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Officer Dragooner Smith
at your service, sir.

"I've been giving thought to the idea of naming my child. It's a great responsibility, you know, choosing a right name. If I call him 'Zeus'...but that would cause problems of high expectation. Maybe I call him 'Offal'. That would cause problems of low expectation. Maybe I call him 'FIRE!' That would cause panic whenever someone calls his name; I would like this."

You know those Unfortunate NamesEmbarrassing First Names, Embarrassing Middle Names, Gender Blender Names, Tomboyish Names, names nobody can pronounce or spell, or that expose the bearer to ridicule by being punny — if not at home, then as soon as they venture abroad — and other things that drive people to seek refuge in deed polls or Last-Name Basis, or develop a Berserk Button? Let alone names that indicate exactly what the parents hope the child will become ("No, you may not skip your piano lesson, little Wolfgang Amadeus"), or give away their family background (class, parents' embarrassing choice of celebrity idols) in ways that expose them to all sorts of trouble when they venture into the wider world.

Suffice to say, somebody — usually but not invariably the parents — had to name them that way. They may have meant well. They may have done it out of family pride, or cluelessness, or not thinking about the unwanted Bilingual Bonus they're saddling the kid with. They may have named the kid after their favourite fictional character, politician or something even goofier. They may think having a bully magnet name will help the tyke build character. They may just hate kids. They may be rock stars, hippies or both, with child-naming habits to match. Or they might just have been hit with the fickle finger of fate when something happened after the child's birth to make the choice much less sensible in retrospect. (Being named Adolf in 1928 is one thing; being named Adolf now is another.)


At any rate, the effect is usually to make third parties ask the question: "Who calls their child that?", or in the more light-hearted cases, "I hope he inherited his parents' sense of humor." In extreme cases, may function as a Freudian Excuse, or lead to Calling the Old Man Out, or both. May induce a sense of being Cursed With Awesome or Blessed with Suck — let alone a whole bunch of problems if you've been saddled with a name to run away from really fast and it's not by your own choice. Even a name to trust immediately can lead to schoolyard jokes. In extreme cases, this trope may also lead others to decide that There Should Be a Law, which in a number of European countries there is, at least as far as the more obvious Unfortunate Names, names leading to Viewer Gender Confusion, or the use of surnames as first names. May also slightly stack the odds against the child's future success.


This might also extend to cases where the kid, however grown-up they get, is never allowed to shake off a family nickname that would only be cute on a toddler, though probably not to embarrassing nicknames acquired in other settings, such as school. Children with names fitting this trope may also take refuge in nicknames or titles.

Obviously, one person's Awesome McCoolname is another's Unfortunate Name, and things can get touchy for those of us who have been blessed with names we took a while to come to terms with, or are still working on.

Please note this is not just a matter of people/characters having Unfortunate Names — this applies only when there is an In-Universe reaction to the fact. Compare Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep", A Dog Named "Dog", A Lizard Named "Liz".

No Real Life examples that do not include some sort of official reaction to the name.

In-Universe Examples Only

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  • An ad for Colorbond steel roofing features a man who is obsessed over the product to the point that he named his children after colors that the roofing comes in. His daughter isn't very happy.
    Deep Ocean: How would you feel if you were named after a roof?
  • An Australian ad for Dare Iced Coffee has a man, Mr. Murray, name his newborn son "Callum". After drinking the coffee, he has several flashforwards of his son being called "calamari" and then opts for a different name.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In Shadow Star, there is Shiina, whose name means "a husk" or "a seed that will never flower". For this reason, Shiina always writes her name in katakana, which, unlike the original Chinese characters, don't carry explicit meaning. The name is questioned by other characters throughout the series. It is later revealed that her mother gave her that name because she didn't want Shiina to grow up and leave her as her other daughter did.
  • Durarara!!:
    • The not quite main character's parents figured they should give their kid an awesome name should he ever grow up to become famous or important, so they named him Mikado Ryugamine. In English, they named their kid Emperor of Dragon's Peak. This, of course, made him the target of endless jokes and taunting through the majority of his childhood, and nearly everyone feels the need to comment on just how pretentious his name sounds when they meet him.
    • Izaya (effectively named after the biblical prophet Isaiah) expresses similar sentiments about his name.
      Izaya: My parents are completely ordinary people. Except for when it comes to the taste in children's names, that is.
  • An interesting variant of this is the basis of one of the main gags in Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei. Intensely depressed protagonist Nozomu's family name of Itoshiki is made up of two kanji that, when written too closely together and combined with the kanji for his first name, look an awful lot like the word "despair". The other members of his family are all shown to have similarly easily-mistaken names as well, such as his Doctor brother whose name can be written as "Death". Better yet, it's heavily implied that the family patriarch does this with the sole reason that it amuses him!
  • In Saiunkoku Monogatari, the thirteenth child of the Ran clan is named Jyuusanhime, which just means "thirteenth princess." She's shown complaining about it in a flashback to her childhood friend Shiba Jin, who responds by giving her the Affectionate Nickname Hotaru ("firefly").
  • In Rave Master, King Gale Raregroove had...questionable taste in baby names. King's first son got the name Lucia, a Gender-Blender Name that means light — which would be an unremarkable detail if his son hadn't grown up to be the embodiment of evil with a dark-themed power. His stepbrother did not have it much easier, being named Deep Snow for how much it was snowing outside at the time of his adoption.
  • Ranma ½: We know exactly who would name a kid Pantyhose Taro — Panty Thief and all-around Dirty Old Man Happousai, that's who. And to make things worse, his village's laws say that only the godfather can choose a child's name, hence Pantyhose coming to Japan to try and have him change his name to Handsome Taro (never mind that everyone else finds it worse - if he's happy and will take Happousai away, then they aren't going to be pointing that out).
  • Dragon Ball:
    • Dragon Ball Z does this when the announcer at the World Martial Arts Tournament asks Android 18 if "Number Eighteen" is her real name. In the original, she says it doesn't matter, but in the English dub, she snarks that "My father was pretty dull." Though this was debunked entirely with Toriyama's reveal that "Android 18" really is just a title. Her real name is Lazuli.
    • In the original Dragon Ball series, the same announcer, as well as others, initially had problems pronouncing Goku's name when trying to read it (a Japanese person would probably guess "Mago Gosora" first when reading his name).
    • One of Gohan's classmates points out how ridiculous it is for someone to name their kid that (it's Japanese for rice or meal) when he first transfers in.
  • Lucy of Servant × Service's full name is *deep breath* Lucy Kimiko Akie Airi Shiori Rinne Yoshiho Chihoko Ayano Fumika Chitose Sanae Mikiko Ichika Yukino Reina Eri Ai Tamiko Chikage Emilia Julia Shizue Erina Chisa Yumeka Natsuki Ranran Rieko Setsuri Chikako Azumi Marina Hideko Chiaki Misaki Naomi Campbell Miku Yuka Masako Sachiko Nana Mutsumi Haruka Yuna Shimako Yukie Rin Sakura Kanna Wakana Hazuki Hanami Ruri Mihane Momoka Himari Nozomi Futaba Mayuyu Ayano. This is because her parents waited until the last minute on deciding her name and couldn't decide between their friends' suggestions, so they went with "all of the above." Lucy initially joins the civil service office with the intent of finding out which sloppy bureaucrat-approved this to make him or her pay.
  • A throwaway joke in Tenshi Nanka Janai has Midori imagining that she has three children. The ones she goes for are Princess, Buddy, and Eggplant.
  • Tenshichan To Akumakun is a manga about this. The main characters Tenshi, a Cute Bruiser who hates her name so much she punches anyone who says it, and Akuma, a boy who wants to be normal despite his name, meet and become friends due to their embarrassing names.
  • Doujin Work:
    • Owing to a misunderstanding, Justice believes Najimi has had a child and named it "Love Typhoon". He expresses surprise that the registry would let the name through.
    • Justice's name itself. He claims it's his only name.

    Comic Books 
  • Subverted in a Zatanna special. She wonders how an evil sorceress was able to avoid her spell when Zatanna used what she thought was the sorceress' true name, then suddenly realises that no one is born with a name like "Nimue Ravensong". Zatanna then goes in search of the sorceress' birth name.
  • The Clark Kents of Earth-Prime and Superman: Secret Identity were both named by parents with a weird sense of humour on worlds where Superman comics existed. The Clark Kent of Secret Identity is shown to be pretty tired of all the jokes. It actually works to his advantage a couple of times: he meets one Lois Chaudhari when friends set them up as a prank and they hit it off and ultimately get married, and the secret government agency searching for a strange flying man dismisses published author Clark Kent because it would just be too ridiculous.
  • In Knights of the Dinner Table, Johnny Kizinski names his youngest son Frodo after convincing his wife that it was the name of a relative of his from 'the old country' who died fighting the Russians. His wife is not happy when she learns the truth.
  • In either a Daredevil or Spider-Man comic book, when Franklin "Foggy" Nelson and Eugene "Flash" Thompson's respective girlfriends introduced them at a restaurant, both of them thought of this trope (but didn't say anything), unaware that the other goes by a nickname rather than their real first name:
    Foggy Nelson Thinking: What kind of name is "Flash?"
    Flash Thompson Thinking: Who names his son "Foggy?"
  • In The Desert Peach, the real name of Rosen Kavalier (the lover of the main character) is 'Melvin Gonville Ramsbottom'. His mother was a German prostitute, his father was an English customer. This leads to the following conversation when the big secret is revealed (slightly paraphrased)...
    Udo: 'Melvin'?
    Rosen: It was my father's name! Got a problem with that?
    Udo: No no no... But... 'Gonville'
    Rosen [rolling his eyes]: He was a British hero. He killed Zulus. He was deaf.note 
    Udo: 'Ramsbottom'. Does that mean what I think it...?
  • In Young Justice, when Robin (Tim Drake) finally gets Batman's permission to show his teammates his face, but not his real name, he tells them to call him "Alvin Draper," a pseudonym he often uses. Superboy immediately calls him out on this.
    Superboy: Oh, like any kid with that name would go by that. You'd say "Al" or "Vinnie." "Alvin" is a name for a chipmunk. Or a dork. Besides, you look more like a Mark. Or a Tommy...
Funnily enough, Bart has this reaction when he correctly guesses that his name is "Timmy Drake."
  • In Jem and the Holograms, Pizzazz makes fun of the fact that Clash's cousin's name is "Video". Like the others, though, "Video" is a Stage Name for a more normal name (Vivian); however, no one uses her real name.
  • Ex Machina: The sisters Journal and January have their names commented on fairly frequently.
  • One of the reasons The Flash villain Captain Cold hates his parents is because they gave him the name Leonard Snart.
  • One of the protagonists of Misspent Youths is named "Coyote Jones."
    Coyote Jones: I had weird parents.
  • The Wildstorm:
    • Kenesha rags on Cole Cash for being called Cole Cash.
    Your father named you "Cole Cash". We're all trying to meet that bar for sheer wit.
    • One of Project: Thunderbook's subjects settled down and had kids, one of them winds up named Percival Chang (mommy had a thing for King Arthur lore, see). John Lynch finds this more horrific than the man trying to crush his brain.
    "Percival Chang". What the hell's wrong with you?
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Search, in regards to Toph's student, The Dark One, both Sokka and Toph can't believe anyone would name their kid his real name: Moo-Chee-Goo-Chee-La-Poo-Chee the Third.. The answer to this is obvious since he's "The Third": his grandfather obviously decided that his suffering needed to be passed on to later generations.

    Fan Works 
  • In Empath: The Luckiest Smurf, because the Smurfs in that series reproduce physically, it's the parents that give their children such wonderful names based on a profession or a personality, though there are some exceptions like Duncan McSmurf.
  • In Justice Society of Japan, even Kyubey thinks that Ino Atom Nix has a bizarre name.
  • In Dirty Sympathy, Klavier and Apollo have this opinion of their names: Klavier jokes that he's glad that his parents named him in the living room and that they had a piano or he might have been Kaffeemaschine Gavin. Apollo feels that his name is really pretentious and with his name he should at least be taller and better-looking. When they learn each other's name, they both tell the jokes on their names to get over with.
  • In Diaries of a Madman, Navarone is actually named Anonymous. His older (past) self eventually starts using it in public — albeit with some embarrassment — but for Nav, even mentioning that name is a big honking Berserk Button.
  • In An Uncommon Witness, many people comment on Duck's unusual name. She says it was the idea of her eccentric grandfather and her mom went along to humor him. As she's very clumsy, many consider it a perfect name for her. The truth being, they called her "Duck" in honor of a duck's determination and perseverance in order to overcome life difficulties.
  • Seven Days in Sunny June: Comes up in a conversation between Sunset Shimmer and the rock star Screwball (her real name is Summer Violet).
    Screwball: "Hell, you can even call me by my real name if you want".
    Sunset: “I thought your name was Screwball.”
    Screwball: “Who names their kid Screwball? It’s actually a stage name, just like Screw Loose uses -– only Discord and Freebase use their real names."
  • From Kill la Kill AU, Meaningful Name, Ragyou seems to have this sentiment towards her name, but states "better to have had a name than to have had none at all." Considering how her mother was, this isn't unforeseen as to why she would think that and, to elaborate as to what her name means, it means "nothing to hide", "nude doll", or a kind of gauzy cloth or dawn (if you break the kanji down and read them separately). In the same story where her name was discussed, Ryuuko was upset at one of the alternate meanings of her name, until Ragyou explained that she was named "Ryuuko" after the meteor shower on the night she was born and, likewise, Nui lampshades this by pointing out that her name didn't sound like much of one; of course, the reason why is because she was named by her then-two-year-old older sister.
  • Pony POV Series:
    • Trixie, her siblings Mixie, Pixie, Nyxie, Lexy, Puck, and Robin, her mother Morgan, and her father Gorlois. Most ponies use proper nouns for names, so Twilight Sparkle gets confused by their names because they don't really mean anything. At one point, Pinkie Diane Pie asks her, "What's a Trixie? And what's a Morgan?" Trixie retorts, "What's a Diane?"
    • In Shining Armor's arc, they mention that ponies born and raised in places other than Equestria get names like Sarah, Max, Saria, etc. Shining Armor thinks it's weird.
  • RainbowDoubleDash's Lunaverse is a world that fears the sun. As a result of Corona's treachery, the sun and everything to do with it is taboo, to the point where ponies hide indoors at noon and gold is worthless since nopony wants Corona's metal. Given that, one has to wonder what the buck would drive a mother to name her filly Solar Flare.
  • "What Kind of Name is Hermione?," a Harry Potter Filk Song.
    "What kind of parents name their kid Hermione, anyway?"
    "Um, Muggles."
  • Escape From the Moon: In the sequel The Mare From the Moon, while listening to the story of Ponyville's founding (which involved the Apple family and the Rich family), Spliced Genome wonders to herself "Who in their right mind would give their foal the first name Stinking?"
  • The Technological Technicolor Technomare: Late in the story, Tony and Pepper's son is named Howard Awesome Stark. It's noted that Pepper would never live down agreeing to let Rainbow Dash choose her baby brother's middle name.
  • This comes up in Invisible Sun when Dexter asks his parents if he can go out of state to Townsville again. Dexter doesn't know Professor Utonium's name, but his parents think that "Professor" is his first name. They think it's an odd name, which causes Dexter and DeeDee to glance at one another because their names are unusual:
    "Have we met him, honey?" asked his mother, passing him a plate of chicken.
    "N-no," he admitted, taking the smallest piece of chicken he could see. Nothing about the meal appealed to him. It wasn't that he was finicky, it was just that his mother had a knack for dehydrating chicken. "I met him while you were in Portland. The family name is Utonium."
    "Oh?" asked his mother, intent on pouring herself some juice. "What's his first name?"
    Dexter blinked, realizing he had no idea. Blithely he handed his mother the rolls to distract her as he said, "Professor."
    "That's an odd name," commented his father. Mom hummed in agreement.
    Dexter met DeeDee's eyes across the table and they shared a moment of understanding. Their parents were a pair to talk about odd names, considering their choices for their children.''
  • This comes up in My Sister Leni when a woman questions Leni's rare (for a girl) name and unusual spelling:
    "Who on Earth would name their baby girl Leni?" Eileen thought to herself, "It's not even a nickname! Why couldn't it be something easier to spell, like Helen?"
  • The Great Alicorn Hunt: One of the original characters introduced in the Windy City arc is a zonkey (his father was a zebra; his mother was a donkey) who goes by "Zonk". When he and the rest of his friends have been arrested, a watchzebra filling out his paperwork asks for his name, and when told "Zonk", asks for "Real name, kid." Zonk recites his real name in Zebrabwayan, which translates as "Copyright 988, All Rights Reserved". The watchzebra is not amused, thinking he's making it up, but is more understanding after Zonk gives him a short version of how it happened (the long version, given earlier, is that his mother read a book of zebra baby names, but mistook a phrase on the copyright page for one of the actual names, thinking it sounded exotic and writing it on the birth certificate before her husband could stop her).
  • Upon meeting in Speed and Purpose, Porker Lewis asks Sonic whether that's really his name. Sonic replies by asking Porker Lewis whether "Porker" is really his name. In actuality, both are chosen names.
  • Remnant Inferis: DOOM: The Doom Slayer's real name is "William Joseph 'B.J.' Blazkowicz III". Several characters ask what kind of stupid name is that. The Slayer usually replies, "My name!"
  • Some Rise of the Guardians fics, especially Transplanted Character Fics, comment on the Big Bad having a silly name. Like this one:
    Jack: Pitch Black. Now I don't much care about the Black part, that's common enough, but who names their kid Pitch?
  • Fresh Blood:
    • Roxy mocks Stormer's name Mary as "too soft". She also says that Pizzazz's name "Phyllis" is even worse sounding.
    • Jetta's bandmate Allie calls her name, Sheila, "wimpish", prompting Jetta to reveal her stage name.
  • Servants of Remnant: Servants from Fate/Grand Order wind up in the world of RWBY. Whenever the Servants introduce themselves with their real names, someone says their names are weird.
  • In Warriors Kingdoms: The Prophecy Begins, Ross calls Graie's parents uninspired because his name translates to just "Gray".
  • Realm of Entwined Science and Sorcery - Academy City: Index introduces herself with her full name, Index Librorum Prohibitorum. Ritsuka, Mash, and Dr. Roman ask what kind of name is that.
  • The Pokémon Squad: Brock's Cousin's name is literally "Brock's Cousin". His grandfather is named "Grandpa Harrison".
  • In Turtles, Koume finds it quite odd that the Oarai Academy student council's parents named them Anzu, Momo and Yuzu- names meaning apricot, peach and citrus, respectively. This is in spite of the fact that Koume's own name means "little plum" in Japanese.

  • In the 2012 adaptation of The Lorax, the Once-ler's name actually is Once-ler, despite having two brothers named Brett and Chet. This is in contrast to the original, where Once-ler is hinted to be more of a title/nickname/species than anything; in the film, this just shows how he is The Un-Favourite.
  • In The Iron Giant:
    Kent Mansley: Hogarth? What an embarrassing name. Might as well call him Zeppo or something. What kind of sick person would name a kid Hoga-...
  • Nutsy from Disney's animated Robin Hood:
    Sheriff: Criminitly, now I know why yer momma calls ya "Nutsy".
  • In The Little Mermaid, Eric tries to guess Ariel's name since she's now The Speechless and can't just tell him. His first guess is "Mildred." When she makes a face, he just laughs and says "Okay, no!"
  • In Tarzan, young Terk is not impressed when Tarzan's adoptive mother decides to name him that. Then she shrugs and says, "...okay, it's your baby."
  • In The Breadwinner, Sweet Polly Oliver Parvana uses "Aatish" as her male pseudonym. She likes its meaning, "fire," but it's not an actual name, so it gets a few comments.
  • In Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, at one point, Wolf asks who names their kids "Hansel" and "Gretel".
  • Storks: Junior, in a moment of sympathy to Tulip, lets her name the baby. He immediately regrets allowing her to name the baby Diamond Destiny.
    Junior: Ok, I've changed my mind you can't name her.
    Tulip: Too late! Her name is Diamond Destiny!

  • Kat has this reaction in Casper upon finding Stretch, Fatso and Stinkie’s bedroom (their names were on their beds).
    Kat: Man, they had cruel parents. Wonder where Doc and Dopey sleep.
  • Go Tell the Spartans: Private Abraham Lincoln, whose drug addiction is speculated to come from frustration over his name.
  • In Meet the Parents, "Greg" is short for "Gaylord," which would have been quite bad enough even if his last name weren't Focker. The question of what kind of parents would saddle a kid with that name comes up at the end of the movie when his brother-in-law asks if his name really is "Gay Focker", and is answered in the sequel — they're hippies. They even call him "Gay" for short. He has cousins called Randy and Horny.
  • In Top Gun:
    Blackwood: I'm Charlotte Blackwood.
    Maverick: I'm Maverick.
    Blackwood: Did your mother not like you?
    Maverick: No, it's my call sign.
  • Discussed in Hatchet II by unfortunately named men Chad and Cletus.
  • In the documentary Comedian, a number of people react when aspiring comic Orny Adams gives his name, some not even believing that it's real.
  • In the Steve Martin film Parenthood, his younger brother has an illegitimate son named Cool. No one quite knows what to make of this fact when he brings the kid home.
  • In Shotgun Stories, the first three sons of an abusive alcoholic are named Son, Boy, and Kid. After he sobered up and found religion, he had several more sons with normal names.
  • James Bond:
    • In Diamonds Are Forever:
      Plenty: Hi, I'm Plenty!
      Bond: But of course you are.
      Plenty: Plenty O'Toole.
      Bond: Named after your father perhaps?
    • In The World Is Not Enough, Dr. Christmas Jones warns Bond immediately upon introducing herself not to make any jokes because she's heard them all already. Bond demurs that he doesn't know any doctor jokes (which doesn't stop him from going for the low-hanging fruit anyway at the end of the film).
    • In Casino Royale (2006), upon learning that his new coworker's name is Vesper Lynd, which sounds like "West Berlin."
      Bond: I do hope you gave your parents hell for that.
  • In Get on the Bus, Flip refuses to believe one of his fellow passengers is really named "X" — not that he doubts people give their kids dumb names (he claims to know a guy named Porcupine), but one damn letter? Get real. He's right; X is short for Xavier. This conversation gets X to wondering what kind of mom names her son "Flip", but that's not his real name either; his first name is Phillip, but he's an actor and "Flip" is his stage name.
  • Discussed in Yojimbo regarding the gang leader Ushitora. Apparently he was born during Lunar New Year as the Year of the Cow (Ushi) became the Year of the Tiger (Tora) and his parents thought it would be a good idea to just name him after both. It's implied that this is a part of why he has a Hair-Trigger Temper.
  • In Back to the Future Part III, Marty introduces himself to Buford Tannen as "Eastwood, Clint Eastwood.", to which Buford says, "What kinda stupid name is that?".
  • In The Lost Boys, Michael has this reaction when introduced to a girl named Star.
    Michael: Oh, your folks too, huh?
    Star: What do you mean?
    Michael: Ex-hippies. I came this close to being called Moon Beam or Moon Child or something.
  • In Three the Hard Way: Mister Keys is stopped by a police officer who demands to see his driver's license, leading to this exchange:
    Cop: Mister Keys? Now what kind of first name is that? Mister?
    Mister Keys: My mama wanted people to show me respect.
  • Played for Drama in Star Trek (2009) when George Kirk, who is about to ram his ship into Nero's and die heroically, and his wife, who just birthed their son, are trying to decide what to call him. She suggests naming him after George's father, but George says it's the worst name and suggests naming him after her father, Jim. James Kirk ends up with Tiberius as his middle name.
  • Snatch. had a British main character named Turkish. It is explained in the opening narration.
    Turkish: My name is Turkish. Funny name for an Englishman, I know. My parents to be were on the same plane when it crashed. That's how they met. They named me after the name of the plane. Not many people are named after a plane crash.
  • When Evil Calls: This is the janitor's opinion of the unseen student he spins his tale of horror to:
    "What kind of stupid name is Guggenheim?!"
  • Vamps: When Stacy finally realizes how old Goody is, she smiles and asks her if she really thought people still named their daughters Goody.
  • Creed II: When Adonis tells Rocky that he and Bianca decided to name their daughter Amara, Rocky thinks that name is strange and asks why they didn't pick a normal name like Kate. Adonis goes, "You know she'll be black, right?"
  • Inverted in The Big Lebowski, where the main character insists that everyone call him "the Dude" instead of his legal name (Jeff Lebowski). The movie's Lemony Narrator finds this unusual.
    "The Dude". Now that's the kind of name nobody will self-apply where I come from.

  • This joke:
    Boy: My mother's name is Laughing and my father's name is Smiling.
    Teacher: You must be kidding.
    Boy: No, that's my sister's name. I'm Joking.
  • One day, a burglar breaks into a house. As he's looting everything in sight, he hears a voice say "Jesus is watching you." When the burglar looks to the source of the voice, he finds a parrot. "Did you say that?" The burglar asks. "Yep." The parrot answers "I'm just trying to warn you." The burglar relaxed "Warn me, huh? Who in the world are you?" "Moses." The parrot answers again. "Moses?" The burglar laughed "What kind of weirdo would name a bird Moses?" "The kind of weirdo that would name a rottweiler, Jesus." The parrot squawked out loud.

  • Bat in Gun Machine. He blames it on parents in The '80s, and when a character asks what it's short for, he answers, "Batmobile."
  • In Good Omens
    • This is basically Mr. Young's reaction to most of the satanist nurse's name suggestions for the baby Antichrist. The American ambassador, whose wife is giving birth next door, is more receptive (or less attentive), and ends up with a son called Warlock.
    • Likewise, there's Pepper, whose full name is Pippin Galadriel Moonchild (due to being born during her mother's short-lived "hippie" phase). The narration explains that there are only two ways one can go when saddled with a name like hers, and Pepper went the other way—the first time she introduced herself to the three boys who would become her closest friends, there was a bit of a row, and that's why she only goes by "Pepper" now.
    • Newton Pulsifer, on learning he had an ancestor who was a 17th-century Witchfinder with the Puritan name of Thou-Shalt-Not-Commit-Adultery Pulsifer, remarked that if he had a name like that "I'd want to hurt as many people as I could."
  • An interesting variant can be found in The Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. One of the patients in the titular cancer ward is a bureaucrat named Pavel Nikolayevich Rusanov. He and his wife chose the name Lavrentiy for their youngest son, so that he should get the same name and Patronymic as Lavrentiy Pavlovich Beria, the leader of the secret police under Stalin. The book is set in the later fifties, young Lavrentiy Pavlovich Rusanov is in his teens, and the old Stalin regime is nothing to be proud of anymore. Pavel Nikolayevich is somewhat uneasy about the whole thing but finds comfort in the fact that all his son's friends just call him Lavrik.
  • Terry Pratchett's Discworld books are absolutely crammed full of this trope:
    • After telling the hero her name, Adora Belle Dearheart from Going Postal adds that as a result, "I have no sense of humour whatsoever." (Her childhood nickname was "Killer".) Some jokes are also made about the main character's first name: Moist. Who names their kid Moist? Apparently "doting if unwise parents." "He was not going to embarrass the name, insofar as that was still possible..."
    • The siblings from Hogfather, Twyla and Gawain. Death himself remarked that the latter name if chosen because it sounded like a good name for a fighter, was most likely a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy.
    • The "Guards" series of books have a character named "Carrot." According to his adoptive dwarf parents (he's a human), he was named for his shape, not the color of his hair, which happens to be red. Carrot's dwarf name translates as "Head Banger". He's six feet tall and grew up in a dwarf-scale mine.
    • Also in the "Guards" series is a dwarf named "Cheery Littlebottom." This is made worse by the fact that male and female dwarfs look exactly alike, so in theory, this was meant to be a gender-neutral name (Cheery happens to be female). The character is also acutely aware of how ridiculous her name is. Vimes, upon being introduced, remarks that Cheery's parents must have been "traditionalists", so apparently naming your children after emotional states (e.g. Happy, Bashful, Grumpy...) is traditional there.
    • In the same scene, Cheery mentions that her father's name is Jolly, so presumably it runs in the family.
    • And then there's Corporal Nobby Nobbs, whose full name is 'Cecil Wormsborough St. John Nobbs'. A name made all the more astonishing given that Nobby's family are as working class as it gets, and lived in a particularly rough part of the city. (It becomes more understandable if you know that his great-grandfather was possibly the illegitimate son of an Earl.)
    • The book where we find out about both the above also reveals that Sam Vimes had a very famous ancestor (basically an expy of Oliver Cromwell) whose name was "Suffer-Not-Injustice Vimes". Small wonder he ended up nicknamed "Old Stoneface".
    • And then there's Constable Visit, whose full name is 'Visit-the-Infidel-with-Explanatory-Pamphlets'. His fellow Omnians have a tendency towards similarly lengthy and religious names. This is based on traditional Puritan naming. In former days when the Omnians were rather more robust in their methods of propagating their religion, the equivalent name was something more like "Visit-the-infidel-with-fire-and-sword". The name of Constable Smite-the-unbeliever-with-cunning-arguments appears to have undergone a similar evolution.
    • According to Lords and Ladies, the Carter family of Lancre was under the delusion that, if you name daughters after virtues (Charity, Temperance, and so forth), you name sons after vices. Ironically, both the sons and the daughters are the exact opposite of their names—Chastity Carter is a "lady of negotiable affection" and Bestiality Carter is very kind to animals.
    • Magrat Garlick is called that due to an unfortunate christening ceremony. Her attempt to avoid this with her own daughter in Carpe Jugulum results in said daughter being named Princess Esmerelda Margaret Note Spelling of Lancre. The same book also mentions the unfortunate cases of James What-The-Hell's-That-Cow-Doing-In-Here Poorchick (his friends call him "Moocow") and King My God He's Heavy the First. A footnote explains that these people got off lightly. Lancre folk, being uncomplicated as they are, tend to name their kids with whatever sounds good to them, leading to one poor unfortunate sod named "Total Biscuit", and a recounting of one kid just narrowly missing being called Chlamydia because her mother didn't know how to spell it.
    • All the Lancre examples involve the local custom that your name is whatever the priest performing the naming ceremony says when they get to the part where they're supposed to say the child's name, and there's no shifting it afterwards (unless you leave Lancre and don't come back, as many do).
    • There's also One Man Bucket from Reaper Man, short for "One Man Pouring a Bucket of Water Over Two Dogs, named according to his culture's custom of naming children after the first thing the mother sees after giving birth. He has an older twin brother whose name is... well, let's just say "he would have given his right arm to be called Two Dogs Fighting."
    • Night Watch has a minor character named Legitimate First ("Leggy" to his friends). Fred Colon's only word of explanation for the name: "Can't blame a mother for being proud, Nobby."
    • From Thud!, Mr. A. E. Pessimal. Who wasn't named at birth, he was initialed.
    • In The Wee Free Men, there's a boy named Punctuality Riddle (his parents had heard about naming children after virtues, and decided this was the virtue they most wanted their child to have). And an old woman named Miss Female Infant Robinson, whose mother saw the midwife note the delivery of "female infant" and assumed that was the child's name.
    • In Soul Music, Susan Sto Helit briefly regards her name as an example of learning who her grandfather is. Susan is a very ordinary name, and not really appropriate for someone's who is the granddaughter of Death. She should have a name with lots of xs and zs in it.
  • A character in Catch-22 was secretly named Major Major Major by his father, who kept the fact from his mother. The army computer misinterprets his name and mistakenly assigns him the rank of Major when he enlists, making him Major Major Major Major. Ex-PFC Wintergreen intercepts any attempts to promote or demote him because he thinks it's funny.
  • In one of the Callahan's Place books, there's a mention of a couple who were both afflicted with punny names by their parents, and decided to swap surnames when they married. Those original names: Les Moore and Merry Glueham (pronounced "gloom"). They now enjoy being Merry Moore and Les Glueham. There's also passing mention of the child of Star Wars fans named Lahey and Hu, and the report that little three-year-old Yoda Lahey-Hu has already learned how to fight dirty.
  • In Anne's House of Dreams, Miss Cornelia comments approvingly on Anne's choice of baby name (James Matthew), and mentions in passing that another new mother in the neighborhood has decided to call her baby Bertie Shakespeare. He becomes a common fixture in subsequent stories about Anne's children, and is never referred to by anything other than the whole thing: Bertie Shakespeare Drew.
    • Earlier books in the series feature Anne's classmate Moody Spurgeon McPherson, who is last heard of at college, studying to be a minister. "He couldn't be anything else with that name." (Moody and Spurgeon were two famous preachers.) Much as with the aforementioned Bertie Shakespeare, Moody Spurgeon is almost always referred to by his full name.
  • The Namesake features the Indian main character Gogol Ganguli, named for Nikolai Gogol. He hates his name for most of the book, changing it to Nikhil for a while.
  • In Bruce Coville's Rod Allbright Alien Adventures YA series, the villain is named BKR. Seriously. He's an alien, though it doesn't help that all the numerous other aliens of the series at least have names with vowels in them (Madame Pong, Grakker, Tar Gibbons, and Phil). Even better, when the protagonist asks the aliens for the correct spelling and pronunciation - presumably so he can write the book - it turns out to actually be pronounced Bee-Kay-Are!
  • The Outsiders: Ponyboy likes his name, but has come to expect weird reactions. One of his brothers is named Sodapop, while the eldest, Darry is the Odd Name Out for actually being somewhat normal.
    Cherry: That's an original and lovely name.
    Ponyboy: My dad was an original person.
  • In Robert A. Heinlein's Glory Road the protagonist isn't too thrilled with the name his deceased father gave him, "Evelyn Cyril Gordon". He reflects that he understands his father's attempt to honor their heroic ancestor by naming him that, but he wound up learning to fight before learning to read. He tries giving himself the nickname "Scar", but is misheard and winds up being known as "Oscar".
  • The Native Star has Dreadnought Stanton, whose sisters are named Euphemia, Ophidia, and Hortense. "My father is the fool in question. He is a man who feels the need to publicly memorialize his esoteric and obsessive passions—passions which have included the later history of Rome, reptiles, eighteenth-century Flemish aristocracy, and clipper ships."
  • In Glen Cook's Instrumentalities of the Night series, a major character frequently complains about his name, but his friend the main character is certain it's an alias.
    "I always wished I had one of them names like Dirk or Steele or Rock. Pinkus Ghort. My momma ought to be spanked. What the hell kind of name is Pinkus Ghort?"
    "You tell me," Hecht had responded. "You made it up."
    "You want to know the sick, sad truth, my friend? I didn't. It really is the one my momma hung on me. Though nobody never believes me when I tell them."
    Hecht remained firmly established in that class. He was sure that Pinkus Ghort would be wanted in more than one principality farther north, under other names.
  • The Black Company series: the narrator of "The Silver Spike" got a really short straw:
    Philodendron Case: My name is Case. Philodendron Case. Thanks to my Ma. I've never even told Raven about that. That's why I joined the army. To get away from the kind of potato diggers that would stick a name like that on a kid.
  • In The Cider House Rules, the nurses at the orphanage assign their infant charges temporary names under the optimistic assumption that the children will eventually be adopted. Many of them are not, however, and their names end up being permanent. This leads to confusion when one of the nurses has a habit of naming the babies after her many cats. Homer has to explain this to Candy when she wonders why some of the kids are named "Snowball" and "Fuzzy."
  • A purely in-universe instance occurs in The Wheel of Time, where Min Farshaw's real first name is Elmindreda, the name of a character from an in-universe story who spent all her time sighing over men and trying to get them to write songs about her. Min, herself, is a highly independent, tomboyish young woman who feels uncomfortable in a dress and is somewhat of a bookworm. No surprise that she would refuse to go by her full first name (or that she would resent her mother over the name).
  • In the Teenage Worrier series, Letty (Scarlett) and Ashley were named by their mother, a fan of Gone with the Wind. At one point Letty claims they teamed up to stop their brother from being named "Rhett".
  • In The Hunger Games, at one point Katniss Everdeen, the main character, reflects on how the people from one section of the country call their children odd names, such as "Glimmer".
  • Inspector Endeavour Morse. To be fair, his mother was a devout Quaker (they have a tradition of "virtue" names) and his father was an admirer of Captain James Cook, whose vessel was HMS Endeavour. He often tells people that his first name is "Inspector".
  • Warrior Cats:
    • In Crookedstar's Promise, after Stormkit is injured, permanently disfiguring his jaw, Rainflower's decision to rename Stormkit to Crookedkit is met with dismay and anger by Stormkit's father.
    • Similarly, in the first series, Bluestar's decision to give a near-death Brightpaw the warrior name "Lostface", as part of her Rage Against the Heavens, is met with protest from the Clan. Once Firestar becomes leader he renames her Brightheart.
  • In the Xanth series book Ogre Ogre, we get John the fairy, apparently there was a mix-up and she got someone else's name, meaning not only does she have to put up with having a boy's name, but some man has to deal with whatever her true name is. Fairies apparently cannot change their names in this world.
    • Actually, just the letters were mixed up, so there was a female fairy named "John" and a male fairy named "Joan." But they met up and exchanged letters so the female was named "Joan" and the male was named "John."
  • Prince Roger leaves people wondering who names their kid "Ima Hooker"? A mostly absent junkie with a sick sense of humor, that's who.
  • Keys to the Kingdom has a brother and sister example. In his life as an Ordinary High-School Student on Earth, Arthur's best friends have hippie parents who called them Leaf and Branch. Leaf seems pretty happy with her name. Branch has a reaction more similar to the title of this trope, and prefers to be called 'Ed'.
  • Most of the names in the Gone series are, while diverse, justifiable, as the kids come from a variety of cultural backgrounds. But Duck? Really? And Zil? What kind of parents give their kid a name that means nothing? Used to effect in the case of the island kids, though, whose adoptive parents gave them names like Peace and Virtue and Pixie because they're insensitive. Also, Emily's brother, whose name is Brother, from Lies.
  • Sisterhood Series by Fern Michaels: Final Justice introduces a very distinct character named Cosmo Cricket. Ted Robinson asks Lizzie Fox, "Who names their kid Cosmo Cricket?" and she responds, "His parents did."
  • In The Vatican Cellars, one character decided to name his girls after plants, and not saints, for the sake of atheism. The first two have it good—Véronique and Marguerite—but the third one is named Arnica.
  • The World According to Garp —The main character's name is T.S. Garp. When asked, it doesn't stand for anything, but his father was Technical Sergeant Garp.
  • In the 87th Precinct mysteries by Ed McBain, one of the protagonists is Detective Meyer Meyer, whose father named him as a big joke. Meyer grew up in a rough neighborhood hearing taunts of "Meyer Meyer, Jew on fire!" He's an incredibly patient man. Who is completely bald at an early age.
  • In the Adrian Mole books, Barry Kent comes from a very large family. One of the Kent kids is named...Clarke. Barry's ex, Cindy, names her child Carlsberg.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Nymphadora Tonks, who only goes by her surname because of this. (Though her father calls her "Dora.") A fan once asked why she doesn't use her middle name, and Word of God "it's Vulpecula, does that answer your question?" (Literally "fox", which doesn't help the "nympho" connotations of her given name).
    • Also Draco Malfoy, whose name elicits a snicker from Ron when they first meet. Pretentious names are apparently a family tradition, since we have Abraxas, Lucius, the aforementioned Draco, and Scorpius Hyperion.
    • Pet version: Harry is a bit stunned when he learns that Ginny named Ron's new owl "Pig," short for "Pigwidgeon."
  • In the Malaussène Saga (humorous novels from French author Daniel Pennac), every newborn child gets their name from Jérémy Malaussène, one of the main character's brothers. This results in the kids being named "Verdun" (after the bloody World War One battle—she screams non-stop) and "Maracuja" ("passion fruit", literally and figuratively) for the girls, and "le Petit" (because he was really small), C'Est Un Ange (because he looked like an angel), and Monsieur Malaussène (full name Monsieur Malaussène Malaussène). Ils m'ont menti reveals C'Est Un Ange and Monsieur Malaussène are respectively called Sept and Mosma for short.
  • Several characters in various Sarah Dessen novels:
    • The protagonist of What Happened to Goodbye is named Mclean after a basketball coach. Her mother even thinks it's a dumb name and gives her the common middle of Elizabeth so she can always go by that or a nickname if she needs it.
    • In Along for the Ride, the protagonist's father pretentiously names his kids after "obscure" references. If people understand the references, he considers them worthy enough to associate with. As a result his kids are named Hollis, Auden, and Thisbe.
  • In Life of Pi, the eponymous character's full name is Piscine Molitor Patel. He seem all right with being named after a famous French swimming pool, but after numerous occasions when schoolmates or teachers accidentally or purposely calling him "Pissing," he comes up with the titular nickname.
  • In Texas Teamwork by J.T. Edson, the Sheriff's Department goes looking for a call girl named Lois Lane. The deputies are sure this is an alias, but the madam assures them it is the name on her social security card.
  • The GONE series has a C plot guest hero named DUCK ZHANG. That breaks the cringe-worthy name scale.
    Caine: That's it, goose, you're doing great.
    Duck: It's Duck.
    Caine: Can you feel the darkness, goose?
  • The short story collection Angel Dust Apocalypse features a story about two brothers named Dude and Wolf. It's stated that their parents were hippies and they were allowed to name themselves at a young age.
  • In the Southern Sisters Mysteries, we have Bo Peep Mitchell, Bonnie Blue Butler, and Joanie Salk. Bonnie Blue is implied to have been conceived during or after a performance of Gone with the Wind (and her father is... eccentric). The other two have no such explanation, and both wonder what their parents were thinking.
  • In the Acorna Series, Acorna (who was named by a trio of human miners that adopted her when they found her escape pod floating near their ship) is called Khornya by her own race (as they have difficulty pronouncing Acorna), which incidentally means "One Horn" in Linyaari. Needless to say, many are amused and bemused by her name.
  • The main character of The Dog Lover's Mysteries is named Holly Winter. She claims it's because her parents didn't want her to feel "different" from her siblings. Her parents were dog breeders, and their other "children" were Golden Retrievers.
  • The female protagonist of The Raven Cycle is named Blue Sargent. One of the male protagonists, Gansey, thinks Blue is too weird a name and begins calling her Jane instead (much to her annoyance).
  • In Wayside School is Falling Down, Myron befriends a little bird and decides to name it "Oddly". The narrator pokes fun that he certainly named it oddly.
  • In John Varley's Thunder And Lightning series, Jubal (short for Jubilation) got off easy. His religious fanatic father named his brothers Veneration, Celebration, Sanctification, Exaltation, Consecration, and Hallelujah. His sisters are Gloria Patri, Gloria Fili, Gloria Spiritusanctu, Gloria Inexcelsis, and Gloria Monday. Hallelujah's name derives from his mother finding out she couldn't have any more children.
  • Silence Montane from Shadows for Silence in the Forests of Hell by Brandon Sanderson. The author's introduction states that he got the name of the protagonist from a Puritan in genealogical records, and he wondered what would cause parents to name their daughter "Silence" rather than other, more obvious virtues.
  • A heartwarming variant occurs in Jonathan Tropper's How to Talk to a Widower. Doug's dead wife was named Hailey (making him the eponymous widower), and a year later, his twin sister Claire reveals she's pregnant. When Doug catches up to Claire's first ultrasound, even though it's too early to know what gender her child would be, she immediately tells Doug:
    Claire: It's a girl.
    Doug: How do you know?
    Claire: Because I'm naming her Hailey, so if it's a boy, he'd better learn how to fight.
  • Another Note gives us Beyond Birthday (though to be fair, that's a self-chosen nickname), Believe Bridesmaid, Quarter Queen, and Backyard Bottomslash. There is also a mention of a Blackberry Brown and a Bluesharp Babysplit.
  • In the Town of Silent Guns by Rejtő Jenő, the main character is known by everyone as Bad Luck the 13th Pencroft (13. Pác Pencroft in the original Hungarian). The nickname comes from (unsurprisingly) his insane bad luck, which is the only thing holding back his otherwise very impressive burglary skills. strangely enough he doesn't seem to mind the nickname much, as his real first name is "Tivald"; which by his own description could only have come about by having his drunken father chop up the alphabet, and start pulling letters of it out of a hat before becoming bored.
  • Victoria has a villainous governor forcefully pushing the Gay Agenda on Vermont. His name? Snidely Hokem.
  • In The Savannah Reid Mysteries, when Savannah meets a girl named Chicago and mentally smirks at the name, she reminds herself that she of all people can't judge, considering her own family.
  • In Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust, protagonist Tod Hackett and Deuteragonist Homer Simpsonnote  overhear a woman's voice calling out the name "Adore". Tod remarks on what a strange name it is; Homer suggests that perhaps the child is foreign. But no, mother and child are as American as apple pie; she gave him such a peculiar name as part of a bid to groom him into a child film star (but has succeeded only in turning him into an Enfant Terrible).
  • The name of Elphaba and Nessarose's brother Shell from Wicked is unusual even for the setting. He was named in memory of Turtle Heart, Melena's lover and a Quadling glassblower.
  • Charlotte Macleod's humorous mystery novels about Sarah Kelling include Sarah's cousins Jesse, Woodson, and James. Sarah notes that her cousin Lionel's approach to child-raising is about what you'd expect from someone who would name his children, collectively, after a famous outlaw.
  • In The Sleeping Beauty by Mercedes Lackey, Prince Siegfried starts to suspect that Queen Sable is not the Wicked Stepmother she seems to be because he can't believe that some parent gave their daughter such a blatant Name to Run Away From Really Fast. He's right.
  • In the later The Cat Who books, Qwill is romantically involved with Polly Duncan, the head librarian in Pickaxe. Polly, as it turns out, is short for Hippolyta. She explains that her father was a Shakespeare devotee, and she and her siblings are all named after characters from the various plays.
  • In The Mark and the Void, Paul's son Remington is named after the titular detective in Remington Steele, which was very popular in his wife Clizia's home country. Paul thinks it's a ludicrous name, but his wife insisted.
  • Nina Tanleven: In The Ghost Wore Gray, Nine reacts with incredulity that someone exists with the name "Baltimore Cleveland".
  • A Dog's Way Home:
    • While trying to figure out Bella's name, Gavin and his husband Taylor try out different ones. When Gavin tries "Blanche", Taylor laughs and asks who would name their dog "Blanche". Gavin takes offense to this as his mother's dog was named that.
    • Gavin and Taylor joke about a guy named "Kurch" who happens to be Dutch's owner.
  • Bunnicula: In the book Howliday Inn, Harold is introduced to a member of the kennel's staff. Cue the following lines:
    Harold (thinking): Harrison... what a weird name for a person.
    Harrison (out loud): "Harold... what a weird name for a dog."
  • In Glorie, this is downplayed, as Doki wondered if Toki is coherent when she said she wanted to call her baby "Glorie" (as in "morning glory"). She admits that the name is odd but not outlandish, like most other examples.
    • The poem "Anette" (same author) plays this trope oddly where it's a middle name not a first name. The name itself is normal but the question asked is "Who Names Their Kid After a Stillborn?", as the subject doesn't much care for the middle name on these grounds, thinking of it as cursed and emphasizing that she's not a Replacement Goldfish.
  • Played with in My Brother Is A Superhero: Upon learning that "Starman" and "Star Boy" are already copyrighted, Zack opts for "Star Guy" as his superhero name.
    Luke: You can't call yourself Star Guy!
    Zack: Why not?
    Luke: Because there's not a single superhero in history called 'guy.' That's why not.
    Zack: (shrug) So I'll be the first. (Dynamic Akimbo) I. Am. Star Guy! Or perhaps Starguy. I. Haven't. Decided. Yet.
  • In Animorphs #18, the characters are trying to save a Secret Service agent named Hewlett Aldershot the Third.
    Marco: I have a question. If you already have a Hewlett Aldershot and a Hewlett Aldershot, Jr., what kind of parent is going to go and inflict that name on a third kid? He must have gotten beat up after school every single day of his life. I'm just saying for all we know, Chapman just ran this guy down because he couldn't stand that name.
  • Joe Pickett: In ''Endangered', when Joe finds out that the Cates' three sons are named Bull, Timber and Dallas, he wonders exactly what kind of crazy white trash he is dealing with.
  • Monster of the Month Club: In book 1, Tina Welter mocks Rilla for naming a kitten "Pepsi". Then again, she mocks Rilla over anything she or her family does.
  • Please Don't Tell My Parents I'm a Supervillain: Penny complains that her middle name is literally "Justice." That's what happens when both of your parents are superheroes.
  • The Betsy Byars kids' book McMummy features a woman named Valvoline (Val for short). As in the motor oil brand. In her first scene, she complains about having been given that name, then explains how her mother always claimed to have named her for a character in a romance novel, and how embarrassed young Valvoline was when she realized the mix-up.
  • The Cat in the Stacks Mysteries: Miss An'gel mentally expresses this opinion of the name "Lance" in book #2 of the Southern Ladies Mysteries spinoff, thinking to herself that "It sounded like a name out of a particularly torrid romance novel."

    Live-Action TV 
  • In The 10th Kingdom, Tony has to guess the name of the blind woodsman before he chops Wolf's head off. When the name turns out to be "Juliet", Tony says "No wonder he grew up to be a sadist."
  • 30 Rock:
    • Cerie thinks up some baby names after she gets engaged:
      Cerie: If it's a girl, "Bookcase"... or "Sandstorm"... or maybe "Hat", but that's more of a boy's name.
      Liz: Yeah, I was gonna say.
    • There is one Kenneth Ellen Parcell.
  • Ronmarc and Zalga in The Aquabats! Super Show! episode "Night of the Cactus!":
    "Their names are Ronmarc and Zalga? Where are they from? Mars?"
  • In Black Mirror:
  • Six from Blossom. According to her, that's how many beers her father said it took.
  • In Bones, Angela changed her name as soon as she turned 18. Her father suggests she name her son "Staccato Mamba", so it must have been pretty bad. Also, Angela's middle name is "Pearly Gates". Her father is Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, so this makes sense. (It is revealed in season 10 that her real name is Pookie Noodlin.)
  • Boy Meets World:
    • Cory Matthews actually asks this question when a substitute teacher reads to the class from Beowulf: "Who names their baby Hrothgar?!"
    • One of the main cast, who started out a hippie-ish Cloudcuckoolander before she developed into something more normal: Topanga Stop-the-war Lawrence.
      Topanga: My middle name is totally weird.
      Shawn: Your first name is "Topanga"!
    • Cory himself is in fact named "Cornelius", as revealed by Mr. Feeny.note 
    • And then there's Farkle.
    • August is friends with a boy named Dewey. Normal enough, but he insists it's pronounced "Doy". This could be because he's a pretty weird kid, but his parents might actually have named him with a word that's synonymous with "duh".
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Contrary to some fan opinion, it is not a diminutive form of "Elizabeth." That's her name. This is pointed out when Spike asks who calls their kid Buffy (in response to Buffy insulting his name, to be fair...and "Spike" is not his real name). Buffy then gets rather offended at this insult to her mother, so she's probably not bothered by the name.
    • Something of a Running Gag through the series.
      Guardian: I'm sorry. What's your name?
      Buffy: Buffy.
      Guardian: No, really.
      Buffy: (shrugs)
    • Also her middle name is Anne. Although that wouldn't be unfortunate by itself, her surname is Summers, so it becomes the name of a lingerie retailer.
    • In one episode, a spell gives everyone Identity Amnesia. While trying to figure out who they are, they conclude that Giles and Spike are a father and son, since they're both British. Spike laughs when Giles' ID reveals his first name to be "Rupert," but is horrified when he examines the (actually stolen) jacket he's wearing and finds out that it belongs to "Randy."
      Spike: Why not just call me "Horny Giles" or "Desperate-For-A-Shag Giles?!" I knew there was a reason I hated you!
      Giles: Randy's a—family name, undoubtedly.
  • Chris Carter does this twice:
    • Fox Mulder of The X-Files deals by staying on a Last-Name Basis as much as he can.
    • Jimmy Bond of The Lone Gunmen, being a well-meaning if not overly bright guy, doesn't seem to get why anyone thinks there's anything out of the ordinary about his name.
  • Castle: In "Still", Castle needed a five-letter code word to shut off the mine Beckett stepped on to save her. They discovered that the escaped prisoner who had set the explosive was trying to find his ex-girlfriend, who had given birth to a son, and figured that the son's name was the code word. The son's name turned out to be "William", leaving "Billy" or "Willy" as possible code-words. Esposito commented at that point, "No mother's gonna name their kid Willy unless she wants them beat up at the playground!" The correct passcode was Billy.
  • In one episode of Charmed (1998), Leo tells the sisters that they have to defeat Tuatha, a good-witch-gone-bad. Phoebe comments "With a name like that, what choice did she have?"
  • Cheers: One episode has Woody embarassed about his middle name of Tiberius. Even his ditzy girlfriend Kelly is momentarily appalled by it. Then it turns out Woody holds the same opinion about her middle name. Much later on, it turns out Woody's apparent first name of Woodrow isn't his actual name. It's Huckleberry.
    Kelly: "Tiberius"?
    Woody: Susan!
  • Britta on Community.
    Annie: Of course you think that, Britta. It's obvious from your name that your parents smoked pot.
  • In Designing Women Mary Jo has—or had—an Uncle Dude in the "Big Haas & Little Falsie" episode (Season 3, Episode 5). He died & left her a nice hefty inheritance. She considers a breast augmentation & wears a prosthetic bra for a "preview" before her plastic surgery, which she reconsiders by that time.
  • A girl on A Different World was teased about being named Cougar, until she revealed that it was the car her father would have been able to buy if she hadn't been born.
  • On Dinosaurs all dinosaurs are named by the Chief Elder, who has a lot of babies to go through so whatever he says after "I name this child..." gets written down as the child's name. This has resulted in children named "<Atchoo>," "<Burp> Excuse Me," and "Aaugh Aaugh I'm Dying You Idiot." Although once a new Chief Elder is elected the parents of the last of those go to get a new name, which is now Baby.
  • In Doctor Who, scientist Osgood is obviously on a Last-Name Basis, but why? We eventually find out—her first name is Petronella.
    • Mostly averted in the classic series with Peri, who goes by the short version but has no problem telling people her ridiculous name when the situation calls for it (the producer found it in a book and thought it sounded American).
      Peri: I'm Perpugilliam Brown, and I can shout just as loud as you can!
  • Friends:
    • When Ross learns Chandler's middle name:
      Ross: Chandler Muriel Bing. Boy, your parents never even gave you a chance, did they?
    • Ross and Rachel have an ongoing debate about what to name their daughter. "Rain" was one of the options, to Ross' consternation ("And my skirt is made of wheat.") Sequoia was another.
    • Joey remarks of a stripper named Crystal Chandelier: "You name your daughter that, what do you expect her to grow up to be?"
    • During an episode where Chandler is forced to not make jokes, Ross happens to be dating a woman by the name of Elizabeth Hornswoggle. By the end of the episode when Chandler finally gives up he yells at Ross if he's dating someone from Fraggle Rock.
  • In the Game Shakers episode "Trip Steals a Jet", Trip introduces his two rich friends, Landru and Pompay, Babe and Kenzie question what kind of parents would give their kids those names. Trip answers that their parents are rich and rich people give their kids stupid names.
  • Honey, I Shrunk the Kids: In one episode where the family goes back to the Wild West, a group of cowboys react this way when Wayne tries to introduce himself. He hastily claims that his name's really John Wayne, which they like much better.
  • A Horrible Histories sketch on Victorian names included "Toilet" and "Baboon." The teacher says "Toilet...and Baboon? Your parents must be evil." To which the students point at another one and say "No, that's Evil over there."
  • On Jane the Virgin, Rogelio and Darci Factor's daughter is eventually named Baby Michaelina de la Vega Factor. Yes, her first name is "Baby."
  • In the soap opera Las Juanas, there is Doña de Salguero, most usually called "Doña Doña". To wit. in English, the equivalent is naming a girl "Mistress" or "Ma'am".
  • Lampshaded in the Leverage episode "The Fairy Godparents Job", where the team laments their target's choice of "Widmark" for his son's name.
  • Angus MacGyver.
  • In The Magicians the royal herald announces the Princess of Loria - or as they realize after seeing him, Prince Ess of Loria.
    Elliot: Oh my god, fuck your parents dude.
  • In Married... with Children, the Bundy family ended up adopting (read: got ditched with) Peggy's nephew, Seven. Al quite nearly says the trope by name, and the kid replies "Because I'm Seven!" Bonus points for nobody being able to tell whether that meant he was "child number seven" and the parents just ran out of ideas, or if his name changed after every birthday.
  • On M*A*S*H, B.J. Hunnicutt's given name is apparently B.J. Leads to this exchange:
    Hawkeye: What kind of parents would name their kid B.J.?
    B.J.: My mother...Bea Hunnicutt, and my father...Jay Hunnicutt.note 
  • The Middle: Frankie regrets naming her youngest son Brick, thinking that an unusual name would make him cool (which Brick is anything but).
  • On Modern Family, all of Mitch and Cam's friends have stereotypical "gay" names. One of them, Longinus, remarks that his mother forced him to become gay with it.
  • On NCIS: Los Angeles, Agent Callen's first name actually got lost by the foster system, which is implied to be partly due to being born in Romania. All he knows is his first initial, and he occasionally gets minor grief over his legal first name being "G". Though, in Season 7 (specifically, the episode Matryoshka), Callen finally learns the name he was born with before his fostering/adoption: Grisha Alexandrovich Nikolaev. Though G. Callen runs off the tongue much easier.
  • In Neighbours, there was Gottlieb family, whose parents were hippies. Their three grown-up children were:
    • Cosmic Gottlieb, who renamed himself Mark.
    • Freedom Gottlieb, who renamed himself Stephen.
    • Serendipity Gottlieb, who was a bit of a free spirit like her parents and so kept her name but usually shortened it to Ren as it was a bit long. (Mark, probably after a bit of sibling revenge, preferred to shorten it to Dippy.)
  • Riverdale has Jughead and Jellybean Jones. One wonders what their parents were on.
    Sheriff: You been bullied a lot, Mister Jones?
    Jughead: Well, yeah. My name is Jughead.
  • In Roseanne's Un-Canceled season, David shows up and tells Darlene that he wants to officially divorce since he has a new girlfriend now. Darlene, trying not to deal with that information for a moment, instead fixates on the fact that said girlfriend's name is "Blue."
  • Short-lived program The Rousters featured a family of bounty hunters descended from legendary lawman Wyatt Earp. The lead character's name is Wyatt Earp III, a fact that is a running gag throughout the series, with most authorities treating it as a bad joke until he produces his legal identification. The rest of his family have more common and less significant names.
  • In Rumpole of the Bailey, Wagner buff extraordinaire Claude Erskine-Brown names his son "Tristan" and his daughter "Isolde," to likely eye-rolling by his wife Phyllida.
  • Overlapping strongly with Unfortunate Names, Schitt's Creek features characters from the town's founding family named Roland Schitt, Jocelyn Schitt and Mutt Schitt, and when Roland and Jocelyn have another son, they proudly name him Roland Moira Schitt. Additionally, the show features many supporting characters with names like Albany, Jitney and a cult recruiter named Citrus.
  • In Scrubs, the following exchange takes place when J.D. meets the Janitor's girlfriend:
    J.D: Who's called Lady?
    Janitor: She is! She has a brother named "Him".
  • Seinfeld: Kramer's first name remains unknown until the 6th season, more than halfway through the series run. George first learns Kramer's first name, Cosmo, when he meets Kramer's mother, and when he reveals this to Jerry and Elaine, they start laughing uncontrollably. After this incident, Kramer decides he's been running from his name for too long and it's time to embrace it.
    Kramer: "All my life I've been running away from that name. That's why I wouldn't tell anybody. But I've been thinking about it. All this time I'm trying not to be me. I'm afraid to face who I was. But I'm Cosmo, Jerry, I'm Cosmo Kramer, and that's who I'm going to be. From now on, I'm Cosmo!"
  • Stargate Atlantis' Rodney is ashamed of his first name and goes by his middle. The other characters respect this and continue to use the name after they know it's not his first. Except for his sister who seems to take a kind of joy out of calling him 'Meredith'.
  • Early in the Stargate SG-1 episode "Past and Present", one of the locals asks Teal'c the following question:
    Orner: Who would give you a name like "Teal'c"?
    Teal'c: It was given by my father. It means "strength".
  • In the Supernatural episode "The French Mistake" Sam and Dean are transported into a universe where their lives are a tv show called Supernatural and they remark that the names are weird, with actors named Jensen and Misha.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles: Sarah and John spent a lot of time moving around, so on one occasion they had to switch from a rural pig farm to a hippie commune which could easily be characterised as the place where the kids are named after tree species.
  • Thanks: The Tungsleys can't think of a name for their 12th child, so they open the Bible, point at a random page, and end up naming their child "Oxen".
  • In Utopia, various characters express disbelief at Wilson Wilson's name.
  • Weeds: Nancy regards her new neighbor's young son's name, "Rad", with some skepticism.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place, Alex says this to Hershel.

  • An example of Calling the Old Man Out on the back of this trope is the old Johnny Cash song "A Boy Named Sue". In this case, the bad name was intentional — as Dad explained, he gave his son a name that would make his childhood a living hell precisely so the boy would be forced to grow up mean and tough, to compensate for growing up without a father figure. Sue appreciates the logic behind this decision and forgives his father, but makes it clear that he wouldn't dream of doing something like that to his own son. Word of God from songwriter Shel Silverstein is that he got the inspiration for the song after hearing a (male) judge named Sue K. Hicks speak at a judicial conference in Gatlinburg (a town which is also mentioned in the song). Hicks was named after his mother, who died in childbirth. To top that, Silverstein even wrote a sequel, "The Father Of A Boy Named Sue."
  • The subject of Sammy Kershaw's 1996 hit "Vidalia" is a woman who gets her name as a portmanteau of her parents' names, Violet and Dale. This then sets up a wordplay about Vidalia onions, which just like the girl herself, always make the narrator cry.
  • The protagonist of the Melanie Martinez Concept Album Cry-Baby is, Cry Baby. In the music video for the song "Cry Baby", it's shown that her brother wrote it on her birth certificate after hearing her mother refer to her as such.
  • "Horrible Names For Your Children" is a song that lists off ridiculous names people attempted to name their kids (some of which succeeded) in real life. Some of them even appear on this page.

    Mythology & Religion 
  • In The Bible, David asks for assistance from Abigail’s husband "Naval" or "crook, villain". He is denied. Upon informing David of this she alludes to the fact that his name is Naval implying that he lives up to it rather well.
    Abigail: Please do not let my lord pay attention to this worthless man, Naval, for as his name is, so is he. Naval is his name and folly is with him.
  • There is also a case of this between Jacob and Esau. Upset at the loss of his birthright (or rather his own hasty decision prompted by extreme hunger) and the loss of a blessing that was intended for him due to his brother's and mother's treachery, Esau alludes to the fact that Jacob (Ya‘akov, from ‘akev, ‘heel’, because he was born holding Esau’s heel) is aptly named.
    Esau: Isn’t he rightly named Jacob? This is the second time he has taken advantage of me: He took my birthright, and now he’s taken my blessing!”

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Matt Groening's Life in Hell has a "What not to name your kid" installment, including suggestions such as "Oral" and "Onan".
  • Baby Blues:
    • Bunny named her twin babies Wendell John and Wendell Jon. Before she settled on those names, she referred to them by the colors of their hospital bracelets.
      Wanda: You have two boys named Purple and Green?
      Bunny: I prefer Puce and Teal.
    • When middle child Hammie was first born, he did not have a name, due to Darryl and Wanda mistakenly believing that they were having a girl. When they finally decided on "Hamish" ("Ham" for short), it took their other family members some time to get used to it. Wanda's sister, Rhonda, proclaimed "That's not a name, it's an entree!" upon hearing it, and when Wanda told her mother, she burst out laughing, before asking, "No, seriously, what did you name him?"
  • Peanuts:
    • A recurring background extra from the 1960s onwards is a boy named 5, short for 555, surname 95472 (accent on the 4). His father had strange ideas about where society was headed and decided to "give in" to the abundance of numbers in people's lives. His younger sisters are twins named 3 and 4.
    • Rerun got his name from his older sister Lucy complaining that getting another little brother (after Linus) was like watching a rerun on TV.
  • Jump Start includes a kid named Doctor Appleby, who comes to school dressed in surgical scrubs. Guess what his parents want him to be when he grows up.

  • Shannon has this reaction in the Cool Kids Table game The Wreck when they find a cubby belonging to Ellie Spoon.

    Professional Wrestling 

  • Dead Ringers: After someone in real life actually decided to call their son "Sixtus", this show spoofed in, with the future father being asked if he thinks his son might one day be resentful for the name. Just as he dismisses this, he's phoned up by someone doing a Marcus Aurelius impression at him. Namely, Sixtus himself - "owner of a ridiculous name, and I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next!"
  • Garrison Keillor's A Prairie Home Companion has Senator K. Torvaldson. Even calls out this trope in another character's reaction: "Who names their kid 'Senator', anyway?" (Apparently, his parents just liked the way it sounded.)

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues:
    • Jemimah Chen is the first person to admit that her name is odd, and also the first to laugh at it. According to her, her father picked her first name out of the dictionary.
    • When Irene finds out that there's a girl in her school called Destiny, she feels pity towards her for having parents who would give her that name. Said parents called her that because she came along when things were looking up in both of their lives, leading them to believe that fate was on their side.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Rowan Atkinson makes excellent sport of this trope in his School Master sketch. Such pupils in his class include Nancyboy-Potter, Undermanager, Zob, and even Orifice.
  • Kyle Kinane has a routine about how he had to watch his friend's kids at a family aquatic center in East Landing Michigan. They are named Malcolm and Archer. He says if he named his kids they would only go by nicknames "Miller Time" and "The Boss."
  • Louis CK has a routine from his One Night Stand special about how you can name your kid anything and there should be laws. Examples he gives of what he would name his kids: If he has a son they would be "Ladies and Gentlemen." When he introduces them he can say "This is my son Ladies and Gentlemen." If the kid misbehaves he can say "Ladies and Gentlemen, please! One with no vowels PNCDLTN or forty f's." He mentions some parents name them a word like Sunshine or Battery.
  • Rita Brent, in one routine, claims this trope made calling the roll every day the hardest part of her job as a substitute teacher. Among the names she claimed she heard were "Herpesia" and "Chlamydiana". It was so bad that when one student had the normal (and, in her opinion, elderly) name of Shirley, she wasn't sure how to treat her, because she felt like she had to show her respect and took to calling her Miss Shirley.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Deadlands: Lost Colony: The narrator is a woman named Debbi Dallas. Apparently, her dad was a marine with an appreciation for... 'classic' films.

  • In Mother Courage and Her Children by Bertolt Brecht, Mother Courage names her youngest son Schweizerkas - "Swiss cheese" (His first name's Feyos but nobody uses it.) Well, nobody said she was the best mother.
  • In The Pillowman by Martin McDonagh, Katurian's full name is revealed to be Katurian Katurian Katurian.
  • In Almost, Maine, East apparently got his first name from a mess-up on his birth certificate.
  • In In the Heights, main character Usnavi was named after the first thing his parents saw when they came to America: a boat that said US Navy.

    Video Games 
  • This can be done deliberately by the player in any game that allows you to name the main character. There are even some games like this where the player character will be told they have a weird name. Of course, if that's the case you'll be told that no matter what name you give your character. Doing this when naming your current character's legitimate children in Crusader Kings can result in the name becoming a traditional for members of your dynastynote .
  • In the video game of the anime series Afro Samurai, Ninja Ninja wonders "What kind of father names their kid 'Afro Samurai' anyway?"
  • Battler in Umineko: When They Cry spends a fair amount of the Visual Novel's introductions mocking his family's naming habits, particularly when it came to his own ("My parents are the first on my 'to kill' list").
  • In NationStates, one of the issues revolves around a man who was named an incomprehensible string of characters changing his name to John and campaigning for a law to restrict names. Arguing in favor of this change is a man named Insert Name Here, while the other side is argued by a woman with a rather hippie-ish name who named her baby daughter [expletive deleted].
  • An unnamed person in Pokémon Colosseum's Pyrite Colosseum in Pokemon XD mentions Miror B and explicitly states that "the name sounds laughably silly".
  • In the visual novel Lamento - beyond the void, Bardo suffered so horribly from this he went right ahead and changed it to something less-bad. Not only was it a painful name, but it was also a girl's name. Literally. His mama called 'im Cheryl. And she's still the only person that does, going by the end of his route.
  • The Postal series features The Postal Dude.... snippets seen around in Postal 2 reveal that his legal name is actually The Postal Dude, Jr.note , as it's what's on his driver's license when he goes to pay a parking ticket and his father's grave says "T. Dude, Sr". It should be noted that "T. Dude, Sr." was a horrible father and deliberately named his son after himself which brings up the question if The Dude's grandfather was just as horrible.
  • Many characters allude to the appropriateness of War's name in Darksiders, but he's certainly not any sort of Anthropomorphic Personification. Apparently, War, Fury, Strife and Death are given names.
  • Fire Emblem Awakening has Nah ("Nn" in Japanese, which sounds just as strange). She's very well aware of what a bizarre name her mother saddled her with.
  • The first Robopon game has a kid named Dude.
  • General Chaos explains in the comic book prologue that the root cause of Chaos and Havoc's endless warfare with each other was that, yes, their parents did give them those names, which would make any two children "not likely to grow up to be tree huggers or flower sellers."
  • Borderlands:
    • Borderlands 2:
      • Cut dialog from Starter Villain Captain Flynt reveals that not only is he the brother of Baron Flynt of the first game, but Baron and Captain are their actual first names.
        Captain Flynt: Our parents were douchebags.
      • In the expansion Tiny Tina's Assault on Dragon Keep, we learn Mr. Torgue's first name is "Mister Torgue".
        Lilith: Wait, your first name is "Mister Torgue"? [Beat] What's your last name, then?
        Mr. Torgue: FLEXINGTON!
      • In the Wattle Gobbler DLC, Torgue's grandmother states that his middle name is "High-Five", which was taken from his grandfather. This means that Torgue's legal name is "Mister Torgue High-Five Flexington".
    • Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel!: Colonel Zarpedon, the primary villain of the game. The ridiculousness of her name is something of a running gag, with the characters finding it hard to believe that there actually is someone named Zarpedon and Jack finding it difficult not to laugh as he says it. The fact that her full name is Tungsteena Zarpedon just makes it even worse.
    • Borderlands 3:
      • Moze's full name is Moserah Hayussinian Yan-Lun al-Amir Andreyevna. She dryly notes that there's a reason she just goes by "Moze."
      • At first, Zane Flynt seems to be an exception to his family's bizarre naming sense (see his brothers Baron and Captain). But he mentions a lot of examples of "Metaphor" Is My Middle Name, including "Ferocity," "Deathwish," "Charisma," and "Charm."
        Zane: I've got a lot of middle names.
  • Towards the end of Star Stealing Prince, Astra mentions to Snowe that she thinks his parents were awful for giving him that name. He agrees, saying that any time anyone complained about the snow he'd have to remind himself that they're not referring to him.
  • A starship version in X Rebirth. Yoolis calls out Ren Otani on giving the Pride of Albion an inferior name, the Albion Skunk, though Otani claims that some other joker renamed it that.
  • As an Easter Egg, Star Trek Online's Foundry editor has various funny captions on the premade NPC costumes, apparently because the dev writing the game asset descriptions got bored. The caption for "Cardassian Commander Male 03" has this line:
    "His mother named him Kira, after her favorite historical figure. The merciless teasing inspired his military career."
  • Grand Theft Auto V:
    • The game's in-universe internet has an online baby name generator website where half the names generated are random objects and terms. The other half are Ghetto Names.
    • It's possible to encounter and help out a preppy white guy named Castronote  in a random event. When the protagonist you're playing as inevitably asks, he explains that his parents were WASPs who gave all their children pretentious, socially awkward names for their own amusement. He still feels that he got off lucky though: they named his sister Muffy.
  • In Episode 1 of Tales from the Borderlands, after Rhys and Vaughn get their lives saved by the former's Loader Bot at the cost of the 'Bot either self-destructing or fleeing with heavy damage, Rhys solemnly declares that he will name his firstborn... Loader Bot. Vaughn gives him a look and he adds, "Or, you know, probably not."
  • In Innocent Until Caught 2: Proven Guilty at some point the policewoman protagonist asks the criminal protagonist Jack T. Ladd what were his parents thinking when they named him Jack Theodore. He believes they were fully aware of the joke.
  • In Oregon Trail 2 (and its remake 5), one of random Non Player Characters you can talk to is named "Jubilation Higgenbottom", he prefers to go by Julie and makes an offhanded remark how he gets hassled for his cumbersome name.
  • In Atlantis Adventure: Coral's Quest, when Coral encounters "The Guardian" after reaching the final 10 levels of the game, she makes fun of his name and asks this question almost word for word. "The Guardian" then remarks his real name is Bernie.
  • [PROTOTYPE 2] has Heller encounter Elwood Pine, one of Mercer's Evolved. After defeating him, his dialogue goes as follows:
    Heller: Shit. Who names their kid fucking Elwood? Some fucking parents...

  • Pyroduck from Dan and Mab's Furry Adventures. He was named by phoenixes, a rather eccentric race of oracles who are notorious for answering everything with vague riddles. When he explains his backstory, Alexsi comments that she "always wondered why someone would call their kid Pyroduck".
  • In Girl Genius:
    • Zeetha's father was named Chump. Since she's from a reclusive warrior culture deep in an unknown jungle, Bilingual Bonus probably wasn't considered during the naming process. The Foglios revealed, or at least heavily implied, that a certain Wild Mass Guessing on the subject of his identity hit quite close to the mark: Chump is actually Klaus Wulfenbach, and "Chump" is an alias that came from some Self-Deprecation on his part.
      Gil: "Chump"?
      Zeetha: A great warrior. And yes, I know what it means in your language.
    • There's also the case of Moloch von Zinzer:
      Moloch: You didn't say we were going inside the cathedral. This place creeps me out.
      Worker: With a name like "Moloch"? I'm not surprised.
      Moloch: 'S wrong with my name? My mother picked it out of the whatchamacallit - the Bible.
      Worker: Ah. Um - did she read it?
      Moloch: Nah. I had eight brothers. Nobody had time for stuff like that on the farm.
      Worker: Oh, yeah. That's pretty common.
  • In Bad Machinery, Mr. Beckwith wonders, "Who calls their child Mildred? Cursed to live a life of one sock pulled up higher than the other."
  • FreakAngels:
    • KK gets gets completely bent out of shape if anyone calls her by her real name, Kolfinnia Kokokoho Titching.
    • Arkady's hippie parents decided that she was a child of Arcadia, and decided to name her such, but they were too stoned out of their gourds to write anything correctly on the birth certificate.
  • Bug Martini shows us that names like this are the reason we need the stupid baby name police.
  • xkcd:
    • Randal Munroe has discovered a way to weaponize this trope.
    • Also invoked in this comic, with a side-order of Twilight-bashing.
      I've been trying for a couple years now but I haven't been able to come up with a name dumber than 'Renesmee.'
  • In The KAMics Nikki comments on Clem's name & we learn how this could lead to joining the Pun Police
  • Kestrel of Queen of Wands ("Parents were hippies, huh?"). When her close friend offers to name her daughter after her, Kestrel suggests providing the middle name.
  • In Something*Positive, geeky parents Mike and Tamara name their son Shazam Wil-Wheaton Dowden-Patel (the hyphens are the source of his power). The two do have a fight at one point, though, because Mike thought his middle name was going to be "Joss-Whedon" instead. He also mentions that little Shaz would have been "Buffy Serenity" had he been a girl.
  • Homestuck:
    • Discussed by Jake English and Dirk Strider regarding the last names of the demonic Lord English and the alien Betty Crocker, due to the last names in question being matters of personal selection.
      GT: So im named after a demon? What kind of demon is named English anyway?
      TT: What kind of alien is named Crocker?
    • When naming the main character, the "game" note  replies "TRY AGAIN, SMARTASS" when "Zoosmell Pooplord" is given as the name of the main character.
    • Later, Jade and Rose name their girl "Yiffany Longstocking Harley Lalonde".
  • French Black Comedy webcomic Ultimex has a strip where a friend of Ultimex (the hero) called his daughter "Bang". Steve (Ultimex's best friend and second main character of the webcomic) asks Ultimex to persuade this man to give another name to his daughter. We eventually learn that Ultimex finally convinced him to call her "Gang Bang"note  instead.
  • Ink Proof Cannon gives us "My name is Sunday Jones and yes, I've heard all those jokes before."
  • In The Mansion of E, Cully and Chunner the Gnolls comment on their compatriot Crud's unfortunate name.
  • Cans of Beans has the double-barreled name Dude Brosmith, which gets an incredulous "Really?" from Carl. The final chapter reveals that it's short for Dudley, but Brosmith is the real family name.
  • Mentioned by Anpu in Godslave as Alma tries to pick up a name for her new "puppy". After going through dozens of awful names, he finally says:
    I pity your future children.
  • Sluggy Freelance: In "The Isle of Dr. Steve", there's the following exchange:
    Oasis: My name is Oasis.
    Torg: Weird parents, huh?
    Oasis: My parents are dead.
    Torg: Did they name you before or after they died?
    [beat, during which Torg realizes what he just said]
    Torg: I'm Torg!
    Oasis: And you got stable parents.
  • In Ozy and Millie, Millie asks Ozymandias if he ever gets grief for his name. He replies that he puts things in perspective to mockers by showing them a photo of legendary football player Dick Butkus.
  • While it's standard in Goblins for the goblins to have a Meaningful Name picked by the fortune teller, everyone is still sympathetic to Dies-Horribly, and Hava has to explain to everyone that it turned out the fortune teller wasn't actually trying to name him when he said "Piss-Off-I-Have-A-Headache". Complains-Of-Names got his name because he does, and he has reason to.
  • Schlock Mercenary: The very female Doctor Edward Bunnigus is a Designer Baby grown in a Uterine Replicator because her parents were considered too stupid to be allowed to reproduce naturally. She was designed with the "exotic dancer" package, and on her medical wristband this was shortened to "ED." Her parents assumed this was supposed to be her name, but decided it wasn't pretty enough, so went with "Edward." She normally just goes by Bunny.
  • In The Order of the Stick, when Hilgya returns with a baby in tow:
    Belkar: So we're just gonna glide right past the fact that she named her kid "Kudzu?" We are? Okay.
  • In Undead Friend Orrick sometimes gets comments about having an unusual name.
    Wylie: What sort of name is Orrick?
    Orrick: name?

    Web Original 
  • In Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Yami Bakura is apparently named "Florence."
    "Who names a boy Florence?! Idiots, that's who!"
  • Monkey D. Luffy from None Piece. "My parents hated me!" And then Zolo...
    Luffy: Wait, your name is Zorro Zolo?
  • Pretty much the entire second half of Awesome Racer. At least Rex is a rather common name...
    Speed: Spritle? Your name is Spritle? What kind of name is Spritle? That's not even a word!
    Spritle: You think my name is bad? Your name is the rate of motion expressed via distance traveled per units of time!
    Rex: Ha ha ha! You all have stupid names!
    Speed: Shut up, Rex. Your name is Latin for king. That's the most egotistical thing I've ever heard.
    Spritle: Why are our parents so bad at naming us?
    Pops: I don't wanna hear it, you kids. My wife's name is Mom! Mom! Do you have any idea how awkward that is for me?
  • The series host in Movie Rehab is called Sag. He also has a friend called Barnabas Thade.
  • An episode of Achievement Hunter's Let's Play Minecraft had the team arguing over the name "Pubert" and if it was an actual name. Gavin was insistent it was someone from The Addams Family, while everyone else was certain that this was another case of Gav being a Cloudcuckoolander. Turns out "Pubert" is the baby from Addams Family Values, leading to everyone else's complete disbelief.
    Michael: "Fucking PUBERT?!?!"
  • Dragon Ball Z Abridged:
    • Dr. Gero notes how stupid Android 17 and 18's human names are in their schematics (Lapis and Lazuli respectively):
      Notes: Who the devil names their children after crystals? It's like they wanted them to grow up to be strippers.
    • Cell and Piccolo lightly touch on the trope when first meeting.
      Piccolo: ...but I don't know your name.
      Cell: Oh truth is, I don't really have one. But all things considered, I think I'll go with... Cell.
      Piccolo: That's kind of boring.
      Cell: Coming from the guy named after a woodwind instrument.
  • Sam & Mickey:
    • After the birth of Barbie's "little sister" Skipper, Ken suggested naming her after his favorite Gilligan's Island character; it stuck because Barbie thought that it sounded so stupid. Skipper's boss, the manager of McBurgers, also thinks Skipper's name sounds dumb, and instead calls her, "Scooter".note 
    • "Delivery" has Skipper and Chelsea ask Yasmin if she named her baby girls Chili and Pepper after Chile and Peppa Pig, or after the condiments. After Yasmin answers the latter, Barbie gives her additional mockery:
      Barbie: That is the single dumbest thing I have ever heard in my life, and I live with Ken.
  • Welcome to Hell is about a boy who ends up in hell as a demon after killing his parents and himself. His name is "Sock". This doesn't go unnoticed:
    Do you know why you're here, Mr. Sowachowski?
    Because I killed my parents? Killed myself?
    Yeah, well, I'd kill my parents too if they named me "Sock".
  • Jake and Amir has at least two Running Gags based on this:
  • When Tsiah IV did a summary of the story of Perseus, he made fun of the character Dictys, pronouncing it "Dicktease" and asking, "Who thought this was a good idea?"

    Western Animation 
  • Pirates Passage features a dog named Grendel owned by the villains, the Moehner (pronounced "Meaner") family. One of the protagonists, Captain Charles Johnson is rather surprised that of all things they decided to name their dog after one of the most famous monsters in all literature.
  • Farmer John from Sheep in the Big City. It's established in the pilot that Farmer is actually his first name rather than just his job, to which General Specific asks who would name their kid Farmer. A later episode retcons this by establishing that his name is actually "Far Mer John" (the reason being that his mother wanted him to go "far" and his father wanted to name him after his aunt Mer), which is arguably worse.
  • A Christmas special made by DIC called A Hollywood Hounds Christmas (it appears on Shout Factory's DIC Christmas Blast DVD) in which the main character is actually named "Dude". A running gag in the special is how people are able to (accidentally) guess his name. At one point, he even goes "is there anybody who doesn't know my name?..."
  • Baby Blues:
    • In a Shout-Out to "A Boy Named Sue," there was a one-shot side character named Sioux, pronounced "Sue." Apparently, his parents were hippies. Later, after his parents pick him up from prison (long story), an officer mutters to himself "A boy named Sue... what were his parents thinking?"
    • And in another episode, there was a mother who named her son Haggot and dressed him like Little Lord Fauntleroy. And considering what rhymes with Haggot, the line below says it all:
      "'Haggot the Maggot' is the best he can hope for!"
  • Bessie Higgenbottom from The Mighty B! is stuck with the middle name Kajolica, because her mother is the only one in the entire universe who doesn't think it's colossally stupid. Which might explain why her mother is also the only one who is never struck by the curse that comes with mentioning the name.
  • Gravity Falls:
  • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Sheriff Bronson Stone. His first name is "Sheriff." His mother believed in planning ahead.
  • Used previously in Scooby-Doo! and the Reluctant Werewolf. Upon learning who his new werewolf is, Dracula complains, "What kind of a name is Shah-ghee?" He is never clued in on the fact that it's a nickname.note 
  • There's an episode of Be Cool, Scooby-Doo! where the gang is suspect of being aliens by a somewhat paranoid government agent. When he's interrogating Shaggy, he tells him that his disguise is nearly perfect, if only he'd "chosen" a normal, human name. Shaggy breaks down and admits his real name is Norville, which doesn't go far in convincing the agent he's human.
  • In the later seasons of Dexter's Laboratory, we're given the origins of his rival Mandark and learn his current name is a self-given one to fit his scientific motif. His real name is Susan. How'd he get straddled with such an embarrassing name? Why, having hippie parents of course.
  • Mac's creative young friend from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends is named Goo (Short for Goo Goo Ga Ga). Her parents reportedly let her pick her own name, but should probably have waited until she was actually capable of talking first.
  • In an episode of Transformers Animated, a clone of Starscream is addressing the Autobots but forgets Bulkhead's name. Upon being informed of it, the clone expresses sympathy.note 
  • In Moville Mysteries, the characters find out that the school PE Teacher, Coach Conkout, is really named Coach. His father was obsessed with his son being a successful coach.
  • In an episode of Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja called "Stanked to the Future", there's a kid named Dicky who hates his parents, and Howard assumes that he hates them for naming him Dicky.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In "Make New Friends But Keep Discord", when Fluttershy introduces her friend Tree Hugger, Discord laughs and asks what kind of name is that, which a bit strange considering most ponies' names are proper nouns in this show.
  • In Futurama Fry reacts with surprise when he hears Leela's surname for the first time when she's mentioned on the news (Turanga)note . Bender reacts the same way when hearing Fry's first name (Philip).
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has an entire episode centered around Squidward trying to find out the name of one of the Krusty Krab's patrons. Each time he asks the man appears to ask "What's it to ya?" but after all the hilarity it is ultimately revealed that the man's name is really "Whatzit Tooya." He'd been telling Squidward what his name was the entire time. This gets lampshaded when Squidward asks what kind of name that is.
  • Total Drama introduces us to Blaineley in World Tour, a conniving gossipy talk show host who tries to usurp command of the Aftermath segments from Geoff and Bridgette, shipping the latter to Siberia. Geoff sings what amounts to an epic "The Reason You Suck" Speech, capping off with the revelation that her real name is Mildred, to which she reacts in horror.
  • In The Amazing World of Gumball, the titular character has the weirdest name out of the entire cast. It's eventually revealed that his birth name is actually Zach, but the events of the episode "The Name" has him legally change it to Gumball. Similarly, his mother Nicole actually has the first name of Doctor, the result of her parents having stringent expectations for her when she grew up.
  • In one Family Guy episode, one of Meg's friends refers to her as Megan, when she asks why she called her that, the other girl says she figured Meg was short for Megan, but Meg says it's actually short for something else. A cutaway gag shows that after giving birth to her, Lois asks Peter to give the nurse Meg's birth certificate. Before doing so, Peter quickly alters the certificate, changing her name from Megan to Megatron.
  • Carmen Sandiego: A variant. All trainees on the Isle of V.I.L.E. are given codenames; until that happens, they go by their first names only. But when the instructors find a baby and raise her on the Isle, instead of giving her a real name, they just give her a code name early: Black Sheep. She goes by this for all of her life, though Coach Brunt calls her "Lambikens" or "Lambsie." It's only when Black Sheep finally escapes the Isle that she realizes that she needs a real name. She reads the tag on her new hat, which was made at Carmen's in San Diego, and decides to go by Carmen Sandiego.
  • In the Tangled: The Series episode "Beyond the Walls of Corona", it is revealed that the feared Baron's prized "stallion" is actually his daughter, Stalyan, who plans to marry Eugene. This is lampshaded by Rapunzel when she goes to rescue Eugene.
    Rapunzel: What kind of name is "Stalyan" anyway? Who names their kid that? What's her sister's name, "Bronco"?
  • The Fairly OddParents: In "Knighty Knight", Timmy travels to the Middle Ages. He laughs and mocks a knight who introduces himself as "Sir Finkleberg".
  • In Harley Quinn, Doctor Psycho's son Herman calls him out for locking him in the basement for days, killing anyone who tried to befriend him, and this.
  • DuckTales (2017) often has the triplets Huey, Dewey, and Louie express issues with their full names Hubert, Dewford, and Llewelyn, particularly the latter two, and do not like people using them. Their opinions on the names that their mother wanted to give them (Jet, Turbo, and Rebel) aren't as clear except for Dewey, who is rather annoyed that Donald replaced that name with 'Dewford Deuteronomy Dingus Duck'.

    Real Life 

Political names

Some names are embarrassing because they're very obviously meant to convey their parents' political beliefs.
  • The American Civil War featured a Confederate general named States Rights Gist, whose parents turned out to be prescient considering that the Confederacy was ostensibly fighting for "states' rights".
  • Many Germans born in the Nazi era were named after Adolf Hitler or other notorious Nazi figures. After World War II, it became particularly embarrassing to have a name like that, so Germany made a special exception to its otherwise strict name-change laws to allow these people to legally change their names to something less embarrassing. Despite this, a German website circa 2000 found several people who still had names like this, including two Adolf Hitlers and five Eva Brauns.
  • Heath Campbell, of Hunterdon Country, New Jersey,note  gave his children "Nazi-inspired" names. Specifically, there was three-year-old Adolf Hitler Campbell and his little sisters JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell. The story came to light after a bakery refused to put little Adolf's name on a birthday cake. Mr. Campbell fancies himself a local leader of a Neo-Nazi movement; he has also had several children adopted away from him, including the ones with Nazi-inspired names, mostly because of his horrible treatment of them and their mothers, but you'd have to think the names were a factor.
  • Another man named Adolf Hitler won an election in Ompundja, Nambia. According to the man himself, his father apparently didn't know much beyond that Hitler was a german politician.
  • Parents have named their kids after the Facebook "Like" button. In some places, it's political, like in Egypt, where Facebook was a big part of The Arab Spring.
  • During the late nineteenth century, two Swedish parents wanted to show their support for the continued union between Sweden and Norway by naming their newborn daughter "Sverige och Norge Förenade" ("Sweden and Norway United"). The priest insisted that the child must have at least one regular name, and she ended up with the name "Sweden and Norway United Petronella".
  • Ridiculous patriotic names would occasionally pop up in the Soviet Union, many of them being acronyms or portmanteaux of particularly inane Communist slogans. Even Russians thought they were ridiculous:
    • Dazdraperma, from Da zdravstvuyet Pervoye Maya ("Hail to the 1st of May", a big Communist holiday still celebrated worldwide as International Worker's Day)
    • Dazdrasmydga, from Da zdravstvuyet smychka goroda i derevni ("Hail to the unification of the city and countryside")
    • Kookootsapol, from Kukuruza tsaritsa poley ("Maize is the queen of the fields", a mid-20th-century agricultural slogan)
    • Vaterpezhekosma, from Valentina Tereshkova pervaya zhenshchina kosmonavt ("Valentina Tereshkova, first female cosmonaut" — one wonders why they couldn't just name her Valentina)
    • Uryurvkos, from Ura, Yura v kosmose! ("Hooray, Yuri is in space!", after Yuri Gagarin's flight)
    • Sevmorputina, from Severny Morskoy Put ("Northern Sea Route")
    • Pervosrak, from Pervaya sovetskaya raketa ("first Soviet rocket" — but srak also being Russian for "shit")
    • Serpimolot, from serp i molot ("hammer and sickle" — the basic equivalent of an Eaglelander naming his kid "Starsandstripes")
    • Leoondezh, from Lenin umer, no yego delo zhivyot ("Lenin is dead, but his deeds live")
    • Traktorina, essentially naming your kid "Tractor"
    • Troleboozina, from Trotsky, Lenin, Bukharin, and Zinoviev.
  • Korean actor Song Il-gook named his triplets Dae-han, Min-guk, and Manse — ordinary names on their own, but when read together like that also mean "Long live the Republic of Korea". Song apparently did this in honor of his grandfather, who was an independence activist during Imperial Japan's rule over Korea.

Silly spellings

Some names are chosen because they're spelled a certain way or designed to look like something, to the point that they can't be pronounced properly or otherwise don't match what the kid's actually called.
  • A Swedish couple, in protest of the nation's law banning bizarre names, named their kid Brfxxccxxmnpcccclllmmnprxvclmnckssqlbb11116, pronounced "Albin". The courts blocked it, so they tried naming him "A" (still pronounced "Albin"). The courts blocked that one too.
  • In 2002 a Russian couple in France tried to name their son "БОЧ рВФ 260602" — "Biological Object Human of the line of Voronins-Frolovs born 25.06.2002", and his father tried to change his own name in a similar way. Technically, the law does not forbid it, but registry office bureaucrats refused to issue a birth certificate with this name. Courts on several levels confirmed the decision of the registry office. and the Strasbourg court dropped the case without explanation. As of 2013 the boy still was officially nameless and without citizenship, but did get medical insurance and was attending a municipal public school. In private, his parents call him Boris.
  • From 1990 to 2014, 328 girls in the U.S. have been named Abcde, pronounced "Ab-city". The name made headlines in 2018 when a Southwest Airlines agent made fun of a girl with that name.

Accidentally embarrassing

Parents might not notice until it's too late that a name can be crafted into an Incredibly Lame Pun, especially when combined with the last name.
  • A typical name can "disguise" a pun like this because it only works with a common nickname, like "Michael Hunt", "Richard Head", or "Raymond Pugh". If you Google those names, you'll find that multiple people own them. There's even an unfortunate soul called "Raymond Piast" on Facebook. Trying to explain that the Piasts are one of the noble families of Europe (some were even Kings of Poland!) doesn't mitigate the pun for this unfortunate gent...
    • Sometimes a nickname isn't even necessary, such as anyone unfortunate enough to be named "Hugh Jass."
  • Texas Governor Jim Hogg infamously named his daughter Ima. This spawned a lot of public jokes (the most famous being that she had a sister named Ura), and she never lived it down. Her father claimed that she was named after a character in a poem and that he wasn't consciously aware of how it sounded, but a lot of the more cynical Texans didn't believe him. The Other Wiki's article on Ima Hogg tells us that her grandfather heard of her name, saw the obvious problem, and rushed in vain to stop the christening. Despite her embarrassing name, she became one of the most respected ladies in Texas, a famous philanthropist and patron of the arts, and known as "The First Lady of Texas."
  • The city of Fort Wayne, Indiana stopped naming things after former mayor Harry Baals once they figured out what his name sounded like. Perhaps they were tipped off when people kept stealing the street sign for "Harry Baals Drive".
  • A woman on Yahoo Answers asked if her son Manerd might have a problem because he poops in a corner. Commenters suggested that his problem is that his mother named him Manerd.
  • Joe Hill might have changed his surname for reasons besides wanting to be out of the shadow of his famous father...
  • On March 23rd, 2020, an International Olympic Committee member announced that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games would be postponed due to the outbreak of COVID. Less attention was paid to the announcement (as many people saw the delay coming) and more towards the name of the IOC member, to the point where it was the #8 trending term on Twitter. His name? Dick Pound.

Fictional characters

Because nothing says "embarrassing fanboy" quite like naming your kid like this:
  • One guy said that if he got 500,000 likes on Facebook, he'd name his son Batman. At least it's less likely he'll get beaten up on the playground.
  • One lady said that if she got a million likes on Facebook, she'd name her kid Megatron. This guy offered the same thing.
  • One guy in Portugal said that if he got a million likes on Facebook, he'd name his kid Son Goku. He got the likes, and he did (in spite of his wife's wishes), and more strangely, it was approved (in spite of Portugal's strict laws designed to prevent names like this). The page is still active, in case he wants to name his next kid after another Dragon Ball character.
  • Game of Thrones inspired many parents to name children after characters from the show. "Daenerys" and "Khaleesi" became a point of contention in the show's last two episodes, where said character goes nuts, burns down a city after it surrendered, and threatens to take over the kingdom of Westeros as a despot before she is killed.
  • Sometimes, it's the creator themselves who will encourage this:
    • Acclaim offered to pay $10,000 to whoever named their child Turok. No one did.
    • Bethesda offered free Bethesda games for life to whoever named their child Dovahkiin. Someone did, and Bethesda paid up.

There Should Be a Law

Some countries have laws that are designed to prevent names like this, with varying levels of success:
  • Iceland requires names to be approved by an official naming committee, which can reject a name for being embarrassing. However, the main reason for the committee is the preservation of the Icelandic language — they can reject any name that is not Icelandic enough or which cannot be properly spelled or inflected in Icelandic. A high-profile case involved an Icelandic mother and British father whose kids Harriet and Duncan had to change their names if they were going to keep their Icelandic passports, entirely for linguistic reasons. Similarly, Mayor of Reykjavík Jón Gnarr fought the naming committee for years to keep his last name — proper Icelandic last names are actually patronymics, and Gnarr is estranged from his father and wanted to keep his distance. For what it's worth, many Icelanders think the law is too strict, and the government is starting to ease up on this — in both these cases, everyone was eventually allowed to keep their names.
  • In Japan, all characters in a given name must come from a list of pre-approved kanji. Part of this is practical — there are many thousands of kanji, and an obscure character can break databases. But part of this is also to prevent embarrassing or vulgar characters from being part of a given name. Parents have applied (unsuccessfully) to name their kids with characters meaning, in whole or in part, "cancer", "haemorrhoid", "corpse", "excrement", "curse", "prostitute", and "rape". In 1993, a Japanese couple found a loophole and successfully named their kid 悪魔 (Akuma, meaning "devil") with two approved characters. Then the government caught up with them and the Family Court ruled that naming a child "Akuma" was an abuse of rights — but since the name had been previously accepted, only the parents had the power to change the child's name. And they did, under private and public pressure — to 亜駆 (Aku, roughly "sub-impel"). In any event, Alternate Character Reading means these names can still be pronounced any way you like, which is how you get names like Pikachu — these names are known as "kirakira names" ("shiny names") or "dokyun names" ("idiot names").
    • A case of how bad a kirakira name could have on the person involved: In 2019, there was a viral story about a high school boy who got fed up of his name at birth, Ojisama (Lord Prince). It's not only about bullying, but actual confusion, since his name is usually a title, so many people read his name to mean "Lord Prince [family name]". He spent several years on how to get a court order for a name change—notoriously difficult in Japan—and petitioned for one when he reached 18. His new name? Hajime.
  • China similarly has a list of pre-approved characters that can be used for names (after all, kanji are basically just Chinese characters). But since Chinese has many spoken dialects using a single writing system, the character list can still be abused to make embarrassing puns or homonyms — even accidentally, at least when going from one language to another.
  • In Italy, not only could birth registrars refuse a sufficiently ridiculous name, but historically they could also unilaterally assign a replacement name (usually the name of the saint of the kid's birthday). Nowadays, the registrar has to write the parents' preferred name down, but will also warn them that they're breaking the law and turn them over to the authorities; one couple went all the way up Italy's highest court, the Corte di Cassazione — and lost — in an attempt to name their kid "Venerdì" ("Friday", that in Italy can only be a reference to the character from Robinson Crusoe). In this case, the lawmakers weren't Crazy-Prepared — they just knew their countrymen, who since the time of ancient Rome have never backed down from mocking anything remotely funny.
    • Similar laws are on the books in many European countries, originating in France with revolutionary laws to keep someone's name the same they were given at birth and later perfected when the lawmakers saw what names parents would give to their children (the above mentioned law has specific exceptions for names that are objectively embarrassing but passed the registrar anyway for some reason).

Court intervention

In some cases, even when there isn't a law about stupid names, individual courts may determine that a name is ridiculous and order it changed:
  • This article from Slate mentions a child named "Talula Does the Hula from Hawaii", a name sufficiently embarrassing that it was considered child abuse, and she was made a ward of the court so that she could change her name.
  • A New Zealand couple tried to name their kid "4Real", but the courts blocked it — not necessarily because it was stupid, but because it contained a numeral. The parents named the kid Superman instead, but said they're still going to call him 4Real.
  • A controversial case from Tennessee saw a judge block a couple from naming their kid "Messiah". The only problem was that it wasn't because it was unusual, but because only Jesus could be called "Messiah". Not only were the parents not happy, but neither was the American Civil Liberties Union. It's not even a correct religious justification, as "Messiah" is a title literally meaning "anointed one", and it was not exclusive to divine beings or indeed any one person; historically, it was a title of the kings of Judah and was even given in The Bible itself to Cyrus the Great (for allowing the Jews to return to Israel and rebuild the Temple after the Babylonian Captivity and generally being a good ruler). The decision was later overturned and the official fired, apparently for violating judicial processes.

Weird for the sake of weird

  • Grimes and Elon Musk have named their child X Æ A-12... or rather X Æ- A-Xii, given Californian law forbids using digits in names.
  • A lot of the hippies in the 60s and early 70s would name their kids things like Aquarius or Moonglow or Starwalker.
  • Frank Zappa did this for all his children, naming them Moon Unit, Dweezil, Ahmet, and Diva. He wanted names that were pretty and evocative, and he wasn't worried about the weirdness because he figured their surname was going to get them into trouble more than anything else. In Dweezil's case, an exasperated nurse prevented Frank from legally naming him "Dweezil" (he opted for "Ian Donald Calvin Euclid", the names of several of his associates), but the family still called him Dweezil. Young Dweezil was quite distraught to discover that Dweezil wasn't his legal name, and he changed it at the first opportunity when he turned 18.
  • David Bowie named his son Zowie, meaning his full name is Zowie Bowie. He's now best known as Moon director Duncan Jones.
  • Kim Kardashian and Kanye West's four kids are named North West (girl), Saint West (boy), Chicago West (girl) and Psalm West (boy). People were kind of disappointed that they didn't go for "Easton West" (and from the sounds of it, Kim actually wanted to - she said during her pregnancy with North that she really liked the name but Kanye wasn't a fan).
  • Beyoncé and Jay-Z have a thing for naming their children unusual ways: first it was Blue Ivy (a girl), then came the twins, Ruminote  and Sir. Yes, only Sir.
  • There's a big trend in Denmark to name your kid "dude" as a way of ensuring that no one else has the same name. They don't seem to care if the name has a rather unfortunate meaning. These names have actually been approved by Danish authorities:
    • Girls' names: Altan ("Balcony"), Badr (sounds like a Danish expression of disgustnote ), Cirkel ("Circle"), Dyne ("Duvet"), Ginnote , Nitte ("Rivet", or figuratively speaking, something unwanted), and Panda.
    • Boys' names: Awesome, Blær ("Boasting"), Cello, Cobra, Dreng ("Boy"), Haj ("Shark"), Fru ("Mrs." or "Madam"), Kamel ("Camel"), and Tung ("Heavy").
    • Some kids have also been named after Aphrodite, Adonis, Aladdin, Allah, Aristotle, Barack Obama, Bilbo, Buddha, Cher, Cirkeline (a Danish comic book character), Cleopatra, David Bowie, Frodo, Gandalf, Hamlet, Jesus, Judas, Julius Caesar, Kermit the Frog, Lancelot, Lionel Messi, Lucky Luke, Pippi Longstocking, Ra, Rocky and Snoopy. Even company names have been used, such as "Saxo".
  • Brazil has a tradition of weird names, usually with a foreign origin: homages (e.g. Creedence Clearwater Couto), misspelled imports (Michael = Maicon, Maycon, Maikon, Maykon), or names that just try to sound different (most commonly ending in -son, such as Denilson, Valdson, Liedson and Nadson). Then there's names such as Tospericagerja, a homage to six players on the team that won the FIFA World Cup in 1970 (Tostão, Pelé, Rivellino, Carlos Alberto, Gerson, and Jairzinho), and Odvan, homage to the song "O Divã".
  • A Wisconsin man who was arrested for drugs and weapons possession turned out to have the name Beezow-Doo-Doo-Zopittybop-Bop-Bop.
  • Mexico has all manner of bizarre names, some of which were banned after the fact, including the Spanish equivalents of Panties, Batman, Illuminated, Scrotum, Caesarean, Virgin, Private, Burger King, Robocop, US Navy, and Spinach. There's been some call to have a law regulating this formally, but political cartoonist Francisco "Paco" Calderon criticized this as foolish, noting how cyclical this trope is and once-ridiculous names can become commonplace (and vice versa). Some of the weirder popular ones are "Masiosare" (from a verse in the national anthem, "mas si osare un extraño enemigo"), and "Anivderev", which confused parents thought was the name of a saint celebrated on November 20th — it's actually short for "Aniversario de la Revolucion" ("Anniversary of the Revolution"), but it's marked that way on calendars the same way saints are listed on their respective days.
  • A Chinese couple named their son Saddam Deng Sars because the Iraq War and the SARS outbreak of 2003 were big news stories at the time of the child's birth.
  • At the height of World Cup fever in South Africa in 2010, children born on the day of the opening matches received some interesting names, including a girl named Fifa, twin boys named Bafana and Mexico and another set of twins named Soccer City and "It's Time".
  • The short-lived Fred Allen game show Judge for Yourself once had a contestant named 5/8 Smith. Apparently, there were so many Smiths where he lived that they ran out of first names, or so he claimed. Allen had some fun with it:
    Allen: They got into the numerals, eh?
    Allen: When your father was naming you 5/8, he must've been celebrating with one fifth.
    Allen: You are probably the only man alive who can write his name on an adding machine.
  • A pregnant woman cancelled her baby shower and made an angry rant directed at her friends and family for mocking her decision to name her baby "Squire Sebastian Senator". She claimed that the name would represent her family's line of squires and senators. Fair enough, but what appears to have done her in is her insistence that he must always be referred to as "Squire Sebastian Senator" and not any nickname, which is what led to the online ridicule.
  • Greek surnames tend to be very odd, with certain ones being similar or identical to the words "Goat", "Pig", "Big-head" (used to say someone is dumb), "Grease" and "Penis". There's also people who, due to an unfortunate name-surname combination, have name combination that either sound like or are identical to things like "Honest Perfect", "Harmless Albanian", "Vrasidas Vampire", "Aristomenis Whale", "Oil Crisis", "Sunday Afternoon", "Friday Afternoon", "March April" and "Chosen Goat".
  • Jason Lee's oldest child is a son named Pilot Inspektor. According to Lee, the name was inspired by indie rock band Grandaddy's song "He's Simple, He's Dumb, He's the Pilot."


  • Queen Victoria was seen as having an embarrassingly un-English name when she was the young heiress presumptive to the throne. In 1837, Prime Minister William Lamb, 2nd Viscount Melbourne, desperately pleaded with the then-princess to take a more traditional English name like Elizabeth or Charlotte. (It could have been worse; Victoria was actually her second name, and her first name was Alexandrina. She was named after the Russian tsar.) In any event, she solved the problem by becoming the then-longest reigning monarch England had ever had and an enduring symbol of English culture; "Victoria" is now one of the most English names you can think of.
  • Roman dictator Lucius Cornelius Sulla named his twin children Faustus and Fausta, choosing what was, at the time, an exceedingly rare and obscure praenomen in an era where most Roman men were named Lucius, Gaius, or Marcus (and most Roman women went without personal names and used a feminized form of the family names). In doing so, he revived the name's popularity for the rest of antiquity.
  • If you want proof that standards for names have changed over time, look no further than the children of The Beatles. In 1966, when Ringo Starr named his first son Zak (full name, not short for Zachariah or anything), the fans and media thought it was incredibly weird. Nowadays, it's just a fairly unusual spelling of an uncommon name. By the late 1970s, George Harrison named his son Dhani, and no one batted an eyelash — if anything, they figured that it was an Indian name, and George had a well-known interest in Indian culture (and had even converted to the "Hare Krishna" subsect of Vaishnava Hinduism).
  • Meiji poet Daigaku Horiguchi, whose first name literally means "University".
  • German comedian Stefan Raab showed what happens when you go too far; in reading out a list of the most ridiculous names in Germany, he couldn't resist giving away one woman's state and occupation (as she was a gardener and her name was plant-based, and her state also has a high nature level). That led to people tracking her down and humiliating her personally; she successfully sued Raab for slander and public humiliation.
  • A common Israeli Urban Legend tells of a girl whose first name is Okhezèt-'Anàf-'Ètz-haShakédHebrew , or "Holder of the Almond Tree Branch". The name apparently developed from a case of Cowboy BeBop at His Computer in The '70s: reporter Idit Gil, writing an article about unusual names in Israel, met with a family that had given somewhat unusual but fairly reasonable first names to their daughters. The mother jokingly said they considered giving that name to one of the girls, but the printed article described an additional child with that name. Since then there have been many different stories about OAEhS's life floating around the Internet. If you read Hebrew, you can read more on The Other Wiki here.
  • In one of his early 1970s books on modern American witchcraft, Hans Holzer interviewed a practitioner from Appalachia born in about 1930. Her name was Lavora, after Lavoris mouthwash, because her mom thought it had a pleasant sound. Today, nobody would think twice about it; the Michigan Democratic Party chairwoman is Lavora Barnes, for instance. Another commonly heard name from the 1930s is Ivory or Ivorine, for Ivory soap.
  • Actors Lukas Perman and Marjan Shaki have two daughters, Liv Su and Ivy Su. Granted, the surname isn't pronounced the same way as the "perman" in "Superman", but still.
  • News were raised as during a COVID Pandemic-caused lockdown, an Indian couple named their twins after the very thing that was causing this: Coronanote  and Covid.

Video Example(s):


Why am I Analyzing This

Bob questions why would one of the ponies be named "Chariot" while she pulls a chariot before realizing he's analyzing a children show about magic, talking ponies.

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

Main / WhoNamesTheirKidDude

Media sources:

Main / WhoNamesTheirKidDude