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Names to Run Away from Really Fast

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And his actor's name is "Strong Mad".
"If a guy named Foulfellow asks to take you to a place called Pleasure Island, don't go. I mean he's got the word 'foul' right in his name."

People make a big deal out of names, and writers are no exception. Even if they eschew Theme Naming and other Naming Conventions they'll still use names they think are cool and dignified, powerful and appropriate, or sinister and fearsome. This is why there are inevitably certain Names To Run Away From Really Fast. For much the same reason it's unlikely Bob will turn out to be the outrageously stylish villain bent on absorbing the planet's life stream to ascend to godhood, and someone with a name like oh, say, Hannibal Murder von Uberbastard, probably won't be selling cookies for charity. If he does, don't eat the cookies.

These come in various flavors (not the cookies, the names), some of them used by Anti Heroes from the Dark Age of Supernames and villains of the fearsomely competent and world destroying kind, for whom the mere mention of their name can bring down Dramatic Thunder.

Note that this is different from all those characters who got their names because they are a badass. It's one thing to be called Blade because you use one on vampires; it's another when a deadly fighter has the birth name "Blade" for no in-story reason.

So basically, when the villain's name hints towards some sort of disaster in history, mythological monster, or just means something bad, this trope applies.

Note that a villain having a name like this isn't necessarily a bad idea. Some names like this are downright cool.

A subtrope of Meaningful Name, Obviously Evil, and sometimes Awesome Mc Cool Name.

See also Red Baron, The Magnificent, Speak of the Devil, Named After the Injury, and What Did You Expect When You Named It ____?; often overlaps with "Darkness von Gothick" Name.

Compare Fluffy the Terrible, Tom the Dark Lord, and Just the First Citizen, where the name fails to describe the nastiness, and Deathbringer the Adorable, where the nastiness fails to live up to the name.

Contrast Names to Trust Immediately.

For location names, see I Don't Like the Sound of That Place.

When adding examples, keep in mind: It's not enough when a character just has a name of any of the following types. This trope applies only when the name is an indicator of the character's true nature, and if the character thus described is evil, deceptive, dangerous or (if not evil) in other ways commanding fear or respect. As always, aversions are usually not worth listing, but subversions are probably fair game. Total inversions should go on Unfortunate Names instead.

Also, please provide context as to why the character lives up to their scary name. Just listing the character's name with no explanation is a Zero-Context Example, something we don't want. If you see a Zero Context Example and can give it context, that would be appreciated.

The following types of Names To Run From have their own trope pages:


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    Anime and Manga 
  • Albegas: The villains are called the "Dellingers" (as in, the gun). Oddly, their names are quite bland, like "Dally", "Duston", "Azas", "Deran" and "Bios". And of course, their Token Good Teammate, Julia.
  • Astroganger: "Blasters" is an appropriate name for an alien race that want to destroy planets and ruin every planet they've ever touched.
  • Beyblade Burst: Lui Shirosagi is known as The White Tyrant for good reason, he is one of the greatest bladers there is and utterly merciless inside and outside of battle. Other nicknames include the White Dragon King, Absolute Champ, Frozen Ogre &, in the dub, The Winter Knight.
  • [C] – Control: The Midas Bank is named after a king who destroyed everything he cared for due to his own short-sighted, greedy wish. It should not be hard to guess the odds on a loan from them having unpleasant, unexpected outcomes.
  • Futari wa Pretty Cure: The third Arc Villain is named Poisony, which is just "poison" with a "Y" at the end. She poisons peoples' minds with her trickery, including mind-controlling two girls to (almost) jump off a building.
  • magico: Shion's older brother's name is Faust. It really explains everything you need to know about him.
  • One Piece: The Kid Pirates' first mate's has an epithet that like many other pirates falls under this trope (literally translates as "Massacre Soldier", or "Murder Machine" in the official translation), but his real name is scary enough that he didn't really need an epithet: Killer.
  • Reiko the Zombie Shop: Roses Killmister is technically just a flunky, but she does her best to justify her name.
  • 'Tis Time for "Torture," Princess: The Grand Inquisitor of Hellholm, and the first "torturer" the Princess and Ex are faced with is literally named Torture Tortura... but it's subverted when it turns out Torture's "tortures" involve feeding the princess delicious food.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: Season 8 episode 3 makes fun of the trope when Big M. asks Little M. to search for a character in the magic book for Huo Haha to transform into. Little M. first suggests a character named the Killer King, but Big M. wants one that even the Killer King would be afraid of. Little M. then suggests the King of the Killer King, but this doesn't cut it either, so Little M. comes up with one last idea - the King of the Killer King's wife.
  • In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf, the wolves have an ancestor called the Slayer of a Thousand Goats whose greatest achievement is summed up right in his name. Suffice it to say that if you're a goat yourself and you see this guy, you'd better get running.

    Comic Books 
  • Astro City: The Deathwalker robots, made by mad South Korean scientists in the 50s. Steeljack dryly notes that even if they weren't lumbering, entirely black death-robots, the name would still be a hint as to what they're like.
  • In Batgirl story arc The Attack of the Annihilator, a seriously disturbed and self-centered scientist called Kenneth Anderson is transformed into a psychic mutant, whereupon he renames himself "The Annihilator" to show off both his destructive powers and his intention to obliterate Gotham.
  • Invasion!: The Dominators, a race of geneticists and conquerors who wish to use humans as guinea pigs and weapons out of sheer prejudice. Not that most of their allies realized it.
  • Invincible: As more and more Viltrumites enter the story, we're introduced to Conquest, a sadistic, hulking Blood Knight who, up to the point he met Mark, had never failed to conquer a world. What's more, he loves causing destruction and cutting loose as much as possible, given how he felt hampered in past missions where he got orders to spare or capture certain targets and not be allowed to go all-out. He badly mauls Oliver, Atom Eve, and Mark, only narrowly being defeated at the end. And Cecil even stated there were maybe six heroes on Earth at max who could probably last more than one minute against Conquest.
  • Night of the Owls: Batman's latest villain, the Court of Owls, is this in context. To most people, owls are a minor nuisance at worst. However, they're also one of the only natural predators of bats...
  • Spider-Man:
    • Every single Symbiote has names such as Venom, Carnage, Toxin, Riot, and Scorn, and all have a tendency to turn those bonded to them into murderous psychopaths. That said, some of these have been depicted as heroic as well.
    • The main villain of Spider-Man Beyond is Maxine Danger. The head of the Beyond Corporation's Hero Department, Maxine offers Ben Reilly the chance to do some good in the world Beyond's Corporate-Sponsored Superhero. However, Maxine's motives are far from benevolent; Beyond's true intention is to control the news cycle by capitalizing on the collateral damage caused by superhero fights, distracting the media with superpowered spectacles while that the incidents which actually need attention fly under the radar. This also gives the Beyond Corporation the ability to destroy incriminating evidence through controlled devastation of an area, with nobody would being the wiser since the damage will be written off as typical superhero shenanigans.
  • In Superman/Supergirl: Maelstrom: The main antagonist is called "Maelstrom", a Darkseid's soldier who tends to cause chaos wherever she goes.
  • Annihilus wants to annihlate all other life in the universe, and is named Annihilus.
  • X-Men villain Mystique's real name is Raven Darkholme.
  • The Black Panther's arch-enemy is Ulysses Klaw.
  • The Warlord: Morgan's arch-enemy is an evil sorcerer named Deimos (which sounds like "demon").
  • Ras Al Ghul's name translates very roughly from Arabic as "the Demon's Head." His grandson is named Damien, though he has fortunately become a good guy.
  • And perhaps the best exemplar of this trope, ever: Doctor Victor Von Doom.
  • The Transformers (IDW): You need to commit to stand out in a faction where Bludgeon, Ravage, Buzzsaw, Dreadwing, Frenzy, Ransack and Stranglehold are ordinary things to call yourself, which brings us to the Ax-Crazy-even-by-Decepticon-standards elite warrior Killmaster from The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye, whose main interests are "murdering people" and "inventing new ways to murder people".
    Whirl: His real name's Murderking, but he changed it to Killmaster. Don't ask me why. I mean, it's not exactly striking a blow against nominative determinism, is it?

    Fan Works 
  • A New Life Era: Erik Masspunch qualifies. The name is backed up by the fact that he weighs 500 pounds of muscle.
  • The Ace Savvy Extended Universe: A lot of the villains have intimidating names, such as Lady Killstrike and the Death Reaper.
  • Always Visible: Doctor Baselard has a surname similar to one type of dagger. Guess who is person and what he did? That's right, he was first a surgeon and then a gynecologist, and in both cases described in the work, he kills his patients!
  • Contraptionology!: The Mad Scientist whose arrival sets Ponyville off on a course of events that sees it as ground zero for a full-on mad science war is named Dr. Stranger von Danger — Stranger Danger for short.
  • The Night Unfurls:
    • Orcs are Always Chaotic Evil, so it is not a surprise that several infamous orc war-chiefs that Kyril had killed prior to the series have names like this, including the Defiler, Ozgriz the Mighty, and the Arsonist.
      • The list is altered a little in the remastered version. The very first chapter has Kyril finding the head of the Arch-Arsonist, one of the many orcs that he has slain including Ozgriz the Defiler, Gruzbad the Warlord, and the Eater of Men. He would later kill another orc chieftain named Thurog the Tall with his bare hands in Chapter 4.
    • Olga's last name, Discordia. She's set up as the Evil Overlord who has engaged in war, or rather, sown discord for centuries.
    • For the remastered version, the many names of The Rat (e.g. King-Spawn of All Vermin, He Who Feasts on Ambition, etc.) sound anything but pleasing. Fitting for someone with an In-Universe reputation as a malicious entity.
  • Miraculous: The Phoenix Rises has a villain named The Nightmare King barge in at the end of chapter 15. Need we say more?
  • In Risk It All, Ren becomes known as "the Breaker" on the internet for leaving his opponents with broken bones that will never heal properly. The threatening label along with accusations of him being a villain stings when he's risking his life trying to stop an evil mobster and his gang.
  • Shadows over Meridian: The Frostbiter, the fierce apex predator of Meridian's northern mountains, is strong enough to crush a squad of fully armed soldiers and known by the Mogriffs as "the White Death".
  • True Potential:
    • Koharu is the "Grim Reaper of Konoha". Chapter 57 shows that she more than lives up to the name.
    • Karitoriki is Kirigakure's "Bloodline Hunter/Executioner". In his first appearance, in Chapter 45, he executes five people who happened to have bloodlines.
  • In the Turning Red fic Turning Red: Secrets of the Panda, Xióngmāo shāshǒu translates to "Panda Killer".
  • Infinity Train: Seeker of Crocus: Chloe's new Red Baron is "Demon Lord of the Vermillion" and she demonstrates this by turning into a flaming wolf who fires a Flamethrower that destroys half an army of Mirage Pokémon along with the demon imagery she carries on her.

    Films — Animated 
  • Ono Nono from Animalympics is a freestyle swimmer. And a huge 200-ton orca. The reason for the name becomes obvious when he does his turn, whale-style — and causes a tsunami.
  • Epic (2013): Mandrake, which otherwise refers to a magical plant with human-shaped roots that emitted a deadly scream upon being picked and the leaves of which were poison.
  • In Pinocchio, the titular character and Jiminy Cricket try to find Geppetto, who was swallowed by a whale named Monstro, they ask the creatures under the sea but they all run away when his name is mentioned, even a mother fish who was about to kick Jiminy's butt because he messed with her child.
  • The Sea Beast: The Sea Witch introduces Captain Crow to a weapon of her own creation that she has dubbed "The Hand of God" — a giant harpoon gun with a payload of vicious poison in the tip.
  • Sleeping Beauty has the evil sorcerer Maleficent, which is downright an adjective for evil and harmful. The live-action adaptation says it's her birth name, making it weird to see this scary name applied to her innocent child self.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • An American Werewolf in London: "The Slaughtered Lamb," with a grisly picture of a severed wolf's head on the sign. Old British pubs do tend to have rather blunt names, though.
  • Blade Trilogy: "Blade" is actually his hero name (birth name Eric Brooks), but here it's obviously being milked for sounding scary.
  • Killin' , The Dragon to "Black" Jack Pickett in Ghost Rock.
  • The Devil's Mirror features a bloodthirsty sect called the "Bloody Ghouls Clan" as the antagonists.
  • In I Spit on Your Grave sequel Vengeance Is Mine the Anti-Hero eventually falling morally to Villain Protagonist Jennifer Hills uses a pseudonym and at the first group therapy session a man comes up to her to inform her and the audience that the last name she's chosen means "Morning Star". She spends the film luring sinful men (rapists before she starts expanding her scope) to what, for them, is ironic hell.
  • One of the cats featured in Kedi, a documentary about street cats in Istanbul, is called "Psychopath" because she beats the crap out of other cats, not to mention dogs bigger than her. Humans do better not approach her either. She is characterized as the "neighborhood terrorist".
  • Mad Max has many villains with colorful and threatening names, such as "the Toecutter", "Lord Humongus", "MasterBlaster", and "the Immortan Joe"
  • In the 2002 sci-fi film, The Wesley's Mysterious File, the two main villains are a pair of ruthless, parasitic alien bounty hunters named "Kill" and "Rape". They live up to their name as well — both of them are responsible for millions of deaths across the galaxy, and during the film itself both of them left behind entire piles of dead bodies in San Francisco and Hong Kong in the aftermath of their rampage, many of their victims being killed via tentacle penetration.
  • In The Running Man, is it really a mystery that a man with a name like Damon Killian grew up to be the host of a gameshow where unjustly convicted criminals are forced to run a gauntlet while being chased down and brutally murdered by colourfully violent and psychotic hunters?
  • Star Wars:
    • The Sith apprentice from The Phantom Menace is Darth Maul. Guess what he does to his enemies...
    • The head of the Separatists' military forces is called General Grievous. "Grievous" is an adjective that means to cause a great amount of pain or suffering, somewhat fitting for the slaughterer of millions.
  • True Lies: Could have been the page quote:
    Faisal: They call him the Sand Spider.
    Trilby: Why?
    Faisal: Probably because it sounds scary.

  • Arc of a Scythe: Who on Earth would be intimidated by "The Grande Dame of Death", or Scythe Lucifer? Interestingly, neither of these people are the story's antagonists. They are, however, "Scythes"; humans who are assigned to deal out death in an immortal world after the Benevolent A.I. which replaces human government worldwide refuses to bear the responsibility of absolute, infinite death.
  • Bazil Broketail:
    • Mach Ingbok, a cruel despot, was known as the Demon Lord.
    • Waakzaam, the series' Satanic Archetype, is called the Dominator of Twelve Worlds and Lord of Evil.
  • Beesong Chronicles: The monster sealed under the Duchy is called an Apocalypse Spider. The queen of the Shimmerwood apis hive notes that she doesn't want anything to do with a monster with "apocalypse" in its name, and since they're Bee People they're not too fond of the "spider" part either.
  • Bolo: The arm of the Concordiat military responsible for Bolos is affectionately referred to as "Dinochrome Brigade".
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory:
    • Mr. Wonka's corrupt rivals are Prodnose, Ficklegruber, and Slugworth. Prodnose suggests someone who is prodding and nosy — all three were this, utilizing spies to steal recipes from the Wonka factory. The latter two have names that bring disgusting creatures to mind (grubs and slugs) and also have a K sound and a TH ending, respectively. (Also counts as Mister Descriptor.)
    • The Punny Name of the Golden Ticket forger? Charlotte Russe (pronounced ruse), which is also a Shady Name.
  • Cradle Series: The Akura clan names its main family after virtues. However, since Cradle is an Asskicking Leads to Leadership Death World, many of their virtues are things like Fury (a Boisterous Bruiser War God known for personally destroying cities) and their matriarch, Malice.
    Malice's smirk widened into a smile. "Sometimes I wonder if you know me at all, Sesh. Your people destroyed the Rising Earth sect and tried to destroy two more of my teams." Northstrider sensed something in the great distance. The dragon and the lion looked up at the same time. "Did you think that I would let that go?" Malice continued. "Did you think I couldn't reach you?" Her smile widened further into a fierce, maniacal grin. "Did you forget my name?"
  • In Cursed World, the big bad is ultimately revealed to be named Lord Orochi, after the giant eight-branched serpent of Japanese Legend.
  • The Empirium Trilogy: Big Bad Corien (whose angelic name was Kalmaroth) is a genocidal maniac who has no compunctions about using anyone and anything in any way he sees fit so long as doing so benefits him in some way.
  • Ghost In the Noonday Sun: One of the pirates, a Fiji islander, is called Cannibal and is said to be a Scarily Competent Tracker who can trail someone by the smell of meat.
  • If you're wielding a sword in Grent's Fall, you do NOT want to fight the Bladecleaver, as Duke Abel Marnhull found out the hard way.
  • I Did NOT Give That Spider Superhuman Intelligence!: The (unseen) biggest Knight Templar Nominal Heroes in Los Angeles are named Judgment, Inquisition, Winnow (as in separating the wheat from the chaff), and Purity, emphasizing their uncompromising natures and desire to remove the parts of society that they view as corrupt or impure. The bottom-of-the-barrel villains who form a Start X to Stop X alliance with Inquisition and Purity have the equally uninviting names of Executor, Anarchy, and Bad Dog.
  • James Bond: In case the acronym "SPECTRE" didn't do this for you all by itself, what it stands for is "Special Executive for Counterintelligence, Terrorism, Revenge, and Extortion."
  • Knaves on Waves has Carnage, Captain of the Bloodbath. He's about as pleasant as you'd expect.
  • Laszlo Hadron and the Wargod's Tomb: The ominousness of the name "Wargod's Tomb" is repeatedly acknowledged.
    "Now, I don't know what that might have meant to the Sagittarians, but to me it means trouble."
  • The Lord of the Rings:
    • Mordor the Black Land, for one, ruled by the the Dark Lord Sauron, guarded by the Morannon, the Black Gate, and Minas Morgul, the Tower of Sorcery.
    • Deliberately evoked by Tolkien when he designed Orcish and the Black Speech: he wanted everything (including names) to seem furious, discordant, and threatening.
    • A more minor example: Grí­ma Wormtongue. Appropriately, more creepy and insinuating then a direct threat. A bit of a subversion at Wormtongue is a sobriquet given by his enemies. He is properly addressed as Gríma, son of Gálmód.
  • An interesting in-universe example in The Mallorean: when Belgarath tells the Ulgrim (the leader of the Ulgo people) that they're looking for someone named Zandramas, the Ulgrim is shocked. Turns out "Zandramas" is the worst profanity in the Ulgo tongue (with an approximate meaning of "FUBAR"). When Belgarath notes he didn't think Ulgos even knew how to swear, the Ulgrim points out that none of them are going to say that word to him.
  • Miss Ellicott's School for the Magically Minded: Franklin, the Marauder boy that Chantel, Anna, and Bowser meet outside Seven Buttons is apparently on the run from a Marauder known as "Karl the Bloody".
  • In The Pilgrim's Progress our hero is hindered by many by people. These include: Lord Hategood, Giant Despair, Mr. Malice, Mr. Enmity, and Mr. Cruelty. Subtle the book is not.
  • Space Glass: The World Eater, a monster many times larger than the average planet that eats, well, planets. Also, the Marauder, Marvelous Dagon's nigh-invincible and extremely dangerous machine companion.
  • The Witch of Knightcharm: An evil witch has a wolf familiar named Sica, whose name not only sounds like the command that someone uses to order a canine to attack, but is also a type of ancient dagger which was associated with assassins.
  • X-Wing Series: Wraith Squadron is specifically named with this in mind, as its pilots fully intended to turn it into The Dreaded of the Imperial Starfleet.
  • The Yellow Bag has Terrível (Portuguese for "Terrible"), a name fitting for his status as a cockfighting rooster.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The titular character from Blackadder, combining Dark Is Evil and Snakes Are Sinister, is overall an unpleasant individual and not above doing immoral things for his own benefit. Unfortunately for him, he's the Butt-Monkey of the show, and is Laughably Evil.
  • Bones: Subverted with series protagonist Bones (she's a forensic anthropologist, it's her father who's the murderer in the family, and he answers to plain, ordinary "Max Keenan"). Played straight with a variety of criminals including The Gormogon, Arthur Graves, and The Gravedigger. It's Discussed and Lampshaded late in the series, when Cam expresses her opinion that the one they're currently after should be called "Puppito" (Italian for "little puppet"). Booth agrees that "serial killers shouldn't get cool names".
  • Capadocia: Inmate La Saiko. Her name is the word "psycho" in Spanish phonetics. She stalks another inmate, a madam who had been involved in human trafficking, as she reminded La Saiko of her own past. Eventually, la Saiko attacks the madam and bites off a piece of her ear.
  • Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders: The final episode was named after the villain of the week, "The Ripper of Riga," who was a sadistic kidnapper who tortured his victims and even severed one's toe and sent it to the investigators.
  • Doctor Who: The title character has dozens of nicknames given him by his enemies, many of which fall under this trope, including "Fate's Accomplice", "The Vessel of the Final Darkness", "The Evil One", "The Great Scourge", "Shadow-thief", and "The Beast". While the Doctor isn't evil, he's certainly dangerous enough to deserve many of them (especially if you're evil).
  • FUBAR: The paramilitary army and arms dealing syndicate run by the Big Bad is named "Lape Pa Lanmo." Innocuous enough in English. It's actually Haitian Creole for "peace by death."
  • Gladiators (2024): All of the Gladiators use imposing names, but Viper's an antisocial Heel with anger issues who cheats when facing competitors. A snake-in-the-grass name suits him very well.
  • Grey's Anatomy: The doctors have nicknamed the hospital "Seattle Grace Mercy Death" because of their awareness of one's inexplicably likely chances of dying or being seconds from death if you work there. Thankfully it doesn't extend to the patients, who actually have a pretty good survival rate because the (remaining) doctors are really good at saving lives. After the plane crash, Cristina curses it, and Alex refrains from asking a girl out with this excuse, completely seriously.
    Alex: She works here at Seattle Grace Mercy Death. So I'm sure she's pretty much going to go crazy, or get cancer, or be shot by a gunman, or hit by a truck.
  • Grimm: If you know German (and can get past the "Blind Idiot" Translation pain/giggles), then names like Blutbad and Daemonfeuer are this in spades. (Means "Blood Bath" and "Demon Fire" respectively). Some of the other Wesen names are none too cuddly sounding as well.
  • HEX: Azazeal and most of the Nephilim (Baraquel, Araquiel, Sariel, Ramiel). On the good side, Ella Dee, daughter of John Dee.
  • Kamen Rider will often give their villains, including villainous Riders, very intimidating names:
    • In the original Kamen Rider series, the Shocker executives included Dr. Shinigami (aka "Dr. Death"), Ambassador Hell, and General Black.
    • Kamen Rider X fought an organization called the Government of Darkness. Which would be bad enough, but they commonly abbreviated the name to GOD. And two of the group's leaders qualify as well, Apollo Geist and King Dark.
    • Kamen Rider Ryuki, the first series to have villainous Riders, includes Kamen Riders Ohja ("King Snake"), Ryuga ("Dragon Fang", an Evil Counterpart to Ryuki's "Dragon Knight"), and Odin. Ohja also had some of the Mirror Monsters Fusion Dance, creating a beast called Genocider. When adapted for America as Kamen Rider Dragon Knight, most of the replacement names weren't as strong, but Odin's counterpart was named Kamen Rider Wrath.
    • Kamen Rider Den-O included villains in tie-in movies named Kamen Riders Gaoh ("Fang King") and Yuuki ("Miasma"). Yuuki has different forms that aren't named very nicely either, called Skull Form and Hijack Form.
    • Kamen Rider Decade's Sixth Ranger is Kamen Rider Diend, pronounced similar to "the end" and spelled with "die". That said, he's not evil, just a Jerkass.
    • Kamen Rider Double features "Dopant" monsters based on different random concepts, with the Terror Dopant as the Big Bad and the Taboo Dopant as one of his main Dragons. Plus there's the show's Final Boss the Utopia Dopant and tie-in film villain Kamen Rider Eternal, who both have way-too-grandiose A God Am I-style names.
    • Kamen Rider Gaim has several one-shot villainous Riders in tie-ins, including Mars (a war god, and can also be read in Japanese as "Malus", Latin for "evil"), Jam ("Evil Warrior"), Tyrant, and a stage show has Maja ("Demon Snake").
    • In Kamen Rider Ex-Aid, the Big Bad is Kamen Rider Cronus, named for the leader of the Titans and father of the Olympian gods in Greek mythology, as well as Chronos the personification of time. In addition, the nastiest monster at his disposal is Gamedeus ("Game God"). The series also has Parado aka Kamen Rider Para-DX; with both his names based on "paradox" as something that shouldn't exist.
    • Kamen Rider Build: The main villains at the beginning went by the names Blood Stalk and Night Rogue. And then later on, Utsumi went insane and became a Kamen Rider with a variation on Night Rogue's powers; and he was aptly named Kamen Rider MadRogue. A post-series movie also features the Omnicidal Maniac Kamen Rider Killbus.
    • The evil future self of Kamen Rider Zi-O is Ohma Zi-O, with "Ohma" derived from both Maou the Demon King and "ohmagatoki", the twilight hour when evil spirits appear.
    • Kamen Rider Zero-One:
      • The main villains are the group (""), and each of its members takes one of the kanji in the name as their personal and Rider name. While the ones named after "Thunderclap" aren't so bad (Jin and Ikazuchi, meaning "Quick" and "Thunder"), the other two members have the names Horobi and Naki — "Destroy" and "Death".
      • A post-series movie uses heavy religious imagery, with Kamen Rider Eden as the main threat leading an army of Kamen Rider Abaddon Mooks ("Abbadon" being either a bottomless pit, or an angel who commands a locust swarm). One of the Abaddons then goes rogue and steals Eden's powers, becoming Kamen Rider Lucifer.
    • Kamen Rider Revice, themed around the Deal with the Devil, has several Riders with demonic names:
      • One half of the duo that make up Revice is Kamen Rider Vice, as in the opposite of virtue (but also referring to him being Revi's second; the show's Vice-Rider). Though as one of the title characters, he mellows into an Anti-Hero pretty quickly.
      • One particularly on-the-nose name is Kamen Rider Evil, though to be fair it's part of a Sdrawkcab Name pun — it's a Jekyll & Hyde situation, and his good side is named Kamen Rider Live.
      • After Evil comes Kamen Rider Demons. Ironically, Demons is completely heroic, but there's a reason he has such a dark name: the powers were designed for, and later briefly claimed by, a villain. The hero Demons was just a test subject.
      • The villain of the movie is Kamen Rider Daimon.
    • Kamen Rider Geats has Fallen Hero Keiwa Sakurai, who uses the Bujin Sword buckle starting from episode 42. "Bujin Sword" roughly translates to "War God Sword", perfectly encapsulating Keiwa's more brutal fighting style and manipulative tendencies brought about by a thirst for vengeance, which Buffa learns the hard way.
    • The initial villains of Kamen Rider Gotchard are the Three Sisters of Darkness, with "Darkness" involving a kanji that refers to the underworld. And when they create an Evil Knockoff of Gotchard, they give it the oh-so-friendly name Kamen Rider Dread.
  • Killing Eve: The show's antagonist is a female villain, a psychopathic assassin, who answers to the codename Villanelle.
  • Leverage: The Butcher of Kyiv.
    Hardison: Have you ever been to Kyiv? The Cakemaker of Kyiv could whoop all our asses! This is the butcher.
  • MacGyver (1985): the fraternity of killers-for-hire that Big Bad Murdoc belongs to is called "HIT." Stands for "Homicide International Trust."
  • One Foot in the Grave: Victor is justifiably nervous about performing a cheesy ventriloquist's act for the same audience that came to watch rock bands such as 'Anthrax Attack' and 'Orphanage Explosion'. Subverted when the audience and even the grungy band-members themselves are shown enjoying his act immensely.
  • Quite a few Super Sentai villains have these kinds of names.
  • Walker, Texas Ranger: The show's villains have plenty of these to go around.

  • Hero Club: The Rift Rats's King Thor's-beard-ravens-wolf. His name involves Norse myths and powerful mystical animals, and rules over a race of brutal and powerful aliens. These aliens eat and might be made of plutonium, snort giant killer insects for fun, and routinely kill and enslave people they come across. He also captains a very big and dangerous spaceship, and is an arch-enemy of a Flash Gordon-like hero, Bravus Boss

    Tabletop Games 
  • Aberrant:
    • A lot of them exist, but Totentanz comes to mind most readily. Translated from German, his alias means "The Dance of Death". Fitting, considering he's a Nova mercenary with absolutely monstrous fighting abilities.
    • Divis Mal means something along the lines of "Wicked God".
  • Cyberpunk gave us Adam Smasher. While a Punny Name based on atom smashers (nowadays called partcle accelerators), Smasher is a dreaded Psycho for Hire who enjoys smashing people to death for his sheer sadism.
  • Lancer has many mechs and weapons with names that are disconcerting: the Balor, a giant mech made of a massive swarm of nanites; the Barbarossa's Apocalypse Rail, a weapon made for capital ships being used on an infantry/mech scale; and, most concerning, the TBK, a weapon system so horrific that its only implied via flavor text, and stands for Total Biome Kill. HORUS, an unorthodox and mysterious manufacturer, manages to dip into it with the actual systems their mechs have, with things like the Calendula's "Execration of the Names of the Unworthy Dead" and the Manticore packing "Destruction of the Temple of the Enemies of RA" and the ever-infamous "Castigate The Enemies of the Godhead"
  • Planescape features The Lady of Pain. She is every bit as terrifying and vicious as the name implies, but not in a malicious or sadistic way—she simply doesn't want your worship, your gratitude, or your attention. You still don't want to cross her, because at best she will place you in an endless maze of corridors...alone, for centuries. If she feels compelled to do worse, she will simply employ her other preferred method of solving problems: peeling you like a banana. As infamously stated by Noah Antwiler, "Thou Shalt Not Fuck with The Lady of Pain."
  • Shadowrun gives us the Deathspiral Butterfly. In short, it injects its eggs into living people, who then proceed to eat them from the inside out. To make matters worse, it injects a painkiller that masks its presence, so you don't know they're there until it's too late.
  • Warhammer 40,000 has plenty, but one standout is the Imperial Guard's Death Korps of Krieg. Not only are they a bunch of Gas Mask Mooks (with all the anonymity and indoctrination it implies), they're all psychotically loyal to the Emperor and do their fighting down in the muck of trenches—bayonets, shovels, and flamethrowers are the order of the day among the Korps. It's not an exaggeration to say that Kriegers will die for the Emperor and will take their enemies with them. They especially hate heretics, so any Chaos worshippers or rebel factions are best advised to leave if they hear a Death Korps regiment has been called in.

  • Transformers: The Decepticons being the bad guys (or in some media, the least morally ethical side) often have threatening or violent-sounding naming conventions, such as Bludgeon, Onslaught, Ravage, Bonecrushernote  or Deathsaurus. Megatron himself is named after megaton units.

    Video Games 
  • Action 52: Satan Hosain, the apparent main antagonist of Storm over the Desert.
  • AI War: Fleet Command features the Hunter/Killer as one of the strongest units that the AI will deploy against you. It can quickly destroy any static defenses you set up, and can just as easily demolish most super-weapons you can bring to bear upon it. The sequel introduces its more powerful brothers, the Hunter/Seeker, and the Hunter/Annihilator.
Extremely powerful AI Guardian that specializes in destroying all traces of human civilization.
AI Hunter/Killer description
  • Awakening: Dreadmyre. It's a twist, though, in that the original Dreadmyre - Patrick Dreadmyre, the royal magician - was a really nice guy.
  • Baldur's Gate III: The player character known as The Dark Urge suffers from uncontrollable murderous impulses. And you can, as The Dark Urge, introduce yourself to people as that too.
  • Battle Fantasia: The Big Bad of the game is a knight known as "Deathbringer". The final boss of the game is his One-Winged Angel form, named "End of Deathbringer".
  • Bloodwash: The antagonist is a serial killer called "The Womb Ripper", because they murder pregnant women, disembody them, then murder their unborn babies too.
  • Densetsu no Stafy 3: You don't get any more blatant than with a powerful villain named Evil.
  • Dr. Malcolm Betruger, the Big Bad of Doom³, has the double-whammy of having both a "Mal" name (which means "bad" in Latin) and a last name that means "deceiver" or "trickster" in German and which sounds a lot like "betrayer". He's a demon cultist who is not only responsible for the demon invasion in this continuity, but plans to bring Hell to Earth.
  • Drakensang: The game's plot revolves around the elder dragon Umbracor The Destroyer, a name that'd certainly qualify for this trope even if it wasn't attached to a near godlike dragon of nigh-infinite destructive power. It's a subversion, though...while Umbracor is certainly capable of world-ending destruction, he is actually a force of balance and only strikes down those whose power becomes so great that it threatens the fabric of reality itself. His actual role in the game is that of Sealed Good in a Can.
  • The Elder Scrolls: The Daedric Prince, Molag Bal. His name in old Aldmeris means "Fire Stone", in addition to his other titles; "Lord of Darkness", "The Hated One", "Harvester of Souls", "Prince of Schemes", "Lord of the Undead", "King of Corruption", and "The King of Rape".
  • Fable: The protagonist can pick an ominous name like "Reaper" or "Assassin" from the Title Vendor, but special mention goes to "Necromancer", which can only be earned through repeated Human Sacrifice to the God of Evil. Nearby NPCs sometimes make fearful comments about the implications of such a name.
  • Fallout:
    • Deathclaws are huge genetically-engineered lizard monsters that can rip apart anyone who gets on their bad side.
    • Fallout: New Vegas has a Subversion in Mean Sonofabitch, a Super Mutant who protects the city of Westside. He is just as strong and powerful as a Super Mutant can be and not someone to trifle with, but is also a Gentle Giant to those who help maintain the peace in his hometown.
  • Fears, an obscure, mostly-terrible 90s FPS for the Amiga, has it's main villain, Dr. Bloodheart.
  • Golden Axe: The Big Bad of the game is Death Adder, a war lord who steals the titular weapon and uses it to go on a conquest of Yuria, causing particular devastation to the Firewood Kingdom, killing family members of the three protagonists in the process. The console ports introduced a new character with an even more intimidating name, Death Bringer. While Bringer is much less defined as a character, the main known thing is that he's the Man Behind the Man for Adder, making him the true cause of all the horror Yuria has gone through.
  • Kirby:
  • Max Blaster and Doris de Lightning Against the Parrot Creatures of Venus: The evil overlords Captain Dotar Sojat can consider selling his microchips to are Ivan the Implacable, Racquelle the Ruthless, and Undor the Unkind.
  • Nex, a boss in RuneScape, strikes fear into the gods herself. Her name even translates to "violent death" in Latin.
  • Ristar: The game's main villain, Kaiser Greedy, doesn't have a name that screams "good ruler", trying to take over the titular character's home solar system.
  • River City Ransom: The Plague gang has several members named after sharp and painful things, or diseases. In the NES version these include "Blaze, Edge, Slash, Snake, Sting", and in the GBA remake these include "Edge, Pox, Sars".
  • In Splatoon 3, there is a King Salmonid that's a mixture of a dragon and an eel, named the Horrorboros. It flies around the stage launching colossal bombs from an apparatus in its mouth, and just wait until you hear its howling screams.
  • World of Horror has a fair number of Eldritch Abominations with names befitting their terrifying nature, including "Goizo, the Thing Forsaken by God" and "Ithotu, the Devouring Flame". Special mentions goes to a unique enemy encounter known simply as "Something Truly Evil".
  • World of Warcraft: Given the game's love of ham and cheese, you can find plenty of names like this.
    • Archlich Kel'Thuzad. After being rejected by the Kirin Tor for studying necromancy, he discovered the recently-created Lich King and formed the Cult of the Damned, a group that worshipped the Scourge and sought to become undead themselves. He would later be killed then resurrected as a powerful lich. It does get a bit weird when you learn that his actual birthname really is Kel'Thuzad, no surname or anything.
    • Deathwing the Destroyer, the Aspect of Death. He used to be known as Neltharion, but gave that whole elaborate title to himself after going insane and betraying his fellow dragons. For bonus points, the night elves call him Xaxas.
      • Black dragons in general tend to have needlessly evil names, like Onyxia, Nefarian, and Sinestra. They're almost always servants of the Old Gods, but even good guys follow this, so apparently that's just their MO. Hearthstone even berates you for trusting a guy calling himself "Lord Victor Nefarious", who was actually Nefarian in disguise.
    • Ragnaros the Firelord, the Elemental Lord of Fire whose both an Omnicidal Maniac and a Bad Boss to the minions he has. After being killed, he was replaced by the (comparatively) heroic and nicer-sounding Smolderon the Firelord.
    • Out of all the normal-sounding places in Stormwind, there's one rundown pub in the Magic Quarter named "The Slaughtered Lamb". This is where all the Warlock trainers practice in secret.
    • There's a hundred thousand one-note Dungeon bosses that have badass names to let you know how serious they are. Bloodmage Thalnos? Admiral Ripsnarl? Mutanus the Devourer? None of these bosses are higher than level 30.

    Web Animation 
  • Shrapnel: Reznya’s name means massacre in Russian.
  • Parodied in Strong Bad Email episode dangeresque3 where, in Strong Bad's (very) amateur action movie, Strong Mad plays the henchman with the most threatening name ever, Killingyouguy!
  • Animator vs. Animation: Names have power, literally. A stick figure created by the Animator would be given a name, and their strength and power would be equal to how badass their name sounds. A character named Victim would be a weak, throwaway character, meant only to be killed, while characters named The Chosen One or The Dark Lord would be powerful enough to destroy the world—or save it.

  • Awful Hospital has Harmburger, a giant, rotting hamburger who works as a chef and mascot for Lethal Eatery Fleshcorp Tissue Recombinators Unlimited.
  • Beyond the End has Rig, Ore, and their owner, Mortis - Rigor Mortis. Rig and Ore are two hellhounds, while Mortis is a demon employed by Lucifer to bring Hal back.
  • El Goonish Shive has Pandora Chaos Raven. "Younger" immortals tend to give themselves pretentious names, which, given that she's not young, says a lot about her personality. Although in her defense, she did originally want to call herself "Box", but no one got the reference.
  • Gaia: Bhaal, a Demon God. Seemingly subverted with Lili—her full name is Lilith, but to all appearances she's the nicest person in the comic. At least until we learn she's destined to destroy the world. And then it's subverted again when it turns out that both Bhaal and Gaia are Jerkass Gods and Lilith's destruction of their influence is a good thing.
  • Humanity Lost: General Deicide started out commanding an army of mutated humans engaged in a war of conquest against the alien races. Then he and his army mutinied, and joined the aliens, so now someone else needs to run away really fast.
  • Kill Six Billion Demons has a few characters. Mathanga Ten Meti's proper name is "Murder The Gods And Topple Their Thrones", an angel named "6 Juggernaut Star Scours The Universe" and Allison's proper name, "Kill Six Billion Demons".
  • Paranatural: The rather sadistic and creepy-looking vice principal of Mayview Middle school, who basically runs the whole thing while Principal Pleezdoo is too meek to contradict, is revealed to be named Devilora Demonelle DuNacht. The fact that this is revealed when she is revealed to also be in cahoots with some dangerous spirits just make it evident she's more than just a Sadist Teacher.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
    • The incomprehensibly old and insane Oafan AI in charge of an ancient space station is named "T'kkuts Afa," which is translated as "Broken Wind." This is not a fart joke. The word "t'kkkuts" is an Oafa curse, denoting something broken or destructive. Afa means "wind," and has religious connotations, such as "unmoved mover" and "God." So while a literal translation of her name is "Broken Wind," a more useful one is "Angry God."
    • Later, an ancient Oafan librarian finds the translation "Broken Wind" inappropriate, but also lacking - The word "Wind" lacks the mysticism it implies to the Oafa, and "Broken" isn't violent enough. He suggests an alternative: "Breath Weapon".
    • Captain Kevyn's girlfriend breaks up with him over his invention of a new type of teraport: Something to teraport someone's mind directly into virtual reality, leaving their corpse behind. Petey tells him that ancient civilizations referred to this as a "soulgig." Kevyn notes that doesn't sound too bad. The bartender notes he clearly hasn't seen a fishgig — a brutal multi-pronged spear that very painfully rips fish out of the water.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • Demon lords, and/or demon aristocracy, automatically seem to have names suggestive of nasty things, such as Lord Horribus. Eventually we even see several demons promoted to aristocracy and having their names upgraded this way — Horribus used to be called Horb.
    • In "KITTEN", the mysterious killer is at first only known as "The Evil". (This is explained to be because someone named it after his mother.) It turns out to be a litter of indestructible murder kittens fathered by Satan.
    • The sisters Monicruel and Slaughteresa are both hardened criminals.

    Web Original 
  • A really dangerous item in The Backrooms which gives people a Fate Worse than Death when they drink it is called Liquid Pain. LIQUID. PAIN. Take one look at that name and tell us that’s safe to drink.
  • The above mentioned may be a reference to the anti-meme of Bone-Hurting Juice. Why would anyone want to drink it is anyone's guess.
  • Jenny Everywhere's archnemesis and Evil Counterpart, Jenny Nowhere, usually depicted as every bit the walking embodiment of nihilism that the name implies.

    Western Animation 
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Long Feng, the corrupt leader of Ba Sing Se's secret police force, the Dai Li. His name translates from Chinese as "dragon phoenix". Bonus points for history nuts: Dai Li, also known as "China's Himmler", was the head of the Blue Shirts Society in the 1930s.
  • Duck Dodgers: Queen Tyr'anhnee (pronounced like the word "tyranny"), ruler of the Martian invaders who is feared by the people of Earth. Ironically, she does command respect from her people, so it's a subversion.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • Babysitter from Hell Vicky; as both Timmy and Wanda note, her name is the term "icky" with a V.
    • Mark Chang's Ax-Crazy fiancee Princess Mandie (pronounced Man-DIE).
  • Moon Girl and Devil Dinosaur (2023): Devil Dinosaur is an intimidating name already, but that’s actually tamer than his true name: "Terrifying Fire Beast Who Will Bring About The End Of All Things".
  • Star Wars: The Clone Wars has several villains.
    • Savage Oppress, the brute who is Maul's brother and just as bad as him.
    • One of the Separatist generals is called Whorm Loathsom, and he is indeed a vile man who isn't above killing civilians.
    • Cad Bane the bounty hunter. Cad is someone who disrespects women, bane refers to destruction, and this bounty hunter is extremely ruthless.
    • The name of the reactionary terrorist group trying to end Mandalorian democracy and restore a military dictatorship is "Death Watch."
  • Star Trek: Lower Decks has D'Vana Tendi, a bubbly and good-natured Ensign (later Lieutenant J.G.). On her home world of Orion, she's known as Mistress of the Winter Constellations, Prime daughter of the fifth largest criminal syndicate and trained from birth to be a ruthless assassin. Because Orion culture is still kind of a mystery to the Federation, and because Tendi mostly keeps quiet about it, her friends and crewmates in Starfleet don't think much of it. When she's around other Orions though, they crap their pants in fear because they know how important she is and what she's capable of.
  • W.I.T.C.H.: The Big Bad of Season 1 (and the last few episodes of Season 2), Prince Phobos, the evil ruler of Meridian who usurped the throne from his sister. His name comes from the Greek God/Personification of Fear, Phobos, which is still the Greek word for fear. And his people fear him, that's for sure.
  • Wunschpunsch has the evil but incompetent Tyrannia and Bubonic.
  • Ugly Americans: Twayne Boneraper, despite considered being wimpy for a demon, is scary and dangerous whenever he's angry (or horny). He's even perfectly capable of using the forces of Hell to conquer the world with the proper motivation.

    Real Life 
  • Military leaders will often get a nickname that can fit this, like "Stormin' Norman" Schwarzkopf or "Mad Dog" Mattis.
  • When professional wrestlers aren't using their real name, they often have names like this. You'd want to run away too if you heard you were fighting people called Hulk Hogan, André the Giant, Fray Tormenta ("Friar Tempest"), or The Undertaker. This is more common with heel wrestlers, of course (and keep in mind that Hogan did start as one, which is why he's named after a giant, destructive monster). One particularly famous inversion is Ricky Steamboat, who was born Richard Blood, but was too nice to be able to live up to his birth name. Also, Fray Tormenta was a técnico (the Mexican equivalent of a face) for most if not all of his in-ring career
  • Finnish all-around badass and hero of the Battle of Kollaa Aarne Juutilainen earned the nickname "The Terror of Morocco" after serving there with the French Foreign Legion.
    • There was also his countryman Simo Häyhä, "the White Death".
  • Oda Nobunaga obtained the sobriquet “Demon King of the Sixth Heaven”.note  Works featuring him will sometimes make him a literal demon or other supernatural being.
  • Particularly beloved military vehicles will also often get a dangerous nickname - for example, the highly-agile, extremely well-armed General Dynamics F-16 is officially called Fighting Falcon, but its pilots almost universally refer to it as the 'Viper.'
  • A vehicle whose nickname is more of a warning than an intimidation is the NASA airplane used for zero gravity training, "Vomit Comet", meaning the easily nauseated better not even apply.
  • Quite a few names of dinosaurs (and other prehistoric animals) count as this, including Deinonychus ("terrible claw"), Deinosuchus ("terrible crocodile"), Megalodon ("great tooth") and, of course, Tyrannosaurus rex ("tyrant-lizard king").
  • While most poisonous plants and mushrooms get a Fluffy the Terrible name, some of them get names that reflect their toxic nature. Some prime examples:
    • Cerbera odollam, known as the suicide tree for the use of its seeds in homicide and suicide.
    • Galerina marginata, known as the funeral bell or deadly skullcap for containing the same liver and kidney destroying amatoxins found in the Death Cap, Amanita phalloides and the Destroying Angel, Amanita bisporigera. Yes, those two mushrooms fall under this trope as well.
    • Digitalis species are sometimes known as "Dead Man's Bells" or "Witch's Gloves" in reference to their toxicity.
    • Death camas are a group of very similar looking flowering plants that are highly toxic and are sometimes mistaken for edible camas with dangerous or even lethal results.
    • Excoecaria agallocha is an unremarkable looking mangrove tree with severely irritating and toxic sap that can cause blindness. Hence its common names of blind-your-eye mangrove, blinding tree, poisonfish tree, and river poison tree.
    • Manchineel trees are named from Spanish for "little apple", because their fruit look like small apples. But a longer Spanish name for the trees is "manzanilla de la muerte" or "little apple of death". The trees are so poisonous that even standing under one in a rainstorm can blister skin.
  • The great grey shrike is a rather adorable grey and black songbird with the scientific name being Lanius excubitor, literally translating to sentinel butcher. Look closer, and you'll notice its hooked beak, and things start to become a little bit clearer. As they regularly impale their prey - both to eat it more easily, as they're meat eaters but lack the talons birds of prey use to hold their food, but also to store it for later consumption - it's not that hard to see where it comes from.
  • An alternative name for Anatoxin-a is "Very Fast Death Factor". Predictably, it's a neurotoxin that kills you within minutes.
  • Africanized bees are a notorious hybrid breed of honey bee that are colloquially known as "killer bees", a moniker they earned for being so fiercely defensive of their hives that they will chase perceived threats for hundreds of meters and attack with such ferocity that they have been known to kill humans and animals alike.
  • The last stretch of the Appalachian Trail, a hiking trail in America running from Georgia to Maine, is called the "Hundred Mile Wilderness". As the name suggests, it's a one hundred mile stretch of wilderness with no way to replenish your supplies therein: no towns, no outposts, nothing. Signs leading into the trail warn you that you should not attempt this trek without at least ten days worth of supplies on hand, and your chances of being found and rescued in the event of a serious injury are, at best, remote.
  • As a young man, Ramesses II owned a pet lion who even fought alongside him at the Battle of Kadesh. That lion's name? Slayer of His Foes.
  • The Vandal tribe, who famously sacked Rome and plundered the Mediterranean, is a retroactive example as they were so destructive that the very word "vandal" was named after them.
  • There's an infamous stretch of the River Wharfe known as the Strid, sometimes called "a river on its side" for being only two meters wide but five meters deep. What's more, the banks are undercut, so if you fall in you're not climbing back out. "Strid" comes from the Old English "stryh"... which means turmoil.
  • Murder, Inc.: The Trope Namer is a real life group of gangsters that did contract killings for The Mafia and Kosher Nostra in the 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s. Slightly downplayed in that the moniker was given to them by journalists rather than themselves.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Names To Run Away From, Names To Run Away From Very Fast, Names To Run From Really Fast, Name To Run Away From Really Fast, Name To Run Away From


MacArthur's dogs

MacArthur's dogs are all vicious Dobermans with intimidating names... and then there's Booger, who is a vicious chihuahua with a silly name.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / RightHandAttackDog

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