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Name From Another Species

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There are human characters in fictional works that have a given name not normally given to humans. A common explanation for the name is that it comes from a non-human source, such as an alien, animal, monster, Demihuman (dwarf or elf), or ghost. This way, the human character has a reason for bizarre nomenclature.

Sometimes, instead of a human character named by nonhumans, the character in question is a nonhuman character named by humans or a different species of nonhumans.

Can overlap with Aerith and Bob. Often goes hand-in-hand with Raised by Wolves.

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Humans Named by Nonhumans, Examples and Inversions:

    Anime and Manga 
  • Dragon Ball Z: Inverted by Son Goku, who is an alien (Saiyan) who was adopted by humans and given a human name. His original name is Kakkarot.
  • Mushishi: It's revealed that the protagonist got his name "Ginko" when he was swallowed by a mushi called Tokoyami that stole his memories. To escape from the Takoyami he had to remember a name, but since he couldn't remember his own he named himself after a mushi called Ginko that lives within the Tokoyami. After he escaped his new name was the only thing he could remember about himself.
  • Pretty Cure:
    • Star★Twinkle Pretty Cure has a partial, inverted example with Lala, an alien who crash-lands in Japan. Everyone on her home planet has Only One Name, including her, but when she assumes a human identity to blend in, she eventually needs to come up with a surname. Her human friend Hikaru suggests "Hagoromo", after a Japanese myth involving a heavenly being who descends to Earth to reclaim her lost hagoromo from a fisherman.
    • Healin' Good♡Pretty Cure also has an inverted example. Cure Earth is a Nature Spirit who reverses the usual setup of a Magical Girl Warrior; she has no civilian identity and needs to take on a human guise to blend in. The other girls on her team initially give her the name "Asumi", a pun on the Japanese pronunciation for "Earth", to make things easier on them. Later on, Nodoka needs to quickly come up with a surname to pass her off as a human; seeing a set of wind chimes nearby, she decides upon "Fuurin" (the Japanese word for wind chimes).
  • Roppu-kun: Inverted with Roppu. An alien robot given a name by his new human friend, Roppei. His original name, if he has one, is unknown.

    Comic Books 
  • Martian Manhunter's Martian name is J'onn J'onzz. On Earth he goes by John Jones. His female counterpart M'gann M'orzz, a.k.a. "Miss Martian", is addressed as Megan Morse by her human friends.
  • In Strikeforce: Morituri, Revenge's name is normal enough. However, he chooses the alien Horde symbol for revenge for his insignia.
  • Superman: Inverted by Clark Kent and Linda Danvers, who are alien (Kryptonians) adopted by humans and given human names. Their original names are Kal-El and Kara Zor-El, respectively.

    Fan Works 
  • In The Dragon Journals, Hiccup gets called "Fishbone" by Toothless (making him, yes, a "talking fishbone"), and all of the dragon training students get nicknames from the dragons fighting them. After some time, Toothless recognizes his name from Hiccup (which to him sounds like "ember-hiss, footstep"), and is shocked to realize that humans grasp the concept of naming things.
  • In Worm/DC Universe crossover Echoes of Yesterday, Kara Zor-El (Kryptonian) goes by Linda Danvers in order to blend in with Earth-Bet humans.
  • In Hellsister Trilogy, Dev-Em (Kryptonian) is addressed as Dev Emerson when he walks among 20th century humans.
  • Kara of Rokyn: Although Kara Zor-El has barely used her human name since she moved to planet Rokyn, she still goes by "Linda Danvers" when she travels to Earth.
  • In the crossover The Last Daughter, Taylor Hebert learns she's a Kryptonian, named Zara Jor-El by her birth parents. She greatly respects her deceased biological parents but she still thinks of herself as "Taylor", the name chosen by her human adoptive parents.
  • Legacy of ch'Rihan and related fics have Morgaiah ir'Sheratan t'Thavrau, a Romulan who frequently goes by the nickname "Morgan".
  • Inverted in Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!. Kal-El was raised by Inko and Hisashi as Izuku Midoriya. He wouldn't learn of his original name until he hunted down his spaceship again. Even with this knowledge, he still thinks of himself as Izuku first and calls himself Izuku in his inner thoughts.
  • In A Prize for Three Empires, Carol Danvers is named Ca-Rol by Gladiator, leader of the Shi'ar Imperial Guard.
  • To Hell and Back (Arrowverse): Thanks to being raised by Kara, Kal is addressed by his Kryptonian name by his surrogate family. He doesn't even get his human name Clark Calvin Kent until Kara moves to Starling, and even then it's specifically fabricated so he can be called by his real name with people none the wiser.
  • Inversion: The Wrong Reflection has a brief mention of a Bajoran springball player named Nas Eli. He's said to be half-human, indicating that his given name Eli is the human one of Hebrew origin.

  • All aliens in Alien in a Small Town are nonhumanoid, with methods of communication totally unpronouceable by humans, so they tend to take Earth-style names when dealing with us. The main character goes by "Paul Dwightson" — "Paul" as a Biblical reference, and "Dwightson" because his mother goes by the name Dwight (she was part of their race's First Contact team, and by the time the humans realized she was female, she and they had already settled on the name). Other aliens take names from mythology like Heimdall or Nuada, and one insectoid physician calls himself "Doctor Cricket."
  • In Animorphs, Jara (son of Seerow in the bottom section) and his wife Ket give their daughter the human name Toby, after Tobias.
    • Taylor uses her host's name even among other Yeerks, which points to her being mentally unstable.
    • The future Visser One and another Yeerk wound up having twins while in the bodies of two humans. The girl twin was named Madra, after a moon of the Yeerk homeworld.
  • Subverted in Robert A. Heinlein's novel Between Planets. The human boy has a human name, Don Harvey, but also has a Venusian (Venerian) name, "Mist On The Waters" given by his human mother due to her being a second generation Venus colonial.
  • In the Codex Alera, Tavi the Aleran is given the nickname "Tavar" by the leader of their Canim allies in the fifth book, Princeps' Fury, after a local creature and in part because it sounds similar to Tavi's own name for Canim ears. When we see a tavar in action later in the book, it is a very clever hunter able to survive even after the Vord have made the environment much more hostile to other life, proving it a fitting nickname for Guile Hero Tavi.
  • Discworld:
    • Carrot Ironfoundersson was raised by dwarfs, hence his dwarfen name of Kzad-bhat, which, roughly translated, means "Head Banger" (not in the sense of a hard rocker, but in the sense of a six-foot-plus guy in tunnels made for dwarfs).
    • According to Nanny Ogg in Maskerade, Granny Weatherwax is known as "Aaoograha hoa" to the trolls in Lancre, which means "She Who Must Be Avoided". The dwarfs call her "K'ez'rek d'b'duz", which translates to "Go Around the Other Side of the Mountain". She thoroughly earns both names.
  • In The Host (2008), Souls are Puppeteer Parasites who choose their own names, and often change them when they take new bodies. On the other hand, they may retain a name they took on in another host. Hence we have one Soul living in a human who calls herself "Kathy," and another who still goes by "Faces Sunward" because he was a Plant Person in his previous body.
  • John Carter of Mars was given the name Dotar Sojat after killing two Tharks (named Dotar and Sojat, respectively) in battle.
  • Mowgli in The Jungle Book was given his name by the wolf pack. "Mowgli" is apparently Wolf for "frog", because he's hairless and won't sit still.
  • In The Life & Adventures of Santa Claus, a human baby is found in the magical Forest of Burzee and adopted by Necile, a nymph. She calls him "Claus," which apparently means "little one" in the Burzeean language. The 2000 animated adaptation makes Claus's full name "Necileoclaus", or "Necile's little one", which is shortened to Nicolas.
  • Aragorn (a human) from The Lord of the Rings sometimes goes by the name Elessar ("Elfstone"), given from his surrogate father Elrond (an elf).
  • Semiosis: The Plant Alien that enters a symbiotic relationship with the human colonists on the planet Pax eventually takes the name Stevland in honour of one of the original colonists. It's an indication that the alien has begun to care for the colonists and adopt some of their worldview.
  • Inverted and Justified with Captain Mackenzie Calhoun of the Star Trek: New Frontier series. He's a Xenexian whose name is more accurately transliterated as "M'k'n'zy of Calhoun" (Calhoun being his home city on Xenex). He goes by "Mackenzie" or "Mac" because they're close enough and were easier for his Starfleet Academy classmates to pronounce.
  • Tarzan is this as a result of being named and raised by apes (fictional manganis in the original novel, gorillas in the Disney adaptation). The name actually means "white-skinned" in the fictional Mangani language. His real English name is John Clayton, Viscount Greystoke. In one of the later novels, Tarzan finds the lost city of Opar, whose denizens are also fluent in Mangani (their ancestors were Atlanteans who interbred with apes).
  • The title character of Mitch Benn's Terra Trilogy is so named when she's taken in by a Fnrr'n scientist visiting Earth, choosing the name both for its significance and because it could be pronounced in the Fnrr language. It's a plot point that her human parents never gave her a name.
  • In Harry Turtledove's Colonization trilogy from the Worldwar series, the character Kassquit is a human female born in China. However, she was raised by a male of the Race named Ttomalss as part of an experiment to see if Tosevites can be adapted to be productive citizens of The Empire. Inverted with Mickey and Donald, two males of the Race raised by the Yeager family in the US from hatchlinghood, humorously named after Disney characters.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Doctor Who: River Song received her name from the Gamma Forest tribe via a close-enough translation of her birth name, Melody Pond (the only water in the Forest is the river).
  • Played with in the first episode of Mork & Mindy. Mork was watching Earth television and commented:
    "I like that boy Opie. (beat) But what is an Earth child doing with a Martian name?"
  • Star Trek
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation
      • Episode "Suddenly Human". In the Back Story, the Talarians wiped out a Federation colony and took one prisoner: a 3½-year-old boy. He was adopted by a Talarian ship captain and given the name Jono.
      • After Captain Picard was captured by the Borg and altered into a Borg, he was given the name Locutus. However, it is debatable whether he was still human at that point.
      • Inverted with Worf's son Alexander Rozhenko, who at least looks fully Klingon even though he's one-quarter human. He was named Alexander by his mother K'Ehleyr, who was half human, and the Rozhenko is the surname of Worf's adoptive human parents. He chooses to keep his human name (instead of "Alexander, son of Worf") even after joining the Klingon Defense Forces. No one bats an eye at that, only confirming that he doesn't represent any House.
      • In "I Borg" Geordi nicknames the Borg drone they rescued from a crashed probe "Hugh", a play on the word "you" that the drone keeps saying. Hugh's Borg designation Third of Five is also an example.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: A 6-year-old human girl was captured by the Borg and assimilated. They gave her the name Seven of Nine. After being freed from the Collective as an adult, she chooses to keep her Borg designation, claiming that she is no longer Annika Hansen.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Warhammer Fantasy: The legendary dwarf brewmaster Josef Bugman was named by his father Samuel (formerly Zamnil) in the belief that their beer would sell better in the human Empire if they had local names.

    Video Games 
  • In the Dragon Age universe, the human Flemeth, the Witch of the Wilds, is identified by the elves as Asha'bellanar, which translates as "the woman of many years." Flemeth is suspected to be immortal and has figured in stories for centuries.
  • In Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, the player character is given the name "Deathstalker" by the Winter Wolves after helping them out several times.
  • Touhou Eiyashou ~ Imperishable Night has Reisen Udongein Inaba. On the moon she was known simply as "Reisen"... or at least something that would be approximated in Japanese phonics as Reisen. When she moved to Earth she started spelling her name as 鈴仙 (pronounced Reisen) and added a surname, to better blend in. Translations sometimes spell her moon name as "Rei'sen" for clarity.
  • World of Warcraft: Inverted in the Expanded Universe universe: Go'el, a young orc boy, was given the name "Thrall" by his human captors, to remind him of his captive status. Thrall kept the name even after attaining his freedom.
    • Played straight with Varian Wrynn, whose story mirrors that of Thrall: He was found as an amnesiac by an orc, who made him a gladiator under the name of Croc-Bait, but his ferocity in the arena earned him the name Lo'gosh (Ghost Wolf).


    Western Animation 
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks has an Andorian Recurring Extra named Jennifer. This is the result of Towny Newsome (Mariner) ad libbing the line "MOVE, JENNIFER!" to a scene; she's quipped that she might have chosen something more "alien" if she had known what the animation was going to be.

Nonhumans Named by Nonhumans of Different Species:

    Fan Works 


    Live-Action TV 
  • Star Trek provides a few examples:
    • A plot point in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Indiscretion". Gul Dukat tells Major Kira that out of the several prisoners on a crashed Cardassian transport, he especially wants to find Tora Ziyal. Kira recognizes the combination of a Bajoran family name and a Cardassian given name, and says as much to Dukat. Ziyal turns out to be Dukat's illegitimate daughter with his Bajoran mistress during the Occupation.
    • Klingon Dahar master Kang names his son Dax after Trill Ambadassador Curzon Dax.

    Video Games 
  • Therma in Discworld Noir is the childhood name of Carlotta von Uberwald, a werewolf who was raised by trolls.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
    • In The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim, the Dark Elf Brand-shei is named by the Argonians who raised him. Brand-Shei is an Argonian (the reptile race) name. You have the opportunity to comment on his unusual name, and he'll explain that he was orphaned at a young age and raised by Argonians. This starts a short quest in which you discover that his real name is Brandyl Telvanni, and that his father had believed him to be the last heir of House Telvanni.
    • The Elder Scrolls Online has a similar case with Zhasim, a Khajiit raised by Orcs (born Elzhar).
  • Varus Saeihr in the Star Trek Online Foundry mission "Bait and Switch" is a Romulan who married a Bajoran and took her husband Varus Jolin's surname, even putting it before her given name according to Bajoran custom.
  • In Xenoblade Chronicles 1, the High Entia Ma'crish, one of the few of her race that have a Punctuation Shaker name, has a reluctant companion in the form of a Nopon she named Nopo'rikh. This name makes a stark contrast with the names of other Nopon, which are usually simplistic, cutesy, and/or repetitive.

  • Diamond and Dazzle: One of the titular characters is a cat named 'Dazzle' and 'Unlucky' by ponies. He definitely prefers the former.