Lisa: [gasps] How did you know my name?
Woman: Your nametag.
Alice has just met a man named Bob, who seems like a perfectly nice person — until he uses her name. Alice realizes this and possibly responds, "I never told you my name."
This trope is used to place suspicion on an otherwise ordinary character or to hint that there is more to the character than meets the eye. The person whose name is used does not necessarily have to notice; it could simply be a hint to the audience to pay more attention to the character who knew it without being told.
It can also be used humorously, generally with subversions, such as Alice asking why Bob knows her name... and Bob revealing that Alice was wearing a nametag the whole time. This is also easily double subverted if the nametag doesn't reveal the full name, although that tends to be in less humorous situations. Or it can be revealed that Alice is more well-known than she thinks, for good or for ill.
A Sub-Trope of Saying Too Much. Compare I Never Said It Was Poison, where a suspect incriminates himself by revealing confidential evidence only the person involved in the crime would know, and Spotting the Thread, where the spy is an impostor imitating someone Alice knows, instead of acting as a new person. The Inverted Trope is You Just Told Me, when responding to her real name is what reveals Alice's true identity.
- In NEEDLESS, Mio sneaks her way into Cruz's team. Though he doesn't find out for sure she's a mole until Mio turns on them, Cruz quickly becomes suspicious of her when she calls him "Cruz" as opposed to "Yamada" (his nickname, which everyone in the team uses instead of his real name).
- A variant in Monster: Tenma realizes that a couple of policemen aren't what they seem when they address him as "Dr. Tenma" after he only told them his name and not that he was a doctor.
- JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
- Enya Gail, one of Dio's most loyal followers, pretends to be an innkeeper in order to lure Jotaro and company in to be killed by the effect of her Stand, Justice. However, she inadvertently gives herself away by addressing Jotaro by his correct name, when in fact he had registered to the inn under a false name since he was already suspicious of her because she almost called Joseph by his full name despite just meeting him.
- In part 4, Kira tries to get Josuke to heal his wounds by posing as a victim in one of his own explosions. Josuke, however, quickly points out that it's incredibly odd that Kira would ask him to fix him up personally rather than call an ambulance.
Josuke: Anyone can see I'm a high school student. How the hell am I supposed to fix you? I can't even play pachinko dressed like this, which is a fucking pain. Do I look like a licensed medical professional to you? Huh? Or maybe ... You can see Crazy Diamond.
- In part 6, Jolene knowing Star Platinum's name gives away that she's merely a figment of Jotaro's subconscious and he's been lulled into a hallucinatory dream by White Snake
- In the Hoshiyomi filler arc of Inuyasha, demons manage to get a photo of three of Kagome's friends from her backpack, and use it to create puppets of them in order to trick Kagome and Hojo into handing over the magic blade that their master needs. Kagome is suspicious to begin with, but her suspicions are confirmed when one of the three refers to Inuyasha by his name which no one had mentioned to them.
- In Tiger & Bunny, during Jake and Kotetsu's fight, in a fit of rage, Jake calls the latter by his real name, something that he shouldn't have known. It clues in Kotetsu that Jake also happens to be a mind-reader.
- At the end of the English version of Pokémon 4Ever, the gang tell Professor Oak about their most recent adventure (which involved Time Travel) and Professor Oak notices Ash is unusually subdued. Ash tells him about the boy he befriended who went back to his own time and how Ash is worried they'll never meet again. Professor Oak reassures him that true friendships stand the test of time and that "I'm sure you and Sammy will be friends forever." After the video call is over and the group is rushing to catch a boat, Misty realizes they never mentioned Sammy's name to the Professor... Cut to Professor Oak in his lab looking through his old sketchbook and saying, "It seems like it happened only yesterday."
- In Dragon Ball Z, Goku greets Bulma's baby son as Trunks, as well as revealing Vegeta was the father, having met Future Trunks a few years ago. Bulma is surprised by his knowledge and asks how Goku knows this. Goku then realizes he wasn't supposed to reveal this due to possibly jeopardizing Trunks' existence, and covers up by saying he's psychic.
- In King of Thorn, one of the things that shakes Kasumi's trust in Marco and tips her off to the fact that he's not a regular patient like the rest of them is when she realises that he had referred to her by name, back before anyone had properly introduced themselves.
- In Bakemonogatari, Mayoi Jiangshi arc, Koyomi runs up to the six year old Tsubasa and yells out her name after meeting her by sheer coincidence. As the Tsubasa of this timeline hasn't met Koyomi yet, she mistook him for a pervert and asks how he know her name. He then tries to bail himself out by claiming that he knew through her name tag.
- In Episode 3 of Granblue Fantasy, Sturm and Drang attempt to approach Gran and Lyria to offer them a spare airship. However, Drang ends up name dropping Katalina by name and rank, the latter of which he'd definitely only know if he was associated with the Erste Empire.
- In one of the most awesome examples of this trope, during the third season of the original Sailor Moon series, Arc Villain Mistress 9 tries to trick Sailor Moon into giving her the Holy Grail by disguising herself as Hotaru Tomoe. Problem is, she refers to Sailor Moon by her real name, who then promptly asks how Hotaru knew this. The thing is, it's one of the few times Sailor Moon has ever gotten the best of a bad guy by being smart.
- Kaiju Girl Caramelise: When Kuroe Akaishi first runs into Manatsu Tomosato in a sleeping bag on a street outside her apartment, she's surprised that Manatsu knows her full name already. The two of them had never interacted before then, and everyone else at school calls Kuroe "Psycho-tan" instead. Turns out Manatsu found out her name from Arata Minami, Kuroe's crush and the only other person at school to use her real name. Kuroe had seen Manatsu and Arata talking earlier that day and assumed that they were dating, but Manatsu was actually trying to find out more about her real crush: Harugon, the Kaiju who first appeared suspiciously close to where Kuroe and Arata were walking after their "date". Manatsu learned Kuroe's name believing that the latter might know more about Harugon, which is certainly truer than she realizes.
- Ayakashi Triangle: Matsuri calls Suzu's little brother Ritta by name and acknowledges how he's grown in the years since they'd last met. This confuses Ritta, because Matsuri had since been changed into a girl, so Matsuri pretends they'd only met briefly before. Then Suzu calls Matsuri by name, making Ritta remember him—but assume Matsuri was always a girl that he just mistook for a boy.
- In the Big Finish Doctor Who drama Omega, the Doctor is greeted by name by the Jolly Chronolidays tour guide the first time he meets her. Much later, he introduces himself to her, and when she points out she knows who he is, he asks her how, since his name wouldn't have appeared on her manifest. She's working for Omega.
- In an issue of Justice League of America, Plastic Man in disguise was talking with Bruce Wayne and after a while, Bruce said his name. Plastic Man never mentioned his name; he and the group chased him, and "Bruce" was revealed to be a telepathic alien with amnesia.
- Subverted in the miniseries Oracle: The Cure: Barbara never told Corey her name, but when she pointed this out, he reminded her that he had known her when he was a kid from her librarian days.
- A variation shows up Irredeemable, when the Plutonian refers to the Hornet's wife by name during a flashback. The Hornet had never mentioned her name to him, and realizes that he's spying on his teammates and may not be entirely trustworthy.
- Supreme Power: Nighthawk loves doing this in his mini, just to show people he can and will make good on his threats.
Nighthawk: If I see you in a place like this again, Bobby, I'll kill you.
- In Usagi Yojimbo, Sasuke does this to Usagi, Jotaro, and probably everyone else he meets. When someone calls him on it, he just dismisses it - "You must have mentioned it earlier." In this particular case, it's because Sasuke is a powerful spellcaster and can read people's minds.
- Inverted in Ultimate Spider-Man when Spidey wakes up unmasked and surrounded by the X-Men:
Spider-Man: I want to put on the mask and keep it on! But every time I turn around, someone somewhere finds out I'm Peter Parker!
Jean Grey: We... uh... we didn't know your name.
- Fifty percent of The Phantom Stranger's shtick is showing up out of nowhere and helping the protagonist out of a jam. The other half is casually and infuriatingly addressing the protagonist by name, even if they have never before met.
- Code Name: Gravedigger: In Men of War #19, The Mole in La Résistance tips his hand when he refers to Gravedigger as Captain Hazard when surprised to see him still alive: the Resistance only knew Hazard by his code name.
- All-Star Batman & Robin, the Boy Wonder: Green Lantern is shocked when Batman causally calls him Jordan.
- In Turnabout Storm, shortly after Twilight Sparkle accidentally summons Phoenix Wright to her world, she addresses Phoenix by his name before he properly introduces himself to her. When he calls her out on it she hastily claims that she had a Namedar spell performed on him when he arrived. Though it could sound plausible enough, her hesitation and some of her future actions still make clear that something's up.
- In Little Deceptions, Blank Slate is the perfect thief, able to change identities at the drop of a hat. He sneaks into the palace using a series of disguises, the narrative changing his name with each new one, eventually disguising himself as "Feather Shift", the guard of the very vault he's planning on robbing. Everything goes according to plan until Princess Celestia shows up and addresses him by his real name outside the vault, a name he's never told anyone in all of Canterlot:
Good evening, Cuckoo Cloud. Im glad to see we have an extra-vigilant guard on duty here tonight. Its an important position, protecting the treasures of our nation. Especially these days She sighed quietly, looking away, the shining afternoon clouding over. Im sure youve heard that there have been many unfortunate thefts lately throughout the city. Its very unfortunate. Equestria is a wonderful nation, but despite my best efforts, there are still some ponies that need to turn to crime to survive. We do our best to help them whenever possible. But theres nothing that disappoints me more than knowing that there are ponies who turn to crime without truly needing to hurting other ponies without real reason. Its something Ive always found hard to understand. And if there was anything I could do to discourage it further, I would. But I want you to remember no pony is beyond redemption. Theres always another chance, always a better way to use their talents. Do you agree?All he could do was nod his head, the actual message too huge to truly take in. Shes not going to ?And she gave him another smile, the sunlight breaking through the cover once again as she gazed down at him proudly, warming him down to the tips of his hooves. Im glad. Good luck, Cuckoo Cloud. She stood. But I dont think youll need it. I dont think there will be any problems at the vault with somepony like you standing guard, will there?Before he could formulate a response, she was gone, leaving only the fading memory of warmth against his armour.And Feather ShaAnd Blank SlAnd Cuckoo Cloud stood before the vault, guarding it fiercely, until he was relieved in the morning, and nopony dared try to open it.
- It's implied by the guards he's telling this story to that this isn't the first time something like this has happened or promised a second chance to someone who would turn themselves in. Played for Laughs in the epilogue, when it's revealed that the immortal princess has a tendency to accidentally call living ponies by the names of long-dead relatives, so has devised a spell so that she can always address a pony she's talking to by the correct name. She does remember Cuckoo Cloud... as a random new guard she had had a brief chat with, easily flustered but nice enough to allow her to unload some of what she had been worrying about, so she'll have to follow up to see how he's doing.
- In Make a Wish the auror interviewing Harry after he kills an assassin with accidental magic refers to him by his assumed name of "Mr. Black" despite the lack of an introduction. Harry comments on this to another auror on the team.
Harry: His technique was so calm and relaxed that I don't even remember telling him my name.
- In Universe Falls, like the Steven Universe example below, Sapphire knows Dipper and Mabel's names. When Dipper points this out, Mabel suggests that she got them when she heard them arguing with each other about whether or not to free her.
- In Serpent Tongue Harry runs away from his abusive relatives and Dumbledore sends the Order out looking for him. A disguised Tonks finds him in a London park and tries to convince him to "walk her home."
Harry: I have to be somewhere. Sorry.
Tonks: I understand. Kids these days just don't have the manners they used to. I thought you looked different. Well, Harry, will you give me your arm at least, to get me to the park gates? I promise not to disappear with you!
[Harry stops and stares at her.]
Tonks: Changed our mind, have we?
Harry: I never told you my name.
- Fate/Stay Night: Unlimited Blade Works Abridged: Caster is shocked when Archer casually calls her Medea.
Caster: Kid's right, you do know things...
- A minor case occurs in a sidestory of Pokémon Reset Bloodlines. Neko Hachi, the future Black Arachnid, is visited in his home a young Sabrina after she overheard a conversation he had with Ito Jenny. Everything seems normal, until he realizes that she called him by his full name, and he never said his surname while talking to Ito. He deduces that she must have read his mind to find out, thus that she is a Bloodliner.
- The Legend of Zelda: Paradise Calling: When Link saves Malon from a bandit attack, she doesn't recognise him or his name from when they were friends seven years ago, and he decides against telling her. When he calls her by name, she points this out, though he manages to cover: "Young, attractive red-headed woman, alone, driving a wagon with a prime specimen of a horse. People talk about you. I've heard good things."
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls:
- In the first movie, Human Applejack delivers the exposition to who Sunset Shimmer is and why Twilight shouldn't mess with her. Twilight thanks Applejack and calls her by name. AJ then realizes she never told Twilight her name. (Twilight already had met the human Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie, so she already realized this is the human version of Applejack.)
- My Little Pony: Equestria Girls Friendship Games: The human-world Twilight Sparkle is quite perplexed that everybody at Canterlot High School know her name and give her a friendly welcome. This is because they are already familiar with Equestria's Twilight Sparkle, whom visited them twice already. Her bafflement increases tenfold when the Humane Six calls her dog, Spike, by name too. By the time Principal Celestia also addresses her by name, she concludes with "This is getting ridiculous!"
- In Toy Story 2, when Woody first meets Jessie, Bullseye and Stinky Pete, he asks them how they know his name. They then show him all the merchandise from the old Woody's Roundup television show, of which they were the cast.
- In The Care Bears Movie, Friend Bear puzzles Jason and Kim on their first meeting by addressing them by name. While Kim mouths off a bit, Jason's immediate reaction is to ask, "How do you know our names?" He never does get a straight answer, either, since all Friend Bear says is that "We know a lot of things about you."
- In Avengers: Infinity War, Iron Man is unnerved when Thanos casually calls him Tony Stark.
- Double Subversion in City of Angels. Seth calls Maggie by name and when asked points out that she's wearing a nametag. Later, she pulls off the nametag and it only shows her last name.
- In The Count of Monte Cristo, Mercedes realizes the Count's true identity when she points out that he told her "Edmond Dantes is dead," even though she had never mentioned his last name in their earlier confrontation.
- Inverted in Dredd. Drug queen Ma-Ma brings in a group of corrupt Judges to help take out Judge Dredd and Judge Anderson. One of the corrupt Judges eventually comes across Dredd and claims to be back-up against the drug gang to lower Dredd's guard. Over the course of their conversation, Dredd notices that the other Judge is aware of Dredd's presence but never brings up Anderson's name, which is information that any real back-up would have been told about beforehand but which the gang does not know (Dredd's presence is known because he is The Dreaded among the criminals already). Dredd promptly attacks.
- Extreme Measures: As a doctor and several homeless men try to evacuate a desperately ill man from underneath a subway station, they are confronted by two mooks Impersonating an Officer, who order them to drop the man and come forward. They comply, until one of the men, says "Let's go, Doc." The doctor in question freezes in terror—despite repeatedly insisting that the ill man needed to be taken to the hospital, he never identified himself as a doctor—and realizes that the guys aren't cops.
- In Final Destination 2:
You have to follow the signs... Kimberly.
How do you know my name?
- In Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978), Matthew desperately calls the police when the pods start growing in his backyard. They reply with his name before he gave it, leading him to suspect that the authorities are all pods.
- A variation played for laughs in Now You See Me. Merritt tries to invoke this trope by guessing Henley's name right on their first encounter only to be exposed by Atlas who notes that the name was written on her coffee cup.
- In the original The Nutty Professor, when Professor Kelp first transforms into Buddy Love, he meets up with Stella and calls her by name — when she insists she hadn't told it to him, he claims it's ESP. When someone calls him "Buddy" moments later he calls ESP again (though this is where he picks up the name for his new persona).
- Variation in Olympus Has Fallen. Secret Service agent Mike Banning runs into another survivor of the attack on the White House and fellow Secret Service agent who claims he's been hiding out the whole time. In their conversation the survivor mentions the villain's name...something Banning only was recently told by the impromptu government leaders he's in contact with and was only recently found out, and correctly deduces that the survivor is in fact a traitor working with the White House attackers.
- In Passengers (2008), Claire's neighbour lets slip the name of Claire's patient/love interest Eric, which makes Claire realise she is in on the plane crash cover up/conspiracy... in actual fact the neighbour is the ghost of Claire's dead Aunt pretending to be a neighbour, and she is trying to help Claire come to terms with the fact that she is dead and move on.... yeah it doesn't make any more sense if you watch the movie either.
- In The Prophecy, Gabriel confronts Thomas as he's sitting in church. When Thomas questions how Gabriel knows his name, Gabriel dismissively tells him "You look like a Thomas." Gabriel does this many times. One of the more humorous times, he calls a waitress "Madge" — she reflexively looks down to see if she was wearing a name tag — she wasn't.
- Played with in a subtle moment early on in Red Eye, in which the villain ends up saying the name of the heroine's father in conversation with her and she doesn't notice that he'd just said a name she'd never told him. Probably a good many people in the audience didn't either.
- In The Rich Man's Wife, Josie (the wife in question) is being terrorized by her husband's killer, who is demanding an exorbitant sum of money from her and threatening to tell the police that she hired him to kill her husband (she didn't). She goes running to her ex-lover Jake, pleading for his help. He calms her down, assuring her that "Cole won't hurt you." She's grateful, until she suddenly realizes that she never told him the man's name - Jake hired the man to kill her husband so that Josie would come back to him.
- In Son of God and The Bible (2013), when Jesus calls Peter by his name in the boat, Peter doesn't say the trope, but his facial expression says it all.
- In The Sorcerer's Apprentice, Nicolas Cage's character does this to the young Dave. When Dave asks how he knows his name, Cage bursts out, "Because I can read minds!" After a beat, he says normally, "It's on your backpack". However, he was telling the truth the first time.
- Strange Cargo: Hessler is the first to pick up on how there seems to be something otherworldly about Cambreau when Cambreau calls him by name, and Hessler notes that he never told Cambreau his name. As it turns out Cambreau is a Messianic Archetype and may actually be Jesus.
- In Sudden Death, one of the villains gives himself away by mentioning Darren's daughter by name when Darren had only told him he has a daughter and that she's being held hostage. He immediately Lampshades his mistake.
Damn it. I always do things like that. You never said her name, did you?
- There's Something About Mary:
- Once Pat stalked Mary and gathered enough information on her, they eventually meet. Pat tells her he knows her name, which leads the viewer to believe he is going to mention the stalking.
Mary: So what's your name?
Pat: Pat Healy.
Mary: Wanna know mine?
Pat: I already know it, Mary.
Mary: How'd you know that?
Pat: Because it's right there on your golf bag.
- Ted is confused on how Dom knows about the zipper incident, since he never told him. Dom does a Hand Wave to this by saying he only lived four towns away. This seems like a minor throwaway moment, but comes back later when Dom is revealed to be "Woogie," Mary's high school boyfriend prior to meeting Ted, which also shows how he knew about said incident.
- Once Pat stalked Mary and gathered enough information on her, they eventually meet. Pat tells her he knows her name, which leads the viewer to believe he is going to mention the stalking.
- Possibly subverted in Thunderball when the Bond girl Domino demands to know how Bond knew that was her name (or rather, her nickname); he says it is on the bracelet on her ankle. The "possible" part is that it's not clear he hasn't read up on her already, since the reason he is in the Bahamas is following a lead about her recently murdered brother, though it didn't lead to her directly.
Domino: My my, what sharp eyes you have.
Bond: (as she walks away) Wait till you get to my teeth.
- In The Truman Show, Truman's attempt to drive out of town with his wife ends when an unknown cop tells them the road is closed. However, the cop then addresses Truman by name without ever being told his name or shown any ID. This immediately lets Truman know something is up.
- In The Testaments: Of One Fold and One Shepherd, Jacob is the Stalker with a Crush on Laneah. After he gets caught, they exchange this dialogue:
Laneah: You did not ask my name.
Jacob: I know your name.
- In Timber Falls, Mike knows there is something wrong when he wakes up on Ida's couch and she addresses him as 'Michael'. He never told her his name, and the only way she could know it was if she'd read his licence or credit cards, which were in is wallet which he left in the tent by the lake.
- Fear, Inc.: During the traffic stop, Joe becomes suspicious when the sheriff refers to him as 'Joe Foster', despite Joe not having told him his name or given him his licence.
- In The Alchymist's Cat, a delirious Dr. Spittle calls out Will's full name, which alarms the latter because he had never told him the surname. This leads to the revelation that Spittle is Will's estranged uncle.
- Artemis Fowl: When Artemis first kidnaps Holly, he calls her "Captain Short". When she demands to know how he knew her name and rank, he points out that she's wearing a name tag... except, as Holly next points out, the name tag is written in the fairy alphabet, which Artemis shouldn't be able to read. (As it happens, Artemis had stolen a copy of the fairy Book and deciphered their language.) Invoked Trope since Artemis did this on purpose, knowing she'd notice the "slip" — and that she would understand the significance of how he knew.
- In Lawrence Block's The Burglar Who Liked to Quote Kipling, J. Rudyard Whelkin calls Bernie by name before the latter can introduce himself.
Bernie: You called me by name before I had a chance to supply it. You came into the shop looking for me, not for Mr. Litzauer. Not because I sell secondhand books but because I used to be a burglar. You figure I'm still a burglar.
- In the Children of the Red King series, Alice Angel knows Olivia's name immediately when she and Charlie walk into her shop, and uses it repeatedly. It doesn't say much for Charlie's character that he doesn't think anything is wrong until Alice also says his name. It turns out that, unknown to them Alice is Olivia's next door neighbour, godmother and self-declared guardian angel and a friend of Charlie's Uncle Paton.
- Occurs in the Ciaphas Cain short story Sector 13. Cain identifies a Genestealer hybrid when it refers to him by name before he introduces himself; he'd told his name to another hybrid, and 'stealers communicate telepathically.
- In Carpe Jugulum when Agnes meets Vlad he says her name without being told. When she considers that he might have asked someone Perdita asks her why anyone would ask for her name.
- In Unseen Academicals, Glenda is talking to someone she thinks is Lady Margolotta's librarian. That she knew Glenda's name without being told (either because she's a vampire or just because Vetinari told her) is one of the clues that tips Glenda off to who she really is, after she's already left.
- Making Money contains one as well, from Moist to an old accomplice, thus spoiling his denial of being Albert Spangler.
- Encyclopedia Brown had a variation once. Encyclopedia's client asks him to investigate Bugs Meaney for some infraction. He also insists on being addressed as "Al" which is short for his full first name. Sure enough, Encyclopedia takes him to Bugs Meaney and introduces him as Al, but Meaney claims to have never met him before. Then, two of Meaney's Tigers enter and he introduces the client as "Algernon" and not one of many other names that "Al" could be short for. This is what breaks the case.
- A variation occurs in Nuklear Age when Superion mentions the name of Atomik Lad's girlfriend to him, when Atomic Lad had been careful not to mention her name around Superion because he already distrusted him; this incident only heightens that distrust.
- Becomes "I never told you her name" in an issue of Perry Rhodan, which mostly narrates the life story of the renegade mutant and major plot arc antagonist Boyt Margor by employing the framing device of having him tell it to a woman he's just met and feels an affinity for. It's when his listener lets slip the real name of a girl he only ever referred to by a nickname and who belongs to a trio of mutants who've recently given him trouble in turn that he starts to suspect that she may actually be working for them instead — and whatever the truth of the matter may be, it doesn't end well for her.
- Played with a little in one of the books of The Riftwar Cycle. Erik von Darkmoor is approached by a friendly man, whom he has never met, but who calls him Erik. When the man switches to calling him "von Darkmoor" instead, Erik's squadmates stick a knife in his back. When Erik asks how they knew this man was up to no good, the squadmate says that the man might have overheard "Erik" somewhere, but everyone was under strict orders not to use the name "von Darkmoor".
- There's a variation in the mystery novel Say It With Bullets by Richard Powell. The hero is talking to a woman he has just met when she reveals she knows exactly when his birthday is. He is immediately suspicious of her, but it turns out she had met him and had a crush on him when he was 16 and she was 12.
- Shadow of the Conqueror: When Daylen recognizes Lyrah, he's so emotionally shocked that he blurts out her name, which makes both her and Ahrek suspicious. Ahrek wonders if Lyrah is Famed in Story, and Daylen later makes up a feeble explanation about his father talking about and describing her. Luckily for him, Lyrah is so disturbed by the idea of Dayless the Conqueror talking about her that she decides to Change the Uncomfortable Subject.
- In The Adventure of the Naval Treaty, Sherlock Holmes correctly identifies Joseph, brother of his client's fiancée, by his name. The man is startled, until he realizes that he's wearing a monogrammed locket and that Holmes has simply deduced his name from his initials. "For a moment, I thought you'd done something clever." Since Joseph is the villain of the story, he has good reason to be unnerved by Holmes.
- In both the book and film versions of The Shining, there is a scene towards the beginning where Hallorann the cook calls little Danny Torrance "Doc", his parents ask how Hallorann knew they call him Doc, and Hallorann answers by saying Danny just looks like a Doc. The real reason, of course, is that Danny and Hallorann both share a psychic ability—"the shining".
- Star Wars Expanded Universe:
- A New Dawn has the nametag subversion, when Kanan meets Zaluna. She then notes that forgetting to take off her nametag from work is why she's terrible at spying. However, she knows his name without him telling her, because she works at the company that runs all the surveillance on Gorse and its moon Cynda but this isn't played as per the trope rules, as she reveals this fact before she ever mentions his name to him.
- Sword of Truth: Similar to the double-subversion example at the top, in Wizard's First Rule, Richard realizes that a person is actually a shapeshifter when they only know Zedd by his nickname, which Richard mentioned. Richard challenges it to say Zedd's full name, it realizes the game is up and attacks, and Richard fights it off.
- In the YA novel The Third Eye, clairvoyant protagonist Karen is walking to her job at a day care center when a woman stops to offer her a ride, saying that she's affiliated with the same center and recognizes Karen. It isn't until the woman addresses her by her name, which she hadn't mentioned, that Karen realizes she's being kidnapped.
- At their first meeting in The Will Be Done Praen knows Myssia's full name, and calls her by it, despite not having been told it.
- In Angel this happens when Lilah propositions Faith to kill Angel. This is a bit of a Subverted Trope, because Lilah wasn't necessarily trying to hide her knowledge of Faith's identity, she simply hadn't gotten to that point in the conversation yet when Faith interrupted her.
- In Battlestar Galactica, Kara "Starbuck" Thrace realizes that Simon knows more than he should when he calls her Starbuck — she had only told him her real name, not her call sign. It doesn't end well for Simon (though being a Cylon, He Gets Better).
- A variation on an episode of The Blacklist. Liz confronts Raymond with Florina Campo, the leader of an anti-slavery organization. Red reveals to Liz that Florina is in fact the head of the biggest slavery ring on the planet using her cover to take out the competition. Liz (who idolizes Florina) doesn't believe it. However, when Florina calls Raymond by his first name, Liz realizes only someone who's a major criminal could be so familiar with Reddington. Red lampshades it with "ooooh, that was a mistake."
- A variation in one episode of Bones — one victim is an old friend of Hodgins (who married Hodgins' former fiancée), and both parties agree to hide their former relationship. However, Booth catches that she knew Hodgins' first name was Jack despite Booth not using said name. The defense attorney for the killer finds out too, and it nearly gets the case thrown out for evidence tampering, because someone with a personal interest in the case had been involved with each step of the evidence gathering.
- A variant occurs at the tail end of the Castle episode "Sucker Punch". Beckett realizes a suspect she has just released was in fact the killer of both the victim of the week and her own mother, because he used "her" in reference to her mother. Beckett had mentioned a Death by Origin Story during an interrogation, but not the gender of the person she lost.
- Happens in Criminal Minds, when the woman who's been stalking Maeve the whole time comes out and calls Reid "Doctor". He doesn't realize until later that he was not introduced to her, either as "Agent" or "Doctor".
- Doctor Who:
- "Father's Day": The Doctor addresses a younger Jackie Tyler (Rose's mum) by her name while arguing with her after the arrival of the Clock Roaches. Jackie is unnerved and asks him how he knows her name, but never gets an explanation before the timeline is restored and she forgets everything that happened.
- "Listen": Clara has returned to her date with Danny Pink after storming out. During conversation, she ends up mentioning that he used to be called "Rupert", which he hadn't told her, causing the date to go downhill again. Clara found this out because she and the Doctor had gone back in time and met Danny as a child.
- The Facts of Life: A Halloween Episode had a client of Edna's Edibles disappear with the implication that Mrs. Garrett killed him while possessed by a ghost. After she's confronted about it, the client reappears alive and reveals that the whole thing was a psychological experiment. He addresses Natalie by name as he leaves. It turns out she was in on it.
- In the Firefly episode "Trash", Mal is introduced to a pilot friend's new wife - a con artist with whom Mal has previously had a rather severe run-in. They commence fighting, and the pilot demands to know what's going on. Mal shouts accusations at her on her con artist past.
Saffron: You're a liar, Malcolm Reynolds!
Monty: Now, I aint' never got to telling you his name.
- Game of Thrones: Jaqen H'ghar refers to Arya by her full name as he departs, though she has never told him.
- A variation appears in the BBC miniseries Gunpowder, Treason & Plot, when one character realizes that his girlfriend is a spy for King James. He's been told not to refer to Guy Fawkes by his real name, but instead to call him "Johnson". He slips up in front of her, accidentally using the name 'Fawkes', and she doesn't call him on it. A few scenes later, when Fawkes reminds him to use the alias, he catches his - and the spy's - mistake.
- A variation on Hawaii Five-0 when a yacht of rich kids are kidnapped. The abductors kill one crew member but leave a younger woman alive. The kidnappers call and demand that the woman they read about in the papers be the one to hand over the ransom, and if "anyone but Susan" shows up, they'll kill the hostages. Susan goes to hand off the ransom... and grins at the leader, revealing she's been part of the scam. However, the bag is filled with newspaper as the police rush in to arrest everyone. Asked how he knew Susan was in on it, Steve explains that the newspapers never mentioned her name for her own protection.
- In Hollyoaks, India Longford goes to meet up with her internet boyfriend, who unknown to her is actually serial killer Silas Blissett. Silas waits for her at the place where she'd agreed to meet Cameron; and asks her to help him carry something to his car. He then says "Thank you, India." An alarmed India says that she didn't tell him her name, at which point he reveals she did tell him - as Cameron. He then strangles her.
- How I Met Your Mother:
Lily: I can't believe Ted dragged me to the childhood home of some stupid bucklesmith no one's has even heard of.
- A variation occurs in when Lily is complaining to the Mother about some of Ted's road trip habits.
The Mother: Yeah, who cares about Florian von Otterloop?
Lily: I never told you his name.
- Later the Mother gives Marshall a ride and scares him by knowing facts about him that a stranger should not know. She explains that she met Lilly the day before and Lilly told her about the issues she and Marshall were having.
- In the pilot for Ironside (1967), this trope is quoted by the girlfriend of the suspect after Ironside thanks her for providing information on his location.
- Law & Order: McCoy is prosecuting a young woman who claims she was kidnapped and forced into a crime spree by her abductors—"I completely freaked out when he shot Willie and that other guy!" McCoy pounces on this, pointing out that although the man's name was indeed William, she couldn't possibly have known that "Willie" was the nickname he used unless she already knew him, thus revealing that she was indeed a willing participant.
- One episode of NCIS features a variation. A potential love interest of McGee visits him at work ... except he never told her he was with NCIS.
- Double Subversion in The Librarians 2014 "...And the Tears of a Clown": The Amazing Mysterium calls Charlotte by name, and when she questions this, he points out she's wearing a nametag ... except the viewer already knows that he was specifically looking for her.
- Once Upon a Time:
- Snow White figures out that Lancelot isn't who he claims to be, when he knows the name of Emma's son, Henry.
- Later Snow saves a woman and tells her how she herself was once saved, too — but she doesn't say Regina the Evil Queen was her savior. The woman actually is Regina in disguise, and this trope is how she unintentionally reveals herself.
Snow: I never said it was her.
- In The Outer Limits (1995) episode "Lithia", the leader of a village in a post-apocalyptic all-female world who's witnessed tragedy when 12 men let out of cryofreeze caused tragedy due to their aggressive nature, puts the main male character back in stasis, and says "Goodbye, Jason" - even though he never told anyone his first name. It turned out that she was his fiancee before being frozen.
- Power Rangers Dino Thunder has a rare example of a protagonist doing this; when the Rangers rescue Trent the first time he gets attacked by Mesogog's minions, Kira accidentally refers to Trent by name despite him ostensibly not hanging around superheroes. Trent catches this.
- On Psych, this is how one killer gives himself away.
Killer: Al Mooney is insane! Nobody will believe what he says.Lassiter: Hang on a minute! I don't believe anyone said the witness' name. You're under arrest.
- Sherlock has a "Eureka!" Moment in the episode "The Sign of Three" when a client refers to John as "John Hamish Watson" and wishes him to have a nice wedding, something she shouldn't have known. Only a select group of people would have seen John's middle name on his wedding invitation, leading Sherlock to realize that the Mayfly Man would be at John's wedding.
- Spaced played with this in their Homage (of sorts) to The Matrix. With the agents grilling Brian at the front door when they were looking for Daisy.
- In the Stargate SG-1 episode "Window of Opportunity", Jack confirms that Malakai is also in the time loop when the latter uses Carter's name, despite not having been introduced to her in the current loop.
- In the Stargate Atlantis episode "Common Ground", Sheppard is captured by Kolya, who allows a captive Wraith to repeatedly feed on him. When Sheppard is thrown back in his cell, the old man in the next cell tries to make some idle chat until Sheppard realizes that he never introduced himself. The "man" admits that he heard his name when he fed on Sheppard.
- In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Friday's Child", the Enterprise is lured away by a distress call. After failing to find the supposed distressed freighter, Scotty replays the call and realized that it had addressed the Enterprise by name and that a random freighter captain would have no way of knowing that a particular starship happened to be nearby.
- The Twilight Zone (1985): In "The After Hours", Marsha Cole is surprised and confused when she is in the toy shop "Play's the Thing" and is approached by a strange young boy who knows her name and asks her to "come back". His mother says that Marsha must have misheard him and that he actually said "ma'am." Marsha doesn't buy it. She later learns that she, the boy and his mother are all mannequins from the department store Satler's.
- Vagrant Queen: In the past while trapped inside of an escape pod, Elida realized a man she'd been talking with on the comm wasn't just some passing cargo ship pilot when he addressed her by name (not having used it with him). He's revealed to be with The Republic, hunting her down.
- On one episode of The X-Files a character gives himself away with this trope but he's talking so fast that the audience might not notice until Mulder stops him, saying, "Whoa, whoa, wait a minute here... when did I say my name was 'Agent Mulder'?"
- Bleak Expectations:
- A variation gets spoofed: Pip meets Dr. Whackwallop, but fears he might work for Mr. Gently Benevolent, the Big Bad.
Pip: Whackwallop? Then you are a cousin to the Sternbeaters and Hardthrashers, and a natural ally of Mr. Benevolent!
Dr. Whackwallop: Gently who?
Pip: Most reassuring.
- There's a similar gag the first time he meets one of the Hardthrashers, who addresses Pip by his full name while pretending to be a complete stranger and Most Definitely Not a Villain. It goes straight over his head that time, too.
- A variation gets spoofed: Pip meets Dr. Whackwallop, but fears he might work for Mr. Gently Benevolent, the Big Bad.
- At the end of Night in the Woods the Janitor who had popped in and out of the game tells Mae that he'll see her around. It takes Mae a moment to realize she had never actually given him her name. This is one of the clues that imply the janitor might be more than he seems.
- In Silent Hill 2, Maria calls James by name in spite of the fact that he never introduces himself. James never comments on this or responds to it in any way, and it's far from the only knowledge she should not have and yet does.
- In Silent Hill: 0rigins, Dahlia knows Travis's name without him ever telling her. He asks her about it, but she never gives him an answer.
- In the English version of The World Ends with You, upon meeting Neku, Joshua uses Neku's name twice before actually being told by Neku himself. Used to hint that Joshua is more than he seems, as he later ends up being a very significant character. The reason why he knows Neku's name is because he personally selected Neku to serve as his proxy, and killed him to enter him into the Reaper's Game.
- In Xenogears, after being exiled from his village, Fei encounters a woman in the forest who is later knocked unconscious prompting Fei to yell "Keep your hands off Elly!". Later on she introduces herself and her name is in fact Elly. There is a really complicated reason for this.
- Are you part of an MMORPG RP Community? Expect this. The real reason is that people can have multiple characters, so Alice might know Bob well on his warrior character but not be aware that he also has a monk until Bob introduces himself while playing the monk. The in-universe, in-character reason could be anything.
- This can also occur because Bob is introducing himself to Alice for the first time on any character, addressing her by the avatar name suspended above Alice's avatar. In this case, it could be a sign of being new to RP OR not reading the player's bio to see that certain costumes may have certain identities. These usually prompt an out of character correction.
- In the original Japanese script of Fire Emblem Awakening, the Avatar knows Chrom's name the moment they first meet, even though they're suffering from amnesia and initially can't remember their own name. Chrom's lieutenant Frederick finds this very suspicious. The English translation changes this scene somewhat. Instead of being suspicious and asking "How do you know my name?", Chrom instead remarks that since the Avatar already knows his name, it will speed up the introductions. Frederick instead focuses more on the fact that the Avatar claims not to remember anything except Chrom's name and the fact that they claim to not remember how they know him.
- In Fire Emblem Fates, during Chapter 18 of the Conquest route, the Avatar and his/her siblings from the Nohrian royal family stop by the neutral kingdom of Izumo, which is governed by Archduke Izana. Izana recognizes Elise, the youngest of the siblings, and addresses her by name without having been told it, and while Elise is mildly surprised that he knew her name, she lets it slide. Too late, the party realizes that Izumo was actually impersonated by Zola, a high-ranking Nohrian dark mage (who would naturally know all the royals' names), in a ploy to trap and execute the Hoshidan royal siblings.
- Escape From Lavender Town is a game that knows your name. Without you ever entering it before.
- Early in One Shot, the game calls you by name during a Title Drop ("You only have one shot , [Name]"), despite not asking you for it. It's a good indication of the nature of the game.
- Bayonetta 2 has a very spoiler-y example at Chapter XVI. As Bayonetta and Balder (her father from the past, who she's already fought) escape a collapsing structure, they get to safety and Bayonetta lets slip Balder's name, which he never actually told her. When he gets suspicious, she ends up getting flustered and telling a very flimsy lie.
- Parodied in Grand Theft Auto III during one of the calls Lazlow takes on the Chatterbox FM station. It's from Tony Cipriani (a Mafia boss who you take missions from early in the game), who says "my name's not important" but accidentally lets his name slip as he's asking advice on how to make his mother show more appreciation. Lazlow as such calls him Tony when he starts to respond, which makes Tony suspicious, wondering if he's tracing the call and threatening to kill him if he is, before insisting Tony is most definitely not his name - only to immediately refer to himself as Tony again.
Not-Tony: Tony? Who said my name is Tony? Are you tracing this call? Because if you are, you're going to get real intimately acquainted with what your brains look like! My name's not Tony! Okay?!
Not-Tony: But my ma, she's all like "Tony, Tony, be a real man, stand up for yourself, don't take no shit", when all I try to do is to be a good son...What do I do?
Lazlo: Well Ton-I mean sir...
- In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, when Link, who had been asleep for a century in the Shrine of Resurrection and emerges without his memories, first enters Zora's Domain, he finds that many of the inhabitants immediately and sometimes casually greet him with his name upon first meeting him. It is gradually revealed that not only are the Zora sufficiently Long-Lived for many to have been around a century ago, but Link was also good friends with the Zora people, particularly Princess Mipha. Subverted when he reaches Goron City: the entrance guard greets Link with his name, but when Link asks him how he knows, the guard admits he didn't; he simply greets everyone as if they were the old Hylian Champion just to pass the time.
- Grand Theft Auto Online has this occur at the end of the fourth heist, a huge drug deal organized by Trevor. His buyer mentions both Trevor's name and the fact that the purchase includes cocaine, two things which Trevor did not tell him. Of course, it turns out to be a sting operation, which Trevor is forced to flee by jumping into the ocean.
- In The Caligula Effect, Marie Mizuguchi also known as Wicked comes with food and water to free the Go-Home Club from being locked in their club room for two days. The protagonist doesn't have any of it and rightly so, which leads to this exchange:
Marie: Aren't you hungry? You should eat too, President.
Protagonist: How do you know I'm the President?
- Super Robot Wars X: In Arzenal Reunited, Captain Nemo calls Jill Alektra, indicating that he knows more that he lets on. As a result, Jill feels that Nemo is someone she can trust. Jill, thus, gives Nemo access to the first Para-Mail squadron.
- A variation occurs in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. In Traverse Town, Leon, who claims to have never met Sora and the others, refers to Sora by name as he tells him not to take it personally, despite Sora never having mentioned his name in the conversation. Shortly thereafter, he does the same to Donald and Goofy, when protesting that he really doesn't know them.
- Iris does it to Phoenix in the last case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney - Trials and Tribulations. When Iris is confronted about it, five Psyche-Locksnote appear before her and the issue has to be dropped. It's not revealed completely until the end- When Phoenix was dating Iris's twin sister Dahlia, Iris switched places with her twin, for almost all of the time "Dahlia" was dating him, and the only times Phoenix met the real Dahlia were when she gave him her necklace and when she killed Doug Swallow.note
- Happens at the beginning of Virtue's Last Reward when the protagonist Sigma wakes up in an elevator with a mysterious girl named Phi who inexplicably knows his name. When called on this, she claims that she doesn't even know how she knows his name and that it just popped into her head. She's telling the truth; Phi has Psychic Powers that allow her to jump between timelines, and is most likely remembering Sigma's name from a previous attempt to survive the Ambidex Game.
- TheOdd1sOut says that this trope is why he didn't wear his name tag when he worked at Subway.
- In Dragon ShortZ (a spinoff of Dragon Ball Z Abridged), it's Played for Laughs when 18 is taken aback when Krillin addresses her by her real name, Lazuli, and asks how he knows that. Krillin realizes he never told her about the time he and Future Trunks went to Dr. Gero's sublab to destroy Present Cell (which is where he found the blueprints that revealed her name). So he begins to tell her that story.
"...of course that creep had a sublab."
- Happens a couple of times in Red vs. Blue season 17.
- In "A Stitch in Time", Church inexplicably knows Caboose's name roughly five minutes after his arrival despite him never being formally introduced. He's actually being possessed by The Dragon Genkins, who is trying to create more paradoxes to free Chrovos.
- In "Self-Fulfilling Odyssey", Carolina is thrown off when she knows that two individuals named Lopez and Tucker are missing from the Blood Gulch crew despite this being long before they formally met. Donut and Washington use this to help her realize she's stuck in a Time Crash.
- El Goonish Shive, "Painted Black" arc. After Elliot is captured, he refers to Guineas by name. Guineas then tells Hedge that Elliot knew his name even though he hadn't been told it. This causes Hedge to realize that Elliot must know Grace, who alone could have told him.
- In General Protection Fault, Trish, upon meeting Jason "Fooker" Barker for the first time, casually mentions that she once knew a Barker. Fooker is a bit suspicious that she knew his name when no one mentioned it before, and she most likely knew because she is from a parallel universe.
- Averted in Gender Swapped; Morgan gave the bouncer ID.
- In Something*Positive, when The Pythagorean calls Spooky by name, Spooky says "Tell me, caped crusader, how'd you know my old nickname from conventions?" An Invoked Trope, since he knows perfectly well it's Mike and is just playing along.
- Parodied in Adventure Time:
Demon cat: Greetings, Frank the human boy.
Finn: How did you almost know my name?
Demon cat: I have approximate knowledge of many things.
- In the American Dad! episode "Particularly Desperate Housewife", Francine is trying to hide from the Ladybugs, who are after her for not cheating on her husband and whose membership consists of nearly every woman in town, and goes to the police station for help. She then has an Oh, Crap! moment when the lady at the front desk addresses her by name when she never revealed it to her.
- In Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker, Tim Drake addresses the new Batman as "Terry", just before The Reveal as Tim transforms into the Joker.
- Gravity Falls: Bill Cipher, as he's making his entrance:
- Jackie Chan Adventures: In the two-part episode "Demon World", Shendu rewrites history using the Book of Ages to make it so that Shendu and his fellow demon sorcerors are the supreme leaders of the world. However, Jade managed to tear out a piece of the book with her in it, so she still remembers the proper timeline. After getting this timeline's Jackie and Uncle to help her, they start gathering this timeline's J-Team counterparts, who are all surprised that she's familiar with them.
- In the Johnny Bravo episode "The Sensitive Male", Sheldon addresses Johnny by name shortly after they first meet. Johnny asks him how he knows, but Sheldon says that is not important and then gives a musical number about how "Everyone Has Got a Name". Johnny mutters, "How do these people know my name?"
- Justice League Unlimited: In "The Once and Future Thing: Weird Western Tales", Batman, Wonder Woman, and Green Lantern chase a time traveler to the Wild West and lose him. They put on local clothing and use their real names to blend in. A man addresses Diana as Wonder Woman, cluing them in that this is the time traveler.
- In The Secret Show, the two main characters bump into a former colleague while in disguise. Victor accidentally calls Ray by name, which causes him to become suspicious. Victor then claims he knew Ray's name because it's written on his suit. And it is - on the inside of his pants. Ray still buys it.
- Occurs in the The Simpsons episode "Lisa's Wedding", where she's talking to a fortune teller at a Renaissance Faire:
- Steven Universe:
- "So Many Birthdays": Steven, oblivious to the fact that he's rapidly aged into a middle-aged body, freaks out Lars and Sadie when he walks into the Big Donut and calls them by name, since they don't recognize him.
- "Jail Break": When Sapphire first meets Steven (as far as Steven knows), she calls him by name before he gives it. Steven does not appear to notice. This is a bit of foreshadowing of the fact that Sapphire is actually half of Garnet.