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Ironic Name

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At least he has his moments of bravery.

Haruna: I'm Otonashi Haruna. I'll be your manager starting from today. It wasn't enough to just watch you pratice. That's why I thought it would be faster to join just join the club. That's what I thought. With the skills I learnt in the newspaper club, I'll help you. Nice to meet you.
Handa: "Otonashi", huh?note 
Max: Are you sure she's not mixing it up with "Yakamashi"?note 

So, you're watching a new show on TV. You notice the series has a gloomy-looking Goth character and you wonder what they named her. Maybe something dark like "Raven" or "Misery" or "Lady Death".

They reveal her name, and it's... Sunshine? The gloomy-looking character's name is Sunshine?

Yes, sometimes, a character is given a name that is ironic considering their personality, lifestyle, or whatnot. Often, this is Played for Laughs, but more serious examples do exist.

See Ironic Nickname for cases when the character's nickname, instead of their given name, is ironic. Subtrope of Non-Indicative Name.

Related to Fluffy the Terrible, where a scary monster or animal is given a decidedly non-scary name, Deathbringer the Adorable, where a cute, relatively harmless animal is given an imposing name, and Tom the Dark Lord, which applies Special Person, Normal Name to an evil character. Contrast, of course, Meaningful Name.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • With the Light:
    • Hikaru's full name is Azuma Hikaru, or "light of the East," and upon hearing this name, his new father Masato's first hope was that Hikaru would grow up to climb the corporate ladder. Which... he most likely won't do.
    • Miyu means "beautiful feather", but she acts far less delicate than her name would suggest, as does the fifth-grade kendo champ Misaki, whose name means "beautiful blossoms."
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei:
    • The given name of Nozomu Itoshiki means hope, which is ironic in light of his deeply pessimistic personality. It ends up becoming a Meaningful Name though in that due to a quirk in Japanese, the way his name is spelled in a western way (left to right rather than up to down) leads it to being misread as Zetsubou, meaning "Despair" or "Hopeless".
    • On the opposite side his brother Mikoto's name is written with the Kanji for 'Life', a Meaningful Name given he's a doctor by trade. When added to his family name in the same way, it becomes the Ironic Name Zetsume, meaning "Death".
  • Dance in the Vampire Bund: Why on Earth would someone name a son pledged as the personal servant of the (reasonably benevolent) Vampire Monarch he has served his whole life Daybreak? Yes, that is exactly how Akira Regendorf's given name is written.
  • The Devil Is a Part-Timer! has a character named Miki Shiba. According to her, Miki means "shining beauty", which doesn't describe her at all. However, she apparently used to be rather beautiful.
  • Bleach:
    • Baraggan Louisenbairn, the Segunda Espada, has a name inspired by a Mexican architect, Luis Barragán. Despite the fact that Las Noches (Barragan's base of operations) didn't even have walls or a roof when Sousuke Aizen showed up to take control.
    • Kaname Tosen named the Proto-Arrancar White even though its body is pitch black. Aizen commented on the irony. Since Tosen is blind, he wouldn't know that White was colored black. That said, a blind person shouldn't name things after colors.
  • The Severing Crime Edge: Iwai's name means celebration. However, as she points out, she has nothing to celebrate due to her curse and the various dangers in her life.
  • In the final episode of Mobile Suit Gundam: The 08th MS Team, Shiro Amada, whose name is a homophone of the Japanese word for white, adopts a group of Artificial Newtype children, the eldest of whom is a black boy who is rechristened as Shiro Amada Junior.
  • One of the recurring minor villains in the second season of Mobile Suit Gundam 00 is a ruthless General Ripper and all-around Bad Boss, with pretty much zero redeeming virtues. His name? Arthur Goodman.
  • Shimazaki Ryou in Mob Psycho 100, whose given name means “clarity”. He’s blind.
  • One Piece:
    • The island of Little Garden is only little to the huge prehistoric beasts that live there.
    • "Massacre Soldier" Killer seems to have an ironic name (if it's his real name, of course) and epitaph. Among all the Eleven Supernovas/ Worst Generation, he's the one of the Only Sane Man and anything but Ax-Crazy. He's the one who has to keep his captain, Eustass Kid, calm.
  • A Certain Magical Index: Ayu Mitsuari's last name actually fits (Mitsuari means "honeypot ant" and that is her Animal Motif), but Ayu means "love" and "joy" while she is a very bitter and angry person.
  • There's a relatively minor character named "Arisugawa Kintarou" in Maria-sama ga Miteru. Kintarou is named after a famous folklore hero renown for his strength and masculinity. Kintarou is a transgender Girly Girl who prefers going by "Alice".
  • Ano Kiss has "Moe", a Comically Serious girl with a blunt character, who may or may not stalk her girlfriend as a hobby. Adding to the irony, said girlfriend Mizuki, whom people see as the Tomboy of the two, is far more prone to exhibit typically moe behaviour (shyness, blushing, insecurity, etc.)
  • In Komori-san Can't Decline! the first syllable of Komori and Ootani's names mean "small" and "large" respectively, an irony that they point out when talking to each other for the first time (Komori is six feet tall and Ootani is really short). They jokingly refer to each other as Oomori and Kotani.
  • Durarara!! has Shizuo Heiwajima whose name means "quiet hero/peaceful island". Shizuo is a Hot-Blooded man with Hair-Trigger Temper who can barely spend a day without getting into a violent fight — especially if Izaya is involved.
  • Space Patrol Luluco has Midori Save-The-World. Despite a very heroic sounding last name, she's the Token Evil Teammate. It becomes a Meaningful Name in the epilogue when she becomes chief of the Space Patrol Ogikubo branch.
  • The male protagonist of Itsudatte My Santa! is a boy named Santa who hates Christmas.
  • In Idol Densetsu Eriko, Eriko's dogs are named Fortissimo and Pianissimo. Fortissimo is quiet and Pianissimo is noisy.
  • Hungry Marie has a male protagonist named "Bijogi Taiga". The "bijo" in his name means "pretty girl"... which he actually becomes when his soul ends up in the body of a dead French princess after serving as a sacrifice in a fishy ritual that went wrong.
  • Fuka Reventon from ViVid Strike! is probably the single poorest named character in the entire Lyrical Nanoha franchise, yet she's named after one of the most expensive cars that Lamborghini ever produced.
  • In the dub of Smile Pretty Cure, Emily's hero name is Glitter Lucky. Normally, she is anything but.
  • Risa and Atsushi, the protagonists of Lovely Complex have surnames that translate to "little spring" (Koizumi) and "big valley" (Otani), respectively. Their names would be fitting if it weren't for their contradictory heights.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, the former Gym Leader was Falkner's dad, who like him specializes in Flying-types. His name is Walker.
  • Zombie Land Saga: Pre-transition, Lily's name was "Masao Go". This is a very masculine name, yet she's a cutesy girly girl. Saki lampshades how ultra-masculine "Masao" is.

    Comic Books 
  • In Y: The Last Man the main character, Yorick, was named for the Shakespearean Posthumous Character of the same name and his most interesting trait is that he doesn't die. Similarly his sister Hero spends a lot of time as The Atoner for a good reason...
  • Dreadful Musician Harmony Smurf from The Smurfs.
  • New Gods
    • Granny Goodness is not, by any stretch of the imagination, a nice old lady.
    • Amazing Grace is far from the saint her name implies.
  • The title character of Empowered frequently ends up in fanservicey bondage situations and is plagued with self-confidence and body-image issues.
  • Scott Summers is a Hurting Hero who lost any shred of idealism long ago.
  • Transformers: Shattered Glass takes place in a Mirror Universe where the Autobots are evil and the Decepticons are good, making the latter faction's name ironic. Various characters that had Meaningful Names for their original personality likewise become this.
  • Lex Luthor is the archenemy of Superman, The Superhero. Depending on the continuity, "Lex" is usually short for either "Alexei" or "Alexander", both of which are greek, meaning, "Defender" and "Defender of men" respectively. "Lex" itself means "The Law".
  • In the early 80s a US spy ring was busted, led by Navy man John Walker. In the mid-80s Captain America was replaced by the Super-Patriot, who changed his name to US Agent after Cap reclaimed the Captain America role. His real name: John Walker.
  • Iznogoud: To quote Wa'at Alahf's mini-biography from the beginning of each book, "This fellow, despite his name, didn't laugh very often."
  • Wolverine's real name, Logan, is ironic as he is generally drawn as short, but Mount Logan is the highest mountain in Canada.
  • Planet Terry has Princess Ugly, who turns out to be beautiful when Terry and his friends go to search for her.
  • Ofelia from Mortadelo y Filemón. While Hamlet's Ophelia is portrayed as a fair, fragile, delicate maiden, the TIA secretary is her exact opposite: overweight, strong, aggressive and ill-tempered.
  • In The Umbrella Academy, Vanya ("gift of God") is The Team Normal who later goes on to destroy the world. Perhaps her mother wanted to make her feel appreciated?

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aliens: Private Frost dies by getting accidentally roasted by a fellow Marine's flamethrower.
  • Benigno's name in Pedro Almodóvar's Talk to Her translates as "harmless", and it certainly seems to fit the sweet, demure nurse, until it is revealed he has raped Alicia, the coma patient in his care.
  • In The Impostors, Happy Franks is so depressed he keeps trying to kill himself.
  • Richmond Valentine from Kingsman: The Secret Service. "Valentine" is widely known as the holiday to offer love towards your fellow man. On the other hand, this Valentine has nothing but contempt for humanity and is engineering a worldwide Hate Plague.
  • In Enchanted, Disney's Affectionate Parody of itself, Nancy, who is about to marry a single father, has the same last name ("Tremaine") as the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella. Nancy turns out to be perfectly nice, wants her beloved to be happy and snags the prince at the end.
  • In Mean Girls 2, the promiscuous member of the new Plastics is named Chastity.
  • The Fifth Element: "Jean-Baptiste" and "Emmanuel" are a pair of given names rich in Christian symbolism. So they're given to Jean-Baptiste Emmanuel Zorg, an insane and callous weapons magnate with a fetish for "creative" destruction.
  • In Room, while Ma's name was never revealed in the book, in the movie, it was revealed to be Joy.
  • In The Wind (1928): What would you name a town in the middle of a bone-dry desert that is afflicted by neverending, punishing winds? "Sweet Water", of course.
  • In Die Hard, the terrorists arrive in a truck labeled "Pacific Courier" which translates to "Bringer of Peace".
  • Tango from Tango & Cash has made a small fortune playing the stock market. Thus, he's wealthier than his partner, Cash.
  • In The Force Awakens, John Boyega's character takes on the name "Finn", which means "white" or "fair" in Irish.
  • Dear White People: Sam White identifies strongly as being black.
  • Holocaust 2000: The Antichrist has the given name "Angel".
  • The Devil's Advocate: Christabella, aka "Christ the Beautiful", is the Daughter of Satan.
  • Insomnia: Dormer's name is a cognate for the word "to sleep" in several Romance languages. Even moreso, his first name is "Will." His name is literally "the will to sleep" when in fact he is The Insomniac.

  • Discworld
    • The Carters from Lords and Ladies: the daughters, as is traditional, are all named after virtues (Hope, Patience, Chastity), but then Mr and Mrs Carter got a bit confused and named all the sons after vices (Bestiality, Covetousness, Anger). None of the children live up to their names.
    • Adora Belle Dearheart from Going Postal is anything but adorable. Most people who know her call her "Killer". Her love interest, Moist von Lipwig, calls her "Spike". Mind you, she's a wonderful person, just not "adorable".
    • Captain Murderer from Snuff is a smuggler (but quite attached to his name).
  • The Divine Comedy:
    • There's an idiot in Purgatory punishing for reveling the suffering of her neighbors, and she points out that, "Although my name is Sapia, I was anything but Sapient."
    • The lowest sphere of Heaven is relegated to the inconstant who failed their vows in some way, so it is quite the coincidence that a woman named "Constanza" is one of the two saints the protagonist meets here.
  • Pippin Galadriel Moonchild in Good Omens goes by Pepper, as she is a short scruffy tomboy with a temper.
  • Festina Ramos from The League of Peoples Verse: in Expendable, she bitterly notes in her narration that "Festina" means "The Happy One" and her typical state of mind is anything but happy.
  • The Kitty Norville series is about a werewolf named Kitty. Whenever anyone comments on it, she says the name came first.
  • In Jennifer Scales and the Messenger of Light, the twisted, monstrous villain with darkness-related powers is named Evangelos, which means "Messenger of Light".
  • In the Robin Hood stories, Little John's Ironic Nickname directly derives from his given name, John Little.
  • A Song of Ice and Fire
    • Two of the Freys have names that are ironic in terms of who they are named for. The severely mentally retarded Aegon (generally known as Jinglebell because his Jerkass grandfather makes him act as a jester) is named after a great military leader and ruler. Similarly, Rhaegar Frey, a slimy and totally mediocre man, is named after a Pretty Boy Knight in Shining Armor who was both a sensitive intellectual and a military genius.
    • In-universe, "Spotted Pate" is a folklore character who, while dim-witted, was Born Lucky and always succeeds/makes nobles look ridiculous (basically the equivalent to Jack, Hans, etc. in our folklore). As a result, it is a popular name for Westerosi peasants. However, (perhaps because they are peasants) most of the Pates in-story are singularly unlucky:
      • At one point, the outlaw Tom O'Sevens is listing his grievances against the Lannisters, and he names at least five Pates he knew whose deaths he blames on them, including his cousin Ser Pate who was killed in a tourney by Gregor Clegane.
      • Another Pate is the royal whipping boy and gets flogged for bad deeds by the Princes (or just when Cersei wants to teach her son a lesson).
      • Pate of Oldtown was murdered and had his identity stolen by a shape-shifting assassin.
    • The Brave Companions is a mercenary band of criminals, psychos and exiles from across the narrow sea. Despite their title, they aren't particularly renowned for bravery being mostly cowards that sides for whoever is winning at the moment and are better at hurting innocents than being fighting. They are better known for other nicknames such as "Bloody Mummers" or "Footman", but don't dare to call them that to their faces if you want to keep your limbs.
  • Each of John Steakley's novels features a character named Felix ("happy/lucky") who is Blessed with Suck.
  • Varsian the Immortal from Lacuna dies moments after introducing himself.
  • In Harry Potter, Amycus Carrow is one of Voldemort's Death Eaters, but his name is similar to the Latin word amicus which means friend. (This is, however, coincidental, as the name is derived from the Greek Amykos.)
  • The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter features a character named John Singer. He's a deaf mute.
  • In Garry Kilworth's House Of Tribes, every single member of the mouse tribe "Invisibles" has that kind of a name; Hearallthings (deaf), Goingdownfast (an excellent swimmer), Ferocious (the meekest one), etc.
  • The eponymous character of the Koziołek Matołek series has a name that means literally "silly billy-goat". However, he isn't really stupid, and the narrative even notes several times how smart and clever he is.
  • Felix Castor: What do you call a character who accidentally killed his own little sister a second time, accidentally made his best friend's Demonic Possession permanent (and had to do it a second time to save the world) and is in unrequited love with a lesbian succubus? If you're Mike Carey, you name him Felix ("lucky") and, for good measure, name the poor bastard with the chronic Demonic Possession Rafael.
  • In the foreword of Agatha Christie's The Labours of Hercules, the irony of Hercule Poirot's name (as he is a highly cerebral Lawful Good Armchair Detective named after an Anti-Heroic Boisterous Bruiser) is pointed out to him by a classicist, leading him to take a series of 12 cases with allusions to the classical labours of Hercules.
  • Another Agatha Christie example is one half of spy duo Tommy and Tuppence; Tuppence's real name is Prudence, but she is the more hot-headed and impetuous of the two, very rarely ever acting with any.
  • One of the protagonists of Doctrine of Labyrinths is named Felix, as in "lucky," but his misfortunes include Mind Rape, slavery, forced prostitution, physical torture, temporary insanity, incarceration in a dungeon and a Bedlam House,frame-ups for murder and treason, exile, and the horrible deaths of various people close to him.
  • In Ro Te O, Ryou's name means "cool" or "refreshing" (both relating to water because of kanji given by Word of God). Ryou has fire powers.
  • In Children of the Red King, the Heroic Albino character is named Billy Raven. However, it's also a bit of a Meaningful Name if you take his power into account.
  • In Everworld, Jalil at one point mentions that his name is Hindi for "godlike," and Lampshades how odd that is for an African-American atheist. Also, the queen of the Amazons is named Pretty Little Flower.
  • The short fantasy comedy Dragon In Distress has Sir George, who is trying to rescue his dragon. The irony comes from his namesake: St. George (Famed for being a dragonslayer.).
  • Shoemaker Snäll from Children of Noisy Village. Snäll is Swedish for kind, but he's an alcoholic Jerkass who abuses his dog.
  • Isaac Asimov:
    • The Complete Adventures of Lucky Starr: John Bigman Jones; he's 5'2", and sensitive about height jokes. (Bigman seems to be his legal middle name, but he insists on using it due to his obsession that people not overlook him.)
    • Robot novels: The "Spacers" are humans from the fifty interstellar colony worlds. While the Spacer name is used by both people from Earth and the Spacers themselves, the Spacer Worlds are so utopian in terms of wealth and standard of living, and the Spacers themselves Long-Lived and spoiled by luxury supported by armies of robot servants, that they have become chronically risk-averse, and the vast majority of them never actually leave the planets that they are born on to engage in space travel.
  • Patience, in Dinoverse. Impatience isn't her primary personality trait, but it's among them.
  • In one of the Queens Thief books, Attolia and Eddis have a wry conversation about their ill-fitting birth names. Irene and Helen, respectively—one means peace, one is the woman whose face launched a thousand ships, and they know they don't fit the bill.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • The name Petal is usually for a soft-spoken and kind she-cat. But as for Petal from Dawn Of The Thunder says: "Which cat named her 'Petal'? There's nothing soft about her!"
    • The character Quick Water hates water, much to the amusement of Turtle Tail.
  • The Greater Good: Anyone who knows the word meaning would expect a planet named Fecundia to be a bountiful agri-world. Instead, it's a heavily polluted note  Forge World.
  • In the Jacob's Ladder Trilogy, the various AIs are named after angels. Samael, whose name means "Poison of God", holds the role of Angel of Life Support.
  • In Nocturne, it's actually lampshaded how poorly the flamboyant and melodramatic Modesty Brabazon's name fits her.
  • The Hunger Games: The Quarter Quell's name is this, as the quell means "to subdue something", which in the case of the 3rd Quarter Quell, means "subdue this rebellion that's going on right under our noses". The quell ends in La Résistance gaining more firepower and their main target a reason to gun for the President's head.
  • The Dinosaur Lords: Little Nell is a two-tonnes dinosaur much bigger than a horse.
  • The Traitor Son Cycle: The name "Gabriel" means "God is my strongman". Gabriel in the story believes that God hates him, and reciprocates the feeling.
  • Glory from Wings of Fire has a noble sounding name. She was disliked by the dragons who her named her due to being a RainWing and being a spare who was only taken in because they lost the right egg for The Prophecy.
  • "Wooster" is an old Scots word meaning "one who woos". Much of Jeeves and Wooster is about Bertie trying to find a gentlemanly way out of Accidental Proposals.
  • Lampshaded twice in The Fifth Season:
    • The story is set on "The Stillness", a continent rife with earthquakes, supervolcanoes, tsunamis, and other seismic phenomena that periodically turn the place into a Death World. The narration calls it "a land of quiet and bitter irony".
    • Graduates of the Fulcrum are given a rock-themed Meaningful Rename, a nod to their Dishing Out Dirt powers. A man with extremely black skin turns out to be named Alabaster, which Syenite assumes to have been a joke on someone's part.
  • In The Seven Lady Godivas, one of Dr. Seuss' more obscure books, the obese Godiva sister is named Teenie.
  • Nina Tanleven: Discussed in The Ghost Wore Gray - Nine notes in the narration that "Dieter" might seem like a funny name for a cook, but then adds that it isn’t said like it looks (the actual pronunciation is Deeter).
  • Survivor Dogs:
    • Sweet is not sweet. When Lucky meets her in the first book, she's a timid and easily frightened dog, but when they meet again in the second book she's the stern and serious beta of the Wild Pack. As an alpha, Sweet is a Reasonable Authority Figure but she's not to be reckoned with.
    • Lucky's name zigzags between being an ironic name and being a Meaningful Name depending on what's happening. Alpha even calls Lucky's name a "cruel joke" before kicking him out of the pack. Lucky always ends up okay in the end, but he's always attracted trouble and misfortune.
  • In Wicked, the atheistic and Ambiguously Evil Wicked Witch of the West is named "Elphaba" after the Unionist saint Aelphaba of the Waterfall.
  • In Beauty: A Retelling of Beauty and the Beast, Beauty is plain-looking compared to her more beautiful sisters Grace and Hope. The irony disappears at the end, however, when she learns that her time at the Beast's castle has turned her into a true beauty.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • The show seems to love doing this. You'd think that characters with names like Angel, Faith, Harmony and Glory would be heroic characters, but they're all villains. While Angel does pull a Heel–Face Turn eventually, he's still a vampire and becomes more of an Anti-Hero than a shining example of heroism. Faith also does a Heel–Face Turn thanks to Angel. Harmony eventually becomes Angel's secretary. She's still evil, just not very good at it. Of the four, Glory is the only really purely evil one (and she's at least Faux Affably Evil).
    • It should be noted that Angel specifically picked his name to be ironic (his real name is Liam): he is the "vampire with the angelic face." His evil side, when it resurfaces, is referred to with the much more intimidating name of "Angelus."
  • A later-season episode of CSI: NY had Flack and Jo interviewing two street thugs nicknamed "Black Mike" and "White Mike". Things got confusing when it's revealed that Black Mike, who is black, is really named Mike White, and White Mike, who is white, is really named Mike Black.
  • Drop the Dead Donkey has Gus Hedges' sarcastic, cynical, caustic, occasionally violent PA, who scares most of her colleagues - including the ones who've reported from warzones. Her name; Joy Merryweather.
  • The BBC show Merlin (2008) had a villain called Valiant, who was using underhanded tactics to cheat in a tournament.
  • The Dukes of Hazzard: Starting around season 3, Sheriff Rosco started a K-9 unit by acquiring Flash. Flash is a lazy Basset Hound who does nothing but loaf around, receive Rosco's affections, and occasionally bark at Boss Hogg.
  • Horatio Hornblower: Midshipman Clayton observes that there never has been a man more wrongly named than Captain Keene. He's an old and tired gentleman who keeps coughing and breathing heavily, barely managing to captain his ship. However, at least he can be an entertaining Deadpan Snarker, and surprisingly, he doesn't die of his illness and old age.
  • The Bible: Nebuchadnezzar sees the humor in sacking and burning Jerusalem.
    Nebuchadnezzar: (to his charioteer) You know what "Jerusalem" means? "City of peace!" (both laugh)
  • On House of Anubis it seems that Joy's name will never fit her life, considering she was kidnapped, the boy she loved for a while rejected her constantly and rather harshly, her friends all seemed to like Nina more, and when she finally fell in love again it was ripped away from her at the end. No wonder her nickname is Joyless...
  • In the final episode of The Nanny, C.C. Babcock's full name was revealed to be Chastity Claire, a very delicate and feminine name that contrasted sharply with the abrasive Ice Queen C.C. When the name was revealed, everybody in the room (including a woman in the middle of delivering a baby) all looked at her completely shocked.
  • The main villain of Tokumei Sentai Go Busters is called "Messiah". He is anything but.
  • A one-off villain in Have Gun – Will Travel is a gunslinger named Manfred. The irony of a hot-tempered killer being named "man of peace" in Old German is commented on by Paladin.
  • In the Doctor Who 2008 Christmas special Miss Hartigan lampshades her first name during Reverend Fairchild's funeral:
    You've walked past me so many times, all you good men of charity, never once asking my name.
    (A minute later, after her Cybermen started killing the lords attending the funeral)
    It's funny, now I think of it, but in all these years not one of you has asked my first name. It's Mercy.
  • Mike Stoker, both the character on Emergency! and the Real Life firefighter who played him. Historically, stokers kept fires burning in places like metal foundries and steamships. Mike, however, put them out.
  • Charming in Sons of Anarchy. It's a small town with a large history of gang violence.
  • Prudence from One Big Happy is a Manic Pixie Dream Girl who generally acts on impulse, likes to have fun and is not adverse to going around the house naked. In short, the complete opposite of what she's named after.
  • Liv Moore in iZombie is a zombie named "Live More".
  • One episode of C Hi Ps revolved around a new communications system and a new dispatcher. However, said dispatcher suffers from speaking issues and has a grating voice. Getraer later reveals her name is Kathy Lark and comments on the irony.
  • Meta-example: The Goldbergs were confirmed to be Jewish in season three. This includes Barry who's played by Troy Gentile.
  • Person of Interest features two (originally one) artificial intelligences. One is called "The Machine" (a term often used for an uncaring system that treats people like interchangeable units of no worth), and the other, "Samaritan" (as in "Good Samaritan"). The former is the good one and the latter is the evil one.
  • Napoleon Solo, the eponymous man from U.N.C.L.E., was intended to have a Meaningful Name, but his chemistry with Breakout Character Illya Kuryakin was so strong that they became attached at the hip halfway through season one and stayed that way.
  • The title character of Doctor Syn ("The Scarecrow"). An American fugitive who's sent to him for sanctuary is taken aback on being told that the local vicar is named Syn, but it is (as Walt Disney makes sure to point out in one intro) spelled with a y, not an i.
  • Chespirito does this with the nerdy unattractive neighbor in Los Chifladitos once her name is revealed to be Zoila Expectación del Macho (meaning I am the Male's Expectation).
  • Once on 2 Broke Girls, Max Black runs into an old friend of hers, Becky White. Max is Caucasian and Becky is African-American.
  • The titular Legends of Tomorrow were recruited because they had little impact in history from the future where the recruiter was from.
  • In The Walking Dead, Canon Foreigner Daryl Dixon has has a tendency to be a loner. His name means "Open".
  • In The Assassination of Gianni Versace, Andrew's dad is a self-aggrandizing con artist who never tires of boasting about how he built himself up from nothing. His name? Modesto.
  • Lampshaded in Dead Like Me when George wonders who on earth thought to name her shrewish, perpetually aggravated mother "Joy". Becomes Harsher in Hindsight when Joy gets more Character Focus and not-entirely-Happy Flashbacks to show her struggling as a parent while their home life becomes colder and more distant, and when Joy's Blithe Spirit mother (who, presumably, named her) shows up and makes light of Joy's very real problems.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look has Professor Death, he who created a gigantic steampunk barcode reader and had no problem calling it the "Giant Death Ray" without thinking what people obviously assumed it was meant to do. The Running Gag within the sketches in which he appears is that all of the inventions he created are meant for peace (even if the names and appearances don't make them look that way), and he instantly smashes them in a screaming fury whenever someone else points out their potential applications as military weapons.
  • Warehouse 13: In "Merge with Caution", Artie and Claudia run across Mata Hari's stockings, a homewrecking artifact, at an insurance company named Truehart.

  • The members of ZZ Top are famed for their Badass Beards. Well, except for their drummer, Frank Beard, who has a Badass Mustache instead.
  • Lamb of God quite frankly doesn't sound anything like the bunch of choir boys you'd expect. In fact, their previous band name, Burn the Priest, is actually much more fitting to the band's sound.
  • The country group Lady Antebellum is two-thirds male and obviously all of them were born after 1860.
  • OMC stands for Otara Millionaire's Club. Otara is an economically depressed area of Auckland which is unlikely to have many millionaires. The band members picked this name out of self-deprecating irony, assuming that their band would only ever be well-known locally, only to have a worldwide runaway hit in their single "How Bizarre," leading to...well, perhaps not millions of dollars, but certainly more than a few hefty paychecks.
  • More than half of Superchic[k] is male, including both the secondary vocalist and founder.
  • John Balance, co-founder of Coil, died after falling off of a balcony.
  • One of the members of LOONA, Choi Yerim, uses the stagename "Choerry," pronounced "cherry." However, she's mentioned in interviews she actually can't stand the taste of cherries.
  • Roger Waters of Pink Floyd ended up being the most acidic and volatile of his bandmates, contrary to the neutral pH of actual water. Perhaps the only way that his last name could've befit his dynamic with the band would be if one of his bandmates' last names were "Sodium" or "Potassium".

    Professional Wrestling 
  • BLKOUT was a Power Stable that existed in several promotions at the same time. The Chikara branch in particular was almost entirely made up of white men.
  • After Raven took advantage of CM Punk's reluctance to fight women by having Trinity beat him up, CM Punk introduced Ring of Honor to the newest member of the Second City Saints, Lucy, Lucy Furr.
  • Dark matches make up the entirety of Sparkle.
  • Lucha Internacional Femenil tends of feature a larger number of established native stars than its older counterpart, Lucha Libre Femenil, which was forced to use rookies and foreigners early on and embraced the identity it gained for doing so, even after booking superstars such as the Apaches and Hamadas.

  • In Bleak Expectations, Mr. Gently Benevolent is a scheming Dastardly Whiplash and Mr. Skinflint Parsimonious is an Uncle Pennybags.
  • On an episode of This American Life, Sarah Vowell goes to "Goth school" and has to pick her Goth name—something grim and depressing. She picks "Becky" (which, to her, has grim connotations of high school proms and homecoming dances). The teachers are very impressed.
  • The Frantics: Mr. Canoehead's arch nemesis is the Evil Galactic Warlord...LARRY!

    Religion and Mythology 
  • The Bible
    • In the book of Ruth, Naomi (whose name means "pleasant") lampshades her ironic name when she returns to Israel, telling the women of her hometown to call her "Mara" ("bitter") because her life has been anything but pleasant up until that point.
    • Absalom's name combines the words for "father" and "peace." He rebelled against his father, King David, and caused a civil war.
    • "Abimelech" means "my father is king." One bearer was the son of Gideon, a hero who was Offered the Crown but refused it, although that didn't stop Abimelech from trying to take over the country himself.


    Video Games 
  • Modern Warfare:
    • The first name of the terrorist you spend most of the game fighting (Vladimir Makarov) means "ruler of peace".
    • Shepherd is usually the nickname of someone who takes care of a group of people under his watch as best as he can, as well as protecting them from danger. General Shepherd, on the other hand, is rather notorious for disregarding "danger-close", and ends up betraying (and killing) members of his Task Force 141 once they outlive their usefulness. Though this may be somewhat subverted, considering his actions were primarily influenced from losing 30,000 of his men in the previous installment.
  • In Heavenly Sword, Nariko is a Japanese name that means "Gentle Child". She's anything but.
  • The first boss in Madworld is a large hulking brute named Little Eddie. The commentators even lampshade the irony.
  • Golden Sun:
    • Isaac's name means "he laughs" but he's a Heroic Mime in the first game and mostly grumpy in the sequels.
    • Piers doesn't have any peers because of his age issues.
    • In The Lost Age, there's a master blacksmith who's too depressed to work (until you bring him a project that gets his interest). His name? Sunshine.
    • Matthew: Considering Isaac and Jenna's unpleasant history with the local God equivalent, why would they name their son "a gift from God"?
    • The legacy of the late Princess Veriti (Truth) turns out to be entirely false.
  • Raine in Tales of Symphonia is afraid of water.
  • Inazuma Eleven lampshades this with one of its managers, whose last name is Otonashi. Otonashi means "quiet"—the character is the opposite.
  • Pokémon Diamond and Pearl:
    • Cynthia's Japanese name Shirona (white) doesn't reflect her Champion room or her default outfit color at all.
    • Cyrus's Japanese name Akagi means "red (tree/castle/future)". Cyrus's most prominent color, as well as his personality, is blue.
  • In Kingdom Hearts:
    • The Illuminator Heartless shrouds the field in darkness.
    • Xion's name is pronounced "shion". The shion flower represents "remembrance" and is used as a gift to say "I won't forget you." She suffered a Ret Gone. However, Sora and the others gradually start remembering her again and it is implied Sora will be able to bring her back.
  • The Temperance boss in House of the Dead 4 is (according to Word of God, no less), the opposite of temperance: a giant, morbidly-obese frog-man.
  • The title characters of Tiny and Big are named in this manner; Tiny's of average height, while Big is a pipsqueak.
  • One of the "signature hero" NPCs in RuneScape is named Xenia, which refers to the Greek tradition of Sacred Hospitality. The character Xenia is a duplicitous Trickster Mentor who deliberately throws strangers into peril just to see what they do.
    • All the behemoth monsters in Daemonheim have a stomping attack... except the one actually named "Stomp".
  • In Dawn of War Retribution, an ork battlewagon is fought at one point. Now a battlewagon is a blasphemy against the laws of physics and engineering, looks like the unholy offspring of a road train and a tank, has more guns than a Crazy Survivalist and more spikes than a Tin Tyrant. The name of this monstrosity? Daisy.
  • In Dead Rising 3, Kenny Dermot is a psychopath who is envious of the hero. Dermot means "free of envy".
  • Super Mario RPG features Culex, a ferocious Bonus Boss who is easily the most difficult enemy in the game. His name means "mosquito" in Latin.
  • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the largest, noisiest city is called Solitude. It's about as lonely a place as New York.
  • Animal Crossing
    • One of the villagers is named "Lucky". Lucky is completely covered in bandages.
    • Another is Peewee the big black cranky gorilla.
  • A bit of a Running Gag with the Prophets/San'Shyuum of Halo:
    • The Prophet of Truth's entire base of power stems from a lie which could break the Covenant apart and has caused billions of deaths, alien and human. He himself was well-aware of this, and named himself Truth after his ascension to remind himself of all the lies he would have to tell to keep the Covenant and his own power together.
    • The Prophet of Regret is far too self-serving and bloodthirsty to regret anything. His former title, Vice Minister of Tranquility, completely contrasts that he's about as confrontational as the Elites/Sangheili he pals around with, to a level unique among San'Shyuum.
    • The Prophet of Inner Conviction from Halo: Broken Circle, one of the few morally outstanding Prophets given focus, holds doubts regarding his religion from studying "sacred" relics, i.e. advanced electronics and technology.
  • Donkey Kong's Tiny Kong originally had a fitting name. She was the kid sister of Dixie Kong. Diddy Kong Racing DS however aged her up and now she's one of the tallest Kongs. She's much taller than her sister.
  • A meta-example is Final Fantasy. It was originally named because Squaresoft was in financial trouble and the president decided to try throwing together one last game before he retired. The game was an unexpected Breakthrough Hit, and became a franchise spanning over a dozen games, not counting the many, many spin-offs.
  • In Fire Emblem: Shadow Dragon and the Blade of Light, there are two Cavaliers named Cain and Abel. In Mystery of the Emblem, ABEL betrays the party halfway through the game and nearly gets Marth killed (although it is quickly discovered that his wife was being held hostage and he was blackmailed into doing it). Cain, on the other hand, is a staunchly loyal knight to the bitter end.
  • In Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, the character who goes by the codename “Snake” is blind. His real name? Light.
  • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Trials and Tribulations has a restaurant called Tries Bien, which means "very good". The quality of the food and the coffee served there is anything BUT good, which is why the place is in so much debt. Godot, a heavy coffee drinker, says that the coffee served at the restaurant is good, if only for the experience.
  • In-game, the last name of Jon Irenicus in Baldur's Gate II means "The Shattered One"; not counting Bhaal, he's the last person you'd think of to act in a gentle manner. However, in Greek the name "Irene" means "peace"; in Christian theology, an irenicist is someone who advocates using reason and peaceful methods to win arguments (as opposed to a polemicist).
  • Code 7 has S.O.L.I. aka System For Organic Life Integration. Which is a malicious A.I. that wants to Kill All Humans.
  • Stardew Valley gives us the purple-haired Love Interest Abigail, whose name means "father's joy". Certain conversations with her family members will come just short of explicitly stating that she's the byproduct of her mother Caroline having a dalliance with the town's resident wizard (who also has purple hair), while revealing that her relationship with her alleged father Pierre is somewhat strained.
  • Skies of Arcadia: The town of Esperanza, whose name means hope, doesn't really live up to its name. This might have been true in the past, when the city was first established, however, by the time your party gets there, it's anything but. Somber music plays in the background, the entire city is run down and rusting away, and its inhabitants are a jaded, despair-filled bunch. If the irony isn't glaringly obvious, one of the tavern patrons spells it out for you.
  • Yo-Kai Watch:
    • For somebody named Whisper, he's far from somebody who speaks quietly.
    • Faux Kappa basically means "false kappa", which is not true for the character, who is a real one and his behaviour is closer to that of a real kappa compared to Walkappa, as his Trademark Favourite Food are cucumbers, while Walkappa prefers to eat pizza and sushi. In fact, Nate seeks out for Faux Kappa to help him on a school report about kappas, since Walkappa was basically useless.
  • Sunless Sea, as usual for Failbetter Games' writing, tends not to use names for anyone and calls everyone by a nickname. And while usually the nickname is truthful, being given in-universe and letting everyone keep track of who it refers to, the Delightful Adventuress is clearly meant to be ironic, as the woman in question is a jackass putting up a facade of intrepid adventure who tries to screw everyone over when they're not looking and whose actual interests in a mission that is most certainly going to have actual casualties are stupidly petty, essentially doing it all for the sake of insulting a rival.
  • Child of Light has Rubella, a Non-Ironic Clown named after an infectious disease whose specialty is healing magic.
  • Red Alert 3: One of the new units of the Uprising expansion, the Pacifier. On the first campaign mission it becomes available, your intel officer warns you not to be misled by the name, as the Pacifier's artillery mode has tremendous firepower. It doesn't so much as pacify its target as completely obliterate it.
  • World of Warcraft has the high elves, or quel'dorei, which means "children of noble birth", the remnant of a larger race that primarily rebranded themselves blood elves and sided with the Horde, while those that still called themselves high elves stayed with the Alliance. While both of their names would suggest that they keep their bloodline pure and live in luxury, the few of them left are exiles from their own homeland who breed with humans and live in human cities and elven hunting lodges. Meanwhile, the blood elves retain their racial purity and still live in their ancestral home of Quel'Thalas, ironically making them closer to classical depictions of high elves than the ones who still call themselves such. Pointed out by one of the Arc Villains of the Suramar storyline in Legion:
    Grand Magistrix Elisande: Quel'dorei? You are peasants playing at nobility, all too willing to mingle with lesser races that dilute your bloodline. You are unworthy of the name high elves.
  • Bayonetta: Many angels and some demons have names that do not fit how they act. Fortitudo, named after and representing the Cardinal Virtue of Courage, actively avoids fighting Bayonetta during the game's first few chapters until she flat-out provokes him. Iustitia/justice is the only one of the Virtues to attack without saying anything first, with no warning, and by far looks the most Lovecraftian of the four. The sequel introduces Sloth, who moves fast and is one of the most challenging demon enemies in the entire game.

    Web Animation 
  • The eponymous B Happy from the Web Premiere Toons series of the same name is a rather surly and cynical Bluebird of Happiness.
  • There is a giant named "Tiny" in Ever After High.
  • Handy from Happy Tree Friends is a combination of this and Meaningful Name. The ironic part is that he doesn't actually have hands, instead having bandaged nubs in their place. The meaningful part is that despite this, he's actually a perfectly capable repairman, builder, and construction worker... as long as the actual fixing or building takes place off-screen.
  • In RWBY: Leonardo Lionheart is the headmaster of Haven Academy, which means he should be one of the greatest Huntsmen, and therefore warrior heroes, alive. His name effectively means 'lion-hearted lion', compounding the bravery of a lion twice over in two different names. However, he is inspired by the Cowardly Lion and is a timid man who collapses to the ground in shock when he opens his door to find a group of armed heroes about to knock his door in. His role in the story is defined by his fear of what the Big Bad is capable of and the possibility that there is nothing the Big Good can do about it. While Raven tries to dismiss his guilt as it being common sense and good survival instincts to give in to his fears, he is all too aware of his own cowardice and the depths to which he has sunk because of it.
  • RWBY Chibi: Neptune Vasillias has a name that means 'King Neptune', as in the Roman god of freshwater and the sea. However, Neptune is absolutely terrified of water. While it's played for laughs in the main show, the link to his name is never made. However, in Chibi, this link is directly referenced. When the students decide to go on holiday to the beacon, Ren has to drag Neptune across the floor, complaining that he cannot believe someone with Neptune's name could be so scared of the water.
  • Sparkles in The Grossery Gang webseries. She's a soda can that used to be sweet and kind. Now, she's sour and sarcastic.

    Web Comics 
  • Tiffany "Susan" Pompoms of El Goonish Shive always goes by her middle name, because she considers her actual first- and last-name to be too "perky and upbeat" for her cynical, sardonic personality. (Ironically, it's been made quite clear that if it wasn't for ONE traumatic childhood event, she would've wound up fitting her name just perfectly.)
  • Magellan has Charisma, who, while attractive, lacks personal charisma.
  • Achewood has Nice Pete, a sociopathic murderer.
    Ray: I ain't goin' there alone, because I don't want to, and you're tight with that Nice Pete creep he keeps around.
    Téodor: No one's tight with Nice Pete. He'd murder dead things if science would let him.
  • In Lapse, the main character's last name is "Fortune," however, the situation she finds herself in is less than fortunate.
  • Bianca in But I'm a Cat Person, whose name means "white" in Italian, is black and proud of it.
  • Officer Getskilled from Girly never dies during the course of the comic. Instead, he ends up becoming immortal during the final arc.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Mai, whose name means "Smile." She's played as a Goth who finds everything boring.
    • There's also Toph Beifong, whose name translates to "fragile lotus". She's anything but. It makes sense in context, though, as her parents certainly thought that she was fragile.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • Korra's father is a huge man who towers over his wife, Senna. His name, Tonraq, is an Inuit word for "tiny man".
    • At least three Spin-Offspring characters: Opal Beifong, who's an airbender (although she plays with the trope in that the gemstone for which she's named is sometimes associated with the element of air); her brother Huan (meaning: "cheery"), who's a goth; and Fire Lord Izumi (meaning: wellspring).
  • The villain Peking Duck from The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat. His name is taken from a Beijing duck recipe. Also counts as a Punny Name.
  • Ruby Gloom, from the eponymous show: her last name is "Gloom", but she is anything but gloomy.
  • Angelica from Rugrats. Although she acts angelic when she's around adults so they seldom catch on to her true bratty nature.
  • Johnny Test has Mr. Black and Mr. White, the former being caucasian and the latter being African-American.
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars has the leader of the Death Watch, Pre Vizsla. Vizslas are a breed of Hungarian pointer hounds known for being gentle mannered, very loyal and caring towards their owners, and quite compatible with children. Pre Vizsla is a Proud Warrior Race Guy who betrayed his monarch, loathes Jedi, leads a terrorist organisation, and burns down villages for fun.
  • Star Wars Rebels: The Greek Goddess Hera was Zeus's wife and patron of marriage, but she's also known for her vengeful nature, hunting Zeus's illegitimate children, and being an Abusive Parent for Hephaestus. Considering this, it's quite ironic that Hera Syndulla, the caring Team Mom of this series, is named after her.
  • Happens momentarily in The Transformers. Cliffjumper is the hot-headed Leeroy Jenkins of the Autobots who would gladly leap off a cliff to engage the Decepticons. Amusingly, the one time that the Autobots are called on to jump up a cliff, he's the only one who can't make the jump.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog is Exactly What It Says on the Tin. It's about a dog named Courage who is a Cowardly Lion. Despite his fears though he always ends up saving his family in the end.
  • The scarecrow in Rankin/Bass Productions's Tales of the Wizard of Oz is named Socrates, but because he doesn't have a brain, he's a Cloud Cuckoolander.
  • Similar to the Johnny Test example above, in Littlest Pet Shop (2012) the Bisket twins are named Whittany and Brittany, the former being black-haired and the latter being white-haired.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Fluttershy has a pet bunny rabbit named Angel. His behavior, however, is far from angelic, hovering somewhere between Jerkass and Jerk with a Heart of Gold Depending on the Writer.
    • Fancy Pants doesn't wear pants.
    • Zesty Gourmand from "Spice Up Your Life!" is an influential food critic who's forced every restaurant in Canterlot's Restaurant Row to serve what she considers to be ideal cuisine: bland and almost flavorless (not at all "zesty") and in tiny portions (not at all what a "gourmand" would want to eat).
  • Total Drama:
    • Team Victory, one of the three teams of World Tour, and by far the least successful.
    • Sugar, one of the third generation campers, has a very mean-spirited personality.
  • The Brothers Flub: Guapo, the fat one, has a name that's Spanish for "handsome".
  • In the Rainbow Magic movie, the three dumb goblins are named Newton, Leonardo, and Edison.
  • In South Park episode "The List", one of the ugly kids is named Jamal, which is Arabic for "beauty."
  • Hey Arnold! has Eugene, whose name means "born lucky." He...really wasn't. In fact he was apparently born on Friday the 13th.
  • In Steven Universe:
    • Real life Lapis Lazulis dissolves in water, compared to the character herself.
    • Peridot's name is a for a gemstone often associated with good luck, peace, and success. However, Peridot seems to have bad luck, failure, and violence with the Crystal Gems. It became less ironic later on when joining the Crystal Gems.
    • Amythest, the gemstone, literally means "Avoiding drunkness," and represents stability, soberity, and balance. The character itself is a hedonist who is all about enjoying the earthly pleasures for the kicks, likes physical fighting, and is the most prone to mischief.
    • Jasper as a stone is notable for being nurturing, protecting, caring, and providing mental stability. The character is none of those and becomes more insane as the show goes on.
    • Sugilite stones are said to serve as protection from anger and negative feelings. The fusion Sugilite is more or less the psychotic Token Evil Teammate.
    • Opal would sometimes forget what she's doing. Real life Opal's are meant to prevent forgetfulness.
    • Malachite is associated with successful practical relationships, while Malachite's parts ends up at each other's throats.
    • Diamonds are seen as symbols of innocence and the integrity of moral values. The Great Diamond Authority, however, is far from anything Diamonds represent.
      • Yellow Diamond, however, deserves a mention. She is are the birthstone for Virgo, and Virgos are associated with order, intelligence, and cold calculation. When she finally appears in the show proper, she does fit the bill at first, but as her talk with Peridot goes on, it becomes readily apparent that for however much a being of logic she might be, she's clearly also a vengeful and spiteful being who would gladly destroy the Earth for payback against the rebellion.
      • Then there's White Diamond;
      • White diamonds symbolize purity and clarity, but White Diamond embodies madness and corruption. White Diamond is known for her terrifying anger, comes across to viewers as decidedly off, and participated in a corruption blast that mutated countless gems.
      • White diamonds also symbolize love, given that they are traditional components of women's wedding rings. White Diamond implies herself to be devoid of love or empathy.
    • A Pearl is one of the birthstones for Gemini, which represents a free mind. The Pearls in Homeworld are all a slave race, and are treated like an object instead of a actual person.
    • Rubies are associated with nobility, and are actually rarer than a Diamond, while the ones in this show are a expandable soldier caste.
      • Also, they are considered to be gems that sharpen the human's mind. Rubies are expected to be dumb and forgettable in Homeworld's society.
    • In the Off-Colors:
      • Rhodonite of the off-color gems is said to decrease anxiety, and she's a Nervous Wreck
      • Padparadscha sapphires are one of the rarest gems in the world - mostly found in Sri Lanka - and are among the most valuable varieties of sapphires. The first one we meet in the show is considered an undesirable in Homeworld's system, though it might just be this one specifically. Because padparadschas are rare in the real world, buyers often have to settle for less desirable "cloudy" padparadschas, which may be why this one has "cloudy" vision.
    • Emeralds are meant to represent love, peace, and luck, something which the character emerald doesn't have in her debut apperance.
  • A minor character in Gravity Falls episode "The Stanchurian Candidate" is a random Gravity Falls citizen named Tad Strange who, as noted by Soos, is ridiculously plain and boring and not even a tad strange in the Cloudcuckooland that is Gravity Falls.
    Tad Strange: Hi guys. Tad's the name and being normal is my game.
    Mabel: Lovin' you, Tad!
    Tad: And I love bread.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, the titular character's love interest is Adrien Agreste. Agreste means "rustic," which doesn't describe Adrien's wealthy upbringing in a Gilded Cage at all. His father Gabriel is a subversion; "agreste" is also the French name for the grayling butterfly, and Gabriel is secretly Hawk Moth.
  • Kaeloo: In one episode, it is revealed that Mr. Cat, a sadistic psychopath with a Hair-Trigger Temper whose favorite hobby is to torture people with weapons, gave his bazooka a name. Its name is "Patience".
  • Wacky Races (2017): Tiny Gruesome is a big Frankenstein Monster and Bella is a short, not particularly attractive monster. Their names were actually more fitting in the original series, where they were respectively called Big and Little.
  • Xiaolin Chronicles has a manipulative, infamous criminal named Salvador, whose name is Spanish for "saviour".
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Numbuh Three's mother is an uptight, no-nonsense woman, yet her name is Genki.
  • Matt's Monsters: The protagonist is named Matt Average. His life is anything but.
  • In one episode of The Critic, Jay rescues a puppy he finds in an alley and names him Tiny. The dog ends up growing to be so big, that at one point, he manages to eat a burglar that tries to break into Jay's apartment! Or at least it's implied that he did since there was a ski mask and grappling hook in his food dish, and he coughs up a flashlight.

    Real Life 
  • Freakonomics contains the examples of Winner Lane, whose most noted achievement was his criminal record and subsequent prison time, and Loser Lane, his brother, who ended up becoming much more successful (and now goes by "Lou").
  • In July of 1839, a group of kidnapped, enslaved Africans took control of their kidnappers's vessel. They were later captured off the coast of Long Island, and court proceedings were undertaken to determine their fate (either prosecuted for murder, returned to slavery or allowed back to Africa). Thanks to a Supreme Court ruling, the Africans were allowed to return home. The name of the slave ship? La Amistad, which means "Friendship" in Spanish.
  • An American destroyer captain led the destroyer charge that scored a number of torpedo hits at Surigao Strait during the Battle of Leyte Gulf. His name was Coward.
  • John Coward was the first officer of British Airways Flight 38 and was in control of the plane when it lost power. Together with the other pilots he managed to get it down without any casualties. Afterwards, one newspaper had the headline "Coward in name only."
  • Wes Craven ("craven" meaning "cowardly") was most famous for directing horror movies like The Hills Have Eyes (1977) and A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984).
  • Romulus Augustulus, the last Western Roman Emperor, had the names of the legendary founder of Rome and the first Roman Emperor. Actually named called Romulus Augustus, the -ulus was added as a disparaging nickname, making the name "Little Augustus".
  • The drummer of ZZ Top is named Frank Beard. He is the only member of the band who does not have a beard; the other two sport chest-length ones.
  • Comedian Adam Hills cites a real life example in his shows: he goes on a rant about irony and how many people don't understand it. After one such show, a woman comes up to him and informs him that she is diabetic. Her name is Candy.
  • There was this robber and murderer named Charles Peace...
  • One of the officers (and prime fall guy) responsible for the Rodney King beating is named Stacey Koon (for the blissfully unaware, 'Coon' is a highly derogatory term for a black person, and the Rodney King beating was probably racially motivated).
    Bill Hicks: So this guy, officer Koon... Is life too fucking weird, or what?
  • Similarly, the last racist anthropologist to be taken seriously was named Carleton Coon.
  • Lance Armstrong, a former champion cyclist in a sport generally associated with leg strength (although like any sport that's only part of the equation).
  • From the NFL, retired New England Patriot Patrick Pass may very well have had the best quarterback name in history. Too bad he was a running back.
  • The symbol of Christianity is the cross. David Cross, on the other hand, is an atheist who was born Jewish.
  • GG Allin's birth name is Jesus Christ Allins. He grew up to become the most profane, obscene, transgressive, offensive, and infamous punk rocker of his day.
  • Noted atheist (or as he would put it, "anti-theist") Christopher Hitchens first name means "Christ-bearer".
  • Andrea. Funny thing is, despite it sounding like a name for women, the original meaning comes from the Greek root of "man". Triples as an Unfortunate Name and Cross-Cultural Kerfluffle if a female with that name travels to Greece, Italy, or Albania, as it will provoke only laughter.
  • Batman bin Suparman (which means Batman, son of Superman) is a Singaporean criminal.
  • The Google Chrome browser is named after what it's trying to have as little of as possible: the GUI part of the browser (tabs, address bar, title bar etc) which takes up screen real-estate.
  • A Gratuitous German example would be Governor Altgeld (De. old money) of Illinois, who kick-started the Progressive Era.
  • Israeli actor Lior Ashkenazi is actually Sephardi, not Ashkenazi.
  • Fourth-century bishop Saint Lucifer of Cagliari (his day: 20 May).
  • James M. Fail was a successful businessman from Alabama. Despite his extensive philanthropy, he was reluctant to put his name on anything, until he got the opportunity to name the visitor's locker room inside the University of Alabama's Bryant-Denny Stadium.
  • In 2014, the only female driver in the Indianapolis 500 was Pippa Mann.
  • The Neverending Story was written by Michael Ende, which is of course German for "end".
  • French marshal Georges Mouton, count of Lobau (1770-1838), considered one of Napoleon's bravest generals. Mouton is French for "sheep", but as Napoleon said after a battle in 1809: "Mon Mouton est un lion" — "My Sheep is a lion".
  • The Pacific Ocean. "Pacific" means "Peaceful". Now consider how many naval battles took place in the ocean during World War II, including several contenders for largest naval battle in history. Also consider that the Ring of Fire, and earthquake and volcanic hotspot, encircles this ocean.
  • Tillikum is the name of the killer whale that was involved in three deaths, two of which were at SeaWorld Florida. In Chinook, his name means "friend."
  • Kurt Tank was a German engineer responsible for the creation of several important aircraft for the German Luftwaffe later pressed into service at the advent of World War II. These aircraft included the famed Focke-Wulf Fw 190 fighter and Ta 190 interceptor, both which would become Cool Planes for the war.
  • Don a white supremacist. Not entirely out of place as his surname also means "evil".
  • Battlecruiser HMS Invincible, which exploded into smithereens in the Battle of Jutland due to a lucky hit to propellant magazine. Doubles with Harsher in Hindsight.
  • Basketball player Shaquille O'Neal; Shaquille means "little warrior". Shaq measures 7'1" and weighed around 275 lbs. in his prime.
  • Some dude named Legalov kept using the scientific illustrations of a butterfly researcher without asking for permission. But revenge is sweet.
  • One of the most prolific horror writers was called H. P. Lovecraft.
    • Made even less appropriate by him being racist, unaffectionate, and divorced.
  • The Spirit of Safety I was a Goodyear Blimp used for publicity by Goodyear Tire and Rubber to promote the safety of its products. On 12 June 2011, it crashed in flames in Germany, after the pilot made a Heroic Sacrifice by sacrificing his chance to escape so that the 3 passengers can jump off the blimp unharmed.
  • Both Alliterative Name and Alliterative Title are anything but.
  • Æthelred II, King of the English (966 – 23 April 1016). His name means "noble counselled" but his reign was so marked by bad advice from his advisors that he was nicknamed "unræd" (bad counselled), which has been mistranslated as "unready" (or rather, "unready" has drifted in meaning to now mean "unprepared").
  • Cylindropuntia bigelovii, the teddy bear cholla, is a cholla cactus than is anything but a cuddly teddy bear.
  • The Unite the Right Rally in Charlottesville, Virginia did not represent the mainstream American right, but rather fringe white supremacist groups. The fallout from the rally and subsequent terrorist attack only served to create huge fissures in the nation's right wing, dividing it between Donald Trump's nationalist wing and the more mainstream neo-conservative GOP. In the end, it was the anti-Trump left wing who was reunited and re-energized by the attack after several slow months, rapidly organizing vigils, protests, and anti-white supremacy campaigns in response. As Somerville, Massachusetts mayor Joe Curtatone put it:
    Their goal was to unite the right. Instead they have united the left.
  • John Blunt, one of the engineers of the South Sea Company Bubble, was famous for two things: having a very sharp (if unscrupulous) mind and running the Hollow Sword Blade Company.
  • Ciro Immobile, noteworthy Italian football forward, scores many goals, taking the role of the Unstoppable Force.
  • People with Graves' Disease have much discomfort as well as bulging eyes. (Marty Feldman was a notable sufferer.) Despite the name, it's not normally fatal.
  • Manchester United centre-half Chris Smalling is far from small: at 6'4", he towers over most footballers.
  • With a height of 6'9", basketball player Tiny Gallon isn't tiny.
  • Frank Brickowski might have been laughed at during his NBA playing career for his name, which contains a slang term for a missed shot (a "brick"). He wasn't throwing up a lot of bricks though; while he didn't have the shooting ability of Stephen Curry or Reggie Miller, his field goal percentage (~40%) and free throw percentage (~74%) were well around the average for his position (Power Forward).
  • Most footballers whose names have the "inho" suffix are relatively small (as demonstrated by Philippe Coutinho, Jairzinho, and Ronaldinho), befitting the suffix's Portuguese meaning ("inho" is a diminutive that indicates that something is small). One exception to that rule is Monaco midfielder Fabinho; with a height of 6'2", he is pretty much average to fairly tall among footballers in terms of size.
  • Jaime Sin was a Filipino Cardinal and was as such addressed as Cardinal Sin, a pretty ironic name for a holy man who helped topple the oppressive Marcos regime.note  The cardinal was noted for having a pretty good sense of humor about his unfortunate name, and would invite guests to his home by "Welcoming them to the House of Sin".
  • German theatre actors Lukas Perman and Marjan Shaki's daughters are named Liv Su and Ivy Su (spelled exactly like that). Which makes their full name Liv Su Perman and Ivy Su Perman.
  • John Wesley Hardin was named after John Wesley an English cleric and early Methodists Leader. However Hardin himself was a notorious outlaw and gunslinger who bragged about killing of 40 men. Although contemporary historians don't place his kill count above 20 and a good number of the people he shot were not armed at the time of their deaths.
  • One of the foremost ideologues of the Nazi Party was a man named Alfred Rosenberg. That's right: a prominent Nazi with a Jewish-sounding surname.


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