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Real Name as an Alias

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Lara: You're Harry Dresden.
Harry: Don't feel bad. I cleverly disguised myself as Harry the Production Assistant.
A character needs an alias for some reason and technically doesn't lie about what their name is... it might be their real name if they're known by a nickname, their occupation, or vice versa, or their maiden name if they're a married woman, or their middle name being used as their first name, but the point is that the character can argue that it is their real name. This also has the practical advantage that they don't have to train themselves to react to someone calling out their alias' name and not react to their real one.

Often used by disguised royalty with overly long names, since they can just pick one of their many middle names to be called by. One common variation is for a character to use their mother's maiden name as their surname in place of their father's. A Gender-Blender Name works particularly well for someone Disguised in Drag or who went through a Gender Bender.

See also Mr. Smith.

Sue Donym is when the alias used is the real name, after a bit of distortion in pronunciation. This Is My Name on Foreign is if the name is translated to a foreign language.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • And You Thought There Is Never a Girl Online?: Ako Tamaki, who is very naive, joins the MMO game Legendary Age and calls her character "Ako".
  • Matsuri Kazamaki of Ayakashi Triangle attends high school under his real name even after magically becoming female and acting as if he was always a girl. His family's connections handled the records, while his asocial history (and changing right before the first day) mean no one remembers a boy having that name, even classmates who went to middle school with him. It also helps that his name is unisex, while the way he spells it is outright feminine. Matsuri even uses his real name with Suzu's family, probably expecting them to have forgotten him after so many years—which backfires when they do remember, but assume Matsuri was always a girl they mistook for a boy (which would obviously complicate things if he ever becomes male again).
  • A plot point in Baccano! is that immortals cannot use aliases in the presence of each other: they are always forced to reveal their true names. Fermet gets around this rule by using portions of his full name as aliases.
  • In Blade Skill Online, the protagonist Yuri uses the name "Yuri" with different Japanese characters to be his alias when signing on. It works because not only does the AI give him a gender-swapped avatar by accident, but the name "Yuri" is so generic that nobody connects the dots and realizes the lovely and borderline psychotic lady avatar he's playing as and the extremely unlucky high-school boy with the same name are one and the same.
  • In Code Geass, the main character and his sister use their real first names and a different surname while hidden in Japan.
  • Crossplay Love: Otaku x Punk: Both Shuumei and Hanae take their female alter egos' names (Mei and Hana, respectively) from parts of their own names.
  • In Death Note, Light Yagami expends a lot of effort trying to learn the real name of "L", the Great Detective who opposes him. It's eventually revealed in supplementary material that L is his real first name — and Lawliet, another alias he has occasionally used, is his real surname.
  • In Dragon Ball Z, the East Kaiōshin of Universe 7 enters the 25th Tenkaichi Budōkai by the name "Shin" to avoid exposing his identity to Yamuh and Spopovich. Almost 15 years later in real life when Dragon Ball Super enters the Universal Survival Arc, when far more Kaiōshins are getting introduced, we get to learn that "Shin" is indeed his real name. Most people who are aware of the existence of Kaiōshins (even Shin's nemesis Babidi) only ever knew them by their titles so there was no way for the name to mean anything to Bibidi's minions.
  • An accidental example in Fairy Tail. Doranbolt of the Magic Council infiltrated Fairy Tail under the alias Mest Gryder. After the first Time Skip, it's revealed that Doranbolt was a Fairy Tail wizard that erased his own memories so he can use the Council resource to investigate the Western Continent Alakitasia. When infiltrating Fairy Tail as Doranbolt, he ended up using his real name Mest to do so.
  • A weird version occurs in Itsuka Tenma no Kuro Usagi: the vampire サイトヒメア (Saitohimea) takes on the name 沙糸 ヒメア (Saito Himea, Saito being the surname) when attending school with Taito. Though it's technically less of an alias and more of a necessity to have a Japanese name.
  • Ai Hayasaka from Kaguya-sama: Love Is War has to juggle multiple personas in order to hide her status as Kaguya's valet from their classmates. All of them are named Hayasaka, though two of them do use an alternate spelling.
  • In Monster, Nina Fortner uses her previous legal name, Anna Liebert, when giving a police testimony and obtaining marksmanship training.
  • During Ranma ½'s Martial Arts Rhythmic Gymnastics competition, female Ranma freely gives her full name, confident that nobody in attendance (which includes classmates from Furinkan High) will make the connection with her male side. She's right, and everyone blows it off as a bizarre coincidence, although Hiroshi and Daisuke would constantly pester Ranma about introducing them to "his sister" afterwards. None of the matters either way, though, as (in the manga) they all found out shortly after and didn't really care.
  • Sword Art Online:
    • Asuna Yuuki just went with Asuna in Sword Art Online due to being new to MMO games, and not realizing the game was asking for an alias to use in game. It's not until the restored ALfheim Online that she creates a Sylph alt character named Erika, but still primarily plays as an Undine, still named Asuna.
    • Yuuki Konno just uses her first name as her alias in ALfheim Online and presumably in other VRMMO games as well, although in her case given her circumstances, virtual reality is the only life she can have.
  • In Tokyo Mew Mew, the Mew Mews' Magical Girl Warrior names contain their actual given names (for example Ichigo Momomiya becomes Mew Ichigo, Minto Aizawa becomes Mew Mint). The only difference is that their given names are written using a different part of the Japanese Writing System, but they are still pronounced exactly the same (which is supposed to indicate that their real names are Japanese but their Mew Mew names are the English loan words for the Edible Theme Naming instead).

    Comic Books 
  • Batman's butler Alfred Pennyworth has sometimes used his middle names, Thaddeus Crane, as an alias when undertaking some activity he doesn't want linked to Bruce Wayne.
  • Quite possibly the silliest example is that Bucky Barnes' superhero name in The Golden Age of Comic Books was... Bucky. This is not a joke, Bucky's identity was secret in the Golden Age and it was repeatedly mentioned that no one, not even his closest friends who were familiar with both of them, could tell that "Bucky" and Bucky Barnes were one and the same person.
  • In the Detective Comics storyline "Shadows of the Bat: The Tower", one of the inmates in Arkham Tower is a woman who suffers from the delusion that she's Harley Quinn. When the various undercover Team Batman members amongst the staff and patients are activated, she turns out to actually be Harley Quinn.
  • G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero (Marvel): At one point, Cobra Commander and Destro are forced to travel without their masksnote  or costumes. When they are pulled over by the highway patrol, Destro curses that he doesn't have any fake ID on him. However, Cobra Commander, who is driving, reveals that he has his driver's licence in his original given name, which he has not used for years. As such, there is no reason for the police to link the name to the terrorist Cobra Commander. He is correct, but the license winds up attracting attention for another reason.
  • Lazarus sees Jonah Carlyle rescued and asked about his name. He almost reveals it, but catches himself and just says it's "Jonah Kar".
  • Ms. Tree: In the "Prisoner in Cell Block Hell" arc, Michael Tree is booked into jail as 'Michelle Friday' to protect from possible reprisals while she is being held. Michelle is the feminized version of her actual given name and Friday is her maiden name.
  • Spider-Man was cloned, and the clone retained all of Peter's memories, to the point where he originally believed that he was the real one. Eventually the cloned Peter takes the name Ben Reilly, derived from Peter's middle name (and Uncle Ben's first name) and Aunt May's maiden name (which helps facilitate the story that the two are oddly identical cousins, as long as no-one thinks too closely about Peter and May's actual relationship).
  • X-Men:
    • The Dark Phoenix Saga sees Jean Grey being seduced by a mutant named Jason Wyngarde, an aspiring member of the Hellfire Club. It turns out Wyngarde was one of their older and slightly more obscure enemies, the mutant villain Mastermind, and the X-Men just never found out his real name. Although he was also a Master of Illusion, and thus was also able to disguise himself.
    • Similarly, Mystique often posed as a secret service agent named Raven Darkholme in her early days. Turns out that's her real name. Amusingly, the Animated Adaptation of Days of Future Past (with some of Bishop's future thrown in) has a woman looking just like the Raven Darkholme identity, whom Mystique copied, tied up, but deliberately left alive to be a witness to "Gambit" assassinating Senator Kelly. Presumably, this came before the revelation in the comics that Mystique was the "real" Raven Darkholme.
    • Bishop at one point in the early noughties posed as an Australian police officer under the name "Lucas Bishop," commenting offhandedly in his internal monologue "the name is real, the badge is not." This was a Given Name Reveal after over a decade where "Bishop" was generally assumed to be either an alias or his only name.
  • John Henry Jr., one of the Ret-Gone sidekicks in The New Golden Age takes his heroic identity from the fifties hero John Henry, real name John Wilson. However John Henry Jr.'s real name is John Henry Irons, great-uncle to the better known John Henry Irons.

    Fan Works 
  • Darth Revan in Affably Evil only needs to remove the Cool Mask to remain anonymous in public; Alek doesn't believe he's that Revan when he introduces himself, and Revan remarks that it would be strange if he were the only Revan in the galaxy. (Note that in canon at the time, Revan was not the character's real name; he declared himself a revanchist earlier and adapted the Sith title from that.)
  • In the Discworld fanfic The Brain Thief [1], Samuel Ramkin Vimes, Viscount of Oxbury and heir to the Duke of Ankh, introduces himself to a girl he meets as Sam Ramkin, thinking "It wasn't, technically, a lie." The girl, meanwhile, is studying midwifery at the Free Hospital as Meg Garlick, rather than Princess Esmeralda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre ("Garlick" being her mother's maiden name).
  • Conversations with a Cryptid: All For One is a ruthless criminal mastermind and supervillain, and he has ruled Japan's underwold since Quirks first emerged. Yet he use his real name of Hisashi Midoriya as a civilian alias when he got married to Inko, despite the risk if both identities were connected.
  • A Crown of Stars: Chapter 74 reveals that Gendo had snuck into the Army Asuka and Shinji lead back to Earth, using his birth surname of Rokubungi so as to not draw attention.
  • Luna's Hubby: Harry attends Hogwarts under the name "Harry Lovegood". Since the Lovegoods adopted him, this is his actual legal name, and despite Dumbledore's frantic search for the Boy Who Lived, he never catches on.
  • In The Mysterious Case of Neelix's Lungs, Seska uses her real surname while undercover as a Bajoran for the Obsidian Order. After being outed she says her real given name's Jiana, not Harani.
  • Ponies of Olympus: Trixie enters the Atlas Strongest Tournament in a disguise and under her last name Lulamoon. Twilight recognizes her at the end of her match anyway.
  • Early in the fan novel Teen Titans: Call of Blood, Superman asks Wonder Woman why her sister, Princess Donna, uses the surname "Troy" for a Secret Identity instead of "Prince" like she does. She explains Donna wasn't born an Amazon, but adopted by Queen Hippolyta after washing up on their island ten years before, so her birth name really is Donna Troy.
  • Transformers: MHA: When using his Hard Light avatar to interact with humans while remaining undercover, Optimus Prime uses the name Orion Pax as his alias, which was his name before becoming Prime.
  • Vow of Nudity: The Jackal is a fearsome pirate who doesn't let anybody but her closest confidants know her real name. But during her "Facing the Bullets" One-Liner, which Haara overhears, she reveals her true name: Jacqueline.

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In BlacKkKlansman, Ron Stallworth, a black police officer, goes undercover to infiltrate the Klu Klux Klan... and uses his real name. His co-workers make fun of him for this, and it causes some minor problems when one of the Klan members shows up at his house, having looked the name up in the phone book.
  • A very important plot point in Definitely, Maybe. The Hero's daughter insists that he tells the story about how he met her mother whom he is now divorced. While doing so, The Hero calls his exes by alternate names to conceal their identity from his daughter who knows her mother's real name. The daughter then realizes that her dad is still in love with April, one of his exes, because he didn't gave her a Code Name.
  • John McClane's wife at the beginning of Die Hard uses her maiden name, Gennaro. This provides a minor plot point when Hans Gruber later discovers John's real name, and doesn't realize the connection between John and Holly (for a while, anyway).
  • In Frankenstein and the Monster from Hell, Baron Victor Frankenstein fakes his death and returns under the alias Dr. Karl Victor.
  • James Bond does this quite often, though there are several occasions Bond uses proper aliases too. Somewhat justified in that officially he is a globetrotting employee for something called Universal Exports, which is actually a cover for MI6.
    • In Tomorrow Never Dies he poses as a banker named James Bond and actually has a fake employment record, but is given away as a spy because it is too perfect to be true, and because he is asking too many questions, not because of his name. Of course, making a number of blatant references about the Big Bad's actions to his face doesn't help his case...
    • In Casino Royale (2006) despite spending a scene going over the details of his cover identity with Vesper (while flirting with her), Bond simply checks in to their hotel under his real name. He explains that since Le Chiffre is very well connected, he already knows who Bond really is anyway, and the fact that Le Chiffre will even continue with the game knowing there's an MI6 agent at the table is a sign that he's either desperate or overconfident, so Bond will just use his real name to unnerve Le Chiffre further. Vesper thinks Bond's just being reckless.
      Le Chiffre: And you must be Mr. Bliss's replacement. Welcome, Mr. Beach. Or is that Bond? I'm a little confused.
      James Bond: Well, we wouldn't want that, would we?
  • The Disney Channel movie Motocrossed involved a girl posing as her brother to enter a motocross race, after he breaks his leg. The siblings have the same name (Andy, short for both Andrea and Andrew), allowing her a legal loophole: since she signed up as "Andy", instead of Andrew or Andrea, she could hold on to her win after she was outed.
  • In 1937's Shall We Dance?, the two leads, who are both famous under stage names, get married quietly in New Jersey under their real names.
  • Movie stars Vicki Lester and Norman Maine in A Star Is Born get married under their real names by a town clerk who has no idea who they are.
  • Star Wars:
    • When pretending to be a handmaiden in The Phantom Menace, Queen Amidala used her lesser-known non-royal name, Padmé Naberrie.
    • Done by Obi-Wan Kenobi in A New Hope, using his real last name, and the nickname "Ben".
    • The character Dr. Cornelius Evazan (the pig-nosed human who accosts Luke at the cantina in A New Hope) had numerous aliases, since he was an Evilutionary Biologist who was just as wanted as he claimed. One of them in Star Wars Legends was simply..."Dr. Cornelius", using it as if it were his last name.
  • Time After Time deals with a visit by H. G. Wells to the present. Initially, Wells, who assumed that Sir Arthur Doyle's little amusements would have been forgotten in 100 years, uses the alias Sherlock Holmes, only to get laughed at. In the end, he realises that while he is still remembered as an author, no-one remembers what his initials stand for, and that his name is unremarkable enough to not be immediately associated with the presumed long-dead author, so he goes by Herbert George Wells.
  • Played with by way of a Casting Gag in To the Limit. Secret agent "Collette Dubois" (Anna Nicole Smith) explains at the very end of the film that she's been using a codename the whole time, and that her real name is "Vickie Lynn" — Smith's first and middle names in Real Life. In other words, Smith used (two-thirds of) her real name as a fictional alias.
  • Italian comedy actor Lino Banfi played the part of a policeman named "Pasquale Zagaria", whose name was also featured in the title of the movie he starred in. The fact is, Pasquale Zagaria is his actual given name, and "Lino Banfi" a stage name he used throughout all his career.

  • In 1632, King Gustav II Adolf of Sweden decides to send cavalry to help out his time-displaced American allies, and despite the misgivings of his prime minister puts the 'notably headstrong and reckless' Captain Gars in command. It's only after Gars helps save the Americans from an attack that it's explained to them that his name is an acronym for Gustavus Adolphus Rex Sueciae — 'Gustav Adolf the King of the Swedes' in Latin.
  • Emperor Andreas Komnenos in An Age of Miracles goes by Andreas when he has to go incognito for a while. Justified by the fact that as a very popular emperor, he looks younger than most commoners his age and there are a lot of people named Andreas.
  • The Belgariad:
    • In Belgarath the Sorcerer, the eponymous character once uses his old name Garath when working undercover. It lasts until he has to use magic to fend off an attack.
    • As well, his daughter Polgara sometimes goes as the Duchess of Erat, a title she technically owns although the duchy itself has been gone for thousands of years.
    • After several centuries of mothers naming their daughters after the "legendary" Polgara, the real one can get away with just calling herself Pol.
  • In The Birthday Ball, Princess Patricia Priscilla dresses as a peasant and goes to the village school. When the schoolmaster asks for her name, she calls herself Pat. ("Quite a short name because I'm merely a humble peasant.")
  • In The Goose Girl from the Books of Bayern series, the princess' full name is Anidori-Kiladra Talianna Isilee. When she goes into hiding, she calls herself Isi.
  • The Boxcar Children: Twice in the first book.
    • When Henry takes part in a free-for-all race at Silver City's annual Field Day event and wins, he identifies himself as Henry James, his real first and middle names.
    • Later, when James Henry Alden meets his grandchildren for the first time (after having found out why they were avoiding him), he uses the name "Mr. Henry" to avoid scaring them off.
    • In book #2 (Surprise Island), the Aldens meet their long-lost cousin John Joseph Alden. Before and after the reveal though, he just goes by "Joe".
  • In the Ciaphas Cain novel, For The Emperor, Inquisitor Amberley Vail goes undercover as an entertainer named Amberley Vail. She also uses her real last name for two different undercover identities in Duty Calls — the Lady haut Vail near the beginning of the novel, and Corporal Vail near the end. Possibly justified, in that anyone who can legally look at a roster of active Inquisitors already knows where she is and what she's doing, and she can kill anyone else who might blab.
  • In The Count of Monte Cristo, the aristocrat-born radical Nortier de Vilefort just goes by the name Nortier. In contrast, his conservative son calls himself de Vilefort. This is plot important, as the direct reason Dantes ended up wrongfully imprisoned is because he unknowingly told de Vilefort about a letter that incriminated Nortier for treason.
  • In Katharine Kerr's Deverry novels, the character Nevyn (meaning "no one", and hence often taken to be a joke) uses his long-abandoned original name (Galrion) when he needs to be taken seriously by some nobles. Everyone who knows him assumes he just made it up.
  • In The Dresden Files, Harry Dresden goes undercover as Harry the technical assistant. It still fools Lara Raith until he gets into a fight with Thomas. Harry, being Harry, points out it really wasn't that hard to see through.
    "You're Harry Dresden."
    "Don't feel bad," I said, "I cleverly disguised myself as Harry the Production Assistant."
    • The trope gets a sort-of inversion in the same book. One of the characters tries to frame Harry, but she's so vapid and shallow that she can't remember his name, telling the cops that his name was Larry. Or Barry.
  • In Earthborn, a character whose life has been greatly extended travels among people to whom she has become Shrouded in Myth. She uses her own name, and people assume her parents named her after the legendary figure.
  • In the sequels to Ender's Game, Ender simply goes by his given name of Andrew Wiggin. He is secretive about the fact that he's the same Andrew Wiggin who killed off the Bugger race thousands of years ago, but everyone thinks of that boy as "Ender," and the name "Andrew Wiggin" doesn't ring a bell for them. The few who do recognize the name assume his parents chose poorly when naming him.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Friday, the title character runs out of fake passports and falls back on the real one to pull a switcheroo with one of the fake IDs.
  • In How Not to Spend Your Senior Year, when Jo and her father fake their deaths and go into witness protection, she uses her middle name and her mother's maiden name to enroll at another school. When the federal marshals who put them in witness protection want her to use a completely fake name, Jo tells them about an incident when she and a friend switched names as a prank on a substitute teacher and couldn't pull it off because they weren't used to responding to someone else's name.
  • In InCryptid, this was invoked by Antimony's and her cousin Elsie's parents in naming them. Antimony Timpani Price can go by Annie, Tim, or either of her actual given names with the (several generations removed) Nom de Mom Brown to fool any spells that detect if someone is giving a false name. The same applies to Elsinore Norelle Harrington, who can go by Elsie, Nore, Elle, or either of her given names. (Antimony's the one sent to infiltrate the Covenant (as Timpani Brown) though, since she's human and Elsie is a succubus)
  • In the western novels of J.T. Edson, Dusty Fog frequently uses his middle names Edward Marsden as an alias, to the point that they become his Go-to Alias.
  • Lord Peter Wimsey: The eponymous character, whose full name is Lord Peter Death Bredon Wimsey, uses the name Death Bredon in the Dorothy L. Sayers novel Murder Must Advertise and the short story "The Bibulous Business of a Matter of Taste". When someone notices the coincidence, he claims to be his own cousin.
  • A Memoir By Lady Trent: In the short story "The Long Fall", Aaron Mornett goes by his middle name, Geoffrey, and his mother's maiden name, Foss, to try and escape his past.
  • Monstrous Regiment:
    • A regiment composed of women dressed up as men dress up as washerwomen to get themselves into a fort, and use their real names as their aliases.
    • Prince Heinrich of Zlobenia claims to be Captain Hortenz when captured. It's been speculated by fans that he has a lot of middle names, and is pulling the same trick as King Gustav, above.
  • Nick Velvet: In "The Theft of the Meager Beavers", Nick uses the alias 'Mr. Nicholas' while posing as a sports journalist.
  • In The Ordinary Princess, Princess Amethyst works as a kitchen maid under her nickname, Amy. The king of the kingdom she's working in does the same thing—she knows the king's name is Algernon, but he uses one of his many middle names.
  • The prince in Sherwood Smith's A Posse of Princesses
  • The L. M. Montgomery short story "The Pot and the Kettle" combines a double use of this with a Two-Person Love Triangle.
  • In Andre Norton's The Prince Commands, Michael uses this while passing himself off as the American friend of the prince.
  • In Revival, Charles Daniel Jacobs manages an impressive variety of combinations of real names as aliases.
  • Whenever Prince Arutha has to go King Incognito in The Riftwar Cycle, he goes by the name Arthur, which is close enough to his real name that any mistakes in answering or saying his real name can be brushed off as mishearings.
  • Sienkiewicz Trilogy begins whith Skrzetuski rescuing a man from brigands. The man introduces himself as "Abdank" at first, then admits that Abdank is his coat-of-arms and his name is actually Bohdan Chmielnicki. This happening before Chmielnicki becomes famous, Skrzetuski doesn't worry about this, but the readers familiar with history do.
  • In The Shadow Campaigns, Princess (and later Queen) Raesinia Oroboan uses the alias of Raesinia Smith when going among the people incognito. Since there was often a fad of commoners naming their children after a recently born royal, there are literally thousands of girls in Vordan named Raesinia around, and since she looks younger than she actually is, she can easily pass as one of them.
  • In Spindle's End, when Katriona and Aunt take in the little princess, they take the last of her many names, Briar-Rose, and decide to call her Rosie.
  • In The Truth-Teller's Tale, members of the royal family have secret names that no one outside the family knows. A prince in disguise uses his as an alias. The narrator is a Truth-Teller, who can detect when someone is lying, but since it's technically the prince's real name, she doesn't register that as a lie. Since his traveling companion is using a false name, the prince's gambit inadvertently ensures that she doesn't totally distrust the pair.
  • In Unnatural Issue, Lord Peter Almsley temporarily takes on the post of gamekeeper at the estate of his friends, with his valet Garrick as his scholar half-brother, in order to befriend Susanne (working as a dairy maid) and find out more about her. While in disguise, the two go by Peter Devlin (Devlin being Peter's middle name) and Clive Garrick (Clive being Garrick's).
  • Vorkosigan Saga: Miles Naismith Vorkosigan spent ten years running top secret operations under the cover identity of Admiral Miles Naismith. Once, on the point of being found out, he covered by pretending that "Admiral Naismith" was his clone, who used his Betan mother's maiden name because Betan law grants clones the legal status of family members. Admittedly, this mostly works because his cover identity is not officially connected in any way to Barrayar, and tends to show up on the other side of the galaxy. The clone cover is helped by Vorkosigan actually having a clone.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the TV movie adaptation of Breaking the Code, the spook from "Security" is John Smith. He can never get anyone to believe that, yes, that IS his real name.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: When she runs away to LA, Buffy Summers calls herself "Anne", which is actually her middle name.
  • Christopher Perry Halliwell from Charmed (1998) called himself "Chris Perry" when he first introduced himself. Since he's from the future and hadn't been born yet, this didn't really raise any eyebrows.
  • In The Cosby Show, lawyer Clair once introduced herself by her maiden name in order to speak on son Theo's behalf when he got ripped off by a T-shirt company.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • In "Lucky," the team profiles the unsub back to his stay in a juvenile psych ward and get his legal name, Floyd Feylinn Ferell. When looking at adult men who fit the profile and trying to figure out which one is his alias, they come across Floyd Feylinn. The local sheriff asks if he would really be that stupid, and the team says that yes, he would. (In his defense, he's delusional and literally thinks the devil is protecting him so he cannot get caught.)
    • In another episode, a fraud investigator the team is working with refers to a man with many aliases as "Bill" because in his earliest cons, he always gave some variation of that name (William, Will, Billy, etc.), so he figures he started out using his real name before he was able to keep track of a different identity. For what it's worth, the unsub's wife does indeed call him Bill, but it's never confirmed if that actually is his real name (based on the timeline, he was running scams long before their son was born, so it's possible he met her while using the alias and stuck with it).
  • Law & Order: Criminal Intent: In "Trophy Wine", a con man who has been living for years under the name 'Bing Cullen', rents an apartment under his original name Arnold Binder.
  • In Leverage, Sophie Devereaux once had to conjure an alias from nowhere or risk losing the mark, so she introduces herself as the Duchess of Hanover. She assures the rest of the team that "this identity is very well backed up" but the mark isn't convinced. He arranges to introduce her to someone who's known the real Duchess for a very long time. While the rest of the team are convinced that Sophie's cover is blown, the Duchess's aunt takes one look at Sophie and says.... "Why Charlotte, it's so good to see you". It's never made clear if this is Sophie's real identity but it's the oldest one revealed on the show.
  • Agent Tony DiNozzo of NCIS spends season 4 running a long-term undercover op as Tony DiNardo.
  • In Sleepy Hollow, a captured Hessian claims he knows everything about Abbie Mills, including her real name, Grace Abigail Mills.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "The Wire", Garak tells Bashir a series of contradictory stories about a person named Elim, supposedly a high-ranking Cardassian official who either betrayed or was betrayed by Garak. Bashir later finds out that Elim is just Garak's first name, and when he confronts Garak and demands the truth, Garak says that everything he said was true. Especially the lies...
  • In Seinfeld Elaine confides in a loud-mouthed rabbi who starts spilling her private business everywhere, including on TV:
    "A young lady I know—let's call her 'Elaine'—happened to find herself overwhelmed with feelings of resentment and hostility toward her friend—let's call him 'George'..."
  • In the 2016 Netflix Series The Tick, Arthur Everest is arrested while out sleuthing in costume and invokes the right not to reveal his secret identity. They then ask him for his name (meaning his superhero name) and he immediately responds "Arthur," which from then on is his in-costume identity.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • In WWE, Shawn Michaels' mid-2009 absence was explained by him taking the job of a cook chef at an office complex under the last name of Hickenbottom — that being Michaels' real-life last name.

  • In Shakespeare's Henry V, King Henry goes undercover as a common soldier to learn the views and morale of his troops more closely. He gives his name to the soldier Pistol as "Harry Leroy" (Harry being a common nickname for Henry, and le Roi being French for "the King"). He says he's a Welshman, which is true, as he was born in Wales.

    Video Games 
  • In the Japanese version of Chrono Trigger, "Marle" is the alias used by Princess Marledia. This doesn't carry over to English, where she was renamed Princess Nadia, making her alias both more clever and less explicable.
  • Being set in a fictional MMORPG wherein players create a digital avatar to role-play with other players, the various entries in the .hack franchise often invoke this, with some PCs sporting the names of their actual players instead of a made-up online handle. It's specifically mentioned that optional party member Ryoko Terajima erroneously submitted her real name when prompted to make a user account, so the accidental version of the trope is also represented.
  • Though somewhat unclear without supplementary material and partially Lost in Translation, Final Fantasy XV's Ardyn Izunia technically never lied about his name; although he would have been known as Ardyn Lucis Caelum 2000 years ago, Izunia is indicated to have been the family's surname before being chosen by the crystal to be kings.
  • Gaia Online: Frank, the first NPC you meet in zOMG!, is actually Labtech 123; no official statement has been made, but the general assumption is that "Frank" is in fact his real name. Pretty much confirmed by one of the H2k10 NPCs, who has mentioned him by name.
  • An interesting version can be found in Ghost Trick. After losing his memory upon death (but still existing as a soul), the main character assumes the identity of a nearby corpse, along with the name Sissel. Through a series of plot twists, he learns that the corpse does not belong to the main character and also only used Sissel as a fake name... however, as it turns out, Sissel is the main characters real name.
  • Hidden City: In the "Dreamweaver" case, Mr. Black decides to investigate a pseudo-religious order whom he suspects to be involved in the sleep epidemic, and suggests to the player character that they use aliases when they visit the Foggy Oasis. He then instructs the player character to call him Ivor, which is just his actual first name. This ends up being moot anyway, since the members of the order already recognize him as the Head of the Security Service, and he never uses this alias again.
  • The titular NYPD detective in Max Payne uses that name both in his legitimate life and for his undercover criminal identity. His cover gets blown early in the first game but it's explicitly due to a mole in the department and not due to using his real name to infiltrate the Mafia.
  • Tales of the Abyss: Tear and Van's names are nicknames born from their full names — Mystearica and Vandesdelca — and their last names are taken from their adoptive grandfather, successfully hiding their origin as from Hod and Van's connection in particular. Guy Cecil did something similar; his full name is Gailardia Galan Gardios and his mother's maiden name was Cecille.
  • In Tales of Xillia 2, Gaius goes by "Erston" while traveling Elympios incognito. This is actually his birth name, while "Gaius" is an alias he assumed to protect his family from his enemies.
  • In Yakuza: Like a Dragon, when Ichiban introduces himself to Nanba, Nanba tells him that it's okay to use an alias in the homeless camp since nobody will pry too much. Ichiban disappointedly tells Nanba that it actually is his real namenote , but the exchange causes him to think "Nanba" is a fake name... only for him to later find out his full name is actually Yu Nanba. When confronted, Nanba points out that he never said his name was fake, and all that mattered was that people thought it was fake— Ichiban was just dumb enough to fall for it.

    Visual Novels 
  • In Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney, the surname of the first victim, Shadi Smith, turns out to be an alias. His real name is Shadi Enigmar, and he can get away with it because he's better known as Zak Gramarye.
  • Near the beginning of Nine Hours, Nine Persons, Nine Doors, the participants of the Deadly Game each choose a codename for themselves based on their bracelet number to avoid revealing any unnecessary information about themselves to each other or to their captor who they assume is listening in.note  Near the end of the game, it's revealed that Clover's real name is actually Clover. It just so happened to line up with her number (4) so she could use it without anyone being the wiser (except her brother, Snake, who must have been internally screaming when she just gave her real name freely like that).

  • Dumbing of Age had one arc villain — Ryan, the date rapist — avoid being found out for a long time because they used their middle name.
  • In The Far Side Of Utopia Peter Kepler starts going by... Peter Kepler. If he was trying to stay Hidden in Plain Sight , assumed no one that knew the name was watching, or using it as The Bait remains to be seen.
  • Girl Genius:
  • In "How The Paladin Got His Scar", one of the prequels for The Order of the Stick, Hinjo joins the main characters of the story in their mission to try to prevent the outbreak of a full scale war with the hobgoblin tribes, but because of political wrangling and such he can't do so in his capacity as the heir apparent of Lord Shojo. Unfortunately Hinjo didn't think of an alias ahead of time, so when O-Chul asks his name, Hinjo starts to reply with his actual name before catching himself at the last second and changing it to Hin Jozuki. When everyone there notes that they've never heard of a noble family called "Jozuki", Hinjo tries to claim it's because the family is so minor and unimportant as noble families go that not many people are familiar with it.

    Web Original 
  • In Noob, Word of God states that Saphir's player is doing this (the actual reveal of the fact came out looking like a Sudden Name Change). She's using her middle name Pénélope for the public and her guildmates, but her real name is Elena. The reason for which she uses an alias has not been explicitly stated, but it may have something to do with her having a real-world job and social life when she requires her guild's new recruits to have neither of these to be able to be full-time players.
  • In the Red Panda Adventures episode "The Missing Links", the Red Panda and Flying Squirrel are tracing the steps of supervillain the Mad Monkey, real name Anton Cresswell, and how he got hold of several pieces of high technology. A scientist they speak to reveals a close colleague of his had become close to an "Anthony Cresswell" shortly before he died. The Flying Squirrel notes that, with an alias like that, the Mad Monkey wasn't even trying to hide. The Red Panda confirms that's exactly the case, as the Mad Monkey wanted them to know it was him.
  • Whateley Universe:
    • Jobe Wilkins is literally applying the trope, with his codename being Jobe Wilkins.
    • Jimmy Trauger is making only a token effort, with his codename being Jimmy T.

    Western Animation 
  • Played With in Avatar: The Last Airbender when the main characters are trying to keep a low profile in the Fire Nation. Sokka introduces himself to a master Fire Nation swordsman named Piandao using his own name. Piandao realizes that "Sokka" is a Water Tribe name and puts it together that he's one of the Avatar's friends. Fortunately for the heroes, he was Good All Along, and advises Sokka to be more careful about his choice of alias ("Try 'Lee'. There's a million Lees.")
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "The Man Who Killed Batman", Harley Quinn masquerades as the lawyer of the episode's eponymous character, using the name Harleen Quinzel. Later, the episode "Trial" would confirm this as her actual name.
  • Franz Hopper of Code Lyoko, whose real name is Waldo Franz Schaeffer, derived his alias from his middle name and his wife's maiden name.
  • Danny Phantom: The main character's civilian identity is Danny Fenton, changed to Phantom when he's in his half-ghost form. They're pronounced identically.
  • Disenchantment: Princess Tiabeanie normally shortens her name to "Bean" , but while working in a factory, shortens it to "Tia" instead to use as an alias.
  • On Family Guy, Peter Griffin once tried to pull off a Line-of-Sight Alias. The first three things he saw were a pea on someone's plate, a girl crying a single tear, and a griffin that just happened to be flying by, and so gave the name "Peter Griffin" as his alias before quickly realizing his mistake.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends:
    • In the episode "Imposter's Home for Um... Make 'Em Up Pals", Goofball is introduced by his first name. When Frankie overhears a group of kids calling him "John," she believes she has more proof he is not an imaginary friend. Goofball explains that it is his middle name and that he is named after his owner, Larry. He then tacks on another explanation that "Larry" is his owner's middle name. Despite all evidence, this turns out to be true.
    • In "Affairweather Friends", Berri disguises herself as a rich human child named Barry.
    • When Mac, Bloo and a pizza delivery teenager use a Totem Pole Trench disguise with Bloo at the top, Frankie immediately calls him "Bloo". Trying to keep his facade, he claims that "Bloo" is his last name. His first name is Orlando.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In "Undercover Carl", when O.W.C.A. suspects that the titular characters are in league with Doofenshmirtz, Carl the intern is sent undercover to investigate. He tries to come up with a cool alias, but ends up introducing himself by his real name.
  • The Simpsons: In the episode "New Kids on the Blech", when Lisa discovers Bart's boy band is part of a subliminal advertising campaign for the US Navy, their manager "L.T. Smash" turns out to actually be Lt. Smash. She discovers this because his real name was on a placard, which they altered by pasting on a speck of paper with a period. However, once this is revealed he formally introduces himself as "Lieutenant...L.T. Smash".
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (SatAM): When Sally travels back in time and meets her past self, she introduces herself as "Alicia". Past Sally comments that's her middle name.
  • In SpacePOP, the princesses' names are fairly long and they shorten them when they go on the run. Lunaria de Longoria becomes Luna, Junoia Atley-Wolford becomes Juno, Rhealetta Hemmings becomes Rhea, Herazanna Appleby becomes Hera, and Mettathena Mystos becomes Athena.
  • In Teamo Supremo, team leader Crandall's superhero alterego is... Captain Crandall. He still manages to keep his secret identity from his mom.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012), Karai cozies up to April using the fake name Harmony, a translation of her birth name, Miwa. Played with, in that Karai didn't know that Miwa was her real name.
  • Teen Titans:
    • Cyborg infiltrates the HIVE by donning a hologram to make him look human until he "powers up" into a rocklike form. He calls himself "Stone." His real name is "Vic Stone" in the comics.
    • Slade's real name is Slade Wilson. It's a badass enough name to work for the main villain even without knowing that in the original comics, he goes by the alias of "Deathstroke the Terminator". Of course, he would have done that here too, but the network didn't let him.
  • The Tiny Toon Adventures episode "Cinemaniacs!" has SuperBabs from the segment of the same name.
    Hamton: I wonder who SuperBabs really is.
    Plucky: Well, let's see... Who do we know called Super?
  • Voltron: Legendary Defender: It turns out that Pidge Gunderson's real name is Katie Holt, who entered Galaxy Garrison training under an assumed name (and gender) to search for her missing brother Matt after getting banned from the base in her real identity. She chose Pidge as an alias because that's the nickname that Matt used to call her growing up.
  • World of Winx: Jim is Captain James Hook.
  • Young Justice:
    • Artemis's real name is... Artemis Crock.
    • Giovanni Zatara fights crime as the superhero... Zatara. Even his daughter, Zatanna, calls him that when she's referring to him specifically as a hero. When she takes up heroing permanently, she also goes by her given name.

    Real Life 
  • British DJ Kenny Everett (real name Maurice Cole) once did a promo which ended with the words "... or my name isn't Maurice Cole!" The joke being that most of the listeners wouldn't have known his real name at the time.
  • Many famous women continue to use their maiden name after marrying, since they're already well-known and changing names might confuse fans.
    • J. K. Rowling continued to use her maiden name after becoming Jo Murray.
    • Julie Andrews uses her maiden name for her film work and her married name (Julie Edwards) for some of her novels.
  • It's quite common to use one's first and middle name as a Stage Name or Pen Name.
    • One prominent example would be Tim Allen (born Timothy Allen Dick).
    • Another would be Angelina Jolie (Voight).
    • Ray Charles (Robinson)note 
    • Nevil Shute's full name was Nevil Shute Norway. He used his full name in his day job as an aerospace engineer, and Nevil Shute as a pen name.
    • Other first-middle name variants in Country Music: Toby Keith (born Toby Keith Covel), Craig Morgan (born Craig Morgan Greer), and Gary Allan (born Gary Allan Herzberg).
    • Another musical example, this time in pop/rock: The leader and namesake of Paul Revere and the Raiders was born Paul Revere Dick.
    • Joe Hill's full name is "Joseph Hillstrom King". He wanted to succeed as an author on his own without the baggage of being Stephen King's son so he simply cut his name in half.
  • Bob Siebenberg joined Supertramp in 1973 as the band's new drummer, and also the only American in an otherwise all-Britishnote  band. During work on the band's next album Crime of the Century, he overstayed his UK visa. In an attempt to hide this from UK authorities, he was credited on that album as "Bob C. Benberg". The band's next three albums continued to credit him as such, even though the last two (Even in the Quietest Moments... and Breakfast in America) were recorded after the band had relocated to Los Angeles. It wasn't until ...Famous Last Words... in 1982—ironically, the last album featuring the band's classic lineup—that he was credited under his real name.
  • Willem-Alexander, then Prince of Orange and now King of The Netherlands, ran in the New York Marathon under the name "W.A. van Buren". "Count van Buren" is one of the many lesser known titles of the Dutch royal family.
    • Likewise, Czar Peter the Great of Russia used the name "Pyotr Mikhailov" (Peter Michaelson) as an alias abroad. He was grandson of Czar Michael I Romanov.
  • WWII Ace Pilot Major Heinrich Prinz von und zu Sayn-Wittgenstein used just his rank and surname "Wittgenstein" in everyday communication.
  • Law enforcement personnel going undercover often use their real first names so they won't seem suspiciously slow in responding.
  • Because the Japanese language has three writing systems- two syllabaries and a logography- with Latin characters also in common use, many Japanese celebrities just swap between systems to make up their stage names.
    • Japanese idol and web star RaMu makes a point of always going by her stage name and writing it in Latin characters. However, she once tweeted a partial picture of her identity document, which showed that her given name is... Ramu.
    • Japanese actress Hiroko Yakushimaru was 薬師丸 博子 but uses the homophonous 薬師丸 ひろ子 as her stage name.
    • Singer-songwriter Miyuki Nakajima is born 中島 美雪 but known professionally as the homophonous 中島 みゆき.
  • The identity of Sergei Korolev, the man who put the "rockets" in Reds with Rockets, was a closely-guarded secret, out of fear that the USA would abduct or assassinate him. Even within the space program, most knew him as the "Chief Designer", assuming they ever met him, and not somebody else they were told was in charge. However, he did write articles for the Soviet press and technical journals, under the name "K. Sergeyev".
  • The brothers that formed the core of the American funk band Kool & the Gang, Robert and Ronald Bell, converted to Islam in 1973, taking the respective names of Muhammad and Khalis Bayaan. They would continue to use their birth names as stage names.


Video Example(s):


Pea Tear Griffin

In an attempt to shake off a rehab counselor, Peter finds three random things to make up for his name...

How well does it match the trope?

4.93 (27 votes)

Example of:

Main / LineOfSightAlias

Media sources: