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Never Given a Name

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Can you say Parental Favoritism?

Dick Tracy: You got a name?
Kid: Kid.
Tracy: Kid?
Kid: Kid.
Tracy: What's the name your mother and father gave you?
Kid: What mother and father?
Tracy: Who takes care of you?
Kid: Who takes care of you?

This trope is about a character who usually has some nickname, serial number, or title they go by, but they're missing a birth name, and may even lack an adopted name. If someone with I Know Your True Name magic shows up, this character is immune to their powers. They were never given a "proper" name. Discovering this lack of naming is an important characterization moment. Any race with No Need for Names incorporates a lack of naming into their culture by their very nature. Abusive/neglectful parents in other societies may 'forget' to name their child.

This is not about characters whose personal names are merely absent from the work; No Name Given addresses that concept. This trope is often, not always, followed by the other characters insisting on a name that fits. While a full Naming Ceremony is generally unlikely to happen, the nameless character may adopt a name that reflects their new life. Also possible is that the nameless character refuses the name given to them.

This is a subtrope to The Nameless, because the character didn't have a name, even if they are given a name later. Compare No Name Given, where the work doesn't reveal the character's name, although their parents presumably gave them one.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Absolute Boyfriend, Night initially didn't have a name, because he's a synthetic "human". So Riiko called him Night, by shortening the "Nightly series" printed on his box.
  • Berserk: The ghost child (implied to be Guts and Casca's child) remains nameless because they are The Voiceless and were never properly given a name upon their "birth."
    • The Egg of the Perfect World, when he was human, was rejected by his family and town for his deformities, and thus never had a name.
  • Black Butler:
    • Demons have no names: the ones they sport like "Sebastian" are names given for convenience by their masters, and they will drop them after the latter die.
    • Finnian had never been given a name prior to meeting Ciel. Being given a name was so important to him, it led to his Declaration of Protection for Ciel.
    • After the death of Joker and the rest of the performers in Noah's Ark, the story reveals that "Joker" was a stage name and he was never given any other, because he never had any family to care for him before the (now dead) Circus members, who likely had similar stories. The anime subverts this for Beast, whose shinigami documents declare her real name to be "Mally", implying she had a family at some point in her life.
  • Bleach:
    • Kenpachi Zaraki had no name growing up, the district of his origin being filled with people little better than animals. After discovering Yachiru Kusajishi, a toddler who also had no name, he decided to name both of them and started his journey to the Seireitei. It is eventually revealed that Yachiru was actually the spirit of Kenpachi's Zanpakuto all along, meaning her real name is Nozarashi.
    • In Bleach: Fade to Black, Homura and Shizuku spent their entire lives without names. Rukia gives them their names as they are dying.
  • In the backstory of Blood+, Diva was raised differently from her twin Saya as an experiment. While Saya was given a loving home and the best care possible, Diva was locked in a tower and not given so much as a name. When Saya meets her, she gives her the name Diva.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, Kanao's Abusive Parents thought so little of their children that she was never given a name, like all her siblings; when Kanao was properly adopted by the Kocho sisters, she was given the name Kanao Tsuyuri. The extras within Volume 19 reveal it was Kanao herself who came up with her name, choosing from several suggestions of given and family names presented to her.
  • In Food Wars!, the reason Akira Hayama has a Japanese name despite being from an unknown South Asian nation is that he was a nameless orphan before being adopted by Jun in late childhood.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Father's process to create homunculi was repeated many times. Many of the candidates were raised from children without being given names by their parents.
  • The Zashiki Warashi twins in Hozuki's Coolheadedness have no names of their own, having never needed them before. They're Invisible to Normals and only ever used "you" or something similar when addressing one another. Once they begin living with Hozuki in Hell, whose denizens can see and interact with them just fine, they ask for their own names. After a few go rounds, Hozuki and Momotaro discuss how boys are often named by birth order with things like Ichiro and Jiro and how this often isn't done with girls. This prompts Hozuki to name the black haired twin "Ichiko", because she is generally the one to speak first, and the white haired girl "Niko".
  • In Hunter × Hunter, the Chimera Ant King abandoned his dying mother, the Queen, immediately after he was born; as his Character Development went on, however, he became human enough to be bothered by his lack of a name. One of Netero's subordinates heard her name the King 'Meryem' before she died and relayed that information to Netero. He lates uses this to goad the King into a fight, offering to tell him his name if he could get Netero to admit defeat.
  • In Inuyasha, Sesshomaru did not see any point in naming his two-headed beast of burden, once Rin spends time with it she does and gives it the name Ah-Un.
  • In Kenichi: The Mightiest Disciple, Shigure Kosaka's father raised her to be a warrior, but did not bother to give her a name. When she was 14, her friend Akisame named her after learning she did not have a name.
  • The title heroine of Madlax was abandoned in a warzone as a child and never had a proper name. "Madlax" is just a codename she picked for herself growing up.
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha StrikerS: In one of the Sound Stages, it is revealed that Agito wasn't given a name until Lutecia gave her one. Her full name is "Name no 37, Agito". Though that may have been Lutecia's attempt at a joke.
  • Trowa Barton from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing was separated from his family as a baby and raised by a band of mercenaries, who never named him. He remains nameless his entire life until the eve of Operation Meteor, when he lifts the moniker of the man originally trained to pilot the Gundam Heavyarms. After Endless Waltz, he considers himself nameless once more, until his friends convince him to keep it. Early on in the show, it's demonstrated that he still hasn't fully accepted the new name:
    Trowa: Battle Record 001, pilot's name... let's go with Trowa.
    Trowa: I don't have a name. If you must call me something, call me Trowa Barton.
    • Eventually, as later works in the same universe show, Trowa reunited with his long lost sister, and rediscovered his birthname: Triton Bloom
  • My Roommate is a Cat: Haru and her siblings started out as stray cats, and hence didn't get a name before getting adopted by their respective humans.
  • The Trigun manga has Legato Bluesummers, who spent years without a name as a sex slave. They were about ten years old when Knives rescued them, and he allowed Legato to name himself.

    Audio Play 
  • In Big Finish Doctor Who 131, "Survival of the Fittest" the Vrill have no names until the Doctor names them "Rose" and "Lily".

    Comic Books 
  • Estranged is about both parties in a Changeling Tale. While the fairy-raised-by-humans goes by "Edmund", the human Edmund was simply called "the Childe" by everyone in the Fay court. He's a little annoyed that his Golem servant, Whick, was deemed name-worthy while he wasn't. Eventually, he returns to his birth family and becomes "Ed(mund)" while fairy-Edmund returns to the World Below and uses his birth name, Cinder.
  • In Hellblazer, the Beast was a denizen of Eden who refused to be named by Adam. It hated the idea of being defined, and thus limited, by man. As a result, the Beast became a powerful spirit who lacked a body to call its own who is dedicated to wiping out humanity.
  • In Immortal Iron Fist, the ninja-servant girl who is Orson Randall's daughter was never named, due to rather restricted freedoms caused by her society's caste system. According to her, she'll have made a name for herself by the time Danny sees her again.
  • L.E.G.I.O.N. (DC Comics): Stealth was abandoned by her people and refused a name for being an aberration, her future teammates gave her the name Stealth when they met her in prison as a young adult.
  • In The Man, the title character claims not to have a real name.
  • Tin's girlfriend in Metal Men isn't given a proper name and is often called "Nameless".
  • In Saga, Sophie the Slave Girl's name was given to her by The Will when he rescued her. Prior to that, she had no name.
  • Stanley and His Monster: In the Post-Crisis reboot by Phil Foglio (consisting of an origins issue and a miniseries), it's explicitly established that the monster doesn't have a name, so Stanley just calls them "Spot".
  • Superboy (1994): While Superboy had a designation prior to Kal-El bestowing a name on him it was never treated as a name and Kon never responded to it since those using it considered him disposable property rather than an individual. When Superman finally gave him a name after he'd been acting as a superhero for well more than a year Kon cried with joy, as it reaffirmed him as a person with his own rights and the name placed him firmly in Superman's own family.
  • X-23: X-23 wasn't named at all, until Sarah Kinney names her Laura in the very last pages of X-23: Innocence Lost #6. She was thirteen years old before she was given a name other than her Facility codename/designation.

    Comic Strips 
  • The Scamp newspaper comic makes the odd decision to state the fact that Lady and Tramp never got around to giving Scamp's siblings names. The comic runs for two months before they decide to address this fact and actually start naming them.
  • As in the film version, the Kid in Dick Tracy doesn't have a name until Dick adopts him and he becomes Dick Tracy Jr. In a later story, he learns that his birth parents called him Jackie Steele.

  • The Bridge:
    • According to Xenilla, Destroyah never chose a name for herself and doesn't care. The others just refer to her as Destroyah out of convenience. However, considering how upset she gets when the Cutie Mark Crusaders don't pronounce it right, she's accepted Destroyah as her name.
    • Since Gyaos are mostly nothing but mindless predators, none of them have names. Averted when the Albino Hyper Gyaos is eventually named Irys by Sunset Shimmer in reference to her pearl-hued irises, which she accepts.
    • In the spin-off The Bridge: Humanity's Stand, the creature from Godzilla (2014) says that he has no name. For the sake of identification, the others may call him Gojira if they wish, a nickname that the ancient people called him.
  • In The Duskyverse story, Evil's Twilight, the antagonist is a very ancient, body-snatching spirit. As far as Celestia and Luna can tell, it has no name, so they just call it Nameless.
  • One character in the Triptych Continuum's lack of name appears to be deliberate — and possibly a way of getting past the suspected power of names as applied to destiny in Equestria. They are sometimes called simply her.
    "No name! Names limit! Name not earned! Never name now!"
  • Glitched Miko AU: M-2 has only ever had a designation rather than a real name. Miko decides to call her Meico similar to her own name. Which she does since M-2 is her exact double.
  • God Slaying Blade Works: When Shirou kills Perseus, his new Authority grants him control of the god's Pegasus. The Pegasus had never been given a name but Shirou decided to call him Snow. This had the unintended consequence of allowing Snow to gain sentience.

    Films — Animated 
  • The human infant from Ice Age gets rescued by Manny the woolly mammoth and Sid the sloth. They then spend most of the movie trying to return it to the tribe. The child's parents speak only in monosyllable grunts, so if one of these is the child's name, it's not apparent. The end credits fail to list the baby, so no help there.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Babe: The young pig protagonist wasn't named by his mother, she simply called him and her other piglets Babe as a term of endearment. When the sheepdog Fly adopts him, she makes that his name.
  • The Black Stork: This is probably the case with the Leffingwells' deformed infant, as he's never referred to as anything other than "the Leffingwell child" or just "he."
  • This is lampshaded in Dick Tracy with the character Kid (see the page quote), but ultimately defied when Kid gives himself the name, "Dick Tracy, Jr."
  • The Force Awakens: FN-2187, a stormtrooper who defected from the First Order, has been a soldier since childhood and was never given a name. When escaping with the Rebel pilot Poe, he's given the name Finn.
  • In the Guardians of the Galaxy series, Rocket was not given a name by his creators, who merely assigned him the designation "Subject 89P13."
  • John Wick: John hasn't named the dog by John Wick: Chapter 2, just saying "boy" when talking to it.
  • In King Arthur (2004), Lovable Sex Maniac Bors has so many children that he doesn't bother naming them, instead identifying them by the order in which they were born.
  • The Matrix: The human protagonists (like Neo) who were "unplugged" from the matrix as adults use their Hacker aliases as names, since none of them consider things that are created in the Matrix to be "real". Only the "freeborn" humans of Zion have names given at birth.
  • Victor Frankenstein: Prior to adopting the identity of Igor Strausman, the main protagonist didn't have a name, and the circus simply referred to him as "The Hunchback."

  • Arthurian Legend: Lancelot did not have a name until he was 18. Vivian, who raised him, simply called him "My son".

  • In Artemis Fowl, juvenile demons or imps are not given a real name until they go through puberty or 'warp'. One Imp who has taken unusually long to warp is only referred to as "N°1". It's eventually revealed he's a Demon Warlock so his body doesn't physically warp, but despite this revelation he decides to keep N°1 as his actual name for the rest of the series.
  • Late in the The Black Company, the character "Tobo" is introduced. Due to the customs of the culture he hails from, a child's true name can only be chosen when both (or at least all living) parents come together and choose one. His father is stuck in a magical prison, meaning he has no real name, just the nickname his mother gave him. This is very important, as "Tobo" is a wizard, and I Know Your True Name is the primary weakness of wizards in the Black Company universe.
  • Brennus: Macian has no name when introduced, not even a codename. He never needed one. When Henry insists on one, he picks the codename Macian, which means 'Maker'. Henry then helps him pick one for his younger sister. He picks Amanda.
  • The hero in Castaways of the Flying Dutchman starts out with no name and eventually gains one.
  • In Chronicles of the Kencyrath the Southron-Kencyr Highborn half-breed, who Jame accidentally bound has no name as Graykin and Gricki are both just nicknames; his mother died before she could actually name him.
  • The cat in Coraline has no name. According to him, only humans have names. Cats don't have names because they know who they are but humans are more fickle with their identities and 'need' names.
  • In Date A Live, Tohka Yatogami started the series with no name and no memories other than constantly fighting for survival. Her first friend and love interest Shido Itsuka named her.
  • The Devourers: The titular werebeasts have a different concept of personal identity from humans and don't bother to give each other names. Subverted near the end, when the Stranger admits to Alok that his human mother named him Izrail.
    The Stranger: Names are arbitrary in such an existence. I didn't leave one out just to sound mysterious.
  • Die Urbain Diablo has Mr. 2.
  • Discworld:
    • In Moving Pictures, the talking duck, mouse, and rabbit have no names, although the cat might have a name, if having once been called "Puss" by a child counts.
    • Elaborated upon in Men at Arms: pet animals have names; wild and feral animals don't. The fact the Dogs' Guild imagines wolves as having names like Quickfang ironically shows how human their thinking is. (In The Fifth Elephant, two wolves are given names for human convenience; one is called Arsehole as a representation of a scent marker, and another chooses Gavin because "He once ate someone called Gavin".)
    • Two human examples are Male Infant Scroop in "Medical Notes" and Female Infant Robinson in The Wee Free Men. In the latter case, it's explained that her mother saw this written down in the midwife's book and assumed that made it official. Presumably something similar applies to Mr Scroop.
  • In Dreams of Joy, the sequel to Shanghai Girls, Joy's mother-in-law is referred to by her mother as "Joy's Mother-in-Law", because she had no name outside of her husband's surname. She went by Fu-shee when she got married. This was Truth in Television for poor Chinese women, who often weren't given names or given names like "hope for a son".
  • Ender's Shadow, it's revealed that Bean was named that from a street bully, due to him being so small. Bean was raised in a lab and never given a name, but his birth parents are eventually tracked down and they give him the name Julian Delphiki.
  • Firstborn: Blue Boy is reluctant to name his runt pup because runts usually die. As it turns out, the runt is the only one who survives into adulthood. She is named "Hope" after surviving the fire that killed the rest of her litter. Due to Hope, Blue Boy names the runt of his next litter. Unfortunately, Rider doesn't make it to adulthood.
  • Fugitive Pieces: Ben's parents invoked this ("Ben" simply means "son") rather than give him a proper Meaningful Name in the Jewish tradition. As Holocaust survivors, they feared losing him like the rest of their families, and hoped the generic name would mean "God's eye would pass him by."
  • The Garden of Sinners: Shiki Ryougi's "third personality" is referred to simply with a pair of empty quotation marks, since it is actually the result of the Ryougi family's "split mind" psychic abilities forcing a vacated space in her mind to gain control of her body. Even calling it something like "Void Shiki" is said to be inaccurate, since the true nature of "" cannot be expressed by language, but it is implied to be the nothingness before the universe given human form, with Enlightenment Superpowers of inconceivable strength.
  • In Nick Harkaway's The Gone-Away World, the protagonist never receives a name, because Gonzo forgot to give him one. The whole book is in first person, so it's never really brought to your attention until the point where the protagonist is giving a rousing speech to inspire the Haulage Co. to go rescue Gonzo and he tries to introduce himself. This leads to an uncomfortable Beat while he realizes he doesn't actually have a name.
  • Hull Zero Three: Due to the cast being clones, none of them have names until the girls name them.
  • In the In Death novels, Eve Dallas was given that name at the age of eight by the first-responders who found her wandering the streets. Eve refers to the first woman and Dallas refers to the city she was in. Her parents (if they even deserve the title) never bothered even giving her a name.
  • Into The Broken Lands: The Human Weapon Nonee was never named by her creator and was only called "the weapon" by her early owners. In the Flashback B-Plot, she meets the first person in a century to ask her what she wants to be called; she takes the personal name Uvili ("Strength") and later picks up the nickname Nonee ("Auntie") when she settles in a friendly community.
  • Downplayed in Labyrinths of Echo: Melifaro doesn't have a given name, just a family name. This is because when he was born, his encyclopedist father had already left for his multi-year, world-spanning expedition and was too distracted to come up with a name for his youngest son — or rather, he came up with a new name every single day, until one day, he just said to his wife (Melifaro's mom), "Honey, does our son even need a given name, with a family name as famous as ours?" From that point onward, Melifaro only ever went by his surname.
  • The plot of the Liaden Universe prequel Crystal Dragon involves a school of sorceresses who go their entire lives without names (being born and raised within the school so that this can be ensured). Being equipped with telepathy and other powers helps smooth over the potential social awkwardnesses. The school teaches that being nameless is a strength, rendering a person immune to I Know Your True Name types of magic, but it's suggested that it also somehow weakens their individuality and makes them susceptible to being dominated by the school's masters. Some of the sorceresses who break from the school over the course of the story find names for themselves, but the one who gets the most page time never does, and is referred to throughout the series only by description.
  • In Goldenhand, the fourth book of The Old Kingdom, one girl in each of the Barbarian tribes that swears fealty to Chlorr of the Mask is only ever called "The Offering", since she'll either be taken over by Chlorr as her new body or killed after she turns 17 to return the bit of Chlorr's power that she puts in each girl to her. When one such girl ends up being sent on an important mission to deliver a message she starts calling herself "Ferin", short for "Offering", so that people have something to call her.
  • In Shakugan no Shana, Shana was raised since childhood to be a warrior and was not given a name, though she was sometimes referred to as the "Flaming-Haired Blazing-Eyed Hunter". When Yuji asked for her name, she said she didn't have one and didn't see the point; when addressed among other Hazes, she is called "Nietono no Shana" after her nodachi. Yuji decided to name her Shana and she eventually accepted it. This raises the strange question if swords are equally or more important than Hazes, since they're given names while their users aren't.
  • Star Wars Legends: The Gand, a species of insectoid humanoids, place a heavy cultural emphasis on personal achievements and require members of the species to earn a name. This was first introduced in the X-Wing Series novel, Rogue Squadron. Gand who have not distinguished themselves at all simply refers to themselves in the third person as "Gand", but may later earn a surname and then a given name. The most famed Gand, referred to as janwuine, are permitted to refer to themselves in the first person, as Rogue Squadron pilot Ooryl Qrygg earns the right to in The Bacta War. Gands may also temporarily revert to lower levels of naming to express shame, remorse, or humility.
  • In Touch2017, Caleb chose his own name, as technically he's part of a Servant Race and "named" Asset Thirteen. When he explains this to James he refuses to reveal his number, noting that this way there'll be at least one person who only knows him as "Caleb."
  • The daughter in Edgar Allan Poe's "Morella" wasn't given a name until age ten, because her father refused to do so, being conflicted and spooked about how much she resembled her late mother. When he finally gives in and has her baptized under her mother's name - Morella - the child immediately dies.
  • In Evidence of Things Not Seen, Maricela thinks this is the case for Juany's young son, who is never called anything but Niño. After Juany leaves, any name he might have had becomes unknowable.
  • In chapter 10 of The Yellow Bag, Alfonso encounters a school of fish and comments to Raquel that none of them have any names, instead calling each other through interjections such as "hey!" and "listen!". This makes Raquel realize that, for once in her life, she actually likes her own name, and since she doesn't need another, she decides to hand the cards with boyish names to Alfonso—who gives them to the fishes—and to get rid of her wish of being a boy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Glory is introduced as something that predates language, and thus has no name. Indeed, the name "Glory" is a moniker shortened from "Glorificus", which is just Medieval Latin for "glorious" - how her worshipers refer to her.
  • Dinosaurs: In "And the Winner Is...", Fran and Earl take Baby to be named by the Chief Elder one year after his birth. Earl questions why they didn't do this when Baby was born, and Fran tells him it was a busy year for them, listing off a series of events from the previous season. After briefly being named "Aaah Aagh I'm Dying You Idiot" as a result of the previous Chief Elder dying of a heart attack, Baby is officially named "Baby" by the new Chief Elder, Edward R. Hero, at the end of the episode.
  • Hercules: This briefly happens in the beginning. After Alcmene gave birth to her Child by Rape, she angrily tried to kill him. The Harpies stopped her and said it is not right to kill someone without first giving him a name. After the Harpies suggest Hercules, she grudgingly uses the name after her attempts to kill him fail.
  • In Humans, Synths generally don't have names unless they work with humans.
  • Little House on the Prairie: In "A Child With No Name", Laura and Almanzo welcome their second child, a boy they dub "Baby Boy Wilder" since they're on the fence on a boy's name. he dies during the night without being given a proper name.
  • Lost: In the episode "Across the Sea", we get the backstory behind the Man in Black behind Jacob's misfortune. He's only ever known as that or the Smoke Monster. A flashback shows Jacob's mother giving birth, and if it was a son, she planned to name him Jacob. His mom didn't know that she was giving birth to twins and right after the second baby was born, the mid-wife killed her. Apparently no-one ever bothered to given Jacob's twin brother a name.
  • In Once Upon a Time part of the reason for Rumplestiltskin's obsession with names is that his mother was more interested in saving him from a great evil (that ended up being herself) than with actually raising him, so never gave him a name. He did get his name from his father, but his father was a pretty nasty piece of work himself, didn't really want a son especially once his wife left, and is implied to have named him Rumplestiltskin because it was awful.
  • In Penny Dreadful, the Frankenstein's Monster doesn't have a name, since Victor abandoned him immediately after restoring him to life and so never named him. (Victor does name Caliban and Lily when created later on.) The Creature does pick several names for himself in the course of the series, but all of them are treated as placeholders. He eventually learns the name from his former life as a human, but the audience never does, and he doesn't start using it.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "I, Borg" has the away team recover the sole survivor at a Borg crash site. The wounded and disoriented Borg calls himself Third Of Five, which is normal for the Borg Hive Mind. However, detached from the collective, Third Of Five begins to think for himself, and adopts the name given him by Chief Engineer LaForge, Hugh. Hugh ends up reintegrated with the Borg cube, which causes chaos amoung the culture.
    • On Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the Changelings are a race with No Need for Names, and the 'leader' only goes by 'female Changeling' or 'Founder'. Odo and Laas only have names because they interacted with 'solids' during an impressible time and solids like to place names on things.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: The Emergency Medical Hologram (called Doctor) went seven years without getting a name that stuck. In the last episode, he's portrayed as finally having settled on "Joe," but that was in a future that got erased, so he may never actually choose one. note 
  • Supernatural: The demon, Meg, is a recurring foe. However, in season 3, we find out that Meg Masters is the name of the vessel the demon is possessing, not the demon herself. Even after the demon changes vessels, she's still referred to as Meg by all other characters. Her true name is never revealed.
  • True Blood: Andy's daughters were rapidly aged until they hit 18, and he tended to give them numbers instead of names. It was only after three of them were killed that he gave them actual names.
  • The Umbrella Academy: The Hargreeves children were given numbers instead of names by their abusive father, Reginald. While their mother wound up giving them their own names that persisted into their adulthood, Number Five stands out as the only sibling who kept their number as his name, either because he disappeared before he could get one or because he wanted to keep it. Notably, it’s never addressed, and no one suggests calling him anything other than Five.

  • As a part of their backstory, the fictional conjoined twin protagonists of Evelyn Evelyn weren't named until they were six. They were stuck in a cage living amongst chickens until they ran off after their caretaker died. They were found and were put into an Orphanage of Fear, where they were named "Eva" and "Lynn". No one cared to remember which was which, so they were ultimately redubbed "Evelyn Evelyn".
  • In Arcade Fire's song "Abraham's Daughter" the titular daughter says to the angel who asked her for her name that her father never gave her one.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Changeling: The Lost: This turns out to be the case for "Skin and Bones" in the sourcebook Grim Fears. When he says "Give me a name" after being summoned, that's not an order, it's a request. "Skin and Bones" has no name and desperately wants one. If he's given a name that's already being used by someone, he hunts the person down and takes them away, in hopes of making the name vacant. Giving him a name that's not being used by anyone - on Earth or in Arcadia - will make him leave and never come back.

    Video Games 
  • In the Chzo Mythos, the wraith that haunts DeFoe Manor was never given a name in life, due to having been locked in the basement by his abusive father from the day he was born. The characters across the games, as a result, refer to him by a variety of names, with the most enduring being Trilby's "John DeFoe".
  • Copy Kitty presents most character's names above their textbox. Throughout Boki's Story, there's someone who speaks in a colorful textbox, but no name. They're supposedly the person who assigned Arikan to guard the Dimensional Nexus, stole Fortress Virs, and launched an assault on the city (all of this is just part of the simulation, of course). Beyond the fact that they're a very powerful and high-ranking Construct, nothing is known about them.
  • Each of the killers in Dead by Daylight have names (the Trapper was Evan Macmillan, and the Wraith was Philip Ojomo) except for the Hillbilly. Turns out, he was never given one; his Abusive Parents had him bricked inside his room for his childhood. The Hillbilly... takes this as well as you think once he manages to escape. Notably, he is referred to by name (Max Thompson Jr.) in the artbook; it's explained that his parents had intended to name him such before rejecting him for his deformities, and after killing them he started to think of himself by that name.
  • Deadly Rooms of Death: In the Empire, one's name and one's job are the same thing, so citizens with no job have no name. Beethro meets some of these at the beginning of The City Beneath and in The Second Sky.
  • Dragon Age: The horned, tall people who follow the philosophy known as the Qun have invested in a variation of Everybody Calls Him "Barkeep" where even their racial identification is merely the title of their philosophy. Not only are all Qunari names more like job titles, but we have no idea what their race was called before the Qun's invention - even "kossith", the next best thing, is just their previous philosophy.
    • In Dragon Age: Origins, you can recruit a Qunari named Sten. This is his military rank/duty.
    • In Dragon Age: Inquisition, the Qunari you can recruit has adopted a nickname, "The Iron Bull", but he is still a "Ben-Hassarath" and later, "Hissrad". Both of which are Qunari jobs, not names.
  • Dota 2:
    • The Nyx assassin has no name as he is literally Nyx Assassin, specially created by his Queen Goddess to be just that.
    • Enigma has no name and a Mysterious Past as befitting his title, though he was named 'Darchrow' in Dota.
    • Tequoia's name was changed to Nature's Prophet for unspecified reasons.
    • The Shadow Demon is only known as the Shadow Demon.
  • In the first game in the Duck Life series, the duck has no name.
  • First Encounter Assault Recon: The Player Character is referred to only by his rank-or, alternatively, 'The New Guy'. Supplemental material included as a pre-order bonus with F.E.A.R. 2 outright states that he doesn't have a name — at least, not outside a secret name known only by a select few. It was part of the attempt to mold him as the first psychic commander. The other members of F.E.A.R. weren't provided any more name for him than "Point Man" and were informed not to even bother asking what his real name is.
  • Hitman: The series protagonist was a nameless clone with the serial number 640509-040147. When he joins the International Contracts Agency and Diana asks him for his name, he decides to go just by his last two digits: 47.
  • Kingdom Hearts: The Keyblade wielded by Master Xehanort has been passed down throughout the ages starting with its original wielder Luxu. The Master of Masters who bequeathed the Keyblade to Luxu told him that the Keyblade had no name. Luxu promptly named it "No Name" as a jest.
  • The King of Fighters: Following Krohnen going on the run for several years both in and out-universe, NESTS promptly created another clone to serve as his replacement. Considering that he was one of their last clones, he was literally never named: thus he goes by "Nameless".
  • Mega Man Zero: An adaptation (audio drama) features TK-31, a Reploid, as the main character. His whole story is how he changed his name into Elpizo, the leader of La Résistance in the second game.
  • Metal Gear: Zig-Zagged Trope; While the character of Solid Snake does have a real name in the canon series of games (we're told it's David at the end of Metal Gear Solid), the non-canon games act as if they have no name at all - Metal Gear Ac!d makes it a major plot point that Snake doesn't have a real name, but at least in the second one it's not the same Snake as in the main games.
  • Soul Series: In a series where every other weapon has a name, all of Edgemaster's weapons are nameless. This is because he believes that weapons are nothing more than tools. It is the warrior's soul, not the weapon, that makes the warrior. The sword he gave to Xianghua to replace Soul Calibur is also nameless, since Xianghua respected his philosophy and refused to name it herself.
  • Spartan: Total Warrior: The protagonist, an orphan adopted by the Spartans, is only referred to as "Spartan". Why his adoptive family never bothered to name him is never explained.
  • The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt: Philip Strenger, aka the Bloody Baron, became so drunk one night that he beat his wife Anna until she miscarried their unborn child — a child she never wanted and thus never named. After Philip awoke and found that his wife (and daughter) had run away, he buried the unborn fetus in an unmarked grave without giving it a name. These acts turned the dead fetus into a Botchling (an evil monster) with the protagonist Geralt specifically saying that not giving the dead child a name was the biggest mistake. If Geralt decides to undo the transformation, the Baron gives the dead child a name: Dea.

    Visual Novels 
  • Danganronpa has the Ultimate Imposter, who has no name, family or home; their real appearance is unknown, and they can only lead a normal life by stealing someone else's identity, being able to successfully fool other people despite their heavy build, the only consistent thing about them.
  • Fate/stay night: Normally a Noble Phantasm's name is a key part of its power, to the point where it cannot be used properly without knowing it, but Gilgamesh's sword does not have a name at all. It has been referred to as "Ea" or "The Sword of Rupture" for convenience, but neither of these names truly belong to it in a mystical sense.

  • Menu of Charby the Vampirate had never been given a name when first introduced and only gained his when Charby insisted he needed one and suggested the name of the moon god Menulis.
  • In Digger, the titular wombat encounters a young, carefree Living Shadow that "hatched" from a decomposing bird and had no experience with people. Digger names it Shadowchild, pragmatically enough, setting it on its way to becoming the first Demon to be raised with a moral code rather than by another of its Always Chaotic Evil kind.
  • Fairies in Gunnerkrigg Court have no names until they finish school and address each other with insults instead. The author included a very helpful character guide here.
  • Imps are not given names in Imp, so the main character identifies himself as "Celina's imp".
  • In Knights of the Dinner Table, Dave once created a character with no name. After struggling to work out what to call him, the other characters started referring to him as 'Monkey Boy'. Eventually getting sick of this, Dave comes up with a symbol to represent the character, and the whole thing quickly turns into The Trope Formerly Known as X.
  • In Yellow Brick Ramble, the sawhorse realizes it doesn't have a name to introduce itself with after Tip introduces himself, so it decides to name itself Logan because it's made of logs.

    Web Original 
  • One of the beings featured in Bogleech's Nightmare Beings posts is identified only as *TV Static Noise*. Within the narrative of the nightmare from which it originated, it believes that if it is given a name, it can escape into the waking world, and attempts without success to coerce the dreamer into naming it. Upon hearing the story, Bog immediately names it Dorothy.
  • Looming Gaia: Cecaelia traditionally don't have names and are only referred to by titles. Mr. Ocean was known as "Sick One" and other nicknames and only named himself Ocean after he met the human Solveig who told him what names mean.
  • SCP Foundation: Invoked in one of the incident logs for Taboo, when one of the native humanoid entities of the unknowable wooded area manages to corrupt the incident log to reflect that Agent AshleyMichaelVincent had two other comrades "who did not have names". We can assume that the three agents referred to in the log were, separately, Ashley, Michael, and Vincent. But that's what happens when you don't follow Eshu protocol...
  • Star Trek Continues: In the episode "The White Iris", Captain Kirk's recurring hallucinations include a little girl who he can't identify. As he confronts his past, it is revealed the girl is his unborn child by Miramanee, who was never given a name.
  • The Cold Open for The Unlucky Tug's video "The COMPLETE History of Percy the Small Engine" is an extended version of Sir Topham Hat meeting Percy. Topham asks the engine what his name is, and he replies that he was never given one. Topham says that all engines deserve names, so he names him Percy.

    Western Animation 
  • The title characters in 2 Stupid Dogs have no true names, as they are just stray dogs. The show's credits simply identify them as "Big Dog" and "Little Dog".
  • Gargoyles: The titular Gargoyles are a race that has No Need for Names; they identify each other based on their family relation. However, those who interact with humans on a regular basis need to avoid You Know the One, so they either adopt names given by the humans, or name themselves. Goliath took a name as leader of the clan protecting their castle. The members of the Manhattan Clan take names at the beginning of the series, as they wish to interact more with the human world. Demona was named by Macbeth back when the two were still on good terms. The Gargoyles born on the hidden island of Avalon avert this since they were raised by humans who named them.
  • At the start of the Jana of the Jungle episode "Katuchi Danger", the Katuchi prince tells Jana that his tribe considers him too young to have earned a name.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series has Experiment 625 — who, unlike his cousins, was found and recruited by Gantu who never bothered to give him a proper name. He's eventually named "Reuben" by Lilo in Leroy & Stitch.
  • In PJ Sparkles, the children of Twinkle Town don't have names, but PJ is able to give them names by virtue of being their leader.
  • She-Ra and the Princesses of Power: The episode "Destiny, Part 2" reveals that Hordak never received a name, and that "Hordak" is what he named himself. As one of Horde Prime's many identical clones, he was never intended to have individuality or free will. Giving himself a name and making an autonomous decision to conquer Etheria both anger Horde Prime.
  • Strawberry Shortcake: One 1980s special uses this deliberately; Strawberry Shortcake and the Baby Without a Name. No one has been able to think of a name for her, and no one does by the end of the special. When this is pointed out, Strawberry reassures her "I'm sure that someone, somewhere has just the right name for you," giving a quick glance to the audience (since there was a doll made of this character).
  • VeggieTales: The Silly Songs With Larry segment "My High Silk Hat" plays this trope for laughs. At the end of the song, Larry tries to complain to a nearby scallion, only to ask his name in the course of doing so. The reply: "They've never given me a name. I've been around since show one, and I still don't have a name.'' Larry just stares at the screen, dumbfounded, before delivering the last line of the song.

    Real Life 
  • Prior to about the middle of the 20th century, it was not uncommon for many babies who were stillborn or died very early in infancy (especially if they were ill at birth and not expected to live) to never be given a name.
  • When K2, the second highest mountain on earth, was first surveyed, the mapping team learned that it had never been given a local name due to its remoteness. The closest thing to a "local name" that anybody ever found were local terms for "big mountain" since, well what else are you going to call a mountain that doesn't have a name? Therefore the label applied to the peak on the survey sketch, K2, became the one most commonly associated with it. Many climbers feel that the mountain is so harsh and challenging that it defies any attempt at being humanized with a proper name. The local Balti people even adopted the "name", calling the mountain "Ketu" since everybody else as calling it that.
    Italian climber Fosco Maraini: It is just the bare bones of a name, all rock and ice and storm and abyss. It makes no attempt to sound human. It is atoms and stars. It has the nakedness of the world before the first man or of the cindered planet after the last.
  • The category 1 hurricane that resulted from the 1991 "perfect storm" note  was never given a proper name. This was done on purpose so there wouldn't be confusion among the media and the public, as most of the damage and attention was from and on the initial nor'easter, while the hurricane's damage was limited to power outages and slick roads (the single death the hurricane caused was due to a traffic accident). The name it likely would have been assigned was Henri.
  • In ancient China, poorer women often were not given first names. The word 氏 (Shì in Mandarin pinyin, pronunciation roughly "shir" by combining the "sh" sound with the "ir" sound in 'bird'), loosely translatable as "from the [X] family", would be added to their maiden name. For example, if Miss Wú marries Mr. Lǐ, she would be known as either Wú Shì (吳氏/吴氏, usually translated as 'Madam Wú' in Western media) or Lǐ Wú Shì (李吳氏/李吴氏).
    • So did the ancient Romans. The woman would simply be called by the feminine version of her father's nomen, or family name. For example, Julius Caesar's daughter is Julia.
  • Zoo and aquarium staff will often refrain from naming a newly-born or acquired animal, with the intent to allow the public to vote on a name as a means of raising awareness and/or donations. If the animal dies before such a vote can be held, selection of its name is quietly cancelled, and the records of its care and medical issues are posthumously filed under a code number.
  • Animals raised for meat, lethal laboratory experiments, and similarly fatal purposes aren't usually named, as it's more emotionally-stressful to put down an animal that has a name.