Follow TV Tropes


One Steve Limit

Go To
This is what happens when you break it.
"His name is Lebowski? That's your name, Dude."
Donny, The Big Lebowskinote 

A pretty rigid rule that no two characters in a work of fiction (novel, movie, play, TV series, comic book, etc.) should share the same first name, or even similar-sounding names. If there's a Laura in the story, there will not be a Lyra; if there's an Ed, there will not be a Ted (this is sometimes discarded if the characters happen to be twins). If you wake up one morning and suddenly discover that you don't know any two people with the same first name and that your phone number begins with 555, you can safely assume you've fallen into a work of fiction.

The rationale behind this is that the audience, actors reading a script and even the writer will get confused by multiple characters with indistinguishable names: "Wait, was it good-guy Steve or bad-guy Steve who launched the missile?" It's even common for scripts to avoid names of similar length and/or first letter.


A strong dramatic reason to duplicate names can override the rule, as, for example, in the Jack Nicholson movie The Two Jakes, but it's so rarely done that audiences will pick up on it almost instantly. Unintentional duplication of first or last names also sometimes occurs when characters from previously distinct works of fiction meet one another, or when fiction is in any way using individuals from Real Life, or in sprawling, shared-continuity settings like the DC or Marvel Comics universes.

It's probably more feasible to list the exceptions rather than examples. Usually when there are exceptions, there will be a storyline involving the characters being confused for each other.

One could only wish this were Truth in Television, but as teachers know all too well, names go through cycles and depending on the era, a single class might have five Jasons, Michaels, Elsas or Claras. Hence, this trope is generally considered an Acceptable Break From Reality.


This is also a problem in dubbing with "dubbed names". For example, Gomez Addams in Latin America is "Homero", just like Homer the Spider. Or a mobster named Bruno showing up in a Batman (who is known as "Bruno Díaz" instead of "Bruce Wayne") comic.

The antithesis is Planet of Steves, wherein everybody is Steve.

Compare One Mario Limit, where the "Steve" is too famous for anyone else to use a similar name. Contrast Inexplicably Identical Individuals, where there is a whole bunch of interchangeable characters that look the same and may share the same name—or have very similar names. Also contrast Name's the Same, where multiple series share one or more characters with the same name, and Same Surname Means Related, that removes the possibility that "Steve" and "Tom, Dick and Harry" having the same last name is just happenstance (even if/when they share one of the most common last names in whichever part of the world their franchise was produced). For moments where there's a one person limit for roles see Cast Speciation.

See also Significant Name Overlap, We Named the Monkey "Jack", Identically Named Group, and Dead Guy Junior, for other ways characters can share names.

No Straight Examples, Please!:

Other non-straight examples:

    open/close all folders 

  • There was a time when the Yellow Pages ran a series of commercials showing a Visual Pun of a listing and then the listing. (A football player pounces on a fish being reeled in = Fishing Tackle, A group of men display their ability to perform a death scene for a director = Die Casting.) One such commercial shows a convention of men, all of whom introduce themselves as "Herb". What is the listing? Herbs (silent "h").

    Audio Plays 
  • Parodied by The Firesign Theatre on their album Boom Dot Bust, which takes place in a town called Billville, where everybody's name is Bill.
    • The Firesign Theatre are themselves an example—there are only four of them, and two are named Phil. They once made fun of this by referring to themselves as "Phil, Phil, Phil, and Phil."

    Comic Strips 
  • For Better or for Worse: At least four characters were named Paul, although their storylines didn't overlap and they were never confused with each other by the other characters: Gordon and Tracey's son Paul Mayes; April's guitar teacher Paul Bergan; contractor Paul Gauthier; and Liz's boyfriend Paul Wright. There were also two characters named Susan whose storylines never overlapped — the first was one of Elly's supervisors at the library, and the second, Susan Dokis, replaced Liz as a teacher in Mtigwaki.
  • Funky Winkerbean has among its characters both band director Harry L. Dinkle and student-turned-mailman Crazy Harry.
  • Knights of the Dinner Table:
    • There are two characters named Bob: Bob Herzhog, one of the main characters, and Bob "Waco" Forzey, who works at Hard Eight Enterprises. It's easy to miss, though, since the latter Bob usually goes by his nickname.
    • The owner of the local gaming store is "Weird" Pete Ashton, who shares a name with Pete Skipowsky, another Hard Eight employee. And, like Waco, he's usually known by his nickname of "Skip."
  • Nancy: A character named Rollo had his name taken and put onto a character known as Marmaduke after a similarly named strip had appeared, causing some confusion for those who have picked up the first book of Fantagraphics reprints, where the little rich boy was named so.
    • Even then, John Stanley worked on the Nancy comic book series, where he was given a last name, Haveall. Yes, his name is Rollo there and then on.
  • Peanuts: The girl named Patty who was a regular character starting from the very first strip but eventually stopped appearing is a different character from Peppermint Patty, who was introduced years later but is much better remembered.
  • Retail:
    • Cooper exploits this trope when Stuart comes to fire both him and Val for violating the 'no workplace romance' policy by having a friend of his pose as a man also named Cooper and made it look like Val was dating him, making Josh (who reported them) look like a fool for the mistaken identity.
    • There were two Fionas in the comic: a girl who got lost in Grumbel's, and Marla's daughter. The former might very well have influenced the name of the latter, as it was watching the first Fiona while waiting for her mother that made Marla decide she wanted children.
  • In Safe Havens Maria Hamper was named after Maria Novello, the time traveler who delivered her. They turn out to be the same person.

    Fairy Tales 
  • The general lack of names in fairy tales makes this problem rare, but when Joseph Jacobs collected Kate Crackernuts, both of the princesses were named Kate. He changed one to Anne to avoid confusion when he published it.
  • In Grimms' Fairy Tales, Snow White from Snow White (princess pursued by her evil step-mother, helped by seven dwarfs) is not to be confused with Snow White from Snow-White and Rose-Red (helps a bear who turns out to be a prince, gets into trouble with an evil dwarf). Note that in the original German this problem does not exist as the former ("Sneewittchen") uses a Low German name, while the latter ("Schneeweißchen und Rosenrot") a High German one. Played with in Bill Willingam's comic Fables, where both Snow Whites were merged into a single character; this is also the case in the Dark Parables games.
  • In Russian fairy tale The Death of Koschei the Deathless, as well known as Marya Morevna, both the title character, Ivan's wife, and one of his sisters are Marya. But the wife is always referred to with the patronymic, so there's no danger of confusion.

    Fan Works 
  • Abraxas (Hrodvitnon): Both Sam Brody and Sam Coleman (who are canon characters in the MonsterVerse but never appeared in the same installment) are featured in the story.
  • In Power Girl fanfic A Force of Four there're two Malas (an Amazon and a Kryptonian criminal) and two Karas (Power Girl and Supergirl). Lois comments on it:
    Lois Kent had never spoken to any Amazons except Wonder Woman and Fury, and it was even odder to know that the one she spoke to had the same name as the Kryptonian criminal who looked like her late husband.
  • Cheating Death: Those That Lived: Chaff is selected as tribute by mistake. There are five Chaff Mitchells of reaping age in District 11, but he's the first to step forward and isn't permitted to protest when he notices the others making themselves scarce. To add insult to injury, it turns out that the name on the reaping slip was really Chuff Mitchell, and the escort read it wrong.
  • Averted on a large scale in The Victors Project, to the point that the sheer number of examples in the fic series warrant their own page.
  • Forward has three different criminal groups using the name "Talon"—two of whom are on the same space station. Apparently none of these criminals are terribly creative.
  • In Heroic Myth, Bell summons Asterios, better known as the Minotaur of Crete, as his Berserker-class Servant. Coincidentally, the minotaur Bell killed to become Level 2 is later reborn as another Xenos named Asterios. The author lampshades the notion in his notes, considering pitting them against each other with an enthusiastic, "MIRROR MATCH! MIRROR MATCH!"
  • Kyon: Big Damn Hero, by including characters from Higurashi: When They Cry, ends up with two characters with the given name Keiichi, who are about the same age and have similar occupations. Though Tamaru Keiichi, the canonical Haruhi Suzumiya character, is extremely minor and may not even appear more than once.
  • In Incarnation of Legends, guild advisor Hikigaya Hachiman shares his given name with Hachiman, a god of war. Bell is intrigued by this, having met the godly Hachiman during his visit to the Far East.
  • Tales of the Emperasque averts it: while there are two people with name Vulkan—the Primarch Vulkan and Vulkan He'stan—after the former has a Double Take upon hearing latter's the name, they settle on calling the other one He'stan and narration does so as well.
  • In What About Witch Queen?, the eleven-years-old heiress to the Southern Isles is also named Anna, which leads to Hans freaking out for a moment when he thinks Anna of Arendelle arrived in his home. There's also Admiral Klaus Hauser, who shares his name with Hans' late father.
  • Discussed in Grace Under Pressure, Courage Under Fire, when Kurt asks Dave why he uses his friend Azimio Adams' first name, but his other friend Anthony Rashad's last name. Dave explains that while there is only one Azimio at school, there are several Anthonys, so calling him Rashad is really just a way to avoid confusion. (Note that Anthony Rashad is the only Anthony mentioned in Canon.)
  • In the Daria series "Falling Into College," Quinn winds up dating a guy also named Quinn, who is called "Q" to avoid confusion.
  • In the Ranma ½ Elsewhere Fic Boy Scouts ½, there are three Matthews, two Bills and a Will, and (while one is a very minor character) two Kennys. (Note that as a Self Insert Fic, most of these Steves take their names from real people.)
  • In The Prayer Warriors, two characters share the same name and are introduced within a short while of each other. William, protagonist of the Attack of the Sphinx story happens to share the same name as Prince William, who appears in The Titans Strike Back as a surviving member of the royal family and a villain; the author even puts a parenthetical note regarding the latter that says "please do not get him confused with William in my other story".
  • The Calvinverse has two characters named Rupert Chill—a human convict and an alien that imitates him. Since Double Trouble revolves around both, alien!Rupert uses a First-Name Basis while human!Rupert goes by "Chill".
  • Diaries of a Madman has two Gildas. Nav at point takes to calling them "OG" (Original Gilda), and "PG" (Princess Gilda) to differentiate between them.
  • Lothíriel by JunoMagic is about a woman in Germany, named after the character Lothíriel from The Lord of the Rings. Then the German Lothíriel falls into The Lord of the Rings, but that story already has a Lothíriel. Now it might have two characters named Lothíriel, and they might meet.
  • In the Girls und Panzer and Saki crossover, Necessary to Win, found here, several groups of characters have the same first name, and are set apart by their last initials. For example, Saki's Momoko "Stealth Momo" Touyoko is called "Momo T.", while Girls Und Panzer's Momo Kawashima is called Momo K. to keep them distinct from one another. There are exceptions, though, in cases in which one character with the same name is much more important than the other as Saki's Saki Miyanaga, the deuteragonist of the fic, is simply called "Saki", while various other terms are used to refer to Girls und Panzer's Saki Maruyama.
  • Snic nd the OSrailian resrant has an... interesting case of double subversion by making Sonic the Hedgehog, Sonic the restaurant, and even Sonic's self-named burger the same, singular entity.
  • Averted in My Brave Pony: Starfleet Magic, though it's not certain whether this was deliberate. There are two characters named Rani in the series: Khan's wife in The Movie, and Reginald Rolls' wife in My Brave Pony: Star Fleet Magic III.
  • Sunset of Time, the main antagonist shares her name with another character, but that character is featured prominently in the story, so the antagonist goes by an alias, "Vesper Radiance".
  • Mass Effect Fanfic Crucible is quite realistic in the sense that many characters share the same name due to pure coincidence or just Dead Guy Junior trope.
    • In Garrus's case, he's named after his grandfather just like his uncle.
    • Alt!Gaius's son is also named Gaius and his daughter's name is Jane after his grandmother Jane Shepard.
    • Emile's father's name is Jack.
    • Vitius Crassus's wife is named Sarah, which happen to be the same as Shepard's mother.
  • The names Rae and Raye sound the same in the Death Note fanfic "Second Chances," much to Raye Penber's displeasure. L originally invokes this trope by calling Raye R. Later in the story after Character Development causes L to stop dehumanizing his team members so much, he switches back to using Raye. As the relationship between Rae and L complicates further, though, L begins using Raye's full name, "like he has to remind himself he's not talking to his Rae."
  • The NCIS fanfic "Shards To a Whole" ran into this issue when writer Keryl Raist wrote recurring series character Abigail Borin, a Coast Guard agent, into the story as a love interest for Gibbs. Since the story centers around the growing relationship between Tim McGee and Abby Sciuto, Keryl decided to write Borin's first name as "Abbi" to differentiate her from "Abby".
  • Played with in Time Fixers: Nicktoons of the Future where Jimmy briefly considers naming his son after Thomas Edison, only to suddenly remember that it is already Tommy's first name.
  • Averted in the Danny Phantom/Beetlejuice crossover Say It Thrice. In addition to the Dead Guy Junior with Henry sharing the same name as his paternal grandfather, there are two characters named "Adam" and two named "Roger": Adam Maitland and Roger Livingston in the present and the minor characters, Adam and Roger, from the flashback to The High Middle Ages.
    • Then there is Lydia, one of the main characters, and Lydia, the ghost associated with Freakshow. The former was named after the latter because Cathy knew her before she became a ghost and named her daughter after her.
  • Directly defied in The Sabbat, featuring Jack Skellington being appointed as the latest Guardian of Childhood; North explicitly states "Jack is not being Jack" and has to clarify that he's referring to Skellington and Frost respectively.
  • Defied in the Avengers of the Ring sequel Dagor Arnediad; with Spider-Man and Star-Lord both participating in the battle in Sokovia, at one point Quill calls Parker with the introduction “Hey Peter, it’s the other one”, acknowledging how they are the only two heroes to share a first name.
  • In "The other side", after the other half of the universe survived Thanos's Snap (Avengers: Infinity War), after a year of working together Peter Quill and Peter Parker are distinguished by calling themselves 'Big Peter' and 'Little Peter' when they're in the same place. Jane Foster recalls that they initially considered calling themselves 'Peter One' and 'Peter Two', but abandoned that idea as they couldn't agree on which of them should be Peter One.
  • Features in at least one scene in "Spider-Who?", a Marvel Cinematic Universe fic that sees Spider-Man/Peter Parker meet Mary Jane Watson after the events of Spider-Man: Homecoming; at one point he runs past Michelle Jones yelling "So sorry MJ! I've gotta go meet MJ!"
  • Averted in Metroid: Kamen Rider Generations in the case of Samus Aran and Alain, whose name shares the same sound as the bounty hunter's surname.
  • In "Christmas in Kansas", part of the Sorrowful and Immaculate Hearts series, Clark Kent invites Bruce Wayne to Christmas at his parents' place, meaning the author has to avoid confusion that might result from the canon that Clark's and Bruce's mothers are both named Martha. When Clark's mother invites Bruce to call her Martha, there's an awkward moment as everyone remembers that Martha Wayne was murdered in front of her son's eyes, and then everyone spends the rest of the story carefully calling her "Mrs. Kent" to avoid bringing up unpleasant memories.
  • This Bites!: Averted with MI5 member Lieutenant Commander Drake and X. Drake the Supernova.
    • Also Leo (or Leonardo) of the TDWS and Leo the Tontatta from the Dressrosa Saga.
    • Boss and Boss Kabuto as well. The latter's name was simply Boss before the popularity of the SBS.
  • In The Donutier the title character is called Twilight Sprinkle. Much to her annoyance, she's pretty much identical to Twilight Sparkle pre-alicorn looks, meaning that all the crazies that want to pester Twilight Sparkle show up at Twilight Sprinkle instead.
    • When they finally meet, Twilight Sparkle mentions that "Twilight" is a traditional name in her family, hinting there's many other Twilights around-and that she and Sprinkle may be distant relatives.
  • In Ages of Shadow, Pegasus expy Brenner names his card game after Yade Khan, the god persona taken up by Jade Chan. As Kaiba expy Alonso Gragas notes, this can be a bit confusing for anyone in the know about the true nature of the game. It's also plot significant — during the Final Battle, Jade reveals that she built a loophole into the game's rules (namely, that "the will of Yade Khan" decides the winner) enabling her to decide the outcome of a match any time she wants.
  • After Anakin went back in time in Free from Force, any scene featuring both him and his child self will refer to him as Vader to avoid confusion.
  • The Secret Return of Alex Mack plays with this.
    • Charlie McGee's name change to "Shar" is partly to conceal her identity and partly to avoid confusion with Charlie O'Neill.
    • Samantha Carter and Samantha Finn are both present, but haven't met each other.
    • Some of the side stories add more (unrelated) O'Neills, Marie and Jordan.
  • In The Secret Collocation of Alex Mack — a sequel to The Secret Return of Alex Mack — Alex Mack is reunited with her other-dimensional teammates from The League of Extraordinary Women, each of whom are accompanied by their 'local' version of Alex (along with a seventh version from the universe of The Dresden Files). Although all of them were born 'Alexandra Louise Mack', each of them has adopted a different nickname even before they met their counterparts; Alex is the 'original' who became Terawatt, Alexandra Mack had a bad experience with two Goa'uld symbiotes, Lexi Mack is a new Slayer, Aly Mack is a member of the OSI after a traumatic plane crash, Alee Mack is part of the Teen Titans while Catwoman is a strange kind of mentor for her, Alexan Mack is a Muggle-born American witch, and Alexa Mack is a magic-user in the Dresden-verse who was accidentally exposed to a process that enhanced her existing abilities considerably.
  • Invoked in the Arrowverse fic "Out of the Dark", when Barry Allen's first trip to Starling City sees him save Laurel Lance from jumping off a bridge before he is 'captured' by Diggle and Felicity to treat Oliver's recent poisoning. When Barry asks Team Arrow to look up the woman he saved, Oliver swiftly starts looking for Laurel rather than look for another woman in Starling City with that name, although this can be justified as him wanting to rule out the one he knows before he starts looking for someone else.
  • This issue plays a part in Splinter, when Angel Investigations arrive in a world where they initially assume Angel's counterpart has lost his soul, leading the team to refer to the alternate as 'Angelus' even after they establish that the alternate still has his soul and is only resorting to these extreme measures to try and protect his reality.
  • In "TMNT Turtles together and forever", when the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles of the 2012 series end up in the reality of the 2003 series, the 2012 Turtles are referred to in-writing by their nicknames to acknowledge that they're the younger Turtles, with April and Casey's counterparts being identified as 'Elder' and 'Young' respectively as they don't have nicknames.
  • In Bless the Children- both the Gen and Ship version (the ship version adds the plot element of Daniel Jackson and Samantha Carter dating and getting married)- after Daniel Jackson 'adopts' his eight-year-old clone, the two are distinguished from each other because the clone is always called 'Danny' by everyone else (with the exception of Teal'c, who calls Danny 'young Daniel Jackson').
  • Averted in Unity, as Mr Incredible and 'Benzoate Ostylezene Bicarbonate' meet, with the Monsters observing the challenges of both individuals being known as 'Bob' with no clear way to distinguish one from the other when calling them by name.
  • Accidentally averted in The Makings of Team CRME. In Mercury's backstory, his mother is an Original Character named "Melanie". However, the writer had admitted that they didn't realize that one of the Malachite twins was also named "Melanie" on the show before naming her and only noticed after her arc had concluded. This is mentioned when the twins show up in Roman's Empire.
  • Discussed in the Splatoon fic Her Fractured Spirit. Marie's parents almost named her "Pearl". Her cousin Callie notes that it would have caused confusion with a different famous singer who is also named Pearl.
  • In Neither a Bird nor a Plane, it's Deku!, Alan Scott continues to go by Green Lantern even after the Green Lantern Corp revealed itself to Earth. However, Scott is the one most people think of when Earthlings think of the name "Green Lantern" due to the Corp distancing itself from Earth after the destruction wrought during the Lantern War. This is furthered by his infamy as a Well-Intentioned Extremist who will hunt down any alien he deems to be a threat to Earth (or even approaches Earth) with oftentimes lethal results.
  • Averted in The Great Starship Battle, since both Q from Star Trek and Q from James Bond appear.
  • Much like its source material, some characters in Forum of Thrones have the same name. There are two Edwards, two Petyrs, two Darrens (and a Darreth), three Damons and two Leonards, although they are located in different regions so they don't get mixed up. On the other hand, there are many characters whose name sounds similar, such as Jared, Jaron, Jaylon, Jarrod, Jarek, Jaro and Jarow. And of course there are several Jons (or variants of it) as well as Jeynes.
  • In Painted Blind, Riot's old bandmates can't remember if he once dated a girl named "Inga" or "Ingrid". Inga is Riot's Swedish ex-girlfriend, while Ingrid (better known as "Minx") is Riot's German bandmate and platonic friend.
  • In Amazing Fantasy, it's frowned upon in Izuku's universe to base one's superhero or supervillain identity on a comic book character, as it's seen as unoriginal and proof that they can't stand out in the crowd. Izuku ends up taking up the title of Spider-Man anyways after getting Peter's blessing early on in the story.
  • Mary Phillips Story: Raya's real name is "Carmen". Stormer's Missing Mom is also named "Carmen".
  • The main character of Yokai Watch Re! is named Katie. There's also a more minor character named Katherine.
  • In Alone, Together, Shego's name is "Kimberly Anne van Gogh". It's especially unusual because her girlfriend Kimberly Anne "Kim" Possible shares both a given and middle name with her.
  • Luna's Hubby has no other plot-relevant characters named Harry other than the Boy Who Lived, though the text makes clear that other "Harry"s do exist, which is how our Harry can get away with using his Real Name as an Alias.
  • The Many Dates of Danny Fenton:
    • Danny has gone out with two girls named Gwen. He's gone out with two girls whose full name is Jennifer, though one goes by Jen and the other Jenny.
    • Violet tells Danny how she has a brother named Dash, though he's actually more mature than Danny's bully.
    • When Danny tells Jazz about Kitty, he has to explain she's not the same Kitty who once tried to steal Jazz's body.
    • Like Danny, Alex also has a friend named Samantha (Sam).
    • One of Danny's dates is a girl named Spectra Vondergeist. The school she attends also had to face Danny's foe Penelope Spectra at some point.
  • Over the Rainbow has two characters named "Bud". An author's note clarifies that it's accidental and not of any plot relevance.
  • Yamujiburo: Butch and Cassidy's daughter is named "Bonnie". This is also the name of Clemont's younger sister.
  • Subverted in Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, where Marik's Millennium Rod can only control people whose names are, of course, Steve. Given that Marik controls a bunch of one-shot characters with it, the series ends up with a lot of Steves.
    • It is revealed that only one of their names has to be Steve; "Steve" Arcana, Steve Jobs, and Keith Steve Howard (Bandit Keith) are all under his control at some point. Later, he mind controls Joey and Téa by tricking them into legally changing their names to Steve.
    • At a convention, LK explained the background of the entire gag, mentioning that in his version, "Steve" has pretty much become another word for "henchman".
  • Ultra Fast Pony has a main character named Twilight, and an occasionally recurring character named Blue Twilight. The names highlight the fact that these are foils for each other. (UFP is an abridged series, and in the original, unabridged canon, Blue Twilight was named Trixie.) A later episode introduces Yellow Twilight — she's the Author Avatar of an Ascended Fangirl who wrote herself into the series as Blue Twilight's twin sister.
  • Defied in Farce of the Three Kingdoms. When Xun Yu and Xun You interview with Cao Cao, he immediately dubs them "Big Xun" and "Little Xun" to avoid confusion. From then on, the are Only Known by Their Nickname.
  • now that i can see your face (i can stand up to anything.): Shaggy's dad wanted to name his son after himself but Shaggy's mother didn't want to deal with the confusion caused by two "Kemal"'s. They instead named their son "Norville". Shaggy's middle name is "Kemal".
  • This gets enforced by the characters in Songs of the Spheres: although there are lots of Lunas, plenty of Pinkies, a League of Sweetie Belles, and an entire multiversal cabal of Twilight Sparkles, they've all taken to giving themselves nicknames to differentiate from one another. Twilights being Twilights, they get their bureaucracy to give them short-form designations instead. (It probably makes filling out forms more convenient.)
  • In XSGCOM, Jack O'Neill succeeds in getting Cronus's captured Ha'tak named Enterprise. The ship's new captain, Colonel Steven Caldwell, isn't happy, especially since his bald spot results in him being called "Jean-Luc" by the crew (Jack suggests he get a toupee and make out with Anise the Tok'ra to get a new nickname). Unexpectedly, the authorities actually like the name. This way, if anyone unauthorized ends up hearing someone talk about a ship named Enterprise, they'll assume the conversation is about the aircraft carrier. When the second captured Ha'tak (the one with Jaffa ninjas) is given to the Russians, they follow suit and name it Admiral Kuznetsov after their own carrier.
  • Due to being a Peanuts fanfic, the narrator in Everybody's Gotta Leave Sometime has to specify when it's plain Patty speaking instead of "Peppermint" Patty.
  • Azumanga und Panzer: There's Yukari Akiyama and Yukari Tanizaki. Additionally, Nonna's real name is Noriko, the same as Noriko Isobe from Duck Team.
  • The DCU fanfic Hellsister Trilogy has Kara Zor-El and Kara Zor-L share screentime. In order to avoid confusion both women use their codenames or refer to each other as "K".
  • The love-interests in both Life Is Strange and Lucifer (2016) are both named "Chloe." Making a crossover for both of them (as is the case with Becoming more than what I am.) will obviously create complications.
  • In Make a Man Out of You, Hua Ping's friend Wei names his son "Da Ping" after him, much to his annoyance. Though, the two Pings use different characters for their names.
  • This is done in the historical Hellsing fic, A Young Vampire's Everyday Life.. In the usual Roman fashion, the main character and both of her sisters are named Julia while her brother and father are both named Gaius. Even characters long dead are not safe from being mixed up with their contemporaries as Lucius Junius Brutus (who overthrew Tarquin the Proud at the end of the old Roman Kingdom) appears just one scene after his descendant Brutus the Elder with both being referred to by that one name.
  • Lord of the Seas has a rather awkward interaction when three Rodriks (a Stark great-uncle, Lord Harlaw and the grandson to Quellon Greyjoy) realize they will have to use nicknames or the crew just won't stop giggling at them.
  • The author of Trickshot gave this as a reason for not including canon character Lisa Turpin along with an OC named Lisa, stating that "one Lisa is enough".
  • In the Star Wars Crack Fic, Sibling Revelry, the Imperial Agent that Vader sent to infiltrate the Rebellion to split up his children from each other uses the alias "Fred Antilles", and no one comments on how he shares surnames with Wedge.
  • With Pearl and Ruby Glowing, being a Massive Multiplayer Crossover fic, averts this since characters from different media with the same first name tend to coexist. However, the series focuses on a rape support group where everyone uses codenames instead of real names, which helps to keep track of who's who.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Barbie Big City Big Dreams, Barbie visits New York and meets a girl from Brooklyn who has the same exact first and last name as her (Barbie Roberts), thus they go by the nicknames "Malibu" and "Brooklyn" to distinguish the two.
  • In Horton Hears a Who!, Morton mentions that the Kangaroo has sent Vlad after Horton. Horton inquires as to whether he means Vlad the Vulture, or Vlad the bunny who gives out cookies. (It's the vulture.)
    • For that matter, Horton and Morton are a subversion right there.
    • On a meta level, this might explain why the young kangaroo is named Rudy instead of the more-cliché Joey—they already had a JoJo.
  • The Ralph Bakshi version of The Lord of the Rings felt that the names Sauron and Saruman were too similar, and so Saruman was renamed to "Aruman". Although they still called him Saruman half the time.
  • In Mulan, the title character's mother is named Li, which also happens to be her Love Interest's surname. There's also a moment where Mulan practically references this trope: after causing trouble in the camp, the "son" of the Fa family is asked for "his" name and Mushu starts giving her suggestions, one of which is Ling, which Mulan points out is already another soldier's name and she eventually settles on Ping in the face of Shang's growing annoyance with her.
  • Averted in Pocahontas II: Journey to a New World: after her romance with John Smith, Pocahontas begins a new relationship with John Rolfe. Justified since these characters are all based on historical people (even if the John Smith part is probably just a legend).
  • Averted in Robin Hood (1973) (and the original legends) with Prince John and Little John.
  • Frozen has a cross-media version. In the book A Frozen Heart, one of Hans' brothers is named Lars. The comic Frozen: Breaking Boundaries introduces an ice-harvester named Lars.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Godzilla:
    • Mothra vs. Godzilla: Both Nakamura the egg-loving reporter and Torahata the greedy businessman have the first name Jiro.
    • Destroy All Monsters: Gorosaurus was accidentally misnamed Baragon when he attacked Paris even though they look nothing alike. Justified for a reason, as the Baragon suit was going through modifications, was used for many monsters in Ultraman, and was still being repaired in the middle of filming.
    • In the Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019) novelization, there's another Rick besides Dr. Stanton working for Monarch, located at the outpost containing Scylla. And as of Godzilla vs. Kong, Dr. Chen (who is slated to return for the film) is no longer the only Ilene who's a relevant character.
  • Jurassic Park (1993): Mr. Arnold's first name received Adaptation Name Change to avoid confusion with Hammond.
  • Jurassic World: There are two Nick's (Letting and Kilgore) in the same scene at one point.
  • The Saw movies contain a couple of examples: In the first film, Dr. Gordon's wife's name is Alison, which is also Detective Kerry's forename. In the second, a main character is Daniel Matthews, which is also Detective Rigg's forename. However, we don't learn Rigg's or Kerry's first name until the fifth movie, soit's a subversion. Other examples include Mark, a victim in the first film, and later an antagonist from the third movie onward (Hoffman), and the surname "Young", shared by recurring character Amanda and one-off character Timothy.
  • In Brooklyn Tide, not only are there two characters named "Jonathan", but Jonathan Corbin and Jonathan Clay function as the protagonist and antagonist respectively, were former partners, and both have the initials JC.
  • Averted in Boys which featured an inordinate number of characters (male lead included) called John.
  • A very important aversion in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice; Lex Luthor captures Superman's mother, Martha Kent, and threatens to kill her unless Batman's head is brought to him within an hour. Superman rushes off to Batman, not completely certain if he will end up asking for Batman's help, or simply kill him, but Batman doesn't spend a moment listening to him, and immediately tries to kill him. The battle eventually ends with Batman having his boot on Superman's throat, seconds away from killing him. Superman desperately chokes out "Save Martha"—and this makes Batman stop, because his mother was also named Martha, and her name was his father's last word as he died.
  • Alfred Hitchcock's classic Shadow of a Doubt stars Joseph Cotten as a Faux Affably Evil Serial Killer named Charlie, and Teresa Wright as his adoring niece, also named Charlie.
  • In Heathers, three of the lead cast are called Heather. As the name implies.
  • Die Hard has a duo of FBI Agent Johnsons. No relation. One even answers a phone, "This is Agent Johnson. No, the other one." Die Hard 4.0 has a callback with another Agent Johnson, and McClane reacts with alarm at the name.
  • In The Science of Sleep there is Stéphane and Stéphanie.
  • The Big Lebowski: The basis of the entire plot is that a slacker named Jeffrey Lebowski is mistaken for a millionaire of the same name. Nicknamed "The Dude" and "The Big Lebowski" respectively, to avoid confusion.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean had William Turner (Bootstrap Bill) and his son William Turner (Will). (And HIS son, William Turner the 3rd) Justified since it a common real life naming convention for fathers and sons. It's also used for a throwaway joke. Dead Men Tell No Tales retcons the name of Will and Elizabeth's son from William Turner III to Henry Turner, presumably to avoid problems with this trope now that he's a major character.
  • The Two Jakes, says right in the title that there are two primary characters named Jake.
  • Office Space has 'the Bobs'. And the Lumburghs.
  • Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade features a father and son pair of Dr. Henry Joneses, which is highlighted when a character greets, "Doctor Jones" and both reply. The younger Jones, however, prefers going by "Indiana" rather than his first name or "Junior." In the fourth film, there's a third Henry Jones.
  • Night of the Blood Beast may or may not have featured a team of scientists named "Steve", perhaps foreshadowing the IRL Project Steve.
  • The main character of Groundhog Day is named Phil and of course there's the groundhog, Punxsutawney Phil. Phil, with the typical Bill Murray Typecasting, loathes the rodent even more because of this fact.
  • My Big Fat Greek Wedding has a funny scene in which the father introduces the extended family. Just about everyone's name is a variation of Anita or Nick.
    Gus: Welcome to my home. Over here is my brother, Ted, and his wife, Melissa, and their children, Anita, Diane and Nick. Over here, my brother Tommy, his wife Anzie, and their children, Anita, Diane and Nick. And here, my brother George, his wife Freda, and their children, Anita, Diane and Nick. Taki, Sophie, Kari, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, Nick, uh, Nikki, and I am Gus.
  • In Goodfellas, Karen's narration at her wedding reception mentions the abundance of Peters, Pauls and Maries among the guests.
  • Pirates of Silicon Valley, about the early days of Microsoft and Apple, had three characters who were really named Steve—Jobs, Wozniak, and Ballmer. Risk of confusion was removed by using Ballmer's last name and Wozniak's nickname of 'Woz'.
  • Played with in the baseball movie Major League: Back to the Minors. Finding that he has two Juans on his team, the manager denotes them Juan 1 and Juan 2. A pitcher with a psychology degree comments about it possibly giving them issues. The manager asks if he'd like to be Juan 3.
  • Played with in The Hangover: Black Doug and White Doug. The fact that the main characters are looking for the latter, but other characters assume they're refering to the former, whom they lead them to instead, takes up a big part of the plot.
  • Rocky:
    • The series has two "Duke"s: a good Duke who was Apollo Creed's trainer until Apollo died in Rocky IV and then became Rocky's trainer, and an evil Duke from Rocky Vwho is Tommy Gunn's manager in and just wants to make money out of him. Both Dukes are black.
    • Also, Rocky's son is Rocky Jr.
  • The Karate Kid (and Cobra Kai) has Jerk Jock Johnny Lawrence and his Evil Mentor, John Kreese. The latter is typically referred to simply as "Kreese" to avoid confusion.
  • The police station in Hot Fuzz has two Andys working there, whose last names are Wainwright and Cartwright. Both names have the same origin: they both mean "wagon maker"
  • The Terminator:
    • The Terminator kills two other women named Sarah Connor before targeting the future mother of John Connor. He had no idea what Sarah Connor looks like or exactly which one he's after, but does know what town Sarah will be living in, so he just goes through the phone book and ices each one on the list. The police quickly figure out his pattern because of this.
    • It's easy to miss, but the police detectives with the surnames Traxler and Vukovich have the same first name: Ed.
  • In Kingdom of Heaven, the producers purposefully changed the name of the historical Raymond of Tripolis to Tiberias because they were afraid the audience would mistake him for Reynald de Chatillon.
  • xXx has "The Ivans."
  • The Infernal Affairs trilogy has two women called Mary both of whom are successive love objects for Ming.
  • The Ju-on franchise has two characters called Kyoko. The first one, who has psychic powers and thus can sense that something is very, very wrong with the house, appears in the first two movies, and the second one is (arguably) the protagonist of the fourth movie.
  • Casino Royale (1967) has Sir James Bond pulled out of retirement, his name and number already given to the one we all know—spearheading a campaign against SMERSH, he gives all his agents (men and women alike) the name James Bond, to keep the enemy confused.
  • Enforced in The Golden Compass where Word of God changed Iofur's (pronounced like Yo-Fur) name to the much more evil sounding Ragnar because it sounded too close to Iorek (said as Yor-ek).
  • The James Bond film, The Spy Who Loved Me has a brief aversion; besides Mr. Bond himself, a random sailor in the background during the Liparus shootout is also called James.
    British Lieutenant: (issuing orders to a few of his crew): "Andrew, James, Russell, Purvis, follow me!"
  • Averted subtly in Unforgiven where the protagonist is called William and the antagonist is called Bill (which is, of course, the short form of William).
  • Subverted in Letters to Juliet when two Patricias get confused as she thinks there is only one.
    • To clarify the above point, Sophie gets mistaken when Charlie introduces her to Patricia, recognizing the name of his ex-girlfriend. It turns out that this Patricia at the wedding was his cousin.
    • Also averted with Lorenzo Bartolini, as there were dozens of men with that name.
  • In Son of Frankenstein, the title character, Wolf Frankenstein, has a wife named Elsa; the sequel The Ghost of Frankenstein is about Wolf's brother Ludwig, who has a daughter also named Elsa.
  • The Hammer Horror films suffer from having a lot of characters share names. The Frankenstein movies have a seemingly endless line of guys named Hans, while the Dracula movies seem to have an infestation of Pauls.
  • Out On A Limb, starring Matthew Broderick, has a pair of brothers both named Jim. "We were named after different people though. I'm named after our Dad, and he was named after our Grandpa."
  • Inverted VERY deliberately in the 2006 film Inside Man starring Denzel Washington and Clive Owen. To confuse the police, victims and any potential witnesses, the members of a bank heist crew call each other differing variants of "Steve": Stevie, Steve-Oh, etc. The amazing thing is how smoothly they work despite this.
  • American Beauty:
    Lester: That's our neighbour, Jim, and his partner... Jim.
  • Sister Bridget cruelly enforces this in The Magdalene Sisters. When Rose introduces herself she says they already have a Rose and has everyone call her by her middle name, Patricia. Crispina's real name is Harriett, so we could assume there was another Harriett in the laundry as well.
  • Averted in Slumdog Millionaire where Jamal searches the name Latika in the phone listings and gets over 3000 results. Even when he searches Salim K Malik he gets six results.
  • Averted in Black Swan. The director's name is Thomas. One minor character—one of Lily's friends at the nightclub—is named Tom.
  • Averted in, of all things, Plan 9 from Outer Space. Jeff's co-pilot is named Danny, and Tor Johnson's character is Inspector Daniel Clay. This is probably just another case of Ed Wood's general problems with internal continuity.
  • Averted in Gerry with the characters Gerry and Gerry. One of the few examples where this doesn't get confusing because they're the only two characters.
  • Averted in Mystery Men, with the leaders of the Disco Boys being Tony P and Tony C.
  • Averted in The Public Enemy. There are two guys named Patrick, but most of the time they're called Paddy Ryan and Pat Burke, so there's no reason to get confused.
  • Big Business stars Bette Midler and Lily Tomlin as two mixed-sets of twins. The two characters played by Tomlin are both called Rose, those played by Midler Sadie.
  • In Smiley Face, the protagonist's roommate is named Steve, as is her pot dealer. They are referred to as "Steve the roommate" and "Steve the dealer" respectively in the credits.
  • Totally shattered in the Finnish 1985 movie Calamari Union, which—depending on the source—features between 14 and 16 characters named Frank.
  • Subverted in the Star Wars movies, which feature the pilot Wedge Antilles, Captain Antilles of the Tantive IV, Bail Antilles (senator from Alderaan), Bail Organa (senator from Alderaan), Mace Windu (Jedi), and Mace (shipwreck survivor on Endor). However, confusion over the Maces is unlikely, since Endor-Mace wasn't in the feature films, but a non-canon TV movie. Word of God (that being George Lucas) is that, as exotic that it sounds to us, "Antilles" is supposed to be a last name as common as "Smith" in the Galaxy Far, Far Away.
    • There are also five canon characters named Ben: Obi-Wan "Ben" Kenobi, Ben Solo, Ben Neluenf, Ben Quadinaros and Ben Teene.
    • In Episode II, we see the death of Jedi High Councillor Coleman Trebor at the hands of Jango Fett. By Episode III, his seat has been taken by Coleman Kcaj. The characters are named after Industrial Lights & Magic employee Robert Coleman and his son Jack respectively.
  • Viva Maria!'s main characters are both named Maria.
  • Considering its size, the Friday the 13th franchise has done a remarkably good job of playing this trope straight over the years. There is actually only one instance of two characters sharing the same name in the same movie (victims "Jim" and "Jim Carlson" both appear in Part VIII), but considering that the franchise spans 12 movies with well over a hundred named victims, it's pretty much inevitable that a few names would be recycled across installments. The most commonly used root name to date has been "Rob", which has been given to five different characters (Rob in The Final Chapter, Robin in Part V, a different Robin in Part VII, Admiral Robertson in Part VIII, and Robert Campbell in Jason Goes to Hell). And yes, all five of them die.
  • Averted and a major plot point in Jennifer 8 in which a cop called John is investigating several murders of blind women; when a fellow detective who's carrying a wire confronts the killer, he shouts "Not you, John! Not you!" before getting iced. The murderer is a cop called John, but the hero's John Berlin, while the killer is John Taylor.
  • Disregarded out of necessity in the Icelandic film Útlaginn, which is based on Gísla saga Súrssonar. A common complaint among foreign viewers is that the characters more or less look alike and bear similar names. "Just when you've distinguished one character from another, he gets killed."
  • The Distinguished Gentleman: The protagonist swindles his way into Congress by invoking this trope, capitalizing on the fact that his name is very similar to a recently deceased Congressman. Nobody realizes that "Jeff Johnson" isn't the politician they are accustomed to until he shows up to give his acceptance speech. He decides to do it again at the end of the movie by running for President—his full name is Thomas Jefferson Johnson!
  • X-Men Film Series: There are a few aversions.
  • Subverted in The Book of Life. The film has characters named Maria and Mary.
  • Played straight out of necessity in the movie The Wrong Guys, which stars Louie Anderson, Richard Lewis, Richard Belzer, Franklyn Ajaye and Tim Thomerson as life-long friends and ex-Boy Scouts. The rule of The Danza is in effect for most of their characters, but Richard Belzer's character is called Belz (otherwise we'd have two Richards).
  • Played for laughs in The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, where ALL the Lectroids are named John.
  • Zardoz has Arthur Frayn, almost always called by his last name, and Friend, whose first name is never given. A first-time viewing can be confusing, as the names are pronounced almost identically, and the two characters are close associates who are often mentioned when neither is present on screen.
  • Blood Work: James Cordell and James Lockridge (the latter is known as James Noone in the book).
  • Played for laughs in the French movie RRRrrrr!!!, where everyone - including women - is named Pierre (which is the French form of Peter). This is a play on the expression "L'Age de Pierre", which in French means either "The Stone Age" or "The Peter Age". They can still distinguish each other by name, as seen when the chief call its tribe's members one by one by name and they know which Pierre it is (they even notice when one of them is missing).
  • Averted on If Looks Could Kill: the protagonist is a Detroit high school student named Michael Corben, and there is an American super spy named Michael Corben. This confusion (made stronger because of the murder of Corben the spy before he can get on the same flight to Europe that Corben the teen was taking) creates the whole Mistaken for Badass situation that composes the plot (and when someone points out at one point that Corben is too young, the others assume that he's a Teen Superspy or an example of Older Than They Look).
  • Averted in Saving Private Ryan, the squad finds Private James Ryan and prepare to bring him home, telling him his brothers have been killed. The private then starts bawling and asks how his brothers died, but then mentions they're still in grade-school, prompting the squad to realize they'd run into James Frederick Ryan from Minnesota. Later on, on finding the right Private Ryan, Captain Miller makes sure to confirm he's actually James Francis Ryan from Iowa.
  • Used as a Red Herring in Final Destination 3. In one of the Spooky Photographs that Wendy took before the roller coaster premonition, she is wearing a McKinley (the name of the town and high school) shirt. Realizing this, she believes that Ian (after his girlfriend's death and his resulting Sanity Slippage) will somehow be the cause of her death due to McKinley being his last name, but he is killed before he gets the chance.
  • Averted in The Passenger where David Locke, the protagonist, shares his name with David Robertson, the man whose identity he assumed.
  • The upcoming Disney Self-Parody film Prince Charming uses Disney Animated Canon's usage of this for comedy. Prince Charming has married and divorced both Snow White and Cinderella. However, he needs to marry a princess in order to succeed his dying father. When a princess is kidnapped, he goes to rescue her; but before he can, his past lovers come and throw him out a window. His wimpy brother Prince Trembling must disguise himself as Charming to rescue the princess while his brother recovers.
  • Averted in the 1923 silent film The Covered Wagon. There are two character named William: Will Banion and Bill Jackson.
  • Averted in The Return of Sherlock Holmes. The film contains two unrelated characters named Hudson: Holmes' housekeeper Mrs. Hudson, and antiques dealer Morse Hudson.
  • Moneyball: Directly averted with "Steve" itself.
    Billy Beane: Get Steve on the phone.
    Peter Brand: Schottnote  or Phillipsnote ?
  • Vamps: Played straight, not to mention Played for Laughs when Stacy wants to keep dating Joey after learning his full name, saying that Van Helsing isn't that uncommon of a name. Goody is quick to tell her that, yeah, it is.
  • The Fast and the Furious (2001) and its first sequel have two different characters named Monica: the girl who says she's Edwin's girl even if he loses (she lies) and Agent Fuentes, who's undercover in Carter Verone's operation.
  • Krull: It is revealed the Widow of the Web's real name is Lyssa, the same as the princess.
  • Multiplicity features the protagonist Doug, and his three clones. Everyone calls the clones "Two", "Three" and "Four" to avoid confusion, and the clones happily call the original Doug, "Doug"... excpt for the mentally challenged Four, who calls him "Steve".
  • Juncture features a Marty Cox and a Martin Shaver.
  • Averted, possibly unintentionally in He Walked By Night. Sgt. Jones is a major character, and when giving instructions to patrolmen, Capt.Breen addresses one of them as Jones. Also, on two separate occasions, Capt. Breen phones the captains in charge of the burglary and robbery divisions. On each occasion, he addresses the person on the other end as 'Steve'.
  • A Hard Day's Night: Paul McCartney's fictitious grandfather's full name is John McCartney, but everybody calls him "Paul's Grandfather" to avoid confusion with John Lennon.
  • The Lonely Lady averts this trope twice:
    • The first may be the most bizarre aversion ever. During "The Awards" at the end of the film, one of the other best screenplay nominees also has the oh-so-common name of Jerilee. For no apparent reason. The second Jerilee could have been named anything else and impacted the story not a iota. No one in-universe, not even the main character, remarks upon the coincidence, and it only serves to give the audience a moment of doubting their own sanity: have they been mistaken about the heroine's surname all this time? Did she get remarried yet again without our knowing? Is it a continuity error? Nope! (Contrast the similar scene in The Oscar, where the name duplication among the nominees is very plot-relevant.)
    • There are two characters named George, though they have nothing to do with each other and have no scenes together. Would it have been that hard to rename one of the Georges?
  • Naomi And Ely's No Kiss List: Two different sets of characters both have the same name. First, two guys named Bruce (labeled Bruce 1 and Bruce 2). Then two Robins, one male, one female.
  • The Hunt: this is why the protagonist was captured in the first place—her name is Crystal May Creasey, while the Big Bad has a petty grudge against a Crystal Mae Creasey who lives in the same town. Protagonist Crystal gets her mail sometimes.
  • Adam (2019): Averted; there's Casey and Boy Casey. They date each other.
  • Captain America: The First Avenger: The Howling Commandos have three and a half characters named James - Barnes, Montgomery, and Morita, and Jacques Dernier.
    • However there is only one Steve. At least until several films later when Doctor Strange shows up.
  • In A Man with a Maid, the protagonist is Jack Armstrong, and the villain (sort of) is Jack the Ripper.

  • When Kevin James LaBrie joined Dream Theater, he dropped his first name and adopted James as his stage name, to avoid having two Kevins in the band (along with Kevin Moore). The band still had two Johns, however. And Mike Mangini has replaced Mike Portnoy as the drummer.
  • Deep Purple has had multiple singers, but the best known is Ian Gillan. The drummer is Ian Paice.
  • Our Lady Peace frontman Michael Maida became Raine Maida to avoid confusion with guitarist Mike Turner (and possibly just to be more memorable.)
  • Progressive metal band Symphony X has three Michaels: Michael Romeo on guitars, Michael Pinnella on keyboards and Michael Lepond on bass guitar.
  • Extreme metal band Dimmu Borgir once had three Stians: Stian Thoresen (vocals, better known as Shagrath), Stian Arnesen (bass, better known as Nagash) and Stian Aarstad (keyboards, no stage name).
  • The Mike Doughty song "27 Jennifers" plays with this trope:
    I went to school with twenty-seven Jennifers
    Sixteen Jenns, ten Jennies and then there was her.
  • The core members of They Might Be Giants are John Flansburgh and John Linnell. They are often referred to by fans as "the Johns." For almost five years, their touring band of Dan Miller, Dan Hickey, and Danny Weinkauf was often called "the band of Dans." In 2004, Dan Hickey was replaced by Marty Beller, introducing a third name to the group.
  • Australian Pink Floyd introduce themselves on stage as six Bruces, four Sheilas, and Rolf.
  • When Long Island band Taking Back Sunday replaced their lead guitarist and back-up vocalist for the second time, they ended up with two Matts, Matt Rubano on bass and now Matt Fazzi on guitar. They differentiate by last name.
  • The Rodney Carrington song "Fred's Riding Fred" parodies this, as the narrator is drunk (or stoned in some recordings) and can't remember the names of anyone in the story, so he names them all Fred. This includes the protagonist, the horse and the protagonist's girlfriend.
  • Helloween has Michael Weikath and had Michael Kiske. Weikath is frequently referred to as "Weiki" and Kiske is occasionally "Michi" (though "Michi" seems to be more a fangirl thing).
  • Partial example/subversion with Alice in Chains. The band had two bassists named Mike, but not at the same time.
  • Relient K has Matthew, John, Matthew, Jon, and Matthew Dave Ethan.
  • The Academy Is... has Mike Carden (rhythm guitar) and Michael Guy Chislett (lead guitar). Before Chislett joined the band, the very first lineup included Mike Carden and Mike DelPrincipe (drums).
  • The Cab had, at one point, three of five band members all named Alex—Alex DeLeon, Alex Marshall, and Alex Johnson. The latter two have since left the band, though.
  • Lacuna Coil has two Marcos, two Cristianos and a Cristina... and Andrea.
  • Placebo are a bit confusing with this, in that they replaced a drummer named Steve (Hewitt) with a drummer named Steve (Forrest). Also, the bassist's name is Stefan.
  • Led Zeppelin had a John (Bonham) and a John Paul (Jones). They did not have a John Paul George Ringo, however.
  • The Tea Party had two Jeffs (Martin and Burrows).
  • The Beatles had lead guitarist George Harrison and producer George Martin, which can lead to all sorts of confusion when you're reading about the production of certain albums.
  • Bruce McCullough from The Kids in the Hall had a song called "Daves I Know", each verse being about a different Dave (or David) from his life.
  • Marillion has two members actually named Steve: lead singer Steve Hogarth and lead guitarist Steve Rothery. They are often referred to as "h" and "Rothers" respectively to avoid confusion.
  • Def Leppard have two "Rick"'s, Rick Allen, the drummer, and Rick Savage, the bassist. Rick Savage is differentiated by the nickname "Sav". (Interestingly enough, they also had a "Steve", rhythm guitarist Steve Clark, who died in 1991.)
  • Australian band Powderfinger includes two Johns. One goes by JC, which doesn't really help since the other's surname also begins with C.
  • Averted by the short-lived supergroup GTR, featuring progressive guitar heroes Steve Howe and Steve Hackett.
  • Also, in the band Toto, guitarist Steve Lukather and keyboardist Steve Porcaro.
  • When he formed Dexys Midnight Runners, Kevin Rowland insisted that Kevin Archer (the group's first guitarist) start going by his nickname "Al" Archer. Apparently, he even said, "There's only room for one Kevin in this band."
  • The Brechtian cabaret band The Tiger Lillies consists of Martin the Monster Clown lead singer, and two guys called Adrian.
  • From about 1995 to 2008 Nocturnal Rites had both Nils Norberg and Nils Eriksson in their line up. Norberg used to sign his autograph as "Nils2".
  • Danish pop band Alphabeat has six members: Anders, Stine, Anders, Rasmus, Anders, and Troels.
  • During their peak, Duran Duran had three members all with the last name Taylor. Not one of them was in any way related to either of the other two.
  • Devo has both Robert Mothersbaugh and Robert Casale. They are generally referred to as Bob1 and Bob2. Interestingly, both had brothers in the band—Mark Mothersbaugh and Jerry Casale respectively.
    • After the death of Bob2, the band now features drummer Josh Freese and guitarist Josh Hager.
  • Jon Anderson left Yes in the late 70s and Trevor Horn took his spot for the album Drama before the band went on hiatus. When they reformed for 90125, Anderson returned as vocalist, but Trevor Rabin became their new guitar player, and Horn produced the album.
  • Kevin Crompton (Cevin Key), Kevin Ogilvie (Nivek Ogre), and Dave "Rave" Ogilvie of Skinny Puppy.
  • Journey has/had three Steves: Steve Perry (lead singer), Steve "Smitty" Smith (drummer) and Steve Augeri (lead singer following Perry's departure from the band.)
  • The original lineup of Pink Floyd technically had two Rogers, but it wasn't much of an issue because Roger Barrett was already going by Syd before the band started.
  • US thrash metal band Whiplash is an odd example as one of their Rock Trio lineups had two Anthonys and one Tony, but they all performed as Tonys.
  • The Spice Girls had two Melanies. Melanie B (Scary Spice) and Melanie C (Sporty Spice). The initials remained in their stage name as they started solo careers, although Scary was simply known as Mel B.
  • Vocaloid has both a Miku and a Miki.
  • The Eagles have Don Henley and Don Felder.
  • R.E.M. has both Michael Stipe and Mike Mills.
  • Funeral for a Friend has the lead singer Matt Davies and former bassist Gareth Davies. For the band's first three albums, they used these names and were constantly asked if they were brothers. They got tired of this, so for their fourth album Memory And Humanity, Matt changed his surname to Davies-Kreye and Gareth changed his to Ellis-Davies. Gareth ultimately left before the album was released, so not many people actually referred to him by that name anyway. Matt has kept his. Since the start of the band, Kris Roberts had already been going by Coombs-Roberts, so the double barreled thing was actually a trend in the band.
  • Sound Horizon's Roman takes the aversion to the logical extreme, where just about every male character is named Laurant.
  • Paul and Storm have some songs supposedly by a barbershop quartet entirely made up of guys named "Barry". The fake band is called "The BarryTones".
  • Insomnium's original lineup consisted of Niilo Sevänen (vocals and bass), Markus Hirvonen (drums), and two guys named Ville on guitar. After Ville Vänni left the band, leaving Ville Friman as the only "Ville" in the band, his replacement was...another Markus.
  • Canadian band Martha and the Muffins (of Echo Beach fame) was named for singer Martha Johnson, but they also had keyboard player Martha Ladly during their successful period in 1979/80.
  • An early line-up of Whitesnake featured drummer Dave Dowle, known as 'Duck' to distinguish him from David Coverdale; he was soon ousted in favour of Coverdale's old Deep Purple mate Ian Paice.
    • The most recent line-up includes two Brians: drummer Brian Tichy and keyboard player Brian Ruedy.
  • KISS guitarist Ace Frehley's real first name is Paul; he used his nickname of 'Ace' to distinguish himself from Paul Stanley (who, ironically, is not a Paul at all. His real name is Stanley Eisen.) For similar reasons, Paul Caravello changed his name to Eric Carr upon joining the band as drummer.
  • Lampshaded by The Donnas who went by the names of Donna A, Donna R, Donna F and Donna C until reverting to their own names by their fourth album.
  • For a short time in 2010 Evanescence featured two members called Will Hunt, both drummers. Vocalist Amy Lee dubbed the 'new' one Will 'Science' Hunt during his time with the group.
  • Finnish power metallers Stratovarius (known for their tendency to be a Revolving Door Band) featured guitarist Timo Tolkki and vocalist Timo Kotipelto for several years until the former quit the band.
  • The Faces featured bass player Ronnie Lane and guitarist Ronnie Wood, the latter now better known as a Rolling Stone.
  • Two out of the three Beastie Boys are named Adam. They're usually referred to by their full names or stage names anyway—Adam Yauch is MCA while Adam Horovitz is Ad Rock.
    • The remainder of the group consisted of Mike D and DJ Mixmaster Mike.
  • David Bowie's real name is David Jones, but assumed the surname of Bowie to avoid confusion with Davy Jones of The Monkees.
  • Speaking of which, The Monkees included Micky Dolenz (George Michael Dolenz) and Mike Nesmith (Robert Michael Nesmith), though ironically, both go by their middle name.
  • Sheena Easton's song "9 to 5" was renamed "Morning Train (9 to 5)" to avoid confusion with Dolly Parton's song "9 to 5."
  • Peter Gabriel has had 4 self-titled albums released, which were nicknamed after what was shown on the cover (Such as Car, and Scratch) Although in the United States, it was made so that the 4th was titled Security.
  • Super Group Fight or Flight was essentially started by Dan Donegan from Disturbed and Dan Chandler from Evans Blue.
  • The two constant members of Welsh rock group Stereophonices are singer/guitarist Kelly Jones and bassist Richard Jones.
  • The Yacht Rock Revue has 3 Marks in it. Mark Bencuya is typically addressed by his last name, Mark Dannells is nicknamed "Monkey Boy", and Mark Cobb writes his name with a ? in front ("Question Mark", get it?)
  • Foster the People has two Marks, singer Mark Foster and drummer Mark Pontius, who have been the only two constant members throughout.
  • Neuraxis once had two Oliviers in the band (Pinard and Beaudoin); amusingly enough, Despised Icon (started by former drummer Alexandre Erian) also had two Alexandres in the band (Erian and Pelletier).
  • Spawn of Possession once had THREE Jonases in the band (Karlsson, Bryssling, and Renvaktar).
  • There are two rappers with remarkably similar stage names: Aesop Rock and A$AP Rocky. Even The Other Wiki clarifies they aren't to be confused with each other.
    • Similarly, there's the the R&B singer Mario Winans, and the...other R&B singer...known simply as Mario.
  • Until shortly after the release of their second album, the lineup of Genesis had two people named Anthony (Phillips, the guitarist, and Banks, the keyboardist). Fortunately, they go by "Ant" and "Tony", respectively, so this wasn't much of an issue (although their long-time band manager is named Tony Smith, and their past manager was Tony Stratton-Smith, who was not the same man). Also, two of the band's previous drummers were both named John (Silver, then Mayhew). They did, however, have only one Steve in their lineup (lead guitarist Steve Hackett).
  • The Stooges for a short while had no less than three members named James—James "Iggy Pop" Osterberg, James Williamson, and Jimmy Recca. They also had two members named Scott Asheton and Scott Thurston.
  • UK instrumental rockers The Shadows' 1962-63 lineup had three out of its four members named Brian, but only one went by his real name and nothing else. The three Brians were: Hank Marvin (b. Brian Robson Rankin) on guitar, Brian "Licorice" Locking on bass, and Brian Bennett on drums.
  • Over the course of Built To Spill's career, they've had a Brett Nelson and a Brett Netson.
  • When Otis Harris replaced Eddie Kendricks as the Temptations' lead tenor, he changed his first name to Damon, as they already had Otis Williams in the group.
  • Post-hardcore band Finch features rhythm guitarist Alex Linares and drummer Alex Pappas.
  • Mike + the Mechanics featured both Paul Carrack and Paul Young on lead vocals until the latter passed away in 2000.
  • Phil Collins worked on a few of Earth, Wind & Fire singer Philip Bailey's solo albums, and (as radio DJs love pointing out to this day) the two both sang lead vocals on "Easy Lover".
  • KPop girl group GFRIEND has two Eunbis, Jung Eunbi (who goes by Eunha) and Hwang Eunbi (who goes by SinB)
  • Da Yoopers had Jim DeCaire (drums) and Jim Bellmore (guitar). Their early bassist was Jim Pennell, who quit after the second album and was replaced by Joe DeLongchamp, who himself overlapped then-guitarist Joe Potila. Jerry Coffey was a longtime percussionist, who overlapped collaborator Jerry "Mungo" LaJoie.
  • Trisha Yearwood's first few albums were produced by Garth Fundis. She frequently collaborated with, and later married, Garth Brooks.
  • Finnish band HIM has a severe case of violating the limit. One of their line-ups featured Mikko Paananen on bass, Mikko Lindström on guitar, Mika Karppinen on drums and Jussi-Mikko Salminen on keyboards. Oh, and speaking of drummers, they had Jukka Kröger and Juha Tarvonen in different points of their history. To prevent confusion, all the band members, except for vocalist, use nicknames.
  • Edguy has vocalist Tobias Sammet and bassist Tobias Exxel. Exxel goes by the nickname "Eggi" though, so there's no confusion.
  • Santana used to have two members named Chester Thompson—the drummer who played with Frank Zappa and would later tour with Genesis, and the organist who also played with Tower of Power.
  • Averted by ImagineDragons, who have three members with the first name Daniel — vocalist Reynolds, who goes by Dan, drummer Platzman, who is usually billed by his complete first name, and guitarist Sermon, who goes by his middle name, Wayne.
  • Megadeth has lead singer/guitarist Dave Mustaine and bassist Dave Ellefson. The latter usually goes by David, or sometimes "Junior" to distinguish him from Mustaine.
  • Short-lived band Oh-OK had Linda Hopper (later of Magnapop) and Lynda Stipe (Michael's sister) for their duration. Meanwhile, when drummer David Pierce left, he was replaced by David McNair. At least guitarist Matthew Sweet was able to keep his name unique.
  • Former After Forever bandmates Floor Jansen and Mark Jansen have been known to joke about people mistakenly thinking they're siblings due to sharing their last name.
  • The Rolling Stones averted the limit from 1969 to 1974, when frontman Mick Jagger was joined by guitarist Mick Taylor, who bridged the gap between Brian Jones and Ron Wood.
  • The Band had two Richards—Manuel and Danko—but the aversion wasn't too obvious since the latter used the nickname "Rick."
  • Eminem's "Guilty Conscience" introduces an early-twenties guy named Stan who considers raping an underage girl at a party (with Dr. Dre holding him back and Shady egging him on). Eminem later wrote his iconic song "Stan" about a different Stan who is also his stan. He has stated that he just never thought about that when writing and never intended the two characters to be the same, but they could be.

    Myths & Religion 
  • A very old exception is the medieval legend of Tristan and Isolde contains two characters named Isolde, both of whom pursue a romance with Tristan. The two are typically called "Isolde of Ireland" and "Isolde of Brittany" to minimize confusion.
  • Arthurian Legend:
    • There were at least four Elaines, three of which were associated with Lancelot: Elaine of Benoic (his mother), Elaine of Astolat (the Lady of Shalott), and Elain of Carbonek (the mother of Galahad). The last was one of Arthur's interchangeable third half-sisters, and to make matters more confusing, T.H. White combined Astolat and Carbenok in The Once and Future King. Yet another Elaine was Percival's mother-in-law.
    • There were also three Guineveres, two of which were half-sisters/twins known as the "True Guinevere" and the "False Guinevere." The True Guinevere was Arthur's wife, although the false one switched places with her on at least one occasion. Partly this is because the French re-tellings adapted the original Old Welsh names of the sisters Gwenhwyfar and Gwenhwyfach in such a manner that they became identical - although, given that these names mean "Gwenhwy the Greater" and "Gwenhwy the Lesser", respectively, it's not really much better.
    • In a particularly egregious case, there were two knights named Sir Yvain/Owain... and they were half-brothers. Good going, Dad. One is usually just called Yvain, while the younger, illegitimate one is called Sir Yvain the Adventurous or, more unfortunately, Sir Yvain the Bastard.
    • Aversions of this and even One Mario Limit, or the presence of weirdly similar names for no apparent reason, are in fact rather common in Arthurian legend; over the centuries, just to give some other, and the most egregious examples, there has been at least one Sir Kay, two knights named Sir Gaheris, one Mordred, several people named Morgan, three Galahads (or, counting Lancelot’s childhood name and his ancestor Galahad, five), and even a few Arthurs who are completely different people from the more important carriers of their names who you are more likely to actually know or care about. This, translation issues, and nonstandard spelling has resulted in quite a few possible Decomposite Characters and instances of unintentional Composite Character creation, if not both (as could have happened with Morgan Le Fey and Morgause), and even the most well-read scholars shrugging on whether some characters are supposed to be the same as another or not.
  • The Bible: Lots of names are repeated; for example, about six women named Mary are in the New Testament, although different sources disagree on who they are. Other people are referred to by their family name, so several Herodian rulers are all called "Herod". And in some cases, names were originally different end up being rendered the same way in translation (e.g. a male "Noach" and a female "Noah" both being called "Noah" in English). For this reason, devotional life and adaptations tend to find ways to distinguish the Steves.
    • This is particularly important among the Apostles of Jesus:
      • Two Simons; this is relatively easy, since one of them was also known as Peter, and became St. Peter. The other was typically knows as "Simon the Cannanite" or "Simon the Zealot".
      • Two Judases, though one was typically known as "Thaddeus", or "Judas, son of James". "Thaddeus" was also referred to as "Judas", and would later simply be shortened to "Jude" to differentiate him from Judas Iscariot. At one point in John's gospel, the narrator has to clarify, "Judas (not Iscariot) said..."
      • Two Jameses, and this is the complicated one; they'd simply be known as James the Great (son of Zebedee; also brother of Apostle John, also refered to as "son of Zebedee") and James the Lesser (son of Alphaeus). In scripture, both are frequently referred to simply as "James", with no additions to differentiate them.
      • John the Apostle also shares a name with John the Baptist, who appears early in the gospels.
    • Translations of the Old Testament in some languages give Joshua the same name as Jesus. This is because Joshua's Hebrew name, Yehoshua, was sometimes translated via the worn-down form Yeshua, which is approximated as Iesous in Greek. Jesus' name in the original Greek New Testament is also Iesous, and in fact Yeshua was probably his actual given name.
    • There are also two major Josephs in the Bible: Jacob's son in Genesis, and the husband of Jesus's mother in the New Testament.
    • There are also King Saul and Saul of Tarsus, later called Paul.
  • The Qur'an and its associated hadith:
    • Utterly averted. The Arabs, despite having a language with an astronomical number of nouns, apparently have a small pool of personal names even before the advent of Islam, but when the religion became more known, the rule gets turned Up to Eleven. Oh, patronymics don't really help either, since patriarchs also have the same common names, and it only becomes useful if you try to track the family line to several generations above (hence why most Arabic names to this day can get ridiculously long; you have to come to the point where you won't confuse that person with someone else). Plus, many of the Biblical characters and events are also recognized in Islam, and with it its utter aversion of the One Steve Limit.
    • Muhammad (Arabic for "most praiseworthy one") was already a very common name in the Arabian Peninsula before the prophet's time. In addition to the prophet, two of the prophet's companions are both named Muhammad, for example (ibn Abu Bakr and ibn Maslamah).
    • The Quran shows what happens when you have two different individuals with the same name and then confusing the two. The Quran doesn't mention personal names a lot, especially women, who are generally referred as "[insert name here]'s wife/sister/mother" or "the woman [who did] this [insert event name here]". However, Jesus' mother, as in the Virgin Mary, is not only named (in its Arabic form, Maryam, obviously), but gets a whole chapter devoted to her.note  Meanwhile, Moses' sister, Miriam (whose Arabic form is also Maryam), is not named in the Quran, but, apparently, the writers still thought of her name as Miriam, because both of Mary and Miriam's fathers are named Amram‒or Imran in Arabic (in the Bible, only Miriam's was named Amram; Mary's father was called Joachim). In fact, there was once a long debate on which Amram is referred to in the Quranic chapter "The House of Imran". The scholars settled on Joachim/Mary's father.
    • According to the verse 19:7–10, Yahya (John the Baptist) was the the first to receive this name.
  • In Greek Mythology:
    • Ajax the Great (Ajax son of Telamon) and Ajax the Lesser (Ajax of Locris) were both Greek warlords in The Trojan War, and figure in The Iliad.
    • Zeus has two sons named Sarpedon; one is the son of Europa and brother to Minos and Rhadamanthys and the other is the son of Laomedia and a hero in the Trojan War.
    • Zeus has two daughters named Thalia, one of the muses and one of the Charities.
    • The titaness Tethys is often confused with Thetis, the mother of Achilles, who is her granddaughter.
    • Cronos was the leader of the titans, Chronos was the personification of time. The former is also sometimes spelled Cronus or Kronos, while the latter is also spelled Chronus or Khronos. Which doesn't really help matters. Even the Greeks got them confused from time to time, and by the Renaissance the figure of Father Time was usually depicted as carrying a scythe, the weapon the other Cronos used to castrate Uranus.
    • The rule also gets trampled by the dozen mythical figures named Eurypylus. Two of them fought on opposite sides of the Trojan War. At the same time, a third one was among the suitors of Penelope. One generation back, another Eurypylus had helped Heracles sack Troy. Yet another was a son of Heracles, not to be confused with the one who was killed by Heracles... and so on.
    • King Diomedes of Thrace was a villain who would feed people to his man-eating mares and was eventually killed by Heracles. Later, another Diomedes became a hero who fought on the Greeks' side during the Trojan War and became famous for wounding both Aphrodite and Ares.
    • One Euryale was the sister of Medusa. Another was the daughter of King Minos and was the possible mother of Orion. Another was one of the Amazons.
  • Averted with Robin Hood. We have both Little John and Prince John, and Will Stuteley and Will Scarlet.
  • One Russian fairy tale centered around two identical brothers who were both named Ivan. Also, nearly every male protagonist in Russian fairy tales is an Ivan.
    • There are also some versions of a fairy tale involving Ivan Tsarevich (son of the Tsar), Ivan the Maid's Son, and Ivan Bykovich (the Cow's Son). They fight three dragons, all called Chudo-Yudo.
  • In Norse Mythology, we have the more famous Loki son of Laufey, a giant who lives with the gods in Asgård, and the less famous giant Utgarda-Loki, who lives in the castle of Utgard in Jotunheim. There's also Logi, when he is separate from Loki Laufeyson (the word (and sometimes name) Logi isn't actually related to the name Loki—it means something like 'destroying fire'—but sounds close enough that even the Norse seems to have gotten them mixed up at times).
  • Averted in the Ulster Cycle, when Medb renamed all her sons Maine, because she was told her son Maine would kill Conchobar. And again, when one of them kills the wrong Conchobar.

  • Averted in The Adventure Zone, by Brian and his pet spider Bryan.
    • There have also been four Jerrys over the course of the show. A gerblin in Here There Be Gerblins, two Hammerhead ruffians named "Regular Jerreeeeee" and "Lil' Jerry" in Petals to the Metal, and a bank guard in The Eleventh Hour. Guest host Stuart Wellington added a fifth one in tribute to the Hammerheads with Goldcliff's Councillor Jerry, who also had the Hammerheads' distinctive "Joe Pesci" accent.
    • Finally, there are two bugbears named Jamie Green. One is Klarg's mother and Lucas' gardener, and the other is a reporter on the IPRE's homeworld.
  • Averted as well in the ongoing series of The Aliens That Came From A Completely Different Planet To Earth within The John Dredge Nothing To Do With Anything Show: It features both Jeff and Jim, who are constantly getting mixed up by the other characters—occasionally even they themselves can't get their names right.
    Jeff: A flying saucer, Jeff?
    Jim: I'm Jim, you're Jeff.
    Jeff: Sorry, that's the trouble with having two characters with similar names, Jeff.
    Jim: Jim.
  • MarsCorp has Dave Price and David Knight in its main cast. In this case it's a side-effect of Write What You Know crossed with The Danza: the characters are named after their actors, who also co-wrote season one. So far none of the characters have remarked on it (in reality, why would they?).
    • MarsCorp also has Jonathan Kingsley and John Smith.
  • Played with in the Cool Kids Table game Here We Gooooo! when it comes to the Yoshi. Alan's character has an Overly Long Name, so they call him Yoshi for short. But to keep things from getting confusing when Yoshi is introduced in a kingdom full of Yoshis, they refer to Mario's Yoshi as the "OG Yoshi".
  • My Dad Wrote a Porno has, in the titular erotic literature, three characters named James: James Spooner, Sir James Godwin, and Jim Sterling. In addition, two of the hosts are named Jamie and James.
  • In episode three of Mystery Show, Starlee assumes that Bob Bland and Bob Six are the same person. They're not.
    • Also subverted in episode six with Starlee's client Jonathan and John, an author that she meets during her investigation.
  • Since two of the three regulars on the OSW Review podcast are named Steve, they go by the nicknames V1 and Mr. OOC.
  • Averted in Welcome to Night Vale:
    • All of the angels who stay with Old Woman Josie are named Erika. With a "k".
    • There's also two Laurens: Lauren Mallard (Night Vale Radio Station manager and StrexCorp Shill) and Lauren James (Night Vale Weekly Gazette writer).
    • And two Janices: Cecil's niece Janice and Janice Rio from down the street.
    • For the record, there is only one Steve: Cecil's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis and Janice's stepfather Steve Carlsberg.
  • The Magnus Archives technically has three recurring characters named Michael: Michael Crew, avatar of the Vast, Michael Shelley, Gertrude Robinson's former assistant, and "Michael", the Distortion avatar that killed Michael Shelley and now inhabits his body. There's also a Mikaele Salesa — it's pronounced very differently, but jumps out at you when you see it written down.
    • It's probably also worth mentioning Sasha James, Not-Sasha-James, Sasha Rackett from the sister Rusty Quill Gaming podcast, and castmember Sasha Sienna. (Quite a few Magnus Archives characters are named after cast and crew members from various Rusty Quill productions; series creator Jonny Sims named the protagonist after himself. He'd been warned, too.)

    Pro Wrestling 
  • AWA had FOUR Richards or similar names hold the AWA World Heavyweight Title during the promotion's existence (Dick the Bruiser [William Richard Afflis], the Destroyer [Dick Beyer], Mighty Igor Vodic [Dick Garza], and Rick Martel [Richard Vigneault].)
  • New Japan Pro-Wrestling on a few occasions employed both Masa Saito and Hiro Saito, who despite a close physical resemblance are not related.
  • WCW had a good number of Scotts at one point (Hall, Steiner, Norton, Riggs, Armstrong, Putski, Dickinson [a referee], Hudson [a TV announcer]), and then it was revealed that Raven was also a Scott when his mother showed up for a storylinenote . In addition, Raven's Flock included Riggs and Sick Boy (real name Scott Vick). The nWo had Hall, Norton, and Steiner all in the group, and when it splintered into the Wolfpac and Hollywood factions, all three Scotts were in nWo Hollywood. Scott Steiner was widely referred to on a Full-Name Basis during this time, since he was a) not the only Scott and b) not the only Steiner (see below).
  • Early in his career, Kevin Sullivan arrived in the Gulf Coast Wrestling territory in Alabama. Wrestler Eddie Sullivan (real name Ruben Huizar) was already established there, so the promoters renamed Kevin "Johnny West."
  • WCW had an infestation of men named Rick during the 90s. In 1997 alone their roster included at least 12 wrestlers using Rick or Ricky as their first name (Ric Flair, Rick Fuller, Rick Martel, Ricky Morton, Rick Rude, Rick Steiner, Ricky Santana, Rick Grange, Rick King, Ricky McDaniel, Rick Thames, Rick Thorn note ). As an aside, Rick Steiner's real first name is Robert, which makes you wonder why he didn't use that name in WCW to avoid confusion with the more famous Ric Flair or Rick Rude. This list does not include Ricks that had already retired (i.e. Ricky Steamboat) or had yet to debut (i.e. Rick Cornell aka Reno of the Natural Born Thrillers) in 97. WCW always seemed to have a swarm of jobbers named Rick. Between 1991 and 1996 they had 24 men, not counting the big names, known as Ricknote  and they had a combined record of 1-125 note .
  • Interestingly, WCW's title scene actually adhered to this rule during its existence. From January 1991 through March 26, 2001, of the 19 different men who held the WCW World Heavyweight Title, none of them had the same first name as any of the others. This ended when Chris Jericho won the title on October 21, 2001, during the InVasion/Alliance storyline, since Chris Benoit had won it on January 16, 2000. Literalized, since Sting was one of the guys who held the title and his real first name is in fact Steve.
  • Averted by the WCW tag team Kronik, since both guys (Brian Adams and Bryan Clarke) were named Bryan and nobody seemed to question it.
  • During the 1980s, WWE called Kamala, normally known as "the Ugandan Giant", "the Ugandan Headhunter" due to the fact that André the Giant, who Kamala feuded with both in WWE and elsewhere, was in the promotion at the time. It also doubled as a Name to Run Away From Really Fast.
  • WWE changed Buzz Sawyer's Red Baron from "Mad Dog" to "Bulldog" during his brief run in 1984 because Mad Dog Vachon was in the promotion at the time.
  • Bruiser Brody used the name King Kong Brody in territories where Dick the Bruiser was established.
  • 2 Cold Scorpio had to use the name Black Wazma in Mexico because another wrestler named Scorpio was already established there at the time.
  • Ricky Morton averted this when he and Ricky Fuji teamed up in Japan as The New Rock N Roll Express.
  • The WWE World Heavyweight Championship has been held by three Michaels (Shawn Michaels [Michael Shawn Hickenbottom], Mankind [Mick Foley] and The Miz [Michael Mizanin]). There have also been THREE Roberts or similar names (Bob Backlund, Sgt. Slaughter [Robert Remus], and Rob Van Dam [Rob Szatkowski]). There have also been two Randys (Randy "Macho Man" Savage [Randal Mario Poffo] and Randy Orton), two Stevens/Stephens ("Stone Cold" Steve Austin [Steven Williams, born Anderson] and Sheamus [Stephen Farelly]), two Pauls (Triple H [Paul Michael Levesque] and The Big Show [Paul Wight]), and three Johns (John "Bradshaw" Layfield [John C. Layfield], John Cena and Dean Ambrose [Jonathon Good]).
  • There have occasionally been wrestlers in WWE with the same first names though they are normally called by their last names by announcers. Chris Jericho and Chris Benoit, as well as the similar sounding Christian. WWE renamed Christopher Pavone "Caylen Croft" because his previous ring name of Chris Cage was too close to Christian's previous name of Christian Cage. There was even a storyline started when Lilian Garcia goofed and announced Benoit as "Jericho" (something Jim Ross would do often on commentary). There was also the time when Mark Henry and Mark Jindrak were on the roster at the same time. There was also John Cena, John "Bradshaw" Layfield, John Laurinaitis, John Morrison, and Johnny Curtis. There are also Paul Wight and Paul Levesque, but don't call them that.
  • At one point in WWE there was a Jacqueline, generally called Jackie by everyone, and Miss Jackie Gayda. As Jacqueline went by the name "Miss Jackie Moore" in TNA there is often confusion whenever reporters recap old events and forget that Miss Jackie wasn't her name in WWE. According to Ivory (Word of Saint Paula?) they avoided this problem backstage by simply calling them Black Jackie and White Jackie.
  • WWE tends to change wrestlers' names to avoid this trope altogether. A notable example is Steven Regal becoming William Regal since they already had 3 Steves:"Stone Cold" Steve Austin, "The Lethal Weapon" Steve Blackman, and Steven Richards. And Steve Williams becoming Steve Austin was another example, to distinguish him from "Dr. Death" Steve Williams.
  • "Stone Cold" Steve Austin got his name because of this trope. He began competing in WCCW under his real name Steve Williams, but when it was bought out and merged with another territory, they already had "Dr. Death" Steve Williams. Since Doc was the senior of the two, it was Austin who had to change his name. Dutch Mantell tossed off Steve Austin (claiming it had nothing to do with The Six Million Dollar Man). Austin hated the name, but it stuck, and he eventually became the biggest draw in the history or wrestling.
  • Chris Jericho once remarked that after he joined WWF from WCW he had to change his finishing move name from the Lion Tamer to the Walls of Jericho as Ken Shamrock already had his special Lions Den Match, humorously remarking that Vince McMahon had said "there are too many lions!"
  • ECW had THREE NWA ECW Heavyweight Champions/ECW World Heavyweight Champions with the real first name of Terry (Terry Funk, Sabu [Terry Brunk] and Rhino [Terry Gerin.]) There were also two Jameses (Jimmy "Superfly" Snuka [James Reiher] and the Sandman [Jim Fullington]), two Johns or similar names (Johnny Hot Body [Johnny Weiss] and Mikey Whipwreck [Jonathan Watson]), two Scotts (Raven [Scott Levy] and Bam Bam Bigelow [Scott Charles Bigelow]), and two Peters (Taz [Peter Senerchia] and Justin Credible [Petey Polaco]).
  • Starting in February 1999, WWE has had at different times several women on its roster with "Mary" or related names in their real names, including Stephanie Marie McMahon, Ivory (Lisa Mary Moretti), Stacy Marie Keibler, Victoria (Lisa Marie Varon), Ashley Marie Massaro, Eve Marie Torres, Dawn Marie (Dawnmarie Psaltis), Amy Marie Weber, Savannah (Angela Marie Fong) and Maria Kanellis.
  • Zig Zagged to all hell and back by Ken Kennedy. He started wrestling under his real name Ken Anderson. Then when he joined the WWE he changed his name to Ken Kennedy to avoid comparison to the fictional Anderson Wrestling Family. Then it was revealed in-story that his name is Kennedy because he's the bastard son of Vincent Kennedy McMahon. Then it was revealed that he was making that up. Then he got fired and is now performing in TNA as Ken Anderson.
  • TNA has a preponderance of men named Robert. Rob Van Dam, Bobby Roode, Robbie E, and Rob Terry. TNA is also a subsidiary of Panda Energy, owned by Robert Carter. Technically, there was also Bobby Lashley.
  • Alicia Fox used the names Victoria and Tori in Ohio Valley and WWE's version of FCW (her real name is Victoria, of which Tori is a nickname) so of course when she was called up they already had a Victoria and a Torrie Wilson, whose real name was Victoria Anne Wilson (and the latter two at one point were both members of a heel trio called Vince's Devils). It'll give you a bit of a chuckle to hear she was put into a storyline with another Victoria—Vickie Guerrero. WWE's previous Tori was known as Terri Power as an indy wrestler, but changed her name to avoid confusion with Terri Runnels. However she was in the company when Victoria entered in 2000 and Torrie Wilson in 2001 meaning they had 3 women with the same name.
  • Brooke/Miss Tessmacher recently fell victim to this after the signing of Brooke Hogan to TNA. This was also used when Brooke Hogan departed as she had been in a romance angle with Bully Ray. After Brooke's absence he still kept talking about her and eventually introduced his "girlfriend Brooke" on reveal that it was Tessmacher now.
  • When Shawn Daivari was in WWE's developmental league Ohio Valley Wrestling, they changed his name to Khosrow, most likely as a tribute to The Iron Sheik, whose real name is Hossein Khosrow Ali Vaziri, although the name "Khosrow" never made it to WWE TV, and also to presumably avoid anyone possibly confusing Daivari with Shawn Michaels. Similarly, when WWE brought in the tag team the Heartbreakers (Antonio Thomas and Romeo Roselli), they renamed them the Heart Throbs because Shawn Michaels' Red Baron is "The Heartbreak Kid."
  • CHIKARA spoofed this in a way with the tag team Lancelot (or Lance-A-Lot) made up of two masked guys each named "Lance Steel."
  • In LLF, had both Dark Angel and American Angel. And both were unmasked to reveal they were Sarah Stock and Sara Del Rey. (Which wasn't too surprising if you knew them already, especially not the latter)
  • While Nikki Matthews was a last minute addition to SHIMMER, they found time to change her billing to Nicole, as they already had a Nikki Roxx. Nikki The New York Knockout is just NY Knockout likely for the same reason. Then they picked up Nikki Storm. Then Nicole Savoy. (Amusingly, their first champion also used to be known as Nikki until this trope came into play)
  • Colt Cabana was renamed Scotty Goldman because of Carlito's Talk Show with Fists "Carlito's Cabana." Averted in Jersey All Pro Wrestling with him and Chris Cabana, though given the later was a member of the Christopher Street Connection it was less likely anyone would be confusing them.
  • Pro Wrestling RESPECT, which did developmental shows for ROH and SHIMMER academy trainess before moving over to Chikara, had several ninja jobbers for them to beat up that came in several variations (Red Ninja, Ninja Cheetah, etc), one of them just being plain The Ninja, accept The Ninja had a tag team partner also just called The Ninja.
  • Total Divas uses this. Most of the women are referred to by their real names—except Eva Marie, whose real name is Natalie. She's called Eva presumably to avoid confusion with Natalya—who is called Nattie by everyone. However otherwise averted with the boyfriends as three women are involved with men named John. Nikki is with John Cena, Trinity is with Jon Fatu (though his ring name is Jimmy Uso) and Eva Marie is with Jonathan Coyle. And that's not including Nikki and Brie's father Jonathan Garcia and brother JJ (Jonathan Jr.) Garcia. Additionally Josie is the name of both Eva Marie's mother and Brie's pet dog.
  • Male cheerleader stable Spirit Squad had members whose real names are Nick Nemeth and Nick Mitchell. As the former went by Nicky, the latter went by Mitch, a shortened version of his surname.
  • Previously averted in WWE by Luke Harper and Luke Gallows. As of 2018, WWE dropped Harper and Erick Rowan's first names when they became The Bludgeon Brothers.
  • Pro Wrestling NOAH had Takeshi Rikio and Takeshi Morishima, who spent their early years as a tag team.
  • Dragon Gate:
    • Since its inception, DG has employed both Masaaki Mochizuki and Susumu Mochizuki. They were even in a popular stable together, M2K, named for the two Mochizukis and Yasushi Kanda. Eventually, Susumu lost the rights to the name in a match with Masaaki, and took the name Susumu Yokosuka after his beloved hometown.
    • Susumu would later found a stable called the Jimmyz, almost all of whom changed their name to Jimmy - Jimmy Susumu, Jimmy Kagetora, Ryo "Jimmy" Saito, Jimmy K-Ness J.K.S., and Jimmy Kanda among them.
    • Ryo Saito is one of three Saitos in DG, the others being K-Ness (Makoto Saito) and Super Shisa (Yoshiyuki Saito, who had previously wrestled under the name SAITO). Presumably Ryo’s nickname SaiRyo originated backstage to differentiate him from the more senior Saitos.
    • In 2016, some new trainees debuted, including Hyou Watanabe and Shun Watanabe. Shun quickly donned a mask and adopted the name Shun Skywalker to avoid confusion.
  • Averted with Ring of Honor, who had two Adams (3x champ Adam Cole and midcarder Adam Page), and three Jays (Jay Lethal, Jay Briscoe, and Jay White). Played straight when both Adam Cole and Adam Page joined the Bullet Club and Page changed his name to Hangman Page following a gimmick change where he started stringing up opponents with a noose
    • Possibly played straight during "All Ego" Ethan Page's brief run in the promotion, concurrent with Adam Page's ongoing run. While announcers acknowledged that he went by Ethan Page elsewhere, they stated that he changed his name in ROH to Ethan Gabriel Owens. As noted below, Ethan Page later kept his name despite again coming into a company where Hangman Page was well established when he was signed to AEW in 2021.
  • Enforced when it comes to the McMahons. Gregory Helms was told that he could not go by Shane due to Shane McMahon, and when asked why they were fine with three Chris's on the roster note , he was told it was because "There's no Chris McMahon". Likely the same is true for Linda Miles going by Shaniqua and Stephanie Garcia-Colace going by Nikki Bella.
  • Milena Roucka went by the name Rosa Mendes likely to avoid confusion with Melina Perez. In fact, there was a long standing rumor that Melina was romantically involved with Batista while still with her long-time boyfriend John Morrison. In reality, it was Mendes who dated Batista at that time.
  • Cross-gender example: Male wrestler "Smooth Sailin'" Ashley Remington" (aka Dalton Castle) had stopped appearing in CHIKARA by the time Ashley Vox arrived.
  • WCW had male wrestler Shannon Moore and female valet/wrestler Daffney Unger, whose real name is Shannon Spruill, on the roster at the same time.
  • Averted during the 2004 "Million Dollar" edition of Tough Enough, which featured eventual winner Daniel Puder and third-placer Daniel Rodimer. This season also featured the aforementioned Nick Mitchell, who became Mitch to avoid confusion with fellow Spirit Squad member Nicky (aka Dolph Ziggler).
  • Averted big-time with All Elite Wrestling. As of September 2021, they have the following aversions:
    • Brian Cage, Christian Cage, "Hangman" Adam Page, Ethan Page, and Diamond Dallas Page
    • Adam Cole and Adam Page
    • Christian Cage, Chris Jericho, and Christopher Daniels
    • Brian Cage, Brian Pillman Jr., and Bryan Danielson
    • Maxwell Jacob Friedman and Max Caster
    • Matt Jackson, Matt Sydal, and Matt Hardy
    • Shawn Spears and Shawn Dean
    • Jon Moxley and John Silver
    • Mark Henry, "Smart" Mark Sterling, Marq Quen, and Marko Stunt
    • Anthony Bowens, Anthony Ogogo, Antony "Tony" Khan, and Noah Anthony "Tony" Schiavone

  • Parodied in the BBC comedy Deep Trouble, which in its second series had an Alison and an Alice. But since the show is set on a submarine, everyone is usually referred to by rank and surname anyway (and Alice Barry in fact insists on being called Barry).
  • BBC comedy The Burkiss Way once featured a group of servants who were all called Rose, male and female alike, since they could only afford one name between them.
  • Truth in Television, or rather Truth In Radio for that matter. 96 Trent FM (now known as Trent FM) had Matt Wilkinson presenting afternoons and Matt Wilkins appearing at various times of the day. Hilarity Ensues. Confusion reigns. So Matt Wilkins became Matt Marsden, on Trent FM at least. Now he's at Key 103 under his original name.
  • The Archers: Edward "Eddie" Grundy, and his second son, Edward "Ed" Grundy.
  • Round the Horne had Kenneth Horne and Kenneth Williams.
  • Old Harry's Game had a demon called Gary in series 1, and a dimwitted teenager called Gary in the first episode of series 6.
  • New Dynamic English is rather realistic. It has at least two Johns (John Wilson and John Orwell) and three Karens (Karen Wilson, a Karen from a Daily Dialogue and a Karen from Man on the Street).
  • The Goon Show had Count Jim Moriarty, Jim Spriggs and Little Jim as regular or semi-regular characters. In 'The Starlings' there's another: Bluebottle gives his full name as Jim 'Bluebottle' Tigernuts.

  • Behind The Veil has some of the more common names repeated, but the one that takes the cake is the tale of the two Jons: Both are Bone Gnawers, Theurges, at the same sept.
  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues, owning to the large cast, has a few repeat names across the main and secondary characters:
    • Two of the supporting characters are called Edward- one goes by Ed, whilst the other goes by Eddie (or his surname, Longhorn).
    • Tracy is the name of both Ivy's mother and Jenna's little sister.
    • Ciro and Luna both have a father called Robert.
    • The government agent keeping an eye on the kids is called Sarah, the same as Vivian's mother.
    • One of the supporting characters, Jae, shares a name with Hyeon's out-of-town cousin. This one is somewhat ironic, as the first Jae has a rivalry going on with Hyeon.
  • In the MSF High Forum, there have been reuses of Echo, Mira, and even Jessica. Also invoked, when an NPC changed her name to Echoe, or a variation thereof, to fix things. As this is a forum, similar-sounding but differently spelled names are okay.
  • v3 of Open Blue featured a Colonel Jackson and a Sergeant Jackson. One commanded a brigade of troops from the five major countries of The Federation, and the other commanded a The Squad of Praetorian Guard from a single country. The two were as familially related as their job descriptions are similar.
  • Ruby Quest:
    • There's two Toms- Subjects #5 and #6 (named after the two Toms in Animal Crossing: Tom the Cat and Tom Nook respectively). Subject #5 is Ruby's companion and Deuteragonist, while Subject #6 is a side character first mentioned in notes as being extremely violent and dangerous, and who Ruby later meets in Upper Lab B. The characters having the same name comes in pretty handy for hiding that the players had them both mixed up all along- the person in Upper Lab B was actually Subject #5. Ruby's companion Tom was Subject #6 all along.
    • There's also a meta example, as Weaver references two real life people called William Murdorch, one of whom was the inventor of the pneumatic tube and the other was a rather obscure poet. A pneumatic tube figures heavily into the plot, and The Metal Glen, the poem Ruby Quest was based on, was by the poet Murdoch. Actually the poem was by Weaver, who pretty accurately mimicked the real Murdoch's style for it.
  • Survival of the Fittest has had duplicates of several (first) names, including that of the winner of version 1. The nature of the RP, of course, renders this trope essentially unenforceable.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Often averted in Warhammer 40,000.
    • Because the epic, millennia-spanning scale of the lore, this is sometimes because characters appearing later in the timeline are named in honor of earlier ones, such as the famous Commissar Sebastian Yarrick, whose parents named him after legendary crusader and church reformer Sebastian Thor, though there are also a few who are contemporaries in the very same story, such as Big Bad Horus Lupercal and his idealistic subordinate "Little" Horus Aximand in the Horus Heresy prequel novels.
    • One of the more drastic aversions in the setting is the name Lucius, which belongs to at least five characters (including three Space Marines) and a planet, with no known relation between any of them.
    • Despite the wide variety of names available to orks, they still managed to get two bosses named Gorgutz: Gorgutz Ghostkilla Deffscreama Bloodspilla Deffkilla Gunsmasha Daemonkilla 'ead'unter in Dawn of War, and another Gorgutz with no qualifiers in the Blood and Thunder comic who serves as the Villain Protagonist's Bad Boss until he takes an exploding gargant to the face.
  • In the Mystara setting for Dungeons & Dragons, Stephan and Stefan are in fact the most common names for noblemen. There is an amazingly high number of them around.
  • Steve Jackson Games and Games Workshop were respectively founded and co-founded by two different Steve Jacksons. The Steve Jackson from Steve Jackson Games even wrote several books in a series primarily written by the other Steve Jackson, and there's little to no indication within them that the author is a different person.
  • The original Faerunian pantheon from the Forgotten Realms included both a goddess of joy named Lliira and a goddess of illusion (currently deceased) named Leira. The similarity of their names was Lampshaded by an ugly rumor that circulated in the immediate aftermath of the Avatar Crisis, alleging that Lliira's avatar had intentionally hunted down and killed Leira's, specifically because their names were too much alike.
  • Sentinels of the Multiverse:
    • The heroine Fanatic is also known as Helena; the villain-turned-hero La Capitán/La Comodora is named Maria Helena...Teresa Fafila Servanda Jimena Mansuara Paterna Domenga Gelvira Placia Sendina Belita Eufemia Columba Gontina Aldonza Mafalda Cristina Tegrida de Falcon. Even given that most of her names are taken from Spanish, it's honestly impressive that she only really overlaps with another character once.
    • The hero Randall Butler/Benchmark shares a first name with Randy "Rotmouth" Burke, the low-life who would eventually become Plague Rat. It probably helps that, within the fictional comics, by the time the former debuted, the latter had been a feral rat creature answering to the name of "oh God it's got my arm" for a while.
    • The Parsons line has a tradition of naming the heir to the Legacy identity Paul, meaning that both the standard Finest Legacy and the promo Greatest Legacy are named Paul Parsons (VII and VIII respectively). Paul VIII's firstborn is spared this only by having been born a daughter instead, so she was named Pauline instead. (The Parsons family is typically loyal, steadfast, noble, diligent and compassionate, but it's just a wee bit short on imagination.)

  • In William Shakespeare's plays:
    • Similar to the Bible example above is The Comedy of Errors, which involves two sets of identically named identical twins separated at birth and maintaining the same bourgeois-and-servant relationship. Hilarity Ensues.
    • As You Like It, for no particular reason (i.e. makes no particular mention of it in the story, unlike Comedy of Errors), has two characters named Oliver (Orlando's eldest brother and the country priest) and two characters named Jaques (Orlando's middle brother and the melancholy wit in Duke Senior's retinue).
    • The Two Gentlemen of Verona: Sir Eglamour, the Milanese friend of Silvia, has the same name as the suitor of Julia who's mentioned briefly in act 1.
    • The history plays have a lot of duplicate names, because real history is like that. Shakespeare did try to reduce their number, though; for example, Lord Richard Grey and Sir Richard Ratcliffe—both characters in Richard III—are referred to by their last names only.
      • Lampshaded in Richard III where Queen Margaret starts riffing on the remarkable bodycount of the past few plays in Act IV, Scene iv: "I had an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him; I had a Henry, till a Richard kill'd him: Thou hadst an Edward, till a Richard kill'd him; Thou hadst a Richard, till a Richard kill'd him..." and it goes on from there. There's a special kind of pride that comes from hearing that scene and actually knowing who all the Henries, Richards, and Edwards were.
      • Henry IV Part 1 is basically about a war between King Henry and Prince Henry versus Henry Percy and his son Henry Percy. They get the last name / title / nickname treatment in the script, though.
    • And in The Taming of the Shrew we have Gremio and Grumio. Good luck remembering which is which.
    • A Midsummer Night's Dream gives us Puck, known by the euphemism "Robin Goodfellow", but in addition to him, we have Robin Starveling, the tailor.
    • Julius Caesar had both Cinna the conspirator and Cinna the poet. Unfortunately for Cinna the poet. As well as five Marks: Antony, Lepidus, Cicero, Brutus, and Corvinus.
  • In the Stage Version of Bugsy Malone Joe is a recurring name.
  • RENT has two (minor) Steves: one of them is a member of the Life Support group (so we know that he is named after a friend of Larson's who died of AIDS), and the other is one of the (unseen) people Joanne is talking to on the phone in We're Okay. It's also not entirely impossible that these are the same person, but it's not relevant or interesting or significant in any way if they are.
  • Notably averted in 1776, in which the two main characters are both named John (Adams and Dickinson). In point of fact, there are no less than four Johns in the show (Adams (MA), Dickinson (PA), Hancock (MA), and Witherspoon (CT)). There's also the Georges (Reed (DE) and Washington (VA)) and Thomases (Jefferson (VA) and McKean (DE)). However, since they usually address each other as "Mr. Lastname," it doesn't really matter.
  • Similarly, the cast of Hamilton is composed of historical figures, so we have Philip Hamilton, named for his grandfather Philip Schuyler; James Madison and James Reynolds; George Washington, King George III, and George Eacker; as well as John Laurens and John Adams (although the latter doesn't actually appear in the musical).
  • Similarly, The Crucible is based on historical fact and so features a number of characters with the same name—in this case, also John: Proctor, Hale, and Hathorne. However, like in 1776, this never becomes an issue because most of the men are referred to by surname. The only man referred to as John is Proctor.
    • Also in the play are Thomas Danforth and Thomas Putnam.
    • Enforced in the case of the Putnams' daughter, since the Putnam girl who was an accuser in the Salem Witch Trials was named Ann, a name she shared with her mother (officially, they were Ann Putnam Jr. and Ann Putnam Sr.). The play changes the daughter's name to Ruth to prevent audiences from confusing the two.
    • Similarly, "Susanna Walcott" was actually named Mary Walcott in real life, with her name changed in the play presumably to avoid confusion with Mary Warren.
  • A Man For All Seasons has an unusually large fraction of (real-life) male characters named Thomas: main character Thomas More; Cardinal Thomas Wolsey; chief minister Thomas Cromwell; Thomas Howard, Duke of Norfolk; and Thomas Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury.
  • The Amish in Plain and Fancy have four Jacob Yoders and two Abner Zooks. Fortunately, only one Jacob Yoder appears in the show, though Fat Jacob Yoder and Hairy Jacob Yoder are mentioned.
  • Completely averted in Yeast Nation, in which every character is named Jan. Every single one. (Of course, it's written by the same guys what did Urinetown, so...)
  • The play Society Shell features four upper class women all named Mary. They are mostly on a full name basis amongst themselves.
  • In Donzietti's opera Anna Bolena ("Anne Boleyn"), the historical Henry Percy has his first name changed to Riccardo to avoid confusion with King Enrico/Henry VIII.
  • Completely averted in Six, where no less than three of the protagonists bear the given name of "Katherine" (of Aragon, Howard and Parr) and two others have the similar "Anne" (Boleyn) and "Anna" (of Cleves). This is justified, due to being based on the real wives of Henry VIII, who, much like the above example, also had a historical namesake in Henry Percy, who was briefly mentioned.
  • Westeros: An American Musical: The Compressed Adaptation gets the play rid of several pairs of characters sharing a name from the original story. However, focusing the play on the King's Landing events while having a couple songs about the Night's Watch results in the play having both several mentions of Jon Arryn and on-stage appearances of Jon Snow.

  • The powers that be at Mattel must have a short memory due to how many Barbie characters share names, even within their debuts coming less of a decade amongst each other:
    • "Chelsea" is the name of a one of cousin Jazzie's friends (although spelled "Chelsie"), a My Scene character and Barbie's second-youngest sister (after years of being named "Kelly").
    • Speaking of "Kelly", this is also the name of foreign markets for "Stacie", the second-oldest Barbie sister.
    • "Whitney" are names of a short-lived mid-80s brunette friend of Barbie and a (usually) redheaded friend of Stacie's in the 90s.
    • "Todd" has been a twin twice: a redheaded one from the 60s and a brunette one from the 90s. In spite of their similar identifies, they are said to not be the same character.
    • There have been plenty of friends named "Stacie" over the years and with varying spellings, but the most popular has been the Barbie sister introduced in 1991.
  • Noticeably averted in BIONICLE where most of the names are made up words. Several locations are named after legendary beings, examples being Mata Nui, Artakha, and Karzahni, the latter having a sentient plant named after him.
    • Also, some of the names sound similar: Krekka, Krahka, Krika, Krakua; Onewa, Onua
    • Makuta subverts this. Originally introduced as "Makuta", he was referred to as "the Makuta" just as often. As it turns out, "Makuta" is the name of an entire species, with the original "Makuta" just preferring to use the title instead of his actual name, akin to a group of dukes where one likes to call himself Duke (though admittedly, Teridax is rather epic itself).
  • Care Bears features two bears whose names are the same, albeit in different languages. "Amigo Bear" shares his name with the earlier character "Friend Bear". In Spanish they are called "Amigosito" and "Amigosita", which are the same name except masculine and feminine respectively.
  • My Little Pony suffered from this during the middle of its G1 run. There were two "Twilight"s, two "Sniffles", two "Snookums", three "Sea Breeze"s, and many ponies with the name "Cuddles". The G3 line reused many names from G1, and the G2 line reused certain names too (for example "Prince Firefly" shares the name with the female G1 pegasi "Firefly"). My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic took a few characters in the toy lines and reused their names, though changing the designs for several. The most absurd case is probably all the different Twilight's. There are now approximately seven different ponies named Twilight, if you count the ones where it's followed by a second word—the two G1 Twilight's, G3's Twilight Twinkle and Twilight Pink, and G4's Twilight Sparkle, Twilight Sky, and Twilight Velvet (two of whom are related). When someone on a collector's site asks for artwork of "Twilight" to set as their forum signature, the artist can and will get very confused.
  • Squishmallows: Sometimes characters will have names that are only slightly different from those of other characters, like Jingle (a Christmas tree) and Jingles (a cat). There are also cases where multiple Squishmallows share a name.
  • Tamagotchi:
    • There are two Tamagotchis named Masktchi, a Waddling Head one from the original 1996 virtual pet and a more humanoid one that debuted later. The former is usually referred to in modern materials as "Maskutchi".
    • Cosmotchi from the Tamagotchi P's isn't the only Tamagotchi with that name. Way back in 1997, Tamagotchi Video Adventures featured a different Cosmotchi as a main character.
    • Before the introduction of the more popular Kuromametchi in 2006, there was actually another Kuromametchi who appeared in the 1998 Licensed Game Hoshi de Hakken! Tamagotchi. The Hoshi de Hakken! Kuromametchi looks a bit like Mickey Mouse due to his black suit with mouse-like ears.
  • ToyBiz's Silver Surfer toyline from the 90's renamed changed Nova's name to "Super Nova" to differentiate him from Frankie Raye, who was using the Nova name at that time.
  • Transformers falls into this sometimes. In the live-action films, a character named "Brawl" is erroneously referred to as "Devastator". This is fine and dandy, but he is called "Brawl" in his toys and licensed media. Then, Revenge of the Fallen introduces the Constructicons, a bunch of Transformers that combine to create a colossal Decepticon... by the name of "Devastator". In Transformers Cybertron, one of the Mini-Cons is named Thunderblast, which just so happens to be the name of a Decepticon in the same series. In addition, several characters tend to have similar-sounding names, i.e. Soundwave and Shockwave, Optimus Prime and Optimus Primal, Ravage and Rampage, etc.
    • In the scope of the entire franchise, some names get used a lot. Aside from the typical Optimus Prime, Megatron, Starscream and Bumblebee in pretty much every line-up, there was a point in the mid-2000s when around five toys were named "Prowl", and they represented anywhere between two to four different characters. This rarely happens with major characters, though, unless it's just to hold onto a trademark. Sometimes this gets complicated, though, as writers have a weird habit of retconning characters who share the same name as being the same person.

    Visual Novels 
  • Subverted in Double Homework. Morgan reveals in the penultimate chapter that her real name is... Amy. Not only that, she’s named after Amy (an incognito princess), as the two girls were born on the same day.
  • When They Cry:
    • Higurashi: When They Cry has Jirou Tomitake and Daiki Tomita—both of whom are almost always addressed or referred to by their surnames. Incidentally, they both happen to look similar, though Tomita is just a minor character. Plus, Tomitake's name is implied to be an alias, anyway.
    • In Umineko: When They Cry, the Ushiromiya family's human butler Genji's family name ("Ronoue") is pronounced almost exactly the same as the name of Beatrice's demon butler ("Ronove"). This is implied to be because Ronove is one of Sayo Yasuda's many Imaginary Friends, and she based Ronove off of Genji. To further reinforce this, a flashback in the EP8 manga reveals that young Genji looked very much like Ronove.
  • SHUFFLE! has two Rins: the male lead and one of the love interests (in her case it's short for Nerine). Sometimes you can tell which character is being addressed by the honorifics used. For instance, when Sia uses the affectionate term "Rin-chan", she means Nerine; she likes Rin but doesn't know him as well, so he's usually "Rin-kun" unless she's being very serious.
  • An important plot point in Tsukihime. The main character and the Big Bad are both called Shiki Tohno — the main character is adopted, in fact, and it seems the main reason he was adopted was because the head of the family thought that it was amusing that he had the same name as his son.
    • The two names are spelled differently in kanji though, so after The Reveal there's no confusion whatsoever to the readers. It had previously been assumed that he just wrote his name in katakana as kid out of laziness. English fans of the series write out SHIKI in all caps to differentiate.
    • Then there is Shiki's alter ego Shiki Nanaya, named for his biological clan.
    • Interestingly, the author also used this exact name confusion thing in The Garden of Sinners. It's even the same name: Shiki (Ryougi). Again, they're spelled differently in kanji and in fact both of them are different from both of the spellings in Tsukihime. Furthermore, this Shiki has three personalities, one of them being named SHIKI. The reason why Shiki Tohno and SHIKI Tohno share their first name with Shiki Ryougi (and SHIKI Ryougi) is because the author reused Ryougi's gimmick for Tsukihime when it initially seemed that Kara no Kyoukai wasn't getting published.
    • So all in all, there are six different characters that bear the name Shiki in the Nasuverse.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • Some cases in the Ace Attorney series have two characters with similar names. For instance, case 1 of Justice for All has two witnesses: Dick Gumshoe and Richard Wellington, and case 4 of Ace Attorney Investigations has Manny Coachen and Manfred von Karma. Whenever this happens, the name similarity isn't pointed out at all, since their names were completely different in the original Japanese version.
    • Similarly, the series also features Larry Butz and Lawrence Curls, Robert Hammond and Bobby Fulbright, Zak Gramarye and Zacharias Barnham, and Jack Hammer and Jack Shipley, though none of these sets of characters appear in the same game.
    • Because of this series' penchant for Punny Names, occasionally the same pun will be used for two different characters: Horace Knightley and Knightle (knight), Shelly de Killer, Kira and Lady Kee'ra (killer). Once again, none of these sets of characters appear in the same game.
    • The English version of Ace Attorney Investigations: Miles Edgeworth plays this trope straight, changing the character Zinc White's name to Zinc Lablanc, probably to avoid any connection to Redd White from the first game. As Redd White's name had also been changed from the original Japanese, this was only an issue in the international release.
    • The Engish Fan Translation of Gyakuten Kenji 2 generally avoided this with its character's names but the official localisations of later games resulted in this: Simon Keyes and Simon Blackquill, John Marsh and Johnny Smiles, and Patricia Roland and Paht Rohl (both puns of "patrol"). The Great Ace Attorney has another "patrol" pun with Patricia "Pat" Beate and her police officer husband Roly.
    • The Great Ace Attorney has a major character called Iris Wilson, who has the same name as Dahlia's twin sister Iris from ''Trials and Tribulations(who's called Ayame in the original Japanese, which is Japanese for Iris). There's also an Ayame in the game, namely Yujin Mikotoba's late wife, and Yujin chose to name Lady Baskerville's orphaned daughter "Iris" in honor of his wife.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc averts this, since Celestia Ludenberg's real name is Taeko Yasuhiro, and there's another character named Yasuhiro Hagakure. This provides a big clue towards figuring out who the murderer is in Chapter 3.
  • Minotaur Hotel: Averted with the delivery man, whose name is Jean-Marie, the same name as the master of the hotel that preceded Clement, which raises suspicion towards the man.
  • Averted in Snatcher, with Junker chief Benson Cunningham and Junker Harry Benson. This becomes a plot point when Gillian discovers evidence that someone named "Benson" may have been snatched.
  • In Ever17: no two characters actually share the same name, but the names that the player initially knows them as can sometimes be one of several characters. "You" could be either Youbiseiharukana Tanaka or Youbiseiakikana Tanaka, "Kid" could refer to Ryogo Kaburaki or Hokuto.
    • One example actually does exist, though it is a minor one. Takeshi Kurenari is the name of the main character, and shares his given name with the father of another character (Coco Yagami), although Takeshi Yagami is only mentioned in dialogue and never appears onscreen.
  • In Yearning: A Gay Story, there's a pair of girlfriends who are both named Liz and use their last name initials to differentiate their names (Liz B. and Liz G.). When Dan asks why they don't just call one of themselves "Elizabeth" to avoid confusion, they retort that he can call himself Elizabeth because it's his middle name too.
  • In Kanon, it's later revealed in Makoto's route that she's actually a fox that Yuuichi looked after seven years ago, and thus she doesn't have a real name or even a human identity. The name "Makoto Sawatari" was the name of an older girl Yuuchi told Makoto he had a crush on at the time, and she took that name for herself as one of the few things she could remember after she became human at the price of her memories. The real Makoto Sawatari makes a notable appearance in the 2006 anime, where she looks like an older Makoto.
  • A variant happens in Highway Blossoms. Marina and Mariah's names are merely similar, but after Amber starts calling the Marina "Mare," she later learns that Joe uses the same nickname for Mariah.

    Web Animation 
  • Camp Camp: The aspiring astronaut solely known as "Space Kid" claims his name is Neil Armstrong Jr. (named after his "great-grandfather" Neil Armstrong), which would mean he shares his first name with main character Neil. The second season finale reveals this really is his name, and the original Neil is not happy to find this out.
  • DC Super Hero Girls features a large cast so this occurs. One noticeable example is Batgirl and Cheetah. They're both named "Barbara" and are referred to as such, but not in the same episode.
  • DSBT InsaniT: Weird Girl suggests Koden calls her 'WG', but he says he can't do that because he already knows a WG (Waterfall Girl).
  • The Most Popular Girls in School: There's a Jenna Darabond and a Jenna Dapananian, both being important characters. There's also a Trisha Cappelletti and Trisha 2 - both also major characters.
  • Averted with Slush Invaders, whose cast consists of two Brians.
  • Homestar Runner:
    • In the action film spoof Dangeresque 1: Dangeresque Too?, hard-boiled detective Dangeresque (played by Strong Bad) is assigned a partner also named Dangeresque (played by Homestar); the latter is usually called "Dangeresque Too".
    • There's also Science Fiction Greg and D&D Greg from the Teen Girl Squad 'toons. The TGS spin-off "4 Gregs" introduced Open Source Greg, Japanese Culture Greg, and minor character Regular Greg.
  • One of the scenes in the Animutation "Irrational Exuberance" riffs on this, saying "There can be only one" Dave Thomas and then using "Worthington's Law: more money = better than)" to eliminate the less successful of the two.
  • Red vs. Blue has two Franks (Franklin Delano Donut and Frank DuFresne), but like the rest of the cast, both are always referred to by their nicknames Donut and Doc respectively. There's also three Leonard Churches (Doctor Leonard Church, Alpha, and Epsilon) and three Allisons (the original, the original Agent Texas, and the Epsilon-created Agent Texas). None of the three Allisons co-existed (and the original is barely even referenced), and the Churches are generally called "the Director"/"Director Church"/"Doctor Church", Church/Alpha, and Church/Epsilon. Still, it gets confusing when it comes to fan theories. "And then Church did this." "Wait, do you mean Alpha-Church or Epsilon-Church?"
  • Averted and lampshaded on Extra Credits, with the three Dans. There's Dan Floyd, the narrator, Other Dan, who helps with editing and behind the scenes work, and Dan #3, the new artist. Confusion starts almost immediately.
  • Averted in brewstew, where the narrator describes two Zacharys and two Davids that he knows. There's Zachary, the kid everyone hates because he's a snitch, has ADHD, and won't stop TALKING ABOUT MONSTER TRUCKS! And then there's Zachary, the kid across the narrator's street who is not quite like everyone else because he likes Beetleborgs rather than Power Rangers. The first Zachary has glasses while the other does not. Then, there's David, Tyler's best friend during cub scouts, who got last place in the Pinewood Derby and got sold off into child slavery in Nigeria. And then there's his cousin, David, who created the "Shitmas Tree".
  • This trope is the reason for some squick within the Barbie: Life in the Dreamhouse fandom. Midge was reintroduced and she falls for a new character named Ryan. The problem is Midge was previously seen in the toyline with a son named "Ryan" (with her husband, Alan). This made some fans grossed out because it seemed like maybe they were the same character with Ryan's backstory being revamped. However, they're too different in design to be the same Ryan.

  • This xkcd has an Alt Text which jokes that, when so many hurricanes form in one season that all 21 pre-set names, all letters of the Greek alphabet, and every single other word in the Oxford English Dictionary has been exhausted, and the hurricanes appear in such a pattern that it becomes impossible to number them, the exasperated meteorological community will collectively throw their hands in the air and name every single hurricane as "Hurricane Steve". Your forecast for this evening: Steve.
  • Played with in Girl Genius. One pair of characters that have the same name turn out to be the same person.
    • The comic does feature two unrelated minor characters named "Wilhelm": Aaronev Wilhelm Sturmvoraus, the sixth Prince Aaronev of Sturmhalten, who uses his middle name to distinguish himself from his ancestors, and Wilhelm Diamant, the Mechanicsburg town-official in charge of shuttling prisoners into Castle Heterodyne. This isn't too surprising, since in real-world 19th-century Central Europe at least, Wilhelm isn't just a common name, it's the common name. Complicating matters is one of those aforementioned prisoners, Sanaa Wilhelm; it's ultimately revealed that it's not her real surname, and she used Diamant's name when assuming her alias.
    • In addition, the full name of Aaronev Wilhelm Sturmvoraus' only son is Aaronev Tarvek Sturmvoraus, though he is generally only referred to as Tarvek to avoid confusion.
    • More atypically, one of Agatha's ancestors and one of the rogue Sparks who attack Mechanicsburg share the first name "Igneous".
  • Alice has main characters named "Joan" and "Joanne".
  • The Wotch has Samantha Wolf and Samantha Smith, Allison Taverner and Allison Wise, and Miranda West and Sarah West (not related).
  • Tailsteak's apparently currently defunct Band is composed of Paul Henderson, Brian Smith the willowy übergeek, Brian Smith the hulking drummer, and Tyler, the alien/demon/squid. Neither Smith ever reveals his middle name or answers to a nickname, having sworn a "blood oath" to that effect.
  • The Order of the Stick:
    Warthog: I think you'll really like this next one. We call him...The One Who Must Not Be Named.
    Nale: Another one? Good gods, man, that's eleven so far who Must Not Be Named. Not To mention the four Who Must Not Be Looked At, the two Who Must Not Be Spoken To, and the one Who Must Not Be Toilet-Trained!
    • An ironic self-depreciation occurs in the preface to the print version of book 4, "Don't Split the Party". It features a helpful diagram of the comic's enormous cast and the tangled web of different kinds of relationships between the characters; one of them is "Names Confusingly Similar", connecting Thog with Thor, Durkon with Dorukan, and the Dark One with the Creature in the Dark.
  • Narbonic features a secret society of people called Dave and a woman with the same name as her mother because she's a clone.
  • Troop 37 has two spoiled cheerleaders named Melissa with nickname Missy.
  • Arthur, King of Time and Space uses a variant spelling for Iseulte of Ireland to distinguish her from Isolde of Brittany. It keeps all the Elaines, though, and the "false Guenevere" in the fairy tale arc (in the contemporary arc she's called Fascha, and is Guenevere's full sister).
  • Parodied in a Ctrl+Alt+Del strip.
  • El Goonish Shive parodies this here.
    • Also, Immortals pick their names when they are reborn, and it's usually mythology based. Apparently, the hissy fits when two Zeuses meet is hysterical. The immortal who explains this, possibly in order to spite his former self for entering into a permanent Geas, then names himself 'Zeus' after being reborn.
    • At one point, Susan complains that "Tom is a jackass". Tom—but not the one Susan meant—takes offense momentarily. A Running Gag that began in The Rants and eventually migrated into the comics is that this Tom is in fact a shining paragon of goodness, unlike the Tom Susan was actually complaining about.
  • In Kevin & Kell, there were three different background characters named "Carl" before a rhino named Carl was introduced as a teammate of Rudy's on the Beige University competitive gardening team.
    • There's also two Georges: Fiona's father George Fennec and a gopher named George who transferred to said gardening team in 2019.
  • Kevin Pease's Absurd Notions, during its college run, reversed this for a joke. (The archive commentary notes that the real joke is the ubiquity of the name "Jennifer" in the early seventies. Later on in the strip two Jen Greens appear, but they quickly get the initialism nicknames Jyg and Jag.)
  • Mountain Time is rife with people (and monsters) named Paul. There's even a Paula or two.
  • Melonpool's cast is the comedic version of this trope. First you have Ralph (evil genius) and Ralphie (Ralph's good clone). And then you have Sam (the talking dog), and Sammy (the giant talking hamster). Sammy's very far from intelligent, though, and just picked the first name he liked.
  • Questionable Content:
    • Lampshaded - when we are introduced to Marigold, she mentions the name "Angus". When recurring character Angus later shows up, Dora says "I thought she mentioned your name!". Granted, there aren't a lot of people named "Angus", but still...
    • One storyline features Dora, suspecting Cosette is cursed, calling in an elderly witch named "Claire." Fast forward a few hundred strips, and a very different 24-year-old named Claire finds her way into the main cast.
  • Parodied in Ansem Retort. When the main cast (with Riku) went into hiding, there was a supporting fill in cast, with Rikku. Darth Maul just referred to her as "girl Rikku".
  • The Problem Sleuth story of MS Paint Adventures had a ball with this; by the end there were at least 6 variations of Pickle Inspector, numerous Ace Dicks, and a few Problem Sleuths, and multiple timelines for all of them. This resulted in an occasional page dedicated to explaining who was doing what. Justified in that they were all variants of the original characters.
    • Homestuck subverts this in a similar way. Objectively, no characters share a name, despite the long list of them. (It helps that the two main sets of characters are separated by culture and species, allowing a lot of Aerith and Bob.) However, many characters interact with their own future or past personas.
    • Plus, presumably all game concept characters, such as Jack Noir, Cetus, and PM carry over into each session of Sburb. While ostensibly being the same person and sharing a basic personality, the variations of each character sometimes are quite different, only sharing the initials of their title. Spades Slick, for example, while still ruthless, is much less bloodthirsty than the Sovereign Slayer.
      • Played straight later with the post-Scratch Guardians presumably having the same names as the pre-Scratch Kids, and Rose and Dave's iterations have the same "titles" as their guardians in the Beta Session, meaning there are 2 Mom Lalondes and 2 Bro Striders. Also, a third set of Dersite Agents was introduced, which means there are three separate characters running around, all named Jack Noir.
      • Of course, accounting for the Jack Noir that killed Calliope, there are actually four.
    • Both the Aimless Renegade and Dirk Strider's Auto Responder are referred to as "AR" until the latter renames itself Lil Hal.
  • In Fans!' second year, one of the new members was named Tim, but there was already a Tim on the major cast. (The strip where the new Tim introduced himself had the page title "God Made Two of 'Em".) Characters and readers alike generally called the new one "Tim the Fanboy". Eventually, two developments reduced the ambiguity: Tim adopted a new name (as part of his Face–Heel Turn), and we found out his unabbreviated name was Timin, whereas the other Tim is presumably a Timothy.
  • While Everyday Heroes does, in fact, have only one Steve, it had at one point two Janes (who were members of the villainous team "The Jane Gang").
    • Also, the neighborhood moms are named Jane, Joan, June, Jenny, Ginny, and so on ...
  • In Li'l Mell (featuring the young version of Mell Kelly from Narbonic), there are two girls named Taylor (one blonde caucasian, one dark-haired Asian), and their male counterparts named Tyler.
  • Coga Suro has, in fact, precisely one Steve; the main character.
  • Subverted in Spinnerette, where the main character learns that the name Spinnerette is already a name used by a spider-themed (Specifically, Drow-themed) villainess. The character is later referred to as Evil Spinnerette by everyone else. Later, the comic introduces the main character's counterpart from an earlier date in another universe, who is subsequently known as "Silver Age Spinnerette".
  • Lampshaded (and subverted!) in this Multiplex strip.
  • In Wright as Rayne, the last name of Dorothy, the girl Alex Rayne winds up in the body of, is Wright, which is also the last name of one of Power's mooks. Word of God has it the two aren't related in any way.
  • Parodied in this Treading Ground strip where a manager refers to two employees as Nate and Black Nate, even though their names are Nate and Jimi.
  • In Charby the Vampirate, one of the Rose Sisters (who initially only appeared in one strip but later returned) is named Rosemary, and one of Zerlocke's sisters (introduced much later, but a much more important character) is also named Rosemary. When the Rose Sister found out there was someone else named Rosemary, her response was "Whaat? There can be only one! Destroy her!" (She was talked out of it).
  • Averted in Elf Blood where one of the lead characters, Mara, shares her name with (and indeed was probably named after) the Elves' Mother Goddess.
  • In The Dreamer, there are two characters named Benjamin—Benjamin Cato and Benjamin Tallmadge. Cato lives in the 21st century, while Tallmadge lives in the 18th century.
  • Subverted in The Word Weary with Sam and Sam 2.
  • Averted, probably accidentally, by Ménage à 3 and its spin-off Sandra on the Rocks:
    • The setting features a Sandra, a Sonya, and a Senna. (And a Suzi, but everyone calls her "Zii".) The occasional confusion resulting on discussion boards may be as good a demonstration as any of why the rule is a good idea. For bonus points, some posters seem to insist on referring to Sonya as "Sonja".
    • There are also two minor characters named "Adrien".
    • However, the limit was later enforced belatedly after one strip introduced a new character named "Jim" when that name had already been used once. In the next strip, the new Jim was addressed as "James", and the tags attached to both strips were changed accordingly.
  • Tails of Lanschilandia gives us Lanschi and King Lanschi, who are not the same person and presumably not related. There's also Lanschi's brother Panschi.
  • Averted with White Dark Life:
    • There are two people named Alison. One was Collin's girlfriend, the other is one of the many deaths.
    • The RPs avert this even further, as there are two people named Rebecca, Damien, Altair, Artemis, and Matthew. Even funnier is that both Matthews have a relationship with Uma (one is her father, the other is her wannabe boyfriend). And even then, Luigifan and pommyman are also named Matthew, so there are actually four of them!
  • Averted in Fortuna. For any given AI, there are several different versions; for example, the comic has followed both Apollo V1 and Apollo V3, with both usually being referred to as just "Apollo". Even crazier, there are a couple of player characters named Hermes and Prometheus, even though there are already A.I.s with those names (the latter is implied, though hasn't actually made an appearance yet.
  • Averted in L's Empire. There are two entirely unrelated characters named Rosa and both are referred to as such. It actually confuses Void (since he met the first) when the second one is introduced.
  • In Consolers, as the characters share their names with the companies they're based off, there are two companies named Tiger - Tiger Telematics and Tiger Electronics (though the latter one has yet to appear), both usually just going by "Tiger". When the first one gets mistaken for the second, he's NOT happy about this.
  • The family tree published after Chapter 12 of Stand Still, Stay Silent showed a few first names running in families. Three pairs of identically-named characters were relevant to the fandom before that point:
    • Sigrun shares the name of her great-grandmother, who is one of the focus characters in the Just Before the End Distant Prologue.
    • The author ended up giving the name "Árni" to both Reynir's great-grandfather from the Distant Prologue and Reynir's father so his name would have a familiar ring to readers not familiar with the Icelandic Patronymic system. The Distant Prologue character is basically named "Árni, Reynir's son", while his present-day descendant is named "Reynir, Árni's son".
    • Before the family tree was made, All There in the Manual had already revealed that Mikkel has a twin named Michael, which is also the name of their great-grandfather from the Distant Prologue.
  • When Steven in Ask White Pearl and Steven (almost!) anything meets the Crystal Gem Pearl, he starts referring to White Pearl as "Earl" to avoid confusion.
  • The Redacverse loves messing with this trope. Some characters can have octopus counterparts with similar names, but spelled with an "octopus accent" (for example, Matthew's counterpart is named Maffhew). Another kind of counterpart can be found on the Moon (Mattis for Matthew or Terrys for Therry). And then there's a whole group of characters known as Your Father, His Father, Your Son...
  • Invoked by Debbie in the epilogue to the chapter "Shade" in Latchkey Kingdom, regarding the copy of Willa. She can't go by her first name (for obvious reasons) or by her middle name because another character is named Rosaline, so she chooses the name Rose for herself.
  • Mr. Boop: Features both Sonic the Hedgehog and Dr. Sonic the Hedgehog (an unrelated human man).
  • This Carry On strip, which doubles as a Newhart Shout-Out.
  • Nature of Nature's Art: Lycosa plays with this trope as a plot point. The arthropods are identified by their genus and species names instead of having family and given names. Despite the comic using a Cast of Snowflakes, two spider characters are the same species, so they should have the same name... but they use different classification systems, giving them different genus names. The plot point is that Lycosa herself is using the older genus name; the ninth member of Venom 8 is a Gladicosa wolf spider.
  • Walkyverse: There are two Rachels in this universe: Rachel Jackson, one of the co-builders of Ultra Car and the catalyst for the story arc that got Robin and Leslie together for good, and Rachel Moore, a minor character seen in the background a couple times.
    • In the Ultimate Universe version of this verse, Dumbing of Age, the two Rachels actually become roommates. Rachel Moore in this 'verse is called 'Other Rachel' (even in the tags).
    • Also in Dumbing of Age, the reason Jennifer Billingsworth went by the name Billie for years is because when she was in kindergarten there was already a Jennifer and a Jenny on the bus she took to school and they accused her of stealing her name from them. Billie went back to being called Jennifer in the second semester of college.

    Web Original 
  • Since the Whateley Universe has such a massive number of named characters, it's not surprising that there are lots of names occurring more than once. Like Elaine: Elaine Nalley and Elaine Fleischer are both gorgeous mutants with the Most Common Superpower, and they're both inventors. When they both went on Phase's birthday trip to Boston, Elaine Nalley went by "Doc" to avoid confusion among the other guests. On the other hand, the school does enforce rules about distinct codenames for everyone.
  • Averted in the "Humans Are Space Orcs" Tumblr blog, due to the Token Human being designated "Human Steve." This led to a joke that "Steve" must be a remarkably common name among sapient races, with the crewmember who is just named "Steve" being a cross between a spider and a starfish. Regular and Abnormal Steve are female and male yeti's, respectively. Extra-Regular Steve is the ship's cat, Tall Steve is an AI on a microchip (and is, somehow, The Casanova), and Evil Steve is the captain (it detests this nickname, however).
  • Jon Bois \ SB Nation has several aversions: "Lonnie Smith" from Pretty Good also features music from one Dr. Lonnie Smith, "History of the Seattle Mariners" from Dorktown briefly shows the career of every MLB player named Randy. But the greatest aversion from Jon is The Bob Emergency, which exclusively goes through the careers of athletes named Bob, even uncovering one obscure fighter who averts it on his own with the name Bob Bob.
  • Defied in this entry from Obvious Plant.

    Web Video 
  • Averted in Jreg, the video Leftist Infighting introduced a character named Post-Left to moderate a debate between Ancom and Commie but by the end of Centricide 3, Ancom has become Post-Left as well.
  • Out With Dad'': Averted. First there's Rose's friend/crush Vanessa, then she also dates another girl with the same name, whom they call "New Vanessa", and later nicknamed "Nessa".


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Breaking The One Steve Limit, Breaking The Steve Limit


Too Many Als

Tim learns how confusing it is to have three generations of Al Unser, plus Al Borland thrown into the mix.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / OneSteveLimit

Media sources: