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Some Call Me "Tim"

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Black Mage: The God of Undeath has a name of twenty-seven syllables spoken simultaneously by six ever-screaming mouths.
Cleric: Yeah. Or Jessie to his friends.

An Overly Long Name is a bane of Puny Earthlings, many of whom broke their tongues in the attempt to pronounce it, even if they somehow manage to memorize it.

Some beings with overly long names realize that it would quickly become frustrating if every second person they told their full name to struggled in vain to pronounce it correctly, and thus offer a shortened version. For comedy value, this shorter version may be a mundane human name, such as Bob or Max. Can overlap at times with They Call Me MISTER Tibbs!.

The trope namer is Monty Python and the Holy Grail, although it's not a confirmed example. While it was revealed by the Pythons that Tim the Enchanter was scripted with another name that John Cleese could never remember, there is no evidence of it being long or unpronounceable. Also see Translation: "Yes". Not to be confused with Tom the Dark Lord, where the Dark Lord's name actually is something normal.

Truth in Television, in fact, most people have at least one middle name that is omitted when referring to them for simplicity's sake, but keep Real Life examples for case where the person's full name is particularly long enough to contrast with the commonly used short form.


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  • Domḗnikos Theotokópoulos was a Greek painter, sculptor and architect of the Spanish Renaissance —and so acquired El Greco ("that Greek dude") as a nickname. The artist went along with it: normally signing paintings with his full birth name in Greek letters, and often adding the word Κρής (Krḗs), which means "from Crete" (the largest of the Greek islands). This is a picture of Jesus by El Greco, the face of which is also a self-portrait.note 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop has Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV, or "Ed" for short. Real name: Francois. Probably.
  • Ren and Miu in DearS are called Ren and Miu because those are fragments of their absurdly long full names. Interestingly, "Ren" means "nothing" in the DearS language, which confuses and angers Miu. Takeya gave Ren her name because it's the first number of her ID number; this ends up being a plot point. Whereas Ren uses the first part of her ID number as her name, Miu uses the last part.
  • Dragon Ball GT: Due to DB4649T2006RS being too long to remember (especially for Goku), his friends simply call him Giru/Gil. That doesn't stop the people of Planet M2 from saying his serial number all the time, to the point that the viewers can actually memorize it because it is said so often in the show.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Scar and King Bradley/Wrath do not go by their birth names (the latter doesn't even remember it). One omake has them both claim their real names are really a long one based on a popular Japanese tale: Jugemu Jugemu Gokō-no surikire Kaijarisuigyo-no Suigyōmatsu Unraimatsu Fūraimatsu Kuunerutokoro-ni Sumutokoro Yaburakōji-no burakōji Paipopaipo Paipo-no-shūringan Shūringan-no Gūrindai Gūrindai-no Ponpokopī-no Ponpokonā-no Chōkyūmei-no Chōsuke. In the Englis dub Scar's "real" name is changed to Percival Ramtee Gregory Nicolai Jaques Scozer Leonardo Gabriel Socrates Ming Victor Nostradomus Alistair Predisha Vladimir Stiegler Rasputin Boromir Walla Walla Shadiga Alexander Oliver Abalard Arnesto Zippy Zappy Angel Eyes while Bradley's is Russel Daniel Paul Blake Joseph Alan Eri­c Fred Orsen Trevor Richard Charleton Christo­pher Benedict Garfield Polyuthane Nichol­as Robert Theodore Steve Michael Alvin Carter Bryc­e Jeffrey Maragold Peter Ethan Arin Papp­al William Nathanial Orville Chuck Slipp­y Slappy Zippy Zappy Angel Eye.
  • Quetzalcoatl from Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid normally just goes by the shortened name "Lucoa", presumably because her full name would be difficult for a Japanese speaker.
  • In Psychic Academy, psychics are called by the names of their psychic eminences. The average eminence name is four words long. Thus they're generally referred to by the first word in the name. The main character's brother has a six-word name - which gets shortened to Zero ("Zerodyme" is the first word).
  • The Instructor from Swans in Space is really named "¥ø∆¨•¶§∞£¢§". He tells Corona to call him "Instructor", as his real name is The Unpronounceable.
  • Z's introduction in Tenchi Muyo!. It's something along the lines of "Me? I'm Z-0001332536893. But that's too long, so just call me 'Z.'"
  • In the anime version of Trigun, Vash The Stampede's full name may or may not be "Valentinez Alkalinella Xifax Sicidabohertz Gumigobilla Blue Stradivari Talentrent Pierre Andre Charton-Haymoss Ivanovicci Baldeus George Doitzel Kaiser III".

    Comic Books 
  • Fin Fang Foom is short for some very long alien phrase meaning "He Whose Back Scrapes the Sun.''
  • The Martian Manhunter, J'onn J'onnz, goes by John Jones.
  • Dr. Harry Vanderspeigle from Resident Alien tends to go by either "Harry" or "Doc" since either is easier to pronounce than "Dr. Vanderspeigle"
  • Superman: Kal-El becomes Clark. Clark Joseph Kent.
  • Starfire from the Teen Titans is officially "Princess Koriand'r", but is known as "Kory" for short. More specifically, the full name Kory Anders.
  • In a Khundian dialect, Lobo means roughly "He-Who-Devours-Your-Entrails-And-Thoroughly-Enjoys-It".

    Fan Works 
  • Child of the Storm has a very occasional mentor figure of Harry's who could be described as the embodiment of downplayed tropes (and other things). He's completely unassuming in every way - at first glance. Pretty much anything about him in the narration or descriptions is either implied, hinted at, downplayed, maybe magic maybe mundane, rewatch bonus, or offscreen. That he's notoriously elusive and tends to keep himself to himself just adds to this. Of course this includes I Have Many Names: when asked who he is, he tells Harry to call him Joshua - not even bothering with any of the more well-known of the forty-seven or so names he has, let alone all of them. Although this is also a case of Exact Words to both neatly avoid saying a name a jumpy Harry (whp's already near panic, which flooring him with the reveal of Joshua's full identity wouldn't exactly help) would recognise until Harry's calmed down a bit; and saying his actual (and virtually unknown) birth name in a different way (as Joshua is the most common way of translating it into English).
  • Ebott's Wake: Almost word-for-word from the Riverperson, but Inverted; rather than substituting a really long name, they imply that it's filling in for the lack of one entirely, as an alternative to Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep".
    The Riverperson: “Tra la la. Names are the sounds that others give us to match what they feel when they think of us. But, there are some who call me Tim.”
  • In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, Tapper's real name is Naomhán Críostóir Smurf. He prefers using Tapper because Naomhán is difficult for his fellow Smurfs to say.
  • Kingdom Hearts Ψ: The Seeker of Darkness: From Adjustments: Final Mix:
    Yen Sid: This being is, in a sense, the anthropomorphization of the concept of time itself.
    The being: Not strictly true, but close enough. Call me Tim.
    Vanitas: 'Tim'?
    Tim: (shrugs) Technically my name is ‘Time’s Champion’. Or. Well. That’s not actually my name, but that’s the title. Got cut off while saying it once and people started calling me ‘Tim’.
    Vanitas: But that doesn’t match the–
    Tim: My real name, of course, is a secret.
    Sora: It’s unpronounceable, right?
    Tim: Huh? No, no, it’s just a secret.
  • In A.A. Pessimal's The Many Worlds Interpretation, Assassin Ruth N'Kweze, who is a proud Princess in Howondaland, explains the thing about names and lineages to a group of visitors from Earth:
    "Formally." Ruth said. "But naming conventions are tricky. My full name goes something like Igama Sibongo Isithakazelo Ubuzwe Inkosazana umNtwana Umntanenkosi Ruth Sisiwayo N'Kweze kaCeteshwayo. And that's just a short version. If you take the Isithakazelo part, that's a one-word shorthand for my family lineage, great deeds, and accomplishments of my illustrious ancestors - and maybe even one or two of my own. And so on and so on. It runs on for about three pages when it's all written down.(4) So it got shortened to Miss Ruth N'Kweze for convenience."
  • In A Song of Ice and Fires That Weren't All My fault, the parasite/spirit of intellect born of Harry and Lash has a name that defies human pronunciation, but her mother also gave her the name Lydia.

    Films — Animated 
  • Princess Kidagakash from Atlantis: The Lost Empire. Milo Thatch stumbles on pronouncing it (although probably just because he was distracted; he is a linguist), and she says he can call her Kida.
  • From Over the Hedge:
    Stella the Skunk: So, you got a name?
    Tiger the Persian Cat: Yes. It is a Persian name, for I am Persian. I was born Prince Tigeriess Mahmood Shabaz.
    Stella: Ooh, that's a mouthful. Can I just call you Tiger?
  • In the Winnie the Pooh franchise, Lumpy's full name is Heffridge Trumpeter Bumpet Heffalump the Fourth, but he (usually) can't remember it, so everyone calls him Lumpy.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Inverted, then subverted in Blazing Saddles.
    Bart: What's your name?
    Jim: Well, my name is Jim, but most people call me... Jim.
  • In Walt Disney's The Cat from Outer Space, the titular cat's name is Zunar-J-5/9 Doric-4-7, but the human that the cat stays with decides to call him Jake.
  • In District 9, the only one of the Starfish Aliens referred to by name is called "Christopher Johnson"; according to Christopher's blog, this is because humans assign human names to aliens. In the context of the movie's rather obvious allegory, this reflects some nasty history: the practice of white Europeans forcing "Christian" names on the natives wherever they went, as a form of cultural imperialism.
  • In The Fifth Element, the Fifth Element's name is "Leeloominaï Lekatariba Lamina-Tchaï Ekbat De Sebat". Also known as Leeloo.
  • In Gosford Park, Lady Trentham should call her maid "MacCreachern" as she's a lady's maid, but she can't pronounce it, so she just calls her Mary.
  • In Paddington (2014), Paddington's original bear name is a deep, throaty growl that humans can't pronounce. When Mr. Brown tries, Paddington thinks that whatever he said was very rude. He gratefully accepts Mrs. Brown's suggestion of having a human name, "Paddington".
  • In Pulp Fiction, Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta discuss a fellow gangster whose real name is Antwan Rockamora but whose colleagues call him "Tony Rocky Horror."
  • A variant is in the Tom Hanks rom-com Splash: when he asks his new friend (Daryl Hannah) for her name, she tells him. Unfortunately, she's a mermaid, and her name consists of several syllables at a pitch that breaks glass. And they're in a television store. She suggests he call her "Madison" (after seeing a Madison Avenue street sign) and he agrees ("Good thing we weren't on 132nd Street").
  • Star Wars:
    • A New Hope plays with this trope when Luke discovers a message for Obi-Wan Kenobi and correctly deduces that the name refers to a local hermit who currently goes by Ben Kenobi.
    • Jabba's full name is Jabba Desilijic Tiure, which goes a long way toward explaining why most of the characters just refer to him as "Jabba the Hutt."
    • The Force Awakens: Resistance pilot Poe Dameron meets a defecting First Order Stormtrooper who helps him escape capture. When Poe asks him his name, the Stormtrooper tells him his designation is FN-2187. Poe decides to call him "Finn" instead. Finn likes it and keeps the name for the rest of the trilogy.

  • In Alien in a Small Town, the Jan are tentacled Starfish Aliens whose language is completely unpronounceable to humans. When dealing with humans, they adopt Earth-style names — sometimes names from mythology like Ishtar or Heimdal, other times simple names like Dwight or Tommy. The main character goes by "Paul." It turns out that there's a reason he chose that name, but it isn't revealed till halfway through the story.
  • Aximili-Esgarrouth-Isthill in Animorphs. They call him Ax or Ax-man. And the governor called him Aximili.
    • Andalite names aren't entirely analogous to Western humans' first, middle, and last names: Ax's brother is Prince Elfangor-Sirinial-Shamtul, and when Ax mentions his parents' names, it's the middle sections that are the same - one parent has "-Sirinial-" and the other "-Esgarrouth-".
    • The original full name of the godlike ascended being called the Ellimist was Azure Level, Seven Spar, Extension Two, Down-Messenger, Forty-One. He went by "Toomin" in casual conversation - "Ellimist" was originally his online gaming screenname. His given name is, in fact, a job designation and an address.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia: In The Horse and His Boy, the talking horse Breehy-hinny-brinny-hoohy-hah is more commonly referred to as Bree, though he himself finds his companion's name, Shasta, quite a mouthful.
  • In The Cobra Trilogy, the alien Trofts have complex names relying heavily on Punctuation Shaker; recognising that humans find them hard to pronounce, they usually go by a descriptive alias such as "Speaker One" or "Warrior". They are particularly impressed when some humans do manage to pronounce their proper names.
  • Naming conventions in The Culture range from the rather eccentric names the Minds (particularly ship Minds) give themselves (generally, they are referred to by their passengers as Ship, and by others when being spoken of by a diminutive or initialism after first being introduced, although there are some which have more conventionally named avatars) to the more structured system(s) used by the drone and pan-human population ("planetary system of origin"-"object or planet within the system" "Given name" "chosen name" "surname" dam "childhood home". The author's name under this system would be Sol-Terrasa Iain El-Bonko Banks dam South Queensferry), which is usually shortened to one or two elements in conversation.
  • In the Discworld book Thud!, Constable Salacia von Humpeding, like most vampires, has several pages of names... but she prefers to go by "Sally".
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • In the Past Doctor Adventures novel World Game, Lady Serena's full name is Lady Serenadellatrovella.
    • Lungbarrow had Quencessetianobayolocaturgrathadeyyilungbarrowmas, the 422nd Kithriarch of the House of Lungbarrow. The other Time Lords call him Quences. Also, Leela's given Time Lord name is Lady Leelandredloomsagwinaechegesmia.
  • The tinker gnomes of Dragonlance have names that fill several volumes in the great library of Mount Nevermind, which include their full family tree and any notable accomplishments from their lives. When talking amongst each other, they use a shortened version which "only" takes about a minute to say. The other races have a tendency to only use the first 2-3 syllables of a gnome's name, a practice they find demeaning.
    • Even the name of the Tinker Gnomes' mountain falls under this trope — it's only called Mount Nevermind because the first human explorers made the serious mistake of asking their gnome guide where he was from. After the first six or seven seconds of rapid pronunciation, they interrupted with 'Nevermind', which the gnomes then adopted as the official name of the mountain for reasons of aesthetics.
    • Not to mention the names of some of the elves - although those are easier on the tongue...
  • Earth's Children: In Clan of the Cave Bear, the name a five-year-old foundling gives to her adopted people is impossible for them to pronounce, so she lets them call her Ayla (which some still have trouble pronouncing, with variations like Aargha.)
    • "Ayla" is actually her name, but instead of pronouncing it with the emphasis on the first syllable like we would, the closest any of the Clan can come is "AyLA", with emphasis on the last syllable. It's explained that the Clan have very limited vocal range, so even Ayla's simple name is too hard for most of them to pronounce. It's possible she introduced herself the same way Jondolar does in later novels - with her mother's name and cave number after her name, then decided her first name would be enough.
  • One of the main characters in Empire of the Ants trilogy by Bernard Werber is an ant called 103 683. In the third book, the other ants decide to just refer to her as 103 since they find it is a bit too long.
  • Two centaurs from the Fablehaven series go by the names Cloudwing and Broadhoof instead of their hard-to-pronounce real names.
  • Juliet (Ajulutsikael) in the Felix Castor books by Mike Carey.
  • Isaac Asimov's Foundation's Edge: The inhabitants of Gaia have long names (due to adding a new syllable for each major achievement), but are usually referred to by a single syllable from that name. For example, Blissenobiarella is called "Bliss", and this is not even a very long name by Gaian standards (nor would a "Bliss Nobiarella" be long by Western standards). Since the use of a single syllable is a cultural thing, she feels uncomfortable using the full names of other people even if they have short names, so she often calls Trevize "Trev" and Pelorat "Pel".
  • Forgotten Realms: In Azure Bonds, the evil red dragon Mistinarperadnacles Hai Draco harasses our heroes. She goes by Mist.
  • Averted in The Griffin Mage Trilogy by Rachel Neumeier. Each Griffon has three names, each being at least three syllables long, and is addressed using all of them as often as possible. When only one name is used it is used in full, Griffons do not have nicknames and feel that short names are unsuitable. For instance, female protagonist Kes is dubbed Kereskiita by them.
  • Lynn Reid Banks' book Harry the Poisonous Centipede first introduces the main characters by their centipede names, which are both unintelligible strings of consonants. The narrator goes on to say that they will just call the two "Harry" and "George".
  • In John C. Wright's The Hermetic Millennia, Mickey's full name (Melechemoshemyazanagual) is much longer. Soon after he gives Menelaus permission to use it, he tries to tell something is as sure as that his name is Mickey, and Menelaus points out that it's not.
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
    • Slartibartfast, but his name isn't important.
    • Ford Prefect's birth name was apparently so complicated that Ford himself never learned to pronounce it - his father was the Last of His Kind and Ford never picked up the language (Dad died of shame). His childhood friends nicknamed him Ix, which in the language of Betelgeuse Five translates into English as "boy who is not able satisfactorily to explain what a Hrung is, nor why it should choose to collapse on Betelgeuse Seven".
  • In Inheritance Cycle, the true names of werecats are strange spitting, hissing, growling noises, though humans know them by names such as Solembum and Shadowhunter.
  • Land of Oz: Zeb in Dorothy and the Wizard in Oz, the fourth book. He's a normal human child, mind you. The Wizard himself is an example, being called "the Wizard" because his full name is nine words long and calling him "Oz" (the first two initials) would just be confusing.
    • And be rather rude... Oscar Zoroaster Phadrig Isaac Norman Henkel Emmannuel Ambroise Diggs. (O.Z.P.I.N.H.E.A.D.) But one wonders why he didn't just suggest "Oscar Diggs" or "Oz Diggs".
  • The Liaden Universe series features the Clutch Turtles, a very long-lived race whose names double as lists of their accomplishments. A newly-hatched turtle will have a name only a few words long, but a mature turtle's name might take several hours to say. One of the main characters in the series is... (deep breath), "Eleventh Shell Fifth Hatched Knife Clan of Middle River's Spring Spawn of Farmer Greentrees of the Spearmakers Den: The Edger". And that's the short form of his name, "used by the Clans of Men on those things called visas." His human and Liaden friends just call him "Edger".
  • The Ents in The Lord of the Rings. Treebeard's full name might take days or weeks to tell - even if he were willing to share something so personal. Of course, this is also because they talk really slowly. Entish is an untranslatably slow language, and Ent names are very descriptive.
  • At the beginning of The Marvelous Land of Oz, Tip's full name is revealed to be Tippetarius, but it is such a long name that "Tip" will do just as well.
  • My Teacher Is an Alien (by Bruce Coville): In book 4 (My Teacher Flunked the Planet), the main characters meet a giant weird alien whose name is unpronounceable by a human and is something like "Uhuurbeegdjyuli". They hear this as "You're Big Julie" and henceforth decide to refer to it as "Big Julie" (which is also the name of a character in the musical Guys and Dolls).
  • In M. M. Kaye's The Ordinary Princess, Princess Amethyst Alexandra Augusta Araminta Adelaide Aurelia Anne of Phantasmorania is generally known as Amy. It suits her better.
  • Karl May's Orient Cycle: Hadschi Halef Omar Ben Hadschi Abul Abbas Ibn Hadschi Dawuhd al Gossarah, aka Halef.
  • Pippi Longstocking a.k.a. Pippilotta Viktualia Rullgardina Krusmynta Efraimsdotter Långstrump.
    • Or, for Americans, Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim's Daughter Longstocking, or some variation thereof depending on the adaptation.
  • The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel: Tsagaglalal (also known as "Aunt Agnes") and Ma-ka-tai-me-she-kia-kiak (also known as "Black Hawk").
  • The Kurshken in The Seventh Tower all have names like this, and offer shorter names when they introduce themselves to be polite. This also applies to some of their words ("roro" = "roroqquolleckechahen").
  • This also occurs in Diane Duane's Star Trek Expanded Universe novels.
    • Rihannsu: The central character, the Romulan Commander Ael i-Mhiessan t'Rllaillieu. "Call me Ael."
    • Dark Mirror: The Delphine scientist Hwiii ie'ee u-Ulak! ha'. It's pronounced "Wheee!"
  • Star Wars Legends: The Chiss have long names, but may allow others to address them by their "core names". The most famous one is Grand Admiral Mitth'raw'nuruodo, otherwise known as Thrawn. Chiss who haven't given permission are irritated when non-Chiss use them. It's more or less stated in Outbound Flight that sharing the core name is a little personal, but Thrawn disregarded this to the point that as of the Hand of Thrawn duology, not a lot of people knew he had more name.
    "Perhaps my core name would be easier for the average fleet officer. Call me Thrawn."
  • In The Stormlight Archive, "Rock" goes by his nickname rather than weather the constant mispronunciations of his proper name, Numuhukumakiaki'aialunamor. Non-Unkalaki speakers fail to appreciate that it's actually a poetic Name That Unfolds Like Lotus Blossom... about a rock.
  • In another of Pratchett's works, Strata, an alien character says "My name is sixty-three syllables long, but you may call me Silver".
  • From Tales of MU: "I am Delia Daella d'Wyr, daughter of Daella Degra d'Wyr, daughter of Degra Daura d'Wyr..." and on, through a whole score of generations of matriarchs. She concluded with, "Those who style themselves as my friends call me Dee."
  • Tikki Tikki Tembo-no Sa Rembo-chari Bari Ruchi-pip Peri Pembo in Tikki Tikki Tembo changed how an entire society named children because of his long name.
  • In Wild Cards, Doctor Tachyon's actual name is Prince Tisianne brant Ts'ara sek Halima sek Ragnar sek Omian of House Ilkazam (and that's just his first name; his full name would list his genealogy for the last thousand generations). The American scientists and military men he makes first contact with are endlessly corrected on how it's said, and mispronouncing it is quite the insult. So he is given the much-simpler nickname Dr. Tachyon.
  • Diane Duane's Young Wizards series has a lot of this.
    • Fred the sentient white hole from So You Want to Be a Wizard. His name starts with "Khairelikoblepharehglukumeilichephreidosd'enagouni", and his full name is probably a lot longer than that. This is justified because the name is probably in the speech, so it fully describes it. Given how large he is, there are so many features that lead to a long name.
    • Ed the shark (full name Ed'Rastekeresket t'k Gh'shestaesteh) in Deep Wizardry.
    • Filif (Filifermanhathrhumneits'elhhessaifnth) the tree-like alien.
    • S'reee (S'reee a!hruuniAoul-mmeiihnhwiii!r) the humpback whale, again in Deep Wizardry.
    • Roshaun almost completely inverts this trope; his full name consists of a laundry list of fancy alien titles and honorifics (The longest we see is Roshaun ke Nelaid am Seriv am Teliuyve am Meseph am Veliz am Teriaunst am det Wellakhit). He insists on reciting the full version whenever introduced and attempts to get everyone else to call him by this too, mostly because of his royalty complex, rather than offering a shortened name. Naturally, Dairine ignores this.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Alien Nation:
    • When the Tenctonese were let out of quarantine into the Los Angeles area, they were all given thoroughly mundane names to assimilate better into society.
    • Though someone in the naming department had a dry sense of humor, considering that George was originally named Sam Francisco, and the mentally addled janitor was dubbed Albert Einstein.
    • In one of the TV movies, a recently-arrived Newcomer was named Norman Conquest. Cathy comments that the immigration people must be scraping the bottom of the barrel.
  • Angel:
    • The Host has a name – Krevlornswath of the Deathwok Clan. But you can call him Lorne.
    • An ancient goddess manipulated events to bring about a body for her to use in the world. When she was asked by her followers (basically everyone who saw her due to her Glamour charm), she declined to use her actual name, since that would render her powerless. When they insisted on something to call her, she had smelled a flower she liked and asked what it was called. Thereafter, she was referred to as "Jasmine".
  • Babylon 5: The true name of the Shadow species was 10000 sounds long and completely unpronounceable.
  • In Le cœur a ses raisons, Brett and Criquette's son full name is Doug Doug Skippy Bob Dracula Perceval Trevor Ricky Jack Lancelot Baby Bat Benny Benny Bo Benny Bananana Bo Benny Benny Bo Benny Montgomery-Rockwell. They usually go with Doug Doug Skippy Bob Dracula Perceval. Hopefully, one can call him simply Doug Doug.
  • Dr. Mahesh Vijayaraghavensatanaryanamurthy from Crossing Jordan. "Bug" for short.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The Doctor's true name has been described as only being audible to children, if their hearts are in the right place, and the stars are too. They had other reasons for changing it, but at least "the Doctor" is something we can all pronounce.
    • One of the Doctor's companions was named "Romanadvoratrelundar". The Doctor told her she could either shorten it to "Romana" or else he would just call her "Fred". He then went on to call her "Romana", even though she said she would prefer "Fred". At an earlier stage in the script's development, he was going to shorten it even further to "Romy".
    • The Raxacoricofallapatorians, commonly referred to as the "Slitheen" (the name of one specific Raxacoricofallapatorian clan) by characters and fans alike.
    • In "The Long Game", the Editor introduces "Mighty Jagrafess of the Holy Hadrojassic Maxarodenfoe. I call him Max." Although he's referred to as the Jagrafess afterwards. There was only one successful take of that line: Simon Pegg simply could not get it right.
    • Subverted in "Voyage of the Damned", where we have Bannakaffalatta, whom the Doctor asks if he can call Banna. Bannakaffalatta refuses.
  • In Farscape, when John Crichton meets Joolushko Tunay Fento Hovalis, she asks her "what her friends call her". Her answer is: "My whole name". John, however, starts calling her Jool, and he's promptly imitated by the rest of the Moya crew.
    • However, when Crichton meets the soon-to-be Suspiciously Similar Substitute for Jool, Sikozu Svala Shanti Sugaysi Shanu, she doesn't object to being called only Sikozu.
      • Or "Sputnik".
  • Game of Thrones: giants. Their leader's name is Mag Mar Tun Doh Weg, but Mance Rayder refers to him as "Mag the Mighty" (in the Old Tongue, "mag" means "great"). The first giant Jon encounters in season 3 is called "Dongo", but we can assume it's a shortened nickname and his full name is hard to remember. In season 5 we meet another giant, Wun Weg Wun Dar Wun - human wildlings call him "Wun-Wun".
  • Inverted in Goodness Gracious Me (itself inverting the real-life experiences of Indians in the West): An Englishman working in an Indian business finds the Indians are incapable of pronouncing his monosyllabic name. The Indians honestly try at first, then become testy at his inability to fit it, whereupon the Englishman gives in and adopts a complex Indian name that most Englishmen would have difficulty pronouncing.
  • Parodied and exaggerated on The Mighty Boosh, when Vince meets a mysterious man in the forest with a door in his gigantic afro hair. The man starts listing off various pseudonyms that he has gone by. After the show cuts to another scene and back again, he's still going. (He gets his own episode in Series 2, incidentally, and his face adorns that DVD...)
    "Some call me... Cillit Bang."
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: Why does nobody remember the name Johann Gambolputty… of Ulm?
  • A Swedish Chef sketch on The Muppet Show has the Chef's uncle (played by Danny Kaye) reveal the Chef's actual name, which is a long string of gibberish. The uncle then adds, "We call him Tom."
  • Stargate-verse:
    • Stargate SG-1 had the Goa'uld System Lord Yu-huang Shang Ti. Most people shortened it to "Yu", with predictable results.
    • A variation occurs in Stargate Atlantis. The Wraiths are all No Name Given to humans, so Sheppard has taken to naming individual wraiths with common mortal names. So far we've had Bob, Steve, Michael, Todd, and Kenny. McKay wants to pick the name of the next Wraith.
  • Star Trek:
    • In "This Side of Paradise", Spock tells Leila that he indeed has another name, but that "You couldn't pronounce it."
    • When Spock's parents arrive on the Enterprise in the original Star Trek, Dr. McCoy is at a loss as to what to call his mother. He asks if she can pronounce her husband's family name, and she replies, "After a fashion, and with much practice." McCoy is relieved when she says to just call her Amanda. From then on, she is referred to as "the Lady Amanda", or "Amanda Grayson" (her maiden name).
    • In Star Trek: Voyager, Seven of Nine, Tertiary Adjunct of Unimatrix Zero One tends to go by the name "Seven of Nine" or just "Seven". When Janeway suggested the shortened form, she found it 'imprecise, but acceptable'.
  • In That '70s Show, we have Fez, whose entire name took the entirety of a school bell to pronounce, and of which we only know the group said they would never remember. This leads to Foreign Exchange Student being his name as an acronym, changed to a z for sound. Fun fact, when he was stating his name that we never hear during the bell, and you only see his mouth moving, he was reciting the cast's names.
  • The Vicar of Dibley gives us (Boudicea) Geraldine Julie Andrews Dick Van Dyke Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious Chim Chiminey Chim Chiminey Chim Chim Cher-ee Granger. Mostly just known as 'Vicar'.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Played with in a The Far Side strip, where the owners of dogs gave them the typical names (Muffy, Rex, etc.), but "The names dogs give themselves" are quite elaborate, including "Princess Sheewana, barker of great annoyance, and daughter of Queen La, Stainer of Persian rugs"
  • In PreTeena, it is revealed that the sisters Jeri and Teena Keene were actually christened Geraldine and Christina. Jeri, having just heard the names of her four great-grandmothers note  and learning she and her sister were named after two of them, asks "Oh. So which ones were we named for?"

  • Averted then comically upheld in Bleak Expectations by Mr. Wickham Post Forberton Fenugreek Chasby Twistleton Montmorency Aurelius Pargordon Jezthisby Cumquatly Pobbleton Tendling... [text omitted] ... Beasty Fenelham Jones, the family's lawyer, a man so distinguished that his name took fully twenty minutes to say. Being a lawyer the length of his name is his greatest asset as he charges his clients for the full 20 minutes to say it, sometimes 40 if he must repeat it. Once he interrupts the protagonist Pip Bin informing him they do not have time to say his full name, but he will charge him for the full time.


    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has several dragons in the officially-released modules with in-universe nicknames. This is due to the locals either not knowing the dragons' names, or finding them too long to remember.
    • The "Storm Lord's Wrath" campaign has Lawful Good Lhammaruntosz known as "the Claws of the Coast", Lawful Evil Claugiyliamatar known as "Old Gnawbone", and Chaotic Evil Chardansearavitriol known as "Ebondeath".
    • The Tyranny of Dragons module has Chaotic Evil Arauthator live in the Sea of Moving Ice, and he's known "Old White Death". On the other end of the spectrum, the Lawful Good ancient gold dragon Protanther is known as "The King of Justice".
  • Gnomes in Eberron are said to collect names like friends, and usually choose the kookiest or coolest-sounding ones to be addressed by (sometimes both).
    • This tendency to collect names is from the Tinker gnomes of Dragonlance. It's usually a hodgepodge of their deeds, nicknames and family history.
  • Forgotten Realms has some dark elven Houses with official and shorter common names. Try to say three times, for example, "Drizzt Daermon N'a'shezbaernon", and you'll see why "Do'Urden" was used more often. For that matter, archaic High Drow as a whole is reserved mainly for ritual or official use and so different from the everyday dialect that few drow but priestesses can understand it.
  • Habitual among Tau in Warhammer 40,000, whose names tend to grow longer with age and achievements, but usually go by their abbreviated rank and one of their name parts. Shas'O Vior'la Shovah Kais Mont'yr, for example, is better known as simply Commander Farsight.
    • This is, however, nothing in comparison to the accumulated names of senior Adeptus Custodes (the Emperor's personal guard), whose names are inscribed onto the insides of their armour starting at the collar and wind around the inside. Some are so long that they fill all the available space on the inside of the armour and wind round onto the outside - Constantin Valdor, Captain of the Custodes and personal acquaintance of the Emperor and several Primarchs, had a name over 1900 elements long.

    Video Games 
  • In Assassin's Creed III, Achilles isn't even going to try and pronounce "Ratohnhaké;ton", so he just calls him "Connor".
  • The Druidic Knight of Castle Crashers has a lot of confusion regarding his name. According to the leaderboard, his name is Snakey.
  • In Darkened Skye, the female Tikniki befriended by Skye and Draak has a overly long and nigh-unpronounceable name (at least Draak didn't have trouble pronouncing it) ending with the syllables "nee-noo", such that Draak remarks: "What's say we call her 'Neenu.'"
  • The Invoker in Dota 2 is arguably the most powerful wizard to ever exist, being immortal, he has many names, but his true name of power... Is Carl.
  • Everquest features an efreeti lord by the name of Lord Doljonijiarnimorinar, who is usually just called "Lord Bob." Or, on at least one server, "Lord Poofy-Pants."
  • Tka-Rik in Evil Islands.
    Tka Rik (Tka-Lithan Richti-Nik): My name would sound to you like Tka-a-Litan Rich-ty-a-Nik. An impatient person like you would probably find it somewhat long, so you may call me simply Tka-Rik.
  • Used twice in Mass Effect, by the hanar Delan (Full name: Delanynder) and the turian Lilihierax, who prefers to be called Li since nobody bothers to get his name right.
    • In the case of Delanynder, that isn't even his true name; hanar only use their "soul name" with people they are close to, adopting a "face name" for regular interaction. That is, EVERY hanar uses this trope.
    • Salarians seem like this at first, with each one's full name including their home city, planet, cluster, etc. But they are actually a subversion since the last two names on that list are their family name and personal name. Think of it as an extended introduction, telling someone what province/state and city you live in.
  • Mega Man Star Force does this with the alien Omega-Xis, who tells Geo to just call him "Mega" since humans never get his name right.
  • Nolaloth (short for Nolalothcaragasint) in Neverwinter Nights 2.
  • Andre Laurent Jean Geraux, the foreign exchange student in Persona 3, adds immediately after his introduction, "Zey call me Bebe!" The game uses this exclusively afterwards (though in the epilogue, a teacher notes his confusion when giving you Bebe's letter, since his real name was on it).
  • In Puzzle Quest: Challenge of the Warlords, the protagonist encounters a wolf who introduces himself as "Winter" after telling the player that his wolf name is impossible for a human mouth to pronounce.
  • In Star Control 3, the Daktaklakpak are very proud of their racial name, claiming that it is actually a complex mathematical equation completely descriptive of their race. If the player asks for a "short form", they reply that Daktaklakpak is the short form. Just don't call them Daks.
  • The Star Warrior ♡♪!? in Super Mario RPG went by Geno, the name of the doll he's possessing. His name wasn't long but consisted of unpronounceable symbols.
  • Them's Fightin' Herds has FHTNG TH§ ¿NSP§KBL?. Since his name is practically impossible to pronounce, Oleander just calls her demon sidekick "Fred".

    Visual Novels 
  • Nrvnqsr Chaos in Tsukihime. That bundle of consonants is supposed to be read as "Neron Kaisar" (aka "Emperor Nero"). It's the Greek spelling of Nero's title, transliterated into Hebrew (ancient Hebrew did not include vowels when written), then transliterated again into English letters.
    • Played with in Carnival Phantasm EX Season where Nero is asked by a shop assistant what his name is for a receipt and then asked how to spell it. After thinking about it for a while he gives up and writes Nero, saying "This will do."

  • 8-Bit Theater, as quoted above.
  • El Goonish Shive has an Immortal who chose as the "full name" for herself Pandora Chaos Raven. The "Chaos" part was given by her last minion when she didn't give him any other and her appearance to him fit the name accordingly. According to one of the other Immortals (who goes by Jerry), they usually take random mythological names anyway (Hilarity Ensues when two "Zeus"es meet).
  • One of the villains from T. Campbell's Fans! was a succubus-like creature named Casseopia, a being who fed off of music. When interrogated by two members of Rikk's team, one of whom calls her Cassie, she answers, "My name is not yours to shorten!"
    Meighen: God, did we sound this bad when we were into new age?
    Kath: All two weeks? Probably.
  • Girl Genius:
    • Gilgamesh Wulfenbach has a rather unusual first name, but he mostly goes by "Gil".
    • Zola, known as Zola La Sirène Dorée, whose full name is Zola Anya Talinka Venia Zeblinkya Malfeazium.
  • In the webcomic Good Ship Chronicles, alien crewmember Mike's real name supposedly requires two tongues to pronounce. Then again, he's from Glidden, Wisconsin, so maybe not.
    • Word of God (via author commentary) is that he was purely pulling the interviewer's (the comic is presented as a documentary) leg. He does that kind of thing all the time. Also, Mike's species possesses only one tongue.
  • The Heroes Of Middlecenter:
    Old crone: Some call him a demon. Others call him a monster. I? I call him... Steve.
  • In Life and Death Sally's full name is Salyana Elathna'fury.
  • In Nicky 510, Nicky calls his alien friend ELF. His real name is Zeelistarpquietzlystermugonnealtröphyremenlelltrepidoorzynqilbroomnelpéleôzmeñofopadotacrañiolysanodriameliaströphelglûterongsaurosynemerclingtipkliölf. After he heard that, he called him Ölf.
  • In The Order of the Stick, Vaarsuvius is addressed by his/her full name roughly as often as simply "V".
    • In the prequel book Start of Darkness, Redcloak and his brother tell Xykon their names are Redcloak and Right-Eye after seeing him kill a potential ally for having too long of a name.
  • Parallel Dementia has a fire demon...called Tim (although he used to be called Marchosias).
  • The Metroid sprite webcomic Planet Zebeth has the hilarious Trabnagian tribe, the members of which all have ridiculously long names. The first one to appear introduces himself shortly as Syracuse, and his real name is Syracuse von Alfredo Jacobson Smith de Sanguine the Eighth of the Trabnagian tribe. And that's shorter than average.
  • Rusty and Co.: The hipster vampire siblings have names so old and complicated, you'd never be able to pronounce them using mainstream phonetics. Mimic elects to call them Ezra and Koenig instead.
  • In Schlock Mercenary, Leelagaleenileeleenoleela goes by "Legs", primarily for the convenience of her fellow Toughs. It's not because she's female.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • In "That Which Redeems", Torg's talking sword finds the idea of being given a name rather stupid, but of the possible names it lists, Torg later uses "Chaz" instead of "Weeping God" or "Unholy Evil Death Bringer."
    • In "Oceans Unmoving", The Grays stranded in Timeless Space go by human-sounding names like "Face" and "Murdock". It's later revealed Face's unpronounceable real name is "Steeeeeeve". In contrast, when Murdock pronounces his actual name, it's so alien as to cause the record being made of him to break down for a moment.
  • In Starslip, Mr. Jinx's name is unpronounceable in our language. As well as in his language.

    Web Video 

    Western Animation 
  • Animaniacs: Dot's full name is "Princess Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Banana Fanna Bo Besca the Third". But call her Dotty and you die.
  • Danger Mouse and Penfold come across a figure in "The Clock Strikes Back" (the follow-up episode to "The Hickory Dickory Dock Dilemma") who claims to be King Arthur's original wizard. He is formally Hooter LaBec Longsnout, but he goes by Nozzle.
  • Futurama: "In the time it would take to pronounce one letter of my true name, a trillion cosmoses would burst into existence, and wane into eternal night." ...and that's why they call him Nibbler.
  • In the old MTV cartoon The Head, a young man wakes up one day to find that his head is grossly enlarged. Turns out a mostly-benevolent alien purple goblin is hiding inside and can pop out at will. The goblin introduces himself like this: "My name is [string of odd noises], but you can call me Roy.".
  • Ivor the Engine: Ivor's official title is The locomotive of The Merioneth and Llantisilly Rail Traction Company Limited.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron, Boy Genius, where an alien girl tells Jimmy her comically convoluted real name (including a high-pitched wail in the middle), then offers to let him call her "April." He goes through her real name himself to make sure he has it right, at which point she insists on the nickname.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: Princess Celestia's niece has the full name of Princess Mi Amore Cadenza. This rather fancy name is adapted as Cadance for the general public. She also seems to personally prefer Cadence over her full name, and "cadenza" is simply the Italian root word for "cadence" anyway.
  • In "Come Back, Little Monster" on PB&J Otter, when Jelly finally meets the manatee properly, he tells her that his name is (makes screechy manatee noises) but says she can call him "Kevin."
  • Teen Titans has Larry from "Fractured." His real name is nosyarG kciD. But Beast Boy had trouble pronouncing it, so he suggested the alternate name, which Larry liked.
  • In Young Justice, like her uncle the Martian Manhunter, M'gann M'orze takes on the human name Megan Morse. "Megan" also just happens to be her favourite TV character.

    Real Life 


Video Example(s):


Heffridge Trumpler... (Lumpy)

In "Pooh's Heffalump Movie," Lumpy's full name is Heffridge Trumpler Brompet Heffalump IV. However, he can't remember it (usually), so he has folks call him "Lumpy" instead.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / SomeCallMeTim

Media sources: