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 a different species of nonhumans.
Humans Named by Nonhumans Examples and Inversions:
- 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.
- 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.
- Superman: Inverted by Clark Kent, who is an alien (Kryptonian) adopted by humans and given a human name. His original name is Kal-El.
- 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.
- Legacy of ch'Rihan and related fics have Morgaiah ir'Sheratan t'Thavrau, a Romulan who frequently goes by the nickname "Morgan".
- 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 from Atlantis who were interbreeding with apes).
- Carrot Ironfoundersson was raised by dwarves, hence his dwarven name of Kzad-bhat, which, roughly translated, means "Head Banger".
- 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.
- 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.
- The title character of Mitch Benn's novel Terra is so named when she's taken in by a Fnrr'n scientist visiting Earth. It's a plot point that her human parents never gave her a name.
- Aragorn (a human) from The Lord of the Rings sometimes goes by the name Elessar ("Elfstone"), given from his surrogate father Elrond (an elf).
- 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.
- John Carter of Mars was given the name Dotar Sojat after killing two Tharks (named Dotar and Sojat, respectively) in battle.
- 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.
- In Harry Turtledove's Colonization trilogy, 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.
- In Animorphs, Jara (son of Seerow in the bottom section) and his wife Ket give their daughter the human name Toby, after Tobias.
- In The Host, 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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. Although 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 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, she chooses to keep her Borg designation, claiming that she is no longer Annika Hansen.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation
- Doctor Who: River Song received her name from the Gamma Forest tribe via a mistranslation of her birth name, Melody Pond.
- 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.
- 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 Lo'gosh (Ghost Wolf).
Nonhumans Named by Nonhumans of Different Species:
- The Ensign Newbie character aboard D'trel's RRW Vengeance in worffan101's Star Trek Online fics, including Peace Forged in Fire, is a Ferasan who goes by the name Min'tak'allan, a Jem'Hadar name. Omek'ti'kallan, the Jem'Hadar First who serves as D'trel's Number Two, declared him an honorary Jem'Hadar in the piece worffan wrote for Literary Challenge 65.3.
- 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.
- 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 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.
- In Xenoblade, 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.