Follow TV Tropes


Only Known by Their Nickname

Go To

"Let me explain something to you. Um, I am not "Mr. Lebowski". You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. You know, that or, uh, His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you're not into the whole brevity thing."
The Dude (so that's what you call him), The Big Lebowski

This is a character who is primarily, or even only, known by their In-Series Nickname.

Related to Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep", but that is about people being referred to exclusively by their jobs or what they're best known for doing. Also related to Stage Names. Does not include Fan Nicknames, secret identities or explicit pseudonyms. Also doesn't include people who give themselves new names following an act of self-reinvention, and stop responding to their old name (e.g. Voldemort). Exceptionally badass examples of this trope fall into the Red Baron. Obvious and common contractions, e.g. someone named William introducing themselves as Bill, don't really count either.

Usually, Dramatis Personae will give the full name of such a character first, though the actual script will use the nickname almost exclusively even in the unspoken directions.


If the character insists on the nickname, it's Do Not Call Me "Paul". If the nickname is actually his real name, it's His Name Really Is "Barkeep".


    open/close all folders 

    Asian Animation 
  • The titular Kid Hero of BoBoiBoy is only ever referred to as such, his real name remaining a mystery. Similarly, BoBoiBoy's grandfather, Tok Aba, only goes by such regardless of who talks to him, although Tok Aba literally means Granddad.

    Audio Dramas 
  • BBV Productions:
    • In The Time Travellers, the eponymous characters are known only by their nicknames, "Professor" and "Ace". Toward the end of the series, Ace decides to start going by her real name, which is revealed to be Alice.
    • The protagonist of The Wanderer has Name Amnesia. In the first installment of the series, another character dubs him "Fred" for the sake of having something to call him, and it sticks.

    Comic Strips 
  • In The Broons, the three youngest kids are called "the twins" and "the bairn". Maybe their parents got tired of naming kids.
  • Very few people in Footrot Flats refer to Cooch his given name, which is Socrates.
  • Doc Boy from Garfield hates being called by his nickname, especially by his older brother Jon, but ironically has no known name. His first few appearances said his name is Doc.
  • In Luann, only two of the main character's fellow students in junior college have been identified — and they are known only as Mr. Jock and Mr. Goth.
  • Peanuts:
    • Pig-Pen. Nobody knows his real name; at his first appearance, he actually says: "I haven't got a name... People just call me things... Real insulting things." In one strip, Pig-Pen says that everyone calls his dad "Pig-Pen Sr."
    • Rerun Van Pelt. When he is introducing himself to his kindergarten class, he reveals that even he doesn't know what his real name is.
    • As well: Patricia "Peppermint Patty" Reichardt.
  • Apparently a characteristic of Pluggers according to this strip.
  • Thimble Theatre:
    • Scooner Seawell Georgia Washenting Christiffer Columbia Daniel Boom, usually called Swee'pea
    • Popeye, upon finding his long-lost father, asks him what their real names are. Pappy doesn't remember.

    Film — Animated 
  • In a couple of Disney Animated Canon examples, there are many characters who are never given real names:
    • On the surface, The Lion King's Scar appears to be named after his scar, but in a semi-canon novel series, it's revealed that his given name was "Taka." This isn't much better, however, as it's Swahili for dirt/trash, which goes to show his status in the family.
      • "Taka" is also Swahili for to want/to wish. This was most likely the intended meaning.
    • Tramp from Lady and the Tramp has a rather strange name. He is a homeless stray though, so he probably named himself, since no human named him. Later it's subverted, since that becomes his name (minus "The") once he's adopted. This is also an example of Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep", because one of his old flames wrote a song about him called "He's a Tramp," and the name stuck.
    • Dumbo's name is actually Jumbo Jr. He doesn't seem to mind the cruel nickname he's given, but his mother certainly does (at least at first).
    • When it comes to the members of Big Hero 6, Hiro and Fred are normal names, and Baymax is a robot name. But Wasabi, GoGo Tomago, and Honey Lemon? They're nicknames given to them by Fred. Adaptation Name Change is in play for Wasabi and GoGo; in the original comics it was "Wasabi No-Ginger" (and it was unclear it was if that was a nickname or his real name), and Jamie Chung (GoGo's voice actress) says that the latter's real name is Ethel instead of "Leiko Tanaka." Given that, like the other two, Honey Lemon was Race Lifted, it's unlikely "Aiko Miyazaki" is her real name, either.
    • Lumpy, originally from Pooh's Heffalump Movie and later My Friends Tigger & Pooh and a couple of other Disney Pooh works has the full name of Heffridge Trumpler Brompet Heffalump the Fourth. However, he can (almost) never remember it, so everyone just calls him "Lumpy".
    • Flower of Bambi is merely called that because the infant Bambi is blurting out new words he's learning from Thumper. Thumper is about to correct him, but Flower shyly allows the name to stick.
  • Metegol: El Grosso's real name (Ezekial Remancho) is only mentioned once.
  • Phantom Boy: The Face's real name is never revealed.


  • Duck from The Adventure Zone: Amnesty was this for the vast majority of the podcast, until episode 35 revealed his real name was Wayne. However, several people in universe still haven't heard his real name by the end, thus still fulfilling this trope.
  • In Pokemon: Adventures in the Millennium, the Cool Loot Gang never reveal their names and are only referred to as "Cool [Item] [Guy/Gal/Pal]".
  • Red Panda Adventures: The real name of the villain of the novel The Mind Master is never revealed. During his training under Nepalese master Rashan alongside the future Red Panda, he insisted on being called "One", to go along with their master's calling the Red Panda "Two" when he would not give his own name. In Toronto, he adopts the name "Ajay Shah", which the Red Panda explains is Nepalese for "Unconquerable King". Fitting for his stated desire of world domination.
  • Many, many characters from Welcome to Night Vale, though several of them may not even have real names to begin with.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street:
    • Snuffy's real name is Aloysius Snuffleupagus. Even though almost everyone on the series refers to him by his nickname, his mother usually refers to him by his real name.
    • Cookie Monster, whose real name was eventually revealed to be Sid.
    • "My name is Guy Smiley, and they call me Guy Smiley because I changed my name from Bernie Liederkrantz!"

  • Journey into Space: Doc Matthews' first name is never revealed in the original. However, it is said to be Daniel in The Host.

  • In Both Your Houses, Girl Friday Hypercompetent Sidekick secretary Greta Nilsson is only ever referred to as "Bus" — and the play never explains why.
  • In Fangirls, Edna's online Gay Best Friend 'Salty Pringl' is only ever identified by his online handle.
  • In David Belasco's The Girl of the Golden West, the title character is known as "the Girl" even in the play's Dramatis Personae; only very rarely is her real name, Minnie, mentioned in dialogue. The opera averts this and has her called Minnie all the time.
  • Sky Masterson in Guys and Dolls, called that because nobody bets higher. In the few moments between "My Time Of Day" and "I've Never Been In Love Before", Sky reveals to Sarah his real name, Obediah Masterson, and says she's the first person he ever told it to.
  • "Yank", the protagonist of The Hairy Ape by Eugene O'Neill. In one of the later scenes, he gives his name as Bob Smith, "but I been just Yank for so long."
  • Little Buttercup in Gilbert and Sullivan's H.M.S. Pinafore. Her real name, Mrs. Cripps, appears only in the Dramatis Personae.
  • In Liliom, Liliom's actual name of Andreas Zavocki is only used when policemen are interrogating him.
  • The title character of Madame Butterfly is only called "Butterfly," "Madame Butterfly," or "Cho-Cho San" (which means "Madame Butterfly" or "Miss Butterfly"), even by her relatives. Her birth name is never revealed.
  • In The Most Happy Fella, Tony addresses his love letters to "Rosabella" because he doesn't know her name. Nobody in the play calls her anything else, until the final scene where she reveals that her real name is (or was) Amy. (This is averted in They Knew What They Wanted, where Amy is never called Rosabella.)
  • The Wreck in My Sister Eileen and The Musical Wonderful Town. His name is Ted Loomis, but nobody calls him Ted.
    Eileen: Is there anything I can do for you, Mr. Loomis?
    The Wreck: Leave out the mister—call me Wreck.
    Eileen: Wreck?
    The Wreck: That's what they called me at Georgia Tech. I'd have made All American, only I was expelled.
  • Perfect Pie: The protagonist Patsy's real name (Patricia) is mentioned only once in the entire play, and is very easy to miss completely.
  • In Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, the male leads go by the nicknames Roo and Barney; their real names are given once, when they're being introduced at the beginning, and then never mentioned again. Then there's the neighbor Bubba, who everyone's known since she was a little girl; it's a significant moment in her personal arc when a newly-introduced character, Johnny, thinks to ask what her actual name is (and it's followed by a scene where Johnny refers to her by that name and Barney is like "who?" before realizing he means Bubba).
  • In West Side Story, pretty much of all of the Jets only use their nicknames and thus their real names are never revealed. It’s less of a case with the Sharks, who have names that Puerto Ricans would likely have.

  • Barbie:
    • No one ever calls Barbie by her full name, Barbara.
    • Her oldest younger sibling seems to have a name, but she's only called "Skipper".

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night:
    • All the Servants continue using only their class names long after their true identities are revealed. It can be a bit awkward to refer to an apparently teenaged girl by the term "Saber". The only one who is commonly referred to by name is Gilgamesh, who is often called Archer by Saber.
    • Gilgamesh admits that his weird drill-lance "sword" doesn't have a real name. He calls it "Ea", but this is not its true name, just his own pet name for the weapon. Since it predates the world, it also predates the concept of names, so by definition it cannot have one.
  • Minotaur Hotel: As you can imagine, the guy known as P wasn't named "P" at birth. Apparently, this was a family tradition, with his grandfather also being known as "P". His real name is Pedro. "Storm" is also a nickname, with his real name being "Oscar". After the two reveal their real names to each other, the game changes their in-game name to their real names, though they're still known by their nicknames towards everyone else.
  • Zen and 707's real names (Hyun Ryu and Luciel Choi, respectively) in Mystic Messenger are mentioned in the prologue, but V (himself an example of this trope) is nearly the only one to use them. There's also a double-nested example with 707: a player who does the Casual Story first will probably assume that Luciel is his real name, but the Deep Story reveals that Luciel is actually his baptismal name and Saeyoung is his true birth name.
  • M in Shikkoku no Sharnoth is never called anything but that. He claims not to actually have a name. If he had a name, it would be James.
  • The protagonist of Songs and Flowers tries to invoke this by referring to herself as "Miss Info," but ends up telling her love interest her real name, Jazz Overstreet, early in each route anyway.
  • Spirit Hunter: NG:
    • It's revealed in her introduction that Rosé Mulan isn't the woman's real name, but her stage name. Whatever it actually is doesn't get revealed.
    • Up until all his quests are done and he formally introduces himself, D-Man is only known as such. The nickname came about by him shortening Desk Man, since he was a desk editor for a magazine in life.
  • Ciel in Tsukihime. Her real name is Elesia, which is referenced roughly equally relating to her as to her Nightmare in Kagetsu Tohya: One scene.
  • The servants in Umineko: When They Cry are all referred to by names ending with the character for "sound" (pronounced "on", "non" or "ne"). Shannon's actual name is Sayo, and Kanon's is Yoshiya. And then there's the servant who is only known as Yasu. His/her full name is confirmed in the manga to be Sayo Yasuda, further establishing that Shannon and Yasu are the same person.
  • Zero Escape:
    • Everyone except Junpei is eligible for this trope in Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors. The nine players of the Nonary Game decide to create nicknames for themselves based on their bracelet numbers, and then there's Zero, their kidnapper, whose name is also fake, and a couple more characters who also receive nicknames temporarily for the sake of explaining their deaths until the others figure out their real ones. Ultimately, we get to know all their real names except for Seven. Clover is a Double Subversion: her real name actually is Clover, and using her real name turns out to bite her in the ass, showing just why the characters were using aliases to begin with.
    • Virtue's Last Reward:
      • Zero III is usually called Zero Jr, to differentiate him from the actual mastermind of the Nonary Game, who also calls himself Zero (and players call him Zero Sr.) Zero Jr's official name is Lagomorph.
      • K claims he doesn't remember his name so the players just call him K. Depending on the timeline K is either Kyle Klim (who actually has amnesia) or Akane Kurashiki (who is faking it),
    • Q from Zero Time Dilemma is for most of the game only called such. The real Q's name is Delta, and the name of the person the player believes to be Q is Sean.

Alternative Title(s): Nick Name Basis, Known Only By Their Nickname, Only Known By His Nickname, Only Known By Her Nickname


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: