Follow TV Tropes

Please don't list this on a work's page as a trope.
Examples can go on the work's YMMV tab.


Viewer Name Confusion

Go To

Amanda: They free Hans from the stuff.
Joe Nicolosi: "Hans"?
Amanda: Solo.
Joe: Hans?
Amanda: Hans Solo.
Joe: Han.
Amanda: Solo.
Joe: Han Solo.
Amanda: Han'se. Han S.
Joe: H-A-N.
Amanda: Right, whatever.

Viewer Name Confusion is an Audience Reaction, in which portions of the audience, for some reason or another, have a mistaken impression of what a character's name is.

I Am Not Shazam, in which people mistake a work's title for the character's name, is the most common variant, but it can happen in other ways, such as a) misinterpreting a nickname as the character's actual name, b) incorrectly assuming that a character shares a surname with a more prominent family member, c) simply hearing the name wrong (which can happen easily if they, or a character who commonly addresses them, has a Speech Impediment), or d) misremembering the name.

The name may also be gotten almost right, but spelt or pronounced wrong, especially if the character spells their name with an unusual spelling, or if a name has more than one possible spelling (like Cindy vs. Cyndi). If a character has a name almost like a real name (like "Brob" instead of "Bob") that might also cause confusion, since viewers may assume the character has the real name.

Compare Title Confusion, Beam Me Up, Scotty!, and Spell My Name with an S. May end up as Common Knowledge, or a Fandom-Enraging Misconception. If the character is associated with fake video game secrets, it may become an Urban Legend of Zelda. It can also overlap with Viewer Gender Confusion when the viewers don't assume the character has a Gender-Blender Name and the character doesn't have a unisex name. Viewer Pronunciation Confusion is for instances where people get the spelling right but not the pronunciation, although more extreme cases can lead to this trope too.

If a character gets another character's name wrong, that's Accidental Misnaming, and as such, in-universe examples should probably go there unless there's a Show Within a Show involved. A way to easily avoid the mishearing variant is Pronouncing My Name for You, wherein someone clarifies the pronunciation of their name in-universe.


    open/close all folders 

  • Chuck E. Cheese: Sometimes, people think Chuck's name is Chucky or Chuckie instead of Chuck E.
  • When Smith Brothers cough drops first appeared in the late 19th Century, the two brothers were pictured on the box with the word "trademark" under them. This led a generation of shoppers to think that the brothers were named "Trade" and "Mark". Their actual names were William and Andrew, respectively.
  • In the early 1990s, German Telekom did a billboard campaign, showing a person holding a mobile phone and the (English) slogan "Handy, isn't it?". Most Germans, still unfamiliar with the technology, assumed that it was the official name of the device. Due to common usage of the word, it soon was.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Dragon Ball has some examples of people erroneously attributing a surname to characters with Only One Name.
    • Bulma is misunderstood to have the full name "Bulma Brief(s)", due to her father Dr. Brief. Brief is actually her father's first name.
    • Videl is similarly known as "Videl Satan" after her father, Mr. Satan, who actually goes by a stage name.
    • Mr. Satan himself is sometimes known as "Hercule Satan" due to attempts to reconcile his original name with his Dub Name Change. Canonically, his real name is simply "Mark", and his stage name is "Mr. Satan".
  • Liesearia and Lieselotte from Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha A's have Only One Name, but some fans mistake Liese for a surname due to them going by the nicknames Aria and Lotte.
  • In My Hero Academia, a small but noticeable portion of fans mistake the first I at the start of Tenya Iida's surname for a lowercase L and misspell it as "Lida." Anyone who's watched the anime, however, can tell that his name is supposed to be pronounced "Ee-duh" rather than "Leada" or "Lie-duh," so they're less likely to make that mistake.
  • One Piece:
    • Usopp's name is very often misspelled Ussop among the fandom. It's not entirely clear why — it could be that fans remember that his name contains double consonants, but fail to remember where the double consonants are.
    • The fact that the characters of the series often have Western-sounding names in the Japanese name order (with surname first and first name last) also regularly causes confusion. For example, many fans just refer to Boa Hancock as "Boa", believing that's her first name, even though her first name is Hancock (simultaneously failing to realize that her two sisters are also named Boa, and that three sisters usually don't share a first name). This is partly because unlike most anime, the Japanese name order is retained in the Western localization.
    • Nico Olvia's name is commonly misspelled as "Olivia", despite the fact that the spelling OLVIA is shown on her wanted poster and consistently used by official sources. This is likely because "Olivia" is a normal real life name.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Ash's name is often assumed to be a shortened version of another name, such as Ashton or Ashura. His canon name is just "Ash".
    • Many fans in the early days of the anime thought Misty's surname to be "Waterflower", mis-interpreting the dub title of an episode ("The Waterflowers of Cerulean City"). Misty has no canon surname.
  • A long-running fan translation of the Wasteful Days of High School Girls had Akane "Ota" Kikuchi's surname translated as Sakuchi for over 50 chapters, before the anime announcement in 2019 and website clarified it was read as Kikuchi. The group is forced to issue an apology as they started using the correct name.
  • When Yu-Gi-Oh! ZEXAL first came out, most people - including translators - started calling the anime's new summoning method "Exceed", following the pattern of the previous ones (Fusion, Ritual, Synchro). However, that turned to be Japanese Ranguage at work, and the real name of the method was "Xyz", referring to directional coordinates. Konami even made it a point to show the correct spelling in one interview. That doesn't stop some people from still using "Exceed" though.
  • The 90s-era fansub scripts for Nurse Angel Ririka SOS mistranslated Princess Helena as "Queen Helena". That is a pretty easy mistake to make. The word for "princess" (王女) employed in this case uses the same kanji as the word for "queen" (女王) in a different order.

    Comic Books 
  • Non-French people tend to write Tintin's name as TinTin or Tin Tin.

    Comic Strips 
  • Calvin and Hobbes: Susie Derkins' name is commonly misspelled as "Suzie" with a Z.
  • Jucika (Little Judy) tends to be confused for the Hungarian version of Jessica due to the diminutive suffix -ka and mispronounced in all sorts of ways. It's actually YU-tsi-ka or YU-tzi-ka, composed of the very common name Juci (Judy or Julie) and -ka (little). Japanese sometimes nickname her "Jucika-chan" but "-ka" is basically the equivalent of the honorific "-chan", so the correct version would be "Juci-chan", "Judit-chan" or "Júlia-chan". For the record, the Hungarian version of Jessica is "Dzsesszika", a name that only came into use decades after the comic had ended.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: Some people think that the magic carpet's name is Carpet. While Aladdin does address it as "carpet" a couple of times, that's more the equivalent of saying, "Hello, cat" to your cat; the carpet itself isn't offically named Carpet.
  • Beauty and the Beast: The Beast/Prince being named "Adam" goes beyond Fanon, as many would tell you that it comes from the filmmakers themselves. In fact, the DVD commentary merely notes that they forgot to name him, and Disney has generally refused to call him anything else. "Adam" did become Ascended Fanon into one or two obscure pieces of merchandise, however, and more notably to the live-action remake.
  • In Brave, thanks to the heavy Scottish accents of the entire cast — particularly Billy Connolly, who says the name most often — many casual fans hear the name of Queen Elinor as "Helena".
  • The protagonist of Happy Feet is named Mumble. Many viewers misheard and think he's named "Mambo". Others apparently heard it correctly only some of the time, leading to the common misconception that his name was originally Mambo but he gained the nickname Mumble upon the discovery that he can't sing. Putting aside the fact that his bad singing is more screechy than mumbly, he's actually called Mumble from the moment he's born, because he can be heard mumbling from inside his egg. "Mambo" proponents point to a moment in which a crowd is chanting Mumble's name and he tries to redirect them into chanting "Mambo" instead — a callback to the adelie penguins chanting "mambo" earlier in the film. If in fact Mumble was trying to adopt Mambo as a new nickname, he didn't succeed.
  • The Incredibles: As well as people assuming the family's last name is "Incredible", some people believe the mother's superhero name is "Mrs. Incredible" because her husband's name is Mr. Incredible. It's actually Elastigirl. She did take her husband's surname when they married, but that surname is "Parr"; she didn't adapt her superhero alias to his. One character does start to call her "Mrs. Incredible" before being cut off, but the person in question likely didn't realize she was Elastigirl due to her costume (which looked more like Mr. Incredible's old costume than hers). It doesn't help that a lot of merchandise refers to the character as "Mrs. Incredible" due to trademark issues stemming from the fact that DC Comics has a character named Elasti-Girl.
  • A number of fans of Rango misinterpret the film's IMDB page, crediting lead actor Johnny Depp as playing "Rango / Lars", to mean that the protagonist's name was Lars before he took on the identity of Rango. The film's actual credits will show that Rango is billed first, while Lars, also voiced by Depp, is buried among the minor characters — Lars is in fact the Raoul Duke-like gentleman the nameless protagonist very briefly encounters near the film's beginning. The hero's name before he became Rango, or indeed if he even had one, is a mystery with no answer.
  • Sleeping Beauty: Many children and adults mistakenly think Briar Rose — a.k.a. Princess Aurora — is actually named Sleeping Beauty. This is despite the fact that the three good fairies repeatedly call her Rose for a large portion of the movie, and they had a whole song where they say "Aurora" three times! The phrase "sleeping beauty" never even gets mentioned in the entire film.
  • Turning Red
    • Meilin Lee goes by Mei most of the time so some people assume her name is Mei Lin.
    • Her mother Ming has also seen "Ming Lee" interpreted as being her given name rather than her full name.
  • In Up, the main dog character is named Dug, but some people assume it's Doug or Dog.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In the Dune franchise, it's common to refer to Paul Atreides' mother as Lady Jessica Atreides. This is even what appears in the credits of Dune (2021). Her name is simply Lady Jessica, or Lady Jessica of House Atreides, but Atreides is not her last name because she and Paul's father Duke Leto Atreides aren't married. She's typically referred to as his concubine.
  • The protagonist of Fight Club played by Edward Norton is often assumed to be named Jack because of his monologues starting with "I am Jack's [body part/emotion]". In actuality, the protagonist has no official name. In the comic sequel, he goes by Sebastian, though it's implied to be him changing his name.
  • Ghostbusters (1984): Some viewers think Egon's last name is "Spangler", despite it being written on his nametag and his locker. It's "Spengler".
  • Godzilla (1998): Confusion over the titular monster's name comes not from the movie itself but the discourse surrounding it. Ever since the 2004 film Godzilla: Final Wars re-branded the design as just "Zilla", monster film fans have been arguing that this is the creature's official name, to the point that some get mad at people for still calling it Godzilla. Due to legal matters, both the Godzilla and Zilla names are attached to the design, but the 1998 character is still officially categorized as a version of Godzilla. Zilla is a different character in a legal sense, but a lot of people (reportedly at times even Toho Studios, who own Godzilla) use the two names interchangeably as they're essentially the same monster. The main sticking point is that in media and products tied to the 1998 movie, the design legally has to be called Godzilla. If the monster shows up in post-2004 media and products not directly tied to said film, its name is Zilla.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service: Many fans assumed that Eggsy's half-sister's name was Daisy. She wasn't actually given a name in the film (in the comics series, her name was Rian). Eggsy does say the line "Oh, my days" when remarking on how big she's grown, which may have been misheard. The official novelization of Kingsman: The Golden Circle did eventually name her as Daisy, however.
  • Viewers of The Muppet Movie who never watched The Muppet Show may come away thinking the giant brown-furred Muppet monster is named "Jack". Milton Berle as Mad Man Mooney calls for him by that name and introduces him as "that's my jack". But this is actually a gag, and he is called such because it's his job to move cars around. Unfortunately, the punchline "Jack not name, jack job!" is a little hard to understand as spoken, and the monster's real name, Sweetums, is not actually said in that scene (Fozzie shouts it when Sweetums crashes through the movie screen at the very end of the film, but it's hard to notice). Sweetums is listed in the credits, but a casual viewer unaware of the character's Fluffy the Terrible name wouldn't be likely to make the connection.
  • Thanks to The Nostalgia Critic's review of The Purge, some people believe the purger Rhys Wakefield plays is named Henry. This character's name is never given, as he's simply credited as "Polite Purge Leader"; Henry is actually the name of Zoey's boyfriend.
  • The main character of The Shining isn't named "Johnny", despite his extremely well-known line "Here's Johnny!" (taken from the film's most iconic scene) strongly implying this. His actual name is Jack Torrance, but he is frequently called "Johnny" by people who haven't seen the film. It doesn't help that not only are Jack and Johnny both derivatives of the name John, but most modern audiences don't realize that the line is a reference to The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.
  • Christopher Mintz-Plasse's character in Superbad, Fogell, is more commonly known by the name he gave himself on his fake ID: McLovin.
  • Names in Star Wars films tend to be rather evocative, whether of real names or concepts, so casual viewers or non-viewers are often heard speaking of "Hans Solo" or "Dark Vader", to name a few. There's also a few people misspelling C-3PO's name as C-3P0; it's supposed to have a capital O, not a zero.

  • Aladdin: The protagonist's name gets very frequently misspelled as "Alladin".
  • Alice's Adventures in Wonderland:
    • The hatter character in the book was never referred to as the "Mad Hatter" by author Lewis Carroll. He's just the "Hatter". This confusion is derived from the phrase "mad as a hatter" a term that, contrary to popular belief, predates the Alice books.note 
    • The queen who grows roses, plays croquet, has a court of cards, and shouts "Off with their heads!" isn't the Red Queen. She's the Queen of Hearts. The Red Queen is an entirely different character in the sequel, Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There.
  • Barbapapa: Barbapapa's name comes from the French term for cotton candy, "Barbe à papa". Some people who don't know that think Barbapapa is spelled "Barbababa".
  • Harry Potter:
    • Some fans who haven't read up to Goblet of Fire, which tells you how to pronounce it, think Hermione Granger's first name is pronounced "Hermy-own", "Hermy-owny", "Hermy-oh-nay", "Hermy-uhn," "Her-my-nee," "Her-mah-nee," or even "Hermy-one". Her name is actually pronounced "Her-my-uh-nee".
    • Some think that Harry is short for Hadrian, Percy is short for Percival, and Ginny is short for Virginia. Actually, Harry and Percy aren't nicknames, while Ginny is short for Ginevra.
  • The Lord of the Rings: Some casual fans think that Legolas's surname is "Greenleaf". "Greenleaf" is simply an English translation of his first name (Sindarin laeg = "green" and golas = "collection of leaves").
  • Les Misérables:
    • Jean Valjean's name is sometimes mistakenly written as "Jean Val Jean" in pop culture, as if "Jean" were his surname and "Val" were a middle name.
    • Marius's name is usually mispronounced by English speakers either as "MAH-ree-us" or as the British-sounding "MERRY-us." Most productions of the musical pronounce it the latter way, due to the Original Cast Precedent of the 1985 London cast. Its authentic French pronunciation (which admittedly sounds strange in English, especially without a French "r") is "Mahr-YOOS."
  • Jane, the daughter of Wendy in Peter Pan, best known for her starring role in Disney's Return To Never Land, is often called Jane Darling by fans, overlooking the fact that, as a woman living in the early 20th century, Wendy most certainly took her husband's name and Jane has this unknown surname as well.
  • Pride and Prejudice: Elizabeth Bennet's nickname is spelled "Lizzy," not "Lizzie," and her surname is "Bennet," not "Bennett." Mr. Darcy's name is also sometimes misremembered as "D'Arcy," though thankfully not as often.
  • The Denali clan from Twilight are so named because they live in Denali, Alaska. Many fans missed this and believe Denali to be their surname, a misconception that actually made its way into the film adaptations. Most vampires in the series, apart from the Cullens, have Only One Name and covens are named for their place of residence, but fans sometimes use the coven names as placeholders for surnames. This sometimes works—for instance, the Volturi are so named because they live in Volterra, but they do seem to treat Volturi as a family name of sorts—but other times, such as referring to Stefan of the Romanian coven as Stefan Romanian, not so much.
    • As for the author of Twilight, her first name is Stephenie, not Stephanie.
  • In The Ugly American, the titular "Ugly American", Homer Atkins, is a positive example of Americans working in foreign aid programs. He not only comes up with practical inventions that can be made with local materials, but also does so while treating the Sarkhanese he works alongside as his equals. However, since the book came out, the term "Ugly American" has been applied to those who are the opposite of Atkins when it comes to how they behave overseas. Because of this, some people believe the eponymous "Ugly American" refers to one of the other, more negatively-portrayed, American characters in the book.
  • Winnie the Pooh: Some people think that Winnie-the-Pooh's full name is Winnie The Pooh, with "Winnie" as a first name and "Pooh" as a last name. Actually, his real name is Edward Bear, and "Winnie-the-Pooh" is a nickname. Sometimes he gets called "Pooh", but you can never call him just "Winnie" as that's a girl's name.
  • Wuthering Heights: Many people wrongly assume that "Heathcliff" is spelled "Heathcliffe," presumably because "-cliffe" is sometimes a real-world surname suffix (e.g. in "Radcliffe"). Some people also misremember his beloved Catherine Earnshaw's nickname as "Kathy" or "Cathie" instead of "Cathy."

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Addams Family: Anyone who refers to the original series' version of Uncle Fester as "Fester Addams" is mistaken. He's Morticia's uncle, and therefore not an Addams. However, most later installments of the franchise retcon him into Gomez's brother, making him Fester Addams after all.
  • The Beverly Hillbillies:
    • Some sources refer to Irene Ryan's character in as "Granny Clampett." She is actually Jed Clampett's mother-in-law and her character's name is Daisy Moses.
    • Many people believe that Max Baer Jr.'s dim-witted character, Jed's nephew, is named "Jethro Clampett", despite his real name, Jethro Bodine, being used on many occasions.note  One of the more notable offenders is Berkeley Breathed, who had a character in his strip who preferred such men cite "Jethro Clampett" as the ultimate example of a big stupid hunk.
  • Doctor Who: In addition to the whole "show title = protagonist's name" assumption, some people think that the Doctor's actual name is "Doctor" or "The Doctor", when it's actually more of a title — this wasn't helped by the fact that the show's end credits clearly called him "Doctor Who" for the first eighteen years. Other people think his name is Theta Sigma, but that's just an Embarrassing Nickname he had at school. His real name is unknown, and it's said to be dangerous if a human were to find out.
  • Many people call Dave Coulier's character from Full House "Uncle Joey." In fact, he is just called "Joey" by everyone and he is not anyone's uncle. The confusion likely comes from the fact that, as Danny's best friend, he's an Honorary Uncle; meanwhile, one of the other main characters, Jesse, actually is an uncle and called "Uncle Jesse" by his nieces. Some people misremembered who was addressed as such.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • For the first few seasons, it was common for people to misinterpret Daenerys's name as Khaleesi, the Dothraki word for the wife of a khal roughly equivalent to queen, as that is how she is most often addressed by others. It was such a pronounced effect that there was a wave of babies named Khaleesi, not Daenerys. She was also frequently referred to as "Daenerys Stormborn", which viewers may interpret as her middle name, but is actually just a nickname as she was born during a storm.
    • In the early seasons, there was confusion about what Cersei's name was–HBO referred to her as Cersei Baratheon (as the consort of Robert Baratheon), while later seasons cemented that she was Cersei Lannister (her birth name). The implication in the novels is that while women in the Seven Kingdoms usually take their husband's last name, the royal dynasty only passes on its name by birth, not marriage.
    • Varys is often referred to as "Lord Varys", which also happens in-universe. As he explains in one episode, he's not actually a lord, which is a hereditary title that signifies one owns lands and/or a castle. He's often referred to as such as a courtesy for his position on the small council.
    • Several fans call Gendry "Gendry Waters" given that "Waters" is the surname for high born bastards in the Crownlands. However, the surnames are for acknowledged bastards. Gendry's father Robert Baratheon never acknowledged him and, by all accounts, didn't even know that Gendry existed. Gendry certainly didn't know of his parentage until well after Robert's death. So therefore, Gendry didn't have a last name until he gained Baratheon in the eighth season after being legitimized by Daenerys. (And just to add to the confusion, he states that before he was legitimized his name was Gendry Rivers, the bastard surname of the Riverlands, an area with which he has no association.)
    • Sandor "The Hound" Clegane is occasionally referred to as Ser Sandor Clegane (even in merchandise sold on George R.R. Martin's official site!), a title indicating that one is a knight. Clegane is likely referred to as this as a courtesy after being appointed to the Kingsguard, for which knighthood is typically required, though he has steadfastly refused to be knighted and holds much contempt for knighthood after seeing many knights, particularly his brother Ser Gregor, butcher the innocent when they're supposed to be symbols of honor and glory.
    • Many characters have discordantly normal English names or close to them, the latter resulting in a few examples such as believing Joffrey to be named Jeffrey.
  • In Get Smart:
    • Some people think Siegfried's assistant is named Shtarker. Actually, it's Starker— the confusion comes from the fact that Siegfried, who is the one who commonly addresses Starker, has a lateral lisp.
    • Agent 99 once claimed her real name was Susan Hilton, but that was just an alias. Nevertheless, some people think that's her name.
  • The riffs in episode 6x11 of Harry Hill's TV Burp on the LivingTV series The Real Extras included a man who seemed to cite his major influences as "Jane-Claude Van Damme" and "Fester Stallone."
  • The Munsters: Grandpa, who is Lily's father, is actually named Vladimir "Sam" Dracula. There is no character named "Grandpa Munster", which would refer to Herman's (never seen) adoptive father. When the 2022 film version was released, most news articles still referred to his character as "Grandpa Munster" which was now wrong on two levels, as the film is a prequel set before he is anyone's grandfather (in the film he's credited as "The Count").
  • Applies to Boycie in Only Fools and Horses thanks to his first and middle names hardly ever being used (even his wife just calls him "Boycie"). His middle name is revealed as "Aubrey" in the episode "Sickness and Wealth", although audience laughter obscures his full explanation, leading some to assume that that's his first name. Said first name is either "Terence" (as seen on a contract in "Strangers on the Shore") or "Herman" (as given by the vicar when he and Marlene remarry in the spin-off series The Green Green Grass).
  • Happens sometimes In-Universe on Mystery Science Theater 3000. For instance, in Gamera vs. Guiron, the main adult character Kondo is referred to by the kid characters as Kon-chan, which Joel and the bots somehow mishear as "Cornjob".
    • Thanks to a sketch in which Crow played Art Garfunkel, a young girl who wrote into the show thought that Crow's name was Art. This later became a running gag when Pearl Forrester became a regular character and repeatedly called Crow "Art".
  • In Parks and Recreation, the name of Jean-Ralphio is extremely often assumed by viewers to be "John Ralphio", given that they're pronounced the same and Jean is a much more unusual name (and the hyphen in his name cannot be heard in spoken language).
  • Star Trek:
    • Spock is always addressed as Mr. Spock, or sometimes by his rank (Commander in the series, Captain in the movies), never Dr. Spock. That’s likely the result of people getting the character confused with the real life physician Dr. Benjamin Spock.
    • While everyone knows how to spell Data's name, some people think "dah-tuh" is an acceptable pronunciation, which he debunks in an episode. Linguistic Note 
    • B'Elanna Torres has a Klingon first name, and so some people think it's spelt B'Lanna or Be'Lanna.
    • When The Next Generation first started broadcasting, there was some confusion over Will Riker's first name, with some people thinking he went by Bill. Troi does call him Bill a few times, but only in the first few episodes, and it seems to be a term of endearment that only she uses. This mistake even made it into some of the first licensed Next Generation novels. His last name is also sometimes misspelled as "Ryker".
    • Deanna Troi's surname is sometimes misspelled as "Troy", and her first name is sometimes mistaken as "Deana", "Diana", or even "Dreanna".
    • Some viewers unfamiliar with Japanese names think Hoshi Sato's first name is Yoshi, Toshi, or Hoshy. Additionally, some people call her "Ensign Hoshi", but "Hoshi" is her given name, so it's actually "Ensign Sato".
    • Worf's name is sometimes misspelled as Warf.
    • Chekov's first name is Pavel, but some people think it's Pavlov. In addition, some people misspell his surname as "Chekhov", possibly due to the trope Chekhov's Gun.
  • Star Wars, The Mandalorian:
    • A Mandalorian is a person associated with the planet Mandalore; though often referred to as this, the titular character's actual name is Din Djarin.
    • Similarly, we have Grogu, officially "the Child" before his name was revealed, who was often colloquially referred to as "Baby Yoda" in the media, which is a bit weird because Yoda was the name of another individual of the same species, not the species itself. This would be like referring to any human infant as a "Baby Luke". Admittedly calling him "Baby Yoda" is partially because Yoda's species name has never been revealed in any Star Wars media. Nevertheless, even since the reveal, many people (usually not actual fans) still call him "Baby Yoda" and this nickname tends to confuse new viewers of the show, who think that Grogu really is Yoda when he was a baby.

  • Songdrops: "The Superman Song" has an in-universe example. The singer has only seen the Harry Potter movies without reading the books, and so can't spell Hermione, misspelling her name as Hermionee, Hermyone, Hermionie, and Hermionne.
  • Eminem's running joke of dissing the Unacceptable Target Christopher Reeve by calling him "Christopher Reeves" (to show he doesn't even care enough to get his name right) led to other rappers assuming 'Reeves' was his real name and using him in their own bad-taste jokes - as a quick search of the appellation on Genius will show you.
  • English-speakers first discovering Russian singer Elvira T often mispronounce her first name as "el-vye-ruh" instead of the correct pronunciation "el-veer-uh".

    • To avoid a potential lawsuit about misusing names and expressions from Polynesian cultures, LEGO had to change some names, though in most cases they tried to keep the same pronunciation. These include Jala to Jaller, Hali to Hahli, Maku to Macku, Huki to Hewkii and Puku to Pewku. Other names also changed for trademark reasons, like Akmu to Ahkmou, Orkan to Orkahm, Nuri to Nuhrii, etc. These alterations caused some confusion, especially since older media weren't always updated with the new names. Jaller is one of the oddest, as he's officially still pronounced "Jal-luh" but some say it with an "-er" at the end.
    • There's also the fictional sport koli which officially became kolhii but is often misspelled as kohli, perhaps because of people thinking it followed the same logic as Hali becoming Hahli.
    • The two bird species Kahu and Kewa (confusingly also called Goko-Kahu) were de-canonized and replaced with a third version named Gukko for legal reasons. Then they were placed back into canon with the explanation that they're different members of the same species. So technically all four names are correct but for a few years they could only be named Gukko. This mix-up was even given a nod in a tie-in book which suggested Gukko is actually an incorrect term for these birds.
    • Dume is often misinterpreted as Duma due to the way it's pronounced in the second movie. Some simply call him Doom, partially due to the Ultimate Dume toy set, a clear wordplay on "Ultimate Doom" and an alter-ego of Makuta Teridax who masqueraded as Dume for a time in the fiction.
    • Teridax himself is usually called Makuta or "The Makuta" because his true name was only revealed near the end of the series. Makuta is his species and title. Fans who stopped keeping up with the franchise after its first few years are often baffled to find out it wasn't his actual name. Muddying up matters, the book that revealed his name also misspelled it as "Teridak" in one chapter.
    • Graalok refers to only one particular Ash Bear, but the bonuses on first movie's DVD suggests it's the name of the species.
    • Carapar's name was originally going to be Karapar, and is misspelled as such on his building manual.
    • Five of the six Rahaga have their prototype names listed on their building manuals (Tahkon instead of Norik, Lahka instead of Iruini, Nuukor instead of Bomonga, Kuuls instead of Kualus and Puks instead of Pouks). Thus these incorrect names show up in some less well researched databases and toy auction listings.
    • Bionicle has dozens of names ending in -ak, -ahk, -akh, -ok, -ohk or -okh, which are routinely mixed up, sometimes even written as -ack or -ock. Particular offenders are Lehvak, Lerahk, Keerakh and Keelerak, characters with no relation to each other despite the similar names, each following a different spelling rule. Then, there is Kollorak the Keelerak, a name invented purely for the third film that many fans originally thought was a mistake as they had gotten so used to mispronunciations.

    Video Games 
  • There has been a lot of confusion over what Toko Fukawa's alternate personality in Danganronpa is named. The games mostly settled on "Genocide Jack" (with a brief blip of "Genocide Jill" in the first game), the anime uses "Genocider Sho", and a single image in the 2020 mobile port of the first game spells it "Genocider Syo". The latter two are transliterations of the Japanese name. All of this led to trouble in the fandom; if the franchise can't settle on one name, how can the fans?
  • Due to the lack of voice acting and avoiding saying their given name, the main protagonists of Final Fantasy IX and Final Fantasy X, Zidane and Tidus respectively, are often pronounced incorrectly. The former is "Zih-DAHN" like the footballer; the latter is "Tee-dus".
  • In Kingdom Hearts II, the Significant Anagrams that make up the names of every member of Organization XIII — their original name plus the letter X — was first established in a report that mentioned Ansem's six apprentices, the first hint that they were the first six members of the Organization. Unfortunately, this was missed in the first translation, which rendered Braig's name as Bleig, Dilan's name as Dilin, and Aeleus's as Eleus. Fans of the series quickly realized what was actually going on, and the mistake was fixed in re-releases, but before then, many fans incorrectly guessed where the "a" went in Aeleus's name, so to this day many fans call him "Elaeus". It's also taken for granted that Demyx's true name was "Myde", when in fact he's one of two members of the Organization whose original name has not yet been established.
  • Kirby's Return to Dream Land has the ship captain Magolor, whose name is frequently mis-spelled as "Magalor" by Kirby fans. Even the developers aren't immune to this — Magolor's move set in Kirby Star Allies includes the ramming attack "Magalor [sic] Surge".
  • Most characters in the Mega Man (Classic) games start with an original Japanese name, and then receive a Dub Name Change when the games get localized into English. Some characters would receive a third "unofficial" name after their Japanese or localized names were misspelled or misinterpreted in manuals, strategy guides, and magazine articles. And then the games got cartoon adaptations in Captain N: The Game Master and Mega Man (Ruby-Spears), which imposed their own Adaptation Name Change to some characters. For example, Dr. Thomas Light (localized) is also known as Dr. Right (Japanese) and Dr. Wright (Captain N). This cause confusion early on, as which name someone knew which character by depended largely on which name they saw first.
    • Mega Man himself hasn't escaped this trope, his name being reused for the protagonists of three other series in the franchise. When discussing more than one of them, fans will dub them "Classic", "Volnutt", "EXE", and "Starforce" to differentiate them.
    • Mega Man X has been an ongoing source of confusion and frustration for fans since his SNES debut. Everyone in the games calls him "X", but his design strongly resembles his Classic predecessor, and his early games mislabeled him "MEGA MAN" in dialogue. This led to a lot of people outside the fandom—including Capcom's own marketing—confusing X with Classic for years. His full name being the series title also resulted in people misreading his first game's title as "Mega Man 10", the confusion for which lasted even after the release of the real Mega Man 10 in 2010.
    • The black-and-orange rival robot introduced in Mega Man 7 is named Bass. In this context, the character's name is pronounced "base", which refers to the lowest ranges in music and aligns with the series' music-based Theme Naming convention for the main robot characters. Mega Man 7 did not have voice acting to clarify this, so people not familiar with this naming convention would default to the literal pronunciation "bass", as in the fish. The next numbered entry in the series, which DID have voice acting, leads with a cutscene of Mega Man loudly addressing Bass by the latter pronunciation, which only confused people more and further fanned the flames of fan frustration.
  • Ninja Gaiden: The word "Gaiden" is pronounced "Guy-den", yet some fans think it's pronounced "Gay-den". This was spoofed on Angry Video Game Nerd.
  • Pokémon: Ninetales' name is frequently and incorrectly spelled "Ninetails" by fans.
  • You'd be surprised at how many Psychonauts fans have misspelled Dogen's name as "Dogan".
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Due to their similar designs (large eyes, green shells, green heads, rainbow mowhawks), and by extension, the fact that they were depicted as twins in The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 and Super Mario World, a not-insignificant number of fans used to think that Lemmy was the Koopaling with the glasses, while Iggy was the Koopaling who balanced on a beach ball and had a lazy eye, when it was actually the other way around. This may be why the two received the heaviest redesigns when The Bus Came Back for the Koopalings in New Super Mario Bros. Wii.
    • It's easy to think that the giant sword impaled in Bowser's Keep in Super Mario RPG is the Big Bad Smithy. You won't find out that's incorrect until you actually get there and target him during his boss battle near the end of the game, which reveals his name to be "Exor" instead. Even the game's US TV ad made this mistake, calling him "Smithy the Sword"; Smithy is an entirely different character and isn't a sword at all, though he doesn't make any appearances until you encounter him as the Final Boss.
  • Touhou Project:
    • The final boss of the ninth game's name is listed as "Shikieiki Yamaxanadu", causing some people to think Shikieiki is her first name and Yamaxanadu is her last name. Actually, the first word is her full name in Japanese order, so her first name is Eiki and last name is Shiki. Yamaxanadu is more of her job title, as she is the yama (judge of the afterlife) responsible for Gensokyo (which has been described as a paradise like Xanadu multiple times).
    • Some Western fans of Touhou mispronounce or misspell Marisa's name like the western name Marissa (also sometimes spelled Marisa), when it's actually a Japanese name written in kanji and pronounced "Mah-ree-sa".
  • WarioWare: Thanks to the song "Mona Pizza," more casual fans believe that "Pizza" is the character Mona's last name. In truth, she has no known last name, and the song is actually about a pizza joint of the same name, where she worked as a delivery girl and mascot in one game.

    Web Animation 
  • In RWBY:
    • Jaune's name is sometimes mistaken for being the mundane English name "John", which is very close in pronunciation. It's also often misspelled as "Juane", which would be pronounced "joo-an" if anything, or "Juan", which is a Spanish name pronounced "wan". Lampshaded in an early episode of Volume 7, in which Marrow, a new character, hits Jaune with both misspelled versions, presumably to let fans know how such misspellings would actually be pronounced.
    • Neopolitan's name is occasionally spelled "Neo Politan" or "Neapolitan". As her full name wasn't spoken onscreen in the first six volumes, nor was her English VA credited note , opportunities to see her name spelled in official media were few, far between, and inconsistent. Even after it was clarified officially, the alternate spellings see occasional fan use, not helped by "Neapolitan" being the actual spelling of the real word.
    • The name of the planet on which RWBY takes place was initially deduced by fans to be Vytal, on account of the Vytal Festival Tournament meant to promote unity between the world's nations. The fandom first learned that the world was actually called Remnant when creator Monty Oum himself went on the RWBY wiki and renamed the "Vytal" article to "Remnant".
  • Hazbin Hotel:
    • Many misspell/misrepresent Alastor's name, usually as something like Alastair, or a variant on it, which is actually an unrelated name.
    • Husk is addressed by name only once in the pilot... by Alastor, who calls him "Husker", so it's quite understandable that many believe Husker to be Husk's name, despite his response making it clear he doesn't like to be called that.
    • Similarly, Alastor introduces Niffty, whose Meaningful Name doesn't make it clear that it isn't simply spelled like the word "nifty".
  • Helluva Boss:
    • The main character is understandably hit with this a lot due to the very odd way he styles himself: he spells his name "Blitzo" but pronounces it "Blitz". Everyone who respects him follows suit, but the cast is full of characters who don't respect him and pointedly call him "Blitz-o". And since it's almost always written as such, some fans haven't quite cottoned on yet that pronouncing his name as spelled is Malicious Misnaming, his regular clarification that "the 'o' is silent" often being a very rapid-fire throwaway line. Fans have taken to spelling his name "Blitzø" to indicate the pronunciation he likes, with the "ø" representing an "o" that's been crossed out.
    • Loona's name is often misspelled as Luna, for the obvious reason of being the normal spelling of the name in real life.


    Web Original 
  • Neopets:
    • Some people think that Psellia is named the Air Faerie, Illusen or Iyana is the Earth Faerie, Fuhnah is the Fire Faerie, Nereid, Naia, or Marina is the Water Faerie, and Jhudorah, the Darkest Faerie, or Maelstra is the Dark Faerie. Actually, terms like "air faerie" and "dark faerie" refer to what sort of faerie the individual is, not her name. This confusion perhaps stems from the fact that some faeries are known as "The X Faerie", but even that's a title, not a name (for instance, the Snow Faerie's real name is Taelia).
    • Some people think the Darkest Faerie is named Jennumara, when actually those are two separate faeries (albeit both dark faeries).
    • Some players believe that the Uni who runs the pound is named Rose. Actually, that's just Fanon, popularised by a Neopian Times story.
    • Dieter's name is sometimes thought to be pronounced "diet-er". Actually, it's a German name, pronounced "deeter".
    • Juidah's name is pronounced "Jwee-dah", but is sometimes mispronounced as "Joo-ee-dah".
    • MAGAX's name is sometimes mispronounced with a hard "G". It's actually pronounced with a soft "G".
    • Some players think Taelia's name is pronounced "tay-lee-uh". It's actually "tee-lee-uh".
    • Vira's name is pronounced "Vera", but some mispronounce it as "vye-ruh".
  • Protectors of the Plot Continuum: In-Universe, if a character's name is misspelled, they will be replaced by, or appear next to, a small creature called a "mini".

    Web Videos 
  • Ben Drowned: It's a common mistake to refer to the character of BEN as "BEN Drowned", with "Drowned" acting as a surname of sorts; the character is actually just known as BEN, and the series is called Ben Drowned because, well... BEN drowned.

    Western Animation 
  • The Adventures of Teddy Ruxpin: People nostalgic for Teddy Ruxpin have had trouble searching for him online due to having believed since childhood that he was called "Teddy Ruck Spin".
  • Arthur: Some people think the titular aardvark's last name is Reed. It's not — it's Read.
  • ChalkZone: Some fans refer to Snap with the full name of "Snap White". "White" isn't Snap's actual last name; it was a Line-of-Sight Name Penny came up with while Snap was pretending to be an exchange student in "Snap Out of Water". Canonically, Snap doesn't have a last name.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Many fans have misspelled the kids' codenames as "Numbah" or "Number", when the canon spelling is "Numbuh".
  • Invader Zim: Understandably, fans assumed that Dib and Gaz's surname was "Membrane," since their father is Professor Membrane. However, Word of God originally said that "Membrane" is his first name, and that Dib et al. were intended to have Only One Name. The comic continuation and movie make "Dib Membrane" Ascended Fanon, however.
  • Jem:
    • Fans frequently assume that Kimber's name is a shortening for "Kimberly". Her name is just "Kimber", which a real but obscure name.
    • Ba Nee's Vietnamese name is frequently mistaken for "Bonnie". At least one official book even mistakenly called her that.
  • Young viewers of JoJo's Circus are prone to mishearing the name of Jojo's pet lion Goliath as The Lion.
  • The Loud House:
    • The Loud sisters all have names that start with L and exactly four letters in their name; this rule means some of their names have unorthodox spellings. Fans unaware of the four-letter rule assume Luan's name is spelt "Luann" or "Luanne", or Leni's spelt as "Lenny".
    • Some viewers think that the Loud sisters all have the middle name of "Marie". Actually, that's just the middle name the parents use on them when they're in trouble; only two are confirmed to actually have the middle name "Marie", while five others are confirmed to not, as they have the middle initial L.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Some fans think Zecora's name is Zacora, since the latter is an actual name.
    • Pincess Cadance will also be very often misspelled as "Cadence".
    • The name of Twilight Sparkle's doll is frequently spelled by fans as "Smartypants". It's two words — "Smarty Pants".
  • Many people believe that the protagonist of OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes is named OK K.O. His name is K.O., which is short for Kaio; OK K.O. is just the show title.
  • For some reason, some people think the last name of Phineas and Ferb character Dr. Heinz Doofenshmirtz is spelled "Doofenschmirtz", despite the fact that his name is written on the side of his building and is shown in almost every episode.
  • Rugrats:
    • Kimi has a Japanese name, short for Kimiko. It's frequently mistaken for a variation on "Kimmie", even on closed captioning.
    • Chuckie's name is sometimes spelled Chucky, confusing this spelling with that of the murderous doll from the Child's Play film series.
    • Chas Finster's nickname is sometimes spelt "Chaz", with a Z, by fans. This one is somewhat understandable, as the two are pronounced the same and many younger viewers aren't familiar with "Chas" being a shortened form of the name "Charles."
    • Some viewers think Dil's name is spelt Dill. For the record, it's short for Dylan.
  • Some people who don't know much about Scooby-Doo think Velma's name is Thelma.
  • The caveman racers in Wacky Races are known as the Slag Brothers, not the "Smash Brothers" which is the name of a popular video game series (Super Smash Bros.).
  • Winnie the Pooh: The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh has a minor character named Kessie, but some people assume she has the relatively more common name Cassie.
  • Some viewers of Wonder Pets! think Linny's name is "Lenny" and that she is a boy because she lacks any cartoon signifiers that she's female and one of the other characters has a Speech Impediment.

    Real Life 
  • Diana, Princess of Wales, was often incorrectly called "Princess Diana", which stemmed from her title of Princess of Wales as the wife of the Prince of Wales. This didn't allow her to precede her own given name with a princely title, as typically only princesses by birth, limited to daughters of the sovereign and selected male-line descendants, can use a princess title with their own given name.note  Diana herself was not the source of the error — her title before marriage was "Lady Diana", as she was the daughter of an earl, and she had no issue with simply being called that. It was more often American media which incorrectly titled her, being relatively unfamiliar with the nuances of the title "Princess of Wales" (Diana was the first person to hold the title since 1910, and the previous six holders were already princesses by birth).
    • Other non-royals to marry into the British royal family (like Sarah Ferguson, Catherine Middleton, and Meghan Markle) didn't/don't have this issue because they were/are titled as duchesses. Unlike princely titles, titles like duke, duchess, earl and countess never precede given names. However, there are cases of others being incorrectly referred to by inaccurate styles, such as "Duchess Kate" (her actual style, prior to her husband being made Prince of Wales, was Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge).
    • For ten years, Elizabeth II's husband Philip technically wasn't a prince but was still often referred to as Prince Philip. He was born a prince of Greece and Denmark but renounced his titles before their marriage in 1947. His name in the interim was Philip Mountbatten, and later "The Duke of Edinburgh" after he received the title from his father-in-law George VI. In 1957, Elizabeth made him a prince of the United Kingdom, allowing him to officially use the title "prince" before his name again.
    • The British royal family is The House of Windsor and it's not uncommon for royals to be incorrectly referred to with the name tacked on like a last name, e.g. "Prince Charles Windsor", "Prince William Windsor". Members with royal styles and titles (His/Her Royal Highness or Majesty) technically don't have a last name. If a last name is needed, it's more common to use a name derived from a title, e.g. Princes William and Harry used Wales as their last name in school and the military as the sons of the Prince of Wales. Only members without royal styles and titles use Windsor as a last name (officially Mountbatten-Windsor, though most only use the second half). Since the title of Prince is limited to male-line grandchildren of a monarch, the surname Windsor is used by more distant male-line descendants of past monarchs.
  • Genghis Khan is a title, not a name, meaning something like "universal ruler". His actual given name was Temüjin.
  • The given name of Santa Claus, the legendary figure based on Saint Nicholas, isn't Santa. Santa comes from the Dutch word for saint, "sinter," while Claus is a Dutch version of the given name Nicholas.