (2023): Bernie is a girl, with a nickname more commonly used for boys named Bernard. It may be that her given name is Bernadette, but we don't learn if that's the case.
  • Jupiter Jones from Jupiter Ascending. Not that Jupiter is a common name for any gender by any means, but it started out as the name of the male Roman Top God, after whom the planet is named.
  • The titular character in The Little Devil is a little devil who possessed an Italian lady named Giuditta. He liked her name, so after his exorcism, he decided to keep it as his own.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • In Avengers: Endgame, Iron Man's daughter, Morgan, is named after her maternal great uncle, Morgan. He tells his wife Pepper in Avengers: Infinity War that he had a dream of them having a boy named after Uncle Morgan but they just kept the name when Morgan was a girl.
    • Thor: Love and Thunder reveals Heimdall had a son, Axl. His birth name, Astrid, is an Asgardian unisex name, but on Earth, it's a girl's name, which may be why Axl renamed himself after Axl Rose.
  • MonsterVerse:
  • Morgan: Morgan and Lee are both female. Morgan is an Artificial Human and Lee is a "risk management executive" who has come to check up on her. Androgynous names is not the only thing they have in common.
  • Nemesis is Gender-Blender Name: The Movie. Alex (male), Sam (male), Max (female), Angie (Male) Julian (female), Michele (male) , Billie (male), Germaine (male), Claire (male). What the reason for this is unclear, because the movie is generally a cyberpunk thriller filled with ludicrous explosions.
  • Subverted on The Partridge Family. A young male visitor introduced himself as what sounded like Sue, but when Reuben responded, "A boy named Sue?" it turned out the visitor's name was actually Sioux, as in the Native American tribe. He was one-quarter.
  • Paul: “The Big Guy” is the mostly unseen female superior to Agent Zoil. Her real name was never revealed throughout the film.
  • Plan B: Lupe's girlfriend is named Logan, as a result of which Sunny thinks initially that she's a guy (Lupe didn't correct it either then).
  • In the movie The Producers it's said that Adolf Hitler's middle name was Elizabeth, which also turns out to be the middle name of the transvestite director.
  • In Rhinestone, Dolly Parton's character is named Jake Farris. There is no indication it is a diminutive, so it must have been deliberately chosen.
  • The Rookies: The leader of the rookies is a Senior Agent named Bruce. She is played by Milla Jovovich.
  • In The Sandlot, Smalls knows so little about baseball that he assumes Babe Ruth was a girl.
  • In Seven Samurai, Toshiro Mifune's nameless wannabe samurai drunkenly picks out his name at random from a scroll he showed the six ronin hired to help a village. The name he points to is "Kikuchiyo". Problem is, it's a girl's name (Or, rather, two girls' names rolled into one.) The name sticks anyway.
  • Sheroes:
    • Ezra is a woman with what has traditionally been a man's name.
    • Ryder is a short-haired athlete who's a Butch Lesbian too, with an androgynous name.
  • Short Cuts features two female-sounding names for male characters.
    • Gene and Sherri Shepard's family dog, Suzy, is male. When Sherri tells her sister, Marian, that Suzy has disappeared (Gene actually took him away on his motorcycle and left him by the side of the road), Marian initially assumes Suzy is female, and when she relays the news to her husband Ralph, he makes the same mistake.
    • Gene is having an affair with Betty Weathers, and when her son Chad tells her estranged husband Stormy that she is going out for a birthday dinner with Gene, Stormy mishears the name as "Jean" and asks who "she" is.
  • Somebody I Used to Know: Discussed Trope. Upon meeting Sean, Cassidy's biphobic parents say that they're glad he's male because some lesbians have 'butch' names like Sean — they couldn't tell from the wedding invite.
  • Spin Me Round: The two men on the company retreat have gender-neutral names: Fran and Dana. This becomes a plot point when Dana discovers that he and Fran are the only men to ever get invited to the retreat, so whoever selected them must have assumed they were women.
  • The villain in Streets of Fire is named Raven. Raven is a dude. Played by Willem Dafoe.
  • The main protagonist of Stripped to Kill is a young woman named Cody.
  • A male character in the movie Swingers is named Sue. Apparently, his parents were inspired by the Johnny Cash song of the same title.
  • Toy Story 4: Bo Beep's sheep are revealed to be called Billy, Goat, and Gruff but when Woody apologizes to them and he called them "guys". However, Bo corrected Woody and said that they are "girls".
  • In Turning Red, this is Downplayed with Ming. While the name itself is unisex from having a multitude of readings (read: distinct Chinese characters pronounced the same way), the name typically has more masculine associations among many Chinese-speaking people.
  • In Up, Russell never stops calling the big, colorful bird he finds "Kevin" even after learning that she's a mother of several chicks.
  • In Up Pompeii, Lurcio's donkey has the feminine name of Betty yet is a male.


  • Alien in a Small Town features a Starfish Alien with an unpronounceable name who goes by "Dwight" among humans. Dwight is actually female, but by the time the humans realized this, the name had stuck.
  • Artemis Fowl: lampshaded by Artemis Fowl II in The Eternity Code.
  • Baccano!:
    • The real name of the Rail Tracer is Claire Stanfield, who is male. It doesn't help that he's also a murderous psychopath. No wonder he prefers to go by nicknames. This is lampshaded in the Light Novels, where Isaac points out that it's not too uncommon for men to have feminine names, "and who knows what sort of name a monster would have." It's explained in the light novels that he was named after his grandfather, who had the name back when it was considered masculine, but it was considered girly by the time Claire was born, and on at least one occasion people have assumed that he was a woman before meeting him. He later buys the name Felix Walken and refuses to allow anyone other than his one true love, Chané, to call him Claire as he decides it's the name of his soul.
    • Chane is a woman given a (French) boy's name. Maybe that's why she ended up with Claire.
  • Subverted in the book Beyond Rejection — a former man whose personality has been transferred to a female body asks to be called "Patricia", aiming at this trope. The therapist points this out and starts calling her "Trish".
  • Biff, Chip and Kipper: Biff is a girl, despite her name. Weirdly, no one in the series seems to acknowledge the disconnect between her name and her gender.
  • Beth Metatronim in Burying the Shadow is a man. This is not considered strange or embarrassing in canon.
  • Cat Planet Cuties: JACK (though it's actually an acronym — for 'Janis Alectos Carotenas Karinato,' specifically —, and lampshaded by protagonist Kio when he points out it sounds like a guy's name,) and Melwyn/Melwin.
  • In the Chaos Gods series, De's real name is Jannina, an explicitly female name. His parents chose it in accordance with a prophecy, expecting a female child. De strongly prefers his self-chosen nickname, to the extent that the I Know Your True Name magic of the Sister Gods is less effective than normal on him because he doesn't truly consider Jannina to be his proper name.
  • From the book Chartbreak, Finch (last name) and Christie. The former's a girl, the latter's a guy.
  • Vyvyan Ayrs from Cloud Atlas.
  • Merideth in Dreamsnake, whose gender is left entirely up to the reader.
  • The Enchanted Files: In Diary of a Mad Brownie / Cursed, when Angus is initially told that he must move on to a new member of the family, he's horrified when Sarah McGonagall tells him their name is Alex, saying it's a boy's name and he's supposed to go to the youngest female of age (ten or older). Sarah patiently explains that Alex is a girl, short for Alexandra.
  • One Encyclopedia Brown story featured a Gender Bender Name as the key to solving the case (a male doctor named Vivian) — while it's technically a unisex name, it's more commonly associated with women. Jody Turner, one of Encyclopedia’s friends, also has one.
  • Tyler Rodney Clark from the little-known novel Ghostland had her name chosen because her mother was part of the Women's Liberation Movement. However, it barely matches her personality, her only tomboyish trait being her male friends.
  • Douglas Hofstadter (of Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid fame) wrote "A coffeehouse conversation about the Turing test", whose characters all have gender-ambiguous names. This is a homage to Turing's original article: there he presented his thought experiment, with the object of distinguishing human from machine, as a variant of an earlier party game with the object of distinguishing woman from man.
  • In the Heechee Saga, the main character is Robinette Broadhead, a man. He usually goes by Robin or Bob. Still, being saddled with a woman's name is one of the things he talks about during his extensive therapy sessions.
  • Subverted in Robert A. Heinlein's book I Will Fear No Evil, character Johann Sebastian Bach Smith has his brain transplanted into the body of a young female murder victim named Eunice Branca. Johann then chooses the name Joan Eunice Smith. He states that if "Joan" is pronounced as two syllables, it sounds a lot like 'Johann.'
  • In Holes, Mr. Sir's real name is Marion Sirvio. "It is a boy's name!"
  • Two novels by Kim Newman, The Haunting of Drearcliff Grange School and Something More Than Night, have a female character named Stephen Steps. In the latter novel, she claims her parents Wanted a Son Instead; in the former, she explicitly denies that was the case, and claims that "Stephen" is a perfectly cromulent, if possibly archaic, name for a girl. In either case, we only have her word for it, and in both cases there are reasons to believe she may be lying.
  • In Janitors of the Post-Apocalypse this is standard. Human civilization ended with the advent of a plague that turned the population into Technically Living Zombies, which were later abducted and uplifted by the Krakau, who pieced together a language for the new "cured" humans to speak and allowed them to select their own names from a database of famous humans. Because the Krakau are functionally a One-Gender Race they don't grasp or pass on that human names were often specifically gendered, so most of the names of the human cast qualify. Wolfgang Mozart, for example, chose her name purely because she wanted to be called "Wolf".
    "I reviewed the human name database. I can’t decide if I’d rather be called Nelson Mandela, Rosalind Franklin, or Beyoncé..."
    • The Krakau themselves, having a Starfish Language, also select "human names" for themselves. In their case, they listen to a database of human music and choose song titles for humans to call them by. A major Krakau character in the third book is "Johnny Be Good", usually called Johnny.
  • One of the protagonists of the Liaden Universe novels is a young woman named Theo Waitley. "Theo" is apparently not short for anything, and nobody in-universe see anything remarkable about it.
  • In The Butterfly Ball and the Grasshopper's Feast sequel The Lion's Cavalcade, Cassandra is the name of a billy goat.
  • The Mako Saga: Mac, short for Evelyn McKinney. She thought Evelyn sounded like an old woman's name, and refused to go by her Embarrassing Middle Name Twilah.
  • A subtle one in Many Waters: Most of the story is set just before The Great Flood. Several female characters (either Canon Foreigners or those Named by the Adaptation) are given names from other minor Biblical figures, but several of them are male names, albeit ones that look feminine or ambiguous to a modern, English-speaking reader. Meanwhile, the Fallen Angels are all male, but a few have names traditionally ascribed to female demons.
  • In The Monster Blood Tattoo Trilogy, people tend to be surprised when they learn Rossamund's name, noting that it's exceedingly feminine for a lad. This earned him no end of mockery from the other foundlings, who called him names like "Rosy Posy". He later learns that this is because he's a rossamunderling, a type of human-like monster.
  • Nancy Drew has a friend named George, although it's always made clear that she's a girl. At least one spinoff series has attributed this to her real name being "Georgia" and her being a tomboy.
  • In-Universe, Nezumi in No. 6 chose to go by the stage name Eve because he plays female roles.
  • One half of the Big Bad Duumvirate of Oliver and the Seawigs is a teenage boy named Stacey de Lacey. He was bullied for what he assumed was having a traditionally girl's name, though it may have had more to do with the fact that he wasn't that pleasant a person to be around.
  • Karla, the shadowy Russian spymaster, from John le Carré's The Quest for Karla and the film adaptation of the first novel, Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. In this case Karla is definitely male, but very little more is known of him; he chose his codename from that of the first agent he recruited, sometime during the Spanish Civil War, and it's used because his real name is unknown.
  • In Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry, Stacey is the main character's brother.
  • Sapphire: Not only does Claude sound rather feminine to some English speakers, it is a gender-neutral name in his native French. Rather fitting for a French-born Bishounen, eh?
  • Silence Montane's daughter William Ann from Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell. Silence's husband was named William.
  • Abe from Spice and Wolf. It's not her birth name, but being a female merchant has its difficulties, so it's better for business. She also calls herself "ore".
  • The given name of Tinker is Alexander Graham Bell Dufae. Everyone who looks for her going by her name automatically assume that she's male.
  • In Tunnel in the Sky, the inventor of teleportation and savior of humanity was Dr. Jesse Evelyn Ramsbotham. The narration suggests that he might have become a quarterback capable of talking to women if his parents had given him masculine names. Instead his Embarrassing First Name and Embarrassing Middle Name drove him to lonely mathematics and physics.
  • In MaryJanice Davidson's Undead and Unwed, Betsy throws Sinclair's opera CDs from his car in revenge. She wonders who Andrea Bocelli is and assumes (wrongly) that the male Italian opera singer is a woman.
  • The main character of the Vanessa "Michael" Munroe series by Taylor Stevens chose her alternate (male) name as part of a disguise she once took up, for which she shaved her head and crossdressed. She's been called Michael by associates and clients ever since.
  • In The Well of Loneliness, the protagonist's parents are so convinced that they will have a son, that by the time their daughter is born, the only name they have decided on is Stephen.
  • The Wayside School series has two characters named Nancy and Mac who eventually swap names to fit their corresponding genders. Nancy was named after his aunt, and Mac's mother named her after a dog.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The 100: Main characters Clarke (female) and Bellamy (male). While Clarke's name is likely a nod to sci-fi author Arthur C. Clarke, there's no explanation given for why Bellamy has a name most often used for girls.
  • Annika (2021): A plot point in episode 2.4. Annika and the MHU are looking for a woman named Tina, sister of the murder victim. It's not until Chris, the woman who works for the hotel, gets a phone call that they realize that "Chris" is actually Christina, the dead man's sister.
  • Awaken: Jamie is a woman.
  • Better Things: Sam and all three of her daughters have one. It becomes fairly notable when Sam starts to question Frankie's gender identity. Sam's at least is short for Samantha.
  • Burden of Truth: Luna's second girlfriend turns out to be named Stevie.
  • In Chewing Gum, the (female) protagonist Tracey has a cousin with the same name who she calls Boy Tracey.
  • Community had Troy dating a person name Randi. He very quickly points out "Randi can be a girl's name" to avoid any confusion.
  • The Devil Judge: Elijah is a girl.
  • Firefly:
    • Jayne has an ironic name in contrast with his vicious, mercenary nature. However, Jayne is actually a real, though uncommon, male name. Characters on the show have teased him about his name.
    • There's also Mal and Zoe's old war buddy, Tracey Smith.
  • Fraggle Rock: Back to the Rock sees the introduction of a legendary Fraggle explorer named Icy Joe. Despite the masculine name, Icy Joe is a female Fraggle; the subject isn't really discussed here.
  • Francis, the eldest brother in Malcolm in the Middle. This is only made apparent in the episode "If Boys Were Girls", where Lois has an episode-long Imagine Spot where she imagines she had all female children instead of all male: The female version of him is called Frances, pronounced the same.
  • Bryan Fuller likes to do this to his female characters.
    • In Wonderfalls the main female character is named Jaye, which is a little ambiguous.
    • Dead Like Me made this habit blatant, with the main female character George(tte) and her sister Reggie (Regina).
    • Ned's love interest in Pushing Daisies is Charlotte... but goes by Chuck.
  • Subverted in Gilmore Girls. The younger Gilmore girl goes by Rory, a name reserved for boys, but it's short for Lorelai, a decidedly feminine name. The nickname is presumably to distinguish her from her mother and great-grandmother, also named Lorelai. The trope is played straight, however, for Rory's friends Jess, Paris, and Lane. A boy and two girls, respectively.
  • Sisters Teddy and Charlie in Good Luck Charlie had "masculine" names chosen (allegedly) to attract more boys to the show.
  • Robin of How I Met Your Mother (Cobie Smulders) was born Robin Charles Scherbatsky Jr. because her father wanted a boy.
  • Imposters: Lenny and Shelly Cohen. The former is actually a woman (it's not said if that's a nickname for something, such as Lenora), the latter a man (full name Sheldon).
  • Into the Dark: In "Blood Moon" Luna, a boy, has a name that's usually used for girls.
  • Jeopardy!'s 2008 Teen Tournament had two contestants named Rachel. One of the two went by "Steve" during the entire tournament to avoid confusion.
  • Kamen Rider:
    • Miyuki Tezuka, a.k.a. Kamen Rider Raia from Kamen Rider Ryuki, is a guy. It only goes unnoticed because everyone only uses "Tezuka" to refer to him, but that's the character's official name.
    • Kamen Rider Blade has Sakuya Tachibana, Kamen Rider Garren, who's in the same boat: "Sakuya" can be masculine or feminine, but everyone just calls him "Tachibana".
    • Kamen Rider Revice has Hiromi Kadota, the first Kamen Rider Demons, is also male. "Hiromi" is a unisex name, but is more associated with females nowadays.
  • Married... with Children:
    • Gary, the owner of the shoe store where Al Bundy works, is a woman.
    • Mary, the maker of the Bundys' couch, is a man. He insists that his name is a male name and emphasized on the last syllable whereas the usual female version is emphasized on the first syllable.
  • The Power Rangers franchise has had a few Rangers with names that don't quite match their gender:
  • On Nashville a country musician names his male dog Sue in reference to the Johnny Cash song.
  • Nip/Tuck has the organ trafficker James LeBeau, who's played by Jacqueline Bisset.
  • Holly on Red Dwarf starts out as a balding middle aged man, and only in Series 3 becomes a blonde woman. Curiously in a parallel universe, Holly's female counterpart, whose likeness he later copies, is called 'Hilly'. Strictly speaking, as a computer, 'he' doesn't have a gender, and the name is partly influenced by HAL ('HAB' was used in a prototype radio show). Not that it matters as 'Holly' is a unisex name anyway, it's simply more commonly seen as a woman's name than a man's which is why it doesn't matter that Holly was originally supposed to be a girl. The writers were blown away by Norman Lovett's performance, and cast him instead.
  • In "Family Day" from Resident Alien, the dog that Sahar has been walking that gets kidnapped, Murphy, is said to be a female dog.
  • In Restaurant: Impossible, one of the interior designers Chef Robert Irvine trusts the most to renovate a restaurant is the very male Lynn Kegan.
  • The Rising: Alex, Joe's cousin, is a woman.
  • Pat from Saturday Night Live was a Running Gag based on this trope. And then someone had the bright idea to make a movie revolving around that one joke.
  • Scrubs has plenty of examples:
    • Elliot, whose her parents were expecting a boy.
    • John 'JD' Dorian's original name was Joanna, for the opposite reason.
    • Another character, Veronica, goes by Ronnie. According to Elliot, the former was trying to copy her.
    • Also Jennifer Dylan Cox — Dylan comes from a Welsh sea god. But Jordan named her after JD just to screw with Cox. Jordan herself has an ambiguous name, and there was a running joke that all the women JD slept with for the first few seasons had unisex names (including Jordan's sister, Danni, and Alex).
  • In the NBC Television series Sisters, the five sisters have female names but are given male nicknames by their father, who always wanted sons. Thus Alexandra, Theodora, Georgiana, Francesca, and Charlotte are called Alex, Teddy, Georgie, Frankie, and Charlie. Alex's daughter is named Reed, which is also typically a male name.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: The protagonist Michael Burnham is a woman (and it's commented on in universe). She was so named at least partly because co-creator Bryan Fuller has a penchant for creating female characters with masculine names.
  • Star Trek: Picard: Because humans generally associate flowers with femininity, you'd be forgiven for assuming that Beautiful Flower was a woman, but it's actually the name of a male Ambassador from Coppelius (the androids evidently consider floral names to be gender-neutral).
  • Ultraman Decker have a male Alien Gregorl named "Grace", though in all fairness he's not of earth and therefore probably doesn't follow human naming conventions.
  • Homosexual men in fiction are sometimes given gender-bending names to emphasize their perceived femininity: for example Beverly Leslie in Will & Grace.
  • Willow: Kit's is often used as a nickname for both male and female names (e.g. Christopher or Katherine).
  • Vyvyan from The Young Ones. His mum never did explain why she gave him a girl's name. This is comedy on two levels; by the time the series was made, Vivian was firmly entrenched as a female name. However, even back in the days when Vivian was common as a male name, it was almost exclusively the province of mustachioed, upper-class toffs, i.e. the opposite of the show's psychotic working-class punk.

  • Alice Cooper, Marilyn Manson and Mary Byker most likely chose their stage names with the intention of being edgy. Cooper states he got the name (which originally baptized his whole band) from a ouija board. Manson's whole group combined female model names with serial killer last names. However Manson's name is only a stage name, his real name being Brian Hugh Warner. Cooper legally changed his name from Vincent Damon Furnier.
    • Cooper once acknowledged this in an interview — he was at the bank for some reason. When asked for his name, he replied with Alice Cooper. The teller responded with something along the lines of "There are four Alice Coopers in our records." Alice's reply to that? "I'm Mister Alice Cooper."
  • Ronnie Spector is a prominent example, having disavowed her birth name of "Veronica" for the more masculine derivative "Ronnie" in the early 1970s as part of the Tomboyness Upgrade she took after The Ronettes' breakup.
  • "A Boy Named Sue", made famous by Johnny Cash (written by Shel Silverstein), tells the story of a boy whose father named him Sue before abandoning the family, specifically to get other kids to bully him, to toughen him up. (His father was a jerk.) This culminates in an epic fight when the boy finally tracks down his dad ("My name is SUE, how do you DO? Now you gonna die!"), but it ends with an explanation and begrudging reconciliation between the two, and in fact, he resolves to name his own son... "any damn thing but Sue! I still hate that name!").
  • Out of the nine Pythagoras Productions idols, four of them have girls' names — Kira, Rui, Tsubasa, and Teruma. The other five just have random words for names — Shy, Atom, L, R, and Alto.
  • The trope is used in the 16th century madrigal "Of all the birds that I do know", which is ostensibly about a pet sparrow named Philip, but which is always referenced with female pronouns. There is probably some sort of Double Entendre that hasn't survived for 400 years, but the song is still beautiful. Can be found here.
  • Singer Annie Clark chose her stage name from the hospital where Dylan Thomas died as referenced in a song by Nick Cave. She apparently didn't care this would make her known as St. Vincent.
  • Skid Row bassist Rachel Bolan, born James Southworth. The Bolan comes from T-Rex vocalist Marc Bolan, while the Rachel part may be because feminine-sounding names for a male musician were quite a thing in the glam metal scene, thus Rachel being more appropriate than Jim or Jimmy.
  • For whatever reason Frank Carlton Serafino Feranna Jr. decided to spell his stage name "Nikki Sixx" instead of "Nicky Sixx".
  • Almost the entire glam metal band Pretty Boy Floyd chose feminine stage names for themselves: Kristy "Krash" Majors and Keri Kelli (both guitarists) and Kari Kane (drummer). Only the singer, Steve, and bassist, Vinnie, have recognizable boy names.
  • Country Music singer Gus Hardin was a female. (Her real name was Carolyn Ann Blankenship.)
  • A more common example is singer Charly McClain (short for Charlotte).
  • Vivian Stanshall (born Victor Anthony), the Bonzo Dog Band frontman, among other things, embraced the christened name of his father (who hated it and prefered to be called Victor).
  • Japanese-American musician Nikki Lee is in fact a cisgender, heterosexual male. He later adopted the more masculine stage name Michael Mozart.
  • Carmen Dragon is a male conductor, composer and arranger, best known for a stunning arrangement of "America the Beautiful" — and for being the father of Daryl Dragon (also a gender-blender name), otherwise known as Captain of Captain and Tennille. He named one of his daughters Carmen.
  • Country Music singers Pat Greene, Tracy Lawrence and Trace Adkins, whose given name is Tracy, are all men. On the flip side, Jessie James, Bobbie Gentry, and Cam are all women.
  • Big Star drummer Jody Stephens is a man.
  • The Magnetic Fields: The lyrics of "Papa Was a Rodeo" from 69 Love Songs are addressed to a "Mike". The expectation is that Mike is a man and the viewpoint character of the song is gay (much like frontman Stephin Merritt)... and then a verse from Mike's perspective is sung by the female Shirley Simms. Her vocals aren't a simple stylistic choice either, as Merritt himself stated the song is "heterosexual, with a homosexual tease".
  • MILGRAM: The first prisoner, Haruka Sakurai, is pointed out to be a guy despite the feminine name. He says he got his name because his mother wanted a girl, and his music videos imply parental neglect or abandonment.
  • Russian singer and drummer Oleg Musor is female. Her real name is Aleksandra Gorbacheva.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • In one Doonesbury strip, MacArthur mentions that a lot of Samoans like him born during World War II were named after General MacArthur. Zonker replies that at least it's a nice name, to which MacArthur says, "Try telling that to my sister Doug."
  • The mother in FoxTrot is almost always referred to as "Andy" (short for Andrea).

    Tabletop Games 
  • In Rocket Age, the Julandri courtesans of Mars all use female names, regardless of their gender.
  • One of the rail barons in Deadlands is Baron Simone LaCroix. The Baron is a man, despite the feminine name. The reason for the name is because he murdered his sister, the actual Simone, in a ritual to steal her powers, and the name came with it.

  • The patriarch of the family featured in August: Osage County is Beverly Weston.
  • In Little Shop of Horrors, the main character gets a bizarre-looking plant and names it "Audrey II", after Audrey, the girl he likes. The plant gets loosely referred to as female by the characters, but when it starts to talk, it sounds and acts very male. Since plants sometimes are hermaphrodites and this particular plant is also an alien the gender distinction thing gets weird if you think about it too hard.
  • The Tempest: Prospero's main servant, Ariel, is identified as male in the text (Many productions have Ariel as Otherworldly and Sexually Ambiguous and just as often have an actress in the role). Played with in that Ariel traditionally has been a male Hebrew name; it's only recently become popular as a female name.
  • In We Will Rock You, Britney Spears is the very male "...the biggest, baddest, meanest, nastiest, ugliest, most raging, rapping, rock'n'roll, sick, punk, heavy metal psycho bastard that ever got get-down funky." And Meat Loaf is his girlfriend, who is called Ozzy in some versions.

    Theme Parks 
  • In Universal Studios rides and shows that feature a live component, the hosts are often given unisex names so that both male and female employees can play them as needed.
    • On Fast & Furious: Supercharged, the live hosts of the two pre-shows are named Pat and Jamie.
      • F&F: Supercharged replaced Disaster!, where the host was named Lonnie.
    • The revamped version of Poseidon's Fury was hosted by a tour guide named Taylor.
    • At Universal's Horror Make-Up Show, the main host is named Alex Ross, but their co-host is an aversion, being named Mark James if played by a man or Marty James if played by a woman.
  • At Disney Theme Parks, a guest might encounter a Cast Member with a name tag reading "Chris From Orlando". Most likely, that is not the cast member's real name and they don't have their normal name tag. Chris is used as a gender neutral name for "Christine" or "Christopher" or similar.

    Video Games 
  • The son of Lolo and Lala from Adventures of Lolo is named Lulu.
  • In Age of Mythology, Egyptian players get a Pharaoh with a randomly-generated name. One of the possible names is Cleopatra.
  • Murasaki Shikibu is genderflipped in AkaSeka, leading to a lampshading and explanation that this is an inverse Moustache de Plume meant to make his literature more feminine so it can become more popular. His real name, Fujiwara no Kaoru, falls under gender-neutral folder below.
  • As the main characters of Azur Lane are the Moe Anthropomorphism of naval ships, many of the ships made anime girls still retain a masculine name even if their namesake was a man. For example, the ship Prinz Eugen was named after Prince Eugene of Savoy, while Prinz Eugen in Azur Lane is a Ms. Fanservice with Girlish Pig Tails.
  • BioShock:
    • BioShock has the class of Big Daddy known as "Rosie" (after Rosie the Riveter, because he carries a rivet gun). They are still very much male.
    • As is Subject Delta, another Big Daddy and the protagonist of BioShock 2. He is actually addressed as simply "Delta" on at least one occasion. Not a common proper name, but it's female.
  • Control: Jesse is a traditionally masculine name, while Jessie is the feminine version, yet it's the former that's used for the female protagonist. Her brother Dylan also has a gender-neutral name, and he lampshades this in an optional conversation.
  • The player 1 character in Crude Buster is a man called Ruth.
  • In The Curse of Monkey Island, a certain pirate barber's given name is Heart Liver and Kidneys Boiled in the Stomach of the Animal McMutton; Guybrush correctly surmises that his parents were expecting a girl. (Presumably, only "Heart" is his first name.) Understandably, he goes by what all that is a definition of: "Haggis".
  • Dark Judgement have it's Final Boss, a Super Mob Boss who's a dude named Hazel.
  • Elden Ring has Miquella, the brother of Malenia.
  • Far Cry:
    • Far Cry 5 has Deputies Staci Pratt and Joey Hudson, who are male and female respectively.
    • Far Cry 6 goes a similar route to Prey below and lets you choose the gender of the protagonist but their name always remains "Dani Rojas".
  • The Fate Series, which is notorious for gender bending various male historical figures and characters, keeps the names of the people/characters, so in this series, male-looking names are absolutely no hint as to which sex the character is. The only, sole exception to this is Arturia, the iconic female King Arthur, with her male prototype design being named "Arthur" instead. As a result, you get a cast full of female characters named such things as Francis, Jack, Hassan, Mordred, or Nero, and people don't really question it. Though there's no shortage of actual male characters and female characters actually based on female historical figures/characters.
  • Hope in Final Fantasy XIII, who is male, yet whose name is one of the traditional "virtue" names given to girls.
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Genealogy of the Holy War gives us Eve, Eva and Alva, who are male Same-Sex Triplets. Alva can actually be a male name (see Thomas Edison, whose middle name is Alva), but Eve and Eva are decidedly feminine.
    • All games with an Avatar system, in which the Avatar can be either gender, give them a gender-neutral name: Kris in Fire Emblem: New Mystery of the Emblem, Robin Other Languages in Fire Emblem: Awakening, and Corrin Other Languages in Fire Emblem Fates. This also extends to Robin's child Morgan Other Languages and Corrin's child Kana Other Languages, both of whom are the opposite of their parent's gender(e.g. a female Corrin will have a male Kana as well as her husband's child).
    • An interesting example occurs in Fire Emblem: Three Houses. The Avatar's English name is Byleth regardless of selected gender, but in Japanese this is rendered as Bereto (ベレト) if they're male and Beresu (ベレス) if they're female.
  • Five Nights at Freddy's: One of the mascot of Freddy Fazbear's Pizza is Bonnie the Bunny, whom despite being male has a female name.
  • Sissel of Ghost Trick is quite male even if he's not human, but has a female name. This is because he's named after Yomiel's fiancee.
  • Bridget from the Guilty Gear series is named such because they were raised as a girl, due to a superstition about same-sex twins being unlucky. In Guilty Gear: Strive she comes out as a trans woman.
  • Yu and Kay in Haven (2020). The genders they're depicted as are dependent on whether you choose to play them as a hetero or same-sex couple, and their names are accordingly gender-neutral.
  • The King of Fighters: Rugal Bernstein named his son "Adelheid" - which is actually a feminine name in German. Despite being much nicer than his father, there is no indication that Adel ever complained about his name.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • The main trios all have gender-blender names. In Japan, giving your boys the names "Sora" and "Riku" or your girls the name "Kairi" are considered creative.
    • There is also a manly young man with the name Terra. The gender-blender is coincidental, as he complements the Theme Naming of another trio. Amusingly, Square Enix has previously used the name in Final Fantasy VI for the very feminine main protagonist (in overseas release, at least; her name in Japanese is Tina).
    • On a similar vein, although it is not a common name in every sense of the word, Vanitas is a feminine Latin word and therefore is technically a female name.
    • Another feminine-gendered Latin examples are the Foretellers, who are named after the (all feminine) Latin words for the Seven Deadly Sins. Out of the six, only two are female.
    • Subverted with Lea and Isa. Both may look feminine, but they have unusual pronunciations (LEE and AY-za). Were it not for the spelling, the former is certifiably a masculine name.
  • The same actress who voices Subject Zero also voiced Juhani in Knights of the Old Republic. The name Bioware picked was a Finnish variant of John.
  • The token female playable character from Legionnaire is a beautiful blonde woman. It could be an abbreviation of Christina, but she solely goes by Chris.
  • Life Is Strange:
  • Etward and Ennarcia in Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy were originally a boy and a girl, respectively, but the sister decided she liked the male name Etward better than the female name Ennarcia and forced her brother to switch names with her.
  • Jack AKA "Subject Zero" in Mass Effect 2, named apparently solely to have a Samus Is a Girl moment... for everyone who avoided seeing the several trailers she appears in. Not to mention that all in-game mention prior to first meeting Subject Zero conspicuously neglects any sort of gender identifying pronoun.
  • Mega Man ZX: Advent has Atlas and Thetis, who are named after the (male) leader of the Titans and the mother of the water nymphs in Greek Mythology respectively. The former is a woman, the latter is a young boy.
  • METAGAL: Despite having a masculine name, the artillery-themed boss, Buster, is not male. However, her name may have something more to do with her cannon...
  • OneShot: The head of the library located in the Refuge is a lady named George. Nobody in this world seems to find her name or the fact that she has a die for a head strange.
  • Panel de Pon has the water fairy Elias, who has a traditionally male name but is actually a girl. A very feminine girl. Her counterpart in the Nintendo Puzzle Collection, Cecil, also fits.
  • Pokémon:
  • The protagonist of Prey (2017) is named "Dr. Morgan Yu" but the player can choose for them to be male or female.
  • Savage Halloween have you playing as three monsters, one which is a male werewolf named... Lulu.
  • Morte is the Villain Protagonist heroine from Sands of Destruction. While most parents wouldn't name a child of either gender "Death", the Grim Reaper and other personifications of death are generally shown as male. It certainly suits her, though.
  • Sands of Destruction enjoys a double-dose of blending with the names of its two leads, playing off their Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy tendencies:
  • Harold Belserius from Tales of Destiny 2. Remembered as a brilliant male scientist. Or rather a brilliant female scientist who wanted to be remembered as a man just for the lulz.
  • The Soldier in Team Fortress 2 is apparently named Jane Doe. Probably due to this, he keeps a note on his door insisting that he should be addressed as Mister Jane Doe to avoid gender confusion by the name. Due to the Soldier being somewhat of a paranoid nutcase (as well as several other types of nutcase) and "Jane Doe" being commonly used to refer to a female of unknown identity, it's likely that this a pseudonym. This would mean that not only was the name chosen on purpose, he chose it for himself!
  • TRON 2.0 has Mercury, played by the sultry Rebecca Romijn. Jet has a brief Samus Is a Girl moment upon meeting her.
  • Twisted Wonderland: Night Raven College, a boys' school, has students named Leona, Azul, Jade and Lilia.
  • Similarly, Undertale has a literal flower named Flowey, it is made clear Flowey is male no matter how feminine the name sounds like. Whether it was intentional self-renaming or an unfortunate given name remained unknown. His real name, Asriel Dreemurr, is definitely not this trope.
  • Megumi Kitaniji, a major antagonist in The World Ends with You, has a very feminine first name. According to the manga, he was teased as a child because of it.
  • World of Warcraft presents an odd case with Chromie. Dragons in Warcraft always have gendered suffixes on their names, with Bronze dragons using "ormu" for males and "ormi" for females. Chromie usually takes the form of a female gnome, but her true form is named Chronormu. Originally, the explanation was that she was a female dragon with a masculine name for whatever reasonnote . However, the short story "Visage Day" in the leadup to the Dragonflight expansion Retconned this, and she is now officially AMAB but prefers a female form.
  • World's Dawn has a little boy named Bloom. While that isn't exactly a common name, most names associated with flowers are for girls.
  • Xenoblade Chronicles 3: Ghondor Vandham, a sassy young lady and daughter of the current leader of the City. When the gang first meet her, they are surprised to find out that she's a girl, and it's implied that she has some insecurities about it. When Shania is dying, she asks Ghondor if she wants to change it, to which she says no. Despite it being a bit weird, it's still her name, and it's a part of her and her family. In Future Redeemed we meet another Ghondor—the grandfather of the man who would become the Vandham Founder. He's also the son of the versions of Noah and Mio who became Moebius. This explains why the female Ghondor hated it, and also why she kept it.
  • In Yakuza 0. Goro Majima is tasked with assassinating a vicious pimp named Makoto Makimura. It turns out that the "pimp" is actually a hitman turned acupuncturist who is helping trafficked women, Makoto Makimura is one of the girls he is protecting, and he uses the name so that prospective hitmen will come after him directly and leave her alone.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Adrian Andrews from the second and third games, which is important because her name sounds masculine (and her last name literally is). This helps derail Shelly de Killer's argument that Adrian is his client, since he states that he physically met Adrian to make the deal, but refers to her as male because he hasn't actually met her.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All: This is a plot point, as Shelly de Killer tries to frame Adrian Andrews for hiring him, but proves he never met her by referring to her with male pronouns, with this also applying to her in the original Japanese version.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Dual Destinies: Robin Newman plays with this, as their name is masculine on one side of the Atlantic and feminine on the other, with her being revealed to actually be female who presented as a male.
    • The Great Ace Attorney: A Zig-Zagging Trope with Ashley Graydon, who is male, which is historically accurate as the game takes place in Victorian Era England, when the name Ashley would be considered a commonly masculine name for the time and location, which only seems odd to a modern audience.
  • Choices: Stories You Play: Playable characters of customizable gender will have a name like this.
  • Sisi the dog in Code:Realize is named by Impey after the famous and beautiful Queen Elisabeth of Austria. Too bad for Impey that Sisi is actually a male dog.
  • The Misaki sisters from Go! Go! Nippon! are named Makoto and Akira, which are usually thought of as male names. In fact the protagonist is confused when they come taking him at the airport, since he was expecting two boys.
  • The boss of Last Chance, in Last Chance in Xollywood, is a human woman named Randy.
  • Starship Ezekiel from My Girlfriend Is the President. But you can call her Ell.
  • Andrea from Paradise Lust is representing Italy in the global beauty pageant that sets up the game's plot. Unfortunately the developer only learned just before releasing the very last update before the game left early access that Andrea is a boy's name in Italian. They were forced to just write it off as her father wanting a son.

    Web Animation 
  • Ayasaki-san: Chiaki is a unisex name, making him the most suitable choice to infiltrate the Arisu Academy.
  • On of the many mispronunciations of Adam’s name in Half Life: Side Story: Gaiden: HUNT DOWN FREE MAN is “Amanda.”
  • MoniRobo: This story stars a male protagonist named Katsumi Suenaga, despite "Katsumi" being a girl's name.
  • Pretty Blood has a few of these. One of them being Ron, a pop star bunny who is very feminine. Despite that, her name, Ron, is more commenly known for being male. Another example is Carl from the Red Snow. Due to the lack of voice-acting, many viewers assume her to be male.
  • Red vs. Blue had at one point a male Private Sue, which is probably a reference to the song quoted atop this page.
  • Ozpin from RWBY was originally named "Ozma". That isn't a real name but it comes from the Land of Oz series, where it was the name of a female character (the queen of Oz).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series: It's revealed partway through the first season that one of the reasons Yami Bakura is so angry is because his parents named him "Florence".
    • Because Marik's Millenium Rod only can control people named "Steve", he tricks Joey and Téa" to legally change their names to "Steve Joey" and "Steve Téa".

    Web Comics 
  • Alex, from the webcomic Aoi House. is a guy... But it's short for Alexis, which can be a girl's name.
    • Alex from Building 12, on the other hand, is a girl...though everyone in the house pretends otherwise at her request. It's...complicated
  • In Corgi Quest, Kousuke's horse is named Susan. He wants you to respect his life choices.
  • In Dicebox, the Raffertys didn't want to break their long line of Marys. Hence Mr Mary Rafferty X.
  • El Goonish Shive: "Magus" Ellen has a girl's name because he was born female, choosing to shift to male permanently for the increased physical power. His world has high enough magic levels that this is actually reasonably common and socially acceptable, so he didn't feel any particular need to change his name.
  • Super Hero Mr. Mighty from Everyday Heroes is named Marion. (His two brothers are Michael and Morrison; their parents were big fans of John Wayne.)
  • Grrl Power features Sydney Scoville Junior, naturally named after her father. Notable in both first name and that in most Western countries women rarely take suffixes like 'junior'. Sydney herself looks forward to naming a future child Sydney Scoville III regardless of gender.
  • Not really on purpose, but George Parley of Gunnerkrigg Court (above) is a girl. As mentioned above, her father was a psychic who filled out the birth certificate in advance.
    Andrew: They fixed her gender [on the birth certificate], but left her name as George because everyone thought it was hilarious.
  • Hanna Is Not a Boy's Name:
    • It didn't stop Hanna's parents naming him that. He doesn't know why they named him Hanna.
    • Discussed in a guest strip, where Toni suggests Kat as a possibility for {...}'s lost name. Her reasoning is that since he was drawn to Hanna, his own name must also be on the feminine end of the gender spectrum.
  • Charlie from Khaos Komix is a transgender woman. Her name can be gender-neutral, however it's rare as an actual name for a girl (it's typically a nickname).
  • Magical Mom: Unlike the original short film's Daiki, which is a masculine Japanese name, here, the titular character's son is named Sara, which is typically a girls name.
  • George in Mokepon is indeed a girl.
  • In Monster Pop!, "George" is only the shortened form of her real name, Genevieve, which hardly anybody ever calls her by.
  • The characters of Nebula are the Anthropomorphic Personifications of various planets, stars, and dwarf planets, and not all their genders line up to those of the deities those things were named after. These include:
    • Neptune, who's female, while the Greek god of the sea that she's named for is male.
    • Saturn, Uranus, and Ceres, who don't have genders, though the deities they're named after do.
    • Virginis; while not immediately obvious, his name is a variant of Virgo, the virgin goddess.
  • Dr. Edward Bunnigus from Schlock Mercenary. Her parents were considered too stupid to breed under eugenics laws so they commissioned a Designer Baby from scratch. When she arrived, they (being idiots) interpreted the "ED" (which stands for "Exotic Dancer", her genetic template) on her medical bracelet as the lab having named the baby for them. They didn't think Ed was "pretty enough" so they called her "Edward".
  • In Sure the descendant of The Invisible Man is named Riley and refuses to let anyone know their gender, unless they cheat.
  • Raven from Wilde Life. He's an animal person who thinks of names as a human thing, so it's kind of a variant on A Dog Named "Dog". Downplayed because this trope isn't really remarked on, plus the fact that he DOES turn female at one point.
  • Hanged Man from The Manor's Prize is a woman. When she is given this moniker by drawing a Tarot card, she requests to be called "The Hanged Woman," but "Hanged Man" is the name that sticks.

    Web Original 
  • In The Adventure Zone: Balance, the gate guard for the Hammerheads's base is a man named Barbara.
  • Critical Role: The Mighty Nein have two. Their monk Beau (short for Beauregard) is a woman whose parents really wanted a boy, and their bloodhunter Molly (short for Mollymauk) is genderfluid but uses he/him pronouns, and given his Agent Peacock personality probably doesn't care that his name sounds feminine.
  • Mary Palorocini of Limozeen.
  • Lulu from Kittisaurus is a male cat, but his name means he's often mistaken for female. This is really because all the cats have Korean syllables repeated as names, and cats who were adopted together or close together tend to have rhyming names or names of the same letter. (Lulu was adopted shortly after both Lala and Chuchu.)
  • In Noob Omega Zell (basically a Straw Misogynist) has Morgan as his real life first name. Gaea's real name is Gabrielle, a perfect homophone to its male variation (but possibly less intentional).
  • Sebastian Fox of The Platoon of Power Squadron is female.
  • Mikelle McDowell's parents in Polyhistor Academy apparently have a strange taste in names.
  • Jack Packard mentioned in a Previously Recorded livestream that his male cat was named Princess Meatball in part because he was "persnickety."
  • Milagros in We Are All Pokémon Trainers falls subject to this since Milagros is a girl's name. He even lampshades it while working at the Cerulean Gym in Misty's place.

    Western Animation 
  • Arthur:
    • Ladonna Compson states that she has an uncle named Whitney.
    • Binky's real name is Shelley named after his great-grandfather by the same name.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball:
    • A male flower is named “Leslie”.
    • A bull girl is named “Jamie”.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius: Captain Betty and has been called that since a ship incident with sea monkeys sank but he survived on June 3, 1999.
  • Adventure Time:
    • Tiffany (a boy) and Gary the Mermaid Queen (a female).
    • Also Jake Jr., a girl. Especially odd since her parents could have used the name for one of her brothers. Also, one of the other daughters is named Charlie.
    • Even there's a grass version of Finn referred to as "Fern".
  • ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks: In the episode, "A Rose By Any Other Name", Simon has two plants which he named Venus and Lily but Simon used masculine third person pronouns to refer to the plants.
  • The Angry Beavers episode "Open Wide for Zombies" had Norb and Daggett encounter a Swamp Witch named Edgar.
  • Audrey and Friends: Constance is often nicknamed "Stan".
  • Bojack Horseman has Kelsey Janning's daughter named Irving.
  • The Bravest Knight: The episode "Cedric and the Fairies" introduces a male fairy named "Lucy". When Grunt comments on it being a girl's name, Lucy says names belong to people, not to genders.
  • In the ChalkZone episode "School of Destruction", the titular band consists of four men who go by feminine first names (Betty Bombast, Mary Tyler Morbid, Brittany Knives and Dorothy Vader). This is presumably as a nod to musicians like Marilyn Manson and Alice Cooper.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: In Operation: W.H.I.T.E.H.O.U.S.E., Numbuh One's future as America's president showed that he would have a son name Shirley.
    Nigel: My son's name is Shirley?!
    Kuki: Your wife wanted a girl, sir.
    Nigel: I'm MARRIED?!?!?!?
  • On Dexter's Laboratory, Mandark's hippy-dippy parents gave him the name Susan, which he understandably wasn't happy about.
  • In Duck Dodgers episode "Back to the Academy", Duck Dodgers was evaluated by a drill sergeant named Emily Dickinson Jones. Emily got this name because people's names in the 24th and a half-century aren't chosen based on their gender, and his mother was a fan of classic poetry.
  • The Fairly OddParents! does this with a Companion Cube.
    Cosmo: The good news is I've named my nickel Phillip!
    King Gripullon: What's the bad news?
    Cosmo: It's a girl nickel!
  • King of the Hill:
    • Kahn Jr. Her dad wanted a boy. Everyone but him calls her "Connie."
    • In "Uncool Customer," Bobby's Girl of the Week is named Michael.
    • Possibly Debbie's roommate Gail, who confuses people by seeming pretty male.
  • LEGO City Adventures: R. E. Fendrich’s full name is “Rachel Elizabeth” Fendrich and claims that his parents were expecting a girl.
  • An episode of The Looney Tunes Show has Bugs and Daffy at a spa, getting massages. Daffy sees that he's scheduled to get a massage from "Joe", while Bugs is going to get one from "Leslie". Daffy swaps the signs, so of course Joe turns out to be a beautiful woman named Josephine, while Leslie is a big, hairy man who twists Daffy into a pretzel.
  • The Loud House has an interesting example: "Lynn" is a unisex name, hence why the dad, Lynn Sr., named his fifth daughter (and fifth kid in general) Lynn Jr. Presumably he gave up on having a boy to pass it on to, which is ironic, since his sixth kid turned out to be his only son, Lincoln.
  • The Magic Key: Biff is a girl.
  • Middlemost Post: despite the masculine-sounding name, Russell is in fact a female. Of course, the fact that she's pink and has prominent eyelashes sort of evidences that.
  • Miss Spider's Sunny Patch Friends: Miss Spider’s husband is named “Holley” but is short for Hollister according to creator, David Kirk.
  • Oh Yeah! Cartoons
    • The merman in the Hobart short "Deep Sea Diva" was named Ethel.
    • The Jelly's Day short "Uncle Betty's Strange Rash" introduced Jelly's Uncle Betty.
  • On Phineas and Ferb, Doofenshmirtz gives Major Monogram some flak when he learns that his first name is "Francis." Monogram simply remarks that it's the masculine spelling.
  • Pound Puppies (2010): Princess is a sour-tempered male dog. "You ever heard of an adorable Maltese named Ralph?"
  • The Proud Family: BeBe Proud is a boy. It would be confirmed in the sequel series The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder'' that BeBe is a nickname and his real name is "Benjamin".
  • Razzberry Jazzberry Jam: Billie and Sid/Cyd are both girls with traditionally masculine names.
  • Ready Jet Go!: Sydney is traditionally a boy's name, but she's a girl.
  • Sanjay and Craig: Belle Pepper’s father, Penny Pepper.
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast: The episode "Jerk" introduces Zorak's aunt and uncle: Aunt Lars and Uncle Judy.
  • Steven Universe: While Gems are technically genderless, they present similarly to human women, making Jasper a pretty solid example; it fits her aggressive, almost hypermasculine persona.
    • Garnet can be a male name as well.
  • Summer Camp Island: One of the characters is a male panda named Pepper.
  • Total Drama:

Alternative Title(s): A Boy Named Sue


Azz's Mother

Alice "Azz" Asmodeus gets incredibly embarrassed every time his mother pops up.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / AmazinglyEmbarrassingParents

Media sources: