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Richie Benaud: Aamer Sohail...
Bill Lawry: Hail, Richie! Hail the great man! Hail!
Richie Benaud: No, Bill, that's his name, you dickhead!
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In Real Life there are a few words called "false cognates", or "faux amis/false friends", that have homophones in other languages that can lead to amusing misunderstandings, but in fiction the number and strangeness of these explodes. Words that mean one thing in language A but an obscene, rude or inappropriate thing in language B are technically called "Cacemphatons", which in itself is a sort of cacemphaton. A sort of in-universe Bilingual Bonus, either a word in the work's language sounds silly in a fictional language or the fictional word sounds silly in the work's language. Overlaps with Bite the Wax Tadpole. Often (even inevitably) leads to Who Names Their Kid "Dude"? on the part of the (local) foreigners, who may consider you a Funny Foreigner just on this basis.

Out of universe, this is often a source of Narm for audiences. It can be hard to take a foreign work seriously if, for example, The Hero's name sounds exactly like your language's word for "poop" or some other naughty term.

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There are also "false cognates", in which two words in different languages have similar forms and meanings, but different roots. For example, the English word "sheriff" and the Arabic "sharif", both being legal officials. The former comes from the Old English scīrgerefa, meaning "shire-reeve", and the latter comes from the Arabic sharafa, meaning "noble" or "exalted".

For when this happens between dialects of the same language or very similar languages, see Separated by a Common Language. Subtrope of Mondegreen Gag. For when this causes character names to be changed in translation, see Clean Dub Name. For when a girly name in one language is a masculine name in another, see Gender-Blender Name. For a common example involving a name derived from Greek, see Uranus Is Showing.

Don't confuse with the other meaning of False Friend.

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Examples:

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    Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy: Although the series is aired in and is quite popular in the Philippines, the word "bobo" in Filipino means "idiot" and is generally considered the ultimate insult amongst kids.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Strawberry Marshmallow, there's an English girl named "Ana". It is discovered that in Japanese, ana means "hole", a fact which Miu reminds her of a couple of times in the next few episodes.
  • Dragon Ball Z:
    • Some Spanish-speakers tend to giggle when the name "Kakarotto"/"Kakarot" is heard, since the "kaka" part sounds like caca, which means "crap."
    • The same problem occurs in Italy, where "Kakarot" was changed to "Kaharot".
    • This is the reason "Chichi"'s name got translated as "Milk" in the Mexican dub as "Chichi" means "tit/boob" in most parts of Mexico. By bizarre coincidence, Chichi also means "milk" or "udder" in Japanese, and is a slang word for "tits" (from a baby word for "breast").
    • Oddly Chichi was never renamed in Spain, despite it being slang for "vagina".
    • In-universe example: When Bulma went aboard the Namek spaceship, the ship started doing all sorts of weird stuff, opening doors and dragging her around. Mr. Popo explained that she kept saying things that translated to legitimate requests in the Namek language.
  • Saying out loud in France that you're a fan of Kakashi is problematic for similar reasons, since "caca", pronounced the same as "Kaka", also means crap in French; and "shi" is pronounced the same as "chie", which means "shit" (the verb).
  • Since Spanish and Japanese share surprisingly similar phonologies, this happens a lot with many series:
    • To Love Ru's Rito Yuuki sounds pretty funny in Spanish, since his name sounds like a faux male form of the Spanish name "Rita", not to mention "Rito" sounds the same like the Spanish suffix -rito used mainly as a diminutive (as in Señorito (Young master) or even worse: Condorito.)
    • Also, Mami Tomoe's name sounds disturbingly funny in many Spanish dialects, since her name "Mami" sounds the same as the Spanish diminutive for "Mommy", but also sounds the same as an affectionate (but in most cases very derogative) term for a woman in some Latin American countries, especially in Mexico, Puerto Rico and Panama. Mami's mammies, too.
    • If you think Mami already sounds corny in Spanish, there's Monster Musume, when one of the main characters is a harpy named Papi, who is Spanish for Daddy, who, in context, could be a slang for pimp.
    • Aquarion Evol has two unfortunate examples with two characters: Mikono Suzushiro and the villain Mykage Towano. Mikono's name sounds the same like the Spanish phrase "Mi cono" (My cone), or in more perverse meaning, if you replace the letter N of her name with the Spanish-exclusive letter Ñ, sounds like "Mi coño" (My pussy). Mykage Towano is even worse: his name sounds very similar to "Me cagué (en) tu ano" (I crapped in your anus).
    • Chii sounds like the Mexican slang word chis which means Piss.
    • China Kousaka from Gundam Build Fighters is a very unfortunate example, as her name sounds the same as both China (The country) and the word "china" (Spanish for Chinese girl). The fact she's Japanese makes her name even more unfortunate. And to make matters worse, Sunrise released a figure of her dressed like a Beargguy III, the Gunpla she uses in the series. The name of that figure? Chinagguy
      • Mao Yasaka is an even more unfortunate example, both in Western and Japanese orders, as his name sounds like Mao, Ya saca (suffix/noun) (Mao, please pull/take that [thing]). Depending on the suffix used in Spanish, it could sound like something straight out from a Yaoi manga.
      • Daiki Miyaga from Gundam Build Fighters Try is another example: His last name sounds like Mi llaga (My sore).
      • From the same series, the name of the school Shimon Izuna belongs to is named Joto. While both in Japanese and English is pronounced as "Yoh-toh", in Mexican Spanish, when pronounced phonetically as "Hoh-Toh", it sounds like the Mexican slang for fag.
    • Mikoto Misaka sounds very similar as Mi coto me saca. (My suburb kicks me out)
    • Mikasa Ackerman's name sounds like Mi casa. (My house) This is Played for Laughs in Latin America (and also in English too) when she's paired with Tsukasa Hiiragi, as Tsukasa sounds like su casa (Your house) and mixing both names sounds like the famous Spanish greeting Mi Casa (Mikasa) es Su Casa (Tsukasa). (My house is your house)
    • Kouko Kaga is one of the most unfortunate examples of this: Her name sounds the same as (The) coconut is shitting. This is even worse if you use her name in the Japanese order, since it could sound like Caga Coco. (Coconut-shitter)
    • Mimika Mikagami's name from the sequel Exodus sounds like mimica (Female Mimic). Extra hilarity, in a meta way, she's voiced by the same voice actress who voiced the already mentioned Mikasa and China.
    • Issei Hyodo sounds similar to Hice Yodo (As both I made Iodine or I pissed Iodine). Keep in mind the letter H is silent in Spanish and French.
    • Chibita sounds the same as the Mexican Spanish word for little goat (chivita). Most native Spanish speakers likely cannot help but hear the childhood nursery rhyme "Sal de ahí, chivita, chivita" note  playing in their heads whenever the name "Chibita" comes up. note 
    • Durarara!! sounds like saying (It will) la-la-last.
    • Nico Yazawa's name is somewhat troublesome in Spanish, Italian and Serbian, as "Nico/Niko" is normally a male name in those regions and, at least in Spanish, Nico is a diminutive of "Nicolas".
    • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
      • Hamon, the Japanese name for the Ripple, the name of the energy used in the first two parts, sounds the same as "Jamón", the Spanish word for "Ham".
      • In a related note, the famous "MUDA MUDA MUDA!" of Dio happens to literally mean (and also sound) "TESTICLES TESTICLES TESTICLES!" in both Serbian and Russian. Since "muda" is also Spanish for "mute" in the feminine form, Dio can appear as if he's relentlessly accusing opponents of being vocally disabled.
      • In the fourth part, Crazy Diamond's "DORA" is also a common female name in Mexico. Predictably, this has led to jokes and memes involving Dora the Explorer in some manner.
      • In the same part, Yoshikage Kira's name sound like "yo si cague" (I crapped myself). Which is kinda true... for his victims.
    • My Hero Academia:
      • Ochaco Uraraka's name is quite problematic in Mexican Spanish: her name "Ochaco" sounds like "Oh chaco" ("chaco" is the Mexican Spanish word for "nunchaku/nunchucks") and "Uraraka" sounds disturbingly similar to "Urraca"; literally "magpie" (which is rather fitting given Ochaco's black-and-white hero costume), but also a rude slang term for an annoying, talkative woman.
      • Likewise, Izuku Midoriya's surname, when pronounced in quickly fashion, sounds like "mi rodilla" (My knee).
    • Jugo's name can read like an unintentional case of Edible Theme Naming, as jugo — pronounced "hoo-goh" — is also the Spanish word for juice.
    • Ai Kaga's name sounds like "Ahí caga", Spanish for "There he/she shits". In the Japanese order, her name sounds like "Caga ahí", "You [can] shit there".
    • Tanjiro Kamado's surname sounds as two-letter short from the word "encamado" (Spanish for "bed-ridden").
    • In Gintama, the in-universe film Hijikata watches is named My Neighbor Pedoro, a parody of My Neighbor Totoro. For Mexican Spanish speakers, the name of the titular protagonist of the film, Pedoro, which is also the Japanese spelling of the Spanish name "Pedro", sounds disturbingly similar to the Mexican slang "Pedorro", (pronounced with a hard "R"), which means "Fart-knocker" in Mexico. Even more, with this in mind, the whole title of the film, translated to Spanish, would sound like Mi Vecino (el) Pedorro (My Neighbor (the) Fart-Knocker).
      • For English speakers, "Pedoro" sounds like Pedophile. It doesn't help that the titular character is shown along with a little girl, while he appears with just his underwear.note 
    • While technically speaking the title is in English, Ya Boy Kongming! sounds the same as "¡Ya voy, Kongming!", which means "I'm coming, Kongming!", which is normally used in Spanish when someone requires your presence, like your parents, your boss, your friend(s), etc., to them.
  • In the opening of His and Her Circumstances "Yumei dream" sounds like "You may dream."
  • Probably unintentional, but in Shaman King, hao is Lakota for "yes".
  • In an episode of One Piece in a completely serious scene Nami yells the name of the character Pierre. In Japanese that's pronounced "pieru" which is Finnish for "fart". (Also, "nami" is Finnish for "yummy".)
    • From Dressrosa Arc we have Pica, which in Brazilian Portuguese is a slang for "penis". Have fun every time someone mentions "the Great Pica" or says that "Pica is going to hit them hard".
  • In Bleach, Yammy has a dog. The latest databook reveals its name to be Kukkapuuro, Finnish for flower porridge (Kukka = flower, puuro = porridge).
  • Capeta probably will never be licensed in Brazil simply because of its title, that is a common slang for "Devil". It's a children's series, whatever. And there aren't demons in its plot.
  • Pani Poni sounds like Finnish for "Pony fucked".
  • Simoun has Aeru, whose name means great love in the language of one of the neighboring kingdoms.
  • Pokémon:
    • Pichu did not make it in the Czech Republic. Country Matters in a kids' show would be too much to take.
    • This is reportedly why the pronunciation of "Arceus" was changed from "Ar-say-oos" (Japanese) to "Ark-ee-us" (English) - the dubbers thought "Ar-say-oos" sounded too much like "arse" (British mildly vulgar term for the backside, equivalent to "ass" in American English).
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! ARC-V has Sora Shiun'in, who was given the last name Perse in the dub. In Finnish, Perse is a word for "ass", which when combined with his his first name translates as "gravel ass".
    • The same anime had an In-Universe example - the main character's father's name, Yusyo (as the anime romanises it), is pronounced "Yuushou", which sounds like the English phrase "You show". The school that he founded is called "You Show Duel School".
    • The English dub also pulls one on occasion for Woolseyism's sake; Yuya's Synchro Dimension counterpart is called Yugo, which sounds a lot like yuugou (Fusion), leading to Yugo being confused for a Fusion Dimension soldier. Though the English version preserves the mistake of Yugo being seen as the 'Pawn of Fusion', it can't make the pronunciation joke, so it instead has characters mishear his name as "you go!".
  • The two main characters of Final Fantasy: Unlimited are named Ai and Yu; these are Japanese words for "love" and "courage", and can be put together to spell yuuai ("friendship"), but also sound like the English pronouns "I" and "you". Animal Crossing: The Movie also has two main characters named Ai and Yu.
  • Persona 4: The Animation has the Canon Name of the protagonist be Yu Narukami, whose first name also sounds like the English word "you".
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! 5D's protagonist Yusei's name sounds like "you say".
  • Many Russian fans has pointed out how funny the name of SukaSuka sounds in Russian, as it basically sounds like "bitch bitch" in that language.
    • For Filipino readers, the title refers to puking/vomiting.
    • In some Italian dialects and slangs, it sounds like "suck it suck it".
  • Another hilarity for Russian fans is the name of the main character in Kemono Friends, that is, Kaban. In Japanese, that would mean "bag", because she can't remember her name and was dubbed so for her big backpack. Yet in Russian, kaban (кабан) literally means "wild boar". Adds more hilarity to the fact that everyone around Kaban keep asking what animal she is.
  • A tame example: In Spanish, "Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo" sounds like someone calling another person a "dummy" over and over again. Hence to many Spanish speakers, the title of this series refers to "what little children call each other when they get upset".
  • BanG Dream!:
    • Filipino fans have to refer to Tae Hanazono by her surname if they want to talk about her with a straight face, because in Filipino, "tae" means "poop".
    • And then there's two of Roselia's members, Ako and Sayo, which in Filipino mean "I" and "yours", respectively.
  • Mobile Suit Gundam AGE: There is a character in the third arc with the name "Captain Natora Einus". Yeah, her last name sounds identical to "anus" in English. There's no indication this was intentional on the part of the writers, as the character is written to be sympathetic.
  • Azumanga Daioh has a joke where Tomo takes great pleasure in pointing out how certain Okinawan foods sound like cuss words in Japanese: specifically, chinsuko sounds like chinko (dick), and ukon-cha sounds like unko (shit). This particular gag tends to go untranslated.

    Comedy 
  • Eddie Izzard once did an entire gig in French, including a hilarious bit about the French word for "transvestite" being "travestie", and how In My Language That Sounds Like "travesty" (catastrophe).
    Eddie: Bonjour, je suis une catastrophe... mais pas un catastrophe typicale. Une catastrophe... executif. Une catastrophe d'action.
    • "Travesty" originally was a type of theatre—a play with lots of very broad topical satire, lots of physical comedy, lots of risque jokes, AND all male characters were played by women and all female characters were played by men.
  • Russell Peters on how Indian names can be this.
    • Another of Russell's bits has him talk about how the Mandarin equivalent to saying "um" or "uh" in the middle of a sentence while thinking of what to say next sounds a lot like the N-word, and then tells a story about how he saw a little kid use it repeatedly while standing right next to a black person.

    Comic Books 
  • In the prelude to World War Hulk, Hulk stated that Blackbolt would be the most dangerous of Earth's defenders. However, his warbound misheard this as "Blagbuld", which to Brood means "She who urinates uncontrollably".
  • In the Justice League story which marked one of his first appearances on Earth, everyone who first encounters the alien bounty hunter Lobo replies "Lobo? Like the wolf?" only to be told "actually it's from a Khundish (alien) dialect, meaning 'he who devours your entrails and thoroughly enjoys it.'" Eventually, Lobo decides it's easier to just say "Yeah, like the wolf."
  • The first name of Ms. Marvel (2014), Kamala, is derived from the Arabic word "kamal" which means "perfection". However, "Kamala" is also a name in Sanskrit that means "lotus", and is a variation on the name of Kamalatmika, the Hindu goddess of wealth. Less flatteringly, in Finnish, her name would mean something along the lines of "dreadful".
  • In Runaways, as Karolina tries to fend off Xavin's advances, she calls them "you freak". Xavin corrects her: Ewe'fareek is their uncle.
  • In Venom (Donny Cates), Knull's name is Swedish for "fuck" in the context of sex.

    Fan Works 
  • The Homestuck fanfic Hivefled lampshades this with regards to the names of the quadrants, with John's reaction being "Haha, you said flush" and pointing out that a declaration of ashen feelings would be "I club you".
  • In the Miraculous Ladybug fanfic La Befana as it should have happened, Gina, Marinette's Italian grandmother, resists Akumatization because the Big Bad's name is "Le Papillon", that any Italian associates with bowties. As Lila (an Italian recurring character) explains, unless they have a temper as bad as hers any Italian would just laugh too much to stay serious and be Akumatized.
    "Think about it! You're feeling angry, or down, and suddenly an evil bowtie flicks a purple butterfly at you and tries to turn you into a cartoonish supervillain! It's just too absurd to stay serious!"
    • The author of the story, who is Italian himself, has admitted that his stories use the French name "Le Papillon", and not the better known "Hawk Moth" given him by the English dub, specifically to have Lila hit him with tie puns.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In Alien Nation, the human protagonist's name, Sykes, sounds just like an alien phrase which means "Excrement Cranium".
  • In the Korean/Japanese film Virgin Snow, the leading man (Korean, on exchange in Japan) meets a girl in his class named Kaori Assa. ("Kaori" means "smell.")
  • This happens in Amreeka, when the protagonist, a slightly awkward Palestinian woman, meets her coworker Matt:
    Muna: Matt? Your name is Matt? Do you know what that means in Arabic? It means dead!
  • Younger English-speaking viewers of Schindler's List may be surprised to see the sign on Schindler's factory that says "Deutsche Emailwarenfabrik" in a film set in 1939. While obviously predating the English usage of the word "email" by several years, in German "email" means "enamel"; the text on the sign means "German Enamelware Factory" (Incidentally, Schindler says "Deutsche Emailfabrik", but the sign shows the correct name). In Germany, electronic mail is referred to as "E-Mail" (with a hyphen, pronounced the same as the English word), although simply "Mail" is used too. Note the words are only homographs - "Email" without the hyphen is a French loanword and pronounced "aigh-MY," roughly the same as the original French word.
  • Austin Powers once got into a raunchy Who's on First? routine with two Asian women named Fook Yu and Fook Mi.
  • Meet the Fockers used the last name as a joke. There's nothing strange about this name (or the more common way of writing it: Fokker, as in the airplane company) in the original Dutch, where it means breeder (as in breeding horses or other animals).note 
  • Word of God describes this as happening in Shanghai Noon, when an American Indian chief tries to teach the Indian greeting "How" to the Chinese Chon Wang, to whom "Hao" means good.
  • In the Czech film Kolya, this leads to an argument between the Russian protagonist and his Czech stepfather Louka, when Kolya insists that the Soviet flag is krasnyi ("red") and Louka interprets it as krásný ("beautiful") and strongly disagrees.
  • The French dubs of the James Bond films kept the English pronunciation of Q, since the French pronunciation of this letter, to the joy of first graders everywhere, is identical to the French word for "ass" (culnote ).
  • The Olsen-banden series and its Norwegian & Swedish adaptations feature a few jokes based on characters misunderstanding each other due to the language barrier, particularly with false friends between German and the Scandinavian languages. For example:
    German: Sehr schön, nicht wahr? (Beautiful, isn't it?)
    Swede: [Beat, looks out the window awkwardly] Ja, jag ser sjön. (Yes, I see the lake.)
  • In Big Bird in Japan, Big Bird is extremely confused that the Japanese word for "good morning" just so happens to sound the same as the name of a U.S. state, "Ohio", and that the word for "yes" sounds like the English greeting "Hi".

    Literature 
  • Discworld uses this gag a few times.
    • The Fifth Elephant largely takes place in an Uberwald town called Bonk (it's pronounced "Beyonk"). The same book mentions that "morpork" (as in Ankh-Morpork, the central city of the series) sounds like the name of a piece of women's underwear in Überwaldian.
      Captain Carrot: There's only so many syllables in the world, when you think about it.
    • Unseen Academicals has the dwarf fashion house Shatta. As Glenda observes, "You'd be hostage to the first typo."
    • This trope became a running gag in Interesting Times, in which Rincewind's screams of "Arrrgh!" were variously translated into homophonic phrases that mean "I would like to eat your foot" or "Your wife is a big hippo". One tribe has achieved a not-entirely unmerited reputation for cruelty since to them "arrrgh" means "Quick! More boiling oil!"
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
    • In the first book, "I seem to be having tremendous difficulty with my lifestyle" is a deadly insult in the Vl'hurg language, tantamount to an act of war; fortunately, the Vl'hurgs misjudge the size of Earth and have their space fleet eaten by a small dog when they launch an attack.
    • And then there's the fact that "Belgium" is the most vile swear word in the galaxy everywhere except on Earth.
    • Don't forget that according to The Restaurant at the End of the Universe every planet seems to have a drink or other food item whose name is pronounced approximately the same as "gin and tonics", no matter what said item ends up actually being. A throwaway line after the random explanation of this fact implies that it may apply to other drinks as well.
  • In Diane Duane's Star Trek novel My Enemy, My Ally, "Jim" apparently means something hilarious in Romulan, although we're never told exactly what.
    • Consulting the Rihannsu dictionary, Jihm means "sworn enemy, nemesis". Given the situation, it's no wonder Ael finds it funny...
  • In the first The 39 Clues book, Amy hastily tells Nellie to get them rooms for the night at a seedy-looking hotel called the "Maison des Gardons," which she assumes means "House of Gardens." Later they find out the hard way that "gardons" means "roaches".
  • A pun-based "Shaggy Dog" Story by Isaac Asimov concerns dueling political ad campaigns over a Mars-wide referendum on whether to allow dangerous experiments to be performed on the planet. The anti- side uses a traditional song as its jingle, while the pro- side uses the French National Anthem. The reader is asked to predict which side will win. The pro- side wins in a landslide, since the anthem's title, the Marseillaise, sounds subliminally like "Mars say yea."
  • Animorphs has an example in The Secret. The Yeerks are using a lumber company named Dapsen lumber as a front. Ax says that "Dapsen" means something impolite in Yeerkish.
  • In Shockball, Cherijo and Duncan (Omniglot by way of telepathy) are looking at baby names. Duncan throws out several Earth names on grounds of them being rude or otherwise inappropriate words in various alien languages ("Daniel" sounds like one species' imperative form of "to jump around screaming," while "Diantha" is another's word for mud). Cherijo vetoes an alien suggestion on grounds that the name should have vowels. They finally settle on Marel.
    • Duncan has mentioned that one of the reasons he loves Cherijo is because her name doesn't mean anything in any of the — I'm gonna go with — hundreds of languages he speaks. (This is partly because her name is actually an acronym.)
    • Shortly after their marriage, he jokes that "wife" sounds like one species' word for a small viper.
  • One book in the X-Wing Series mentions that the Twi'leks sometimes fiddle with the pronunciation of people's full names to avoid insulting the person in question. In particular, Tal'dira calls Wedge Antilles "Wedgan'tilles", which is close to "slayer of stars" in Twi'leki. Apparently pronouncing it the way humans do changes the meaning to something like "one so foul as to induce vomiting in a rancor".
    • This is apparently rather common; in the Twi'lek language the meaning of a word or phrase can be radically altered by mispronouncing even a single syllable. It's sometimes done even to a fellow Twi'lek's name, for the opposite reason: twisting the pronunciation into something insulting. Tal'dira deliberately mispronounces Koh'shak as "Kohsh'ak" while holding a knife to his throat and accusing him of treachery and underhanded dealing (though Wedge never does find out what the switch actually meant).
  • Gilly of A Song of Ice and Fire is renamed Elí in Spain because it is dangerously close to "gili", the shorthand for asshole.
  • In The Name of the Rose, Adso recalls seeing Italian nobles going hunting for truffles (which they called tartuffa). However, when he recounted this to a German friend, he understood it as "der Teufel", leading to wide-eyed staring at this monk who accompanies Italians who're looking for the devil with pigs.
  • Taken to the logical conclusion in the Star Carrier series, where the similarity of "Turusch", the name of one of the enemy races, to "tush" and "trash" has led to Confederation military personnel using those words to Nickname the Enemy.
  • A Norwegian engineer building a railroad in Africa in Jan Guillou's The Bridge Builders always gets a smile or giggle when introducing himself to Burundi. He is eventually told his name Oscar means "big cock" in their language.
  • The name of the eponymous Horatio Hornblower sounds extremely raunchier for Spanish-speakers, especially Mexican ones, when his last name Hornblower is translated to Spanish: Hornblower is translated as Sopla Trompeta(s) and in the Mexican dialect, that word is an Unusual Euphemism for oral sex. Basically, his name can be translated in a vulgar way as Horatio Cocksucker.
  • In Peter and the Starcatchers, Alf's name makes the natives of Shell Island laugh. They explain that in their language it means "squid poop".
  • In Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Lorelei remarks that "the French use the word 'sheik' for everything, while we only seem to use it for gentlemen when they seem to resemble Rudolf Valentino."

    Live-Action TV 
  • That '70s Show:
    • Used as a joke in an episode where Fez's very religious exchange family plays a rock record backwards to try to find hidden messages. Amongst the backwards gibberish, his exchange parents hear "worship the Devil," while Fez hears "I want to sex your monkey" in his own language (which, of course, we don't know). Laughing about hearing it doesn't help his case.
    • Or the episode where Hyde says that Fez should be "distant, zen, aloof" if he wants to attract women. Fez snaps when he hears the last word: apparently, "loof" is an insult in his language.
  • Babylon 5:
    • It gives us the following exchange:
      Ivanova: Ah, hell.
      White Star Guns: POWPOWPOW
      Ivanova: What's going on?!
      Lorien: "Ahel" is Minbari for "continuous fire".
    • One episode revolved around the claim that "Death first" sounds like Minbari for "I yield to you". It was a ploy to get rid of Sheridan by making it look as if he'd shot a surrendering Minbari. The connection is genuine but not really close enough to confuse them (the Minbari phrase sounds more like "dayah f-hirst"), and the scheme hinged on a lying witness.
  • Played to the max with a sketch in A Bit of Fry and Laurie in which every word Laurie's hapless businessman utters is a rude word in Fry's fictional language 'Strom'.
  • When Borat hosted the MTV Video Music Awards, he at one point giggled when saying Shakira's name. He then explained that "Shakira" is Kazakh for "vagina". At the end of the show, he tells the audience he will later attempt to "Get into Brittany Murphy's 'shakira'."
  • In the Mork & Mindy episode "Mork Meets Robin Williams", Mork tells Mindy that on Ork, "Robin" means... something we never get to hear. But apparently it's disgusting.
  • Star Trek:
    • The name Frederick means something vulgar in Bolian.
    • Though the show never established it, the Star Trek: The Next Generation novel Ghost Ship claims that Troi calls William Riker (who is generally addressed as "Will") "Bill" because "bill" is the Betazoid word for "shaving cream" and Riker's scent reminds her of the type her father used. (Given that this is both the show and the character where "Growing the Beard" came from, this is all kinds of amusing).
    • The O'Briens decide not to name their son Sean because it's also the Bajoran word for "swamp."
    • When Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was first being translated into Russian, some translators asked to have the name "Sisko" be changed to "Tsisko" because the original is too similar to the Russian word for "tit" ("sis'ka"). In the end, though, they kept the original name.
    • In an episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, Hoshi meets an alien man on Risa. While discussing fruit, he says that the word "kiwi" means "kiss" in his language. Given the context (his exotic, unidentified and complex language is mentioned after he finds out she's a linguist, has apparently never appeared elsewhere, and teaching her said language leads smoothly into successfully seducing her) this one may be invoked.
    • While not bringing up specific names, this was apparently one of the reasons the Doctor in Star Trek: Voyager never permanently settled on a name over the course of the series (at least, in a timeline that lasted) — among the perks of being a computer program was having an encyclopaedic knowledge of languages, and almost every name the Doctor considered meant something rude in one language or the other.
      • This is mentioned briefly with specific names when Samantha Wildman is trying to pick a name for her baby. For every name she suggests, the Doctor has a negative connotation to go along with it. (In the end, what's discussed in that scene is mostly irrelevant, since she's looking at boys' names and the baby ends up being a girl.)
    • Similar to the James Bond example above, the French dub of Star Trek keeps the English pronunciation for Q, as in French the letter is pronounced the same way as the word for "ass" (cul).
  • At one point on Angel, Lorne had created a password for something, and told Fred (who spent five years in Lorne's home dimension, Pylea) that it was the Pylean word for hedgehog. Fred's reaction is pretty much a schoolgirl giggle - to quote Gunn, "I'm guessing that means something very different in English". They never have to use it.
  • One of the characters of Heroes is a Japanese geek named Hiro (pronounced almost exactly like the English word "hero").
  • The Roman Mysteries: If Polla Felicia Pulchra had been born a couple of millenia later, she'd be horrified to know that her name totally sounds like "happy and clean cock" in Spanish. That kind of cock.
  • In My Hero (2000) when deciding what to name their son, George suggests Pontius, which means "great heart" on Ultron. Janet understandably objects, since on Earth it's associated with Pontius Pilate.
  • Done deliberately for the title of The X-Files episode "En Ami" and reflects the conflicting portrayal of the show's Big Bad. In French, it means "as a friend." In English, it sounds like "enemy."
  • On Outsourced, one example of the main character's "ugly American" status is how funny he finds his Indian co-worker Manmeet's name (sounds like the English "man meat").
  • On the Israeli sitcom Shemesh, ‘Ogen shares her and fellow Ditz Sasi’s observation with the eponymous Shemesh that there’s no ‘NYPD month’ in the Hebrew calendar. Shemesh is understandably puzzled, so she explains that while there’s an ER (=Iyar) month, there’s no NYPDnote  month. (Both were airing and popular when that episode was first aired.)
  • This was a repeated problem on the 30 Rock episode "The Funcooker". The characters had to come up with a name for a mini-microwave after the first name had this problem. Apparently, a Franco-Dutchman would pronounce the original name "The Bitenuker" as "Bet Nyuker" which is awful. Legal rejected all of their other names as offensive in some language or another, including English (apparently they knew what Frank’s suggestion of a "Hot Richard" actually meant). Finally, they agree on the name "The Funcooker". At this time, Tracy reveals on national television that that’s what he calls his anus.
  • In the Monk episode "Mr. Monk Takes Manhattan", Monk hears something that sounds like "She's now gone meatless." It turns out to be "Tas nav mans mētelis", which is Latvian for "This is not my coat."
  • In one episode of Alien Nation, Cathy complains about The Three Stooges' foul language.
    Do you know what Nyuk Nyunk means in Tencton?

    Music 
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart:
    • "Difficile lectu", which included the phrase "lectu mihi mars," a meaningless Latin phrase that sounds just like "Leck mich im Arsch", meaning "Lick me in the ass" in German and equivalent to "Kiss my ass" in English. Mozart really liked the phrase, which is a quote from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's Götz von Berlichingen. He made several other undisguised references to it in the names of other pieces.
    • Another pun later in the same song is the word ionicu, which when pronounced rapidly in succession, sounds a lot like coglioni, the Italian word for "balls."
  • The Indian song Kallurivaanilla by Devan & Anuradha Sriram has been reuploaded with subtitles on YouTube, with the subber pointing out that it was not a translation but merely what the creator "believe[d] the song sounds like in English". The result is "Benny Lava by Buffalax".
    My loony bun is fine Benny Lava!
  • It is a minor meme in Sweden to deliberately interpret song lyrics from music in other languages as if they were written in Swedish. For example, a flash animation of the Arabic love song مين ما كنتي interprets the first phrase as "Vinna kinky roligt" ("Win kinky funnote ") before moving on to a story about a hat being passed around between people inspired by a recurring phrase throughout the song sounding vaguely similar to "Hatten är din, hatt-baby" ("the hat is yours, hat-baby").
  • There is a singer, Ebdo Mihemed, who sings wedding songs in Kurdish. To Finns, the lyrics end up sounding like various things ranging from offensive to perverted to just plain weird, but always hilarious. He has earned the affectionate nickname of "Pensseli-setä" (Uncle Paintbrush) among Finns due to a repeating phrase in one of his songs, Niilin Hanhet (Geese of the Nile). His songs can be found on Youtube, with Finnish subtitles; other songs by him that have been subbed include Lakana (The sheet), Hajusavu (Scented smoke), Mursuvaara (The Danger of Walruses) and the amusing (but incompletely subbed) Olen Gaaaaay! (I am Gaaaay).
  • There's a very good reason why Spanish-speaking fans of the Japanese idol group AKB48 prefers to spell the name with the intended spelling of itnote  since pronouncing the band's name with each letter separately (As "Ah-Kah-Beh 48") sounds exactly as the Spanish word Acabé, who is the Spanish for both I'm (already) finished (something) or I (already) killed (someone)note . Even worse if you take out the letter "B" and sustract a number and it sounds like the Russian machine gun AK-47note 
  • The Vocaloid CUL has been mocked by the Western fandom because her name is French for "ass".
  • In the same way Teto sounds like the Argentinian Spanish slang for "anal sex" or the Mexican one for "childish idiot".
  • Psy:
    • In the chorus for "Champion", he's saying "Ne ga", which means "You are", not "nigga".
    • Psy's artist name itself sounds like the Polish word for dogs.
  • When the BIG TIME RUSH song "Fake Love" aired on US radio, stations censored the Korean words niga (you) and naega (I) out of fear that they could be mistaken for a racial slur.
  • The Irish word for "word" is focal, pronounced "fuckle", which led to the Irish folk song Aon Focal Eile (with a chorus that goes something like "Ayn fuckle, daw fuckle, too fuckle ella, and I not knowin' no fuckle at all...") being banned from daytime radio in the UK. In this case, however, the singer was probably doing it on purpose.

    Podcasts 
  • In Find Us Alive, Love invokes this as an excuse to name her Outer Kingdoms character Skunkass, saying it "means something different in the goblin language".

    Pro Wrestling 
  • Giant Baba's last name was quite problematic in Spanish, because it's sounds the same as the Mexican Spanish word for "spit". "Giant Spit", get it?. Luckily for him, when addressed in Mexican media, he is always named by his name in English, without any attempt to translate the "Giant" part into Spanish.

    Theatre 
  • The Zeroth Law of Trope Examples applies to this one:
    • Henry V has the French princess Katherine discover, to her amusement, that the English words "foot" and "gown" sound a lot like the French for "fuck" (foutre) and "cunt" (con). (It helps that her teacher mispronounces "gown" as "coun.")
    • The Merry Wives of Windsor has Sir Hugh Evans as another thickly-accented teacher, this time giving Mrs. Page's son Latin lessons. Mrs. Quickly is offended to hear pulcher as "polecats" and horum as "whore 'em."
  • The whole point of the Tom Stoppard play Dogg's Hamlet, Cahoot's Macbeth is that every single word in the fictional language of Dogg is an English word with a completely unrelated meaning.

    Video Games 
  • "Blaze" in the Japanese version of Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War is given the moniker "Booby" in the first mission, and this name sticks with him for the rest of the game. While the nickname itself is likely a reference to the German WWII Ace Erich "Bubi" Hartmann, "booby" is a slang term for a woman's breasts, so it isn't exactly appropriate. The English version gets around this by calling Blaze "Kid" which is pretty much Hartmanns' nickname roughly translated to English.
  • Some names in the Touhou Project series can sound funny for non-Japanese players:
    • Fujiwara no Moukou is maybe one the biggest offenders, especially in Spanish, because her name Moukou sounds as the Spanish word Moco (Snot) and that the reason she's nicknamed in Spanish as Fujiwara no Moco.
      • The iconic Māori facial tattos are also called moko.
    • Mamizou Futatsuiwa has the same problem as Mami Tomoe, but also another one in Mexican Spanish: Her name sounds similar like the Mexican slang word Mamila. (Roughly translated as arrogant dick) and also Mamito who is a very vulgar slang for Momma's Boy in Mexico.
    • Sanae Kochiya's last name sounds like the word Cuchilla (blade or knife) in Spanish.
    • Okina Matara's full name sounds even funny in either East Asian or Western orders in Spanish, once again: In the western one, her name sounds more or less exactly as "Okina will kill (someone)", especially if the you stress the accent in the last A of "Matara". In the Asian one, it will sound like "Matará (a) Okina" (She/He (will) kill Okina) instead.
    • Narumi Yatadera's surname is equally funny in Spanish, as it sounds disturbingly close to "matadera", the Spanish slang word for either "massacre" or "slaughterhouse".
    • Suika Ibuki's name could sound funnier for Romanian players, since her name "Suika" sound similar to "țuică" (Pronounced as "Tzuica"), which is the Romanian name for a kind of moonshine, which is particulary funny, considering Suika is a hard drinker.
      • Russians can't let Suika go as well, since Sui-ka in Russian can be roughly translated as "come on and put it inside". Even worse with "Ibu" in "Ibuki", since yebu (which is phonetically similar) is a really obscene word for sex.
  • Senran Kagura: Hibari's name sounds like the Spanish name of the Amazonian tribe the Shuar, who are better known in Spanish as Jibaros (Pronounced as Hee-bah-ros) or more known in popular culture as Head-Hunters due to their custom of cutting their enemies' heads and shrink them as trophies.
    • All the characters use Hiden Ninpo, or "Secret Ninja Arts". In English, this sounds like "Hidden Ninpo", which is quite intelligible all by itself.
  • Pokémon:
    • In the French version of Pokémon Black and White, Seismitoad is called Crapustule (from crapaud, meaning "toad").
    • In Japanese, Jigglypuff is called Purin and Clefairy is called Pippi. In French, "purin" means "manure" and Pippi sounds like "pipi", which means "pee".
    • In Japanese, Magmar is called Boober and Mandibuzz is called Vulgina, which sound like female body parts to English-speakers. Similarly, Umbreon is called Blacky, which is a portmanteau of the English words "black" and "lucky" but sounds like a racist slur.
    • In German, the attack Aerial Ace is known as "Aero-Ass". Much hilarity was shared around this by the English-speaking fandom. Similarly, in Pokémon Sun and Moon Golisopod is known as "Tectass".
    • A comedic example: 'Heahea City' may get a few giggles out of Cantonese speakers, as 'hea' is a slang term that means 'to idle', or 'to laze about'.
    • The title of Pokkén Tournament was changed to Pokémon Tekken in German because "Pokkén" sounds like "Pocken", the German word for smallpox.
    • Spanish-speaking players, especially if they are from Latin America, have realized that the first two syllables of Garchomp's name sound exactly like a certain slang that means "I fuck".
  • An example of both types: In Simon the Sorcerer 2, a man called Um Bongo tells the protagonist that his name would mean Stupid rabbit's colon.
  • In World of Warcraft, The Draenei's capitol city is called The Exodar and they revere these Energy Beings called Naaru. One of the Draenei quotes is "We did not realize, but in Naaru Language, Exodar means Defective Elekk Turd."
  • In Mass Effect 2, you'll meet a quarian Admiral of the ship Qwib-Qwib, which renders his name Zaal'Koris vas Qwib-Qwib. Silly sounding, but not so bad. He mentions that he sometimes considers transferring to a ship with a more respectable name, like the Iktomi or the Defrahnz.
  • In One Piece: Unlimited Cruise 1 and 2, there's a funny bit for Swedish players. When using the Gomu Gomu no Fuusen you have to jump and then press the attack button. When jumping Luffy makes a noise sounding like (h)aahp, when using the aforementioned technique he says fuusen rather quickly. Time these to sounds right and Luffy says aputek, which is really close to the Swedish word apotek which means chemists shop.
  • The town of Jachol in Final Fantasy V is basically pronounced the same as the Filipino slang word for masturbation.
  • The Love Theme of Final Fantasy X, "Isn't It Wonderful?" is written as "素敵だね" in Japanese. 素敵 means "wonderful" in Japanese, but as it is written in kanji, a Chinese speaker would read... "vegetarian enemy".
  • Filipino Neptunia fans will laugh at the name of the new goddess in Victory, Pururut. Because it's also the slang word for "loose bowel movement" (diarrhea). The name has been changed to Plutia for the English release.
  • A since-removed splash screen in Minecraft (although still included in the Legacy Console Edition) reads "SOPA means LOSER in Swedish!" It actually means "garbage" as a noun or "to sweep" as a verb, but is often used as a insult in Sweden, so it kinda works.
  • In Fantasy Life's Origin Island DLC, the Islanders get some amusement from the name of the player's home dimension, Reveria. Apparently in their language "reveria" means something along the lines of "warm, snuggly toes."
  • The name of 2B, the main heroine of NieR: Automata could sound funny for Chinese players, as 2B is the online shorthand of the Chinese word 二屄 (Èr bī) who is normally translated as fucking idiot.
  • Overlapping with No Pronunciation Guide, In the Trails Series , the monotheistic goddess worshiped across Zemuria is named Aidios. In Spanish, her name pronounced phonetically sounds exactly as the exclamation ¡Ay, Dios! (Oh god!), making any scene when the characters invoke her name incredibly awkward for Spanish-speaking players. In actuality, it's pronounced as "A-dee-ose", something that's not apparent unless you're playing The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, as it features several lines of English voice acting. The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky lacks any voice acting outside of battle quotes, so you won't hear it unless you've unlocked Kloe's final S-Craft where she pronounces it correctly. Similarly, the kingdom where Sky takes place is named "liberl", which leads most players assuming it's pronounced like the word "liberal" with a stress at the end when Cold Steel would clarify it has the somewhat unintuitive pronunciation of "lie-burr-ull".
  • Due of the way how the naming engine works, many of the regens (original players created by the computer either for filling out empty slots in teams which need the mandatory players or expies from retired players) in the Football Manager series could sound especially funny, depending of the nationality of the player, along obviously of course, real life players (see below for details). Some of those names are really memetic by themselves, like John Lenon (with a single N, and being Brazilian), Turkish "Ufuk Ozil", English "Prince Salami", American "Dick Hunter", British "Dick Monster" and Argelian Laid Gagaa.
  • In Neverwinter Nights 2, the Very Definitely Final Dungeon is called the The Vale Of Merdelain, which is probably meant to sound cool/scary, but given that "merde" is French for "shit", it's rather like if they named a dungeon the shitarium or something like that.
  • In The iDOLM@STER Shiny Colors, there's a girl named Koito Fukumaru. For Spanish-speakers, her name Koito sounds the same as the Spanish word for coitus.
  • There's an organization called the Kurvaz in Solatorobo. They were, as the world the game takes place in is populated by anthro dogs and cats, named after the Kuvasz dog breed, but the name sounds like the word for "whore" in a lot of Slavic languages.
  • The general romaji for Ys villain Dark Fact is "Dalk Fukt". Ditto the other family members in Ys Origin.

    Webcomics 
  • Get Medieval: On Neithe's planet, "Asher" is one of the eight circles of Hell. On Asher's planet, it's a girl's name. He's quite relieved to find out that it's a male name (out of the Bible, no less) on Earth.
  • In Girl Genius, Zeetha is the Daughter of Chump, a "great warrior". She knows what it means in the local tongue. But subverted; Word of God has confirmed that Chump is Klaus Wulfenbach. In 2010 co-author/artist Phil Foglio released a few hand-drawn bookplates depicting Klaus as Chump (references here); he also told fan/helper "Taffy1" at a show. Current speculation is that Klaus declared himself "a chump" for the way he was shipped to Zeetha's homeland.
  • Grrl Power:
    • When Sydney learns of the existence of Monarans, from the planet Mora, she asks why they don't call themselves "Morans", and then immediately retracts the question when she hears it coming out of her mouth.
    • Frix, an extraterrestrial who looks kinda like an anthropomorphic canine, is a "Woof". Sydney manages to suppress her laughter until she tells him she's a "human" and he immediately bursts out laughing himself, and they both share a laugh over how silly their species names sound in the other language.
      Frix: Human human! Flurbleblox zipoo!
      Sydney: Woof woof! Arf! Bark!
  • In Schlock Mercenary, the ships in the fleet Petey built himself all have the initials "P.D.", including the unfortunately-named Poupance Duungsmeer, whose name apparently "only sounds dirty in Galstandard West".

    Web Original 
  • The Other Wiki has a lot of policies made of three-letter combinations that might sound different, weird or outright Squicky in several languages. For instance, "COI" means "testicle" in Romanian. Even funnier for The Other Wiki is that its sister projects in other languages would not acknowledge or talk about this freely out of some assumed respect for their "foul language big sis". Additionally, the image on To Serve Man could roughly translate into "taste similar [to a] dickus".
  • Parodied in ProZD's Vine A wizard unaware that his spells are rude words in the non-magical world, where his spell for levitation is dickfuck.
  • The Canadian French-language series Les Deux Minutes Du Peuple has an episode on xylophones that mentions the marimba, which is pronounced exactly the same as the French for "husband beats me". So when a marimbist crosses a border...
    Customs Officer: Anything to declare?
    Musician: Yes, my [husband beats me].
    Custom Officer: Apart from your relationship problems, ma'am?

    Web Videos 
  • Taken to comedic extremes with Timmy and King Confucius in The Time... Guys episode set in medieval France.
    Timmy: Um, I don't really speak your language. [Subtitle: We are elusive terrorists.]
    Confucius: Why... you... here? [Why you here?]
    Timmy: Uh, we don't really have a reason for coming here. [To pillage and kill.]
    Confucius: [gasp] No reason? [Kill who?]
    Timmy: Exactly! [Everyone!]
    [...]
    Doc: Don't worry, Tim, I'll handle this. Kill the boy and let me live. [Let me reason with your translator.]
    Timmy: DOC!

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Guy," Gumball tries to embarrass Anais' new friend Josh at their lunch out by disguising himself as a waiter named "Ferzandelerp" with an indeterminate foreign accent. When Josh introduces himself, Gumball responds "In my language, Josh means toilet paper. Nice meet you."
  • Parodied in an episode of The Simpsons where Homer gives a Kentucky mug to an Italian woman, who angrily declares "'Kentucky'?! In Italian, this means 'whore'!" and slaps him. (Which it doesn't.)
  • The Brazilian version of Samurai Jack had to change the main villain's name from "Aku" to "Abu" because the former sounds like their word for anus.
  • Similarly, the Dutch version of the Star Wars: The Clone Wars episode "Mystery of a Thousand Moons" had to have the so-called god of Iego's name, "Drol", changed to "Grol", due to apparent phonetic similarities to their word for "poo".
  • XANA, the antagonist from Code Lyoko, unfortunately has a name that sounds exactly like one of the more vulgar nicknames for female genitalia in Portuguese. This makes things like Episode 43's title ("XANA's Kiss") and its subordinates ("XANA's monsters") sound like things you'd find in the deep recesses of the internet rather than a Saturday morning cartoon. To avoid this, the dubs tend to pronounce the name as "Zena".
  • In Transformers: Animated the Dinobot Snarl (the triceratops) is clearly a reference to the Generation 1 character "Slag", but was renamed because "slag" is a slang term for a promiscuous woman in the UK. Hasbro also confirmed in 2008 that they will no longer be using the name "Slag" for any new toys.
  • Many of the catchphrases and some names of the members of The Lion Guard (and by default, The Lion King's) cast could sound funny in many languages:
    • Kion's "Hevi kabisa": In Japanese, "hevi" sounds exactly like the word for "snake". (with a "b" instead)
    • Bunga's "Zuka zama" sounds incredibly awkward in both Japanese and Russian: The whole phrase sounds like saying "Zuka-sama" (Lord Zuka), being "-sama" a Japanese honorific. For Russians, this is even worse, as "zuka" sounds the same as "suka", literally translated as "bitch". Even worse if you mix both languages, as it will sound like "Lord/Lady Bitch". The Japanese dub tries to tone down this a bit by spelling it as ズカ・ザマー.
    • Ono is a proper Japanese surname, but in the Japanese dub, his name is written in a different way (オーノ in katakana rather than 小野) to emphasise the way it is pronounced.
    • Depending of the way the Japanese kanji is spelled, Reirei could sound like "Rei Rei", basically "zero zero", "spirit spirit", and many other spellings.
    • Dogo is a slang for dog in either Mexico and Argentina, quite fitting, because he's a jackal.
    • Makuu, depending of the kanji used, sounds like "Demonic/Magical Sky" in Japanese. (魔空)
    • Pua sounds like the Spanish for "plectrum".
    • Tamaa, with a single "a", sounds like the Japanese word for "ball". It's also a Japanese common name for a cat.
    • Timon sounds exactly the same as the Spanish word for a ship's ruddle.
    • Banzai sounds incredibly awkward in Japanese (and anybody else, for that matter), as it sounds like the (in)famous war scream uttered by Japanese soldiers in World War II, albeit it can be used in other contexts. Literally, it means "ten thousand years" in Japanese and "skulk" or "lurk" in Swahili.
    • This is later averted in further episodes of The Lion Guard, when they started to use Japanese names, despite the African setting of the show. So we have a giraffe named Shingo (a Japanese male name) and a snow monkey named Yuki, whose name simply means "snow".
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Russian viewers giggle over Sokka's name, because in their language, "sok" means "juice" note . Thus, he gets a Dub Name Change to Sujuki.
  • In the Italian version of Miraculous Ladybug Kagami Tsurugi had to be renamed "Katami", as her original given name is pronounced almost identical to "cagami", translating literally as "shit me" and also being a rather vulgar way of calling for someone's attention.
    • For the same reason, the Latin American Spanish and Brazilian dubs renamed her to "Agami" and "Kyoko" respectively.

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