"That's your problem."
A compound surname that implies something like an action or an attribute (in the form of something like "Nounverber", "Adjectivenoun(er)" "Adjectiveverber" or "Nounnoun(er)"), but the name has no logical reason for it given in the story. It's just there for Rule of Cool.
This was very rarely done in Real Life. Such names were actually epithets given to people for notable things, as in there was a reason. Scandinavian kings often acquired cool epithets during their reigns. Their actual surnames were of the patronymic variety (like Gunnarson, meaning "Son of Gunnar"). But their real surnames were often eclipsed by their epithets in posterity.
So in fiction, a guy could be called Olaf Skullcrusher and have that be treated as though it's a normal surname. In reality, if a king was called Olaf Skullcrusher, it was because he was literally known for crushing skulls in battle. Now later on, that name might ascend to a surname, but fiction rarely gives such justification.
Tabletop fantasy games have two well known subsets of this rule, known in fandom as "the AxeBeard Law" and the "PineSol Law". The first states that all dwarves must have some reference to either axes and/or beards in their name, and latter states all elves must have a reference to a plant and/or celestial body somewhere in their name.note
If the name is based on an actual action or attribute of a character or at least his/her ancestor — like, again, this tended to work in real life — it's Earn Your Title, not this trope.
It should also be noted that some names look like this, but are actually mistranslations or corruptions of non-English names; Poundmaker is a perfectly normal Cree Indian name, for one. Interestingly, first names of that nature are common in Indo-European languages — Sophocles means "famed for wisdom", for example, and Alfred is something like "elf-counseled''.
A Sub-Trope of Awesome McCoolname. See also Adjective Noun Fred.
The equivalent in Comic Books is Something Person and The Adjectival Superhero. Compare Verber Creature for a whole species named this way.
Not to be confused with Noun Verber.
- EDENS ZERO: The co-protagonist of the series, who accompanies Shiki during his adventure, is Rebecca Bluegarden.
- Tyranno Hassleberry of Yu-Gi-Oh! GX, who (it might be assumed) hassled a lot of berries.
- The wizard Slayn Starseeker from Record of Lodoss War, though his surname was only mentioned in the novel and manga.
- Star Blazers (the dub of Space Battleship Yamato) gives us Derek Wildstar. Derek and Alex Wildstar were originally Kodai Susumu and Mamoru — common names meaning "(to go) forward" and "to protect".
- Gray Fullbuster and Erza Knightwalker from Fairy Tail.
- Magic: The Gathering:
- Glissa Sunseeker is a bit of an odd case. She does eventually end up seeking a sun, but she's called Sunseeker long before this would be apparent in-universe.
- In an unusual use of the trope, the giants of the Lorwyn/Shadowmoor megablock start out using this trope and end up averting it. When they wake from their centuries-long hibernations, they take epithets as decided by their dreams, leading to such names as Worldkiller, Relicsmasher, and Stoutarm. They then go on to follow said dreams, effectively earning their titles retroactively.
- Very common in the Dark Age of Supernames.
- In the "Where in the World is Harry Potter" trilogy by Nonjon, one of the goblins' names is Crackhead.
- Star Wars:
- Luke Skywalker, the Trope Namer and Codifier. His surname is apparently a reference to piloting skill, which he appropriately displays, along with his father Anakin, and both of their aspirations to a life beyond Tatooine. In the Episode 1 novelization, an old spacer compliments Anakin Skywalker on his piloting skill and the appropriateness of his name—saying he "walks the sky like he owns it". The official site stated that the first Jedi carried the title 'Skywalker'.
- Luke's last name was originally going to be Starkiller. It made an appearance in Knights of the Old Republic as the name of a Mandalorian gladiator who only fought death matches. It's also the codename of Galen Marek, Darth Vader's secret apprentice who appears in Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, and less impressively it's the last name of one of Luke's childhood friends. In The Force Awakens, it's the name of the film's new superweapon, Starkiller Base.
- Luke's Mauve Shirt friend Biggs Darklighter, along with his relatives in the Star Wars Expanded Universe.
- The current expanded universe, so far, hasn't done this as much as the old one. The one notable example is Nash Windrider from Lost Stars, who's from Alderaan.
- Tatooine seems to have a thing about this in Legends:
- A character named Falynn Sandskimmer also becomes a skilled pilot. And resents Luke.
- Tatooine is also the home planet of Cole Fardreamer, a mechanic who meets Luke in The New Rebellion.
- Actually easily explained by its port-in-the-middle-of-nowhere status. Local single motherhood rates would be predictably through the roof, provincial mores would frown upon a fatherless kid, and a child carrying his maternal family's surname in such a sparsely-populated area would suffer from his own name being a constant reminder of said stigma to everyone. Hence, local teenage mums would invent suitably heroic surnames for their suitably heroic and conveniently called-to-duty or killed in action imaginary husbands and pass these on to their kids. That said, at the 2010 Star Wars convention, Celebration V, George Lucas said while answering fan questions that Skywalker was actually not an especially rare name. As he put it, "there's even the Skywalker wine."
- Legends also has some non-Tatooinians named such:
- Keyan Farlander of Agamar, protagonist of X-Wing.
- Tales of the Jedi had Nomi Sunrider. 'Sunrider', however, is tied up due to another copyright holder on the name, so now it is under restriction for use in Star Wars media. The role of Bastila Shan from the first KOTOR game was originally meant to be filled by Nomi's daughter Vima Sunrider, but this was changed due to the controversy, although she is mentioned once by name in-game. Lucas Licensing still can't use "Sunrider" in the name of a work or in an action figure/collectible, but apparently the name can be used within works.
- One of Loki's titles is Loki Skywalker. Take it however you want. At least two authors have brought that up, though both were more interested in Anakin rather than Luke.
- In The Black Company series, a lot of the most powerful sorcerers follow that rule : Soulcatcher, Shapeshifter, Stormbringer, Moonbiter, Shadowspinner... Moreover, the name usually tells about what the sorcerer is best at. This is because these names are all nicknames taken after they achieved power; a sorcerer must zealously hide his true name as it can be used to strip him of his powers.
- Many dwarf names fit the trope, presumably as a direct pastiche of Oakenshield. Wyrd Sisters and Guards! Guards! both suggest that expat dwarfs in Ankh-Morpork make up (allegedly) imposing names like "Timkin Rumbleguts" as posturing.
- The late Grag Hamcrusher in Thud!.
- On the other hand, there are also dwarfs with last names like "Snoriscousin" or "Glodssonssonsson". There are also a few humans who picked this kind of name to trick people into thinking they were dwarfs, sometimes for business reasons.
- Mario Greymist in Dragaera averts this — it's an epithet, bestowed either because of the number of people he "sent to Greymist Valley" (i.e., killed) or because he used a gray mist to facilitate his most famous assassination, depending on whether you believe Vlad Taltos or Paarfi.
- Harry Potter:
- Among the founders of Hogwarts there are Rowena Ravenclaw and Godric Gryffindor (stylized French for "golden griffin"), and by extension the Houses named after them.
- One of Harry's friends (and someone who came close to sharing the same destiny as him) is Neville Longbottom.
- Luna Lovegood combines this with Stellar Name. And then there's her dad Xenophilius.
- Another example comes in the form of one of the goblins, Griphook.
- One of the students in Hogwarts is Penelope Clearwater, Percy Weasley's girlfriend. She's one of the students petrified by the Basilisk in Chamber of Secrets, but recovers at the end of the book's events; she graduates after the events of Prisoner of Azkaban.
- Malazan Book of the Fallen:
- The series has few true examples out of the huge cast. There are lots and lots of epithets though: soldiers in the Malazan army are generally known by their nicknames (e.g. Mudslinger and Throatslitter) and some characters have heroic epithets attached to their name (e.g. Dujek Onearm, Scabandari Bloodeye).
- Bellurdan Skullcrusher from Gardens of the Moon, a Thelomen mage.
- Reaper's Gale introduces Orbyn Truthfinder. He's a Section Commander of the Patriotists, so technically, Truthfinder could be an acquiered, ironic nickname based on the fact that he tortures people for real or fake confessions, but it's treated like a family surname and never explained.
- There's an Arys Oakheart in A Song of Ice and Fire. In fact, many of the Houses in that series seem to take their names from this convention.
- Some versions of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy briefly discuss the temporal/literary theories of one Dr. Dan Streetmentioner.
- The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant:
- A Giant has a double-barreled version of this trope: Saltheart Foamfollower. Guess how the Land's giants are different. There's also Kevin Landwaster and Berek Halfhand. Most of these do follow the epithet rule, however.
- We meet some more Giants in the second trilogy and most of them have names like Cable Seadreamer (which is probably a poetical nickname) and Grimmand Honninscrave (which probably isn't: how exactly do you crave an honnin?)
- Giantish last names (at least) are clearly mostly of the Earn Your Title or epithet variety rather than inherited, as Honninscrave and Seadreamer are actually brothers.
- Inheritance Cycle:
- The Hero has a flaming sword called 'Fire' in a foreign language. Angela the quirky witch complains that he should have just called his sword 'Burningblade' and be done with it if he wasn't going to be creative.
- Also, Eragon Shadeslayer. And his million other names that he uses in Brisingr.
- Justified in Edward Rutherford's multigenerational period fiction, where he deconstructs the origins of names like "Barnikal" (from "bairn-ne-kill", a Viking raider's plea for his comrades to spare the lives of children) and "Silversleaves".
- Keith Laumer used some similar names in his Retief stories, usually for incompetent and/or corrupt ambassadors (Hidebinder) and occasionally members of their staff (Colonel Underknuckle), but on one occasion a very shapely young woman was superbly designated "Miss Braswell."
- Tamora Pierce's Circle of Magic books use this for some of their mages, the ones who choose their names after they become certified. You can measure the size of the mage's ego (good or bad) by how sentimental their name is — compare Niklaren Goldeye the seer and Yarrun Firetamer the, er, firetamer to Olennika Potcracker the cook and Ishabal Ladyhammer the war-mage.
- Tons of the minor vermin characters in the Redwall books are named like this — Ragear, Mangefur, Blacktooth, Wormtail.
- In David Edding's The Belgariad series, many of the Alorn Kings of centuries past had their surnames granted to them upon reaching adulthood, such as Cherek Bearshoulders and his sons. Some, like Uvar Bent-beak, were given their names because of physical characteristics.
- Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story "The Great Stone Face" (about the real natural formation that bears the same nickname) included a character named Ichabod Pigsnort. Hawthorne was rather fond of creative naming.
- Sturm Brightblade from the Dragonlance novels. His son is lumbered with the name Steel Brightblade by his mother, Kitiara, who thought it was hilarious. Kender also seem to have names like this, most notably Tasslehoff Burrfoot.
- From the Hank the Cowdog books, we get the coyote Chief "Many-Rabbit-Gut-Eat-In-Full-Moon". And his daughter, "Girl-Who-Drinks-Blood". Not exactly surnames, though.
- In the Thraxas series, some sorcerers have names like these. While Glixius Dragon Killer may well have offed a dragon or two, it's well known that Tirini Snake Smiter has never smitten a snake in her life.
- Many of the characters in Gives Light have names like this, because they belong to a Plains Shoshone tribe.
- The majority of Foxen names in The Red Vixen Adventures are like this, including Rolas Darktail (a pun on "dark tale" given his family's tragic background), Ali Waterfarmer, Lu Blacksailor, and Kev Highglider.
- The Stormlight Archive: Peasant characters who perform particularly impressive feats gain titles like this, since they don't have surnames normally. One of the main characters, Kaladin Stormblessed, is the only one we see.
- All cats are named this way in Tailchaser's Song. At birth a kitten is given their "face name" by their mother. When they reach three months old they're given their "tail name" in a Naming Ceremony, which is what almost everyone calls them in the cat equivalent of Last-Name Basis. Cats are named after defining features of theirs. Thus we have characters like Tangaloor Firefoot, Firsa Roofshadow, and the titular Fritti Tailchaser.
- Half the spoof names spoken in the Space Mutiny episode of Mystery Science Theater 3000 qualify: Slab Bulkhead, Fridge Largemeat, Punt Speedchunk, Butch Deadlift, Bold Bigflank, Splint Chesthair, Flint Ironstag, Bolt Vanderhuge, Blast Hardcheese, Thick McRunfast, Buff Drinklots, Trunk Slamchest, Fist Rockbone, Stump Beefnob, Smash Lampjaw, Punch Rockgroin, Buck Plankchest, Stump Chunkman, Dirk Hardpeck, Rip Steakface, Slate Slabrock, Crud Bonemeal, Brick Hardmeat, Rip Slagcheek, Punch Sideiron, Gristle McThornBody, Slake Fistcrunch, Buff Hardback, Bob Johnson, Blast Thickneck, Crunch Buttsteak, Slab Squatthrust, Lump Beefbroth, Touch Rustrod, Reef Blastbody, Big McLargeHuge, Smoke Manmuscle, Beat Punchbeef, Pack Blowfist, and Roll Fizzlebeef. And of course, Blast Hardcheese!
- Played with in Freaks and Geeks: One of the cool guys winds up playing Dungeons & Dragons with the geeks (long story...) and names his dwarf character "Carlos". Hilarity Ensues as the geeks object but, when pressed, can't come up with a reason why the character can't be called that.
- Many sketches in Monty Python's Flying Circus - Mr Smokestoomuch, Mrs Brainsample, Lady Mountback. And the explosive Mrs. Niggerbaiter.
- A Bit of Fry and Laurie used these at times, most notably in a sketch about viewers writing in to tell about mildly amusing names they've come across, where all the letter-writers themselves have names that are filthy phrases — so you have Peter Cuminmyear writing to say he went to school with a Donald Duck. There's also Ted Cunterblast from the library sketch, which they inexplicably got away with.
- Kenny Starfighter.
- Zev Bellringer.
- Cindy Lightballoon of Arrested Development.
- Odin and Loki have an obscene number of these titles, usually in reference to how untrustworthy they are, like "Oathbreaker" and "Liesmith". Also more positive ones like All-Father or Skywalker.
- Greek Mythology has plenty such names.
- For example, Zeus Cloud-Gatherer, Zeus Aegiduchos (Aegis Bearer) & Zeus Meilichios (Easy-to-be-entreated).
- Also Aphrodite Androphonos (man-killer), and Aphrodite Kallipagos (sexy butt.) (Yes, really.)
- And more modern occultists have given some extra names for Pan; Pan Pangenitor Panphage - Pan All-Maker All-Destroyer. Unfortunately the historical deity's name probably wasn't synonymous with the word "pan" - "all". The god Pan's name comes from the same root as the word "panic." Because his domain is temporary insanity.
- Some are just like this in general; Heracles, for example, means "Glory of Hera." Ironic, given how much Hera despised him.
- Same goes for Egyptian Mythology; for example, Amun-Min gaining the epithet Kamutef, meaning "Bull of his mother".
- All Navajo names are verbs, including those of many of their gods. Coyote, for instance, is known as "Wanderer" and "Scolder"; the former, maii, is the usual word for coyotes in general. Monster Killer, one of the two twin war-gods, is more technically Killer of Hostile Gods. And the de facto head of their pantheon has titles including White Body of the Fourth World and Maternal Grandfather of the Gods, but is usually just called Talking God. Many Navajo rituals involve litanies of divine epithets. During their war-chant, for instance, Monster Killer is invoked with titles like Child of Changing Woman, Full-Grown in a Single Day, Reared Within the Earth, Wearer of Hard Flint Armor, Slayer of Bears, and dozens of others.
- Exalted: This is one of the more prevalent naming styles In-Universe, after Name That Unfolds Like A Lotus Blossom. A lot of Linowan use this style, as does the Dawn Caste pirate Moray Darktide.
- In Forgotten Realms it's rather common: there's Dornal Silverhand (father of the Seven Sisters) and Florin Falconhand (Dove's husband), Rowanmantle and Wyvernspur (Cormyrean noble houses), and so on and on.
- Orcs always follow this trope, as do the Orks in Warhammer 40,000. Justified in that they wouldn't normally have surnames, what with having no families and all, and that such names are more common for higher rank orcs and are clearly supposed to be nicknames and honorifics. They are usually violence or food related (or both). Dwarfchewer (or with their accent, Dwarfchewa) being a fine example.
- The leaders of Ogre tribes, known as Tyrants, who have to earn that status via deadly violence against (and consumption of) their former leader, and maintain it in the same way against even their own kin. As a successful Tyrant's reign of bloodshed extends, so does his name, often resulting in lists of Nounverbing superlatives — like Olflab Stonecruncher Fatgut Deathcheater, an Ogre who remained Tyrant of his kingdom of over ninety years before choking to death on his great-grandson's skull. Exaggerated by the Overtyrant of them all, Greasus Goldtooth — or to give him his formal title, Tradelord Greasus Tribestealer Drakecrush Gatecrasher Hoardmaster Goldtooth the Shockingly Obese.
- Done by the Tau in Warhammer 40,000. A Tau's given name will be (in order) their caste, their rank, their world of birth, followed by any personal names they might have earned. As a Tau's career advances, one or more noun-verb titles are added to their name. However, for brevity's sake, Tau will often answer to a single well-known name instead of their full formal name. For example, Shas'O Vior'la Shovah Kais Mont'yr ("Fire Caste-General Hot-Blooded Farsighted Skillful Battle-proven") is more commonly known as O'Shovah or Commander Farsight.
- Par for the course in Warhammer's successor, Warhammer: Age of Sigmar. If someone (or something) has a name, chances are that it's either going to be a case of an awesome name or this, and that it will be an example of Theme Naming.
- Several Dungeons & Dragons supplements have tables for randomly generated Nounverber names in the languages of various races.
- 1080° Snowboarding: Two of the characters are named with this nomenclature: Ricky Winterborn and Rob Haywood.
- Warcraft Universe:
- Cairne (and Baine) Bloodhoof, Illidan (and Malfurion) Stormrage, Sylvanas (and Alleria and Vereesa) Windrunner, Magni (and Bran and Muradin) Bronzebeard, Alastair Bentstaff, Gann Stonespire and Melgromm Highmountain. Most of the characters in the series, significant or incidental, have this. It seems likely that the developers used some sort of random name generator, feeding it with words like "Rage," "Fire," or "Blood." Rage is the most overused name-element. Ragefire Chasm, Ragetotem, Stormrage, Bloodrage, even just the "rage" used by the Warrior class, are some examples.
- Everyone in Wrath of the Lich King is some variant of Mary Chillydeath or Frank Zombiesnow.
- The Death Knight class have summoned zombie companions actually poke fun at this, with names like "Corpsecruncher" and "Rotripper." It actually uses a random combination list.
- The overwhelming majority of Night Elf NPCs have combinations of "Moon," "Silver," "Bow," "Breeze," "Runner," "Star," and others, while Blood Elves and High Elves have similar ones, but more uses of "Sun," "Dawn," and "Fire" than their nocturnal counterparts. The Night Elves use the same plain "noun noun+noun" format as the orcs (e.g. Malfurion Stormrage, Tyrande Whisperwind) while the Blood and High Elves use the classic "noun noun+verb+er" format (e.g. Kael'Thas Sunstrider, Vereesa Windrunner).
- Grom Hellscream might be a good explanation of how this sort of thing gets started. His son is named Garrosh Hellscream, and is often specifically called "son of Hellscream." This is because Grom got his name for a very, very, VERY good reason. Of course, Warlords of Draenor made this weird by introducing Grom's father, Golmash Hellscream. Who, it should be noted, has "the Giantslayer" as a separate title based on his own deeds, while Hellscream, which originally came from a trait of his son, is apparently now just a surname that predates its origin.
- And then there's his friends, Kargath Bladefist and Kilrogg Deadeye, who earned their epithets through Macho Masochism. Kargath cut off his left hand and replaced it with a deadly scythe blade, which is now par for the course in his clan, the Shattered Hand. Kilrogg either lost or pulled out his eyeball, depending on the storyline, and wore an eyepatch to cover it; his clan named themselves the Bleeding Hollow in his honour, and his sons Jorin and Grillok Deadeye share this injury, complete with their own eyepatches.
- This is actually pretty standard for orcs, particularly clan names. The Bonechewers are cannibals; the Frostwolves often live in harsh, snowy landscapes with strong ties to their wolf pets; the Warsong often charge and ride to battle singing songs to rally their comrades; the Twilight's Hammer are mad cultists who dream of bringing about the apocalypse; and the Dragonmaw, in all their incarnations, have used dragons as a cornerstone of their lifestyle and military force. This is pretty standard among the sapient races, in fact.
- Averted by, of all people, Thrall, leader of the Horde in Warcraft III. His name is another word for slave, but he kept it specifically for that reason (he was Raised by Humans as nothing but a Battle Thrall).
- In Fate and its sequels, every quest monster and uniquely-enchanted item has a randomly-generated name and/or title.
- Neverwinter Nights 2:
- Khelgar Ironfist, of the Ironfist clan.
- Grobnar Gnomehands, is a gnome, so his name is a bit Shaped Like Itself. He makes a joke about it when you first meet him.
- In Storm of Zehir you have the svirfneblin wizard Chir Darkflame, the half-orc paladin Grykk Bannersworn, and the insane monk Ribsmasher.
- Korgan Bloodaxe is an evil dwarf from Baldur's Gate II. The game goes so far as to tell you there's an actual clan Bloodaxe. The game also has one example a realistic usage of it: Jan Jansen's (alleged) uncle Uriah Twin-Hammers. The surname was an epithet earned because he, well, used a warhammer a lot. The "twin" part was because of his, um, other "hammer." The leader of the Shadow Thieves, Renal "Bloodscalp", earned his epithet in an unknown manner, though it was probably gruesome.
- Age of Mythology:
- Every hersir unit has a name given to it, all of them in this style. 'Biscuitchiller' and 'Refreshingbeveragemaker' were among the more amusing possibilities.
- There is also the particularly cool name of 'Surtr Firesword', however, there's a reason for that - Surtr is a Norse mythological character which is a giant wielding a flaming sword, who's flames he will bring forth during the Ragnarok will engulf the earth.
- Dwarf Fortress:
- Names follow this trope to the letter; every name, be it for a person, place, or thing, is generated randomly from a list of words, and like the example above can be amusingly irreverent, like Urist Diamondpants. Compare Boatmurdered, also a case of Names to Run Away from Really Fast. (And Places To Run Away From Really Fast, considering it features "Project Fuck The World", which unleashes a stream of magma upon any goblins foolhardy enough to lay siege.)
- "Urist" is the dwarven word for "dagger." Thus names are very noun-noun verbnoun-y. For giggles: "Om nom nom nom" translates to "Clutter the god of godly gods."
- Wizard101 practically enforces this trope, as players must choose parts of their character's names from a set of lists rather than inputting them directly. However, you can choose "(none)" on at least one of them.
- Names in Free Realms also follow this convention.
- In Might and Magic VIII, the dragon leader is called Deftclaw Redreaver.
- Might and Magic VIII loved this trope — there were three other examples just in the same dragon cave, and elsewhere it was not limited to dragons. VI and VII were much the same, with all three games often giving skill trainers a thematically appropriate name — Quicktongue for a Grandmaster Merchant trainer, Lightfingers for an Expert Stealing trainer, etc. Deftclaw Redreaver stands out mainly in that both his first and last name are examples.
- Ork names in he Dawn of War series:
- Gorgutz 'Ead 'Unter first appears in Winter Assault. In the Ork campaign of Dark Crusade, he takes on more nounverby nicknames like Demonkilla, Bloodspilla, Ragescreamer, Deathkilla, Ghostkilla and Gunsmasha.
- Dawn of War II had Gutrencha, Rippa-Splitta, Retribution had Warboss Smashface...
- Warhammer Online has mostly "normal" names, although very Germanic, for the Empire NPCs. For Chaos and all the non-human races, this trope applies. For example, "Garik Bludfist", "Kargesh Fellgaze", "Bjorn Warpmask", "N'rarch Fleshreaper", "Vaardek Skullsplitter", "Alaric Grimstone" and "Brok Boarsmasha". No surprise that player characters who purchase a last name tend to either choose "NounVerber", "AdjectiveNoun" or a pop-culture reference.
- In RuneScape, the entire Gorajo tribe has names belonging to this trope. Members of the Gorajo tribe don't have personal names and instead call themselves by their rank (Cub, Little, Naive, Keen, Brave, Brah, Naabe, Wise, Adept or Sachem) and role within the tribe. Players can summon Bloodragers (melee warriors), Deathslingers (ranged fighters), Stormbringers (magic users), Skinweavers (healers), Worldbearers (item carriers) and Hoardstalkers (foragers) to help them in a dungeon. There is also a character called "Lokar Searunner".
- The Elder Scrolls: This pops up periodically throughout the series, especially among Nords.
- The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind has a number of Nords with braggadocious sobriquets, but perhaps the most fearsome is Alfhedil Elf-Hewer. His name isn't just talk, either- he is the master trainer of the axe skill, and has a collection of skulls in his quarters.
- The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim has some in its opening theme—"Alduin, bane of kings, ancient shadow unbound." Every dragon's name is a three word epithet; "Alduin" means "destroy-consume-lord". Alduin was made by Akatosh (or may even be an aspect of Akatosh) to destroy the world at the end of time, hence his other major title, the "World-Eater".
- Many other dragons have names which fit when translated from draconic, such as "Curse Never Dying" and "Snow Wing Hunter," for example. Crosses over with Names to Run Away from Really Fast, as the translated names sound quite intimidating.
- In addition, numerous Nords have names like this (Ulfric Stormcloak, Brunwulf Free-Winter, Torsten Cruel-Sea, Galmar Stone-Fist, Hajvarr Iron-Hand, Sjoring Hard-Heart etc.). Some are even given name origin stories (e.g. Hofgrir Horse-Crusher), but the majority are given no such justifications.
- Throughout the series, Goblin tribe names are frequently in this format. Examples include the Throatcutter, Dogeater, and Rock Biter tribes. Others have an "adjective-noun" format instead, such as the Bitterfish and Bloody Hand tribes.
- Guild Wars and Guild Wars 2 has some of these, mostly for their two Proud Warrior Race Guy races, the charr and the norn. Both are at least somewhat justified. A charr's last name is chosen to show solidarity with their warband. Kalla Scorchrazor, Rytlock Brimstone, and Pyre Fierceshot are fairly typical charr names. Norn surnames seem split between Scandinavian-style patronymics like Olaf Olafson or Olrun Olafdottir and self-given titles like Gunnar Poundfist or Knut Whitebear.
- Evil Islands: Everyone and their mother is named like that in Gipath. Examples include Erfar Silvertongue, Gort Skullcrusher and Babur Tightfist to name a few. Hilariously, a handful of non-human NPC's such as Goblin Chieftain Gogo averts this. It's also averted in Ingos and Suslanger.
- Banjo-Kazooie has Gruntilda Winkybunion (from winky, as in someone who winks; and bunion, or the swelling of a foot's joint). It's an Embarrassing Last Name for her, as noted during the final battle against her in Banjo-Tooie.
- Star Fox Adventures mixes this with CamelCase to name certain locations, since these are named after the dinosaur species (the ones named with camel case themselves) that inhabit them: ThornTail Hollow, SnowHorn Wastes, CloudRunner Fortress, LightFoot Village.
- Monster Hunter:
- Three subspecies in the series are named this way: Goldbeard Ceadeus in 3 Ultimate, Tigerstripe Zamtrios in 4 Ultimate, and Nightshade Paolumu in Iceborne. Two variants also have this format in their names: Frostfang Barioth and Blackveil Vaal Hazak (both from Iceborne). All other subspecies and variants have instead a word, gerund or adjective accompanying their names.
- The Deviant Monsters in Monster Hunter Generations and its Updated Re-release Generations Ultimate have compound-name prefixes: Redhelm Arzuros, Dreadqueen Rathian, Boltreaver Astalos, Bloodbath Diablos, and so on. All of these monsters are as deadly as their names sound.
- Yandere Simulator: The Aishi family. "Ai" meaning "Love" and "Shi" meaning "Death". They're a family that have done Murder the Hypotenuse to get their love interests over multiple generations.
- The Order of the Stick:
- Of the six main characters, only four have revealed their last names, and all are compounds: Roy Greenhilt, Haley Starshine, Belkar Bitterleaf and Durkon Thundershield.
- The Greenhilt clan has some justification, as Roy says they were named for that sword.
- Durkon is a cleric of Thor, and uses a shield, so it's quite fitting, though that'll have to mean his entire family fits the same description as well.
- And then there are supporting characters Hilgya Firehelm, Leeky Windstaff, Reegon Mithrilspear, Hiran Sinkeye, Clang Killitchy, Deergar Bluehawk, Firuk Blackore...
- Girard Draketooth used to be be an example of this trope, until it was revealed that he was descendant from a black dragon.
- Finally, Redcloak. Given that he wears a red cloak (and Xykon threatened to kill him if his name proved too difficult to remember) it makes sense.
- Laurin Shattersmith.
- Penny Arcade: Doctor Raven Darktalon... Blood (admittedly a parody and a minor character). When the Penny Arcade team started playing Dungeons and Dragons, Gabe named his character Jim Darkmagic (of the New Hampshire Darkmagics). Scott Kurtz's response was "Jim Darkmagic? Why don't you just name him Chet Awesomelaser?" Considering Scott Kurtz was playing a character named Binwin Bronzebottom... In all fairness Scott Kurtz was playing a dwarf. You actually lose game abilities if your dwarf isn't a Luke Nounverber.
- Lance Swordfighter from Gold Coin Comics.
- In the Star Wars parody webcomic Diary of a Crazed Mimbanite, the Parody Name for Luke Skywalker was Cliff Nerfherder (a reference to an insult applied to Han Solo in The Empire Strikes Back).
- Dellyn Goblinslayer, one of the first prominent villains in Goblins. He has a special hatred for goblins (on top of his hatred for monstrous races in general).
- Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures has Alexsi's biological mother Quintinga Sharpspear
- Rak Wraithraiser from Tower of God.
- Weregeek: In one arc, the group play a Werewolf: The Apocalypse LARP, and most of the werewolf names are in the form 'Verbs-The-Noun' (such as Cracks-The-Code, Finds-The-Way, and Slays-The-Night). There's even one character actually named Verbs-The-Noun.
Verbs-The-Noun: Let's just say it's not a good idea to backtalk your elders during the naming ceremony.
- In the Whateley Universe, the Amerind side character Stormwolf is Adam Ironknife. But the main character Heyoka, who is a Lakota Indian, is merely Jamie Carson.
- Pastiched by Yahtzee's Zero Punctuation review of Richard Garriott's Tabula Rasa, in which Yahtzee, in an effort to test out the game's cuss word filter, names his character "Gareth Gobelcoque."
- The world of Homestar Runner has Lem and Bev Sportsinterviews and Senor Havingalittletrouble.
- Tales of MU:
- Elves take epithet names that are often in this form, but are disappointed that Jamie Bowman, a quarter-elf raised in human society, does not have any archery skill.
- Dwarves in the same have clan names that are either of the "Oakenshield" variety or are Dwarvish equivalents like "Sternbauer".
- Some of the species in Serina have names like this, including billion-stingers (ants that live in huge, constantly-moving colonies), gravediggers (descendants of canaries, who catch their prey using traps), and woodcrafters (deer-like descendants of guppies, who use their antler-like ears to prune trees).
- In Star Wars tradition, The Gungan Council has this appearing frequently: Skywalker, Starkiller, Darkhold, Sunfell, Ravenclaw, Holdfast, Shadowdragon, Hawkmoon, Skylark, Darksun, Eventide, and many more.
- Chip 'n Dale: Rescue Rangers has Gadget Hackwrench. In this case, the verb part of the surname is "hack". Very fitting, considering she's frequently hacking around with hardware.
- Parodied in Eek! The Cat with "Leek Bottomsitter".
- TaleSpin's Kit Cloudkicker. A name that, for all we know, he came up with himself. Anyway it's appropriate since he is known for "air surfing".
- In one of Brendon's movies in Home Movies, he plays a character named "the Landstander".
- The Tom and Jerry movie includes a "Dr. Applecheek" and a lawyer simply named "Lickboot."
- Many Transformers have names like this that line up with their abilities, such as Thundercracker, Trailblazer, and Mixmaster.
- In an episode of The Simpsons, when Lisa tries becoming a goth, she changes her name to "Ravencrow Neversmiles." Edna Krabappel is one of the best known examples of this trope.
- In one episode of American Dad! Roger creates two personas; his plan is that one will sexually harass the other and in that character, he will claim compensation. The name of the harasser personality was Luke Fondleburg.
- A number of the characters from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic have such names, like Rumble, Cloudkicker, Thunderlane, etc.
- A couple episodes of Family Guy feature a redneck comedian named Mike Drunkbeater.
- Bakshi's Mighty Mouse series had "Mighty's Benefit Plan," which featured Sandy Bottomfeeder, manager of Elwy and the Tree Weasels (spoofs of Dave Seville and Alvin & the Chipmunks).
- Quite a few actual family names conform to this pattern, for instance:
- Armstrong (there are clan legends about what feat by an ancestor was commemorated by that name).
- Cartwright, Goldsmith, Shoemaker, Wainwright and other names indicating specialized craftsmen. Even more than you might think; a lot of last names are from professions that either no longer exist or are at least much less common than they used to be. Some examples are Cooper (a person who makes barrels) and Chandler (candle-maker). If a surname in English ends in -er there's a good chance that it's this. And some are even more obscure—a "reeve" in medieval England was an overseer of the lord's estates who collected and sold the produce grown by the serfs.
- Eisenhower - from "Eisenhauer" (iron-hewer) is a German version of this.
- Shakespeare - "spear-shaker". There also was Nicholas Breakspear, later Pope Adrian IV.
- Turn(e)bull, according to the more popular theory William of Rule got that name for saving Robert the Bruce from a bull.
- As graciously pointed out by Family Guy, Hancock could be considered this, though the actual meaning is nothing out of the ordinary.
- Kicklighter, an Americanization of the German surname Kückleiter (lit. "chicken ladder"), sounds like the name of someone you'd run into at Tosche Station while shopping for power converters.
- The surname Lamphere is a double example, as its spelled "Lamp-Here" but pronounced "Lamp-Fear".
- In a somewhat convoluted way, the surname Bump, according to genealogical legend, was formed this way. Bump is a form of the French surname Bumpas, which was allegedly given to a servant of a noble after making a harrowing and speedy journey through a battle to deliver a message (the messenger is said to have had a bon pas, or a good pace).
- There was an Austrialian football player in the early twentieth century whose last name was Conquest. Then you learn his first name was Norman. He was named after a period of history.
- Folke Filbyter the forefather of the House of Folkung. Filbyter is an old form of Fölbitare, meaning Foal biter. According to the legend he did really bite foals, he castrated colts by biting their balls off.
- This trope is very common in present-day Turkey despite its overall rarity in Real Life. The origin goes back to the surname law of 1934 which required people to take on fixed family names. While many families took on the traditional patronymic format, others opted for this trope instead. Sometimes names were based on martial values (given the state of Turkey as a post-war nationalistic society at the time), resulting in names such as Demirel (Iron-Hand) or Erdoğan (Soldier-Born). Others based their names on their pre-law claim-to-fame, such as Vecihi Hürkuş (Free-Bird), who was already a renowned aviator at the time of the law.
- Surnames in Japan are commonly of the "Noun" or "Adjective-Noun" variety (sometimes "Noun-Verber" also appears). Since Japanese names are all based on Chinese characters (kanji), they all have meaning tied to their symbols. In the Meiji era, even commoners (who usually only had a given name, and perhaps identified with a clan, if they had claim enough to state it) were told to select surnames. Commoners with no attachment to a greater family often just picked whatever was nearby, or whatever they felt their family would mostly be identified by. Hence, there are a lot of geological or botanical features prevalent in the modern Japanese family register. Examples include "井上" (Inoue, or "Above the Well"), "藤田" (Fujita, or "Wisteria Fields"), "豊田" ("Toyoda", or "Plentiful Fields"), "坂本" (Sakamoto, or "Base of the Hill"), "杉本" (Sugimoto, or "Root of the Cedar Tree"), "小川" (Ogawa, or "Little River"), "小野" (Ono- as in Yoko Ono, which means "Little Field"), "松井" (Matsui- as in Hideki Matsui, which means "Pine Well"). Even lords had names like this, such as "徳川" (Tokugawa, the shogunate family which ruled Japan from 1600-1868, which means "Virtuous River") and "織田" (Oda, as in Oda Nobunaga, the vicious shogun who united Japan through fear, cunning, and strength, which means "Interweaving Field"—or more poetically, "Crossroads").