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Rhyme Theme Naming

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In fiction, it is common to give the members of the same group, family or ensemble a Theme Naming to emphasize their unity. The two most standard ways of achieving this is by having the characters' name revolve around a particular subject/topic or field (e.g. plants or celestial objects), or by having them follow a linguistic quirk.

This trope is about the latter. Specifically, this is when a collective group of characters are given names that rhyme with each other, sometimes with one character having an Odd Name Out.

This is particularly common for Theme Twin Naming, especially Always Identical Twins, since the characters already have identical appearances, so it would naturally follow that they are also given phonetically-similar names.

Compare Rhyming Names, for singular characters or places who are given rhyming first and last names to make them sound more quirky and/or memorable, although both tropes can be used together, particularly for siblings/family members that are given a rhyming surname in addition to their already rhyming given names. See also Alphabetical Theme Naming.



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    Anime and Manga 
  • Ginro and his brother Kinro from Dr. Stone.
  • K-On! has Yui Hirasawa and her younger sister Ui.
  • Several families in Kengan Ashura have members sharing similar names:
    • Yamashita Kazuo has a son named Yasuo, and he seems closer to the latter than his older son, Kenzo.
    • Katahara Metsudo's son is named Retsudo.
    • Kure Karla and her brother, Sarla.
  • Ouran High School Host Club has the trickster Hitachiin twins, Kaoru and Hikaru.
  • Penguindrum: Himari and her friends Hikari and Hibari. The latter two went on to become a famous idol duo, but keep Himari in their thoughts.

    Comic Books 
  • Asterix: Every character has a Punny Name with a nationality-specific ending (with occasional exceptions like Ptenisnet the Egyptian):
    • -ix for the Gauls (Asterix, Obelix, Vitalstatistix)
    • -us for the Romans (Cantankerus, Coronavirus)
    • -is for the Egyptians (Edifis)
    • -ic for Goths (Rhetoric)
    • -ax/-os for the Britons (Relax, Mykingdomforanos)
  • The Disney Ducks Comic Universe has Donald's triplet nephews, Huey, Dewey, and Louie.

  • Hogwarts Dawn: In the first chapter as part of their "life improvement plan" for Harry, Fred and George enlist several hulking students nicknamed Smasher, Gnasher, Thrasher and Odd Name Out Crusher as bodyguards.

    Film — Animated 

    Film — Live Action 
  • Biff Tannen from Back to the Future is revealed to have a daughter named Tiff (which is short for Tiffany), and two brothers named Cliff and Riff.
  • In Hairspray, twin sisters Noreen and Doreen are two of the dancers on the Corny Collins Show.
  • In Z-O-M-B-I-E-S, the three ace cheerleaders from Bucky's posse are named Stacey, Tracey, and Lacey.

  • There's a poem about three fishermen named Wynken, Blynken, and Nod.
  • The children's book Delilah Darling is in the Classroom features the teacher's two hamsters Wally and Dolly.
  • The verses of the Old Norse poem, "Grottasöngr" (or "The Mill's Songs" in English) is sung by Fenja and Menja, a pair of slave giantesses who are forced to grind wealth using the titular mill and sing songs for the king who bought them.
  • The Hobbit: Many of the dwarves in Thorin's company have similar sounding names: Oin and Gloin, Balin and Dwalin, Fili and Kili, Ori, Nori and Dori, and Bifur, Bofur and Bombur. This doubles as Family Theme Naming, as all of the characters with rhyming names are either brothers or cousins. The whole group themselves are distant relatives of one other through Thorin.
  • Junie B. Jones: Junie B.'s twin friends are named Camille and Chenille. They invite Junie's other friend Lucille to play with them only because their names rhyme.
  • In the Little Princess book "I Want to Make a Friend", there are three mean kids, two girls and a boy. The girls are named Molly and Polly.
  • In The Tale of Peter Rabbit, two of Peter's sisters are named Flopsy and Mopsy.

    Live-Action TV 


    Puppet Shows 
  • Sesame Street:
    • Two guys in a skit are named Stan and Dan.
    • There are two cat brothers named Chip and Dip.
    • Two sketches feature the Rhymies: Larry, Mary and Barry.

  • The main protagonists of The Blue Bird are a pair of siblings named Mytyl and Tyltyl.

    Video Games 
  • Diner Dash Adventures features twin brothers Norbert and Dorbert.
  • Harvest Town has sisters May and Fay, and the Allen siblings: Jerry and Sherry.
  • The ghosts in Oh Shit! are named Joey (red), Willy (blue), and Frankie (pink), with Paul the orange ghost being the Odd Name Out.
  • The ghosts in Pac-Man are named Inky (blue), Pinky (pink) and Blinky (red). Plus the orange ghost, who is always given an Odd Name Out (it's Clyde in the original, Sue in Ms. Pac-Man and Tim in Pac-Man Jr.).

    Visual Novel 

    Western Animation 
  • The Rockhopper Crew of 3-2-1 Penguins! is made up of Captain Zidgel, First Officer Midgel, Doctor Fidgel and Kevin
  • In Animaniacs, the two Warner brothers (not the company, brothers with the surname Warner) are named Yakko and Wakko.
  • In the Arthur episode "Binky Goes Nuts", Binky dreams that he has two classmates named Ron and Don, who are allergic to their hands.
  • Ben 10 has this with Ben and his cousin Gwen. Ben 10: Alien Force takes this further, introducing Gwen's older brother Ken, to the amusement of Kevin, who lampshades this trope. Ben's reaction implies that this is not rare. Ken is also the name of Ben's son from a possible future (Kevin's is Devlin, so...)
  • Camp Lazlo has the dung beetle brothers, Chip and Skip.
  • Hanna-Barbera cartoons frequently has a pair of duos with rhyming names:
  • Heckle and Jeckle are two identical talking magpies who trick other people and get into trouble.
  • The DeVille twins in Rugrats are normally called Phil and Lil, although their actual names are Philip and Lillian.
  • Tessa and Vanessa of Pepper Ann. Their Day In The Limelight episode "Vanessa Less Tessa" has a Show Within a Show with protagonists Gina and Tina.
  • Molly and Polly from Pigeon Street ("Molly and Polly, they're two of a kind / They look both the same when they're seen from behind / But when they turn round then it's easy to see / Who's Molly with an M and Polly with a P").
  • The Pound Puppies (1980s) episode "Pups on the Loose" featured a case of theme triplet naming, where Rusty and Lucy's three puppies were named Andy, Mandy, and Candy.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The Flanders brothers are named Rod and Todd.
    • The Mackleberry twins, Sherri and Terri.
  • Super Noobs has alien warriors Memnock and Zenblock. They play with this trope even more through the names they give to the human disguises they have to use in public to avoid having their identities exposed, which are Bob and Rob. Their nicknames, Mem and Zen are however subverted because the last letters of their nicknames do not really match but come in pretty close. They are also identical to each other, only differing in skin color, teeth, and nose shape but whether they are related to each other or not is debatable.
  • Total Drama:
    • The first generation has the single-minded best friends Katie and Sadie.
    • The third generation brings the Polar Opposite Twins Amy and Samey (whose actual name is Sammy, but Amy prefers to call her like this because she considers her sister an inferior version of her).

    Real Life 
  • Generation Names are names used by a generation of a same family containing the same character. They are used in China and other Chinese-influenced countries.
  • The Marx Brothers have rhyming stage names: Zeppo, Groucho, Harpo, and Chico—which they are almost universally known as. Their actual first names are, respectively, Herbert, Julius, Arthur and Leonard.


Video Example(s):


Gary and Larry

Owen notices that Gary has a best friend named Larry and doesn't know how to react to the fact that their names rhyme.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / RhymeThemeNaming

Media sources:

Main / RhymeThemeNaming