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Verber Creature

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When a creature has not been formally studied, an easy way to classify them is by what they do (as we do this to humans as well i.e. teacher, programmer, farmer, etc.). Biology's taxonomy system works with a more complex version of this system for individual species (Homo sapiens = wise man, Tyrannosaurus rex = tyrant lizard king, etc.).

Said creature may be an already existing one that is then named by outsiders, or they may be artificially-engineered creatures which is given name specifically for what they're built to do. In case of the former, said given name may start as a nickname and then turns into the real name, or the creature may have its real name revealed later (especially if said creature is sentient). Common in science fiction and fantasy, where exotic creatures are given easily understandable names so the audience/characters can relate to them.

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The creature may or may not be hostile, although most fictional examples are indeed hostile; hence the trope's original name "Verber Monster".

Compare Noun Verber, Luke Nounverber, Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep" and His Name Really Is "Barkeep".


Examples:

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    Card Games 

    Comic Books 
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    Film 
  • Terminators. They terminate.
  • The Tremors series has Graboids which grab you from below, then Shriekers, named after their loud screeches, and later yet Ass-blasters which fly around through Farts on Fire.

    Literature 
  • Some of the future beasts in The Future Is Wild have names like this: Snowstalker, Deathgleaner, Spindletrooper, Reef Glider, Roachcutter, Great Blue Windrunner, Silver Swimmer, Desert Hopper and Slithersucker.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Firefly's Reavers. Reave is an archaic word meaning to seize and carry off forcibly, to deprive someone of something, or to break or tear apart. An altogether fitting name.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons has a long tradition of naming monsters after their most notable tricks and traits:
    • 1st Edition AD&D:
      • The early Monster Manual has such creatures as the many-eyed Beholder, the Displacer Beast (which projects an illusion of itself a few feet away from its actual location), the Intellect Devourer, the Invisible Stalker, the Lurker Above, the Masher, the psionic Mind 'Flayer, the Piercer, the Shrieker, the Slithering Tracker, the Thought Eater, the Trapper and the Wind Walker.
      • Monster Manual II has the Slicer Beetle, the Bowler (which, well, bowls over other creatures), the Cave Fisher', the Choke Creeper, the Dustdigger, the Gibbering Mouther, the Luck Eater, the Miner (which digs underground), the Muckdweller, the Scum Creeper, the Spectator and the Squealer.
      • The Fiend Folio introduces the Astral Searcher, the Babbler, the Bonesnapper, the Dark Creeper, the Dark Stalker, the Disenchanter, the Dune Stalker, the Enveloper, the Giant Strider, the Phantom Stalker, the Retriever, the Shocker, the Stunjelly and the Yellow Musk Creeper.

    Video Games 
  • The Left 4 Dead series has Boomers, Hunters, Smokers, Chargers and Spitters amongst its variants of Elite Zombie. There's also a cut one called a Screamer.
  • Half-Life 2 has Hunters, Stalkers, and Striders.
  • The Last of Us has Runners, Stalkers, Clickers, and Bloaters, the four stages of zombie infection. Runners, for instance, are essentially rabid humans who chase down their prey, while Clickers have their eyes completely obscured by fungal growths and find their way around through echolocation.
  • Halo has Hunters, who don't really do much hunting. More blowing people up... (though a lot of the human vehicles they destroy are named after animals...)
  • Some of the demons in Might and Magic: Heroes VI have this; there are Breeders (walking masses of flesh whose bodies constantly generate lesser demons), Tormenters and Lacerators (Combat Sadomasochists who tear their opponents apart with bony claws), and Ravagers (demonic juggernauts that enjoy crushing and trampling their enemies). Justified by each race of demon embodying a different trait possessed by Urgash, the god of Chaos: Breeders represent his desire for Proliferation, Tormenters and Lacerators embody the Pain he constantly feels, and Ravagers embody his love of carnage and Destruction.
  • Starcraft has Lurkers, Devourers, and Defilers.
  • Gears of War Berserkers, Boomers, Grinders, and Maulers, among others.
  • The Fallout games have Night Stalkers, Floaters and Cazadores ("hunter" in Spanish). Some enemies have sub-varieties with verb names, like Feral Ghoul Roamers, Mirelurk Hunters and Ghost Seekers.
  • Dead Space has a lot of Necromorph subtypes with names like this: Exploder, Leaper, Lurker, Slasher, Spitter, Twitcher, Wheezer, Divider, Infector, Swarmer, Crawler, Stalker, Hunter, Tormentor, Creeper, Shambler, Feeder, Regenerator, Waster, Flyer, and Grabbber.
  • The Creeper from Minecraft.
  • Resident Evil: Hunter, Licker, Regenerator, Brain Sucker, Grave Digger, Eliminator, Plague Crawler, Lurker, Regis Licker, Stalker, Drainer, Twister, and Reaper.
  • Dragon Age has the Harvester, a horrific thing made of a number of corpses and possessed by a spirit.
  • In Command & Conquer 3: Tiberium Wars, almost all of the units and structures of the Scrin, an invasive alien race, are named [verb]er or [verb]or.
  • Mass Effect:
    • The Keepers that maintain the Citadel space station (capital of the Galaxy).
    • The geth are an in-universe version, as the species name means "Servant of the People" in the quarian language.
      • Geth also have Hunters and Bombers.
    • The Reapers are the big ones, since they "reap" all sapient life every 50,000 years.
      • The Reapers' minions are Marauders, Cannibals, Harvesters, Ravagers, Collectors, and Swarmers.
  • Gothic has Scavengers (big, dinosaur-like wingless birds), Lurkers (strange lizards living near water), Snappers (dinosaurs a bit bigger than dogs) and Minecrawlers (giant spider-mantises living in mines). There's also the Sleeper, a powerful being praised by the Swamp Camp (he turns out to be actually a very dangerous demon).
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    Webcomics 
  • Girl Genius:
    • Jaegermonsters. "Jaeger" is German for "hunter." The Jaegers are a variety of Super Soldier, originally human but modified by drinking a mysterious brew. They hunt the enemies of the noble family to whom they're loyal.
    • Slaver wasps, which enslave people whose bodies they enter, and wasp eaters, weasel-like creatures bred to hunt down said wasps.

    Real Life 
  • Anteaters. They eat ants.
  • The deathstalker is a particular deadly and well-camouflaged species of scorpion.
  • Grasshoppers. They hop among grasses.
  • Woodpeckers. They peck wood. And no, not like that.
  • Howler monkeys, whose loud howls can be heard miles away.
  • Retriever breed of dogs (with its numerous variants). Likewise Pointers, Setters, and Springers, whose duties were to assist the hunter by locating prey and then flushing it on command (despite being named for one task or the other, however, most dogs did both).
    • A specific breed is the Toller, or Nova Scotia Duck Tolling Retriever, breed to "toll" (lure) ducks into a trap by playfully running up and down the banks. note 
    • Terriers are a subverion of this trope. While they do indeed tarry (work) hard as ratters, their name actually comes from terra, earth, as they were bred to go into underground burrows to chase down the vermin.
  • A water strider is an insect that strides on water. Its nickname is a skitter 'cause it skitters about.
  • Warblers are small birds that sing melodious trills, i.e. warble.
  • Orb weaver spiders weave circular webs.

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