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Prophetic Names

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Can someone page 'Dr. Fix This Mess', please?

Jay: Ah! Oh, my gosh. Are you—? Are you—?
Cyrus Borg: Cyrus Borg? Yes. Unfortunately, when my parents gave me a name like that, my future in technology was predetermined.

A variety of Meaningful Name, sometimes an offshoot of Theme Naming, but not always.

This describes the situation where what one names someone or something results in that something or someone taking on the aspects of what they are named after. Sometimes this is merely intentionally descriptive after the fact, but if not, then circumstances will change to fit them. Sometimes you wonder what the parents were thinking.

(Hint: Naming a computer system after a bloodthirsty god or demon is never a good idea. Naming an organization this usually implies premeditation of purpose already.)

Genre Blindness prevents anyone from recognizing this and predicting future plot developments.

Steven Ulysses Perhero is a subset of this, focused specifically on the tendency for names to relate to super-powers and/or secret identities.

This happens in real life more often than you would expect — for example, by the name-letter effect. New Scientist coined and popularised the term "Nominative Determinism" for this. The Romans had their own term: the "nomen omen" (name omen).

As some of the examples show, Icarus seems to be an unusually favored name in this regard — perhaps it has something to do with the name itself having a nice ring to it, combined with the built-in allegory about literally flying too close to the sun.

See also What Did You Expect When You Named It ____? and Names to Run Away from Really Fast. Contrast Artifact Name, which is reflective of the person, place or thing when it's given, but eventually loses its meaning.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Code Geass: Suzaku Kururugi name can mean "phoenix". Guess who "dies" at the end of the series and is "reborn" as an entirely new person.
  • Ataru Moroboshi from Urusei Yatsura pretty much has his future laid out in his name: moroboshi-de atari means "struck by a falling star" — and in a metaphorical sense that's exactly what happens. (The joke was extended in the show's commercial bumpers, which usually featured something falling on him.)
  • Naming anyone after Japanese stars (X/1999, .hack//SIGN, GEAR Fighter Dendoh), or the constellations from the astrology/geomancy system of The Four Gods (Fushigi Yuugi), is pretty much setting their status as Very Important in stone.
  • Also in X/1999, Satsuki's supercomputer, Beast, emblazoned with the number 666. It probably doesn't help matters that when written in hiragana, "satsuki" looks like "sakki", which means "bloodlust".
  • Chloe from Noir, when pronounced using Japanese phonemes, sounds very similar to "kuroi" — which means "black" in Japanese. The word "Noir" is French for "black."
  • The organization "Nergal" from Martian Successor Nadesico is named after the Babylonian god of war and pestilence, for whom the Babylonians named the planet Mars.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • The "Marduk Institute" chose child candidates to pilot the Evangelions. The fact that Marduk was also a Sumerian god to whom children were (supposedly) sacrificed is appropriate.
    • Similarly, Rei Ayanami. Rei being a word that can be translated a variety of ways of ways in the Kanji script; most prophetically: 'Spirit' or 'Zero'. Especially since despite Rei's status as an Artificial Human Gendo came up with the name long before the need for her creation and many of the plans relating to it even arose - it was the name he would have given to Shinji if he'd been a girl.
  • "Hypnos" in Digimon Tamers was named after a god created by H. P. Lovecraft in his Cthulhu Mythos. (He in turn borrowed the name from the Greek god of Sleep.) Lovecraft's version made certain that the physical world and the dream world were separated. The main weapons of the Digimon version, the Yuggoth and Shaggai "programs", are also Lovecraft references, and ironically resulted in the world barrier being weakened.
  • One episode of Dirty Pair Flash has the girls split up, with airhead Yuri getting a new partner. Her new partner "Lily" has every one of Yuri's flaws (doesn't take work seriously, easy to scare, always worried about her appearance etc.) writ much larger. Naturally, "yuri" can translate as "lily" in Japanese.
  • Rezo, The Man Behind the Man and Well-Intentioned Extremist of the first season of Slayers, is known alternately as the Red Priest or the Blind Priest. This is a very early reference to his unique connection with the Ruby-Eyed Shabranigdo.
  • Lucia of Mermaid Melody Pichi Pichi Pitch is a Messiah-type character easily spotted because of her name; in contrast, the last Big Bad is an angel named Michel, both an allusion to the biblical Michael and a hint that he, like his name, is "off" somehow from the source. Then there's Michal, an ill girl with some connection to Michel; what it is isn't revealed until the end, but thanks to the name, you catch on quickly that it's there.
  • There are a ton of examples in Eyeshield 21 of peoples whose names just happen to emphasise their abilities. This list doesn't even cover half the examples:
    • Sena Kobayakawa, the puny but swift protagonist, whose speed and ability to dodge opponents makes him a stellar running back. His last name means "small, swift river".
    • Joe Tetsuma, a powerhouse who cuts through the field like a train. His name means "Iron Horse".
    • Kengo Mizumachi, whose style was perfected by his previous experience as a swimming ace, has "Mizu", the Japanese word for water, in his name.
    • Manabu Yukimitsu's name means "To Study." While it is his outstanding trait (that, and going bald in high school), it was probably a deliberate ploy by his mother, who wanted a hard-working, studious son.
    • Hiroshi Ohira and Hiroshi Onishi, the high-wave defence characters from the Poseidons. Their names mean Pacific and Atlantic Ocean, respectively.
  • Sailor Moon:
    • All of the Sailor Senshi, as well as Tuxedo Kamen, were somehow conveniently reborn into families whose family names reference the particular senshi's planet.
    • Further, the kanji for Sailor Venus's first name, "Minako," can also be read as "Binasu", which is very close to the way "Venus" is pronounced in Japanese.
    • In Sailor Moon R: The Movie, the main villain is named Fiore, which is Italian for "flower". As it turns out, Fiore is being controlled by an evil flower.
  • Nearly all of the cast of Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei and its sequel series have such names. The title character, for example, Itoshiki Nozomu, is an eternally depressed schoolteacher who has a fairly normal sounding name when written vertically, but when written horizontally in kanji, his name spells "despair" (zetsubou). His given name, Nozomu means "hope" (it becomes the "bou" in "zetsubou", which still means "hope" as in "totally without hope"), further cementing the irony. Of note is the fact that most, if not all, members of his family have names of this sort, courtesy of their surname which, when written horizontally and tightly enough that the two characters it is written with to appear to be one character, reverses the meaning of most names written after it ("hope" becomes "despair", "life" becomes "death", and so on).
  • Light Yagami from Death Note, who has the character for "god" in his name... His first name is also a bilingual prophecy about how he eventually replaces L as well as being a reference to Lucifer whom he eventually parallels. More directly, as it's written using the four-stroke kanji for "moon", it represents death in Japanese numerology.
  • A tragic example in Angel Sanctuary is Yue Katou. His father called him "Yue," which is a name usually given to still-born children and miscarriages in Japan, because Yue is his wife's son by her lover and he basically wants him to die young. Guess what? He dies young. Twice.
  • Himeno Awayuki of Prétear just happened to have kanji "princess" ("hime") and "snow" ("yuki") in her name — pretty convenient for the protagonist of a story based on Snow-White and the Seven Dwarfs, who is initially described as "the one who can make the white snow fall".
  • The Planet Kallamity in The Five Star Stories. Guess how this one turns out.
  • Code Geass:
    • Suzaku Kururugi has a name that means 'phoenix'. This comes to make sense in the series finale, where he technically 'dies' as Suzaku Kururugi, and comes back to 'save the world' as Zero. To make it even more blatant, the way he "dies" is in an explosion of flames.
    • Also Nina Einstein who ultimately invents something which isn't technically a nuclear weapon but might as well be.
  • Joshua Christopher from Chrono Crusade. "Joshua" comes from the same name as "Jesus", and "Christopher" means "Christ-bearer"—so is it really any surprise he ends up with holy powers?
  • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the main character's (code)name means "A Moment From The Holy Eternity". If one translates it to Japanese except the From, which you will remove the other three letters after F then it would read as Setsuna From Seiei. The director said that it represents the moments of revolutions in the long history of mankind, hinting at Setsuna being the true Innovator, the one who is going to bring revolution to mankind. Appropriately, Setsuna evolves into an Innovator during the last few episodes of the series.
  • In Shadow Star, the main character's name can be translated as "a seed that shall never sprout." How appropriate.
  • In Ergo Proxy, the name Daedalus is originally just prophetic of him being a brilliant scientist and inventor. Towards the end of the show, he gives one of his loved ones wings and they fly towards the sun.
  • It definitely overlaps with Meaningful Name, but several members of Mustang's squad in Fullmetal Alchemist all have pretty badass names (Armstrong, Havoc, Fury, and Hawkeye). Particularly predictive are Armstrong (a Genius Bruiser) and Hawkeye (The Gunslinger and an expert sniper).
  • Bibliophile Yomiko Readman of Read or Die fits this quite well. (Yomiko literally meaning "reading child" and Readman being quite obvious)
  • The prophecy in Pokémon 2000 says "...then the world will turn to ash...". It turns out it's referring to Ash Ketchum, the protagonist. Averted in the Japanese version as his name is "Satoshi".
  • In Smile Pretty Cure!, Miyuki Hoshizora's Stellar Name doubles as this because it roughly translates to "the starry sky of happiness". Her Magical Girl name is Cure Happy. Guess what her reason for existing is.
  • One Piece
    • Smoker, whose habit and ability centers around smoke.
    • The Boa sisters (Boa Hancock, Boa Marigold, and Boa Sandersonia) have respective appearances and abilities are inspired around snakes.
    • Charlotte Cracker obtains biscuit based power. How surprising. Although his crime-lord family might have preserved that ability just for him.
    • Kozuki Oden shares his name with a type of soup. Not only does oden become his favorite food to make and eat, and he's sentenced to death by boiling in oil... though that itself doesn't actually kill Oden.
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War:
    • The various members of the student council are named after Kaguya and her suitors from The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter. Every one of them (sans Kaguya and Fujiwara) is connected in some way to a girl who is named after their counterpart's respective impossible task (who are even known in-universe as the "Impossible Girls").
      • Iino and her Childhood Friend Osaragi are based off of Ishidzukuri no Miko and the Begging Bowl of the Buddha. In the original story, Ishidzukuri no Miko presented Kaguya-hime with a fake bowl because he couldn't find the real one, much like how her and Iino only became friends because they couldn't get "real" ones.
      • Shirogane and his former student council mate Momo Ryuju are based off of Ootomo no Miyuki and the Pearl from the Dragon's Neck. During the culture festival, Momo helps Shirogane prepare his Grand Romantic Gesture for Kaguya (a giant balloon filled with hundreds of smaller heart shaped balloons) which is disguised as a giant pearl being wrapped by a paper mache dragon.
      • Ishigami and his crush Tsubame are based off of Isonokami no Maro and the Cowry from the Swallow's Nest. In the original story, Isonokami no Maro falls to his death while attempting to get the cowry shell, much like how Ishigami suffers a Staircase Tumble out of despair after Tsubame turns down his Love Confession (only surviving unharmed due to Iino breaking his fall).
    • The Mass Media Club president's first name translates to "droplet" and her last name means "morning sun", alluding to how her falling into a swamp marked the start of Kaguya and Shirogane's romance.

    Comic Books 
  • Warren Ellis uses this almost to the point of parody:
    • Lazarus Churchyard is an indestructible man fixated on dying.
    • The Authority has Jenny Sparks/Jenny Quantum, who can control electricity and quantum mechanics respectively, and Jack Hawksmoor, who has a psychic relationship with cities (he is named after architect Nicholas Hawksmoor). Jenny's name was deliberately chosen by analogy with her predecessor.
    • Planetary has Elijah Snow, who can freeze things, and Jakita Wagner, who is something of a valkyrie (composer Richard Wagner wrote "The Ride of the Valkyries").
    • Scars has John Cain, an outcast police detective.
    • Fell is about Richard Fell, a detective who falls from grace and is reassigned to the worst city in America.
    • Frank Ironwine is about a gritty New York cop with a penchant for getting drunk.
    • Red (2003) is about Paul Moses, whose death is decreed by the CIA.
  • 2000 AD: In Rogue Trooper, and the games based on it, Rogue's comrades were named Gunnar, Bagman, and Helm. They end up dying and accompanying him on his journey in the form of datachips mounted onto his gun, backpack, and helmet. No points for guessing which goes where.
  • Batman: Invoked by The Riddler, who tells people his birth name is Edward Nygma, when (Depending on the Writer) it's actually Edward Nashton.
  • Fantastic Four: Victor Von Doom, better known as Doctor Doom. The surprising thing is not that he became a supervillain, but that his father Werner had not already been one. (Doctor Doom however quite frequently fails to live up to the "victor" part, though).
  • Fiends of the Eastern Front: Grigori Eisenstein shares his first name with Rasputin. He is accordingly difficult to kill, going so far as a Not Quite Dead moment. Being a partially transformed vampire helps.
  • Green Lantern: What are the chances that a guy named Thaal Sinestro would end up being a bad guy wielding a weapon based on the power of fear?
  • Spider-Man:
    • Dr. Otto Octavius. Take a guess, was he Doctor Octopus or Sandman?
    • Referenced in the Secret Wars (2015) tie-in Spider-Island with Stegron the Dinosaur Man, birth name Vincent Stegron.
      Tony Stark: How's that for nominative determinism? Pretty much knew what you'd be the day you were born, huh, Steggy? What was it like when you told your parents you were going to be a paleontologist? I'm guessing they didn't even bother trying to steer you to law school. I mean, what other choice was there? "I am Stegron — the mailman!"
  • Steel: Steel once worked with a man named Dr. Villain (pronounced "will-hane"). The good doctor did a bit of Lampshade Hanging on this trope when he was first introduced. Guess what he turned out to be?
    • Arguably Steel himself, as his birth name was John Henry Irons, after John Henry, the "Steel-Drivin' Man".
      • It was always in his backstory that he'd been named after the character in the story, was raised on it, and deliberately patterned his hero identity (wielding a hammer) on him.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye: The term 'nominative determinism' is mentioned by Whirl when commenting that his 'Archnemesis' didn't "strike a blow [against it]" when renaming himself from "Murderking" to "Killmaster".
  • Wonder Woman Vol. 1: The Magician Hypnota was already using that as their name prior to the accident which led to them developing the power of "hypnotic rays".
  • X-Men: The Vanisher, who is a teleporter. His real name? Telford Porter.

    Fan Works 
  • Invoked in Friendship is Witchcraft with the Apple family, who farms apples. The main members are Applejack, Big McIntosh, Apple Bloom, and Granny Smith. Apple Bloom has wants to be president (nevermind that Equestria has princesses, not presidents) but according to her sister "We didn't name ya Apple Bloom so you could grow up to be the president".
  • Invoked with Murdoch from Offspring. Link wanted him to grow up to be strong and reliable like him, so Link and Mipha named their son "Murdoch" (which means "protector of the sea"). Murdoch did turn out athletic and protective like his parents wanted, even without their intervention and from a young age as well.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the James Bond movie Die Another Day, the name of the orbital mirror system Icarus rather obviously foreshadows the device's final fate.
  • Star Wars:
    • "Vader" is written the same as the Dutch word for "father", though pronounced differently. Truly prophetic, considering that George Lucas didn't originally intend Vader to be Luke's father.
    • From the prequel films, we get deathstick dealer Elan Sleazebaganno, later retcon'd into being "Sel'Sabagno". He is, nonetheless, still a sleazebag.
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang With an surname like Scrumptious (spelt "Skrumshus" in the book) is it any wonder Truly Scrumptious's father went into sweet production? See also Caractacus Pott ("Crackpot," and later "Jackpot"), who in the movie had an S added to the surname.
  • Parodied with Hot Shots!: One of the characters has Deadmeat as his nickname. Gee, I wonder...?
  • In the Star Wars parody Thumb Wars:
    Oobedoob Benubi: Wait, what did you say your aunt and uncle's names were?
    Loke Groundrunner: Soondead and Gonnabiteit...oh my God!
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004). Totenkopf, literally "dead man's head" (e.g. skull) in German.
  • Sunshine featured a ship called the Icarus... which was in charge of a mission that not only involved restarting the Sun but said mission was vital to the Earth's survival. Even more stupidly, when the first ship is lost, the second ship (which due to the massive resources involved in the Sun restarting device cannot be rebuilt) was named the Icarus II. Director Danny Boyle admitted this was unrealistic, saying that Americans would likely call it Ship of Destiny or Hope.
  • Lampshaded in Spider-Man 2.
    J. Jonah Jameson: Guy named Otto Octavius winds up with eight limbs. Four mechanical arms welded right onto his body. What are the odds?
  • That Thing You Do!:
    • The band originally names themselves the "One-ders" (the spelling is later changed so people quit calling them the "O'Needers". Guess what becomes of the band. Lampshaded at the end by Tom Hanks' character.
      Guy: But we still have a hit record!
      Mr. White: Yes you do. [pause] The one-hit Wonders.
    • The band's unnamed bass player is give the name TB Player in the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue
  • The servants from Beauty and the Beast were all given names that will allude to which objects they will be turned into under a magic spell. For example, Lumiere (French for "light") becomes a candle, Cogsworth becomes a mechanical clock, Mrs. Potts becomes a teapot, and her son Chip (who has a loose tooth) becomes a teacup with a damaged rim.
  • The Incredibles
    • Dashiell Robert Parr nicknamed "Dash." A speedster. Somebody really shoulda seen that coming.
    • Likewise, older sister Violet started off shy and can turn invisible. A real "Shrinking Violet".
    • Also, baby son Jack Jack is discovered to have a wide array of powers. A veritable "jack of all trades".

  • In J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-Earth (The Lord of the Rings, etc.), it is custom for (at least some tribes of) Elves to be given a name by each parent, and the name given by the mother tends to be descriptive of the person and may even be prophetic as to their fate. See for instance one of Fëanor and Nerdanel's twin sons, called by his mother 'Umbarto', meaning 'the Fated' (though she wouldn't tell which one it was.) Fëanor attempted to change his doom by having Nerdanel call him 'Ambarto' but still ended up accidentally killing him. See also the human Túrin, who attempted to dispel the curse laid upon him by calling himself 'Turambar' ('Master of Fate'.) It didn't work.
    A Túrin Turambar turún' ambartanen (O Master of Doom, by Doom Mastered)
    • On the other hand, Tolkien has some interesting things to say about prophetic names which may not have been prophetic at all. About Mablung Heavyhand (the name is connected to an incident from the lay of Leithian), he wrote:
      "It was said that Mablung's name ("with weighted hand") was prophetic; but it may have been a title derived from the episode that afterwards became the one that the hero was chiefly remembered by in legend." The Shaping of Middle-earth, J.R.R Tolkien.
    • In the appendix to The Lord of the Rings there is a character called Arvedui, which is Elvish for 'last king', instructed to be named so by Malbeth the Seer. He is indeed destined to be the last King of Arnor, according to prophecy (either because he'll manage to unify Gondor and Arnor and thus be king of the unified Kingdom or because he'll fail and there'll be no more Arnor).
    • Ever wondered if the name Aragorn has any meaning? Well, in Sindarin it means "Lord of Courage" or "Kingly Valor", depending on how you translate it.
  • The Harry Potter books by J. K. Rowling feature many names with deliberate meanings on one level or another. A number of websites have sprung up to analyze her naming patterns, like this one. A few examples:
    • Remus Lupin, who is a werewolf. Remus was one of the mythological founders of Rome who was raised by a wolf, and Lupin is similar to lupine, or wolflike. If he were born a werewolf into a family of werewolves this would make perfect sense, but he was a perfectly normal wizard boy until Fenrir (as in the Norse Armageddon wolf) Greyback bit him.
    • Sirius Black has the ability to turn into a black dog. Sirius is the "dog star". Though given Sirius' sense of humor at the time he became an animagus, this might have been intentional on his part.
    • Miserly shop owner Caractacus Burke, who bought a historical relic from a desperate and heavily pregnant young woman for a few coins.
    • Very, very much lampshaded in Cleolinda Jones' Movies in Fifteen Minutes version of Prisoner of Azkaban:
    Snape: I want two rolls of parchment on WEREWOLVES by tomorrow, including what WEREWOLVES look like, how to detect WEREWOLVES in the faculty of a British boarding school for wizards, and the definition of the Latin word "lupus." CLASS DISMISSED!
    • Parodied in Sluggy Freelance's book three parody. Obvious names are given to the wrong characters.
    • Eventually lampshaded in canon on Pottermore with Naming Seers, who used to literally go around and hand these out for a price. They've become less prevalent around Harry's generation, as parents started fretting too much over their child's future.
  • In the second book of Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series, Thursday is repeatedly tailed and "protected" by pairs of government agents. Pairs plural because none of them last longer than one appearance before getting killed. And appropriately, they have paired prophetic names like "Deadman and Walken", "Kannon and Phodder", etc. In a subversion, the last pair (still with similar names) manages to avoid being killed by staying well away from her.
    • Of course, it helped that the person killing them was doing so by manipulating coincidences.
  • The central figure of much of the action in Neal Stephenson's novel Snow Crash is a young half-Japanese man named "Hiro Protagonist". In fact, he changed his name to it as deliberate statement of what he feels his karmic lot is.
  • Discworld:
    • Lords and Ladies:
      • A footnote devotes a section to prophetic names, and describes some of the effects on the Carter family of Lancre: Charity becomes a miser, Chastity a prostitute, Prudence had over a dozen kids. Meanwhile, Bestiality Carter turned out to be kind to animals.
      • Played with in last names, for a group of men with the family names Weaver, Carpenter, Baker, Thatcher, and Tailor. Between them, they cover those same professions as well, but no one's job matches his name (Carter is the town's baker, etc.). There's also Tinker, who actually is a tinker; they probably find this confusing.
    • Thud! has a character whose full, legal name is A.E. Pessimal, described as not having been named, but initialed. Fittingly, he is a government clerk.
    • Small Gods has the anchorite St. Ungulant. Who isn't a saint, nor did he feel particularly attracted to the hermit life, but when people noticed his full name was Sevrian Thaddeus Ungulant, there really was nothing left for it.
    • The additional material in the illustrated edition of The Wee Free Men includes a court transcript that reveals the toad's name, when he was a human, was James Natter. It's not known if anyone called him Jack.
  • The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody feature a futureteller named Dell. This isn't a prophetic name, but in the fifth book, she develops a strong affinity for computers, and it suddenly seems stranger that she shares her name with a well-known computer company.
  • Johnny Truant in House of Leaves.
  • Near the beginning of the novel The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy by Lawrence Sterne, the title character describes his father's theory that a person's given name has a profound influence on their life, their character, and their destiny.
  • Jennings invokes this trope in Anthony Buckeridge's classic Jennings Goes To School, in which he and Darbishire are trying to co-write a pulp detective story and are arguing about what name their protagonist should have:
    Darbishire: But that means that if you're born with a name like Fuzziwig you can't be as bald as a coot no matter how hard you try, and if you're called Marlinspike Mainbrace, f'r instance, then you've just got to be a sailor, even if you don't want to be!
  • Chance the Gardener in Being There was named "Chance" because "he was born by chance" (i.e., possibly illegitimate and/or unplanned). The Meaningful Name becomes prophetic when he heads out into the world and becomes incredibly powerful by way of a chance encounter with a financial titan's wife and a subsequent series of misunderstandings. As for the name of the wife, the first person Chance interacts with at length outside of his old home and beloved garden? It's Eve.
  • Melony in The Cider House Rules. Her name was apparently supposed to be "Melody," but there was never anything melodious about her.
  • In The Hundred and One Dalmatians the Dearlys' nannies, Nanny Cook and Nanny Butler, train as a real cook and butler after the Dearlys get married and no longer require nannying.
  • In Sunshine, the eponymous character turns out to be good with sun magic. Although it doesn't hurt that she's the daughter and grand-daughter of some very powerful magicians. For extra irony, her real name? Rae. Yes, as in 'a drop of golden sun'.
    • Well, her original real name, her birth name, is actually "Raven." Her mother changed it when they left her father the sorcerer.
  • Stephen Donaldson had some fun subverting this trope in his duology Mordant's Need; many of his character's names are opposites of their personalities, such as a weakling bearing the family name Armigite and a determined lord named Fayle. Terisa Morgan, the protagonist, is played straight as she's a bit of a dark horse.
  • Eragon Son-of-None (later Bromsson), shares a first name with the original Dragon Rider, an elf. This is so prophetic because he ends up being the first new rider of his own generation, centuries after dragons became extinct. The prophetic factor is weakened slightly, however, because it is later revealed that his father was also a rider.
  • Farseer trilogy: It is ancient tradition in the Farseer dynasty to name children after certain qualities, which inevitably come to be a defining characteristic of the individual as they grow up. For example, King Shrewd is cunning and clever, Prince Verity is honest and trustworthy, and Prince Regal is arrogant and proud.
  • Very common in The Bible. Usually given by God, whether at birth or as a rename (and in some cases, at conception).
  • American Gods: Shadow. The way the titular American Gods work is as a lesser copy, or "shadow," if you will, of gods from the Old World. Shadow is American Balder, and Balder is the god of Light.
  • Deliberately invoked in A Brother's Price, where the firstborn daughter in any family is named Eldest. Her sisters and brothers are raised to look to her and told "Listen to Eldest, she'll be Mother Eldest one day". It's halfway a title. If the family gets large enough to split, or Eldest dies, the next eldest sister inherits that title, though not the name. Since there are usually quite a few sisters they are often grouped into the eldest sisters, the middle sisters, and the little sisters, and the oldest surviving sister is not necessarily the natural leader, which makes things extra difficult for her.
  • The Death Gate Cycle gives us Alfred. When finally revealing his backstory states his real name is Corren, which means Chosen One in his language. Even though he is Last of His Kind, it admits it isn't all that prophetic since every family has at least one child given that name to invoke The Chosen One.
  • In the Takeshi Kovacs novel Woken Furies, the revolutionary leader Nadia Makita took the name Quellcrist Falconer centuries before the events of the book. In the setting, "quellcrist" is a sort of plant that regenerates from finely scattered dust. At the very end of the book, it is revealed that Ms. Makita has returned from being Deader than Dead and taken control of an array of alien Kill Sats.
  • Wings of Fire:
    • The character Sunny has an idealistic personality.
    • Glory later becomes queen of the RainWings.
    • NightWings name all their dragonets this way, like an assassin named Deathbringer or a prophet named Morrowseer.
  • In The Last of the Mohicans, David Gamut is a Puritan church musician. His first name is that of the Biblical king to whom most Psalms are credited, his last name is a musical term (a complete scale).
  • In the La Vita Nuova, Lord Love admits to Dante that Lady Giovanna was only given that name and her nickname, Primavera, to foreshadow the role she would play in coming before Beatrice on that early spring morning that Dante would see her again.
  • Ascendance of a Bookworm: As Myne starts introducing more and more precise tools from modern-day Earth to a world that's still in its medieval period, she ends up working closely with an extremely detail-oriented blacksmith named Johann. Eventually, Myne tasks Johann with making the letter types for a proto-printing press. Now, remember Guntenberg, the inventor of letter types back on Earth? His first name was Johannes. In-universe, Myne treats the similarity in names as a Contrived Coincidence. And gives Johann a title when he succeeds in the task. You get zero points for guessing what Myne calls the title.
  • In The Sorcerer's Receptionist, King Zerolight's reign is best known for the apocalyptic battle against Stadel that occurred during that time. Stadel was blocking out the sun, so it could indeed be said there was "zero light".
  • 'Buddenbrooks'': Dr. Brecht (German for "break it") who ended up being a dentist.
  • Charlie and the Chocolate Factory: Mike Teavee becomes the first person to travel via a TV set. Too bad about the whole shrinking thing...
  • The Empyrean character Violet was named decades before she developed power over lightning. Blinding violet light is the last thing many of her enemies see.
  • Cradle Series: Traditionally, the Akura clan has a seer look into a baby's future and name them after the virtue they will most embody. Of course, since this is the Asskicking Leads to Leadership Crapsack World of Cradle, many of their most respected members are named after "virtues" such as Pride, Fury, and their matriarch Malice. Outside the head family, getting someone to actually peer into the future is rare, so children are just named after virtues without any actual prophecy attached to them. Overall, everyone agrees that Malice naming her daughter Mercy was even more prophetic than usual. Most of the names have a twist to them; Malice is cruel to her enemies in service of protecting humanity, Fury loves battle but is friendly to everyone, Pride has endless pride in his family but is rather dismissive of his own standing, etc. Mercy, however, is from top to bottom and deep into her very soul just a nice person.
    Mercy was only a baby, still wailing, when Malice looked into her future. She saw her youngest daughter with a broad smile clear even on the dark statues in the World of Night. She healed, she laughed, and she cried for the sake of others.
    And, in the end, Malice saw her daughter as another light rising over the dark mountains of the Akura clan.
    Malice leaned back, satisfied, and let her World of Night fade. She looked down to the baby in her arms and named her.
    She would be a light to complement the shadows. The Mercy to counterbalance the family's Malice.
    Where the Monarch failed, her daughter would bring joy.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Dr Lazarus in the Doctor Who episode "The Lazarus Experiment" seemingly invents a way to rejuvenate humans. Lampshade Hanging at one point with the line, "Lazarus, back from the dead. Should've known really."
    • And in "The Fires of Pompeii", Lucius Petrus Dextrus ends up with a stone right arm.
    • Then there's the interstellar cruise liner named after that "most famous Earth vessel", the Titanic. Then again, given what the owner plans to do, it was probably his version of a very bad joke.
      The Doctor: Did anyone tell you why it was famous?
    • Planet names in "The Chase": Aridius, which is a desert when we see it, was presumably named while it was still an ocean world, and likewise Mechanus must have been named when the intent was still that the Mechanoids would prepare it for human colonisation, rather than keeping it. The Doctor Who Magazine review for the Past Doctor Adventures novel Catastrophea refers to "the charming Terry Nation habit of naming planets after what's going to happen to them".
  • Babylon 5 mentions a science ship named the Icarus. The ship gets a bit too daring in its explorations and meets an unfortunate end, to the surprise of absolutely no-one.
    • Not the only ship in the series with a prophetic name. Sheridan is introduced as the captain of the Agamemnon, and meets a fate similar to the Agamemnon of legend at the hands of a traitorous wife—although unlike Agamemnon, he came Back from the Dead.
  • Mimpi Metropolitan: When Bambang, Alan, and Prima decides to start a laundry business, Prima names it "Baper" since the first three letters are also their initials. But "baper" is an Indonesian slang for "easily upset" and, as Alan lampshades, their customers quickly abandon them after one bad wash.
  • A minor character on Pushing Daisies talks about this trope: "Names are destiny. If you think Dwayne Cloggin ain't gonna grow up to be a plumber, then you just think again." Considering that this show also had a dog-breeder named Hundin and a Buddy Amicus running a rent-a-friend agency, she might be on to something.
  • Sadakatsiz: Bahar's name means spring, which initially is trivial. Then, when she meets her Love Interest, Melih, he says that flowers remind him of her.
  • Invoked by Seinfeld, when Kramer notes the appropriateness of a library detective called Bookman, and an ice cream man called Cohn (pronounced 'cone').
  • Almost every project or endeavor in the Stargate-verse is named prophetically. For example, Stargate SG-1's Prometheus brought the power of the Asgard to the humans, and was later destroyed by the more powerful Ori, and Stargate Universe's Project Icarus had hoped to use the Stargate to go where no one had gone before, but ended up dying in a gigantic fireball. You'd think they'd catch on by now.
    • That said, they didn't name it the Prometheus until after they got some Asgard technology to play with, so it was a little less than prophetic, more "appropriate name our classicist scientist came up with"...
  • Wizards of Waverly Place lampshades this in the "Wizard School" story.
    Alex: We need to focus on Evilini. I don't know if you know, but she's evil.
    Justin: No, her name's Evilini.
    Alex: And how much cleaner could it be?
    Justin: Okay, if she was really evil, don't you think she would have changed her name to "Really Friendly Ini" or "Nice Ini" or "Totally Not Evilini"?
    • And again, in the episode "My Tutor, Tutor":
    Harper: So she's a tutor named "Tutor". Isn't that weird?
    Alex: Well, no, not in the wizard world at least. A lot of people name their kids what they want them to grow up to be, but sometimes it doesn't really work out. My dad goes to a doctor named "Butcher".
  • Star Trek:
  • In Castle, a character nicknamed Jimmy the Rat is a mob informant. Lampshaded by Castle, naturally.
  • Buffyverse:
    • Season 3 of Angel has a Badass Normal man whose surname was Holtz (meaning wood) seeking revenge on a formerly evil vampire who murdered his family. He was able to capture and harm said vampire, but was never able to kill him and later stopped trying to. Season 7 of Buffy, a year later, has a man whose actual surname is Wood; if you make the connection, you can guess what he turned out to be.
    • Scott Hope in Season 3 of Buffy. Now, if only his first name were Dash...
    • Spike's name when he was human was William Pratt. "Pratt" = "idiot" in English parlance.
    • Faith. You can take this from several view-points. For instance, her sponsorship by Angel, or (in the comic series) Faith's loyalty to him.
      • After all, Faith manages.
  • Frasier: Lilith. If you have a little information on that name, a lot of jokes about the character become a lot more understandable.
  • Ash in Supernatural dies in a fire, and only his badly charred remains are found.
  • Ripcon in Power Rangers Ninja Steel is framed for sending a robot condemning him to the Rangers' hands. Guess what each syllable is synonymous with?

  • In the late 70s, Australia's Mushroom Records decided to start a punk label, which they branded "Suicide Records". It was a huge financial disaster that ended up being very short-lived.

    Pro Wrestling 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Just about every single named character in Warhammer 40,000.
    • Sanguinius, Primarch of the Blood Angels (who suffer from a debilitating bloodthirst), Konrad Kurze (had the gift/curse of foresight, eventually turned traitor), Angron, Primarch of the World Eaters, (who are, to a man, Ax-Crazy Berserker Blood Knights with Unstoppable Rage), Mortarion the Primarch of the Death Guard (and its current leader Typhus) devoted to the disease god Nurgle.
    • The Space Wolves in particular stand out: a Guile Hero named Lokas (Loki), Canis Wolfborn (Raised by Wolves)...
    • Kharn the Betrayer (also of the World Eaters) has a multiple one: not only is his name similar to his profession of carnage, it's also similar to the Arabic for traitor (he got the nickname when both his legion and the enemy preferred to find shelter than keep fighting. Kharn found this lack of moral fibre so reprehensible he started running around with a flamer and torching every shelter and Space Marine in sight).
    • Averted with Ciaphas Cain: despite a double dose of Biblical Bad Guy names (the priest who demanded Jesus' death and the first murderer), the worst he's ever done is built a reputation of valor and courage he claims to be entirely fraudulent. However, every time he's taken what looked like the easy way out directly leads to victory (discovering an enemy plot or entrance into the Imperial's base), and when the chips are down he always fights. And he's one of the few straight-up heroes to be found in the 40K 'verse.


    Video Games 
  • Sephiroth, of Final Fantasy VII fame. Made out of the ten sephirot (the plural of the Hebrew "sephira"), the Sephiroticum in Kabbalah is the Path of God, and that is precisely what Sephiroth is seeking in the game.
    • The prequel game Crisis Core: Final Fantasy VII introduces Angeal. He starts the game as a somewhat benevolent figure, and as the story progresses, he manages to become even more angelic.
    • And let's not even get started on Genesis Rhapsodos.
  • A recurring theme in Bravely Default. Among the most obvious examples are the courageous Braev Lee, the amnesiac Ringabel and the creepy Ominas Crowe. There are many, many more.
  • Furiae in Drakengard, a Meaningful Name which is also another name for the Greek Furies, female personifications of vengeance. The Furies in Greek mythology were winged, monstrous women. Furiae, when placed inside a Seed of Resurrection, becomes exactly this. A thousand times over, in fact. It works even better if you think of the word "Furiae" as a sort of Latinate plural replacement for "Furies."
  • Honestly, what did Doctor Light EXPECT when he decided to work with someone named Dr. WILY?!
  • In Loom, Bobbin's mother Cygna was turned into a swan after he was born. Cygna is latin for swan.
  • Lenny the lyrebird of Ty the Tasmanian Tiger. Exactly What It Says on the Tin.
  • In Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, the protagonist has the code name of Naked Snake. He meets up with a woman named EVA. According to a specific dialogue in the game, the first spy in history was the Snake that tempted Eve in the Bible. However, the exact opposite happens in the ending, with Snake being used by EVA.
  • Subverted in Hidden Agenda (1988). Colonel Horatio Ehrlich is anything but honest.
  • "Valiant Servant" (Shirou) and "Guardian Shrine" (Emiya.) to directly steal the quote from the Fate/stay night page. Clearly it's his name and not the fire or being saved by Kiritsugu that made him who he is.
  • Done retroactively for the message-scrawling "Rat Man" of Portal; the cryptic promotional teasers for Portal 2 reveal that his real name was "Doug Rattmann".
  • In Starcraft, the Protoss praetor Fenix "dies" and then is "reborn" as a dragoon. His name is obviously derived from the legendary phoenix, which is reborn from its ashes after it dies.
  • Staggering numbers of NPCs in World of Warcraft have names which just happen to relate to their profession, role, or demeanor.
    • Unintentionally done with Genn Greymane, who was named long before the Worgen had even been invented.
  • Beyond the Beyond has a playable character named Samson, who possesses superhuman strength just like his biblical namesake. No donkey jaws, though; this Samson prefers to kick ass with an axe.
  • The 7th Saga contains an advanced civilization which is an Atlantis corollary. Guess what happens to the civilization when it tries to hook up its energy source to the Dark World? (Maybe they would have had better luck if Dr. Fail hadn't been in charge of the project...)
  • Jason Bright in Fallout: New Vegas is a Glowing One, a ghoul that glows brightly with radiation. You'd think he adopted the name on purpose, but no, it's his real name from before ghoulification. He took this as a sign that he was chosen by a higher power to do great things.
  • In Final Fantasy XV, it turns out that The Night That Never Ends can only be cured by the death of a guy who just so happens to be named Noctis (the Latin word for 'night'). More specifically, his name is supposed to mean "Light of the Night Sky", or it would if the Gratuitous Latin wasn't so hilariously butchered.
  • This is a recurring theme in Ace Attorney where almost every character's name is a pun related to their job, their personality or that can serve as foreshadowing for the various court cases the player has to defend. Thus, we end up with lawyers with names such as Apollo Justice, a gratuitously German musician prosecutor named Klavier Gavin (except he plays guitar, not piano) and a tour guide named... Ahlbi Ur'gaid.
  • The Hitman character Diana Burnwood directs assassins (hunters of men) for a living, and her family was killed by a car bomb that scorched the surrounding trees. In Absolution, she could be said to have burned her bridges with the ICA.
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, the Eclipse cult named themselves that because they wanted to usurp a Sun-King. That's not the prophetic part, though. What is is that the war against them brought together a kingdom of sun-worshippers and a tribe of earth-worshippers. There was indeed a symbolic eclipse, but it was lunar, not solar.
  • Overwatch: Honestly, when your son is named after both Cole Younger and Butch Cassidy, two of The Wild West's most infamous Outlaws, don't be surprised if he eventually ends up in the same profession as them. Even if he did go straight later.
  • In the flash game Zelda the Welder, the titular Zelda and her siblings have names that rhyme with their occupation due to their parents being rhyming soothsayers. The others are Borris the florist, Violet the pilot, Jeff the chef, and Chris the policy analyst.
  • Honkai Impact 3rd:
    • Raiden Mei's last name is taken from another name of Raijin, the Japanese God of Thunder - and she is the Herrscher of Thunder, one who's empowered by the "Honkai" to be one of their "agents" with the capability of wielding natural phenomena, thunder in her case.
    • In the "Previous Era", Dr. MEI created a super AI named "Prometheus", the titan who stole the primordial flame of the gods and gave them to humanity. She ended up being the "Will of Honkai", sent to "hack" into the Honkai to ensure that they will produce the same Herrschers for the current era with the hopes of its people triumphing over the Herrschers.

    Web Animation 
  • In Reynaldo The Assassin, there is a man named Captain Pirate.
  • Homestar Runner has Bubs, who runs Bubs' Concession Stand. It eventually turned out that his full name was actually Bubs Concession Stand.
  • RWBY:
    • Nora Valkyrie is an Action Girl and, yes, a little bit of a Blood Knight. It's also revealed that her Semblance (read: superpower) is turning electrical energy into Super-Strength.
    • Pyrrha Nikos' name can be translated as "Pyrrhic Victory"... which is how she dies.
    • Lampshaded in Volume 5 by Raven on Cinder Fall's last name, saying that it's just so appropriate for a Fall Maiden that she suspects Cinder chose it herself.
    • Similarly to Cinder, Ironwood tries to set up circumstances so that Winter will inherit the powers of the Winter Maiden when the current one dies.
  • Wow, Jake Harrier from Magical Border Patrol took on the ability of magical sight! Never would have guessed it from a kid whose name means "Supplant Hawk Species".


    Web Original 
  • Protectors of the Plot Continuum:
    • Subverted in the mission "Ow, Ow, and Ow Again":
      Suicide: I once knew an agent named FluffyKitten, and by the Gods she could use a machete!
    • Also played straight throughout. Makes-Things was the Korean technological genius who invented a number of useful items allowing the Agents to go about their duties. He was given this name by the Flowers, who were unable to pronounce his correct name. His assistant and later replacement Techno-Dann may also fit this trope.
  • Every. Single. Person in Astoundingly Unoriginal Adventure. Just listen: We've got PROTAGONIST, PROTAGONIST'S MOTHER, LOVE INTEREST, FRIENEMY RIVAL, COMIC RELIEF...
    • Subverted with MINDLESS GOON, who seems pretty nice and is actually smart enough to not tick off BITTER CYNIC.
    • Possibly subverted with MAIN ANTAGONIST, who doesn't seem very much like a villain. He complains that nobody wants to get near him because of his name (and accent?) and offers BC and LI some soup.
  • Worm has a guy named Andrew Richter who dies due to undersea earthquakes destroying the island he lived on.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • Invoked for a gag in The Simpsons where Cletus the Yokel comments;
    "We named her Mary because we knew she'd git married, we name all our kids whut we thinks' gonna happen to 'em. Ain't that right, Stabbed-In-Jail?"
    "We'll see who does the stabbing."
  • On The Fairly OddParents!, Timmy's parents were nicknamed Mom and Dad as children. This was done basically as The Un-Reveal to their real names.
  • Inch High, Private Eye. Inch wasn't a nickname.
  • In The Sylvester and Tweety Mysteries it was revealed that Granny was always called Granny.
  • South Park's Ms. Choksondik. Guess how she dies. Go on, guess. (Sound it out) But the newscaster said her death didn't have anything to do with the... "evidence" found in her stomach.
  • Transformers:
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Pony names tends to correspond to their personality/special talent, even though they're named before their personality and talents would be apparent.
    • Twilight Sparkle, the main protagonist, becomes a princess alongside Celestia (Equestria's daytime ruler) and Luna ("Princess of the Night").
    • The Cakes name one of their newborn babies Pound Cake. Guess what he proves to have a troublesome habit of doing to things once he comes home from the hospital? Hint: It's not caking things.
    • It's indicated that some ponies rename themselves after finding their talents or marrying, as Mrs. Cake has a discussion with Applebloom about being confused about her career path when she was younger; when Applebloom quips "Weren't you always Mrs. Cake?", she responds that her name was originally Chiffon Swirl. Though the name Chiffon Swirl itself also points to baking/cake decorating, which only raises further questions about why she would have changed it.
  • Speed Racer. Yes, that's actually his given name. Also his brother Rex, aka Racer X.
  • In Inspector Gadget and Gadget and the Gadgetinits, Gadget actually is the hero's last name.
  • Batman: The Animated Series:
    • During the Riddler's Start of Darkness episode, Batman lampshades this trope when Edward Nigma reveals his new identity, asking him if it's meant to be a joke.
    • The Clock King's real name, Temple Fugate sounds a lot like Tempus Fugit (Latin for 'Time Flies').
    • Then there's Victor Fries. It's pronounced "freeze," though admittedly the spelling implies the opposite.
  • From Ninjago, an inventor named Cyrus Borg. Guess his specialty. He even lampshades this trope by joking that when his parents named him, his career choice was set.
  • In the world of Ever After High, children are expected to grow up and live out the fairy tale roles of their parents, no questions asked, so naming them after their destinies is the norm. The daughter of Snow White is Apple, the son of the Frog Prince is Hopper, the daughter of Little Red Riding Hood is Cerise, etc.
  • A meta example regarding the name of a series: the title of Cartoons Network's Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones? became this after the series was cancelled and fell into obscurity. Now fans of the show are wondering the titular question.
  • Gravity Falls: The show's title itself in a meta variation. At first, it just seems like a normal The Place title (Gravity Falls is the name of the quirky and odd Oregon town), but gains another level of meaning when in "Not What He Seems", the portal starts to cause gravity anomalies that perpetually grow stronger and affect the entire town.
  • In Miraculous Ladybug, the character Marinette is a seamstress (although she stitches clothes together, not nets). She also establishes a "net" of cooperating superheroes across the world.
  • Big City Greens: The main Running Gag with Chip Whistler is that, whenever he appears, he is almost bound to chip his tooth (or some variation thereof) near the end of the episode. With his chipped tooth, he makes a whistling noise whenever he talks.
  • In Winx Club, Brandon's name translates to "prince" (in Celtic, at least), although he has no royal blood. As time progresses, it could refer to his noble personality or marriage to Stella, the crown princess of Solaria.
  • Young Justice (2010): In a hallucination, Garfield sees the Doom Patrol cheerfully singing about how they brought their fate upon themselves with a name like that.

    Real Life 
  • Formula 1 and NASCAR driver Scott Speed. 20 years earlier, the unrelated NASCAR driver Lake Speed.
  • A tragic example in Edward Glenn Roberts, Jr., a successful NASCAR driver in the 1950s who has always been known exclusively by his nickname "Fireball" Roberts. He earned the nickname from the speed of his college baseball pitch, but died in 1964 of third-degree burns suffered in a terrible crash.
  • A real-life "subversion" — one Archbishop of Manila (served 1974-2003) was called Jaime Sin; he was created a Cardinal in 1976, leaving him as "Jaime Cardinal Sin" or simply "Cardinal Sin" (which is even funnier). He recognized the humor, and often joked to his guests at the Archbishop's residence by greeting them, "Welcome to the House of Sin."
  • Marilyn vos Savant, a woman listed in the Guinness Book of World Records under "Highest IQ". She was born Marilyn March (she is a descendant of Ernst Mach, by the way), but her mother's maiden name was Marina vos Savant.
  • David Tennant, playing the Tenth Doctor in Doctor Who.
  • There's a Finnish meteorologist named Pekka Pouta. "Pouta" is Finnish for fair weather.
    • Meteorologist Dr. Frank Field named his son "Storm." Storm Field later became ... a meteorologist.
  • There's also a botanist called Aarno Kasvi. "Kasvi", of course, is Finnish for "plant".
  • Poker player and World Series of Poker champion Chris Moneymaker.
  • Professional ad-man Vince Offer. Except that's just a Stage Name... "Offer" is actually his real first name.
  • Ernest Fehr, an economist known for doing experimental work on notions of fairness.
  • Try this one: Sir Francis Hole, who was a pedologist.. meaning a soil scientist who specialized in soil layers as defined by pedons... which are holes dug in the ground. And ecologist Gene Likens (pronounced like 'lichens').
  • The 100m/200m/4x100m Olympic champion in 2008: Usain Bolt.
  • The New Scientist article which coined the term "Nominative Determinism" cites some fine examples from the world of academia:
    • A book about the polar regions by Daniel Snowman.
    • A book about the London Underground by Richard Trench (and others.)
    • An article on incontinence in the British Journal of Urology penned by Splatt and Weedon.
    • Numerous accounts of geologists named Stone, Rock, Shale and the like.
  • Satirical singer Tom Lehrer is also a teacher. Lehrer is German for "teacher".
  • US Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings.
  • White House spokesman during the Reagan administration, Larry Speakes.
  • Wolfgang Wolf, former manager of German football team VfL Wolfsburg
  • Arsène Wenger, who was manager of Arsenal FC from 1996–2018.
  • Hannes Halldórsson, Icelandic football player who ended up being a goalkeeper.
  • Fabian Nürnberger, a Hamburg-born German football player who later transferred to... Nürnberg.
  • Lord (Igor) Judge, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales.
  • Dr. Sir Walter Russell Brain, 1st Baron Brain of Eynsham was a prominent neurologist, president of the Royal College of Physicians and editor of the neurology journal Brain. One of his frequent collaborators was a certain Dr. Henry Head.
  • Derek and Dale Kickett, Australian Rules football players.
  • And of course, the poet William Wordsworth.
  • In the special features of The Lord of the Rings, Sean Astin discusses his fascination that the man assigned to work on his hobbit foot prosthetics was named Sean Foot.
  • During the Interwar period, there was a left-wing Marxist group in Germany who tried to make revolution, called the Spartacist League after the famous leader of a slave rebellion in the Roman Republic. Take a guess why that name was not a very lucky one. HINT: both rebellions were defeated.
  • Charles de Gaulle was elected French president in 1958 and took the oath of office in January 1959, serving until 1969. France covers most of ancient Gaul.
  • On Touched by an Angel, Andrew the Angel of Death was played by actor John Dye (a homonym, but still...)
  • Professional boxer Tyson Fury. Need one say more? Well, yeah: as of this writing (August 2023), he's 33–0–1 with 24 knockouts, is generally considered the lineal heavyweight champion, holds the WBC heavyweight title, and has previously held all of the other major title belts. Pretty close to his namesake, wouldn't you say?
  • Karin Slaughter writes thrillers and murder mysteries. And actor Tod Slaughter specialized in Melodrama villains.
  • Why was anyone surprised when Bernie Madoff "made off" with all the money?
  • A bit of a stretch, but Derek Poundstone, one of the World's Strongest Men and only other person to lift the fabled Cyr Stone, could qualify.
  • Unity Valkyrie Mitford. Of course she ended up a Nazi.
  • The Vancouver Sun Run was won by an African-born runner named Kip geo.
  • John Tory, leader of the Ontario Progressive Conservative Party.
  • Jimmy Riddle Hoffa, best known these days for the mystery of his demise.
  • Is it any wonder that Mark Hamill would be the one to give what many consider to be the definitive performance of The Joker, given the character's link to Arkham Asylum.
  • Reversed: Thilo Sarrazin is a German politician who wrote a booknote  where he rants about Muslims in Europe. Saracene, get it?
  • Dr. Helen Patience Dodgson (maiden name Uprichard). A female doctor during World War II who preferred to be called by her middle name must have found it annoying to hear people talking about their patients.
  • Anthony Weiner was a New York representative until he was caught tweeting pics of his groin in 2011 and was forced to resign, although in April 2013, he announced he was going to run for mayor of New York City, only to get caught again three months later.
  • The inventor of the telephone, Alexander Graham Bell.
  • Magnús Ver Magnússon, which translates to "Big Guy, son of Big Guy, who was the son of another Big Guy", has won the World's Strongest Man competition four times, second only to Mariusz Pudzianowski (five).
  • The understudy-turned-main performer for Big Bird is named Matt Vogel, "Vogel" being German for "bird". Former performer Carroll Spinney took that as a good sign.
  • Thomas Crapper, a famed plumber who improved upon the flush toilet, but did not invent it as is commonly believed. His company was a leading manufacturer of toilets in his time and he received several royal warrants for the quality of his work.
  • In the 2012 election for the Australian state of Queensland, in the seat of Lytton, the Katter's Australian Party candidate was named Jim Vote. His name appeared on the ballot as "VOTE, Jim". He didn't win.
  • Samantha Bond played Moneypenny in the Pierce Brosnan James Bond films.
  • Amelia Earhart (pronounced the same as "air heart") was one of the most famous aviators of all time.
  • TV news reporter Amelia Rose Earhart is also an avid aviator. She is not related to Amelia Earhart.
  • The director of The Amazing Spider-Man is named Marc Webb.
  • Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is a devout Roman Catholic, and at one point was training to become a priest (but never actually became one). He also at one point served in the same Cabinet as a man named Peter Costello.
  • States Rights Gist fought for the South in the The American Civil War, a conflict many southerners have argued was about "states' rights" rather than slavery.
  • French socialist leader and pacifist Jean Jaurès was murdered by a nationalist student called Raoul Villain.
  • The Great Lakes freighter Edmund Fitzgerald was the pride of the North American Great Lakes shipping fleet and was fairly larger than others, earning herself the nickname "Titanic of the Great Lakes." She eventually became the most famous shipwreck on Lake Superior, especially after Gordon Lightfoot's massive hit song about her.
  • The President of Nintendo of America is named Doug Bowser. Yes, like one of Nintendo's most iconic villains. Apparently he makes an effort to live up to his namesake, as shown by the tied-up Mario and Luigi plushies here. His predecessor Reggie Fils-Aime had this to say when announcing his retirement:
    Reggie: With a name like "Bowser", who better to trust with the keys to Nintendo's castle?
    • In much the same vein, and perhaps more apropos, the leader of a group which sold illegal cheat-enabling devices for the Nintendo Switch, who received a jail sentence as a result, is named Gary Bowser (no relation).
  • Stephen Ireland, who played for several English Premier League teams before his 2018 retirement, also played for the Republic of Ireland national team.
  • There's a football joke that goes: "Life would be awesome if David Villa played for Aston Villa, Antonio Valencia played for Valencia, and Danny Shittu played for Liverpool (or any team hated by the person telling the joke)."
  • Homer Bailey, who spent most of his Major League Baseball pitching career with the Cincinnati Reds, had the misfortune of playing in a very hitter-friendly ballpark while with in Cincinnati.
  • Zephyr Teachout is a law professor, whose father was also a law professor.
  • Zak Penn, a notable screenwriter.
  • Ervil LeBaron behaved like a stereotypical evil baron.
  • Comic book artist Skottie Young does variant covers of Marvel Comics characters as babies.
  • Lonzo Ball has played for three NBA teams, currently for the Chicago Bulls. His next-younger brother LiAngelo has yet to crack the NBA (currently in its minor league, the G League), and youngest brother LaMelo currently plays for the Charlotte Hornets.
  • Widely considered the greatest (North American) racehorse of all time (with the possible exception of Secretariat), Man o' War was defeated only once in his career, by a horse named Upset.
  • One of the production designers on AMC's The Walking Dead is Graham "Grace" Walker.
  • Disney used to have a music producer named Bambi Moé.
  • Basketball player Johnny High was involved in a major drug scandal while a member of the Phoenix Suns.
  • Australian tennis player Margaret Court is widely regarded as one of the best women's players of all time. One of the courts at the Melbourne Tennis Center is known as Margaret Court Arena in her honor.
  • Josh Outman was a pitcher in Major League Baseball from 2008-2004. For a while, he was teammates on the Tampa Bay Rays with fellow pitcher Grant Balfour.
  • Famed MMA coach Mike Winkeljohn was nicknamed "Wink" before a training accident blinded him in one eye.
  • Lucas Valley, west of San Rafael, California, was named for 19th century rancher John Lucas, who first settled the area. Its big claim to fame today? It's the location of another ranch built by another man named Lucas: Skywalker Ranch.
  • Prolific writer Francine Prose.
  • Scaramouche was a stock Commedia dell'Arte character who was usually portrayed as a mischief-making servant, who loved to pick fights (his Italian name literally meant "little skirmisher"), but whose exaggerated braggadocio was comically undercut by his cowardice. He was generally unreliable and unscrupulous. In 2017, when Donald Trump hired Anthony Scaramucci as his White House Communications Director, internet wags initially picked up on the similarity of his name to a line in "Bohemian Rhapsody". But as his colorful, impulsive personality turned his Washington tenure into more and more of a train wreck, until he resigned after just 10 days, people started noticing the resemblance to his namesake.
  • Columbia Records, Columbia Broadcasting System, Columbia Pictures and the Columbia Records label in Britain all began as separate entities, but they've all become intertwined in various ways over the years. Columbia Records, which dates all the way back to 1887, actually helped found CBS in 1927, but sold its ownership share early on. Then, in 1938, CBS turned around and bought Columbia Records. In The '80s, CBS formally partnered with Columbia Pictures with the launch of TriStar Pictures, before backing out after a few years. CBS still does business with Columbia Pictures in the TV syndication market. Meanwhile, in The '80s, Sony bought both Columbia Pictures and Columbia Records. After that Sony also acquired the Columbia record label trademark in the UK and Europe from EMI. It should also be noted that Sony already distributed Columbia Records in Japan, where it was called CBS/Sony because of the pre-existing Nippon Columbia label, yet another spinoff of the original company. (It's now known as Sony Music.)
  • Bob Flowerdew is a regular panel member on the BBC's Gardener's Question Time.
  • Rick Monday played 19 Major League Baseball seasons, but his career highlight came when he hit the winning home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 5th and final game of the 1981 National League Championship Series against the Montreal Expos. The game was indeed played on a Monday.note 
  • Surfing champion Layne Beachley.
  • 3 Inches of Blood vocalist Cam Pipes.
  • Washington, one of the first two states to legalize recreational marijuana use, has had a town named Tokeland since the end of the 19th century, though it, and nearby Point Toke, were named after a native chief.
  • When your name is Maples and you live in a state like Oregon where lumber is a major industry, it almost seems like destiny that you'd eventually get into the tree-cutting business, and indeed the Maples family got wealthy from the logging industry. One of its members, Roscoe Maples, donated a bunch of money to Stanford University and its basketball arena (i.e., a building that centers on a hardwood floor) is called Maples Pavilion in his honor.
  • Gary Shilling is a noted financial analyst - unfortunately, he's American, not British.
  • Retired baseball player Cecil Fielder. And his son, Prince Fielder, also a retired baseball player.
  • Ken Trickey, a basketball coach known for his uptempo, razzle-dazzle offense that was indeed tricky to defend.
  • Actress Florence Pugh, whose name derives from the Latin florens meaning blossoming, played Dani in Midsommar, where she became the May Queen and ended up covered in flowers.
  • Alan Mathison Turing, British mathematician and computer scientist, who famously broke the Enigma code and invented the Turing Test.
  • During a petrol (gasoline) shortage in the UK in 2021, the BBC sent a reporter named Phil McCann to cover the story, to the amusement of the public.
  • The Calling, known for their 2001 hit "Wherever You Will Go", are fronted by Alex Band.
  • The French erotic films Emmanuelle and Story of O were both directed by Just Jaeckin.
  • Slightly subverted by Joey Singer, who played Adele in Falling Down and now works in music clearance.
  • Dave and Rich Christiano are twin brothers who make Christian films.
  • The conlang Toki Pona was invented by Sonja Lang.

Alternative Title(s): Prophetic Name