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Tomboyish Name

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Mama Jacobs: What did you say your name was? Brandon? Butch?
Charlotte "Chuck" Charles: Chuck?
Mama Jacobs: Chuck! I knew it was something unladylike.
Pushing Daisies, "Girth"

Basically, a girl or woman has a boy's name (or nickname). Frequently used to indicate some form of masculinity, boyishness or spunk in the character. If the name is a nickname, she may insist only on being called this name and resent being addressed by her "real" name. If not, expect the character to be very feminine and lament her name.

One commonly offered explanation for a girl having one is that her parents Wanted a Son Instead.

Many Japanese names are equally appropriate for men and women; tomboyish characters will frequently have one of these. At least two characters named "Megumi" were once boys, for example.

If the character is appearing for the first time, the others may have Pronoun Trouble, where everyone expects this Charlie Somebody person to be a guy, and are surprised when she isn't.

This can become An Aesop if said Charlie Somebody is in a traditionally male-oriented profession; for instance, the Step by Step episode where J.T. immediately dismisses female mechanics, before handing his car over to "Sam", who is apparently the best mechanic in town. The message can quickly get Anvilicious if done more than once in a series.

Sometimes a variation of the Embarrassing First Name. It can potentially lead to Actually, I Am Him, and a good way to help disguise the fact that Samus Is a Girl until the right moment. The Super-Trope is Gender-Blender Name. Related to Moustache de Plume, when a woman writer adopts a masculine Pen Name.

This is a language-dependent trope: it's rather common in languages like English, but in others, it is impossible to do. For example, in Spanish most names have explicit masculine and feminine forms (and those that don't are either exclusively male or exclusively female), so this trope can't be used without it becoming extremely strained, to say the least.

In Real Life, it's possible for this trope to happen because of changing times, with names that had once been reserved for one gender becoming unisex (names like Taylor, Alex, Charlie, Avery, etc) or becoming associated with another gender entirely.note 

One genre that is RIPE with this trope involves shows where a female is in an occupation that is typically considered a man's job (female cops, firefighters, soldiers, etc.). One of the most common is contrasting the incredibly girly Mackenzie with the very masculine nickname Mack.


    open/close all folders 

  • Sam
    • There are girls named Sam on Who's the Boss?, Bewitched, Danny Phantom, Without a Trace, Stargate SG-1, Doonesbury, Totally Spies!, My Sister Sam, Dreamfall: The Longest Journey and Red Faction (yes, even in video games). Usually shortened from Samantha, in which case it can be taken as an indication that the character wants to have one of these.
    • The Loud House: The episode "'L' for Love" reveals that Luna has a crush on someone named "Sam". The very end of the episode reveals that Sam is a girl.
    • Sam Carter from Stargate SG-1 also got a Samus Is a Girl moment in her first appearance. When an alien asks what the name means, she jokingly replies that it means "My dad wanted a boy."
    • In Quantum Leap, Sam Beckett 'leaped' into a Samantha, who all the other characters addressed as 'Sam'.
    • Without a Trace's Samantha doesn't like being called "Sam" (or at least didn't at first), in no small part because her last name is Spade.
    • Fresh Sam(antha) sighting: Monster Buster Club. (And it's [partially, at least] from the same company as Totally Spies!, too.)
    • Metroid bounty hunter Samus Aran could fit the trope as well. Of course, the manual for the original game says she's male (the decision to make her female came about halfway through the game's development), but Samus Is a Girl.
    • Salome Fredericks in Tad Williams' Otherland gave herself the nickname "Sam" to fit in better with the boys online. This fact causes Orlando Gardiner to undergo some angst when he seeks his buddy "Sam" out in Real Life and accidentally uncovers the truth.
    • There's no reason to believe the dog in I Am Legend is a girl until it gets revealed that "Sam" is actually "Samantha."
    • There is a character named Sam (short for "Samantha" in Code Lyoko, as one of Odd's many love interests.
    • Sam of iCarly is very rarely referred to as her full name. She's the Tomboy and Girly Girl to her friend Carly and her identical twin sister Melanie.
    • One also shows up in American Gods. Shadow asks her if she's a boy Sam or a girl Sam, because they were in the dark when she introduced herself and her voice was deep enough that he thought she could have been a preadolescent boy.
    • The English dub of Medabots had Samantha as the tough-as-nails leader of the Screws Gang.
    • In The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Sam is Charlie's Love Interest/Odd Friendship.
    • An episode of Family Guy had Chris make friends with a Sam who dressed in overalls and a hat, making him extremely confused when Sam kissed him. Of course it turned out to be a Samantha, but Chris was still kind of uncomfortable until she told him to think of her as a boy.
    • Totally Spies! has a girl named Sam in addition to Alex below.
    • Downplayed in Cobra Kai: Sam LaRusso isn't shown to be particularly tomboyish, aside from being a karate expert. (Tory fits that role much better.)
  • Alex:
    • Totally Spies! also has a girl named Alex.
    • Alex Dunphy on Modern Family is female and has never been referred to by her full name (a fan site reveals her full name to be "Alexandria").
    • The Secret World of Alex Mack's Alex is a girl.
    • Law & Order: SVU had Alex Cabot and Law & Order: Criminal Intent had Alex Eames. Granted, though, they were named after series creator Dick Wolf's niece or grandchild or something who had the name Alex(andra).
    • Walker, Texas Ranger had Tarrant County Assistant District Attorney Alex Cahill.
    • Alexandra Margarita Russo in Wizards of Waverly Place.
    • Degrassi: The Next Generation had a lesbian character named Alex.
    • Alexandra Roivas. Likely chosen because Alexander means "I defend"+ "man".
    • Alex on Lost, whose gender was not given until the first season finale. When we first learned of her, Rousseau simply said, "Alex was my child." In season 5, we learned she'd have been Alexander if she'd been a boy.
    • Alex D from Deus Ex: Invisible War. The name is purposefully ambiguous so that the player can choose to play a male or female character without needing voice actors to re-record their lines with a different player name.
    • The player's girlfriend in the Neverwinter Nights module series The Bastard of Kosigan is Alexandra de Velan, who prefers Alex and serves as the brains behind an attempt to overthrow the leadership of the most important district of the duchy of Burgundy and have it defect to the French.
    • Alyx from Half-Life 2.
    • When Alex Meade on Ugly Betty had a sex change, she changed her name to Alexis, which makes no sense at all since both names are androgynous. Then again, "Alexandra" wouldn't have the same classic soap connotations.
    • In the Swedish 1950 film Girl With Hyacinths, the protagonist is trying to find out why a young girl killed herself. The only clue is the name of a lover, Alex. At the end of the film, the protagonist is rather stunned to discover that Alex is a woman.
    • Semi-plot point in Building 12.
    • Alex Forrest from Fatal Attraction; feminist criticism points out that the film has her punished for infiltrating environments traditionally reserved for men, with her name itself being an example.
    • Ashes to Ashes (2008) has DI Alex Drake. Gene Hunt had been expecting a male DI when he first saw her paperwork.
    • Wen Spencer's fantasy novel Tinker centers around a girl named Alexander Graham Bell. She prefers to go by her (also tomboyish) nickname, Tinker. Tinker doesn't sound tomboyish when combined with her surname, though.
    • Star Trek: Voyager Elite Force names the player character Alex Munroe, allowing choice of either male or female models, then proceeds to only address them as "Munroe", rendering the first name a moot point.
    • The Brothers García has the family planning to adopt an Alex Fernandez as an exchange student. Thanks to a computer glitch, the family don't realise Alex is a girl until she arrives at the house.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Jo on Burst Angel may count as such, especially because she's a Stoic Action Girl and also a mecha pilot.
  • Nagisa in Chou Kuse ni Narisou... which turns out to be a blessing, as she spends much of the series disguised as a boy.
  • There's a very boyish-looking girl named Edward on Cowboy Bebop, a very odd person who chose her own name (in full: Edward Wong Hau Pepelu Tivrusky IV). According to her father, her real name is Françoise, which is nearly an androgynous name—it's exclusively female, but easily confused with its male counterpart François unless you know how French pronunciation works. Then again, her father is a bit unhinged and thought she was a boy when he was re-introduced to her.
  • The Day of Revolution has a brother and sister named Makoto and Mikoto (Makoto is the girl.)...and a Gender Bender protagonist named Megumi as well, though in this case she actually pronounced her name "Kei" when she was a boy. (Isn't kanji fun?)
  • Mizuhara Makoto from El-Hazard: The Magnificent World. His problem is that he looks just like the rather tomboyish Fatora, who is missing and he has to pose as.
  • Free!: Inverted with the main cast. Makoto, Haruka, Rei, Nagisa, and Rin all have girly names, with it being mentioned as one of the odd quirks of their friendship circle. Rin even jokes about it whenever he introduces himself to a new school class. On the flipside, Rin's little sister Gou plays it straight, hating her boyish name and spending much of the first season insisting on being called "Kou" instead. Momo and Ai also invert this; their full names are Aiichiro and Momotarou, which are both masculine names, but their nicknames are decidedly more feminine.
  • In Fruits Basket, Tohru is our main character. In a flashback, her grandfather wonders about her masculine name, and Kyoko says that Katsuya, her father, picked it to 'bring out her hidden flavor', like adding salt to something sweet to enhance the flavor. Also Akito has a man's name, but there's another reason for this.
  • Possibly the case of Olivier Milla Armstrong from Fullmetal Alchemist. While it is somewhat possible the author was going for "Olivia", the katakana writing is indeed with a "e" sound, making her name a masculine one. Which is quite fitting.
  • Nagisa in Futari wa Pretty Cure, Itsuki in HeartCatch Pretty Cure! and Hibiki in Suite Pretty Cure ♪.
  • In Guardian Fairy Michel, the female fairy of the wind is named Baron.
  • In Gundam 0080, the female pilot for the Gundam is Christina Mackenzie, which commonly is shortened to Chris in-series. The Gundam itself has a tomboyish name, Alex, but given that it is a robot, it doesn't invoke the trope.
  • Claes (a common boys' name in Nordic countries) from Gunslinger Girl was so named because her Handler didn't want to make his relationship with her "personal" by giving her a girl's name. Petrushka and Rico are also boy's names, given to two other girls.
  • Gunsmith Cats has a female character named Riff. Not to mention "Larry" Vincent.
  • Last Exile has a girl named Al (short for Alvis), and another named Alistair.
  • Ayumu from Life (2002) has a male name, which she hates for that reason and thinks doesn't fit her. She has short hair for most of the manga and can easily pass as a boy a lot of the time, but she's actually very feminine.
  • Haman Karn from Mobile Suit Zeta Gundam and Mobile Suit Gundam ZZ is named for a male figure from the Book of Esther, the Persian king's Evil Chancellor. It's pretty appropriate since she's an iron-fisted dictator ruling on behalf of a child.
  • Nachi in Mugen Densetsu Takamagahara Dream Saga is a transgender girl, but in the parallel world, she was born female and still has her masculine name.
  • Elliot Chandler from My-Otome 0~S.ifr~.
  • Fujioka Haruhi of Ouran High School Host Club is mistaken by most people to be male, partially due to her tomboyish personality and speaking style (and short haircut) but also because "Haruhi" is a Gender-Blender Name.
  • In Pokémon Adventures, while "Yellow" (Japanese pronunciation, ierou) is by no means a real name in any language, it sounds very masculine to Japanese ears, as "ie" and "rou" are both common suffixes to male names. Fittingly, Yellow goes around masquerading as a boy for the first two arcs she appears in.
  • Ukyo, from Ranma ½, is often mistaken for a boy when people first meet her. Her name doesn't help since it's male (although very old, so people might not know)
  • Oscar François de Jarjayes from The Rose of Versailles — her father very much wanted a son and decided to name and raise her as a boy.
  • Makoto and Haruka in Sailor Moon, the latter of whom is actually mistaken for male by much of the cast. The '90s English dub of the first anime weirdly averted this by renaming Haruka "Amara," a very feminine name which still leads to her being mistaken for a guy. In some supplemental material that preceded the dub, Haruka was called Alex, which made more sense.
  • Seth of Trinity Blood. "Did your parents want a boy?" "I have two older brothers, you'd think they'd had enough."
  • One of the oldest examples is Ryuunosuke Fujinami from Urusei Yatsura. Also one of the original Bifauxnen and a Wholesome Crossdresser to boot. As a rule, -suke is masculine, it's almost like -son (Jacobson, etc.) in English, whilst Ryuu is written with the characters for "dragon", an exclusively male name in Japanese — her name literally translates as "Dragon's Son", one of the most macho boy's names in Japanese. This is due to the fact her father is one of the most extreme examples of Wanted a Son Instead in fiction — he forces her to act, talk, dress and pretend to be a boy, despite her violent protestations. Ryuunosuke's burning desire is to be recognized as a girl, but her name, masculine speech patterns and macho behavior means very few people do — the sarashi and the shirts emblazoned with macho symbols or kanji don't help.

    Comic Books 
  • Michael Tree in the Ms. Tree comics. It suits her, but her sister calls her Michelle. It's probably inspired by Mike Hammer; in a crossover with E-Man where she meets Michael Mauser and Mike Mist, Mist wonders if there's a convention for detectives named Michael he wandered into.
  • Archie Comics:
    • In Dilton's Strange Science, Teen Genius Dilton Doily invites a fellow prodigy named Danny to his house. True to the trope entry, he experiences Pronoun Trouble when he opens the door and discovers that his guest is a girl named Danni.
    • Come to think of it, Veronica's nickname also fits this trope, as "Ronnie" can be short for "Ronald" and she also gets called "Ron" sometimes. Subverted in that she is a huge Girly Girl. Veronic's best friend Elizabeth is better known by her equally feminine nickname, "Betty", but is a tomboyish Wrench Wench.
  • Future Foundation: Rikki is a tomboy whose full legal first name is Rebecca, but she prefers this.
  • Yukio in Marvel's X-Men books. That the ronin good friend of Storm uses a boy's name has led to speculation that it is not her real name. In the limited series Wolverine: Soultaker, her other good friend Logan wonders if her actual name might not be the similar-sounding, but unambiguously feminine "Yukiko".
    • After the death of Dark Phoenix, Cyclops left the X-Men for a time, and decided to apply for employment on a ship. The first person he sees aboard is a pretty young woman.
    Cyclops: Excuse me, I'm looking for Captain Lee Forrester. I heard he was hiring crew.
    Woman: My name is Lee Forrester — Aletys to my relatives — and you heard right.
  • In the 1980s Captain America fell in love with and for a time was engaged to Bernie (short for Bernadette) Rosenthal.
  • Parodied in Preacher with Tommi Ryder, a 'supermodel-turned-lawyer with a dangerous secret' protests that the 'i' makes her name feminine. Amusingly, her (male) love interest's name is Jody.
    • Said Jody also makes fun of said statement.
      "Like Butchi or Hanki or Gregori?"
  • Sensation Comics: Dr. Pat's full name is Patricia Windsor but she goes by Pat. Occasionally people are quite suprised when she shows up since they were expecting by the name that Dr. Pat would be a man.
  • Top 10 has Wrench Wench Robin Slinger and Jacqueline "Jack" Kowalski, who is a slightly butch lesbian.
  • Wilhelmina "Will" Vandom from W.I.T.C.H.
  • Barbara 'Bobbi' Morse-Barton, AKA Mockingbird, Former New Avenger, founding West Coast Avenger, and the exwife of Hawkeye.
  • In Welcome to the Jungle, Harry is thrown for a loop when the zookeeper named "Will" he's looking for turns out to be a woman. She says it's because she doesn't want to go by "Willamena".
  • One of the two buddy cop protagonists of The Fuse is the rather androgynous (though so far straight) Sergeant Klementina "Klem" Ristovych.
  • Hunter Wyman from C.O.V.E.N. is the fourteen year-old equivalent of The Lad-ette, and her Super-Strength makes her The Big Guy of the eponymous team. Major Wyman named her after his fallen comrade Hunter Barrett.
  • Deliberately invoked with the mercenary Charlemagne, or "Charlie," for short in the Spider-Man Vs. Wolverine one-shot. She plays this up, along with dressing ambiguously to hide her gender on assignment, to make it easier to hide in plain sight since most of the agencies on her tail assume they're looking for a man, with Wolverine being one of the few people to know the truth.
  • Wonder Woman:
  • The Witch Boy: Charlie is an athletic tomboy who's mostly addressed with this nickname, and her full name Charlotte is rarely used.

    Comic Strips 
  • In one Homer, the Reluctant Soul strip, Homer (who has been incarnated as the daughter of an Irish couple en route to Ellis Island) is about to be given a Tomboyish Name suggested by her Father... but her Mother, being more sensible, names her Honor (Homer's name during a female incarnation). Honor thinks to herself, "Drat. I kind of liked 'Fisk'".
  • FoxTrot: The mother of the Fox household is named Andy (short for Andrea).

    Fan Works 
  • In The Show That Never Ends, a Harry Potter fanfic, one of Harry's coworkers and Remus's eventual love interest is a woman who goes by Diz. It is later revealed that her full name is Disraeli Taylor; her mother was a historian. In fact, her sisters' names are Churchill and Dickens, and her brothers are Tennyson and Darwin.
  • Charlie Duncan of Sapphire Eleanor Rose Suzette De Mont Vs Canon. Her full name is Charlotte, but no one ever calls her that—very fitting of an Action Girl.
  • In "Elite Senshi" a fanfiction spin off of Naruto and Sailor Moon, Megumi is the token tomboy.
  • In the EarthBound (1994) romhack EquestriaBound, one of the default names you can give to the main character Dinky (a female unicorn) is the name of the character she replaces, Ness (a male teenaged human).
  • Hop to It has Jaclyn "Jack" Smith, who chooses to go by this after getting tired of people guessing (correctly) that she's named after the Charlie's Angels star Jaclyn Smith.
  • Pack Street has Charlie Foxtrot the barely-feminine vixen. Her real name is Charlotte.

    Films — Animation 
  • Downplayed in Sleeping Beauty, but the most tomboyish fairy is called Merriweather. That has historically been a boys' name, and in fact is usually what the nickname 'Merry' is short for.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The female flight attendant in Airplane! is named Randy.
  • Alto: Frankie is a female character (her full given name is Francesca).
  • The Assignment (2016): Johnnie, Frank's girlfriend. It's unclear if this is short for anything. Aside from this however she isn't a tomboy at all in her appearance or actions.
  • August In The City: August's daughter Ana says she's bringing home "Nic" after August assumes she'll be with a boy. It turns out that "Nic" is short for Nicole (though she's not actually a tomboy at all, in fact, while ironically Ana is fairly butch).
  • AWOL: Joey, a mildly butch lesbian, uses this. It's a nickname for Joanna, but she clearly prefers this, only using her full name once when asked. Her mom later uses it as well once.
  • Back in Circulation: The protagonist is an Intrepid Reporter named Timothea who is only ever called "Timmy". It's appropriate as she is a hard-charging career woman in a heavily male business, newspapers. Also, the film was made in 1937 and the notion of a woman with her own career was by definition unusual.
  • Bedtime Stories (2008): Bobbi, Skeeter's niece. This may be a nickname (for Roberta?) though it's never said. She isn't a tomboy otherwise.
  • Bit: Duke, the head lesbian vampire (almost certainly a nickname or self-chosen).
  • Hank Mahoney from The Broadway Melody. This weird name is apparently meant to contrast no-nonsense, take-charge Hank from her prettier, more feminine, more obedient sister Queenie.
  • Bumblebee: Charlie is a firm tomboy, always calling herself this (a predominantly male name) and only being called her full name Charlene a couple times.
  • In the comedy film But I'm a Cheerleader, one of the main characters is a girl named Graham. It fits the stereotype as she's a rather butch lesbian.
  • In Call Me Bwana, Matt is told that an agent named Fred Larson will meet him on the plane to Africa. He's surprised to learn that Fred is short for Frederica.
  • Inverted in Casino Royale (1967) with Peter Sellers' character Evelyn Tremble. Evelyn as a male name wasn't completely unknown in the mid-20th century (most obviously, Evelyn Waugh), but it was pretty uncommon.
  • Cassanova Was A Woman: Lola's ex-girlfriend Sam, full name Samantha. Because of this Cassanova at first didn't know Lola's bisexual, thinking Sam was an ex-boyfriend of hers.
  • Child's Play 2 has a Final Girl named Kyle.
  • In The Con is On, Harriet is universally referred to as 'Harry'.
  • In Crooklyn, the main girl's name is Troy, which isn't even a unisex name.
  • The Howard Hawks/Leigh Brackett Western El Dorado (1966) has the very tomboyish Joey MacDonald (full name: Josephine), played by Michele Carey.
  • A semi-tomboyish name starts all the trouble in Euro Trip: The protagonist Scotty freaks out when his German pen-pal Mika Mieke comes on to him. Scotty reacted poorly because he thought Mika Mieke was a male name (along the lines of Mike/Michael), but it's actually a female name, roughly equivalent to Michelle. Scotty's German is also bad enough that he can't tell between masculine and feminine tenses. His younger brother, who's taking Intro to German, is quickly able to set him straight.
  • The eponymous character in the movie and the series La Femme Nikita.
  • Forbidden Love: The Unashamed Stories of Lesbian Lives: Mitch is the name of Laura's lover in the pulp story. She's feminine like Laura, although more experienced and bold.
  • Girls Like Magic: Jamie, a tomboy lesbian, uses this nickname for her full name of Jamina.
  • Godzilla: King of the Monsters (2019): Madison Russell is overall quite a tomboy, and the name Madison, although mre widely recognized as a feminine name today, is actually a unisex name which originally means "son of Matthew".
  • In Go West, Young Lady, Bill's full name is Belinda Pendergast, but her father always called her 'Bill' as he wanted a son, and everyone else follows suit, including her boyfriend.
  • Regi from Hands Across the Table.
  • The Haunting (1999): Theo is a bold and open bisexual woman.
  • Hearts Beat Loud: Sam is a lesbian with a slight tomboy style who goes by this rather than Samantha.
  • H.M. Pulham, Esq.: Harry's girlfriend is named "Marvin". Possibly appropriate as Marvin is a go-getting career woman rather than a conventionally feminine wife-to-be, which is why they eventually break up.
  • The Hole's resident Alpha Bitch is a Frances who only goes by 'Frankie'.
  • How It Ends: Ricki, fitting with her overall tomboy looks and manner. It's never revealed whether this is a nickname.
  • In Hussar Ballad the main character's name, Shura, can be short for either Alexander (male) or Alexandra (female), and thus is itself gender-neutral. She is never addressed by her full first name.
  • In If You Could Say It in Words, Nelson's older sister Samantha goes by Sam. Her tomboyish traits vanished when she hit puberty, but the nickname stuck.
  • Randall "Randy" Dean, the butch teenage lesbian of The Incredibly True Adventures Of Two Girls In Love, probably named after Operation Rescue founder Randall Terry by her very pro-life/anti-abortion mother.
  • In In This Our Life, both Timberlake sisters have very masculine names: Roy and Stanley.
  • The Film of the Book Stephen King's IT has a girl named "Daniel Huxton" mentioned as having been killed off-screen by Pennywise the Dancing Clown.
  • Jack & Diane: Butch lesbian Jack has one. If it's a nickname, the film never says so.
  • Jagged Mind: P
    • Protagonist Billie has one. She's a lesbian with a mildly tomboyish style. It's not said if it's short for something else (e.g. Wilhelmina).
    • Alex also has a gender-neutral name. Although Alex has a more feminine style, she is also aggressive and violent.
  • Ma Vie En Rose: Christine, who's perhaps a tomboy girl, goes by Chris, dresses in boy's clothes and plays rough with boys. Possibly subverted if Chris is a trans boy however.
  • Mean Girls 2: Jo, the protagonist, is a firm tomboy at the start. It's never said if her name is short for anything more traditional like Joanne or Josephine.
  • The eponymous character in Michael O Hara The Fourth. Michael was the traditional first name of the eldest boy in each generation. When Michael O'Hara III's first child — a daughter — was born, he learned that his wife would not be able to bear any more children. Because "there has always been a Michael O'Hara", he named the girl Michael. In the movie, he says he thought people would would call her Michelle. Instead she is very tomboyish and everyone calls her 'Mike'.
  • My Animal: Jonny's name is really Jonine, she tells Heather (not Jeanine). It's a name her mom made up. Her grandma can't say it due to a stroke and so just calls her Jonny however. Jonny herself is pretty feminine.
  • The Novice: Dani, a Butch Lesbian, has this.
  • Ocean's 8 has butch Ambiguously Gay Lou, which has often been used as a diminutive for Louis/Lewis as well as Louise.
  • George from A Place in the Sun calls his girlfriend Alice "Al". This is probably to contrast frumpy Alice with her Betty and Veronica rival, the gorgeous Angela.
  • Riot Girls: Scratch, a butch lesbian punk girl. It's not said what name she had before.
  • The Rookies has a character named Bruce.... who is played by Milla Jovovich.
  • A Safe Place (1971) has Noah, originally named Susan.
  • Saving Face: Wilhelmina Pang goes by "Wil". She's a bit of a tomboy, and also gay.
  • Sidney of the Scream films. She's also nicknamed 'Sid' by her friends. The fourth film also has a Lad Ette called Kirby. Scream (2022) adds Samantha "Sam" Carpenter to this list, fitting since horror franchises love unisex names for their Final Girl.
  • Arguably, Saavik in the Star Trek movies: there was a definite pattern to Vulcan names in TOS (men are called Spock, Sarek, Surak etc.; women are called T'Pau, T'Pring, T'Lar etc.) and she had a name that fitted the male pattern (since then, we've seen Vulcans whose names don't fit either pattern, but at the time...). The character was originally conceived of as male, and wasn't switched to a woman until later drafts. They kept the name, though. The EU explained her name as being of Romulan origin (referring to a cat analogue) rather than Vulcan — the character was written to be half-Romulan in the script, but it wasn't stated on screen.
  • Star Wars: has Action Girl Jedi-in-training Rey Skywalker, who is also a Wrench Wench.
  • S.W.A.T. (2003)'s Officer Chris Sanchez is Only Known By Her Nickname in the film, leading to a Samus Is a Girl moment when the first thing we learn about her is that she beat the crap out of a Gang Banger. Hondo, recruiting for his SWAT Team, is very surprised to learn that Sanchez (played by Michelle Rodriguez) is a Spicy Latina a good foot-and-a-half shorter than him.
    Hondo: Sorry, wrong room.
    Sanchez: Who were you looking for?
    Hondo: Chris Sanchez.
    Sanchez: I'm Chris Sanchez?
    Hondo: You're Chris Sanchez?
  • Sudden Impact: Butch depraved bisexual Ray, a woman, has this.
  • In the 1966 film This Property Is Condemned, one of the characters is a young girl named Willie (her parents wanted a boy).
  • Trap For Cinderella: Micky is not a traditional female name (it turns out to be a nickname for Michelle, but that's rarely used). Though she does have a feminine style, Mickey's freespirited and bold. It's downplayed though.
  • Mickey Lobel in Trouble with the Curve.
    Johnny: So, what's "Mickey" short for? Michelle?
    Mickey: Mickey is short for Mickey. As in my father's favorite [baseball] player, Mickey Mantle.
    Johnny: Aha. [Beat] Lucky it wasn't Yogi Berra.

  • In The Alice Network, Charlie’s real name is Charlotte, but she goes by the more masculine name “Charlie.”
  • In the 87th Precinct books, Steve Carella's wife Theodora is known to all as "Teddy".
  • In the Airhead series by Meg Cabot, the main character is geeky high-schooler Emerson Watts. She goes by the name of Em, mostly anyway.
  • Jack Starbright, housekeeper to Alex Rider (and the closest thing he has to family after his uncle dies). The first book mentions that Alex wonders what it's short for, but he never asks.
  • Gabriel Landry in All That Glitters by V. C. Andrews. This appears to be a rather odd Retcon, since the other books in the series name her as "Gabrielle".
  • Aunt Dimity: The Pym sisters' great-grandniece is named Aubrey F Aroha Pym (she's descended from their older brother Aubrey Jeremiah Pym). She is commonly called "Bree".
  • It's never commented on, but Beldaran in the prequels of the Belgariad. To explain it comes in two parts. The male disciples of the god Aldur get the prefix "Bel", meaning beloved, attached to their names, while female disciples get the feminine form "Pol". Secondly, the name without the prefix, "Daran", is used by her son and several of her descendants as a perfectly serviceable masculine name.
  • In one The Berenstain Bears book, Sister Bear is being bullied by a classmate named Tuffy. Brother Bear heads off to give Tuffy a piece of his mind, is flabbergasted when he sees Tuffy coming out of the girls' bathroom, and quietly slinks away with her taunting him for not doing anything to her because he can't bring himself to beat up a girl.
  • Exploited in one of the Betty Wales books. A high school girl who insists she is not interested in going to a women's college visits Betty. They tell the girl she will be spending the day with, among others, Bob Parker and Timmy Wentworth—which, as the reader already knows, are the nicknames of girls named Marie and Leticia.
  • The heroine of Robin McKinley's novel The Blue Sword insists on being addressed as Harry. It's not until halfway through the book that her real name is revealed as Angharad.
  • Temperance Brennen's sister Harry (Harriet) in the Bones series of crime novels.
  • Bridge to Terabithia's lead female is a tomboy with Boyish Short Hair called Leslie. The book was written in the 1970s when Leslie was more common as a boys' name, and didn't take off as a name for girls until a decade later. To further blur the line, the leading male is called Jess. It's probably for the above reason that the film adaptation (taking place in 2007) de-emphasises Leslie's tomboy nature.
  • Tom Gay (real name Lucinda Muriel) in the Chalet School books. And Joey Bettany, of course.
  • Sets up all the action in Swedish tween book Darfinkar Och Donickar (which translates roughly as "idiots and crazies," only the words used are very uncommon). Simone (French female name) is forced to move when her single mother finds a new man. Angry about it, she cuts off her hair. The next day, her new teacher introduces her as "the new boy, Simon." She runs with it.
  • Discworld:
    • The "oops, we wanted a boy" version occurs with reference to the name Nigella.
    • Inverted with the wizard Denephew Boot, so called because his 'simple country folk' parents wanted a girl, who they were planning to call Denise.
  • Doctor Who companions in the Expanded Universe include Bernice "Benny" Summerfield (Virgin novels), Samantha "Sam" Jones (BBC Books novels), Isabelle "Izzy" Sinclair (DWM comic strip) and Charlotte "Charley" Pollard (Big Finish audios).
  • Karrin Murphy of The Dresden Files goes by her last name. This is true in the TV series as well, although there she's a Connie rather than a Karrin. The change was made because Chicago's real-life police department contains an officer whose actual name is Karen Murphy.
  • Enid Blyton, who Used to Be a Tomboy, frequently features Tomboy characters who have an appropriately masculine nickname.
    • George from The Famous Five is actually named Georgina, but insists on being called George because she is a Tomboy who likes being thought of as a boy.
      • In the European Portuguese localization, this becomes Zé (a local male name), taken from her surname (Maria José).
      • In the French version she answers to Claudenote , short for Claudine.
    • Malory Towers has Wilhelmina, the boyish horse-lover with seven brothers who prefers to be called "Bill".
    • Inverted in The Faraway Tree trilogy, the main characters are two sisters and their older brother called Jo — traditionally a girl's spelling. In later editions, it has been altered to Joe.
  • A double case with Charlene Roberta McGee in Firestarter. She goes by "Charlie" to almost everyone except the Manders family, who met her while on the run as "Bobbi", from her middle name.
  • Haruka (Hokuto) in .hack//AI Buster. Besides having a masculine real name, she also turns out to be the user named after William Butler Yeats.
  • In Laurie King's mystery novels about police officer Katarina Cecilia Martinelli, she determinedly uses the nickname "Casey" on the job. Personal friends can call her Kate, though. And she's a lesbian, whose significant other is a female psychiatrist named Lee. It is not revealed until late in the first book, A Grave Talent, that Lee is female.
  • Lady Michelle Henke in Honor Harrington is known as "Mike" to her friends.
  • I Become Shadow: Ren mentions that she's not fond of her name, because it sounds like a boy's name.
  • Jessica's Ghost: Due to her name, Francis assumes that Andi is a boy before he meets her.
  • Older Than Radio: The character Jo in the book Little Women, who was also a tomboy. She disparages her full name, Josephine, as too “sentimental.”
  • Malory Towers has both the series' heroine, Darrell Rivers, and late arrival Bill (short for Wilhelmina) Robinson, a very horsey tomboy who has six brothers and who quicky becomes best friends with the somewhat girly girl the Hon. Clarissa Carter.
  • Max Ride is a girl. But you sure wouldn't know it if you watched her fight...
  • Henry (short for Henrietta) in Michelle Cooper's Montmaray Trilogy.
  • Mary Minor Haristeen, goes by "Harry" in Mrs. Murphy Mysteries. Harry's official job is being the town postmistress, but she's also an Outdoorsy Gal and amateur sleuth whose dog and cat (Tucker and Mrs. Murphy) help her solve crimes.
  • George from the Nancy Drew books, who is proud of her unusual name. In early books she's a tomboy, but not in later books. Some fans would go so far as to say she was a lesbian.
  • Billie Jo in Out of the Dust, due to her father wanting a boy instead.
  • The title character of Catherine Gilbert Murdock's YA fantasy Princess Ben (it's short for Benevolence).
  • Both the girls in The Railway Children. The protagonist is named Roberta but nicknamed 'Bobbie' by everyone. Her younger sister is Phyllis but called 'Phil' by her siblings.
  • In Remnants, Miss Violet Blake's birth name is Dallas, the city where she was born. Rather unfitting, since she's decidedly a girly-girl. Luckily changing one's name is extremely easy and common in this setting, even for teenagers.
  • In Charlotte Bronte's book Shirley, the title character is given the name Shirley by her father, who wanted a son. This led to the name becoming a female name, and consequently modern readers need to be reminded of this. In fact, the book is the reason Shirley became a popular girls' name.
  • The Shivers (M. D. Spenser) book, "Ghosts of Devil's Marsh", has a protagonist named Samantha who prefers to go by with "Sammy".
  • Scout from To Kill a Mockingbird, which is her nickname — her full name is Jean Louise Finch. Needless to say, you only find that out in scenes where her aunt is trying to put her in dresses or other "formal" settings are happening.
  • Inverted to amusing effect in Connie Willis's Uncharted Territory. A group of explorers learns they're getting a new intern named Evelyn Parker. The men are all excited to have a new woman in the group. Turns out that in Britain Evelyn can be a man's name, and Ev's parents were traditionalists. Cue disappointment from the men and snickers from the women, especially when it turns out Ev is young, handsome, and single. And straight.
  • Radclyffe's lesbian romance novels often features female characters with male names: Michael Lassiter, Sloan, Dellon Mitchell, Cameron Roberts...
  • In Radclyffe Hall's 1928 novel The Well of Loneliness, the lesbian heroine's first name is Stephen.
  • In Paradox Bound, as a young boy, Eli encounters a strange-looking kid named Harry, who drives off in a customized Ford Model A. As a teen, Eli once encounters Harry, but then is shocked when Harry happens to bend over, and he gets a good look down his shirt and sees a pretty nice pair of boobs. Then he starts to notice other things he glossed over, such as hip movements and feminine facial features. Yes, "Harry" is short for "Harriet", although she prefers Harry. She later admits that he assumed she was a boy not just because he's inattentive. She deliberately dresses in masculine clothing, especially since for much of American history, a woman traveling alone might be in danger.
  • In River of Teeth, Regina Archambault prefers to go by the nickname Archie, even though she has a very femine demeanor and way to speak. It is eventually revealed that she is gender-fluid and occasionally identifies as male.
  • Nina Tanleven: "Chris" Gurley. Whether it's short for something or not hasn't been said.
  • The title character in Betsy Cornwell's Mechanica duology is named Nicolette, and dubbed "Mechanica" by her wicked stepfamily, but among her friends she goes by "Nick." Her best female friend and eventual lover is named Caro, short for Caroline, but which is also the masculine word for "dear" or "beloved" in several Romance languages.
  • Last Night at the Telegraph Club: The Telegraph Club's Butch Lesbian bouncer goes by Mickey. Its star singer goes by Tommy Andrews, both on stage and off, while also being called Terry (as her legal name is Theresa) by fellow butch lesbian Sal (another example herself).
  • Zenobia July has Butch Lesbian Philomena, who goes by Phil.
  • In The Mermaid's Daughter, Kathleen's girlfriend Harriet goes by Harry.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 2 Broke Girls: Maxine Black invariably goes by "Max".
  • Aaron Sorkin: His shows usually have one of these among the main characters: Dana (Sports Night), C.J. (The West Wing), Jordan (Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip), Sloan (The Newsroom).
  • Alias: Sydney Bristow, the main character. Her friends even call her "Syd".
  • American Gods (2017): Sam Black Crow is a very independent, adventurous person who goes by this rather than Samantha. Also she's Two Spirit, which at the very least means gender-nonconformity (it can indicate a variety of things).
  • Angel:
    • Winifred "Fred" Burkle. In one episode, her name causes an old guy in Angel's body to mistake Angel for gay. Refreshingly, Fred is not sassy or conspicuously empowered (that role is taken by a character named Cordelia, itself an inversion of this trope).
    • Doyle's ex-wife is also called Harriet, but nicknamed 'Harry'.
  • Ashes to Ashes (2008): Alex Drake runs into the Pronoun Trouble variant in the very first episode; none of her outrageously sexist 1981 coworkers had ever met their new DI before she wound up in their station slightly unhinged and dressed as a hooker for totally plot-related reasons....
  • Batwoman (2019): Ryan's first name is traditionally male. She's something of a tomboy, being a proficient martial artist who becomes a superhero.
  • Betty: Kirt, a Butch Lesbian, has this. It's probably intentional that her name is almost like “Kurt” (that exact spelling was used in Skate Kitchen, though for some reason it changed here).
  • Black Adder II: Nursie is revealed to have the first name "Bernard". She also has sisters named Eric, Basil and Donald. Nursie is not particularly tomboyish, but certainly is insane, so this all could be her imagination. "Bob", however, is tomboyish. Or tries to be. Of course, her name isn't really Bob, it's Kate.
  • Black Sails: It's not stated if Max is a nickname (say for Maxine) but she's also a very assertive, bold young woman in a way that would have been deemed very unfeminine then (not that pirates care about the conventional mores), though she still has a very feminine style in her appearance.
  • Bryan Fuller:
    • All of his shows seem to have female protagonists with male names/nicknames:
    • Dead Like Me has a girl named George (Georgia), and her sister, Reggie (Regina). Maybe their parents had a thing for feminine names with masculine short forms?
    • In Pushing Daisies, leading lady Charlotte Charles is called Chuck (which is more often a derivative of Charles), which is this and a Punny Name put together.
    • Wonderfalls has a female main character named Jaye.
    • Hannibal has Freddie (short for Fredericka) Lounds, who is a Gender Flip of a character from the the source material with the same name.
    • Star Trek: Discovery: Michael Burnham. While fans have initially speculated that, in the future, the name may have migrated to being gender-neutral, Michael's friend and roommate states that it's not a very common girls' name. No one else finds the name weird, especially since most people have heard of it due to Burnham being a well-known mutineer.
  • Charmed's eighth season had a female character called Billie. We never find out if this is short for anything. Her sister Christy is a borderline example. In America, it's a girls' nickname. But elsewhere it can be a male nickname too (being short for both 'Christopher' and 'Christina').
  • Choushinsei Flashman: Pink Flash is named Lou!
  • Choujuu Sentai Liveman: Megumi Misaki was not only the first blue female, but the only female in dark blue tone. Funny enough, her actress is also named Megumi.
  • Community had Francesca "Frankie" Dart. Not particularly tomboyish in personality though, she was more of an Only Sane Man.
    • In one episode Troy mentioned asking out a girl named Randi, briefly leading him to be Mistaken for Gay by the study group.
  • Conversations with Friends: Bobbi, Frances' female best friend/former girlfriend has this and she's a bold woman who's mildly tomboyish.
  • Coronation Street for a while had Francesca 'Frankie' Baldwin. Not particularly Tomboyish in personality — she was something of a trophy wife — but definitely with a fiery temper.
  • Dark Angel: The female main character was named Max. This was also an Only One Name. Also, one season 2 episode had a girl named Ralph.
  • Dawson's Creek: The ultimate example would have to be Joey, who played the tomboy angle straight for the first couple seasons and grew increasingly girly as time went on. This is directly related to the Jo in Little Women, as this character is Joey's (and her mom's) favorite and the reason she's called Josephine like the girl in said book.
  • Decoy has Policewoman Patricia "Casey" Jones. Her name would have sounded even more tomboyish when the series first aired in the late 1950s.
  • Doctor Who:
    • The classic series has companions Josephine "Jo" Grant, Melanie "Mel" Bush and Dorothy "Ace" McShane.
    • The new series has Billie "Bill" Potts, who has both her full first name and nickname qualifying for this trope.
  • Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman: "Doctor Mike", a.k.a. Dr. Michaela Quinn. There's actually a purpose to this, though. The writers felt it was necessary to explain why the townspeople accept the woman who is coming to be their doctor: they thought she was a man. Communication being what it was, her name was telegraphed to them, as telegraphs were, with no spaces, upper and lower cases, or punctuation. They're expecting "Michael A. Quinn". If her name had been Alice, or something, the viewer is meant to presume they would have cabled back saying "Forget it."
  • EastEnders has Ronnie Mitchell, whose name is a shortening of Veronica.
  • Eureka: Also has a Jo, who gets surly when people call her Josephina.
  • Every Witch Way has Andi Cruze, Emma's tomboyish best friend
  • Extras: Somewhat parodied where Andy Millman goes to Ian Mackellen to audition for his new play. It ends up being a play about homosexual loves, something that is not apparent to him until "Fran" is revealed to be a man. Everyone in the audition room other than Mackellen and Andy appear to have tomboyish names if they are female or girl names if they are male. Things get ridiculous when one of the women in the room is referred to as "George".
  • The Facts of Life: Jo, while Jo-with-no-E is a girl's name, she was mistaken for a boy in the first episode, and is based off Jo from Little Women.
  • First Kill: Cal's tomboyish, so this nickname fits her well.
  • FlashForward (2009): Charlie Benford. It's unknown whether that's short for something more traditionally feminine.
  • Frontier Circus: In "Dr. Sam", Casey is shocked to discover that the doctor he has hired for the circus is actually a woman: with Sam being short for Samantha.
  • Full House: There is DJ, who is the oldest daughter but the abbreviated initials are at best gender-neutral, if not leaning towards being boyish-sounding. It stands for Donna-Jo (not Joanna, not Josephine, just Jo).
  • Gilmore Girls: Lorelai Leigh Gilmore goes by the nickname Rory (a name which is usually reserved for boys) to distinguish herself from her mother and great-grandmother, both of whom are also named Lorelai Gilmore.
  • Ginny and Georgia: Max for Maxine, a slightly tomboyish lesbian.
  • Good Luck Charlie: Charlie and Teddy are used as names for girls. It's even lampshaded in some episodes. This trope was enforced in this case, so as not to place the series in the Girl-Show Ghetto.
  • H₂O: Just Add Water's resident tomboy is named Rikki Chadwick.
  • Harry's Law: Harry Korn looks like she'll kill anyone who calls her Harriet.
  • High Fidelity: Due to the series making Rob a woman, the name becomes one (it turns out that her full name's Robyn). Rob's appropriately something of a tomboy, having a slightly masculine clothing style.
  • Hightown: Jackie, a butch lesbian, has this. It's actually short for Jacqueline.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Robin Charles Scherbatsky, Jr., who practically embodies the "my dad wanted a son" excuse. He literally raised her as a boy until her teen years.
  • I Am Not Okay With This: Syd, whose full name Sydney is a Gender-Blender Name to begin with, usually gets called this. It fits since she's a tomboy lesbian.
  • Imposters: Lenny is a woman with shaggy, fairly short hair, a masculine wardrobe sense and she's the brutal enforcer of a crime boss.
  • Impulse: "Henry" isn't typically what a girl would go by. Lampshaded in episode 5, where Henry is stuck in Vermont with an old lady; when she says her name the woman comments that it's a dumb name. Her full name's actually Henrietta.
  • JAG: Sarah "Mac" Mackenzie, an officer and attorney in the US Marine Corps.
  • Jayma Mays: She played girls named Charlie on both Heroes and Ugly Betty in the same season. Not much chance for confusion, though, since while the UB Charlie is a recurring love interest of a main character, the Heroes Charlie was a one-shot who was killed off by the main villain. She was also the love interest of a main character though.... For the record, her full name is Charlene and in a later season, she comes Back from the Dead.
  • In the CBBC comedy Kevin's Cousins, the cousins in question are called Molly and Danny. Danny doesn't arrive until the end of episode 1 and (to Kevin's horror) turns out to be another girl.
  • L.A.'s Finest: Sydney, a tomboyish bisexual woman, usually goes by "Syd".
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: ADA Alex Cabot, and her replacement Casey Novak, both from this show. Detective Amanda Rollins also names her daughters Jesse and Billie.
  • A League of Their Own (2022): Butch Lesbian Jo goes by this instead of her full name Josephine.
  • Lip Service: Frankie, which is short for Francesca, Sam (which may or may not be short for Samantha) and Fin. All are lesbians, but only Frankie is really a tomboy.
  • Longmire: Tough Wyoming sheriff's deputy, formerly a cop in Philadelphia, Victoria "Vic" Moretti.
  • The L Word: Shane, the resident bifauxnen lesbian tomboy of the cast, has this.
  • MacGyver (1985): Mike Forrester in "Jack of Lies" and "The Widowmaker". Mike is short for Michelle and she is a tomboyish botanist with a passion for mountain climbing.
  • Mad About You: The characters Paul (male) and Jamie (female) are often referred to as "Paulie" and "James".
  • MADtv (1995): The Ditz Dr. Kylie Johnson was the victim of a typo at least once, or rather at least one of her patients was a victim of such.
  • Married... with Children: Gary, the owner of the shoe store where Al Bundy works, is a woman. Al spent his first twenty years of work at the shop believing she was a man. (He never met her until being told she'd come to inspect the shop. In fact, he once considered the possibility of Gary not even existing.)
  • The Mentalist: Inverted Trope: Patrick Jane is generally referred to as Jane.
  • Midnight Caller: Devon King, and her replacement Nicky Molloy. Devon was actually a fairly popular girls' name in the late 1980s, but it's rather anachronistic for someone her age.
  • My Dead Ex: Charley (full name Charlotte). She's perhaps a slight tomboy with her style.
  • Nancy Drew (2019): George is something of a tomboy and goes by this rather than Georgia.
  • NCIS: Forensic psychologist Special Agent Jacqueline Sloane, known to all and sundry as "Jack".
  • The Night Manager: Jed Marshall. Unusually though, despite having short hair she is highly feminine otherwise.
  • One Life to Live: Andrea "Andy" Harrison. And she's a cop also, joining the police force after leaving an abusive husband.
  • One Saturday Morning: The live-action segments of this Disney block originally starred a girl named Charlie.
  • Paper Girls: Mac, a quintessential tomboy, has this name to go with her style. When introducing her to his family in 2019, her brother trolls her by giving her the name Kimberly; she quickly corrects this by claiming that she normally goes by her middle name — Jo.
  • Picket Fences: Had officer Maxine "Max" Stewart (Lauren Holly).
  • Power Rangers S.P.D. really ran with this. Of the two primary female rangers on the show, one is "Z" (short for Elizabeth) and one is "Syd" (short for "Sydney"). They were a rather tough Tomboy and Girly Girl duo (with Z as the Tomboy and Syd as the Girly Girl), in some cases tougher than the boys, and Z is extremely tomboyish, Mama Bear regarding Sam the future Omega Ranger issues aside. On the A-squad, the end credits reveal its Red Ranger, female, to be named Charlie, and she's tougher still. Kat Manx, by contrast, was the team's engineer and avoided direct combat unless forced.
  • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive had Ronny, short for Veronica. Ironically enough, Roni (pronounced the same way) is a gender neutral name that tends towards feminine in Hebrew, though towards masculine in literally any other language.
  • Spencer of Pretty Little Liars subverts this trope — while a she is a Badass Bookworm, she is also very girly (bordering on Fille Fatale territory).
  • Punky Brewster chose "Punky" as a nickname because she doesn't like being called by her given name—Penelope.
  • Rake: Wendy's girlfriend goes by Jack (presumably it's a nickname for Jacqueline). Oddly enough, aside from this she's not at all tomboyish expert for her aggressive personality (if one considers that masculine).
  • Reba: Van has an aunt whose name is Floyd.
  • Reservation Dogs:
    • Willie Jack dresses boyishly and loves going hunting with her dad. Auntie B reveals that "Willie Jack" is short for "Wilhelmina Jacqueline."
    • Gang leader Jackie has a unisex name, boyish short hair and pretty masculine clothing.
  • Revolution: Charlotte "Charlie" Matheson. Just about everybody calls her "Charlie". In fact, Sebastian Monroe has been the only one to go out of his way to call her "Charlotte", as shown in "Nobody's Fault But Mine", and "Children of Men".
  • Andy of Rookie Blue, whose full name is Andrea.
  • Scrubs: Elliot Reid, named after her father who wanted a boy. But let's not also forget that J.D. usually ends up sleeping with girls with androgynous names, including Alex, Dani, Jamie, Jordan and Kim. Might have something to do with the "lanyards" he made with his bunkmate at summer camp.
    • Elliot accuses another doctor of copying her because she, Veronica, starts going by the nickname Ronnie.
    • JD's original name was Joanna for the first three years of his life, as his parents were expecting a girl, and couldn't think of a proper boy's name for a while. While his name was changed to John, many of the jokes about him are about how stereotypically girly he is.
  • Sex/Life: Billie, the main character. Her name is close to a more traditionally masculine one, and it seems this signals that she's a free-spirited, independent-minded woman at heart.
  • Sherlock: In this BBC series, John Watson's sister is called Harry. Having learned her name and the fact that she used to be married to a woman, Sherlock makes an almost-accurate series of deductions regarding John's "brother". John then reveals that "Harry" is short for "Harriet".
  • Single Drunk Female: Samantha, who's a bit of a tomboy former party girl and bisexual, is called "Sam" or "Sammy" by friends generally.
  • Sisters: Had a whole family of masculine girl names: Alex, Teddy, Georgie, Frankie, Charley. However, this was not used to indicate masculinity, but that their father always wanted a boy. Ironically, they are all nicknames — the real names are decidedly feminine. Alex's daughter Reed is also an example, although hers is more of a unisex name.
  • Skins: Has Franky, short for Francesca.
  • Sliders: Wade Welles.
  • South of Nowhere: Has a Spencer, though she's pretty far from being a tomboy.
  • Special Ops: Lioness: Joe is a tough female CIA agent who's skilled in combat. She works with Bobby, a female Marine. Joe's youngest daughter is also called Charlie.
  • Starsky & Hutch has Molly "Pete" Edwards from "Little Girl Lost" and Joey Carston from "The Trap," both played by Kristy McNichol.
  • Step by Step: Al (short for Alicia). Season 6 also introduces a female character named Sam. Both characters are very tomboyish (at least Al was, before her Girliness Upgrade).
  • Stranger Things: The red-headed tomboy introduced in the second season is named Max, which is short for Maxine. Upon first seeing her name, the boys think she is a boy before meeting her the next day.
    Mr. Clarke: Class, please welcome, all the way from sunny California, the latest passenger to join us on our curiosity voyage, Maxine.
    Max: It's Max.
    Mr. Clarke: Sorry?
    Max: Nobody calls me Maxine. It's Max.
  • Strong Medicine: Dr. Andy Campbell. Lana addresses her as "Andrea", assuming that it's short for this, but Andy corrects her and tells her that Andy is her full name, bestowed by a father who had of course, been wanting or expecting a boy.
  • The Suite Life of Zack & Cody has Max, the tomboyish friend of the eponymous twins. A Running Gag has Moseby constantly mistake her for a boy.
    • The spinoff series, The Suite Life on Deck, has tomboy farm girl Bailey Pickett. She exploits this trope to enroll in Seven Seas High as a boy.
  • Super Human Samurai Syber Squad: One of the main characters is a girl named Sydney and she was at least once expected to be a boy because of her name.
  • Supernatural, which shares a creator with Revolution, also features a character who goes by the name Charlie (she uses several aliases, though her real name is never given). She is a Playful Hacker/nerd and her name is likely a Shout-Out to Firestarter's Charlie.
  • S.W.A.T. (2017): Chris. In keeping with her tomboy, Action Girl role she goes by this rather than Christina most of the time.
  • Third Watch: Alex Taylor, a female firefighter who hates being treated differently due to her gender.
  • Veronica Mars:
    • Played straight with Cindy "Mac" Mackenzie, a computer genius who quickly befriends Veronica.
      Veronica: Cindy?
      Mac: It won out over Barbie...
    • Subverted with Parker Lee, Mac's college roommate in season 3.
    • There's also two male inversions of this trope: Cassidy "Beaver" Casablancas (who really prefers his first name over his Embarrassing Nickname), and a one-episode character named Kelly Kuzio
  • The Vicar of Dibley: Had a female vicar called Geri (short for Geraldine), leading to confusion with traditionalist parishioners expecting a male vicar.
  • Vida: Eddy. Her first name is Edwina, but she goes by this more gender ambiguous nickname.
  • The West Wing: Josh was expecting a meeting from Joey Lucas. Not only is Joey unexpectedly female, but she's also deaf and has a male translator. There is some confusion as the translator says "I'm Joey Lucas" and nobody realizes for a little while that he's speaking for the deaf woman.
  • The Wilds: Toni has a pretty boyish name, and is a mildly butch lesbian who's an athlete.
  • Willow: Hubert, one of the rather butch woodswomen who Dove runs into, has a name that's been traditionally male.
  • Wonderfalls has a twofer with Jaye Tyler. She's also the only family member whose name doesn't rhyme (Darren, Karen, Sharon and Aaron).
  • Yellowjackets: Van (full name Vanessa) is a soft butch lesbian soccer goalie.
  • The Young Ones: Reversed with a male character named Vyvyan. When they go to the pub, where Vyvyan's mum is working behind the bar, Rick jumps at the chance to ask "Why did you give him a girl's name?" At which point Vyv smashes a bottle over Rick's head.note 


  • Wooden Overcoats has Georgie, whose name is actually Georgina. She's rarely called that, even by her grandmother.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • WWE wrestler Mickie James is a former WWE Women's Champion. Granted, this is wrestling, and stranger things have happened than a man holding a women's belt, but she is a woman. What's more is that Mickie is her given name, and her previous ring name was 'Alexis'.
  • Former WWE ring announcer Mike McGuirk (real name Michelle).
    Bobby Heenan: Mike?! What's her brother's name — Sally?
    Gorilla Monsoon: I don't know... maybe her father wanted a boy.
    Bobby Heenan: Looks like he almost got one...
  • If you heard the name "AJ," you wouldn't expect a cute young woman to come skipping out, would you? AJ fits the trope by being notably different from the standard WWE Diva in that she is seemingly sweet and innocent but enjoys traditionally boy things like comic books and video games, in addition to be a damn good wrestler who has been way into wrestling since childhood. ("AJ," of course, comes from her real name of April Jeanette.) There's another AJ in professional wrestling but that one is male.
  • Almost happened with AJ's best friend Kaitlyn, who was named 'Ricki Vaughn' in developmental. She said she actually wanted a tomboyish ring name — but the office changed it to Kaitlyn when she was called up to appear on NXT.
  • Invoked by Chikara tag team You Can Call Me Al (Alere Little Feather and Allison Danger)
  • Bella Twins use a Tomboy and Girly Girl dynamic. The Tomboy of the duo uses the name Nikki.
  • NXT brings us Bayley, though she's not particularly tomboyish or feminine. Her character is a super friendly Cuddle Bug who wants to be friends with everyone.
  • For a while, an FCW Diva went by 'Wesley Holiday' before being given more feminine names like Courtney Taylor and Beverly.
  • In her brief stint in WWE, Alicia Webb played Ken Shamrock's sister Ryan.
  • She dropped it for her in-ring career, but famous female wrestler Mae Young's full name was actually "Johnnie Mae Young".
  • Billie Kay, formally known in the indies as Jessie McKay. (Her real name is Jessica McKay.)

  • The title character of the George M. Cohan musical Billie. She and her show would be completely forgotten if George M! hadn't reused the title song, in which she divulges that her parents had wanted a boy.
  • In the musical Once Upon a Mattress, Winnifred tells the Prince he can call her by her nickname. He guesses, "Winnie?" She corrects him, and a minute later, he's summoned everybody to hear his "Song of Love": "I'm in love with a girl named Fred!"
  • In the National Theatre's 2014 production of Treasure Island, protagonist Jim Hawkins is a girl. Her full name is Jemima.
  • In Grease, Betty Rizzo who is The Lad-ette goes by her androgynous/unfeminine-sounding last name rather than her first name.
  • In Annie, one of the orphan girls is named Duffy, an Irish surname that's also sometimes used as a given name for boys.

  • In the late eighties, Hasbro created their own fashion doll line as a replacement for Jem, with the title character being called MAXIE!

    Video Games 
  • The Bifauxnen bouncer/bartender from Art of Fighting and The King of Fighters goes by the name of "King" (no last name).
  • And Makoto from BlazBlue! Maybe this one's gaining ground as a girl's name.
  • Grand Theft Auto brought us a female disc jocky named Toni.
  • And yet another Makoto, from the IdolM@ster series, who becomes an idol in order to find a more feminine side of herself.
  • Alexandra Beaufort in Growing Up likes playing with the boys, video games, and having friendly competitions with the Player Character, but she prefers being called "Alex".
  • Kingdom Hearts: Kairi. Technically, it is a gender-neutral name in Japan, but in practice, it is seldom used as a girl's name. Yet, the main Damsel in Distress of the games has this as her name, though she does display a somewhat tomboyish personality.
  • The case of Ao Ohtori from I=MGCM is a double whammy. While Japanese gives babies of all genders names associated with the color blue, the noun form "Ao" is nearly exclusively used for boys while girls tend to be given the adjective form "Aoi." On the kanji side of things, 蒼 is one of the more popular kanji choices for boys. This of course fits a girl who is undeniably a Tomboy who is not comfortable with the usual gender stereotypes.
  • One of Mana Khemia 2: Fall of Alchemy's playable characters is the tomboyish Et, short for Etward. As a child, she decided her little brother's name was better and forced him to switch with her. The fact that this typifies his relationship with her and he grew up as Enna (short for Ennarcia) is only the start of the poor kid's problems.
  • Mass Effect:
    • Ashley "Ash" Williams, who is alternately referred to by the full and shortened versions.
    • In Mass Effect 2, one of the teammates that Shepard must pick up is a convict named Jack. When you release Jack from cryo-stasis, the other party members are surprised to find a shaven young woman of a smallish frame covered in tattoes and little else... Who proceeds to single-handedly go on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge across the ship and tear it to pieces.
  • Atlas, the controller of Model F from Mega Man ZX Advent, is actually a girl.
    • Also inverted in the same game; Thetis, who shares a name with Achilles' mother in Greek lore, is a male who controls Model L, the only female biometal.
  • Elias from the original Panel de Pon.
  • Persona:
    • Naoto Shirogane from Persona 4. This has a larger effect in fooling you because up until her gender reveal, she's always referred as a young boy-detective and dresses like a boy too.
    • Persona 5 gives us Makoto Niijima, whose interest in Aikido helps to vent the myriad pressures of her day-to-day life.
  • Pokémon:
  • Ridley Silverlake from Radiata Stories. When Jack runs into her in his Radiata Knights trial at the beginning of the game, he's dismayed to learn that she's a girl.
  • Ratchet & Clank (2002) game has three mechanics who can upgrade Clank. Their names are Al, Bob, and Ed. Guess which one's the girl? It's Ed, short for Edwina, as she is called in the credits
  • Akira Kazama from Rival Schools was introduced wearing body-concealing biker clothing and attending an all-boys' academy to look for their elder brother, Daigo. Getting the best ending for the Gedo High School team reveals that Akira is actually Daigo's little sister ("Akira" is a unisex name, although it is typically given to boys).
  • In The Sims video game, any sim can be given any name, so girls can be given boyish names and boys can be given girly names. Some of the premade tomboys have more masculine names, too. (I.E. The sorority in The Sims 3 has a level 10 female jock named Ashley DeSorrento) Boyd and Blair Wainwright are a premade example of a father and daughter with surnames as their first names, and there are female sims with such names as Tuesday Sears and Autumn Cusack and Sunny Bakshi.
  • The Hot-Blooded karateka Makoto from Street Fighter III 3rd Strike. Coincidentally enough, her voice actress is named Makoto, as well.
  • Suikoden III has Chris, captain of the Zexen Knights.
  • Suikoden IV has Wendel, who gets mistaken for a guy by Nico, your ship's lookout. This is notable mainly because Nico's vision and perception are praised almost every time the subject comes up — in fact, Wendel has been trying to become Nico's apprentice because of his fantastic eyesight.
  • Harold Berselius of Tales of Destiny 2, who is in fact often mistaken as a man by people who have yet to meet her.
    • And then there's Corrine, the summon spirit in Symphonia. Corrine is typically a female name, and the spirit itself has a high-pitched, feminine voice. However, there are some instances Corrine is referred to as male, as well as taking into account that Corrine would eventually become Verius, who is definitely male in name and voice. This is even more confusing as what Corrine's relation to Verius is never agreed upon in Symphonia's many iterations as sometimes Corrine is a different persona from Verius and could potentially be female when Verius is male, or Corrine is Verius where Corrine could have been too young (in voice) to pass as a young male rather than outright female.
    • Pascal from Tales of Graces, too. Theme Naming with her sister suggests that she was named after mathematician Blaise Pascal (who, if the whole Harry Potter Blaise Zabini gender reveal incident is to be believed, had a Gender-Blender Name in his own right).
  • Yuugi Hoshiguma from Touhou Project. The name means "a game", as in chess or go (or cards), and it has a masculine tone to it. She looks and acts masculine too, and in fan works is usually contrasted against the girly Green-Eyed Monster Parsee for effect.
    • Shou Toramaru. Not only is her given name masculine, her surname uses a male suffix!
  • In A Witch's Tale, Princess Hansel is a girl despite having a boy's name.
  • Chromie from World of Warcraft is a bronze dragon whose preferred lesser form is a female gnome. While most female bronze dragons have names ending in "ormi" her full name is Chronormu, and "ormu" is the ending associated with male bronze dragons. This led many to speculate that she was in fact a male dragon who preferred to take female shape (which, given the game, would be wholly appropriate) but Word of God eventually clarified that she just had a tomboyish name.
  • Reversed (sort of) in the Dating Sim X-Change Alternative, with main character Kaoru. Since he is rather short of stature, rather pretty and... not blessed down below, it seems a little cruel of his parents to have given him a girl's name. Later on, it's revealed that he's genetically intersexed, so it's assumed his parents were just hedging their bets. Meanwhile, he's been gender bent...
  • Ken Marinaris in Zone of the Enders: The 2nd Runner but her large breasts make it clear that she is very much a woman.
  • The main character of Life Is Strange is named Max Caulfield. Her actual first name is Maxine. The trope gets revisited later in the franchise in Life Is Strange: True Colors with its protagonist Alex Chen, whose full first name is Alexandra.

    Visual Novels 
  • The Fujibayashi twins, Kyou and Ryou, in CLANNAD.
  • In the opening sequence of Go! Go! Nippon!, the (male) main character reflects on how he's taking his first trip to Japan and that he'll be staying with two brothers, Akira and Makoto, who he met in an international chat room. Only after he arrives and meets them in person does he realize they're sisters. Makoto even lampshades this, admitting that Makoto and Akira are more common as boy's names.
  • Makoto in Kanon is called out on having a "boy's name". She did take the name from someone else, but that person was also a female.
  • This was actually a plot point in the final case of Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice For All. A female character is accused of murder when the hired gun who did the killing names her as his client. He makes a crucial mistake when he claims that he met his client in person and calls the client a "he". The woman has a masculine name (Adrian Andrews). Phoenix points out that if the killer had actually met Adrian in person, he would've called her a "she". Even her Japanese name, Kamia Kyrio, invokes this.
    • In Dual Destinies, this is invoked too, with Robin Newman, a girl who has been raised her entire life as a boy.

    Web Animation 
  • Tex from Red vs. Blue. It's short for her codename, Agent Texas; her real name Allison is a lot more feminine. Technically, Allison Church died a long time ago. Agent Texas is an AI programmed to think like her.
  • The main character of Hazbin Hotel is Charlie, the Genki Girl princess of Hell who is trying to help her subjects through redemption and rehabilitation. Her real name is Charlotte, but considering that her character profile has her real name literally scratched out in favor of her nickname, it's easy to see what name she prefers.

  • Three of the four (formerly male) main characters in Cheer! have gender-ambiguous names (Sam, Jo and Alex), even though these are all different from their original male names.
  • Ariel (pronounced as the more masculine R-E-L rather than Air-E-L) from Drowtales, ironically, she is sent to a boys school (because of exceptional circumstances) and one of her (male) classmates is more effeminate than her. Also, it later turns out she is blessed with shape shifting abilities, so she could basically be anything, though her attempt to do "something interesting" and make herself physically male with them didn't work.
    • There's also Chrys'tel, who's usually just called Chrys, but only by human standards. She's not particular tomboyish, however.
  • Grrl Power features Sydney Scoville, Jr. As 'Sydney' has moved in a unisex direction, the 'Junior' part is what drew attention. She looks forward to naming a future child Sydney Scoville III.
  • Parley from Gunnerkrigg Court's first name is George. She's deeply embarrassed by this name, although there's a pretty good story behind it. Mainly, her father is a psychic and he filled the birth certificate beforehand. He got everything right except the gender, but they found it so funny that they decided to keep it as is. She's also fairly tomboyish, as she's introduced handing a random student his ass with a zweihander. Not to mention all the roughhousing she does with Andrew.
  • Lemme Addams: Starring the Action Girl of the same name.
  • Misfile has Ash Upton. Word of God has it her full name (at least in this timeline) is Ashley, which isn't much of an improvement. Of course she used to be a boy anyway.
  • Hank, the lesbian werewolf in The Night Belongs to Us. Her real name is Henrietta.
  • Parodied in Schlock Mercenary: when Captain Tagon decides to hire a new medical officer, the first thing he notices are her rather large physical assets. He only notes that her name is 'Edward' (due to her incredibly stupid parent's poor choice of names) after deciding to hire her (but before actually looking at her professional credentials).
  • In a flashback, Tangerine of Sinfest rejected girlie stuff and the name Angie to climb a tree and call herself "Tange".
  • In Two Guys and Guy, a webcomic featuring Two Guys and a Girl, "Guy" is the girl. She says early in the strip that it's a nickname, and if anyone knows what her name actually is, they'd be wise not to tell.
  • Wapsi Square has Bud, which is luckily a nickname. Her actual first name is Acacia, which doesn't shorten well, so she goes by a shortened version of her last name (Budur).
  • Played with in the Wooden Forest episode of The Order of the Stick. One minor villain is named Sam, but it is quickly revealed that her name is Samantha.

    Web Original 
  • Killerbunnies'':
    • Along with being gender blender names, have Thomasina "Tommie" Evans and Mikie, which like the Mike, Lu & Og example, is short for Michealenne, both of which are feminine forms of the males names Thomas and Micheal.
    • We also have Milo, which is typically seen as a boy's name, unless one takes into account it is pronounced "Mee-loh" and is Hawaiian for "hibiscus", a kind a of flower.
    • Iglika's nickname is "Ike", which is more or less a shorter form of her name. There is also Frankie, whose real name is "Francinia", and Corrine, who is also called "Cori".
    • Similarly, we have Frederique, a feminine form of "Fredrick".
  • Billie Wilson, who actually is a tomboy, in the Whateley Universe. Since she also hangs with Toni Chandler and Nikki Reilly, this could cause problems if they weren't all hot superheroines. And Sam Everheart, extremely-competent female security officer at Whateley Academy, with her own secret to hide. Not really a true example since all four of these characters are former boys who chose feminized versions of their former male names or nicknames as the case may be.

    Web Videos 
  • Codex from The Guild has the real name Cyd. She specifies that it's not short for anything.
  • Toby Hendy, a physics/math/astronomy YouTuber.
  • Critical Role: The monk Beauregard (Beau for short) in the second campaign. Her parents really wanted a son instead, and they showed it in their treatment of their daughter.

    Western Animation 
  • 6teen: Nikki Wong embodies this trope. Short-cut, purple-dyed hair: check! Grungy wardrobe: check! Sarcastic sense of humor and badass personality: Double check! Name that can apply to Nickolas but instead applies to Nicole: check!
  • Arcane: Tomboy Vi is never called her full name Violet except when her younger sister is begging her not to harm and abandon her.
  • Audrey and Friends: Constance's nickname is Stan, however, she appears to be more feminine than her nickname.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: 'Smellerbee'? That's a rather odd name for a young man." "Maybe that's because I'm a girl."
  • Batman Beyond: The Secret-Keeper was also named Max (short for 'Maxine').
  • Batman: The Animated Series: In one episode, Poison Ivy appears to have gone straight and gotten married. Batman observes some heartwarming interactions between Pam and her stepsons, Chris and Kelly, but realizes something's up when Robin says he knows the "husband" and his daughters.
  • Beverly Hills Teens has a Nikki, although Nikki Darling seems to be only half-boyish.
  • In one episode of Bob's Burgers, Tina befriends a goth girl named Dylan.
    • Also inverted in another episode. Gayle runs to the restaurant upset that her date cancelled on her, leading to this exchange:
      Gayle: You know that guy I met on Cat Chat? Stacey?
      Gene: Men can be named Stacey!? I love America!
  • There is a character named Sam in Code Lyoko, as one of Odd's many love interests.
  • Dexter's Laboratory: Inverted with Mandark, whose real name is "Susan". This was actually a retcon in later seasons. His original name was masculine.
  • Disney's Famous Five On The Case: George's daughter is named Jo (shortened from Jyoti).
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Francis "Frankie" Foster. Bonus points, as her full first name has the masculine spelling.
  • King of the Hill: Kahn, Hank's Asian neighbor, named his daughter after himself. Kahn Junior told Bobby that was because he wanted a son. However, she often goes by Connie.
  • The Loud House:
  • Mike, Lu & Og: Michelanne "Mike" Mazinsky.
  • Monster High: Frankie Stein.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Applejack. It sounds like she has a boy's name, which led to a considerable amount of gender confusion back in G1 where she had a low pitched voice.
    • Rainbow Dash's name sounds feminine, but is often shortened to just "Dash", which sounds somewhat masculine.
  • Producing Parker has Parker Kovak
  • Subverted in Recess with Spinelli, a tomboy who goes by her last name because she's embarrassed about her "girly" first name, Ashley. It's especially "girly" on this show because there's a club consisting entirely of Alpha Bitch girls with this name (who seem to equate the name with popularity), and one episode was about the consequences when the Ashleys found out her real name and forced her to join their club. Ironically, Ashley was once considered a boy's name (such as in Gone With the Wind), and some well-known guys do have Ashley as a name (like Ashley Cole). Sometimes, they go by "Ash".
  • Regular Show has CJ (short for Cloudy Jay). She fits this trope to a T, as opposed to Margaret who is much more of a Girl Next Door type.
  • Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles plays around with it a bit; the Foot Recruit's real name is Cassandra, and her nickname is Casey, which, while a gender-neutral name, is usually the name of a male character in TMNT.
  • Rocket Power has a girl named Reggie (short for Regina).
  • Steven Universe has Jasper. She's named after a gemstone whose name just happens to also be a male given name.
  • Total Drama stars Izzy, which may or may not be short for Isabella. Revenge of the Island has Jo, who is a straight-up tomboy, disliking anything even remotely girly and is often confused for a guy by Dumb Jock Lightning. Island (2023) has Axel, who is a Crazy Survivalist Action Girl.
  • Totally Spies! features Sam and Alex. However Alex is the only Tomboy.
  • Twelve Forever has Reggie (short for Regina), whose tomboyishness is more Cloud Cuckoolandery than the usual.
  • What's New, Scooby-Doo?: In one episode, the guys on the gang are excited about meeting a pair of male roller-coaster designers called Chris and Terry, while the girls are unimpressed...until they turn out to be sisters called Chris and Terri.
  • W.I.T.C.H.: The leader of the Guardians, Will Vandom, is a girl like the others. In the cartoon it'a short for Wilma, but in the original comics it was short for Wilhelmina.


Video Example(s):


Seishirou Is A Girl

Raku rescues Seishirou from the pool and he has to undress her so she won't get sick, under the assumption she's a boy due to her name and male uniform, but he learns the truth once he takes off her wet clothes.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (8 votes)

Example of:

Main / UndressingTheUnconscious

Media sources: