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Ironic Name

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That's like a smart person being called "Stupid".note 

"For example, your leader is named Thinker, yet he appears to be something of a dullard."

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.

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

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). A Dog Named "Cat" may also count as an ironic name, especially if the animal is named after its natural enemy, predator or prey. When this trope is applied to an object or organization rather than a person, see Super-Fun Happy Thing of Doom. Contrast, of course, Meaningful Name.

Real Life examples of this are also called "inaptronyms," the opposite of aptronyms, which mean Meaningful Names.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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    Anime & Manga 
  • In The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You:
    • Iku's name (in the Japanese naming order) is "Sutou Iku", or "stoic". She is perhaps the least stoic person in existence.
    • Kurumi is a rare justified example; her given name means "walnut" in Japanese, and her food obsession has triggered so often from hearing her own name that walnuts are the one food she does not like.
    • Naddy's real name is Nadeshiko Yamato, or "Yamato Nadeshiko" in the Japanese naming order. She hated being forced into that type of life as a child so much that she pretends to be American, viewing American values as more freeing compared to her strict, traditional upbringing.
  • In Asteroid in Love, while Moe Suzuya's character design follows the Moe style like the rest of the series, her tropes are usually not the kind that would be considered Moe, i.e. triggering the protective instinct of the reader/viewer, since she's a lesbian Lovable Sex Maniac. This is obvious when comparing her with her closest friends, Mira and Ao.
  • Black Clover:
    • Yuno is named after the goddess Juno, the wife of Jupiter in Roman Mythology infamous for her jealousy over her husband's many affairs. Instead, Yuno is anything but jealous of his rival Asta, encouraging him to become stronger with the two maintaining a close bond.
    • "Noelle" is a name distantly derived from the Latin word "natalis", meaning "birthday". She was mocked by her older siblings for indirectly causing her mother Acier's Death by Childbirth as well as her Power Incontinence.
  • 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. This fits with the Espadas' Theme Naming, as they're usually named after arhitects.
    • 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.
  • 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 Great Jahy Will Not Be Defeated!: Druj's name means "deceit/disorder" in Zoroastrian mythology. Druj is both honest to a fault and has her life together.
  • 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.
  • In Idol Densetsu Eriko, Eriko's dogs are named Fortissimo and Pianissimo. Fortissimo is quiet and Pianissimo is noisy.
  • The male protagonist of Itsudatte My Santa! is a boy named Santa who hates Christmas.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders:
      • The "Steel" in Steely Dan's name would make one think he's a physically strong or brave character, yet he's a Dirty Coward with a physically weak Stand.
      • N'Doul's Stand, Geb, is named after the Egyptian Earth god, yet its ability allows N'Doul to control water.
    • Golden Wind's Ghiaccio's name is Italian for "Ice". While this is meant to refer to his Stand ability, it's also quite ironic when his personality is anything but icy.
    • Steel Ball Run:
      • As apart of the Musical Theme Naming of the series, Johnny Joestar is a paraplegic, yet his Stand, Tusk, is named after the song by Fleetwood Mac, a song commonly played by marching bands.
      • Funny Valentine eventually gains an ability called D4C: Love Train during the climax. Valentine's goal is to use Love Train to redirect all of the United States' misfortune onto the rest of the world, leaving Americans standing above everyone else. The song "Love Train" by the O'Jays is about uniting the world and spreading peace, which is the opposite of what Valentine is trying to do.
    • The Big Bad of JoJolion, Tooru, has the Stand, Wonder of U, named after the song, "The Wonder of You", by Elvis Presley, which is about the unconditional love a mother has for her child. Tooru, however, never knew this kind of love, as his mother abandoned him in the woods when he was an infant, as all Rock Human women do to their children, with Tooru's parasitic relationship with a hornet being the closest thing he had to a motherly relationship.
  • Kiss and White Lily for My Dearest Girl 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.)
  • Komi Can't Communicate: One of Komi's classmates is called Toutoi Son, or "respect" in Japanese. Toutoi is one of the raunchiest people around.
  • 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.
  • In K-On!, the kanji for Ui's name has rather negative meanings like "sad" or "melancholy", but Ui herself is a sweet-natured Nice Girl who's rarely ever sad for long.
  • In Laid-Back Camp, despite Nadeshiko's given name literally being one half of Yamato Nadeshiko, she's too ditzy to actually fit the trope, as commented by many characters in-universe.
  • 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.
  • There's a relatively minor character named "Arisugawa Kintarou" in Maria Watches Over Us. Kintarou is named after a famous folklore hero renown for his strength and masculinity. Kintarou is a transgender Girly Girl who prefers going by the given name "Alice".
  • Mission: Yozakura Family:
    • Goliath is named after the Biblical giant of a man. Goliath himself is a tiny little terrier.
    • Taiyo's name translates to "morning sun". Taiyo himself is a shy, meek recluse who struggles to interact with people without falling unconscious.
    • "Makoto" means "sincerity" or "truth" depending on how it's written. Makoto Kawashita is a duplicitous Bitch in Sheep's Clothing who thinks nothing of killing people, and takes sadistic pleasure in his activities.
  • 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 zero redeeming virtues. His name? Arthur Goodman.
  • 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.
  • My Hero Academia:
    • One of the OVAs introduces one of Tsu's middle school friends, whose quirk is having a snake head. Her name is Habuko Mongoose.
    • Chapter 310 introduces a civilian woman whose mutant quirk makes her a ten feet tall creature. She is referred to solely as "Ordinary Woman".
  • 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.
    • The first half of the Grand Line is called "Paradise". Ironic, considering that the Grand Line is home to Weird Weather and giant sea monsters, among other phenomena. Turns out that the name isn't intended to be ironic: compared to the hellish New World, the first half is literally a paradise.
  • Pokémon:
    • In the controversial 18th episode of the original series "Beauty and The Beach", a character of the day is an unattractive, Dirty Old Man named Moe.
    • In Pokémon Adventures, the former Gym Leader was Falkner's father who, like his son, specializes in Flying-types. His name is Walker.
  • Zig-zagged with Homura in Puella Magi Madoka Magica, whose name means "flame". You'd expect a Hot-Blooded character, right? Homura is quiet, introspective, mysterious and her affect is rather flat. Madoka says she should act to match it. However, later on it is suggested that this 'flame' is of a more indirect, metaphorical meaning - as in 'flame of passion', hinting at her unending desire to avert Madoka's horrendous fate. Furthermore, Lucifer is also known as the 'light-bearer', explaining why there were so many things burning in Rebellion. This also explains her salamander motif in said movie, as they are the elementals of fire.
  • 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".
  • 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 dub of Smile Pretty Cure, Emily's hero name is Glitter Lucky. Normally, she is anything but.
  • Space Patrol Luluco has Midori Save-The-World. Despite a very heroic sounding last name, she's the Token Evil Teammate. Although it's mentioned in supplemental material that she's descended from a race of space-eco-terrorists and she becomes chief of the Space Patrol Ogikubo branch in the epilogue.
  • The kanji for "kyouka"note  translate into "to strengthen/fortify/bolster", but Kyouka Suigetsu from Superwomen in Love! suffers acute Villain Decay after Hayate and Honey defeat her for the first time.
  • 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.
  • 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. His autism makes that unlikely.
    • 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".
  • Zombie Land Saga: Pre-transition, Lily Hoshikawa's name was "Masao Go". This is a very masculine name (one of the kanji used to write it even means "male"), yet she's a cutesy girly girl. Saki lampshades how ultra-masculine the name "Masao" is.

    Asian Animation 

    Comic Books 
  • The Avengers, despite a name that would imply an aggressive and uncompromising attitude out to punish criminals, have actually been one of the most welcoming and forgiving Super Teams for most of their history, with many of their members (Hawkeye, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch, and Black Widow, just to name the more famous ones) being reformed villains.
  • Batman: Kite Man is named Charles “Chuck” Brown after the Peanuts character of the same name who is infamously bad at flying kites.
  • Captain America: 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 U.S. Agent after Cap reclaimed the Captain America role. His real name: John Walker.
  • Cyclops: Scott Summers is a Hurting Hero who lost any shred of idealism long ago.
  • Empowered: The title character frequently ends up in fanservicey bondage situations and is plagued with self-confidence and body-image issues.
  • The Fantastic Four: Ben Grimm has his moments, but for the most part he's a pretty jovial guy who loves kids.
  • Zig-zagged with The Flash villain Murmur, who can't speak at all because he cut out his own tongue and sewed his mouth shut, but did so because his habit of muttering about the murders he committed (itself the source of his alias) was what got him convicted in the first place.
  • 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."
  • Lex Luthor is the archenemy of Superman, the Superhero, and a major criminal mastermind. "Lex" is usually short for some variation of his current name, Alexander (his real name was also been given as Alexei or Alexis in the Gold and Silver/Bronze Ages, respectively), which is derived from the Greek word "Aléxandros" meaning "protector of men". "Lex" itself is Latin for "law".
  • 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.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW): In "All in Moderation", the pony promoting an extremist stance against sugar and who has to be taught the value of moderation is named Temperance — that is, "moderation".
  • 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.
  • Planet Terry has Princess Ugly, who turns out to be beautiful when Terry and his friends go to search for her.
  • The Smurfs: Each Smurf is named after their most notable personality trait, but Harmony Smurf is a Dreadful Musician.
  • 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: for instance, Deathcobra and Black Shadow are now good guys.
  • 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?
  • Watchmen:
    • Rorschach is an extreme moral absolutist who believes in a definitive, uncompromising right and wrong, who named himself after the famous test because he found it reflected his Black-and-White Morality and his attempts to impose order on an unordered world. However, the Rorschach Test's entire purpose is that there isn't a wrong answer for how to look at it, and everyone sees something different.
    • Ozymandias, who seeks to create world peace, took his name from one of the titles of Pharaoh Ramses II, as a symbol of his love for the grandeur of the past and his desire to build an empire of his own. The most famous use of the name, though, is in a Percy Shelley poem whose moral is simply that nothing lasts forever. (This is a reason for the common interpretation of the story that Ozy's "world peace" doesn't last long.)
  • Wolverine's real name, Logan, is ironic as he is generally drawn as short, but Mount Logan is the highest mountain in Canada.
  • Gay Frollik, a woman whom Wonder Woman rescued from a suicide attempt before befriending, was a straight-laced dour person from childhood, who became suicidal after spending years in prison for a murder she did not commit—though as she had hit the man to escape him and fled she wasn't certain if she was responsible—and having the only person she cared about die while she was locked up.
  • Y: The Last Man: 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...

    Fan Works 
  • Meet Sunshine Smiles of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the eyepatch-wearing bat pony that is friends with / works for Princess Luna, the princess of the night. How he got the name makes perfect sense, but still...
  • In the Pokemon oneshot Confrontation, Jessie's maiden name is "Jessica Paton". Despite her name referring to patricians, she grew up poor.
  • The Legend of Genji: Bolin named his youngest daughter after his idol and grandmother-in-law, Toph Beifong. Despite her namesake being a legendary earthbender and the inventor of metalbending, Toph Beifong II herself is actually an airbender.note 
  • Subverted in the Mae Vie En Rose oneshot C'est ma vie. Luce always thought that her deadname Ludovic, which translates to "famous fighter", was ironic. It wasn't until her teens that she realized what a fighter it was. She believes it would have been a fitting name for her if she had been a boy.
  • Miracles on the Golden Wind: Pannacotta Fugo is given the hero name "Medico" by Mista since his disguise (as the visiting Passione members are Hero with Bad Publicity outside of Italy) is a doctor costume. This is made ironic because Fugo's Stand Purple Haze is a Poisonous Person with the power to Make Them Rot, which both of them lampshades.
  • One of the main characters in Muggle Intervention is a policeman named Rob Banks.
  • Null: In this RWBY fanfiction, an Atlesian arms company calling itself "Chivalric Arms" kidnaps and murders hundreds of innocent civilians, including children, while committing human rights violations on par with the worst concentration camps of 20th century Earth.

  • The Muggle Schoolteacher mentions a goblin healer named Deathwish.
  • Forge's Opposite-Sex Clone in My Copy sarcastically suggests she be named Makkitotosimew but the person filling out the form thinks she's serious. Now she's a woman with a flat chest and a name that means She Who Has Large Breasts.
  • Queens of Mewni:
    • Solena, acknowledged as the first of the Night Queens of Mewnian prophecy, is named for the sun.
    • Vesper, who is known as "The Morning Star" and ushered in the Mewnian Renaissance, is named for the word for 'dusk', as her mother, the mad queen Heaven, believed she would be the destruction of the Butterfly Kingdom.
  • In Pip-napped, one of Pippin's kidnappers is named "Tiny". He happens to be the fattest man Pippin has ever seen.
  • In Pokemon Opal And Garnet, one of Kaylie's Pokemon is a moralistic Emberhund who cares deeply about injustice. That injustice-hating Emberhund's name? Frollo. As in, the cruel, cold-hearted, Knight Templar judge from The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
  • In Two butterflies: gone with the wind., Mirabel finds it hilarious that the Madrigals' mansion sized family home is called "Casita" (little house) while hers and Bruno's smaller four room home is called "Casa" (house).
  • In the Punch-Out!! fanfic Ma Fille, Glass Joe, a homely, weak klutz, is given the surname Beaufort, which means "beauty and strength".

  • A Thing of Vikings: Both Adalwin and his real name Alvin are names that mean "noble friend". Adalwin is neither.

    Films — Animation 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Aliens: Private Frost dies by getting accidentally roasted by a fellow Marine's flamethrower.
  • Angel Terminators: Bullet, from the second movie, is killed by a bullet.
  • 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.
  • A meta-example with the title of the Tom Cruise film American Made, as the film is an American-Japanese International Coproduction between Universal and Toho, as are most Universal films since 2009.
  • The Dark Crystal: The Skeksis scientist's laboratory, where he keeps all those jailed critters and drains Podlings and Gelflings from their vital essence? Its official name is "The Chamber of Life."
  • Dear White People: Sam White identifies strongly as being black.
  • The Devil's Advocate: Christabella, aka "Christ the Beautiful", is the Daughter of Satan.
  • In Die Hard, the terrorists arrive in a truck labeled "Pacific Courier" which translates to "Bringer of Peace".
  • DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story has Big Bad and Jerkass supreme White Goodman.
  • 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.
  • Erik the Viking: Leif the Lucky is actually pretty unlucky, being among the earliest crew members to die when he falls off the ship's mast.
  • Ernest P. Worrell who despite his name, is anything but earnest.
  • Fear Street: The Goode family it turns out are responsible for all the murders which occurred since the late 1600s, due to a pact with Satan.
  • 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 a subtle version which crosses over with Shout-Out, the protagonist of the The Fly (1986) is named Seth Brundle. His surname is taken from that of Martin Brundle, a famous British racecar driver (David Cronenberg is a huge racing buff)note ...but Seth suffers from chronic motion sickness and says early on "I hate vehicles." It's a, if not the, key reason he became interested in teleportation technology.
  • In The Force Awakens, John Boyega's character takes on the name "Finn", which means "white" or "fair" in Irish.
  • Higher Learning: Malcolm Xerox Fudge's last name is White, it turns out, to Malik's incredulity.
  • Holocaust 2000: The Antichrist has the given name "Angel".
  • In The Impostors, Happy Franks is so depressed he keeps trying to kill himself.
  • 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.
  • 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 Mean Girls 2, the promiscuous member of the new Plastics is named Chastity.
  • Monty Python's Life of Brian: The Judean Popular People's Front has only one member.
  • Pacific Rim: The Kaiju Otachi's name means big sword in Japanese. Guess how she's killed.
  • The Punisher (2004): Contrary to what their name implies, the Saints are ruthless mobsters responsible for the death of Frank Castle's family.
  • In Room, while Ma's name was never revealed in the book, in the movie, it was revealed to be Joy.
  • In The Suicide Squad, Starro the Conqueror was given that name by the Thinker as a joke (the Thinker has held it in captivity since it was discovered).
  • The Summer of Sangaile: Sangaile means "with strength". However, Sangaile is pretty quiet and passive, while noting her mom said she didn't really deserve her name. A major part of her arc includes growing strong and thus fulfilling it.
  • Tango from Tango and Cash has made a small fortune playing the stock market. Thus, he's wealthier than his partner, Cash.
  • Vicious Fun: Out of all the serial killers in this movie, the most dangerous one is named Bob Nice (pronounced like "niece").
  • 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.

  • One fake flyer reads, "Lost dog. Three legs, ear missing, blind in one eye, tail broken, recently castrated, answers to the name, 'Lucky'."

    Live-Action TV 
  • Once on 2 Broke Girls, Max Black runs into an old friend of hers, Becky White. Max is Caucasian and Becky is African-American.
  • 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.
  • Lucky in BattleBots seems to be an unintentional example. More often than not, something happens in Lucky's fights that causes it to break and stop working, whether that be the opponent's weapon managing to hit a 2-millimeter gap that disables its wheels or unexplained malfunctions that never came up during pre-match testing. As the unofficial blog puts it:
    BattleBots Update: Lucky is a robot that's anything but.
  • In the miniseries 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)
  • The Brittas Empire gives us Gordon Wellesley Brittas. Sir Arthur Wellesley (better known as The Duke of Wellington) was one of the greatest English generals of all time, and never lost a battle. This is in contrast to Brittas, who has a tendency to cause chaos and is a Pointy-Haired Boss.
  • 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".
  • The Cape: Orwell, the alias of a hacker who uses surveillance cameras to track bad guys (quite the opposite from in Nineteen Eighty-Four).
  • 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).
  • One episode of CHiPs 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.
  • A later-season episode of CSI: NY has 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.
  • Dead Like Me: Lampshaded when George wonders who on earth named her shrewish, perpetually aggravated mother "Joy". It becomes harsher when Joy gets more Character Focus and Flashbacks to show her struggling as a parent while their home life grows colder, and when Joy's Blithe Spirit mother (who, presumably, named her) visits and makes light of Joy's problems.
  • 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.
  • Doctor Who: In "The Next Doctor", 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 start killing the wealthy attendees of 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.
  • 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 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.
  • 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.
  • The Expanse has the Rocinante, the legitimately salvaged Martian gunship that the heroes ride around in, often disguised as a freighter. While the name is meaningful given Holden's tendancy to tilt at windmills, the name literally means formerly a workhorse in Spanish.
  • Jayne in Firefly probably counts. His name is an actual male name but rather rare, and is usually thought of as a female name. It contrasts a lot with Jayne's nature as a mercenary and Token Evil Teammate who's in it for himself and for the money.
  • Meta-example: The Goldbergs were confirmed to be Jewish in season three. This includes Barry, who's played by Troy Gentile.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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...
  • Liv Moore in iZombie is a zombie named "Live More".
  • Kenan & Kel: In "The Graduates", Kel's middle name is revealed to be Einstein Hypothalamus, although he does mention his parents are rich scientists and is sometimes shown to be Genius Ditz.
  • The titular Legends of Tomorrow were recruited because they had little impact in history from the future where the recruiter was from.
  • The Man from U.N.C.L.E.: Napoleon Solo 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 BBC show Merlin (2008) has a villain called Valiant, who was using underhanded tactics to cheat in a tournament.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Parks and Recreation: Leslie Knope would be a perfect name for an Obstructive Bureaucrat, but Leslie is the most helpful, enthusiastic bureaucrat imaginable.
  • 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.
  • Richie Rich: As Richie Rich notes in the first episode, his name was ironic until one week ago. Unlike previous versions of the character, he wasn't born into wealth.
  • Scorpion has Happy Quinn, a Deadpan Snarker Tsundere who could probably benefit from an anger management class.
  • Charming in Sons of Anarchy. It's a small town with a large history of gang violence.
  • Supernatural. Dean takes Castiel to a brothel to lose his virginity. As a Fallen Angel Castiel is extremely uncomfortable with this, and his guilt isn't helped when a prostitute saunters up to him and introduces herself as Chastity.
  • 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.
  • The main villain of Tokumei Sentai Go Busters is called "Messiah". He is anything but.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "Mr. Garrity and the Graves", the recently renamed town of Happiness, Arizona has 128 people buried in its cemetery, making it the biggest cemetery west of Chicago. The townspeople are all keen to prevent the dead from returning to life as they fear the repercussions.
  • In The Umbrella Academy (2019), Viktor ("champion") is The Team Normal with a massive inferiority complex who later goes on to destroy the world. Not even Adaptational Gender Identity could stop his name from being ironic.
  • In Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Jacqueline notes her Sioux family was given the surname White by "a sarcastic census taker".
  • In The Walking Dead, Canon Foreigner Daryl Dixon has has a tendency to be a loner. His name means "Open".
  • Warehouse 13: In "Merge with Caution", Artie and Claudia run across Mata Hari's stockings, a homewrecking artifact, at an insurance company named Truehart.

  • Duane Elms: In some versions of "Dawson's Christian", the titular vessel becomes a Ghost Ship after its captain makes a Deal with the Devil.
  • GG Allin's birth name was Jesus Christ Allin. He grew up to become the most profane, obscene, transgressive, offensive, and infamous punk rocker of his day.
  • John Balance, co-founder of Coil, died after falling off of a balcony.
  • One of the happiest, friendliest Youtubers/musicians of the new 10s was named Christina Grimmie. In fact, the only thing truly grim about her life was the end of it...
  • The members of ZZ Top are famed for their beards. Well, except for their drummer, Frank Beard, who has a mustache instead.

    Myths & Religion 
  • 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.
    • There are plenty of Christian saints who bear the names of Pagan gods or goddesses. A biblical example is Mark the Evangelist, bearing the name of the Roman god Mars.
  • The practice of popes taking a new name began in 533, when a man named Mercurius (the Latin version of Mercury) was elected. He felt it inapproropriate for the pope to be named after a pagan god, so he became Pope John II, in honor ofhis martyred predecessor.

  • An episode of Mystery Show features a chef named Bob Bland. Starlee and her client agree that that's a terrible name for a chef and suspect that he used a pseudonym.

    Pro 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 of lucha libre such as the Apaches and Hamadas.
  • You'd expect Delilah Doom to be a cruel sadist or a resigned fatalist. Anything but an optimistic, extroverted fitness intructor. It's called Wrestling Doesn't Pay, but in this case fitness doesn't when you put DOOM on all your products!
  • Layla El gained a new surname in "Young" when she was a 40-something during her marriage with Ricky Ortiz. Being a woman in her 40s, she can't be considered "young" anymore.
  •     Radio 
    • In Bleak Expectations, Mr. Gently Benevolent is a scheming Dastardly Whiplash and Mr. Skinflint Parsimonious is an Uncle Pennybags.
    • The Frantics: Mr. Canoehead's arch nemesis is the Evil Galactic Warlord...LARRY!
    • 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.

        Tabletop Games 
    • Dungeons & Dragons has a spell called "Friends". While casting the spell indeed causes the target to become friendly towards the caster, it also immediately causes the target to become hostile after its effect ends. If done to people who are friendly or neutral towards you, you're likely to get more enemies out of it.
    • Several of the sample knights in the indie game Glaze of Blory have ironic titles, such as Ser Alice the Wise (Intelligence 1), Ser Unferth the Mighty (Strength 1) and Ser Marceline the Temperate (quirks: Hair-Trigger Temper).
    • Man O War (a naval spinoff of Warhammer Fantasy) has the Bretonnian admiral Comte Gerard de Maldemer (literally Seasickness).
    • Yu-Gi-Oh!: Ultimate Obedient Fiend will only attack if it is the only card you have, meaning it is not that obedient.


        Visual Novels 
    • Ace Attorney is better known for meaningful/punny names, but it's got a couple of these to round things out.
      • 'Adrian' means 'Dark One', but witness Adrian Andrews is innocent, something of a Broken Bird, and is important in catching the true culprit of case 2-4.
      • 'Kristoph' is a variant of 'Christoph', or 'Christ-bearer', but Kristoph Gavin is often associated with demonic imagery and is called 'devil' a couple times (referring to a scar on his hand that looks like a demonic face when he clenches his fist).
      • In Spirit of Justice, Pees'lubin Ahndustandin is the first culprit, and later on Tahrust Inmee perjures himself.
      • The fan translation of Gyakutan Kenji 2 has Sebastian Debeste, a prosecutor who isn't 'the best' by a long shot.
    • In Katawa Shoujo, Lilly's seeing-eye dog was named Niji, Japanese for "rainbow", which she can't sense in any way.

        Web Animation 
    • AstroLOLogy: Taurus' name in the 2016 shorts was Tiny, contrasting with his large size compared to the other characters.
    • Battle for Dream Island:
      • DEATH P.A.C.T. 'Nuff said. It's even a video example.
      • One character may be called Loser, but instead of being treated like crap, he's treated nicely.
    • The eponymous B. Happy from the Web Premiere Toons series of the same name is a rather surly and cynical Bluebird of Happiness.
    • One of the co-hosts of DEATH BATTLE! is a Mad Scientist named Wizard.
    • There is a giant named "Tiny" in Ever After High.
    • Sparkles in The Grossery Gang webseries. She's a soda can that used to be sweet and kind. Now, she's sour and sarcastic.
    • Happy Tree Friends:
      • Cuddles has a cute-looking appearance to cope with his name, but he's actually a daredevil who's quite fond of risky hobbies, and being naturally mischievous to boot.
      • Handy 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 a perfectly capable repairman and construction worker... as long as the actual fixing or building takes place off-screen.
    • Hazbin Hotel has Angel Dust as the name of an immoral Jerkass demon in Hell. This is actually somewhat meaningful at the same time, due to "angel dust" being a common slang term for PCP, and the character is quite fond of drugs. It goes right back around to a bit ironic though, because he died of a PCP overdose.
      • In the spin-off Helluva Boss, one of the side succubi is named Josh. "Joshua" is the English translation of "Yeshua". That's the name of a certain man in his original tongue.
    • Strong Sad from Homestar Runner. He is sad, but absolutely nothing makes him strong.
    • 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. One of the spinoff novels eventually reveals why Neptune is afraid of the water: when he first manifested his water-controlling Semblance, he accidentally trapped first himself and then his brother in a ball of water with no room to breathe.
    • Supermarioglitchy4's Super Mario 64 Bloopers: The name "Karen" has become a way to describe self-important women who make life impossible for retail workers and whose biggest arsenal weapon is demanding to see the manager. Karen from SMG4 is a humanoid cat who is a Struggling Single Mother working various retail jobs and who has a permanent bored expression on her face, the kind of people your typical Karen hates! For added irony, she's the manager at at least one of them.

    • 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.
    • Bianca in But I'm a Cat Person, whose name means "white" in Italian, is black and proud of it.
    • El Goonish Shive: Tiffany Susan Pompoms always goes by her middle name, because she considers her actual first and last names to be too "perky and upbeat" for her cynical, sardonic personality. (Ironically, it's been made quite clear that if it wasn't for various events in her childhood, she would've wound up fitting her name just perfectly.)
    • Officer Getskilled from Girly never dies during the course of the comic. Instead, he ends up becoming immortal during the final arc.
    • Apollo in The Guide to a Healthy Relationship may be named for the sun god, but he's really not all that bright. Nevermind that the god Apollo is something of a Jack of all trades, associations including moderation and health, while the protagonist of the comic has yet to show up with any promising talents, really, besides excessive drinking.
    • Homestuck has Rose and Jade. Rose's outlook is quite jaded, while Jade's outlook is initially quite rosy. Their color schemes (pink and green, respectively) match their names, though.
    • In Lapse, the main character's last name is "Fortune," however, the situation she finds herself in is less than fortunate.
    • Magellan has Charisma, who, while attractive, lacks personal charisma.
    • Mob Psycho 100: Shimazaki Ryou's given name means "clarity". He's blind.
    • The Order of the Stick prequel book, Start of Darkness, gives us demon lord "Xyklon the Consequential". He is of no consequence.
    • Rain (2010):
      • The titular protagonist isn't fond of rainy days at all.
      • Liriel Flaherty has one though its unclear if its intentional or not. "Liriel" in the Latin origin means "Perfection of a woman". This is ironic because it turns out Liriel is a trans man.
    • Steamgear Inc: Alexandra Arcenast is named for the word "arsonist"... despite wielding a weapon that reverses fire damage.
    • Princess Yuri from Tower of God: Not to say this is the intent of the name, but it's Korean for "glass", a notoriously fragile substance, whereas as a High Ranker Princess of Jahad from the Ha family, the character is one of the most ridiculously Nigh-Invulnerable characters in the series, able to No-Sell even attacks by other High Rankers.

        Web Original 

        Web Videos 
    • In the Noob franchise, the poster-boy for Hair-Trigger Temper goes by the Online Alias of Master Zen.
    • Lampshaded in Sword Art Online Abridged (as seen in the page quote), with Yui calling out Yulier's partner Thinker for being trapped in a high level dungeon for a supposed "peace talk", without bringing any warp crystals that could teleport him home.


    Video Example(s):


    Death Prevention and Creating Trust

    The perfect name for this team!

    How well does it match the trope?

    5 (13 votes)

    Example of:

    Main / IronicName

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