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Meaningful Rename

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Admittedly, it's not that great of an improvement.

"As for me, this is my covenant with you: You will be the father of many nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I have made you a father of many nations."

The name is the thing, and the true name is the true thing — so if the name changes...

Some names have obvious meanings but often, this is done when it is not the original name for the person, place, or object, but rather, a new one given by someone or assumed.

Renaming oneself can often signify casting aside an old identity, especially if one wishes to part with a particular aspect of oneself. Other times, they may take on the new name in order to reflect a change in their personality or role in life. Renaming someone or something else often is used to claim ownership or to dictate that person or thing's purpose. In the case of this trope, such a renaming is intentional and generally symbolic, and the characters often state their reasons for the renaming.

Changing your name back to the original is also a Meaningful Rename. You learned that you should Be Yourself, or accepted your past and/or heritage, or acknowledged that your grievances were more petty than you thought, or changed your mind about the merits of whatever the rename stood for. Or perhaps you have found your Secret Legacy and re-adopted your original name as a symbol of that.


May feature as a routine part of Rite of Passage as a Rite-of-Passage Name Change.

Don't try to do this if you're a Giver of Lame Names; you'll end up being known as an Atrocious Alias.

May overlap with Artifact Alias. Compare That Person Is Dead, when a character disavows their old name without necessarily accepting a new one. If a name is forcefully taken from its bearer by magic, you're looking at Take Away Their Name. Also compare The Magnificent, which is tacked on to the existing name — whether given or self-ascribed. Egopolis, where a despot renames an entire city after themself, is a subtrope. Please Select New City Name usually falls under this. See also The Maiden Name Debate which involves changing one's name after marriage. A Stage Name or Pen Name may also qualify. See Do Not Call Me "Paul" for when a character disregards their given name for personal reasons. Outgrowing the Childish Name is for when a character no longer uses their childhood diminutive name as a sign of maturity. It can also lead to I Have Many Names if the old names are still valid. Contrast Significant Name Shift for when names don't actually change.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • After he joins the Black Lagoon company, Revy renames Rokuro Okajima to “Rock”, in order to reflect that he’s now a mercenary and no longer just a salaryman.
  • Haou Airen:
    • After killing his asshole dad at the age of 14, a Triad hitman named Li Shen Wong renounced his old identity and started calling himself "Uo Hakuron".
    • Hakuron's Japanese mistress Kurumi Akino gets the Chinese name "Qiuye Laishi", which is the Mandarin Chinese pronunciation of the Japanese kanji for her "Akino Kurumi" name, and Fuuron renounces to his former name of Lu Zhaoming as he becomes The Dragon to Hakuron.
  • In Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's, The Book of Darkness, previously known as the Tome of the Night Sky before it got corrupted, is renamed "Reinforce" by Hayate for being one who supports and protects others. Bonus points for her being a Unison Device, one specifically designed to boost the wielder's power by merging with her.
  • Naruto:
    • Sasuke renames his team from "Snake" to "Hawk" when he changes his goal to destroying Konoha. This also ties in with Sasuke's earlier mention of the story of a snake that sought to fly by raising a baby bird, only to get eaten instead, as well as Tobi suggesting that Sasuke would one day stop being a snake and take flight as a hawk. Later, it's also shown that this reflects his change in summon: since Orochimaru was permanently sealed he couldn't use snakes anymore, so he switched to hawks.
    • Also Nagato tends to go by the name "Pain", which he took on to reflect his belief that the only way to prevent war is to teach the world suffering, but also uses it to refer to himself and his six bodies.
    • Guy calls himself the "Green Beast of Konoha", referring to his ability to open the Seventh Gatenote . During his battle with Madara he declares his green days are over and it is time to become the "Red Beast of Konoha", meaning he will open the Eighth Gate to battle Madara, dying as a result.
    • Tobi himself has a name that's a pseudonym; his real name is Obito Uchiha. According to the flashback chapters, Tobi is the real name of a Zetsu clone who tended to his needs. Said clone acquired the nickname "Guruguru" because it has a spiral-shaped head (guruguru is the Japanese onomatopoeia for spirals), and likely inspired the human Tobi to don a spiral-shaped mask.
  • In Muhyo and Roji, Chiyo Sakura renames herself "Pansa" after the time she saw pansies when Roji gives her an extra application form. She takes on the name when she joins Ark in order to try to get closer to Roji after being rejected as a candidate for Muhyo's assistant.
  • Scar of Fullmetal Alchemist once had a name, but he discarded it long ago, believing that he no longer deserved it. Used again at the end of the series when he decides to help the remaining Ishvalans rebuild their country. When General Armstrong asks him what his real name is, he smiles for the only time in the series and says that he doesn't need one anymore, and that General Armstrong is free to call him whatever she wishes.
  • In Haibane Renmei, at the end Reki's name changes in meaning from 'one who was run over' to 'stone' to symbolize her ability to overcome her struggles. The context of the 'stone' being 'a stepping stone for those who need help' - she devoted her life to helping others, first trying to "buy" redemption for her perceived sins, but eventually simply because she liked doing it, thus getting the said redemption.
  • Fujimiya Ran in Weiß Kreuz starts using the name of his comatose little sister Aya when he becomes an assassin to pay her hospital bills and get revenge on the man who injured her. Sources vary as to the exact circumstances involved; in the anime, he makes the decision almost immediately at her hospital bedside. In the An Assassin And White Shaman manga, however, it's more of an Appropriated Appellation - Yoji begins calling him "Aya" after hearing him say the name in his sleep since up until that point Ran has refused to give any name to his new teammates.
    • Tsukiyono Omi goes back to using his birth name Takatori Mamoru after Weiss breaks up and states that Omi is dead. Kisaragi Takeru (Izumi Sena) from Gluhen and Edward R. Krotznik (Chloe) from Side B also work under different names, but we're not told much about their decisions to do so, aside from the fact that Chloe took his name from a girl he went to school with.
  • Rurouni Kenshin: In a flashback, it's revealed that Kenshin was originally named "Shinta", but his mentor changed it because he felt Shinta to be too wimpy a name for a swordsman.
  • Parodied in Hayate the Combat Butler when Nagi vows to stop being a hikikomori and renames herself Nagi 360 Elite.
  • Bleach:
    • Captain Kenpachi Zaraki originally had no name at all. He decided to give himself a name that meant something to him to combat the pain of being nameless. He came from the Zaraki district so used Zaraki as his surname and took the title for the strongest shinigami in a generation (the Kenpachi) for his first name, hence Kenpachi Zaraki. Eventually, he earned the title Kenpachi properly by killing the 11th division Kenpachi in a duel and replacing him.
    • Yachiru Kusajishi was also nameless. When Kenpachi named himself, he also gave Yachiru her name. Her surname was taken from the Kusajishi district she originated from and her first name was the name of the only person Kenpachi ever admired. The identity of the mysterious "Yachiru" was eventually revealed to be the very first Kenpachi of the Gotei 13, Kenpachi Yachiru Unohana, currently known as the Fourth Division Captain, Retsu Unohana. In other words, Kenpachi named both himself and Yachiru after The Medic captain.
    • Captain Commander Genryuusai Shigekuni Yamamoto. He was originally known by the name Eijisai Shigekuni Yamamoto because of the shape of a scar on his forehead. After the scar was rescarred in battle against Choujirou Sasakibe he was renamed Juujisai Shigekuni Yamamoto. However, he renamed himself Genryuusai Shigekuni Yamamoto because Sasakibe felt too awkward calling him Juujisai after having caused the scar, so Yamamoto gave himself a name Sasakibe would feel comfortable using.
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica: Any Magical Girl that becomes a witch gets a new name representing their despair, reflecting how they've stopped being a full human, and are only an embodiment of their despair.
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, Graham Aker's obsession with Setsuna eventually culminates in Aker renaming himself to "Mister Bushido" and adopting a samurai mindset focused on honorably defeating his enemy on equal grounds (on one occasion, he had Setsuna at his mercy but spared him because the latter's machine broke down during the fight; Setsuna later returned the favor).
  • The Mobile Fighter G Gundam side-story prequel manga Fight 7th reveals that after failing to reach the 7th Gundam Fight Finals in time (due to being busy stopping a terrorist group from disrupting the Fight), Shuuji Kurosu, the Gundam Fighter for Neo-Japan, is dismissed by his country. He decides to take his talents to Neo-Hong Kong, and renames himself Master Asia, and through further training, also takes the name Tohofuhai (Undefeated of the East).
    • In the anime proper, Master Asia, upon appearing at the opening ceremonies of the Gundam Fight Finals, declares his intention to win and retain the title of Gundam of Gundams for Neo-Hong Kong, and once he accomplishes that, he will truly be Undefeated of the East, West, North, South, and Central, and will declare himself "Super Asia". The drama CD Gundam Fight: Round 3 parodies this, as the movie version of Master Asia declares that he already is Undefeated of the East, West, North, South, and Central, resulting in confusion from the other characters in the movie, and catcalls from the audience, particularly the real Chibodee, much to the real Master Asia's chagrin.
  • Free from Soul Eater gave himself the name after escaping the Witches' prison (and thus becoming "Free"), with whatever name he may have held before that passing unmentioned.
    • Soul Eater Not! reveals that academy students can choose their own names - so Soul Eater and Black*Star were not born with those names, they chose them.
  • "From now on Krylancelo is dead! I will be known as Orphen!"
  • In Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, Ponyo takes to her new name like a duck to water, even insisting that her father call her it.
  • In Ravages of Time, although the name was used at least twice before, Liaoyuan Huo's Heel–Face Turn, a case of Becoming the Mask, this cemented in his Heroic Vow in chapter 387: "Zhao Yun swears to protect the Liu family!"
  • In Fairy Tail, Erza is an orphan and does not know what her last name is. When they first met, Jellal gave her the last name "Scarlet" after her red hair, so that it would be easy to remember.
  • In the Ooku universe, women that take a position of power gain a 'manly' name. Initially this happened because they were trying to hide that Shogun Iemitsu was dead and the person that posed as him was a woman, but after Iemitsu the Younger reveals herself and women started openly becoming family heads, they took masculine names, to the point that a few generations later, only Shogun Yoshimune questions why this is so. Oftentimes the new name is derived from the reigning shogun's name (such as Yoshimune's name being derived from Shogun Tsunayoshi) with those that will indisputably become the next shogun, whether by birth or adoption taking a name that begins with the character 'Ie-' after the Tokugawa dynasty's founder Ieyasu.
    • Likewise, men in the Ooku adopt more 'feminine' names upon entering, particularly the concubines that father Tokugawa heirs. This started originally when Iemitsu the Younger renamed the men in order to insult them but as heirs started being born it became traditional.
  • Kagerou Project:
    • Azami was given her name by Tsukihiko, the first human who treated her like a person. Before that, she'd only been referred to as 'Monster'.
    • Ene's name is derived from her former human name, Enomoto Takane. It began as her online name, and she adopted her Ene persona to avoid Shintaro recognising her, for fear he would sink further into despair if he knew she'd died.
    • Konoha used to be Kokonose Haruka. Like Ene, his name started as his online name but became his identity after dying.
    • Tsubomi (Kido), Shuuya (Kano) and Kousouke (Seto) switched to Last-Name Basis as a part of cementing their status as a gang, partly because it sounded cool, and partly because it meant leaving their childhood in the Tateyama household behind. However, Kano has a habit of still calling Kido "Tsubomi", much to her chagrin.
  • Before coming to the mansion, Finny from Black Butler was called Number 12 all his life. From what we've seen of his backstory, it wasn't until Ciel gave him the new name of Finny that he began to overcome his past as an experimental Human Weapon.
  • In Fushigi Yuugi: Byakko Ibun, one of the biggest seals of Nirusha and Reipin's Inter Generational Friendship is how he renames her "Neiran". It's also his case since Nirusha's actual name is Raseisen... and his Senshi name is Miboshi.
  • In Ping Pong, Kong Wenge in the epilogue. After he made the Japanese Olympic team, he became a citizen of the nation and took the name Tsujido Wenge, after his high school ping pong team.
  • In Shouwa Genroku Rakugo Shinjuu, Kyoji is renamed Yotaro by his master Yakumo. Yotaro in rakugo slang means "fool", but can mean Anti-Hero. He could be either, depending on how you perceive the character.
  • In Brave10, in the interests of having a One Rokuro Limit, Mochizuki Rokuro volunteers for a rename upon joining up with the Braves and Yukimura chooses to bestow him with his childhood name, Benmaru. Funnily enough, the other Rokuro is against it because it's not proper for a lord to give his name to a delinquent orphan. This turns out to be foreshadowing for Benmaru's second meaningful rename as the historical "Sanada Daisuke" when Yukimura adopts him as his heir in the sequel.
  • Taki Ren takes the name Taki Rentarou to study at Melite as suggested by the director when he realized she was the daughter of an old friend who had died of tuberculosis 15 years ago. Mr. Taki had told the director he would name his unborn child Ren if she was a girl and Rentarou if he was a boy because adding -tarou makes names more masculine in Japanese.
  • In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Phantom Blood, Black Knight Bruford briefly reverts to his original honorable self thanks to being hit by Jonathan's Ripple. Right before the Ripple destroys him for good, he passes on his sword "Luck" to Jonathan. He also renames the sword "Luck & Pluck" (adding the letter "P" in blood next to the engraved "Luck") to acknowledge Jonathan's courage.
    • Prior to the events of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Golden Wind, Giorno Giovanna was born Haruno Shiobana. When he was 4-years-old, his mother married an Italian man and they moved to Italy. There his name was changed to Giorno Giovanna to make him fit in with his new home.
    • Later in the series, in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure: Stone Ocean, a Reset Button erases Big Bad Enrico Pucci and Part 6 as a whole from the timeline, permanently altering the lives of the main cast (who had previously died in the battle). The Reset Button also changes Jolyne Cujoh's name to Irene, which symbolizes two things. The first is that despite Jolyne and her allies being brought back, they are still significantly different due to their life experiences being much different (in short, they're the same people in terms of biology and basic personality, but not experience). The second is that Irene no longer has the letters in her name that make her a JoJo (her original name being Jolyne Cujoh), symbolizing that there's no need for the Joestar bloodline to continue their fight with evil. With Pucci Ret-Gone, DIO's legacy has now ended with his death in 1989, several years before Jolyne/Irene's birth.
  • Tohru and Kanna Kamui in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid both take Kobayashi's family name as their own after moving in with her. Tohru of course wouldn't mind taking it as her married name, but this also represents both dragons' divorce from their fantasy-medieval home reality and their Family of Choice dynamic with Kobayashi herself. Especially notable as Kanna goes by Kobayashi Kanna, not keeping the Kamui component.
  • Lily Hoshikawa in Zombieland Saga. Originally a Stage Name, she officially adopted it sometime during her career in showbiz due to being a transgender girl.
  • In The Rising of the Shield Hero, as punishment for their highly unjust actions against Naofumi, King Aultcray and Princess Malty are renamed by the Queen of Melromarc as Trash and Bitch respectively to match their true natures. The former eventually accepts the name, while the latter just grows worse from there.
  • Cross Ange: Any of the Norma who are sent to the Penal Colony Arzenal have their names forcibly changed to one-word names, usually a shortened version of their name, to reflect that they lose everything of their old lives. For example, Angelise Ikaruga Misurugi became Ange and Alektra Maria von Loewenherz became Jill. They only regain their original names when they die, as they are honored by having their original names written on their tombstones.
  • In Captain Tsubasa, Carlos Santana was taken in by the owner of the Bara FC and legally adopted, and during that time he was forced to wear the Bara surname. When he turned 17, he revealed during a press conference all the abuse his adoptive father submitted him to and announced he was going to retake his original surname, in the memory of the loving parents who raised him until their untimely deaths.
  • In That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime, after Satoru Mikami died and reincarnated as a slime, the first friend he made in that world was the Storm Dragon Veldora. To signify their friendship, Veldora proposes that they each give each other names. Veldora is given the surname Tempest, based on his epithet, and this surname is combined with Rimuru, a name that sounds as cute and non-human as Satoru now looks, to get Rimuru Tempest. The Tempest part also ends up appropriate due to how Rimuru's actions in the new world end up shaking up the natural order.
  • Hinowa ga Crush!: When Hinowa was killed in battle, her daughter Hinata renamed herself Hinowa and took her place, wanting her mother's name to be known worldwide.
  • In The Case Files of Jeweler Richard, Richard's assumed last name "Ranasinghe" was given to him by his mentor.
  • In Moriarty the Patriot:
    • "William James Moriarty" assumes his name after murdering the original William James Moriarty and passing his body off as his own.
    • Irene Adler also gets a rename after faking her death and assuming the name James Bond, sharing the first name with James Moriarty and the last name taking from her relationships and connections to friends.
  • One Piece: Subverted for laughs when Big Mom's Homie, Zeus, permanently fuses with Nami's Clima-Tact, he asks her to give him a new name to complete his change in allegiance. However, he hates Nami's new name, Cotton (or Fluff), so he decides to keep being called Zeus.


    Comic Books 
  • A staple of superhero comics, where usually the first or second thing a person does after gaining superpowers is to think up a name that either describes or obliquely alludes to those powers ("Spider-Man", "Flash"), their source ("Green Lantern", "Radioactive Man" and "Fallout Boy"), or amounts to a mission statement ("Justice League of America", "Brotherhood of Evil Mutants", "Plunderer"). This is especially noticeable with superheroes who start their careers without a secret identity, such as the Fantastic Four.
  • Most of the Runaways adopt code names. One describes it as wanting to get rid of everything their parents gave them, name included. It's also a clue to the identity of the mole - Alex refuses to take a codename because he's still loyal to his parents
  • Superheroes and supervillains sometimes take a new code-name which can be meaningful, e. g. if it is taken in reaction to a traumatic event, switching allegiances, growing up and standing on one's own feet (e. g. Kid Flash (Wally West) becoming the third Flash, the first Robin becoming Nightwing), gaining new powers, etc.
    • Disillusioned after discovering that the U. S. President was the leader of the Secret Empire, Steve Rogers aka Captain America briefly became Nomad (or Nomad, the Man Without a Country).
      • In a later storyline he was forbidden by the U. S. government to use the name and costume of Captain America and for a while became The Captain.
    • "Hear me, X-Men! No longer am I the woman you knew! I am fire! And life incarnate! Now and forever I AM PHOENIX!"
      • The change of Marvel Girl to the Phoenix was later retconned into her being replaced by the Phoenix. However, when Jean Grey was brought back from storage beneath Jamaica Bay, she significantly stopped using her pre-Phoenix codename "Marvel Girl", especially in the 90s when the Blue and Gold Strike Forces were formed.
    • Alpha Flight's Weapon Alpha during one mission endangered innocent civilians. He therefore felt he had to vindicate himself and adopted the new name Vindicator.
    • Under the influence of Psycho-Man and the Hatemonger, the Invisible Girl temporarily became evil and adopted the new identity of Malice. After living through this ordeal she did not revert to "Invisible Girl" but changed to "Invisible Woman".
    • When the male members of the second Brotherhood of Evil Mutants had all ended up in prison, the remaining trio of Mystique, Destiny, and Rogue briefly called itself the Sisterhood of Evil Mutants. Later it entered the service of the federal government in return for a conditional amnesty and renamed itself Freedom Force.
    • In X-Force, new team leader Mr. Sensitive changes his name to The Orphan at a press conference after a bout of internal conflict over his lack of family. He keeps the name even after discovering that he was never an orphan and that his parents just gave him away, partially on the advice of his boss, who said that if he changed it back people would think he was trying to reclaim the days before U-Go Girl's death.
      • After the death of U-Go Girl (and a legal battle), the Orphan changed the name of the team to X-Statix. He actually said he doesn't really know what the new name means; it came to him in a dream and it's better than nothing.
    • When Marvel Boy accidentally killed his father, he was tried and found guilty of negligent homicide. When his teammates came to jailbreak him, he refused to go with them, stating that he had been convicted in a fair trial, and he believed in the system. Shortly after his release from the vault, he changed his name to "Justice."
    • Another New Warrior, Speedball, changed his name to Penance after being part of a botched supervillain arrest that ended with the deaths of over 600 people.
    • Russia had two teams of superheroes, the Soviet Super Soldiers and the Supreme Soviets. Naturally, these names wouldn't do when Communism collapsed and the Soviet Union became the People's Federation of Russia, so they combined into one team and called themselves the People's Protectorate. Later, this team disbanded but a few members formed the Winter's Guard.
    • While bonded with Spider-Man, the Symbiote had no name. After being rejected by Spider-Man and bonding with Eddie Brock, the two decided to become "poison" to Spider-Man and collectively took the name Venom.
  • In ElfQuest, Cutter's son Suntop saves his tribe from a great danger and thereafter is called Sunstream. Similarly, Redlance's initial name was Redmark and One-Eye used to be called Woodhue. It's sort of implied that this happens a lot, but we very rarely get to see any major characters change their names - most likely so the audience doesn't get all confused, especially if they skipped a few issues.
  • The Infinity Gems were initially known as the Soul Gems in all their early appearances. They wouldn't get their more familiar name until the Thanos Quest limited series, where Thanos decided that "Infinity" was more fitting since only one of the gems actually had anything to do with souls.
  • In Strontium Dog, John Kreelman identifies himself as Johnny Alpha when he joins the mutant resistance. This is initially to keep secret the fact that he is the son of the most anti-mutant member of the Cabinet but soon thinks of it as a way to disassociate himself from his father.
  • In a Firefly comic, we learn Derrial Book is not the shepherd's birth name.
  • Pre-Crisis, Superboy changed his name to Superman during his college years, with Clark realizing he was no longer a kid/had reached maturity, and needed a more adult name. Presumably the same was the case for Clark's one Superboy-era contemporary hero, Aquaman (formerly "Aquaboy").
  • This is found in certain backstories for The Riddler: Pre-Supervillain career, he legally changed his name from Edward Nashton to Edward Nygma. Perhaps to reflect his love of brainteasers, or to distance himself from his abusive father, or both.
  • In Gothtopia, the Batfamily changed their names to reflect the sunnier atmosphere of Gotham. Batgirl became Bluebelle, Batwing became Flying Fox, Batwoman became Brightbat, the Birds of Prey became the Wings of Truth, Catwoman became Catbird, Nightwing became Gothamite, and Batman is still Batman.
  • One of Red Sonja's rivals, Dark Annisia, renamed herself Red Annisia after she mistakenly believed Sonja was dead, as a sign of having conquered her. Of course, Sonja eventually returns and faces her in a rematch.
  • Suske en Wiske: The characters Tante Sidonie and Schalulleke were renamed in 1963 when the comic strip changed from Flemish dialect into Dutch standard language. Sidonie was retitled Sidonia, which sounded better, and Schalulleke was renamed Schanulleke because a schalul was a Flemish word meaning a onion, but Dutchmen didn't know the word and the word -lul meant penis, so Vandersteen changed one letter in the character's name.
  • Nero: A weird example. Nero's original name was Heiremans, a man who thought he was Emperor Nero. After a while, he stopped thinking this but all the other characters still referred to him as Nero. Even his wife is named Mrs. Nero!
  • De Kiekeboes:
    • Timotheus Triangl was renamed Timothea Triangl in Zeg Het Met Bloemen because he had undergone a sex change.
    • The series itself was named Kiekeboe until 2010 when it was renamed De Kiekeboes because creator Merho felt that the series was more about the family Kiekeboe than Marcel Kiekeboe alone.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics):
    • Evil Sonic, powered up by the Master Emerald and sporting a new look, renamed himself Scourge to show he was no longer just another Sonic duplicate. When to took over Moebius, he convinced the other Anti-Freedom Fighters to take new looks and names. Evil Tails became "Miles", Evil Sally became "Alicia", Evil Antoine became "Patch", Evil Rotor became "Boomer" and the Anti-Freedom Fighters became the "Suppression Squad".
    • When the Knothole Freedom Fighters were shattered due to various actions by Naugus and Eggman, the remaining members reshuffled themselves and formed two teams - Team Freedom, comprised of Rotor, Cream, Cheese, Big, Heavy and Bomb, and Team Fighters, comprised of Sonic, Tails, Amy and T-Pup. Team Freedom was meant to protect New Mobotropolis because like hell they were going to trust King Naugus while Team Fighters went after Eggman to rescue Sally.
  • Harry Lyman used to be Harry Osborn, son of the original Green Goblin, and at one time the Goblin himself. He now works for Peter Parker as a VP, using his mother's maiden name. As Harry explains to the Human Torch:
    Harry: That, Johnny, is why Peter is my best friend. He never gives up on me. I'm not an Osborn to him. I'm just "Harry."
  • Arthur Molekovic from Ultimate Fantastic Four was given the name "Mole Man" by his students because of his short stature, his second name, and the fact that he is covered in moles.
  • In the Warriors graphic novel A Clan In Need, Barley and Violet's brothers Hoot and Jumper are now BloodClan members called Snake and Ice. They deny their original names and deny being Barley and Violet's brothers.

    Fan Works 
  • In Fialleril's Star Wars fics, the Amavikka culture on Tatooine includes a ritual performed by slaves who have gained their freedom in which they affirm their identity as a free individual, and may give themselves a new name if the old one has associations they wish to discard with their old life. However, not everybody chooses a new name.
  • In Anthropology, Lyra Heartstrings used to just be Heartstrings. She named herself Lyra after finding the name in her study of humans. She liked the name because:
    "Most ponies had names that were made up of other words, but humans had names that were just that – names. Ponies might say that something 'tugged at the heartstrings' (a phrase that had always bothered her) but they never mentioned anything about 'Lyra.' Human names were all unique words, with no other meaning. And they were beautiful."
    • Later, it is revealed that she is really a human and that she was subconsciously remembering her birth name, Lyra Michelakos.
  • In As Dreams Are Made On, the protagonist, Cassandra, is a fictionalized version of the author who landed in Bella Swan's body on the day of her arrival in Forks. Around midway through the story, after a series of dramatic events, Cass begins thinking of and referring to herself as Bella even when speaking to people who are already in the know and begins referring to Charlie Swan solely as 'dad,' as well.
  • Avenging Class: Mysterious Heroine XX convinces Bruce Banner to change his alter ego's name from Hulk to Berserker. While discussing this in a press conference, Tony Stark points out that contrary to popular culture, the Berserkers were not savages, but true warriors, just like Banner and his alter ego are true Avengers.
  • In The Boy Behind The Mask, when Hiccup leaves Berk, he takes on the alias "Fjalar" (meaning "deceiver").
  • In the Danny Phantom fic "Benediction", after Danny and his allies basically give his dark future self serious therapy so that he gets over his desire to destroy everything, Dark Danny chooses to call himself "Dan Plasmius", as his Vlad half still has enough influence that he isn't interested in being a hero but he's stable enough not to want to cause destruction.
  • The Bridge:
    • Reijuu changed his name to Bagan after he pulled a Face–Heel Turn and became an Omnicidal Maniac because Bagan means "Extinction" in an ancient language.
    • In his backstory, Archmage Saros changed his name to King Nuestro Odio Sombra (Our Hated Shadow) to symbolize his new mastery over darkness and The Power of Hate.
  • Chloe's Lament plays with this. After Chloe makes a reality-warping Wish, Adrien recieves the Black Cat Miraculous again. Plagg, who remembers the original world, encourages him to alter his appearance and call himself "anything other than Chat Noir". While Adrien has no clue about the significance of any of this, and hadn't even considered that name as an option before Plagg brought it up, he still complies and chooses to go by Cheshire, complimenting his new partner's moniker of Red Queen.
  • In Le Commencement du Diable Blanc, Harry lets his adopted father give him the name "Remy" on the day he finally leaves his abusive relatives behind.
  • One story in The Days of Reckoning Are Upon Us depicts Iron Patriot being renamed and repainted back to War Machine as being indicative of the US government having lost their respect for Captain America, and not wanting their own hero associated with him anymore.
  • In the Pirates of the Caribbean fic Dead Men Tell No Tales Redone, after Carina takes command of the Black Pearl after Jack sacrifices himself to save her (in this version of events, Carina is Jack's daughter rather than Barbossa's), she asks that she instead be known as Carina Sparrow rather than Carina Smythe, as a way of honoring her father's legacy.
  • In Delusions, the sisters were born mules named "Celestia" and "Philomena". For unknown reasons (though Celestia suspects her sister distancing herself from her past), Philomena changed her name to "Luna". Her sister later named her pet phoenix after her.
  • The Desert Storm: After traveling into the past, Obi-Wan changes his name to Ben Naasade. In the Mandalorian language "naasade" means "no one", referencing Ben's nature as The Spook to everyone in the past and how he's given up his name since a younger version of himself already exists in the past with him.
  • A Diplomatic Visit: Chapter 8 of the sequel Diplomat at Large reveals that as in canon, Tempest Shadow changed her name a few times when trying to reinvent herself; her original name is Fizzlepop Berrytwist, though she decides to stick with Tempest Shadow now to avoid confusion.
  • Doing It Right This Time: After returning to the past Rei decides she is no longer Rei Ayanami, Yui Ikari's clone had no dreams or hopes and wished for nothing else than the peace of oblivion. She is now Rei Akagi, Ritsuko's little sister what wants to find out what she wants to do when she grows up.
    Rei: Rei Ayanami is dead, I am not her. I am Rei Akagi, Ritsuko's little sister. I am not sure what I want to do when I grow up, but I would like to find out what it is like to kiss a boy. I think I would like to find out what it is like to kiss a girl, as well; Ritsuko said it was similar in most ways but different in others.
  • In Double Agent Vader, when Anakin frees the droid designated XF-53 from the Empire's control, he encourages her to follow the Amavikka tradition of renaming, and she names herself KD-7 ("Kadee" for short), in reference to the Amatakka word kol-depuan, which means "unfettered".
  • In Eros Turannos, Vader agrees to start going by the name "Anakin" again when he accepts Obi-Wan's offer to train him in the Light Side of the Force.
  • Getting Back on Your Hooves: Helping Hoof does a Heel–Face Turn, then earns his theater Cutie Mark while in prison (Equestrian prisons apparently have very good inmate learning programs). As a result, he changes his name to Stage Hoof.
  • In the Star Wars AU fic The Guiding Winds, Darth Vader does the ritual to mark his freedom from Palpatine and names himself Anakin Skywalker, returning to the name his mother gave him.
  • Gym Leader Wiki:
    • At ten, Kyo changed his name to "Koga" because he wasn't fond of having a one-syllable name.
    • Janine's birth name is "Anzu". She chose a new name at age ten by reversing the word for "ninja". She changed her name because people would frequently pronounce "Anzu" incorrectly.
    • Clair's original surname was "L'Aigle". She changed it at 16 due to people frequently misspelling it.
  • In Halkegenia Online Zero Hour, defeating a five-star boss in Grave of Guns Online results in the player's avatar being renamed into something that generally falls under Names to Run Away from Really Fast.
  • In Harry Potter and the Power of the Dark Side, Harry Potter is given the new Sith name "Darth Veneficus" once he begins his Sith training. Later Darth Veneficus takes his own apprentice, Draco, and renames him "Darth Anguis."
  • Harry Potter and the Prince of Slytherin reveals this about Fenrir:
    Fenrir: Don't call me Bob. I am Fenrir Greyback.
    Peter: You're Bob Greyson, the Muggleborn son of a reputable but now deceased Muggle bank officer from Leeds. And a Ravenclaw to boot!
    Fenrir: That was before. Bob Greyson was my human name.
  • In the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls fanfic Hell and High Water, Sunset Shimmer changes her name to Sunset Stanza after a brutal assault leads to her dying, but getting a second chance at life if she agreed to become the new Siren Queen and restore their civilization. The name change is accompanied by a complete change in skin tone and hair color. Rainbow Dash later gives herself the name Marred Spectrum after Sunset using dark magic to bring her back to life resulted in her skin and hair color changing to be much duller, though the characters tend to treat this more as a nickname than anything else.
  • Heretic Pride:
    • Anakin recalls that one of his ancestors adopted the surname "Skywalker" for herself because her family had been split up and moved around by the slavemasters and she didn't know what her real family name was. It's a homage to a folk hero called Ekkreth, the Sky Walker.
    • Jedi younglings who come from a famous family are given new names to prevent them from finding out who their birth families were and reforming an attachment. This is one of the things that makes it more difficult for Anakin to find out what became of Padme's sister after she was taken by the Jedi.
  • Home (Aragem):
    • When the Scorpion People reclaimed ownership of the Fright Zone, it was renamed "Peaceful Fields".
    • "Wrong Hordak" now goes by Zed.
  • The Immortal Game: Titan was originally named Order but changed it when he snapped from the fallout of his war with Discord and went from a strict but well-intentioned ruler to the monster seen in the rest of the story.
  • In Jade Lightning, after he manifests his quirk and changing schools, Izuku has his name changed to "Akatani Mikumo" (taking his mother's maiden name) and dies his hair purple as a means of making a clean slate for himself.
  • Kim Possible: Mirror, Mirror: Shego's name is "Sheryl Marie Gordeaux". Upon learning she's the daughter of the original Shego, her name gets changed to "Sharonda" ("Shari" for short).
  • The Last Connor:
    • While living with her grandparents, Newt is forced to accept being called her birth name of Rebecca; after Pops rescues her, she swiftly insists on being called ‘Newt’ once more, although she adopts ‘Connor’ as a surname.
    • After the court case that led to Weyland-Yutani closing down, Ripley had to adopt a new name to protect herself from people angry at the subsequent mass unemployment, adopting the name ‘Ellen Connor’ in homage to Sarah Connor, with Newt retaining her new name of ‘Newt Connor’ and Hicks choosing the same surname once he joins them.
  • In Let Me Hear, as a child Blake was adopted by Weiss' family and her surname was changed from "Belladonna" to "Schnee". Blake herself changed her name mainly because she wanted to distance herself from the traumatic memories of her biological parents' murders.
  • Letting Go Of Hate: Zira was originally named "Ziva" (which means "alive"). She renamed herself to "Zira" (which means "hate") after being forced to leave her pride.
  • In Little Deceptions, Blank Slate, who is a Master of Disguise, refers to himself in third person narration by the name of whatever disguise he's adopted. Indeed, Blank Slate itself is an adopted name, and a meaningful one, as he constantly renames himself and shifts in personality and behavior as needed. When Princess Celestia says his real name, Cuckoo Cloud, and is offered a second chance, he drops all the fake names and makes a Heel–Face Turn.
  • The Lost Hero:
    • When Doomsday pulls a Heel–Face Turn, he says, "From now on, let this form be known not as Doomsday, but Doomslayer. It will no longer signal the end of the world, but the end of evil."
    • When Clark Kent decides to stay in Equestria as a pony, he changes his name to Paragon Flame to reflect Equestrian naming.
  • As Magical Metamorphosis is about the Potter child coming out as transgender, this was almost obligatory — a few chapters in, she changes her name to Holly.
  • In Mirrors (TLOZ), Zelda decides to continue living as a boy even after Ganondorf is killed. He continues to use the name "Sheik" because that's the name he's grown accustomed to using after seven years in hiding.
  • A relatively minor example in My Mother; Leia has never had a middle name, but when Padme reveals that she would have given her the middle name of 'Shmi' after her paternal grandmother if she had the time, Leia's acceptance of that name is the first sign to Padme that Leia is coming to accept her father's side of the family.
  • In Not Completely, Altogether Here, Glinda changes her name from "Galinda" for different, more dramatic reasons than in the original canon. Glinda can't stand the sound of her name after remembering how Morrible said it prior to murdering her, so she asks Elphaba to call her "Glinda" instead.
  • In Patterns of the Past, Olesya tells Oprah that she was originally born with a Chinese name. The head of the orphanage she stayed at following her parents' deaths didn't like the name and decided to rename her "Olga" instead, but the other children staying at the orphanage referred to her as Olesya, and the name stuck, which proved useful when Odd Squad sweeped through the orphanage looking for new employees to hire.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • Ponies sometimes change their name when they earn their Cutie Mark. Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon were Tarnished Rich and Silver Tray before they gained their Cutie Marks.
    • When Pinkie Pie pulled a Split-Personality Merge with all her fractured personalities, she starts calling herself Pinkie Diane.
    • The Great and Powerful Trixie changes her name to the One and Only Trixie following her Heel–Face Turn. When Twilight was freeing her from Loneliness' control, she called Trixie that when stating she wants to know that Trixie.
    • The Dark World version of Fluttercruel ends up doing this. After becoming a Draconequus, she renames herself Odyne Tulasi Typhon, Odyne being the Greek Goddess of Pain (with Fluttercruel's talent being torture) and Tulasi being a Hindu Goddess of Loyalty who became a goddess due to her refusal to live without her deceased love (much like Fluttercruel becomes a Draconequus out of refusal to live without her father). The latter counts on a meta level, as her middle name was originally listed as Delilah, which was left over from her earlier planned characterization, which changed.
    • Rancor was one of Discord's siblings whose name didn't start with "D" and was told she had to earn it. After she earned it by stealing back the power Discord stole from Destruction, she renamed herself Disruption, since she disrupted his plans.
    • Silver Spoon's father used to be called Silver Axe but changed his name to Silver Tongue out of shame for nearly murdering his daughter with an axe while under Discord's influence.
    • Filthy Rich changed his name to Onyx Tiara, both because his original name was embarrassing, and because he wanted to be more connected to his wife Golden Tiara. He later changed it back after he did some things as Onyx Tiara that he's not proud of. Golden Tiara herself used to be called Golden Skates and then became Screwball after she went insane.
    • Pane Glimmer changed her name to Starlight Glimmer after she read about a historical pony named Starlight who once tried to make everypony equal.
    • Kifuko was a Changeling born and raised in a Zebra village. After learning what she really was, she eventually slew Queen Cocoon and took her place as ruler of the Changelings. She was renamed Queen Chrysalis to fit in with the Changelings' insect-themed naming.
    • Prince Blueblood's parents Blue Knight and Hemlock Blood changed their names to Blue Zenith and Lady Pure Blood to sound more impressive to the nobility.
    • In an alternate universe where D___t succeeded in killing every god except himself, he renamed himself Ragnarok.
    • Anyone who becomes either a God or a Nightmare tends to change their name to reflect their new position. For example, Rainbow Dash's Nightmare is called Nightmare Manacle and her Goddess is called Princess Fidelitas.
  • In The Portal, Thomas and Alex both change their names to more suitable ones for the Dragon Realms. Thomas changes his name to Blizzard, and Alex, Static.
  • In Prodigal Son, when Hiccup returns to the Archipelago, he adopts the name "Prometheus" to keep suspicion off of him. It is stated early on that he relates to the original character: an enlightened being that brings knowledge to the ignorant masses only to be punished for it.
  • In The Progenitor Chronicles, Alex Wesker eventually assumes full control over Natalia Korda. She discards her old name, the name of a terminally ill woman desperately trying to escape her own mortality, and begins calling herself "Illumina," a name befitting her goddess-complex.
  • Queen of All Oni: After Jade brainwashes and transforms Viper into her new Samurai General by fusing her with Ikazuki's chi, the latter makes a point of changing her name to "Hebi" (Japanese for "Viper"), since she's similar to who she was, but different.
  • The Rainbow Connection:
    • Rainbow Brite decides to leave Rainbow Land after Stormy's apparent death. She dyes her hair brown and goes under the name "Alice", in contrast to her actual name "Wisp".
    • Stormy's name is shown to have originally been "Trista", but she hates it.
  • re:Bound (RWBY): Neopolitan doesn't even remember her real name Bella. After her parents were murdered at age six, Neo was renamed by her kidnappers. At the time of the attack, she had been eating a neapolitan ice cream and was named after that (but with a slight spelling change).
  • Reimagined Enterprise: The Hebitian race renames itself the Cardassians after being taken over by the fascist Galor Cardas group.
  • In Revenge Is A Dish Best Served Ice-Cold, Rosa changes her name depending on what form she takes. Her names are, chronologically, Rosetta, Rosa, and Rosalina.
  • Rise of the Solar Wind has the princesses born as Earth ponies. Luna was born as "Selena" (a reference to "Selena" being her original intended name) while Celestia was born "Solar Wind".
  • The Pokémon fanfic Severance explains that Delia isn't actually married. Her surname also wasn't always "Ketchum". She changed her surname a decade prior after she quit Team Rocket to settle in Pallet Town.
  • In Shadowchasers Series, White Feather changed her name to Red Feather to symbolize the loss of her innocence after her naivete led to a lot of people getting hurt in her backstory.
  • In Shards of a Memory, Tang Shen took the name "Shard" after her mutation, as her dreams and old life were shattered completely, Tang Shen herself nothing but a shard of a memory.
  • Superwomen of Eva 2: Lone Heir of Krypton: When people stop calling Asuka Power Girl and start calling her Supergirl you know there's been a significant change in her character. Specifically, she has stopped using her powers to seek glory and she is using them to help people because it feels like the right thing to do.
  • The pony formerly known as Cosmo in Starlight Over Detrot starts going by Gale in Act II.
  • In Temporal Anomaly, when Sougo first meets Male One, he decides to give him a proper new name so that he doesn't have to share a name with his twin and creator: Bankotei(meaning "The Sixth Clock").
  • In Temporal Visitor, Celestia was born an Earth pony named "Sun Flower".
  • In A Thing of Vikings, Snotlout attempts to use his new name of Sigurd Trondsson to move beyond his past mistakes, but feels as though he has failed in this when he learns of Hiccup's progress in Chapter 78.
  • Dumbledore in Thirty Hs is continually changing his name, though like most of the fic what it actually means is completely incomprehensible (it does seem to mean something). "I am no longer Scrumblegort. The worlds have shifted. I am now Dumblecop of the Darkmeal."
  • When Shinji, Asuka, Rei, and Misato ascend to godhood in Thousand Shinji, they rename themselves. Their new appellatives are a portmanteau of their old names and their respective gods' names.
  • Time to Plan:
    • Future!Fluttershy has renamed herself "Flutterbold" after becoming more self-confident and sexually open. Being Happily Married to someone like Discord helped tremendously.
    • Tech Leader's original name was Winky Whispers but changed it to her current one after discovering her talent in technology, wanting to be associated with something less humiliating.
    • Future!Shining Armor and Future!Cadence renamed themselves "Love" after fusing together into a single alicorn to represent their loving marriage.
    • Future!Twilight, Future!Sunset Shimmer, Future!Starlight Glimmer, and Future!Trixie Lulamoon no longer go by their original names because their strong magic have fused their souls and minds together while leaving their bodies intact. This led to them being collectively called "Magic Incarnate", the living embodiment of Equestria's life force.
    • Ghostly Pie is aptly named because... well, Future!Pinkie Pie's a ghost now.
    • Future!Rainbow Dash renamed herself Rainbow Hurricane because at some point, she transformed into a Windigo and became queen of the Windigos.
  • Another fairly minor example in Told That Devil to Take You Back; after Emma - Dean's Amazon daughter- is brought back to life, Dean gives her the middle name Grace, which he later explains is intended to reflect how she's a gift from God he isn't sure he deserves.
  • After becoming an alicorn in Twillight Sparkle's awesome adventure, Twilight Sparkle changes her name to Twilight Sparklier.
  • In "What Makes a Slayer", after a ten-year-old Faith is adopted by the Winchesters when fifteen-year-old Dean rescues her from her abusive mother, she is named Faith Mary Winchester, after Dean and Sam's dead mother.
  • In What Tomorrow Brings, Tobias introduces himself to the captured Temrash-in-Tom with the Andalite-sounding name "Tobias-Sirinial-Noorlin", proudly proclaiming himself to be Elfangor's son.
  • Worm Grand Order: Hero examines Gáe Bolg and finds runes than when translated, reveal the spear had been renamed several times.
    Heed me. I speak for the favor of the Tuatha Dé. For the eyes of Danu to witness and none else. Grant me the strength to pierce the Fomorian hide of Balor. Allow me the strength to wretch his sight of the Scorching Sun. I ask of thee to reforge mine spear. With the blessing of the Witch of Shadows. With the curse of the Evil Eye. This spear was once named the Spear of Pissar, Areadbhair, Ibar Alai Fhidbaidha. It was named Gáe Bolg when given to me. It shall be rechristened when thrown from me. I name this weapon, Lúin Celtchair in honor of my father's past deeds. May it slay the target I have marked as it had for Lugh's slaying of the Smiter.​

    Film — Animation 
  • In Joseph: King of Dreams, Joseph is renamed "Zaphenapt-Paneah" (The God speaks and He lives) after he correctly interprets both of Pharaoh's dreams. This shows that the people of Egypt believe that Joseph does, indeed, hear the meanings of dreams from God. After receiving the new name, the only people who ever call him by his previous name are Aesaneth and his brothers, after he reconciles with them.
  • In Tangled, when Flynn Rider thinks they will both drown, he confides in Rapunzel that his real name is Eugene Fitzhurbert. After they escape, he explains how he had read stories of a Lovable Rogue named Flynn Rider as an orphan in an orphanage and wanted to be like him. Rapunzel says she likes Eugene better and takes to calling him that. In his final narration, he admits he went back to that name.
  • In Wizards, Avatar renames Blackwolf's assassin Necron 99 "Peace" in the hopes that he will help bring it. And Peace does, though he is slain before he can experience it for himself.

    Film — Live-Action 
  • Near the end of Air Force One, the pilot of the C-130 declares that the plane is changing call sign from Liberty-2-4 to Air Force One. Since the call sign Air Force One is only used by a plane carrying the President this is effectively his way of announcing that the President is safe.
  • The Clash of the Titans remake has King Acrisius changing his name to Calibos after he was turned into a demon by Zeus. In the original film, Acrisius and Calibos were two different characters.
  • In City of God, Lil Dice gets the new name Lil Ze from a religious practitioner, who states his new name will change his fate.
  • In Kamen Rider × Super Sentai: Super Hero Taisen, Captain Marvelous reintroduces Bio Hunter Silva, a foe that the Bioman team faced in the past. However, he's been rechristened Rider Hunter Silva, as he's now used to hunt and defeat Kamen Riders.
  • In Kung Pow! Enter the Fist, Big Bad Master Pain decides (very temporarily) that he wants to be good, so he decides that he'll go by the name "Betty". The Chosen One quickly points out that Betty is a girl's name, causing Master Pain/Betty to flip out.
  • In the first entry of the The Mighty Ducks trilogy, Coach Bombay has his first few encounters with said team when they were only referred to as the bureaucratically-assigned District 5 since they had No Budget for anything beyond skates and sticks. It was only after Bombay wrangles a sponsorship so that they could afford proper equipment, uniforms, and rink time that they became known as the Ducks.
  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail: After King Arthur brings a shrubbery to the Knights Who Say "Ni!," they suddenly change their name to the Knights Who Say "Eki Eki Eki Zakung Zoop Boing and Zowie Za."
  • In Muriel's Wedding, Muriel changes her name to Mariel (with an A) to symbolize her new life away from Porpoise Spit.
  • Oblivion (2013): Julia Rusakova makes a point of presenting herself as Julia Harper when she and Jack go back to La Résistance's bunker. When the Trojan Prisoner gambit is being worked on, she enters a capsule with a Meaningful Name on it. See Chekhov's Gun for details.
  • The townfolk of Refuge in Purgatory were all outlaws, murderers or prostitutes, but while there they shed their old, famous names for nature-themed ones. Glen, Lamb, Rose, Ivy, etc. It's part of an attempt to put all that behind them, apparently. During the final few scenes, they use their famous names again, since they think they're about to go to Hell anyway.
  • Susan from A Safe Place (1971) renames herself Noah after the Magician's magic box, which is painted like Noah's Ark when she first sees it. The Magician even pulls a rainbow out of it.
  • In Samurai I: Musashi Miyamoto, a Buddhist monk takes it upon himself to train talented swordsman Takezo as a samurai. When Takezo completes his initial training, the monk congratulates him and gives him the more samurai-appropriate name of Miyamoto Musashi.
  • Scott Pilgrim vs. The World: When Scott Pilgrim goes to the Chaos Theater again, he renames Young Neil to just Neil to signify his growth into his role. Interestingly this probably says more about Scott's Character Development than Young Neil's.
  • In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, McCoy paints the name "HMS Bounty" on the Bird of Prey captured in Star Trek III: The Search for Spock.
  • Happens with Sith in Star Wars.
    • Anakin Skywalker is renamed Darth Vader and is spoken of as a different person.
    • Count Dooku, having left the Jedi to join the Sith, had already become Darth Tyranus.
    • Palpatine/Darth Sidious.
    • Kylo Ren, formerly known as Ben Solo.
    • The rulers of Naboo take a new name when they ascend to the throne, which is how Padme Naberrie became Queen Amidala. Even after her time as queen is over, she's still Padme Amidala.
    • In The Force Awakens, Resistance pilot Poe Dameron escapes the First Order with help from a defecting Stormtrooper whose designation is FN-2187. Instead of calling him that, Poe decides to name him Finn. For the rest of the trilogy, Finn uses his new name to make it clear that he's no longer a Stormtrooper.
    • At the very end of The Rise of Skywalker, Rey, who had been revealed to be the granddaughter of Emperor Palpatine, took the last name of Skywalker after getting the blessing of the Force Ghosts of Luke and Leia.
  • In The Three Musketeers, Athos tells his former wife that the Comte de la Fère (his real name) is dead; he uses anecdotes from his past by claiming that they happened to a friend of his.
  • Titanic (1997): Rose was born Rose Bukater. She changed her last name to Dawson, to signify her love for Jack, and to forever renounce her old life as a repressed rich girl.
  • In Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, when one of the ancient Primes betrayed their beliefs, the other Primes stripped him of his name and he has forever since then been known only as The Fallen.
  • The titular hero of Young Frankenstein at first tells everyone that his name is pronounced "Fronkensteen" to disassociate himself from his infamous ancestor Victor and his legacy. Then in a crucial moment of the movie, he shows that he has accepted his heritage by insisting: "My name is FRAN-KEN-SHTINE!"

  • Lone Wolf: The main character used to be called "Silent Wolf", but renames himself "Lone Wolf" after he becomes the Last of His Kind.

  • A man goes to have his name changed. He explains that his name is Andrew Horserapist and he's sick of being ridiculed over it. When asked what he wants his name changed to, he says "Steven Horserapist".
  • In Nazi Germany they told a joke with various embarrassing surnames where a man goes to the registry office to have his name changed from Adolf Schleimscheisser (slime-shitter) to Friedrich Schleimscheisser.
  • A Russian joke: Stalingrad has been just renamed as Volgograd during the Destalinization. During the name change party, a telegram arrives. It reads: NAME CHANGE APPROVED. JOSEF VOLGA.


By Author:

  • Jacqueline Wilson
    • In Lola Rose, protagonist Jayni spends most of the book living under the alias of Lola Rose; she and her family are hiding from her abusive father. Even at the end of the story after he leaves for good, she decides to break with the past by continuing to be known as Lola Rose. It's also symbolic of a break from her father since her original name was a portmanteau of her parents' names (Jay and Nikki.)
    • Cookie has a similar plot involving a girl and her mother fleeing from an abusive father. The heroine, Beauty, is a plain and overweight girl who has struggled to live up to her name; but when she and her mother start a successful cookie-making business, she becomes known as Cookie (also a play on her surname, Cookson) and decides that she is much happier to live under this name.

By Work:

  • 2666: Benno von Archimboldi is named after Guiseppe Arcimboldo, an artist Hans Reiter read about while going through Anksy's diary. The von is associated with his Germanic heritage, but it's also a way for Reiter to remember Baroness von Zumpe.
  • In The Amy Virus, protagonist Cindy Butt renames herself Cyan Beaut as part of the process of discovering her identity and rebelling against her parents' abuse. Her mother promises to make it official by allowing her to legally change it to that new one at the end of the story.
  • In the Apprentice Adept series, Serfs are allowed to change their name when they gain legal adult status (Stile chose his name from a piece of farm equipment that allowed him his first experience with horses) Serfs who win The Great Game and gain Citizen status are allowed to change them again (Rifleman does this, commemorating the trapshooting game that won him his Citizenship).
    • Another example (in a roundabout way) is the way Werewolves receive their full, four-syllable name: They are given the first syllable at birth. They receive their second when they are officially made pack members (around five or six years of age - members of the same peer group all get the same second syllable). The third is granted by the Pack Leader at around nine or ten years old, after a First Kill (successful solo hunt). The fourth is received after a wolf's ritual first mating - traditionally both partners taking the other's first syllable as their last. It is apparently traditionally the first for both parties. A werewolf isn't considered a full adult Pack member until gaining the fourth syllable. Adept Brown's werewolf companion only had a three-syllable name because She was a lesbian and refused to mate with a male.
  • Atlas Shrugged: Michael Mulligan was given the derogatory nickname Midas for his greed, and went on to legally change his name thereto.
  • In The Balanced Sword, the Intelligent Toads are given one name when they are born and choose a second name with some personal significance when they become adults. One of the protagonists of the trilogy is a Toad named Poplock Duckweed, and his introduction shows the event which inspired him to choose the name "Poplock".
  • In A Brother's Price, little Neddie was not born with that name. She was adopted in order to save her from being executed with her family, as she was a toddler at the time. Her adoptive family renamed her.
  • Two examples stand out in the Chalet School series, courtesy of serial Nicknamer Joey Bettany / Maynard. Firstly, Eustacia Benson becomes known as 'Stacie' in Eustacia after getting injured on a mountain and subsequently taking a level in kindness. Secondly, in Theodora, Jo gives troubled teen Theodora Grantley the nickname of 'Ted' to represent her wiping the slate clean by starting a new life at the Chalet School and putting her Dark and Troubled Past behind her.
  • Circleverse:
    • Street rat "Roach" chooses Briar Moss when he needs a legal name, Living Circle religious dedicates choose naturey names when they join a temple and academic mages invent some kind of typically fancy-sounding last name when they get their credentials.
    • It doesn't always work out in the mage's favor though, such as with Frostpine, who chose the name because he thought frostpines were pretty trees. When he actually traveled to where frostpines grow, he discovered that he hated the associated climate.
  • In Jeramey Kraatz's The Cloak Society, Misty wants to be The Mist. When she is certain she is not up to rescuing Gage, he appeals to her that it was beyond Misty's powers, but he thought that The Mist could do it. This inspires her, and she's able to pull it off.
  • Jim Butcher's Codex Alera series:
    • Captain's Fury has the moment when Tavi first publicly identifies himself by his true name instead of the nickname he's been known by since infancy. And outs himself as the grandson of the First Lord Gaius Sextus and heir to the throne of all Alera, putting an abrupt end to the Succession Crisis that had been brewing since Book 1. This wasn't news to the readers, but it was quite an in-universe Wham Line for those who witnessed it.
      "I have been known as Tavi of Calderon, [...] but my name is Gaius Octavian."
    • In the penultimate book, Princeps' Fury, Tavi is named Tavar by his Canim allies. It's a word in the Canim language that happens to sound like his real name, or at least his nickname, which is convenient. Later, he learns that it's the word for a small, very dangerous predator, similar if not identical to a wolverine.
    • In the final volume, First Lord's Fury, Gaius Isana gives the traitorous Lady Aquitaine a more fitting name:
      For my husband's memory, for my child's future, for those whose blood is upon your hands, I defy you. I name you Nihilus Invidia, Invidia of Nusquam, traitor to the Crown, the Realm, and her people.
  • Tendu of The Color of Distance have three sentient stages in their life cycles, bami, elder, and the optional enkar. As bami they chose a symbol to be their name, and with each stage it becomes more elaborate. A visiting human assigns words to these symbols so she has an easier time with names, and sees the bami Ani become elder Anito, and later the enkar Anitonen.
  • In Robert E. Howard's Conan the Barbarian story "A Witch Shall Be Born", Salome reminds Constantius to call her Taramis since she is going for Fake King.
  • In Confessions of Felix Krull, when the protagonist becomes employed as a liftboy at the Hotel Saint James and Albany in Paris, the director tells him that from now on he will answer to the name Armand, basically to show him who's boss and because he considers "Felix" too intimate and pretentious.
  • In The Count of Monte Cristo, Edmond Dantes takes on several different names. Lord Wilmore is the title he takes when performing acts of generosity and the eponymous Count is his new central persona as he gets his revenge. He only reveals his old name to his enemies just as he has defeated them, as the final blow.
  • In Alexey Vinokurov's The Country Of Three Lands, a goblin (whose race is viewed as Always Chaotic Evil) undergoes a Heel–Face Turn. As goblins are notorious for foul language, this one teaches himself to say "oh, blin" (sort of a milder equivalent of "damn" in Russian) whenever he wants to curse. He promptly gets nicknamed Oblin.
  • In The Crew of the Copper-Colored Cupids, Sharpshooter changed his name to Zaroff as part of his Start of Darkness.
  • The Dalemark Quartet: At the end of The Crown of Dalemark, the new king takes the name Amil, which is one of the names of the Undying spirit of the land who is mostly called The One. This represents the king taking on the burdens of The One specifically rooting out the renegade mage and descendent of The One, Kankredin.
  • In Sarah A. Hoyt's Darkship Thieves, Thena tells Kit he doesn't have to change his name when they marry, but he insists.
  • In the sequel novels (of questionable canonicity) to Harry Harrison's Deathworld books, the battleship recovered in the short story is renamed from its original Imperial name Nedetruebla ("indestructible" in Esperanto) to Argo. In the second story arc of Return to Deathworld, Jason figures out what the name Argo refers to and freaks out, considering their current mission directly parallels the ancient myth (even his first name fits). In a later novel, the ship is destroyed by sabotage, indicating they probably should have kept the original name.
  • In Dinner at Deviant's Palace, the cult gives a new name to every member when they join, to help separate them from their own life. Inverted at the end, when the character called Sister Windchime renounces the cult and changes her name back to Barbara.
  • During Dinoverse, the lieutenant raptor of a pack gets named Junior since he's always hanging with the slightly smaller "boss". When he falls down a hole with only one of his sickle claws intact, the same character changes his name and starts calling him Hook.
  • Agnes Nitt from Terry Pratchett's Discworld series renamed herself Perdita to sound more mysterious. She actually wanted to be "Perdita X Dream" but even she realized her down-to-earth Lancrian peers wouldn't take her seriously that way; they were already referring to her as "Agnes what calls herself Perditax". It got complicated when "Perdita" became more and more of an independent split personality with each book, but at first it was just Agnes calling herself Perdita.
  • This is significant in Divergent, as characters changed their names to abandon their old faction identity:
    • The main character Beatrice becomes known as Tris instead of Beatrice. While this is a nickname, it's meaningful because it is significant in the character adopting a Dauntless rather than Abnegation identity.
    • Four decided to call himself Four because he only has four fears in the fear landscape. His original name was Tobias, but as he was abused by his father that's also one reason he wanted to abandon that identity.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe: Done by an entire species in Original Sin, after losing an extremely unpleasant war with the Earth Empire. The two Hith met in the course of the book are named "Homeless Forsaken Betrayed And Alone" and "Powerless Friendless And Scattered Through Space".
  • The original name of the girl Dodger rescues in Dodger is never given. The Meyhews call her Simplicity, although she says to Dodger "I think I am not very simple". By the end of the book, she's Serendipity.
  • In Richard Powell's Don Quixote USA, the main regiment of the San Marcan army, known at the start of the book as the Regiment of the Thirteenth of September, changes its name every time the government changes leaders. According to the Generalissimo's second-in-command Carlos, very few dates remain unused.
  • Dragon Jousters: At the end of Joust, Vetch abandons his serf name and takes back his original name of Kiron.
  • Anne McCaffrey's Dragonriders of Pern: In Dragonsdawn, Tarvi Andiyar changes his name to Telgar, which was originally his wife's surname. He never admitted how much he loved her until she was dying and made the change to honor her sacrifice to help the Pern colony.
    • Later in the timeline this is in the backstory of all male dragonriders, who replace part of their name with an apostrophe. So when Lytonal became a dragonrider he became L'tol. After he survived his dragon's death he became Lytol.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden has a penchant for nicknaming things, groups, and individuals.
    • In Death Masks when Harry first encounters the Archive, he doesn't just recognize this five-year-old as a powerful and dangerous force to be reckoned with, but also a child. She has no given name because her mother, the previous Archive, never gave her one before something happened that put her into a coma. This means she has been the Archive all her life, rather than inheriting the mantle in her adulthood with her own developed personality and mind to maintain her own person. So Harry calls her Ivy and treats this powerful being like any other girl, like allowing her to play with his cat. The name is the first step in Ivy slowly developing her own distinct personality separate from the Archive's massive amount of information (namely all knowledge either written, typed or now printed) as well as personal memories of all previous Archives.
    • The shadow of the Fallen Angel Lasciel resides in Harry's head for several books. Eventually after years of enduring her and not giving in to temptation to take up her Coin, he asks the shadow a question: how long has anyone else ever lasted against a shadow? She realizes with some hesitancy no person has lasted more than a month or two before taking up the coin. He further notes that if his mind is malleable enough to turn to evil, then as the shadow lives in his mind, she is just as malleable. He argues that she is distinct and now different from the True Lasciel and her absorption into Lasciel upon his claiming the Coin is equivalent to her death. So, he nicknames her Lash. This pebble starts a rock slide to the point she eventually turns on Lasciel, renouncing the Fallen and willingly gives up her existence to save Harry's life from a powerful mental attack. All from a nickname Harry gives.
  • Ursula K. Le Guin's Earthsea has many examples, as the power of a name is a prominent theme in the books.
    • In a world where knowing a thing's true name allows you to control that thing, it's common practice for a person to have one name as a child, then have a rite of passage into adulthood in which that name is discarded and replaced with two others, their secret true name and a public name which everyone will call them from then on. The protagonist of A Wizard of Earthsea starts off with the name Duny; he is given his true name, Ged, by the mage Ogion and calls himself by the name "Sparrowhawk".
    • In The Tombs of Atuan, the rite turning Tenar into the priestess involves taking away her name; henceforth, she is Arha, the Eaten One. Ged restores "Tenar" to her, a significant plot event.
      Ged: You must make a choice. Either you must leave me, lock the door, go up to your altars and give me to your Masters; then go to the Priestess Kossil and make your peace with her — and that is the end of the story — or, you must unlock the door, and go out of it, with me. Leave the Tombs, leave Atuan, and come with me oversea. And that is the beginning of the story. You must be Arha, or you must be Tenar. You cannot be both.
  • In Eccentric Neighborhoods Don Álvaro had originally named his oldest daughter "Milagros" (Spanish for "miracles"). He ends up naming her note  * In Eccentric Neighborhoods Don Álvaro had originally named his oldest daughter "Milagros" (Spanish for "miracles"). He ends up naming her note  because she is so intelligent. * In Eccentric Neighborhoods Don Álvaro had originally named his oldest daughter "Milagros" (Spanish for "miracles"). He ends up naming her Clarissa note  because she is so intelligent. The rename also sets her apart from her sisters' names which are based upon poetry or mythology.
  • An Encounter and an Offer has a fae boy being renamed to Arthur, after being taken by Sir Kay as a squire. He, however, has no idea why.
  • In the After the End series Endworld, nearly every member of the Family goes through this on their 16th birthday, choosing a new name for themselves from the thousands of books they have stockpiled.
  • In Robertson Davies' Fifth Business Boyd Staunton becomes Boy, an icon of youthful success, while Dunstable Ramsay starts calling himself Dunstan, after Saint Dunstan, and Paul Dempster ditches his old identity entirely to become Magnus Eisengrim.
  • The Fifth Season: Fulcrum students are given rock-themed names when they graduate, both as a nod to their Dishing Out Dirt powers and as one of many ways they're dehumanized. Damaya requests the name Syenite, after a stone that becomes stronger under heat and pressure rather than break.
  • Forest Kingdom: It's revealed in book 4 (Beyond the Blue Moon) that Prince Rupert renamed himself Hawk after Robert Hawke, a comrade in arms whom he respected.
  • Fox Demon Cultivation Manual: Rong Bai's original name was Tu Shan Bai. He changed it to Tu Shan Rong Bai in honour of his mother, but removed one radical from her name. The "Rong" in Rong Sang's name is written 榕, while the "Rong" in Rong Bai's name is written 容 without the tree radical (木).
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Freckles, Freckles refuses to give the name given him at the orphanage. McLean offers him his own father's name.
    "I will tell you what we will do, my lad," he said. "My father was my ideal man, and I loved him better than any other I have ever known. He went out five years ago, but that he would have been proud to leave you his name I firmly believe. If I give to you the name of my nearest kin and the man I loved best—will that do?"
    • Later, he learns his original name, at birth, as part of discovering his family. Then Angel's father talks to him:
      Under Freckles' earnest eyes the Man of Affairs answered soberly: "I think I have, Mr. O'More."

      That was the first time Freckles heard his name from the lips of another. One second he lay overcome; the next, tears filled his eyes, and he reached out his hand. Then the Angel's father understood, and he clasped that hand and held it in a strong, firm grasp.
  • In Alex Gino's George, George is a transgender girl who starts calling herself "Melissa" (which is reflected by the narrative referring to her as "George" until she sees herself as "Melissa" in the mirror) after she finally gets to dress up as a girl.
  • In Victoria Forester's The Girl Who Could Fly, at the end, Conrad is told by his father that he has to stop calling himself Harrington and no longer associate with his parents. He agrees.
  • In the Harry Potter series, Voldemort assumed his name upon becoming the Big Bad and casting away his connection with his Muggle father, whose first name of Tom he shares. Voldemort actually comes from an anagram of his full name "Tom Marvolo Riddle" to become "I am Lord Voldemort". In order to retain this anagram, his name tended to be changed in various languages.
  • The cast of Haunted (2005) are mostly Only Known by Their Nickname, and the nicknames in question come from the stories they tell, most of which are linked to their secret crimes and shames. "The opposite of superhero names."
  • It's a part of Tayledras culture in the Heralds of Valdemar series that individuals may change their descriptive "use-names" after life-changing events. Songwind, one of the heroes of the Mage Winds trilogy, changed his name to Darkwind after a terrible accident led him to abandon magecraft. Persons adopted by the Tayledras also take new names, especially if they want a clean break from their past.
  • In His Dark Materials Lyra's original surname is "Belacqua", but Iorek gives her the surname "Silvertongue" when she manages to deceive Iofur, an Armored Bear, which is supposedly impossible. For the rest of the series, having been betrayed or abandoned by both birth-parents (neither of whom ever really acknowledges her as such in person), she identifies herself as Lyra Silvertongue.
  • In Abbe Prévost's Histoire d'une Grecque moderne, the Greek concubine Zara is set free and decides to reclaim her heritage by changing her name to Théophé, representing her Hellenic origins.
  • Hive Mind (2016): People who come to the Sea Farm as driftwood often take new names to indicate their new life. When she comes back from the Hive, Celandine takes the name Tressa, meaning 'third', to indicate that this is the third part of her life.
  • Honor Harrington:
    • The renaming of Haven from the People's Republic of Haven to the Republic of Haven signifies a seismic shift in that particular entity's politics and government and completes Haven's gradual Heel–Face Turn. As a result, Manticorans force themselves to switch their nickname from "Peeps" to "Havenites" — the Peeps were a People's Republic of Tyranny (albeit with quite a few sympathetic characters trying to make a change), whereas the Havenites — not just individual people, this time, but the nation as a whole — were a Worthy Opponent in a Good Versus Good scenario that only ended when Eloise Pritchart decided to throw a Spanner in the Works of the Mesan Alignment and took off for Manticore to kickstart the Grand Alliance. Phew.
    • The planet originally exploited by Manpower Incorporated and called Verdant Vista eventually rebelled and renamed itself Torch, becoming a star nation of freed genetic slaves, i.e. a beacon of freedom. Notably, the Mesans continue to call it by its original name.
    • Treecats who have adopted humans regard the human name they're given as an important part of the bond, though they keep their original names for use among 'cats.
      • Since treecat names are descriptive it's possible for a treecat's name to change multiple times during their life. A notable example is Singer of Sorrow, her name was changed to that after the rest of her clan was wiped out in the Yawata strike leaving her the Sole Survivor.
    • Also, the Star Kingdom of Manticore later becomes the Star Empire of Manticore, after the newly-discovered Talbott Cluster petitions Manticore for annexation, increasing the number of systems in the former Star Kingdom by several times. At this point, the Star Empire's total population is about 41 billion sentient beings (including humans, treecats, and Medusans). Queen Elizabeth III Winton is now known as both Queen and Empress.
  • In The Horse and His Boy at the end Shasta changes his slave-name back to his birth name Cor after he is discovered to be the long-lost Prince of Archenland.
  • Hunter's Moon (1989): Todds change their names to reflect their mate's family name. For example, A-ran changed his name to A-ho after coupling with O-ho.
  • Hurog: In Dragon Bones Ward invokes this trope when he renames his father's fierce and dangerous stallion from the evil-sounding "Stygian" to "Pansy", and endeavours to change the horse so that the new name fits. Ward is good with horses, and the stallion's "viciousness" was more due to mistreatment than anything else, so this trope works.
  • In I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level, Azusa rewrites her name in Katakana upon reincarnating, to dissociate from her old life. This is something that may be lost to non-Japanesenote , so the Animated Adaptation represents it by having her change her name order, putting her family name last rather than first.
  • Invisible Man: "It is time Ras the Exhorter become Ras the DESTROYER!"
  • Iron Druid Chronicles: Atticus says that he chose that name to remind himself of people he aspires to be like, specifically Atticus Finch from To Kill a Mockingbird.
  • In The Lion King: Six New Adventures, Scar from The Lion King (1994) is revealed to have renamed himself as an adolescent when he got his eponymous scar. Scar's name was originally "Taka", which translates to either "want" or "garbage" in Swahili.
  • In The Machineries of Empire, Kel Cheris discards her faction name and returns to her family surname at the end of the first book to show that she is no longer aligned with her faction.
  • Malazan Book of the Fallen:
    • Many characters choose to abandon their old names with their old lives. Among the Malazan Army, this is actually a requirement, and the soldiers' new names are usually chosen by their drill sergeant based on their personality (Tarr, Bottle, Truth), a quirk (Blend, Limp), as a joke (Kindly, who is not), or an event (Braven Tooth, who broke one off in a bar fight).
    • Subverted with Fiddler. In House of Chains, he renames himself Strings in order to sign up with the Malazan military again. Nobody who's ever even heard of him buys it, so he eventually goes back to Fiddler.
    • Smiles was nicknamed thus by her squad's drill sergeant because she never does so and instead tries to kill everyone with her stare.
    • In Midnight Tides, Silchas Ruin gives Scabandari the name "Bloodeye" while the latter boasts about how no one can oppose them in this new world. Silchas explains how that's due to the blood that now stains Scabandari's vision, implying there's more to it than just the battle they just fought, and Scabandari certainly has left a trail of blood and devastation behind. He is not too pleased with his new name but nonetheless proceeds to knife Silchas in the back, leading many readers to suspect that Silchas knew of the coming betrayal.
  • The Maze Runner: Everyone who enter the Glades are given new names taken from famous real-life people, mainly those from the scientific field. A few of them have their names revealed in the prequel novels; Tessa's birth name is "Deedee", while Thomas' is "Stephen".
  • In Gene Stratton-Porter's Michael O'Halloran, Mickey renames Peaches to Lily.
    "Lily!" he repeated. "Little snow white lily! Peaches is a good name for you if you're referring to sweetness, but it doesn't fit for colour. Least I never saw none white. Lily fits you better. If you'd been a dog, I was going to name you Partner. But you're mine just as much as if you was a dog, so I'll name you if I want to. Lily! That's what God made you; that's what I'm going to call you."
  • In Edgar Rice Burroughs's The Monster Men, Professor Maxon and von Horn dub Number 13 "Jack". It doesn't stick. When he gets called "Bulan" by the Malays, however, it does.
  • Monster of the Month Club: Sparrow Earth thinks of her, her sister's and her daughter's respective renamings as meaningful, to represent the family's lifestyle as "children of the Earth". Rilla's less convinced.
    • Sparrow Harmony Earth was born Donna Knox, went by Donna Pinowski when she was married, and returned to her maiden name after they split up. Book 3 reveals that "Sparrow" was her husband's nickname for her because she was rather flighty and reminded him of a sparrow in flight.
    • Poppy Harmony Earth was, after a string of marriages that each ended in turn, Sally Knox Bailey Hailey Hobbs Street.
    • Rilla Harmony Earth used to be Rilla Pinowski.
  • In Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey, Catherine's younger sister Sally changes her name to... Sarah, for what young lady of common gentility will reach the age of sixteen without altering her name as far as she can? Or dropping one's childhood's family pet name might count as Downplayed Trope.
  • In the Old Kingdom series, Touchstone used to be Torrigan, but took the name of a fool after (in his eyes) accidentally helping the betrayal of the royal family. Also, the first book's Big Bad took the name Kerrigor after becoming one of the Greater Dead, his original name was Rogir, short for Rogirek. Chlorr of the Mask took her name after betraying her calling as an Abhorsen, real name Clariel.
  • The Otherworld: In Industrial Magic, Hans chose his name because he felt ‘John’ wasn’t an appropriate name for a vampire.
  • In John Milton's Paradise Lost, the narrator comments that fallen angels have lost their names and will get new ones among humanity.
  • In Psmith's Establishing Character Moment, he explains to Mike that he added a silent "P" to his name because the name "Smith" is far too common. By that time it's already clear that Psmith is not a common kind of guy.
  • The Quest of the Unaligned: In the world of Caederan, those who are aligned to one of the four elemental magics must change their name to reflect that alignment (i.e. Lahana becomes Laeshana.)
    • After Alaric transforms Laeshana from an aesh to a orah, there is some debate as to whether she should change her name to Lorahna. She technically doesn't have to, since orahs are elementally unaligned and unaligned names don't need to reflect anything in particular.
  • In G. K. Chesterton's The Return of Don Quixote, at the climax, Michael Herne reveals that the Severne family are not the ancient noble house they claim to be, having gotten their hands on the title recently and in a legally dubious manner, and their real name is Smith, even though he is in love with the Honourable Rosamund Severne. He leaves, certain he has lost all. Later, he learns that she no longer goes by Rosamund Severne; if he wants to find her, he should ask for "Miss Smith".
  • Red Moon Rising: When Rae and Temple are taken into the Kihuut, they are renamed Mayrikafsa and Kalashava.
  • In Feist's The Riftwar Cycle, the boy Pug is given the name Milamber once he graduates as a Greater Path magician. Interestingly enough he mostly goes by Pug still. The rename was supposed to be meaningful, the fact that it didn't really stick is also meaningful...
  • In Stephen Hunt's The Rise of the Iron Moon, when Lord Starborn casts off a newborn ship, Commander Black offers her the name Sprite of the Stars; Coppertracks insists, as a steamman, that she be Starsprite.
  • The Shadowhunter Chronicles:
    • Thanks to his Tangled Family Tree, Jace changes his surname no less than three times. He was raised believing he is the son of Michael Wayland, so he goes by "Jace Wayland" at the start of the series. The first book's ending reveals that he is the son of Valentine Morgenstern, so he (reluctantly) becomes "Jace Morgenstern". Then the third book reveals he isn't after all and is actually the son of Stephen Herondale. For some time afterward, he goes by his adopted family's surname, before settling on "Jace Herondale" in the sixth book as a way to preserve the family name.
    • By tradition, mundanes who undergo Ascension take a new Shadowhunter surname. Sophie Collins takes the name "Ashdown" (though she doesn't keep it for long as she marries Gideon Lightwood and changes to his surname shortly afterwards), while Simon becomes "Simon Lovelace", which also doubles as a Dead Guy Junior as he honors his late friend, George Lovelace, who did not survive the Ascension.
    • After she escaped from the Circle's uprising and her husband, Valentine, Jocelyn Morgenstern changed her name to "Jocelyn Fray", Fray being the portmanteau of her maiden name, Fairchild, and Tessa Gray's surname, as Tessa helped her settle down in New York. Years later, her daughter, Clary, would change her surname from Fray to Fairchild, as she wants to reconnect with her Shadowhunter identity but not with a father she hates.
    • It is stated that warlocks have a tradition of changing their surnames upon being recognized as one. The names are often connected to darkness or evil things, symbolizing their demonic ancestry. However, we have yet to learn any of the old names (even Magnus' is unknown since he loathes to talk about his past).
    • The Jace Herondale of Thule changes his name to Janus upon entering this world. (Janus is the Roman god of doorways.)
  • In Skulduggery Pleasant, mages can control a person to a certain degree if they know the person's given name and they don't have a taken name yet. Because of this, everybody chooses a taken name, and most of them are pretty cool.
  • In Michael Flynn's Spiral Arm novel On the Razor's Edge, Donovan renames Five as "Pyati", producing much emotion not only for Five but for all his new attendant magpies. At the end, he tells them he will give them all names, and they beg for their dead comrades to receive them posthumously; when he agrees, they are in tears.
  • In Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli, Stargirl is constantly renaming herself. She compares it to outgrowing a shirt and finding a new one that fits.
  • The titular princess in The Story of a Disfigured Princess was initially named "Kamilah", meaning "perfect child", fitting because she's a princess with restrictions but, after mutilating her face and fleeing to a distant village, she renames herself "Barabel", meaning either "outcast" or "stranger", as she leads her life as something of an outcast and, due to no one recognizing her as a lost princess (one the account of her scarred face) and when she initially moves to a new place, she was a stranger.
  • Star Trek Expanded Universe:
    • In The Final Reflection, all Klingons have a Rite-of-Passage Name Change when they choose the career path they will follow in adult life. This is not the only meaningful rename the Klingon protagonist has; by that point in his life, he'd already been renamed once after being adopted out of the orphanage where he spent his childhood, and he subsequently changes his name again following his adoptive father's disgrace.
    • In the Shatnerverse novel The Return, when Kirk and Picard prepare to mount an assault on the Borg homeworld in the Defiant-class USS Monitor, accompanied by Spock, McCoy, and the senior staff of the recently-destroyed Enterprise-D, the captain of the Monitor has the name on the ship changed to Enterprise for the mission, musing that it won't show up in the history books but he felt it was appropriate.
  • Star Wars Expanded Universe: In the short story Orientation, Emperor Palpatine orders the training vessel Defiance to be renamed Obedience after the execution of its commander for defying and attempting to assassinate him.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • When the Rebel Alliance then the New Republic captured imperial warships. Accuser -> Emancipator, Adjudicator -> Liberator, Avarice -> Freedom (three examples are captured Imperial Star Destroyers).
    • When a certain character cements their Face–Heel Turn...
      "Caedus. My name is Darth Caedus."
  • In Star Wars: Thrawn Ascendancy: Chaos Rising, we meet a young but promising Chiss from an obscure family. His name is Kivu'raw'nuru, or Vurawn for short. His superior has him apply for a merit adoption into the powerful Mitth family. After he is accepted, his new names is Mitth'raw'nuru, or Thrawn. After the end of his probation period, the suffix "odo" is added to his name. In the story, we also meet a female cadet with the core name Ziara. Who's this Ziara, you might ask. Well, maybe her full name might provide a clue: Irizi'ar'alani. Eventually, after she makes admiral, her affiliation to the Irizi family is removed, and she becomes simply Ar'alani. Had Thrawn stayed in the Chiss Expansionary Force and actually made admiral, he would likewise have been known as Raw'nuruodo.
  • In Robin McKinley's Sunshine, it's eventually revealed that Sunshine's birth name is Raven Blaise. When her mother cut ties with the Blaise family, she and everyone else stopped using "Raven" and began calling her Rae. By the time the events of the novel occur, she goes by "Sunshine" more than anything else, even within her own family... which is particularly significant since in this setting, a person's true name is the one they're known by rather than the one they were given at birth, and some very old vampires can't even say words related to sunlight.
  • In Survivor Dogs, pups are given names based on physical traits or behaviors (such as "Nose" or "Squeak"). When they're older they're renamed by either longlegs or themselves during a Naming Ceremony. For example, Lucky was born "Yap" and Lick renamed herself "Storm".
  • Technic History: The human poet Christopher Holm is adopted by a "choth" of Ythrians under the name of Arinnian.
  • In Things Fall Apart, Nwoye takes a new Christian name after he converts. He chooses "Isaac". This is rather significant given what happened earlier to his adopted brother.
  • In Poul Anderson's Time Patrol story "Gibraltar Falls", Manse explains at the end that Feliz can't return to her own era under her own name, that's recorded history that she never did; she can, however, change her name and shift to a different one. Thomas offers "Mrs. Thomas Noruma".
  • J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth stories:
    • In The Lord of the Rings, Minas Morgul and Mirkwood forest both had other names before they were taken over by Sauron's team.
    • When Minas Ithiltrans  became Minas Morgultrans , the fortress-town of Minas Anortrans  on the other side of the Anduin was also renamed to Minas Tirithtrans . Tolkien also mentions that Mirkwood (originally "Greenwood the Great") was given a new, third name (Eryn Lasgalen: "Wood of Greenleaves") after the events of Lord of the Rings.
    • And people tend to acquire all sorts of names in all his works. Even objects get Meaningful Renames: when the sword Narsil gets reforged, Aragorn renames it Andúril.
    • Aragorn's rename that was initiated to hide his identity from the Enemy, 'Estel' ('high hope' in Sindarin), is especially meaningful as he was foreseen, given the fact that Sauron was coming back and the Elves were leaving, to either be the last man of his line or the one to restore it to its former glory. The foresight came at the first from his grandmother Ivorwen, who also saw him wearing a green stone that would be the source of his other Meaningful Rename - Elessar Telcontar (Elfstone Strider). The stone itself was foretold to rightfully belong to one who would bear its name, and Aragorn's position as the Hope Bringer is Lampshaded many times in the story.
    • Especially Cosmic Plaything Túrin's frequent renames; he hopes they'll be meaningful and he'll escape his fate; it doesn't work. Usually, his new name is a reflection on the latest tragedy to happen to him: i.e. Neithan (the Wronged), Agarwaen (the Blood-Stained), Turambar (Master of Doom). The final name gets an ironic echo—Master of Doom, by Doom mastered. (Typically, readers refer to him as Túrin Turambar when speaking of him.)
    • The Big Bad of The Silmarillion, Melkor, is given the name Morgoth ("the black enemy") by Fëanor after he steals the Silmarils and killed Fëanor's father. Similarly, Sauron's name before he went evil was (probably) Mairon. ("Sauron" is Elvish for "the Abhorred".)
    • Many of Tolkien's bad guys are renamed or otherwise lose their names. Sméagol becomes "Gollum". Gríma becomes "Wormtongue". The Nazgûl are nameless, at least in the core books. Sauron's ambassador has forgotten his own name, and just calls himself "the Mouth of Sauron". Even Saruman ends up as just "Sharkey" (which Tolkien conjectures is from the Orcish Sharkû, "Old Man").
    • Several hobbits have been mentioned in the backstory who have adopted a new family name, apparently as a result of becoming leaders or patriarchs. For example, Gorhendad Oldbuck, who led the colonization of Buckland, renamed himself to Brandybuck, and his descendants like Merry use that family name. Samwise Gamgee, likewise, becomes Samwise Gardner by the end of the timeline, which seems to be the result of his work to reforest the Shire, his becoming the master of Bag End, and being the mayor of the Shire for many decades and a known friend of the King.
  • Tortall Universe:
    • In Song of the Lioness, "Claw" is a meaningful rename for Ralon of Malven, since he looked like someone did that to him between his first appearance and his attempt to become Rogue. (It's from when a maid threw acid in his face when he tried raping her mistress.)
    • Numair Salmalín of The Immortals used to be Arram Draper — people assumed/joked that it was because he decided that the name wasn't cool enough for one of the most powerful mages in the world, but actually he changed it to hide from the Emperor of Carthak, who was hunting him after he left the Empire. (And because it sounded cooler.)
  • In The Traitor Son Cycle, after his Face–Heel Turn, Nita Qwan return to his old name Kevin Orley, which symbolizes his long-forgotten grudge against the Muriens family (the resurgence of which is what motivates his Turn).
  • Trueman Bradley was born Truman. He changed the spelling after he decided to become a detective because a detective exposes truth.
  • Uprooted: People receive a name in the Language of Magic from a magical artifact when they're formally accepted as new Wizards or Witches. Defied by Agnieszka, who refuses a name change because her personal identity is strongly rooted in her home community even after she trains in magic.
  • Lois McMaster Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga: In Captain Vorpatril's Alliance, Ivan thinks, at the end, that Miles's children will be old enough to call him Uncle Ivan by the time of his return, and shudders to think of how his identity can be changed without his doing anything. Then he reflects on the possibility of "Da" — which is easier because he would do it.
    • Also in the same series Miles at one point reflects that he's not eager for the day that he is greeted as "Count Vorkosigan, sir?" This will signify that his father is dead, and he's the new counts. Happens at the end of "Cryoburn,"
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • In Dan Abnett's Ravenor short story "Playing Patience", Patience's name was assigned hers by the orphanage in which she lived, as were her sisters', Providence and Prudence. At the climax, she concentrates on her true, original name to keep herself together. Ravenor tells her to keep that name secret and safe, and she chooses to be "Patience Kys".
    • In Aaron Dembski-Bowden's novel Soul Hunter, Talos's slave is named Septimus — and we hear how Primus, Secundus, etc died. When Eurydice is captured, Septimus immediately dubs her Octavia. After Talos rescues her from Attempted Rape, she accepts the name.
  • Warrior Cats:
    • Cat names consist of two parts. The first part stays the same forever, while the second part changes. Kitten names all end in kit (eg Hollykit or Snowkit), apprentice names end in paw (eg Sandpaw or Dustpaw), warrior names can end in anything (eg Tigerclaw or Lionheart), and leader names all end in star (eg Bluestar or Tallstar). The clan leader can also rename elders to fit with any battle scars they might have earned, etc... E.g., a cat who lost an eye becomes One-eye. A leader can also change a young cat’s name, the only known instances being because of deformities (i.e. Deadfoot, Lostface, and Crookedjaw).
    • The protagonist of the first several books starts off as a pet cat named "Rusty". When he joins Thunderclan he is renamed to "Firepaw", due to his red pelt color. Eventually that too is changed to "Fireheart" and then "Firestar".
  • War With No Name: All the animals pick new names after the Change. For instance, Sebastian calls himself Mort(e), and Jenna becomes Wawa.
  • In The Wheel of Time:
    • The Laurel Crown of Illian is renamed the Crown of Swords after Rand conquers the country, to reflect his military focus.
    • The city of Aridhol became Shadar Logoth, or Shadow's Waiting, after it was inhabited by Mashadar, following its original inhabitants' corruption by Mordeth.
    • The thirteen Forsaken, ancient servants of the Dark One, are Appropriated Appellations from epithets used against them when they betrayed the Light: Moghedien the Spider, Sammael the Destroyer of Hope, Ishamael the Betrayer of Hope, Lanfear the Daughter of the Night, and so on. Lanfear is an exception in that she chose her own name — which says a lot about her character.
    • Ishamael is a notable Forsaken as he goes through several names that reflect his evolution into Nae'blis. First, he's Elan Morin Tedronai, renowned philosopher. Upon swearing service to the Dark One, he became Ishamael, Betrayer of Hope. After deluding himself into thinking he was the Dark One he became Ba'alzamon, Heart of the Dark. Finally, recognizing that he wasn't the Dark One but completely embracing nihilism, he becomes Moridin, which simply means "Death".
    • Also rather notable is the introduction of Faile in the third book, which starts rather well when she introduces herself as "Blade", unintentionally taking after a horse one of the heroes was riding.
    • The Seanchan frequently rename as they change their social status. Particularly Egeanin, who is disgraced and becomes Leilwin, and Tuon, who had a different name as a child and becomes Fortuona when she ascends to Empress.
    • Similarly, in the last book Mat is given the name 'Knotai' and Min 'Darbinda', though they continue using their original names outside of the Seanchan court.
    • Padan Fain goes through a lot of names as well. At first he's just Fain, even after merging with Mordeth's spirit. Later he goes by Ordeith (Wormwood) and Jeraal Mordeth, but still mostly thinks of himself as Padan Fain in his own POV. In the later books, though, as Mordeth's personality becomes more deeply integrated into him and his dark powers expand, he decides he needs a new name. In the last book, having transcended humanity completely and become a creature of raw dark power loosely attached to his mortal body, he/they/it renames him/their/itself Shaisam.
  • In While The Clock Chimes, Tatti becomes friends (with hints of Puppy Love) with Brush, a poor cleaning boy at the invisibles' palace. After the invisibles are defeated and run away, she decides to ask her brothers to think up a prettier name for him to mark the start of his new life.
  • In Wicked, Gregory Maguire has Glinda give up on trying to make people call her by the Gillikinese name Galinda as a kind of symbol of mourning after Doctor Dillamond's death.
  • In Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, a retelling of the story of the Madwoman in the Attic from Jane Eyre, the protagonist is actually called Antoinette; she gains the name "Bertha" seen in Jane Eyre as a result of her husband imposing it on her in an attempt to control who she is. On the converse, on a meta level, Rhys's changing the original Bertha's name to Antoinette has a similar effect of changing the character into something she wasn't in the first place, in this case a rounded character portrayed sympathetically and based on her own experiences instead of a random maliciously insane plot device.
  • Witch World: In The Jargoon Pard, in the opening, two mothers give children names that their lives may be well-set before them. One does it to claim the boy, since she knows they were switched.
  • Worm has several examples:
    • The supervillain Madcap, who upon capture cuts a deal with the authorities to become a superhero called Assault (a move which ticks off Battery for several reasons);
    • The superhero Armsmaster, who after being targeted for 'recruitment' into the Slaughterhouse Nine — a gang of mass murderer supervillains — chooses to escape house arrest with Dragon, change his name to Defiant, and go hunting the Nine;
    • The supervillain Skitter, who, reacting to the prophecy of the end of the world, negotiates a deal with the authorities to surrender and become a probationary superhero called Weaver;
    • The superhero Weaver gets renamed Kephri, after mind-controlling almost every Parahuman to fight Scion.note 
    • The supervillain Glaistig Uaine becomes The Atoner following the death of Scion and takes up the name Valkyrie.
  • Inverted in Young Wizards: Nita changes the Lone Power's True Name to allow a possibility of redemption, which it takes a few books later.
  • In the second story arc of the Guardians of Ga'Hoole series, Nyroc, formerly the prince of The Remnant of the Pure Ones, changes his name to Coryn to separate himself from his former life and become an owl of good following his flight from his family.
  • Throughout the novel that started it all, only two people refer to the youngest Corleone as "Michael": his father and his wife. To everyone else he's "Mike," except his mom, who calls him the even more diminutive "Mikey." And then he executes (pun intended) his master-stroke in the penultimate chapter. The next time he meets his caporegimes, they address him as "Don Michael," the new Godfather.
    • Less portentously, Vito Andolini changes his name to that of his hometown, Corleone, when he immigrates to America. He does this to make it harder for his Sicilian would-be killers to finish their vendetta, but also " preserve some tie with his native village. It was one of the few gestures of sentiment he was ever to make." (Averted in the film, which had his name changed by a careless immigration clerk on Ellis Island.)
  • Mary Yoo from Miracle Creek was known as Meh-hee-yah in Korea. When she moved to America as a preteen, her mother helped her pick out the name Mary, the closest approximation she could think of. Her first months and years in America were so traumatic that she started thinking of the two names as different people - Meh-hee-yah was an outgoing girl who got in trouble for chatting too much and could argue her way out of most punishments, while Mary was quiet, obedient, and alone.
  • Georg Jewell from Shtum was born Georg Friedman, but changed it at age ten after his whole family died in The Holocaust. He picked his name from two sources: "Jonatan's Jewel," his brother's beloved piece of Bohemia glass, and the Jewelly Sanatorium for Autistic Children, where Jonatan spent his final months.
    Georg: I was somebody else, so I should change my name and what else could it be?
  • Green (2009): Green is involuntarily named "Emerald" by the court where she is enslaved- she eventually chooses the name "Green" for herself.
  • The Ballad of Black Tom: Tommy starts going by Black Tom after the death of his father Otis, saying, "My birth name has no more power over me. It died with my daddy."
  • The Cat Who... Series: When Polly's new cat is introduced in book #10 (The Cat Who Talked to Ghosts), he's named Bootsie, and turns out to be a real brat. His behavior, and Polly's towards him, improves once she renames him Brutus in book #19 (The Cat Who Tailed a Thief).
  • RWBY: Roman Holiday: Neopolitan's original name was Trivia Vanille. However, as a child, she had an imaginary friend called Neo; once she realised that her "imaginary friend" was really the early manifestation of her Semblance, she embraced the alter ego as being a part of herself and took the name for her own. Her appearance is therefore a trifecta of her original self, her imaginary friend's appearance, and influences from her relationship with Roman.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Skye takes her birth name, Daisy Johnson, during Season 3 of Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.. This is not only in honor of her father, but also reflects her newfound role as leader of the Secret Warriors.
  • In Babylon 5, the Narn are known by one name when they are pouchlings. When they reach maturity and pick which of their race's holy men they wish to follow, they pick their true name based on that. As an example, there's G'Kar, who follows G'Quon.
  • Battlestar Galactica (2003) plays with this trope when Secretary of Education Laura Roslin succeeds to the position of President of the Twelve Colonies. The pilot of the ship on which she's travelling announces on the radio: "Gemenon Liner 1701, this is Colonial Heavy 798.... No, strike that. This is Colonial One." see also 
  • Bones: Happened in Brennan's Back Story. Her current name (Temperance) reflects her overly logical and reserved nature. Meanwhile, her birth name (Joy) is quite the opposite. Indeed, she turned to science and logic in order to keep herself from getting hurt after being abandoned by first her parents and then her brother. Though it was her parents who renamed her, as a matter of hiding their identities. The entire family got name changes that didn't align quite so poetically with their circumstances.
    • Angela's father turns out to be a Giver of Lame Names, so she also renamed herself from Pookie Noodlin to Angela Pearly Gates Montenegro. While this is at least a less embarrassing name, the "Pearly Gates" at least has some significance, as it's the name Billy Gibbons gave to his guitar, and he plays her in-universe father, who may or may not be an expy of himself or merely himself or... you know what? It's complicated. In-universe, the name came to her in a dream.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Giles took on the name 'Ripper' in his teen and early adulthood years. In the episode "Band Candy" the fact that he's going by it again is a clue to what's going on.
    • Spike takes on his new moniker after being turned into a vampire, renouncing his original name William.
    • Angel was originally named "Liam," becoming "Angelus" as an evil vampire. He became simply "Angel" when he had his soul restored.
    • Anya went through a similar transition, from the human Aud to the demon Anyanka and then back to human, calling herself Anya.
  • Doctor Who:
    • "The Doctor" is a name chosen by the Doctor himself that carries responsibilities. In "The Beast Below", he states that after committing an act that would break his own moral code, he would have to find a new name. In "The Name of the Doctor", we learn that he actually did do this for an entire incarnation. Much later, in "Face the Raven", the Doctor threatens to renounce his name as he prepares to go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge when his companion faces being Killed Off for Real.
    • "The Waters of Mars": The Tenth Doctor, in a moment of uncharacteristic hubris, gives himself the short-lived name "The Time Lord Victorious". Despite lasting all of four minutes, it is a profound character moment.
    • Jack Harkness becomes a meaningful rename after Jack finally meets the man he initially took the name from.
    • Companion Amy Pond was named Amelia Pond and began to call herself Amy when she decided to grow up, because the Doctor had said "Amelia Pond is a fairy tale name". And even though she keeps her birth name when married, later the Doctor calls her "Williams".
    • Melody Pond takes on the name River Song when she becomes touched by the Doctor's devotion to a person of the same name and then discovers it's herself. Doubles as a Stable Time Loop.
      • This occurred because her mother was given a charm made by someone whose native tongue had only one word for a body of water: "river"; and "melody" was turned into "song". Additionally, because the first and last names were stitched on both sides of a piece of cloth that comprised the item, this made it easy for someone who doesn't know that name to read the last name as first and vice versa.
    • "Closing Time": Craig Owen's baby prefers to be known as Stormaggeddon, Dark Lord of All. (The Doctor calls him 'Stormy' for short.) By the end of the episode, the baby agrees to go by his given name, Alfie, showing his acceptance of Craig as his father.
    • Kate Stewart, daughter of The Brigadier, dropped "Lethbridge" from her name when she joined UNIT, in an attempt to avoid association with her father, which she thought would have gotten her special treatment.
    • The Master changes their name to the Mistress (Missy for short) for logistical reasons after he undergoes a Gender Bender regeneration.
  • The Expanse:
    • The surviving crew of the Canterbury end up in the possession of a Martian frigate, the MCRN Tachi (a tachi is a type of traditional Japanese sword). When they receive instructions on how to modify the ship's transponder, they ask Holden to pick a new name. He decides on Rocinante, meaning "workhorse" in Spanish. It's also the name of the horse of Don Quixote, who's best known for attacking windmills, claiming that they were monsters, which seems like a good description for James Holden (his mother told Chrisjen that her son wanted to be a knight when he was a boy). In season 3, they once again modify the transponder and ask a new crewmember, a botanist, to pick a name. He goes with Pinus Contorta, a type of pine that can survive almost anywhere. As a testament to the new name, the Contorta then goes ahead and defeats a UNN battleship.
    • When Fred Johnson's people hijack the LDSS Nauvoo, the generation ship they were building for the Mormons, they later have to retrieve the ship in order to turn it into a battleship. As such, they rechristen her OPAS Behemoth (she's the largest ship ever built).
  • Friends has Phoebe go down to change her name to incorporate her husband's surname. On discovering she can change her name to anything she wants, she chooses Princess Consuela Bananahammock. She only changes it back when her husband changes his name to Crap Bag,
  • Game of Thrones: The final episode of Season 6 suggests that Jon Snow was born under another name given to him by his mother, Lyanna Stark, which Ned changed to "Jon". The name "Jon" could have come from any number of namesakes as it is both a Stark family name and the name of Ned's foster father, Jon Arryn. Ned may have changed the name Lyanna gave Jon because it was too Targaryen-sounding. In a 2002 "So Spake Martin" Q&A, GRRM states Ned named Jon.
    • That episode also has Daenerys refer to the area around the Free Cities where her plotlines have been for much of the series as "the Bay of Dragons". She changed the name from Slaver's Bay after she abolished slavery in much of the region.
  • Girls5eva: Played for laughs. Between the first and eighth episodes rapper Lil Stinker rebranded himself Stinker because he's ready to take on more mature material.
  • A later episode of Have Gun – Will Travel revealed that this is why the main character calls himself Paladin.
  • Sylar in Heroes names himself after a brand of watch, since his power is understanding how things work, just like the clockwork he used to fix.
  • In Legends of Tomorrow, we learn that when new members join the Time Masters, they pick new names for themselves in order to protect themselves from any foe who might wish to attack their past self. For example, Rip Hunter's birth name was Michael (we aren't told his last name). This also explains the weirdness of some of these names.
  • In Lost, James Ford calls himself Sawyer to remind himself of the man who turned Sawyer's father into a Murder-Suicide.
  • In Once Upon a Time:
    • The dwarf Dreamy takes the name Grumpy after giving up the fairy he loves and resigning himself to a life in the mines.
    • Rumpelstiltskin's father Malcolm sheds his name when he also sheds his age to become the eternally youthful Peter Pan.
    • Killian Jones adopts the nickname Captain Hook after he gets his hand chopped off.
  • Perpetual Grace LTD: Newleaf changed his name after getting out of prison because he wanted to "turn over a new leaf" in his life. In a fit of depression, he considers changing it again to "Spacejunk."
  • Princess Silver: Fu Chou's real name is Wu Chou. His assumed namenote  sounds like "fùchóu"note , meaning "revenge".
  • In Profit, the main antihero changes his name from James Stakowski to Jim Profit after running away from his abusive father and reinventing himself as a Machiavellian corporate shark.
  • In a Quantum Leap episode, Sam leaps into a Yankee soldier during The American Civil War, who gets trapped behind the enemy lines in a Southern farm. Eventually, he ends up escaping, along with the widow who lives there and her slave. Naturally, the soldier is revealed to have married the widow later. However, the biggest shocker comes when the now-freed slave, after an encouraging speech by Sam, decides to choose a last name for himself. Since a free man is his own master, he calls himself "King". Al immediately tells Sam that this guy is the ancestor of Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Played with on The Red Green Show. Lodgemember Moose Thompson writes a letter telling how he intends to get a meaningful rename. "I think the nickname Moose Thompson is demeaning. It makes fun of my unusual size and implies that I'm dumb. Therefore I am changing my name. From this point forward I will be known as Moose Johnson."
  • In both adaptations of Roots, Mandinka warrior Kunta Kinte is kidnapped and sold to British slave traders that transport him from his home in West Africa across the Atlantic Ocean, where he is bought by a Virginia tobacco plantation owner. Not knowing what to call him, the master's wife tells her husband that his newest purchase should be named Toby. After Kunta vehemently makes it clear that his name is not Toby, he's tied to a post and flogged until he acknowledges his name is now Toby. After one foot is severed following a failed escape attempt, he accepts that he'll never go back home, see his family ever again, that he'll be a slave for the rest of his life, and no longer cares that his master calls him Toby.
  • In Season 4 of Schitt's Creek Johnny Rose renames The Schitt's Creek Motel to The Rosebud Motel in order to honor and solidify his partnership with co-owner Stevie Budd. It feels like an adoption and from this point forward, Johnny and the rest of the Roses treat Stevie like family.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Similar to the Star Trek IV example, in the penultimate episode, "The Dogs of War", the replacement for the USS Defiant, the São Paolo, is renamed the Defiant in the first ship's honor.
    • Among the Trill race, when a symbiont is implanted in a host, their names are merged. Thus Jadzia Dax is the Trill Jadzia carrying the symbiont Dax. The symbionts are very long-lived, resulting in a line of hosts all sharing its name.
  • Star Trek: Discovery: After the reunification of Vulcans and Romulans, the planet Vulcan has been renamed Ni'Var to symbolize a union of two cultures. In Real Life, the term "Ni var" was coined in The '60s by Dorothy Jones to mean "two forms".
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "Healer", the small-time crook Jackie Thompson begins calling himself "Brother John" after setting himself up as a Fake Faith Healer using the healing stone that he stole from a museum. After he realizes that it is wrong to use the stone for a selfish purpose, he begins calling himself simply John.
  • In the TV show of The Worst Witch (but not the books), Miss Drill is a mortal woman. When she drinks a potion to gain witch powers, she renames herself 'Hilary Hemlock'.
  • Christian Miller was originally the name of The Young and the Restless star Victor Newman. After leaving the orphanage when he is first introduced, he changes his name to reflect his status as a victorious new man.
  • Robin of Sherwood:
    • In his first scene in the show, Will Scarlet tells how his wife was raped and murdered by mercenaries. He ends his tale by saying "My name was Will Scathlock. It's Scarlet now." Given that oftentimes in Robin Hood adaptations Will Scarlet is a very cheerful character, and the name "Scarlet", if it has any meaning at all, refers to the fancy clothing he wears, it's a great way of establishing that this show's version of the character is considerably Darker and Edgier.
    • As Robert of Huntingdon accepts his position as The Chosen One in the third season's first story "Herne's Son", and is given new clothes more appropriate for that role by the people of Wickham, Edward, the thain of the village, addresses him as Robert of Huntingdon when wishing him luck. Robert replies to it by saying "That life is over." and Edward corrects himself "Of Sherwood, then." After the following story, "Power of Albion" Robert starts going by Robin Hood and even the outlaws who actually knew the original Robin start calling him that. Robert's father still calls him by his given name, of course, but he's practically the only one.
  • The Wire:
    • Stringer learns about rebranding in his college course, follows the example of World Com, and strategically changes the name of the drugs periodically to create a sense of novelty and fake competition. Subverted in that it only takes him so far, the customers are not that stupid and even a dope fiend can wise up.
      Bodie: Same shit, new name.
    • When he makes up his mind to finally go straight, Cutty decides to go by his given name, Dennis.

  • Adam Ant: After his failed suicide attempt he rejected his old name, Stuart Leslie Goddard, and became Adam Ant, an identity that symbolises being both new and eternal.
    "I really knew I wanted to be Adam because Adam was the first man. Ant I chose because, if there's a nuclear explosion, the ants will survive."
  • Brian Jones Presents the Pipes of Pan at Jajouka is an album that was merely produced by Brian Jones, but it doesn't feature him on vocals or instruments at all. Instead, we hear the wonderful performances by the Master Musicians of Jajouka, a Moroccan folk group. However, the 1995 reissue changed the title from "Joujouka" into "Jajouka", to avoid confusion with another Morrocan folk band who have almost the same name.
  • Frank Zappa's first band was originally named The Mothers, short for motherfucker. But the record company feared that nobody would buy a record from a band with that name, so they were forced to call themselves The Mothers Of Invention. As Zappa himself pointed out: in the end, most people didn't buy the albums anyway, because of the kind of bizarre music they played.
  • Electronic musician Walter Carlos changed her name into Wendy Carlos after her sex change.
  • The Jackson 5 changed their name into The Jacksons after their former label claimed copyright on their name.
  • Kim Namjoon, the leader of the K-POP band BTS, has changed his stage name from Rap Monster to RM due to a change in his opinions and views surrounding rap and how he presents himself through it, expanding his work into other genres while still including rap. In 2018 he marked this change with the release of his second mixtape (which he named a "playlist" rather than a mixtape) mono., meaning "monster no more".
  • Cat Stevens changed his name to Yusuf Islam after converting. "Cat Stevens" itself was a stage name for Steven Demetre Georgiou, whose girlfriend told him he had eyes like a cat.
  • John Mellencamp was forced by his record label into the more 'tough' name of Johnny Cougar when he started, gradually shifting it back via John Cougar Mellencamp.
  • Five years before coming out as trans, Against Me! frontwoman Laura Jane Grace revealed in "The Ocean" that her mother indeed would have named her Laura.

    Myth, Legend, and Religion 
  • The Bible:
    • Abram becomes Abraham ("Father of many nations") and his wife Sarai becomes Sarah ("princess"). Jacob takes the name Israel ("struggles with God") after wrestling with the angel. Hosea becomes Joshua by adding a letter from God's name (the "yod") to his name. Also in the Bible, Jesus renames Simon to Peter, in Aramaic "Kephas" (Rock). (There are a lot of other renamings that qualify more as Some Call Me "Tim"—e.g. Greek- and Latin-speakers couldn't pronounce the "sh" sound, so Saul of Tarsus—"Sha'ul" in Hebrew—was known as "Paul" to the wider world.)
    • Satan the Devil is a rename, Satan meaning "resister" and Devil meaning "slanderer". His previous name is not in the Bible. There's a Biblical verse about the fall of the Morning-Star (which is directly speaking about a Babylonian king) that many take to be obliquely speaking about Satan; because of this, "Lucifer" ("light-bearer", the Latin name for the morning star) is often used as a name for Satan before his fall (as, for example, in The Divine Comedy and Paradise Lost).
    • In the Book of Jeremiah, a priest named Pash-Hur gets annoyed by Jeremiah's prophesying and throws him in jail for the night. The next day he lets Jeremiah out, and Jeremiah informs him that God has changed his name to "Magor-Missaviv," which means "terror all around," because he will watch all his friends die in the invasion of Judah before being dragged off to Babylon for the rest of his life.
    • Subverted by Naomi in The Book of Ruth. Near the beginning of the book, she tells Ruth not to call her "Naomi"(pleasant) but "Mara" (bitter) due to the misfortunes she's suffered. However, the narrative continues to refer to her as "Naomi".
    • The three friends of Daniel (Hananiah, Misail, and Azarya) had names that all referred to God in some way. In Babylon they are renamed Sadrach, Mesach, and Abednego, names containing references to Babylonian gods. (Except for 'Mesach', which means something around the lines of 'useless') Eventually Daniel gets the same treatment, being renamed to Belteshazzar. Odds are that their capturers wanted them to forget their God.
  • Celtic Mythology:
    • Setanta killed Culann's guard dog in self-defense when the dog attacked him. Culann was devastated by the loss of his dog, so Setanta volunteered to become his new servant and guard. Setanta renamed himself Cu Chulainn (The Hound of Culann).
    • Queen Medb really wanted King Conchobar dead. A Druid told her that her son Maine would eventually kill Conchobar. She had seven sons, but none of them were named Maine, so she renamed all of them, just to be sure. Fedlimid became Maine Athramail ("like his father"), Cairbre became Maine Máthramail ("like his mother"), Eochaid became Maine Andoe ("the swift") and was also known as Cich-Maine Andoe or Cichmuine, Fergus became Maine Taí ("the silent"), Cet became Maine Mórgor ("of great duty"), Sin became Maine Mílscothach ("honey-speech"), and Dáire became Maine Móepirt ("beyond description"). Maine Andoe ended up killing a completely different Conchobar.
  • Classical Mythology:
    • Heracles was originally named Alcides by his mother Alcmene and foster father Amphitryon. His parents later changed his name to Heracles, which means "Glory to Hera", in an attempt to appease Hera, who hated him for being Zeus' son, which didn't work.
    • When Heracles was at war with King Laomedon, he captured Laomedon's son Podarces. Laomedon's daughter Hesione bought his freedom with her golden veil. Podarces changed his name to Priam, which means "to buy".
  • In Japanese Mythology, the sword Ama-no-Murakumo-no-Tsurugi (or "Sword of the gathering clouds of heaven") was used by a prince to escape a fire. He first tried to cut away the grass surrounding him to starve the flames of fuel but noticed that with every stroke, the wind changed to match the direction of his cuts. He used this magic to make a larger fire and blow it back towards his pursuers and then renamed the sword Kusanagi-no-Tsurugi, the Grass Cutting Sword.
  • Norse Mythology: In Ragnar Lodbrok and His Sons, Aslaug, the orphaned daughter of Sigurd and Brynhildr, was adopted by the couple Áke and Grima, who renamed her Kráka ("Crow").

  • In Interstitial Actual Play, Ennora's Nobody was named Roxanne. Of course when the former is restored all the others refer to them as such and acknowledge that even though they have many aspects of Roxanne, they are a separate entity.
  • The Magnus Archives has Narrator Jonathan Sims stop introducing himself as "Jonathan Sims, Head Archivist of the Magnus Institute" and begin introducing himself as "Jonathan Sims, The Archivist, reflecting his increasingly inhuman nature at the start of S4.

    Tabletop Games 
  • The canonical BattleTech example has to be Frederick Steiner. Thought dead for over twenty years, he eventually becomes ComStar's Precentor Martial under the name Anastasius Focht — a combination of Greek and German that pointedly can be read as "the resurrected man (who) fought".
    • If an adult civilian or outsider manages to be adopted into the Clan warrior caste they drop their old surname and replace it with the name of the Clan. For example; Minoru Kurita became known as Minoru Nova Cat when he joined Clan Nova Cat.
    • The ultimate example in BattleTech is a Clan Warrior earning their Bloodname, marking their status as one of the Clan's elite warriors.
  • In Earthdawn, magic is tied to names to the point of names defining a person, place, or thing, so changing a name erases all magical properties and allows new ones to take their place in time. This is heavily emphasized in-setting by the word "Name-Giver" being used instead of "people" to refer to sentient beings capable of bestowing names and thus defining other beings, places, or things.
  • Warhammer: Necrarch vampires tend to take Nehekaran names when they are first turned, symbolizing their leaving their mortal life behind in favor of a new existence as Nagash's heirs.
  • Warhammer 40,000: Many Legions had different names before they found their primarch: Mortarian immediately renamed the Dusk Raiders as the Death Guard; Angron, the War Hounds to the World Eaters; Lion El'Jonson, the First Legion to the Dark Angels. (And we are not definitively told that any of them did not change their names at their primarch's behest.) In Dan Abnett's Horus Rising, Horus's Luna Wolves are renamed the Sons of Horus as a mark of his ascension to Warmaster, and in Galaxy In Flames, the betrayed Sons of Horus take back the name Luna Wolves for the brief remainder of their lives. And at the end of the Horus Heresy, Abaddon renamed the Sons of Horus the Black Legion.
    • The Blood Angels' Mephiston, Lord of Death, was originally Brother Calistarius until he became the only Blood Angel to overcome the Red Thirst.
  • Mage: The Awakening has players give their characters 'Shadow Names', often with significance of their own, which they go by to avoid people knowing their real names. Changing Shadow Name can signify a new rank, a change in personal philosophy, leaving their magical Order for another one, or any combination of the above. One extreme example from the core book hit the Despair Event Horizon, had a Face–Heel Turn, named himself after Angrboda the Norse mother of monsters, and allied himself with eldritch abominations from outside of existence.
  • A few races in Dungeons & Dragons do this regularly, according to a few sourcebooks.
    • Elves, for example, are given a name by their parents when they are born but choose more mature ones upon reaching legal age. (Although an adult elf's parents or other older elves that he was close to as a child might still call him by his old name as a sign of affection.)
    • Gnomes love names, and while they never actually change them, they do love adding titles to their existing names, often doing so to commemorate some great accomplishment.
  • In Traveller, the Darrians and several other races get a new name at their coming of age. In the Darrians case that is simply added onto the other names and the original isn't lost.
  • In Magic: The Gathering, the Mardu clan have a Rite of Passage where they're required to land the killing blow on a dragon during battle, at which point they choose a war name for themselves. Usually this is a Badass Boast based on how they got it (like Headsmasher or Wingbreaker); their current khan took the opportunity to rename herself Alesha, replacing her old male name.

  • In The Rainmaker, Con Man Bill Starbuck admits he was originally named Smith, but changed it because he needed something more meaningful. He also tries to change Lizzie's name to Melisande, but she refuses to take it. This also serves as a clue to his true nature, depending upon the production- A poster for someone named Tornado Smith is put up in the police station.
  • Cyrano de Bergerac: Cyrano's cousin was named Madeleine Robin, but as a member of les Précieuses literary movement, she took a new name in order to reflect the change in their role in life. Roxane is an Iranian Name (Roshanak) that means "Little Star" and was the name of princess Roxane, who married Alexander the Great. "Roxane was said by contemporaries to be the most beautiful lady in all Asia”. Truth in Television, because the Real Life Madeleine Robin chose this name. At Act I Scene V, contrast the wise Le Bret with the dreamer Cyrano:
    Le Bret: Your cousin, Madeleine Robin?
    Cyrano: Roxane!
  • Starship gives us Tootsie Noodles. You see, where he comes from, Farm-Planet, your first name is what you do, and your second name is what you like. So he's called Tootsie, on the account of his occasional toot, and Noodles, cos he likes 'em. He changes it to Tootsie Megagirl after he falls in love with her.
  • Towards the end of Act One of Wicked, Galinda declares that she will now call herself "Glinda" to honor Doctor Dillamond, the goat professor at Shiz University who was recently spirited away by the racist Madame Morrible for being able to speak. Unlike the book example, the change is very much Played for Laughs: Galinda only makes the swap because she feels left out of Elphaba and Fiyero's genuine discussion of Animal rights, and, being an Attention Whore, wants the spotlight to be on herself again. We see proof of this when she corrects someone who calls her Galinda: "It's pronounced Glin-da. The 'Ga' is silent."
    • The trope is played more seriously in Act II when Glinda receives her official designation as "Glinda the Good" as part of Madame Morrible's smear campaign against Elphaba. The young witch realizes that she hasn't done anything to truly earn the designation, and among her last lines of the musical are a promise to the people of Oz to genuinely try to be good, instead of simply possessing the title.
    • Similarly, there's Madame Morrible declaring Elphaba a "wicked witch," which is of course the title she assumes throughout the rest of her life.
    • Nessarose, Elphaba's younger sister, undergoes a similarly depressing change of name in Act II. She becomes the new governor of Munchkinland after her and Elphaba's father dies of shame because of his older daughter's activist work. Unfortunately, the Munchkin she hopelessly loves, Boq, won't love her back, as he's long harbored feelings for Glinda. In revenge, Nessa strips the Munchkins of their rights in a desperate effort to keep him close. Boq claims that she's just as bad as Elphaba, and in a song, Nessa heartbreakingly agrees, declaring herself the "Wicked Witch of the East" (which is of course her title from the movie.
  • At the end of Disney's Believe, Dr. Greenaway renames his prize flower, the Filioa Fabulae, after his beloved daughter Sophia.

  • BIONICLE has "Naming Day", in which accomplished Matoran are rewarded by being able to change their names (although it's usually just a minor change to the spelling). In a subversion, this was actually done to make the characters' names less meaningful, as Lego was threatened by legal action from Maori activists over the use of names from their language.
    • A straighter example is Takua, who renames himself Takanuvanote  after becoming the Toa of Light.

    Video Games 
  • Assassin's Creed:
    • At the end of Assassin's Creed Origins, Aya renames herself Amunet "the Hidden One". Amunet is also the Egyptian goddess of air and invisibility. The name means "the female hidden one" or "one who is hidden".
    • In Assassin's Creed: Odyssey, after losing both of her children in one night and exiling herself from Sparta, Myrrine started going by Phoenix, symbolizing her intent to rebuild her life from ashes.
  • Battle for Wesnoth: Midway through the Secrets of the Ancients campaign, Ras-Tabahn tells Ardonna about how Alduin mages would get a new name when they complete their studies. Since Ardonna is a free mage now, she decides that she is not the ordinary girl Ardonna anymore and gives herself a new name: Ardryn-Na.
  • Kingdom Hearts:
    • In Kingdom Hearts II, we learn that the real Ansem the Wise renamed himself DiZ, or "Darkness In Zero" after going into exile following Xehanort doing research on the heart and destroying Radiant Garden, which was renamed Hollow Bastion. Xehanort himself infamously took Ansem's name after banishing him.
    • The Nobodies in Kingdom Hearts II also get a meaningful rename: their real/former names anagrammed and an "X" added to it. It's then revealed as a further meaningful rename in that Big Bad Xemnas was influenced into adding not an "X", but a "χ" (Greek letter for "chi", or, "key"), in reference to the "χ-blade".
  • Chrono Trigger: While all player characters are subject to Hello, [Insert Name Here], most of them gained meaningful renames as part of the plot:
    • Marle's real name is Nadia and she came up with the pseudonym when she introduced herself to Chrono so she wouldn't be recognized as the princess.
    • Robo was (re)named when the party first met him. He was originally Prometheus and then gained the name/alias R66-Y as a infiltration unit for Mother Brain.
    • Frog's original name is Glenn, but he acquiesces to being nicknamed as such by Lucca.
    • Magus, true name Janus, is either a pseudonym or a title he gained.
  • Garnet in Final Fantasy IX takes up the new name Hello, [Insert Name Here] (Dagger by default) early on in the game both to conceal her identity and to represent the beginning of her casting aside her previous identity as a sheltered princess. Later on in the game, it's revealed 'Garnet' is one as well since her real name is Sarah and she was adopted by the Queen.
  • In Wing Commander, Marcus Chen was formerly a reckless pilot known as "Ripper"; many of the pilots who emulated him ended up dead. He eventually became a more cautious pilot, and for setting an example to others, became known as "Bossman".
  • In Dungeon Keeper, like the Lord of the Rings example above, the cities all have Sickeningly Sweet names before you capture them and transform each into Mordor, along with an appropriate rename.
  • In World of Warcraft, some Forsaken (playable undead) have decided to change their name to reflect the fact that they have drastically changed. But the best example is the black dragon Neltharion, who changed his name to "Deathwing" in The War of the Ancients after his betrayal of the other dragonflights.
    • In an inversion, Thrall got his name from his upbringing as a slave. After becoming Warchief of the Horde, he eventually (in Burning Crusade) travels to his homeland and learns that his original name was Go'el. He decides to continue using "Thrall" as his name as a constant reminder of the suffering his people went through, even rebuking a shaman who addresses him by his birth name. In Cataclysm, he changes his name back to Go'el due to his role/destiny as a shaman first (and not the Warchief), no longer a slave to the influence of others.
    • Technically, the rename of Neltharion to Deathwing is the result of a Stable Time Loop, as it was first accidentally uttered by a time traveler. Then again, this time traveler (along with two others) have also made changes to the timeline, so it's not exactly a stable loop. By the same token, Neltharion's artifact Dragon Soul is renamed to Demon Soul by the same time traveler after its true purpose is revealed.
    • To honor the memory of those who were killed by the Scourge, the remnants of the High Elves renamed their entire race the Blood Elves.
  • In Mass Effect, the quarians incorporate their assigned ship into their names; for young quarians, their first assignment and name change is part of their Rite of Passage. This comes up in Mass Effect 2 when one of your allies is reassigned to your ship without her knowledge as part of a plot to try her for treason, and is renamed "Tali'Zorah vas Normandy"; when the trial is over, she keeps the name.
    • In Mass Effect 3, you can speak to a Quarian engineer who was mortally wounded fighting the Geth to allow his crewmates time to escape. After he dies, Tali renames him for the planet he died on: Dorn Hazt vas Rannoch.
    • Krogan must complete the Rite in order to enter adulthood and gain a place in krogan society. When Grunt completes the Rite, his name is changed to Urdnot Grunt, marking him as having earned a place as one of Clan Udrnot's warriors. Those Krogan who become their clan’s shaman surrender their name completely and are only addressed as Clan-name Shaman.
  • Metal Gear Solid: With Metal Gear REX in Liquid Snake's possession, Liquid intends to fulfill Big Boss's dream of a world which had a place for soldiers. Thus renaming Shadow Moses to Outer Heaven.
    "From today... call this place... 'Outer Heaven'."
  • Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain: Big Boss, after finally embracing the name "Big Boss" in the previous game, once again drops it and dubs himself Punished (Venom) Snake after losing his Mother base and MSF troops, as well as his left arm, to XOF and Cipher. However it turns out that Venom was actually one of the real Big Boss' most trusted soldiers who was surgically altered to look like him. By the time that Venom learns this, his deeds have enhanced the legend of "Big Boss" and eventually agrees to serve as his "phantom", turning the legacy of Big Boss as the world's greatest soldier into a secret legacy shared by two men. Venom would keep up his appearance of Big Boss until Solid Snake killed him in the original Outer Heaven, whereupon the original took the name back for the sequel.
  • In Blaze Union, it's explained that both Gulcasa and Emilia were forced to use fake names by Gulcasa's mother in order to masquerade as humans. Over the canon route of the game, both of them discard those names as a way to cast off their weaknesses and be true to the way they were born. In Gulcasa's case, it's a powerful statement of will, and also his real name has a much harsher sound than his former name "Garlot"; Emilia's name means "to excel" whereas her fake name meant "beloved", which fits her drive to stop being looked at as the Tagalong Kid instead of someone actually capable of making a difference.
  • Fable II's example can be summed up in three words: Call me Hammer.
  • At the end of Jak 3: Wastelander, Jak asks the Precursors to call him by his real name, Mar, when they offer him to come with them. It doesn't stick, and come Jak X: Combat Racing he's (obviously) back to his old name.
  • Bravely Default has a meta example. The title screen features the full name: Bravely Default: Where the Fairy Flies or Bravely Default: Flying Fairy. After Airy is revealed to be the Big Bad, the title screen changes slightly: some letters are removed, spelling "Airy lies" or "Lying Airy" instead. Could double as an Interface Spoiler if another player stumbles upon it by accident.
  • Final Fantasy XIII: Lightning, original name Claire Farron (Eclair in the Japanese release), chose her new alias after the premature deaths of her parents, and the heavy responsibilities (getting a job, maintaining a household, raising her 12-year-old sister) that came with them. It's also indicative of her emotional detachment, which began as a way of being strong for Serah, but has since wrecked their relationship. Probing a bit deeper reveals that "Lightning" was originally her Guardian Corps callsign, but her detachment meant that "Claire" soon became who she used to be, to the point that even her sister Serah calls her by Lightning.
  • In Touhou, Sakuya Izayoi was given that name when she entered Remilia Scarlet's service, and her original name has not been mentioned. Sakuya can mean "Flowering Night", "Last Night", and "Night of the New Moon". Izayoi can mean "Sixteenth Night" and "Not progress forward at all". All of these relate to her Time Master abilities.
    • This is the case with Yukari Yakumo as well. The kanji in her given name simply means "purple", however the reading means "edge" or "boundary". Her family name on the other hand hints at the connection to her human doppelganger in the outside world, Maribel Hearn. Both are named for a late 19th-early 20th century author named Lafcadio Hearn, who changed his name to Koizumi Yakumo after becoming a Japanese citizen.
  • Tales of Destiny: Leon Magnus, twice. His original name was Emilio Gilchrist/ Katrea, but he changed it due to hating his father and wanting to distance himself from him. His second rename, Judas, is given to him after he's brought back from the dead. It also counts as Faux Symbolism, as he betrayed his original friends before his death.
  • In The Third Age total conversion mod for Medieval II: Total War, based on The Lord of the Rings, when Gondor captures Minas Morgul, the name changes to Minas Ithil (its original name).
  • A meta example with Final Fantasy XV. At E3 2013, the trailer for the long in Development Hell Final Fantasy Versus XII ended with this line:
    The legend meets its match. But, the world is ever changing... For the fifteenth coming.
  • Dragon Nest: Rose renames herself as Rosalinde after she did a Face–Heel Turn and becomes a member of the Dragon Cultists.
  • Mangle from Five Nights at Freddy's 2 was originally known as "Toy Foxy." However, after being dismantled by toddlers over and over, the company decided to just leave them as a 'build-it-yourself' attraction. The result of this decision is how Mangle earned their name. And it shows.
    • "Five Nights at Freddy's 3" introduces us to Springtrap. A hazardous mechanical mascot costume hybrid formerly known as "Spring Bonnie." His lethally faulty springlocks are what led to him being decommissioned and renamed, as he was clearly deemed a trap by the staff.
  • In The House in Fata Morgana, Michelle renames themselves Michel to signify that they're actually male.
  • In Dark Souls, Gwyn the Lord of Sunlight becomes Gwyn Lord of the Cinder after sacrificing the Lord Soul that granted him his powers over light and becoming kindling for the First Flame. The name change highlights How the Mighty Have Fallen. In Dark Souls III, Aldrich is introduced as the Saint of the Deep. When he is fought as a boss proper, he has taken on a new title Aldrich the Devourer of Gods — fitting since he has devoured Gwyndolin and is using him as a "face". The same game also has Alva the Wayfarer, a character known only in lore in Dark Souls II, show up as an invader named Alva Seeker of the Spurned. This is because he lost his beloved witch Zullie and has been seeking her by invading other worlds.
  • In The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, Ganon, the Big Bad of the whole Zelda series, is almost consistently referred to as "Calamity Ganon." Not "the calamity, Ganon," but "Calamity Ganon" as a whole proper noun. Previous incarnations of Ganon(dorf) were given fancy extra titles such as "Prince of Darkness," "Great King of Evil," and "Dark Lord," but this incarnation of Ganon is considered to be such a destructive entity that "Calamity" has come to be considered part of its proper name.
  • In Fallout 4, the raider gang known as the Forged operate out of an iron foundry and have a fondness for flame-based weapons. Their leader Slag even forces all initiated members to change their names to something associated with fire, heat or burning. When someone refused, Slag threw him into the iron furnace.
  • Nathan Drake, the protagonist of Uncharted, was born Nathan Morgan. He and his brother were forced to go on the run as teens and took the surname Drake to honor their mother (a historian) who believed that Sir Francis Drake had heirs.
  • In Persona 3, the group of shadow-hunters the protagonist works with are known as the Specialized Extra-curicular Execution Squad (S.E.E.S.). Near the end of the game, after they decide to face the supposedly unbeatable entity Nyx, who will bring about The End of the World as We Know It, against the advice of Ryoji, who will unwillingly bring forth Nyx, the Fool social link (which represents the bond with your party members) is maxed out, and the Judgement social link is initiated, re-christening the group as the Nyx Annihilation Team.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics has a case of this, though only if the player checks the Chronicle option repeatedly as the game progresses. Ramza starts the game with his regular name of Ramza Beoulve, but after Chapter 1, he changes his name to his mother's surname, Ruglia, to distance himself from his family after everything that happened in the first chapter and his disgust with his brothers. Later, he returns to his name of Beoulve when he stops hiding from the past and follows his own path. Interestingly, both cases of this come with a Significant Wardrobe Shift.
  • SEGA of Australia initially was tasked with creating the SEGA Reborn series, a group of reboots that would be connected through a hub world. While SEGA of Australia shuttered and the project was shelved, one of the games, Golden Axe Reborn, had their prototype released for SEGA's 60th anniversary under the name Golden Axed.
  • Destiny has a few, most of which are hidden in the lore:
    • Most of the original Awoken underwent something like this when they were reborn in the Distributary. For example, the human Uldwyn Sov became the Awoken Uldren Sov.
    • Most Guardians undergo this, though they may not be aware of it, as they are resurrected with no memory of their past. Unless the Guardian finds some evidence to point to their previous name, most take a new one.
    • All three of the Hive's rulership did something similar when they made their pact with the Worm Gods. The clever Sathona became Savathûn, the martial Xi Ro became Xivu Arath, and the curious Aurash became Auryx. Auryx would undergo a second one when he learned the power to Take, becoming Oryx.
    • One of the first Risen to be called a "Guardian" was called Rezyl Azzir, but towards the end, he took another name. After an encounter Xyor, the Unwed, Azzir became a monster that slaughtered villages and permanently killed other Guardians, and took the name Dredgen Yor, which meant "Eternal Abyss" in a forgotten language.
      "Same meat, same bone, but so very different."
    • The lore reveals that the Emissary of the Nine has undergone several of these. She was born as the human Nasya Sarwar, and when reborn as an Awoken in the Distributary she became Nasan Ar. After returning to the solar system and heading to Earth, she died and was resurrected as a Guardian, taking the name Orin. Finally, she sought out the Nine and was turned into their Emissary, surrendering her old identity and self completely.
  • In Overwatch, it was revealed that the character Jesse McCree actually had the birthname Cole Cassidy, but took an alias when he became an outlaw. After officially rejoining Overwatch, he decided that the first step of letting go of his criminal past would be to take back his original name. Real-life reason 
  • Bioshock Infinite: it eventually comes out that the Big Bad, Zachary Comstock, was not born with that name. He took that name after being baptized and "reborn" as a new man. His birth name was Booker DeWitt, and he is an Alternate Timeline version of the Booker the player is playing as.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, after moving back to her hometown, Ryuuguu Reina changed her name to "Rena". She did this because she believed that renaming herself would do away with the memories of her parents' divorce, which she believed was her fault.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc has Celestia "Celeste" Ludenberg. Since everyone is most likely Asian (except Sonia Nevermind from the second game and Angie Yonaga from the third), it's strange for her to have that name. And it is. Her real name is Taeko Yasuhiro. It is revealed that Celeste chose this name for herself because she wanted to appear as having a European heritage, along with her dream aesthetic of living in a castle with handsome servants dressed as vampires. This rename proved useful during the third class trial, when Hifumi got hit on the head with a hammer, causing him to remember his school memories that were taken from him, including Celeste telling him her real name. He woke up one last time when Aoi held up his head and cried on him, and when asked who killed him, he said "Yasuhiro." At first it sounded like an attempt to pin the crime on Yasuhiro Hagakure once more, but during the trial, it is noted that (in the English game translation) Hifumi always refers to people by their surnames and that Celeste never told them her real name, so he could be referring to her. At the end of the trial when Celeste is found guilty, she admits her real name, proving that.
  • Psycholonials: In chapter 9, Z. starts going by her given name, Zhen. This symbolizes her embracing her Chinese heritage (she started going by Z because people couldn't pronounce Zhen) and reconciling with her immigrant parents, as well as her casting away her clownsona and identity as the leader of the Jubilities.

  • The Order of the Stick prequel "Start of Darkness", the Big Bad Xykon renames himself because he wants a badass name with Xtreme Kool Letterz. We don't learn how he was named before.
    • In the same book, Redcloak and Right-Eye take those names after seeing Xykon kill someone for having a name he couldn't remember. They continue calling each other "Older/Younger Brother," however...until Redcloak kills Right-Eye, and Right-Eye uses his new name to represent Redcloak choosing Xykon over him.
    • Malack tells how he has changed his name since becoming a vampire.
  • Girl Genius: When they took Agatha into hiding, Punch and Judy renamed themselves Adam and Lilith Clay and masqueraded as her parents. While Eve was created to serve Adam in the Bible, Lilith intended herself as Adam's equal.
  • In Gored By Them Things, Captain Rum of Teal Polka Dots becomes Captain Rum the Aquamarine. For no reason other than causing a giant penguin to get sucked into a giant vacuum cleaner. (It's that kind of world.)
  • In the backstory of Gunnerkrigg Court, Renard changed his name to Reynardine when he left Gillitie wood. Both names have folkloric significance: Renard is an alternate spelling of Reynard, the trickster-fox from the medieval beast fables. Reynardine is the name of a human (or a were-fox, in some later versions) highwayman from a folk song who seduces unwary maidens. It's eventually revealed that Surma was the first person to call him Reynardine—it was his infatuation with Surma that prompted Rey's name change.
  • Wapsi Square: Monica proposes one: to Pawn One and Pawn Two
  • WV, PM, AR, WQ, and WK get these numerous times in Homestuck, crossed with I Have Many Names.
    • WV- Wayward Vagabond, Warweary Villein, Wastelandic Vindicator, Wizardly Vassal
    • PM- Peregrine Mendicant, Parcel Mistress, Prospitian Monarch
    • AR- Aimless Renegade, Authority Regulator, Armaments Regent
    • WQ- Windswept Questant, White Queen
    • WK- Writ Keeper, White King
    • This turns out to be standard procedure among Propitians and Dersites:
      • Jack Noir - Scurrilous Straggler and Spades Slick in the Troll Universe, Sovereign Slayer and Bec Noir in the Human Universe. Also an Odd Name Out, since he doesn't keep his initials.
      • CD - Courtyard Droll, Clubs Deuce.
      • DD - Draconian Dignitary, Diamonds Droog
      • HB - Hegemonic Brute, Hearts Boxcars
      • And Snowman was formerly Black Queen and Banished Quasiroyal.
    • On Alpha Earth, Jade changed her last name to English after the man she knew her abusive adoptive mother hated and feared the most.
    • Oddly enough, Lord English changed his name to that from Caliborn after he suffered his first-ever defeat at the hands of Jake English, Jade's post-Scratch son. Weird Plot Shit applies.
  • In Endstone, a rocker is known by the overstone he rocks. Kyri is also known as Endstone. Rousing Lightstone caused the present-day storyline.
  • In No Rest for the Wicked, Red feigns to believe that November is asking for this when she asks Red to give her her name. She is Not Good with People.
  • In Life (2012), Natalie renamed herself Felicia because "Felicia" means "happiness", and she wanted to be happy.
  • On the last page of Chapter 13 of The Dragon Doctors, Tanica renounces the time she spent as an assassin by giving up her 'working name' and going back to her real name, Elka.
  • In Tower of God, after Bam gets betrayed and nearly killed by Rachel, he changes his name to Jue Viole Grace. Now being more sinister, broodier, and possibly quite depressed, it is rather ironic since 'bam' is the Korean word for 'night'.
    • Then again, the color violet, being a colour of strong emotion and strong reason, as well as one of great purpose, fits him now as well.
  • In Penny Blackfeather, Penelope Blake takes her pirate grandfather's name and becomes Penny Blackfeather when she decides to become an adventurer.
  • Escape from Terra: at her self-determined adulthood party, the younger Babbette announces that she's sick of being referred to as "Little Babbette" and changes her name to Liberty, or Libby for short.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Immortals often rename themselves after a reset to distance themselves from their previous incarnation. The name they choose reflects their basic nature or just something they consider an Awesome McCoolname which leads to a significant number of Immortals named Zeus running around.
  • Dr. Frost chose the nickname of Dr. Frost for himself. His real name is Nambong Baek.

    Web Original 
  • Spoofed in Survival of the Fittest v4 with Meredith Hemmings, who, after identifying herself as a "goth" (she isn't; she's just a poser who is acting out what she thinks goths act like) renames herself "Pandora Black" and repeatedly insists that it's her soul name whenever anyone questions it. Jake Crimson also renamed himself from "Gomez", apparently after his parents' divorce (that, and Rule of Cool). Remy Kim is another character who has gone through this, originally having the last name "Trembley" before his parents separated and having it changed to his mother's maiden name sometime after. This serves to symbolize just how different he is from his sister, Josée Trembley.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Epsilon is based on the memories of the Alpha AI. Until he is activated and becomes a major member of the cast, he's solely referred to as Epsilon... but after, he almost immediately assumes the name Church, just like Alpha did. He knows something's off when, after he's rescued from the capture unit, everyone calls him "Epsilon" again. Turns out they've been calling Agent Washington "Church"... his armor color confuses Caboose.
    • In Sarge's backstory, we learn Sarge had his name changed because he wanted to be a sergeant, and this was a step up from the phrase "dress for the job you want".
  • At least two members of Achievement Hunter have gotten gamer name changes over the years. Michael Jones spent a good deal of his time on the team as "MLPMichael" before being able to get the more useful "MJones". In a more meaningful variation, Jeremy Dooley used to go by the nonsensical name "Jerem6401", but when he was promoted to be part of the main team, he changed his name to "JDoolz"
  • Dreamscape: Vampire Lord's flashback in 'Confronting the Dark' reveals that he used to be a knight named Vampire Knight, but was given the title of 'Lord' after he saved his people from a Fog of Doom.7
  • RWBY: When Cinder introduces herself, Raven immediately pegs Cinder Fall's surname as something she chose herself because she's the Fall Maiden. Upon suggesting this is a sign that Cinder is egomaniacal, Watts concedes that Raven is spot on.
  • The review blog Full House Reviewed initially refers to Becky as Rebecca Donaldson constantly, but upon her marriage to Jesse in the fourth season, the blog starts calling her Becky instead to solidify her apparent shift in characterization.
  • In Jake and Amir, Thomas Middleditch plays the recurring character of "Anthony Dooblinay," Amir's bizarre rival. Amir derisively calls Anthony "Doobs," which infuriates him. This becomes a Running Gag wherein Anthony repeatedly comes up with increasingly long names full of offensive words and slang terms for genitals...but never thinks to remove "Dooblinay" from them. Amir, in turn, never thinks to address Doobs by anything other than Doobs, despite having plenty of harmful names to choose from.
  • Played with in a Homestar Runner short. Strong Bad tells Homestar and Strong Sad that he renamed himself to "The Lege" (as in legendary), but Homestar being Homestar, he doesn’t get the reference. Strong Bad eventually just gives up on his attempted rename.
  • StacheBros: In "Koopa and the Three Tasks", after Koopa (aka Handsome Shy Turtle) becomes uglier and loses his ability to tap dance from years of working for Bowser (aka Ugly Monster), he deems himself so much of a loser that he changes his name to "Eh".

    Western Animation 
  • Arcane: Given that Jinx of League of Legends is introduced in the show as Tag Along Kid Powder, it's a Foregone Conclusion that something dramatic has to happen to cause her to change her name. Her older adopted brother Mylo calls her a jinx for her bad luck initially, which she resents. It takes Powder accidentally killing most of her adopted family for her sister Vi to condemn her as a jinx as well. Powder being seemingly abandoned by Vi and then her subsequent adoption by Silco causes her to adopt Jinx as her new name, accepting her destructive tendencies.
  • Happens a LOT in the various incarnations of Transformers, due to upgrades, new altmodes, new continuities...
    • Probably the most famous is Hot Rod becoming Rodimus Prime in the movie upon opening the Matrix of Leadership.
    • Megatron becoming Galvatron. In the first instance (The Transformers: The Movie) it's up for debate as to whether he's even the same person as Megatron.
    • In that vein, many recolored versions of the same toy are marketed as upgraded versions even if they never appeared in the show, occasionally with five-sentence backstories explaining why they're a different color.
    • The original cast of Beast Wars was implied to have taken their known names around the time they got stranded on the planet. Most of the names are references to their new beast modes, but the captains - "Optimus Primal" and "Megatron" - instead take names after the Generation One leaders. (Or, alternately, Megatron takes his from Cybertronian scripture, suggesting the G1 Decepticon did the same.)
      • Rampage was known as "Protoform X" until he was Made a Slave by Megatron, who renamed him. He would later admit that the new name suited him.
    • Orion Pax becoming Optimus Prime, though he generally has this change made for him, rather than being the one who decides to make it.
      • The Aligned continuity puts a spin on this, in which it's revealed in the Covenant of Primus that Optimus Prime is the real name of "Thirteen," the last of the thirteen original Primes created by Primus. After the Fall of the Primes, he willingly entered the Well of Allsparks so that he may be reborn as an ordinary Cybertronian in order to better understand the needs of the next generation. It then reveals that he was reincarnated into Orion Pax. When the humble data clerk Orion Pax accepted the Matrix of Leadership, he regained his memories as one of the thirteen original Primes, and retook his name as Optimus Prime.
    • When Optimus Prime rescues and rebuilds several Autobots after his own resurrection, Bumblebee checks out his updated form and comments that he's "like a new gold bug." Optimus decides that Goldbug will be his new designation to go with the new body.
  • Skips from Regular Show always skips rather than walking. It turns out his real name is not Skips, but Walks. He changed it because he got tired of everybody asking him why he skipped everywhere instead of walking. Or, at least, that's what he says at first. A later episode shows the real reason: It was the name he chose when he was reborn as an immortal as his way of memorializing the woman he loved, who he always skipped with.
  • In an episode of South Park, after acquiring the last Plot Coupon in her quest, Barbra Streisand announces her transformation into a Humongous Mecha by saying (in Japanese) "From now on, my name is... Mecha Streisand!"
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: At the very end of "Jellyfish Hunter", the blue jellyfish referred to as "Ol' No-Name" by SpongeBob lets itself get caught, allowing SpongeBob to rename it "Friend".
  • Nobody Smurf in The Smurfs gets one in the form of Somebody when he rescues his fellow Smurfs from the evil prankishness of Mystico the goblin.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Nightmare Moon fits this fairly well, as Princess Luna was known by this name after becoming a Fallen Angel. Assuming they're actually the same individual; one of the tie-in comics portrayed it as full-on Demonic Possession, although their canon status is uncertain.
    • According to "The Perfect Pear", the Apple siblings' mother used to be called Pear Butter but changed it to Buttercup (the Affectionate Nickname given to her by Bright Macintosh when they first met) after marrying into the Apple family. Also, Chiffon Swirl changed her name to Cup Cake when she married Carrot Cake.
    • It's quite common when turning evil, with Fizzlepop Berrytwist calling herself Tempest Shadow, and Twilight Sparkle calling her evil alter-ego "Midnight Sparkle" in the Equestria Girls spinoff.
    • In one shared nightmare between Princesses Celestia and Luna, Celestia has renamed her fallen self "Daybreaker".
  • Garfield and Friends: A Show Within a Show featured a host named Fred Gazorninplat. Garfield told Odie the host changed his name to take the job and previously went by the name Sam Gazorninplat.
  • The Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003) series has the Battle Nexus' Daimyo's son, who gives himself the title of "The Ultimate Ninja" after he (wrongly) believes he's defeated Leonardo in mortal combat. However, since he like all the Battle Nexus natives has no actual name, this is less a case of someone renaming themselves than it is a case of naming themselves period.
  • The Simpsons: Homer tried to do this when he changed his name to Max Power for one episode. (He also tried to get Marge to change her name, giving her the options Chesty La Rue, Busty St. Clair, or Hootie Mcboob).
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender has a Genius Bonus in how all of the writing is actual Chinese writing and can be translated. In season one, Zuko's name was written with the characters for "resurrect rule" or "revived law". When he became a fugitive in season two, his name on the wanted posters was written with the characters for "ancestor robber", which is meant to be insulting. In season three, when Zuko is once again seen as good by the Fire Nation, his name is written more flatteringly again.
  • My Life as a Teenage Robot: XJ9 renamed herself Jenny in her desire to be accepted as a teenager instead of being treated as a machine. Nora sticks to calling her XJ9 but will call her Jenny during a heartfelt moment.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man sees Fancy Dan take up the name "Ricochet" after gaining Powered Armor. Ox decides to still keep the same codename and Shocker is still called by his nickname "Montana" out of costume.
  • Baby Looney Tunes: Once when Daffy made fun of his name, Bugs started to go by the name Bruce.
  • In Peter and the Magic Egg, Tobias Toot renames himself Tinwhiskers after he turns himself into a machine.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power:
    • "In the Shadows of Mystacor" reveals that in the past, Shadow Weaver used to be called Light Spinner. She changed her name when she made a Face–Heel Turn and joined the Horde.
    • In "Destiny, Part 2", viewers learn that Hordak initially did not have a name, being a mass-produced clone soldier in Horde Prime's army, and that "Hordak" was what he named himself after coming to Etheria. Horde Prime expresses disgust when he points out that Hordak had given himself a name.
  • Tangled: The Series puts quite a lot of emphasis on character's chosen names, and what it means to them to be referred to as such.
    • Eugene insists on being called Eugene, and any other character refusing to abide by this in lieu of his old name, Flynn Rider, is normally a sign that they're not an ally or otherwise trustworthy person. When a character stops referring to him as Flynn Rider and begins calling him Eugene, this usually signifies a completed Heel–Face Turn from an enemy into an ally.
      • Season 3 episode "Return of the King" reveals that Eugene's real birth name is actually Horace. Like as with other characters, Edmund's insistence on calling Eugene by this name illustrates the tension between them and Edmund's unwillingness to accept Eugene for who he is. By the end of the episode, Edmund has come around and started using his son's preferred name, pointing to a huge positive development in their relationship.
    • Similarly to Eugene, Lance identifies with his chosen name and gets upset when referred to by his birth name, Arnwaldo Schnitz.
    • The two thief sisters befriended by the main cast refuse for the first two seasons to tell anyone their real names and are instead referred to as "Angry" and "Red," the nicknames given to them by Eugene and Lance, for the duration of this time. In Season 3, when "Red" is struggling with constantly feeling overshadowed by Angry and tired of not being listened to, she refuses to go through with the ritual to cure her lycanthropy and breaks down, yelling that she never even liked the nickname "Red" and just went along with it because that's what everybody else wanted to call her. She transforms into her monstrous wolf form and runs off into the forest in a rampage. The only thing that is able to calm her down is her sister apologizing for not recognizing her emotional needs and finally opening up to the rest of the cast (and the audience) by calling her by her real name.
    "Angry": Catalina, are you there? It's me, Kiera.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2002): Keldor's face was melted off by acid. Hordak saved his life at the cost of his head now being a skull floating above his shoulders. Hordak then declared his new name is Skeletor and he accepted it.
  • Masters of the Universe: Revelation: Evil-Lyn reveals that her birth name is just "Lyn", but she changed it when she joined Skeletor and became a villain.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: In Season 2, it's revealed that Gumball is just the main character's nickname, and in Season 3, he discovers his real name is Zach, he quickly becomes an arrogant totally radical jerk, but then it's revealed that Zach is his alternate personality who is taking over, who is also changing his memories to turn Gumball's past failures into victories, Gumball has a fight against Zach in his mind, Gumball wins and erases his evil personality, and the episode ends with him legally changing his name into Gumball.
  • Kim Possible: Played for Laughs when Gil is mutated into a Fish Person and declares that his name is now "Gill" with two "L"s.
  • In Central Park, Season 1 "A Fish Called Snakehead", when Bitsy meets Mayor Whitebottom's likability consultant, Ashley, she reveals her previous name was Debra but changed it because, according to her, nobody likes a Debra.
    Helen: My mother's name was Debra.
    Ashley: And?
    Helen: Hmm.

  • This can happen when an extremely loose adaptation of a work tries to avert In Name Only by not even keeping the name.
    • Disney's adaptation of The Snow Queen was Frozen (2013), which is appropriate since the final draft of the story was not only so different from the original story as to be nearly unrecognizable, but also no longer even had a character called The Snow Queen (her name was now Elsa, and plans to have her adopt the title of Snow Queen in a straight in-universe example of Meaningful Rename ended up getting scrapped before the script reached its final version).

    Real Life 
  • In some societies (the Cherokee, for instance), a person is given a name when they're born, then receives a new name upon being recognized as an adult. Often the new name reflects some aspect of their personality or social role. In pre-modern/non-Western societies with very high infant and child mortality, this custom may have originated because many babies would not live to become functioning members of society.
  • In ancient China, men adopted style names upon reaching adulthood, and emperors were referred to by their ruling era, with a new name granted posthumously. Indeed, it was socially taboo for somebody to call somebody else of the same generation by their birth name.
  • In pre-Meiji Japan, it was common to give a baby a short, easy-to-remember, and auspicious name that would be used throughout childhood and then to create a full-length adult name when the person came of age. Childhood names were customarily written with a single kanji while adult names used two or more. It was common for an older family member or a social superior to honor the person coming of age by "gifting" them a kanji from their own adult name to incorporate. A person might be renamed more than once in their lifetime, in honor of major events like inheriting a title or taking Buddhist monastic vows. The custom began among the nobility and the warrior classes (the first to adopt true surnames in place of patronymics or epithets) and eventually spread to the merchant and peasant classes as well.
  • During the Japanese colonial periods in Taiwan and Korea, Taiwanese and Koreans were 'advised' to change their names from the original Chinese and Korean style to Japanese, which many proceeded to do, in part to avoid potential discrimination against those with native names.
  • People who convert to a new religion sometimes change names to reflect their new faith. This seems to be particularly prevalent with Western converts to Islam. Famous examples include boxing legend Muhammad Ali (formerly Cassius Clay), American football player/sportscaster Ahmad Rashād (Robert Moore), basketball players Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lew Alcindor) and Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf (Chris Jackson), singer/songwriter Yusuf Islam (Cat Stevens), or in an earlier century, General Abdallah Menou (Jacques Menou de Boussay). Nation of Islam members often replace their surname with an X as a rejection of their "slave name" before taking on an Arabic name (most notably Malcolm X, who was born Malcolm Little). Islam does not require thisnote  and the choice is supposed to be voluntary (although some were duped or misled into believing otherwise): Dave Chappelle has been a Muslim since 1998, but did not change his name and while Sinéad O'Connor has changed her name to Shuhada Sadaqat after converting to Islam in 2018, she still uses her birth name as her stage name.
  • Jewish converts to other religions: 19th-century German theologian Johann August Wilhelm Neander (Greek for "new man") used to be David Mendel before he was baptized. German poet Heinrich Heine used to be Harry Heine before he converted to Christianity. Some Jewish converts retain the meaning of their name, but translate it to other language. Baruch Spinoza became Benedictus Spinoza after baptism. Both names mean "blessed" - Baruch in Hebrew and Benedictus in Latin.
  • It's customary for Jewish children to get a ceremonial Hebrew name at birth, in addition to their common name. Thus, people who convert to Judaism as adults must give themselves a Hebrew name, though it's not so much Meaningful Rename as Meaningful Additional Name, or perhaps True Rename.
  • Subud, a "spiritual movement" that started in Indonesia in the 1920s and gained a following in America in The '60s, advises its members to change their first names if they feel it doesn't reflect their inner self. This was really just a carryover from Indonesian culture, where people will sometimes change their name following an illness or misfortune, to signify a new beginning. Notable Subud members who did this were Byrds leader Roger McGuinn (formerly Jim McGuinn), comedian/writer/singer/voice actor Lorenzo Music (originally Jerry Music) and actor/musician Hamilton Camp (previously Bob Camp).
  • Western and Central European princesses who married into the House of Romanov had to become members of the Russian Orthodox Church and that usually entailed changing their name, partly because of the limited number of given names officially recognized by the Orthodox Church. However, princess Sophie of Anhalt-Zerbst did not choose the existing Russian form of her name (Sofya) when she married the heir to the Russian throne, but instead became Katherine (Yekaterina), later Empres Catherine II (the Great).
  • French Marshal Jean-Baptiste Jules Bernadotte, Prince of Ponte Corvo, was elected heir to the throne by the Swedish Estates. He had to join the established Lutheran church, and in the process changed his name to the more Swedish Karl Johan, later king Karl (Charles) XIV. "Johan" is Swedish variant of French "Jean".
  • Popes take a new name upon being elected pope. This custom started with Pope John II in 533, who, prior to becoming pope, was named Mercurius. He felt it inappropriate for a Pope to be named after a Roman god. Catholic nuns frequently take a new name upon taking their final vows. Less significantly for the purposes of this trope, Catholic teens take a saint's name upon receiving the sacrament of Confirmation, although these days their Confirmation name may often in fact be the same as their birth name (if they happened to be named after a saint); even if it is not, they tend to continue to be addressed by their birth name in practice, so this last one isn't nearly as good an example of this trope.
  • Other real-life examples for monarchs (as well as more fictional examples) can be found in the Regnal Name article on The Other Wiki.
  • In European nobility the title(s) held within a certain family can take precedence over the family name, including when the holder(s) sign papers, etc. This works to such an extent that sometimes the original name is widely forgotten (for instance, outside of Britain not too many people recall that the Duke of Marlborough's family name is Churchill). The change from one name to another can indicate an individual's position within the family hierarchy. To use a fictional example to illustrate this real-world phenomenon, in P. G. Wodehouse's Blandings novels, there is the Threepwood family headed by Clarence, Ninth Early of Emsworth, who is colloquially referred to as Lord Emsworth and would sign letters "Emsworth". His elder son, his prospective heir, is Lord Bosham, holder of a minor Threepwood title that presumably was born by his father while the Eight Earl of Emsworth was still alive.
    • A real-world example from France: In the house of Bourbon-Condé, a side-branch of the royal house of France, the head of the family was the Prince of Condé (referred to as simply "Monsieur le Prince" at the royal court) and his prospective heir was the Duke of Enghien.
    • Also the Cavendish family of England—the head of the family is the Duke of Devonshire, and his eldest son is (traditionally) the Marquis of Hartington (though for some reason he may also style himself 'Lord Cavendish'.)
    • When Napoléon Bonaparte became Emperor, he made his brothers and his brother-in-law Joachim Murat take Napoleon as a second name when he made them monarchs of other countries, clearly a reminder of just who put them on their thrones. When he also started to award titles of Duke and Prince to various marshals, generals, and ministers, he also was very punctilious to use these new titles instead of the family names. It was very noticeable that except in cases where it could not be avoided (e. g. Marshal Kellerman, Duke of Valmy, who was too old to have served under Napoleon) he generally gave the generals titles referring to battles in which they had served under his command rather than independently. Thus Marshal Masséna was made Duke of Rivoli and later Prince of Essling rather than e. g. Duke of Zurich (a very important battle Masséna won in 1799 before Napoleon's coup d'état).
  • Lots of Communist revolutionaries did this.
    • Josef Stalin was born as "Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili", later Russified the name to "Iosif Vissarionovich Dzhugashvili", took the secret name "Koba" during the Bolshevik Revolution, and then changed to "Stalin" ("Man of Steel") to symbolize his power, his distancing himself from his Georgian heritage, and his new Soviet identity. The notable part is that, apparently, "Stalin" is grammatically incorrect since noun formation doesn't work like that in Russian—but would you say so to Stalin? (He'd probably say, "Well, now it does!")
    • Vladimir Ilyich Lenin was born Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, though it doesn't appear to be a symbolic change (it was just one of several pen names he used to dodge the Okhrana). Indeed, when the Soviets went around went around renaming cities after Bolshevik leaders, they freely renamed Simbirsk (Lenin's hometown) "Ulyanovsk"—a name it retains even after the fall of the Soviet Union.
    • Lev Bronstein changed his name to Leon Trotsky (conveniently hiding his Jewish identity) when escaping from Siberia for the first time. The name, incidentally, was a joke—at the time it would heave been seen as a typical "backwards provincial Ukrainian" name, and Trotsky (by his own telling) took it from a guard at a prison he had been held at in Odessa.
    • Yugoslavia's Tito, formerly Josip Broz.
    • Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh (meaning "he who brings the light", who used 2 or 3 other meaningful names, including Nguyen Ai Quoc, or Nguyen the Patriot),
    • China's Sun Yat-sen, born Sūn Démíng, used several other names during his life.
  • Various Palestinian leaders, many of whom liked using the kunya, or Arab inverse Patronymic, i.e. calling yourself "Abu [name of eldest son]" (where "Abu" means "father of"). Often the son was fake, adding an extra level of confusion (e.g. Yasser Arafat went by "Abu Ammar", but had no son by that name); other times, the name was real (e.g. Mahmoud Abbas, a.k.a. Abu Mazen, whose eldest son really was named Mazen).
  • Some people who changed their identity to escape from Nazi persecution and/or fight in the Resistance retained their new names afterwards:
    • French general Jacques-Philippe Leclerc was born Philippe Francois Marie, comte de Hauteclocque.
    • Social Democratic (West) German federal chancellor Willy Brandt was born Herbert Frahm.
  • The brothers Darius Paul Bloch and Marcel Bloch (both from a Jewish family, though Marcel at least converted to Catholicism) were both members of the French Resistance. (Marcel was actually sent to the concentration camps in 1944 for being an ethnic Jew and also for refusing to cooperate with the occupation.) Darius was an armor general and gave himself the Resistence nom de guerre "Chardasso", from the French "char d'assault" for "tank"; his brother, an aerospace engineer, adopted "Dassault" based on this. After the war, they both formally changed their surname to "Dassault", giving rise to France's premier military aviation company.
  • In a somewhat humorous example, NFL player Chad Johnson changed his name to Chad Ochocinco in the mistaken belief it was the Spanish word for his jersey number, eighty-five. In fact it translates as eightfive. Ochenta y cinco is eighty-five in Spanish. (He would later change his name back to Johnson.)
  • Honduran player Carlos Pavón Plummer changed the order of his last names when he finally decided he would recognize his father at age 36. I wonder how commentators will feel about calling him by a different last name now that he is more or less ending his career (though he could further cement his legend status by scoring in the World Cup).
  • Christopher McCandless renamed himself Alexander Supertramp after he graduated from college, gave away all his money, and decided to wander the country, as documented in the book and film Into the Wild.
  • Several cities have more than one name reflecting each time they have been conquered. Sometimes it might be advisable to be careful which name you use, as that reflects who the "legitimate" owner is and the locals might be touchy.
    • Sankt-Peterburg was renamed Petrograd during World War I to become less "German" and more "Russian",
    • Leningrad to honour the father of the Soviet Union, and then after the fall of communism, it became Sankt-Peterburg again.
    • After the so-called battle of Hastings, the place where it actually had happened (Senlac) became Battle, after the battle of Minden (1759) the nearby village of Tonhausen ("clay-houses") was renamed Totenhausen ("dead men's houses"), and Eschenbach, home of the medieval poet Wolfram of Eschenbach, is now called Wolframs Eschenbach.
    • A well-known American example is the city of New York, formerly Nieuw Amsterdam.
    • The Northern Irish city formerly known as Londonderry. It was originally called Derry (Gaelic: Doire), but was officially renamed during the 17th century, although until the 1960s both names were generally used interchangeably. Since then Unionists (Protestants) typically prefer to call it by its original name, and that name is still used on most maps. Nationalists (Catholics) disapprove of the use of the word 'London' in the name, and insist on calling it 'Derry'. Because of the still politically charged nature of the area, and lingering memories of the troubles, one must be careful of what name is used. Local radio announcers have resolved the issue by calling the city London/Derry, pronounced "London-Stroke-Derry", or "Stroke City".
    • The city of Byzantium was renamed to "Nova Roma" (New Rome), but was widely known as Contantinopolis (Modern, Constantinople, the City of Constantine). Currently, it is known as "Istanbul", the Turkish form of a Greek phrase (''eis ten polin", to "The City") that was used during the Byzantine era. However, during the Ottoman period, it was known as "Konstantiniyye" (the Turkish form of "Constantine"), even in official texts.
  • During the French Revolution a number of place-names were changed because they included references to royalty or specific kings, running from streets and places (e. g. the Place de la Concorde, formerly Place Louis XV in Paris) to cities and islands (e. g. Réunion, formerly the Isle de Bourbon). Many of these renamings survive to this day. During the Reign of Terror, there were also renamings of cities, etc. that rebelled against the revolutions once these rebellions were suppressed. Thus Lyon became Commune affranchie ("liberated community"), Toulon Port-de-la-Montagne ("port of the mountain", a reference to the radical Montagnards in the national convention), Marseilles Ville-sans-nom ("city without a name") and the dapartment of the Vendée Vengée ("avenged") for a time.
  • Many noblemen who supported the French Revolution — or at least wanted to pretend they did — dropped the aristocratic-sounding "de" from their name or fused it with the rest, and abandoned their seigneurial names in a similar fashion: examples include Louis-Nicolas Davout (formerly d'Avout), Louis-Antoine Desaix (des Aix de Veygoux) and Etienne Bordesoulle (Etienne Tardif de Pommeroux de Bordesoulle). For most of them, the change stuck even after the Restoration.
  • In Nazi Germany hundreds of towns and villages, especially in East Prussia and Silesia, were renamed because their names were too obviously Slavic or Lithuanian in origin. In the case of northern East Prussia, which became part of the Russian Federation after World War II, all towns and villages then got all-new Russian names rather than reverting to the old Lithuanian and West Slavic names, partly to set off the Kaliningrad from neighboring Lithuania (then the Lithuanian SSR).
  • Lithuanian capital Vilnius went through several phases of this. While the historical capital of Lithuania, it was, by the beginning of the 20th century, a mostly Polish-speaking city with largely Jewish population surrounded by mostly Belarusian countryside. It was also known by several different names among various ethnicities. It officially became Vilnius, the Lithuanian version, once the Lithuanians took it over when Poland was defeated in 1939 by the Germans and the Soviets. In a peculiar concession to Lithuanian national sentiment, Soviets officially kept the name Vilnius even in Russian references after annexing Lithuania later that year, rather than Vilna as it was previously known to the Russians.
  • Renamings of streets etc. are one of the most common forms of meaningful renames, reflecting changing attitudes to historical figures and events. East Germany went through two big waves of this, first under the Nazis, then under Soviet occupation and during the GDR.
    • World War II-era renamings in Russia (and Russian controlled territories) became the basis of the following joke: A Russian Guide in Moscow says to a visiting British military officer in 1942: "This is Eden Hotel, formerly Ribbentrop Hotel", "We are on the Churchill street, formerly Hitler street", "The Beaverbrook railway station, formerly Goering railway station." The British officer: "Thank you, comrade, formerly bastard!"
    • A recent example from West Germany: In 2012 a referendum was held in Münster in Westphalia to rename the Hindenburgplatz in front of the university building (and former episcopal palace) to its pre-World War 1 name Schlossplatz ("palace square") in view of Hindenburg's crucial role in helping Hitler to power.
    • In the 1970s Glasgow City Council renamed a street 'Nelson Mandela Square' in honour of the ANC leader, then still in prison. It just happened to be the street where the South African Consulate is located...
    • After 1870, most Italian cities with a cathedral renamed the main street going to said church after September 20, the date the Italian troops occupied Rome and ended the Papal opposition to the unification. A rare exception is Rome itself, that instead renamed after the date the street starting at Porta Pia, the gate in the walls the Italians broke through.
  • Many early Zionists replaced their names with Hebrew names, to erase remnants of their life in exile and to show their commitment to a new Jewish nation. This turned into an official policy during the administration of Israel's first Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion (originally Grün), when all state officials were ordered to Hebraize their surnames. And while new olim (immigrants) to Israel today often retain their surnames, many if not most will change their given names to their Hebrew names (famous refusenik Anatoly Sharansky kept his surname but adopted the Hebrew name Natan upon emigrating to Israel).
  • Many immigrants to the United States changed their names either to blend in better in their new surroundings or to avoid majority prejudices against their particular ethnic group (or out of exasperation with Anglophones trying to pronounce it properly). There is a myth that many immigrants were assigned new, usually British-sounding names by immigration officials at Ellis Island, but this is untrue; at most, some of them might have inadvertently anglicised the spelling or pronunciation and the new arrivals decided to just go with it for simplicity's sake.
  • Slaveholders would often give a newly acquired slave a new name, which could involve the given name and the family name (often the slave-owner's own).
  • A lot of people are called by the name their parents gave them as kids, but as they get older, they'll start going by their middle name or a nickname for any number of reasons.
  • The House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, being a very German name, was not that popular an appellation in Britain during World War I. It became even less popular when the German air force started bombing raids against London using their Gotha bomber. As a result, in 1917 they changed their name to The House of Windsor, of whom you have probably heard.
    "Tearing the Garter from the Kaiser's leg, striking the German dukes from the roll of our peerage, changing the King's illustrious and historically appropriate surname for that of a traditionless locality, was not a very dignified business; but the erasure of German names from the British rolls of science and learning was a confession that in England the little respect paid to science and learning is only an affectation which hides a savage contempt for both."
    • Speaking of the royal family, it will eventually become the house of Mountbatten-Windsor; the Mountbatten name is also the result of a similar Meaningful Rename when Lord Battenberg caved in to British Germanophobia during World War I (funnily enough, they did not rename Battenberg Cake in Britain). On the other hand, the royal house of Belgium, another branch of the House of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha with grievances against German, did not change its name and continues to use it to this day.
      • They did technically change the name from Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to Belgium, it is used in official documents and identity cards, though it is still called its original name by everyone.
  • During World War II, references to Axis countries became illegal in Brazil. Hence two teams known as Palestra Italia, founded by immigrants, changed their names - one in São Paulo became Palmeiras to retain the logo with a "P", while one in Belo Horizonte became Cruzeiro to keep the blue uniforms.
  • In the 20th century, members of ethnic minorities in various European countries either chose to adopt a name more in keeping with that of the majority ethnicity or were compelled to do so. With frontiers moving on a few occasions, this could happen more than once to the same family.
    • The phenomenon is somewhat older. For instance, when Corsica's bid for independence was defeated and the island indisputably became part of the Kingdom of France, the small nobleman Carlo Buonaparte frenchified his name to Charles Bonaparte and his sons Giuseppe, Napoleone and Luciano officially became Joseph, Napoléon and Lucien (even though they continued to use the Italian forms at home for years). This move was looked upon as a sell-out by Corsican nationalists, while in later years some of Napoléon's enemies would treat it as foul imposture by someone who wasn't really French at all and therefore pointedly referred to him as Buonaparte.
  • Averted by town of Wolfsburg, Germany. The town hosts the gigantic factories of Volkswagen AG and was originally founded by the Nazi Party, and named simply Stadt des KdF-Wagens (Town of KdF Cars). The British occupation changed the name in 1945 to Wolfsburg after a nearby castle to de-Nazify the town. In this case, a meaningful name was changed into something non-meaningful.
  • A district of India held a renaming ceremony for 285 girls named Unwanted ("Nakusa" or "Nakushi" in Hindi) in an effort to fight gender discrimination caused by religious restrictions and the expense of marrying off a daughter.
  • Almost without exception, this is the case for Transgender people. Often this will involve taking the name of someone they respect (real or fictional). It can be a Meaningful Name in addition to Meaningful Rename if the name is something like the other gendered name their parents picked out or carries some other significance (although a Sobriquet Sex Switch is a lot rarer than most cisgender people seem to believe). This is also often part of the legal process of being recognised as their actual gender (in countries where human rights have sufficently progressed to allow it). This naturally also leaves them with the inverse of this trope; their deadname (so called because — depending on how cheerful you feel — it's linguistically dead, like Latin, or because it's the name you're buried under if you die before you can change itnote ).
  • In the late Middle Ages and the Renaissance, especially in Germany, it was quite fashionable for people to show off their erudition by changing their names to a Latin or Greek name that was either a direct or loose translation of their original name (e. g. Neander (Greek: new man) for Neumann, Agricola (Latin: peasant, farmer) for Bauer) or something with a similar sound. Thus Jean Cauvin became Johannes Calvin(us), and one of Martin Luther's closest collaborators interpreted his name Schwarzert as Schwarz-Erd ("black earth") before translating it into Greek as Melanchthon. Martin Luther himself looked at this with some amusement and said that if he ever did this himself, he would call himself Eleutherius, a name that sounds like an elaboration of Luther and is based on Greek eleutheria ("freedom").
    • The man now known as Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is listed in the original baptismal record as Joannes Christophus Wolfgangus Theophilus Mozart; since this document was written in Latin, it is not clear if 'Theophilus' means that his third name was actually 'Gottlieb' (which means the same thing) or 'Theophil'. When he first travelled to Italy, he discovered the Italian form of the name, 'Amadeo', and started using that, although he soon preferred using the French form 'Amadé'. He never did use Amadeus, though, and people who knew him well enough apparently just called him Wolfgang (or derivations thereof).
  • When writer Gary Keillor starting submitting stories to magazines he changed/"extended" his first name to Garrison because it sounded more distinguished.
  • Civil rights activist Martin Luther King Jr. was born with the name Michael King, as was his father. The elder King changed both their names in honour of Martin Luther when the younger King was five years old — King Jr. grew up to become a Protestant preacher.
  • The French Foreign Legion used to require applicants to sign up under a different name, though this is now optional.
  • After the fall of Fascist Italy during World War II, the destroyer Camicia Nera ("Blackshirt") and the battleship Littorio ("Lictor") were renamed Artigliere ("Artilleryman") and Italia, as the previous names were too closely associated with the Fascist regime.
  • During the Turkish War of Independence, three provinces, Maraş, Urfa and Antep, saw some of the heaviest fighting. After independence in 1923, these provinces had honorary titles added to their official names, becoming Kahramanmaraş (Maraş the Heroic), Şanlıurfa (Urfa the Glorious) and Gaziantep (Antep the Veterannote ). Unlike most examples in Please Select New City Name, the shorter and longer versions are both acceptable, though the longer versions are considered more formal.
  • Carl Linnaeus, the naturalist who invented taxonomic nomenclature, would have been named Nilsson as per Scandinavian tradition, had his father not adopted this trope to complete his enrollment paperwork at the University of Lund. Needing something to put down as a "family name", Nils chose "Linnaeus" in reference to a gigantic linden tree that grew on the family property.
    • Carl is better known in modern Sweden as Carl von Linné, which is what he called himself after being knighted. Basically, his family kept changing their surname as they gradually moved up from one social class to another, Nilsson being a farmer's name, Linnaeus being a scholar's name, and von Linné being an aristocrat's name.
  • Black civil rights activist Stokely Carmichael adopted the name "Kwame Ture" (in reference to African leaders Kwame Nkrumah and Ahmed Sékou Touré) in order to link his own name to his pan-African ideals, as he rejected the idea that black people should just integrate into white institutions. He passed down the name "Ture" to his children too.
  • An inverse of the example from the film Air Force One happened when Richard Nixon resigned. Nixon was onboard Air Force One when his resignation took effect and Ford was sworn in. The pilot then radioed the air traffic controllers to officially change the plane's call sign from Air Force One to SAM 27000 (the standard call sign used for the plane when it wasn't transporting the president).
  • J. D. Vance, most notable as the author of Hillbilly Elegy, did this when he married his Yale Law classmate Usha Chilukuri in 2014. The future author, whose last name before the wedding was Hamel, did not want to use the name of the stepfather who had abandoned him and saw a chance to symbolically start a new life. He and his wife took the name of the grandparents who had largely raised him.
  • NBA player Enes Kanter, effectively rendered stateless by his former home of Turkeynote  in 2017 due to his activism against the country's leader Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, did this when he became a US citizen in November 2021. While he kept his original name, he legally adopted the new surname of Freedom, obviously symbolizing his feelings upon gaining a new home country.
  • The custom of "quốc tính" - "surname of the nation", i.e. the family name of the king, since the king is the father of the nation - appeared briefly in Vietnamese history during the Lý and Trần dynasties. It was awarded to people who made great contributions to the ruling dynasty. For example, Lý Thường Kiệt was born Ngô Tuấn (or Quách Tuấn, depending on the source), renamed Ngô Thường Kiệt as an adult, and awarded the surname Lý for his military successes and wise counsel. This was stopped in 1467 (the Lê dynasty), and Emperor Lê Thánh Tông allowed descendants of the people awarded surnames to return to their original names.
    • The custom of renaming continues, after a fashion, to this day. Initially, children were referred to with simple, if not plain "no one sane would actually call your child that" names, in order to avoid attracting demonic attention. It was believed that demons liked children with beautiful names, and would kill the children. They would be addressed with fancier names upon adulthood. The rigors of this custom have relaxed, as children nowadays can get "home names" like Puppy, Kitty, or even foreign-sounding names. However, as compulsory education came into effect, children had to be addressed by their legal names at school. Hilarity Ensues (or aggravation) annually for teachers, because many parents forget to teach their first-graders to respond to their legal names.
  • The high school located in San Anselmo, California (north of San Francisco) had a ridiculously convoluted example of this. It had been Sir Francis Drake High School, home of the Pirates, since 1951, named for the street it's located on, which was named in honor of Drake because of his 1579 voyage to the nearby coast. In 2020, concern over Drake's connection to the slave trade led the school district to remove his name from the school, temporarily renaming it High School 1327explanation  while taking suggestions for a new name. A long list was whittled down to eight names, including George Lucas High School (Lucas is a longtime resident of San Anselmo) and San Anselmo High School. Finally it came down to two finalists: Bon Tempe (the name of a nearby reservoir) and Olema Trail (the old name for the route of Sir Francis Drake Boulevard in the language of the Miwok people). But Miwok representatives objected to having their language used for the school's name, so Olema Trail was eliminated. With only Bon Tempe left standing, three other names were quickly added to the list: Cascade, Oak Valley and Archie Williams, the latter being an African-American Olympic runner who later taught at the school. In May 2021 it officially became Archie Williams High School, home of the Falcons.
  • One of the most notorious headlines of 2021 was a story about a promotion by a sushi chain in Taiwan. The condition was that the person who wanted free sushi for themself and their five friends had to change their name to "Salmon". Almost 200 people complied and at least one person was stuck with his new name, as Taiwan law only allows three name changes in a lifetime. (No word on what Mr Chang's previous renames were though.)
  • When he decided to abandon traditional Ancient Egyptian religious practices and institute Atenism as Egypt's state religion, Pharaoh Amenhotep IV ("Amun is satisfied") changed his name to Akhenaten ("Effective for the Aten") to demonstrate his change of faith. After his death, a backlash against Atenism took place, leading his son Tutankhaten ("Living image of Aten") to instead adopt the name Tutankhamun ("Living image of Amun") to show that he wouldn't continue his father's hated religious policies.
  • Following their purchase of 20th Century Fox, Disney proceeded to rename the film company to 20th Century Studios as a way to distance the studio from its former owner Fox Corporation, who own the television networks FOX and Fox News.
  • Guthrum the Old, one of the leaders of the Great Heathen Army of (mostly Danish) vikings who invaded England in the 9th century, ended up converting to Christianity as part of the peace terms upon his defeat by Alfred the Great. This frankly was actually in Guthrum's interests, as he had wanted to become King of East Anglia, which title the same peace treaty allowed him to claim. Upon his conversion, he adopted the name "Æthelstan", which—interestingly—wasn't specifically Christian (it's an Old English name meaning "noble stone" or (less literally) "gem/jewel"),note  but was very Anglo-Saxon/English, suggesting his choice had as much to do with ingratiating himself to his new subjects as to his new faith.
  • When Kelly Clarkson went through a divorce, she went through an extreme case of The Maiden Name Debate: instead of just changing back from her ex's surname, she removed it altogether, and her legal name is now Kelly Brianne.


Video Example(s):


Nobody Likes a Debra

When Bitsy meets Mayor Whitebottom's likability consultant, Ashley, she reveals her previous name was Debra but changed it because, according to her, nobody likes a Debra.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / MeaningfulRename

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